Apple Crumble – Gluten Free but sooo Yum!

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It seems these days I have a LOT of friends that have diet restrictions. All for various reasons and all different restrictions. It used to be that I was the one that was difficult to have over for dinner being a vegetarian. Now I’m pretty easy by comparison! Last night we had over one of my long time dear friends and her family for dinner. She is gluten, dairy and soy free (gulp!). We ended up dividing the meal between the two of us to make it easier on both, but I said I would make a dessert. More or less because my mom just gave me a box full of apples that are perfect for baking and I needed to start making a dent in them!

A crumble is pretty easy to get around the no dairy – just use coconut oil for the butter. The flour in theory is pretty easy because it doesn’t call for much and there is gluten free flour, which I thought I had but I didn’t. I love a good food challenge so I set forth on creating a gluten and dairy free apple crumble. I used my base recipe from Skinny Taste (love her!) and went from there. After making a few additions and substitutions, it looked amazing, but did it taste as good? After the meal was chowed, and the table cleared, we dished up the crumble with some dairy free coconut vanilla ice cream and OMG! It was super YUM! So I am sharing it here with you…and let’s be honest. If it turned out terrible, I would be silent as a mouse 😉 This is all that was left after we dished up and by the end of the night there were just a few small bites…and by morning there was none :)

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Ingredients

For filling:

  • 4 cups peeled, sliced cooking apples such as Granny Smith
  • 2 cups peeled, sliced slightly sweeter apple – I used Pink Lady
  • Âź cup honey
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
  • 3 Tbsp. corn starch
  • ½ tsp. ground cinnamon

For topping:

  • 1 ½ cup quick-cooking oats
  • ½ cup packed light brown sugar
  • ½ cup chopped pecans
  • 2 Tbsp. almond meal
  • Âź tsp. kosher salt
  • 6 Tbsp. virgin coconut oil
  • 1 tsp. xanthum gum

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 325°F.
  2. Lightly spray 9” x 12” baking dish with oil.
  3. For filling: In a large bowl, combine apples, honey, lemon juice, corn starch, cinnamon. Pour the mixture into prepared baking dish.
  4. For topping: In a separate bowl, combine oats, brown sugar, pecans, almond meal, salt, xanthum gum and coconut oil. Sprinkle topping evenly over filling. Bake until browned and bubbling, 50-55 minutes.
  5. Serve warm.
    Serves 8.

Apple Watch Review From a Non-Tech Person

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I’ve been living with my Apple Watch since Christmas and so I feel I can now give an honest review. For the record, this is by no means solicited…just me on my own account. And can I start off by apologizing for my veiny hands and oddly tanned arms…we’ve spent a lot of time outside this summer. I actually edited the picture to make my arm look LESS orange :(

For a little back story, I wasn’t in the market for one, but my husband is a tech lover to the Nth degree and so several months after they came out, I ended up with one too. I’m not a huge tech person, but will try to stay at least somewhat up to date. But let’s just say I rely heavily on my husband to do all that for me :) I am a huge watch person however, so it wasn’t a struggle to get me to wear a watch, but I was really happy with my not too expensive wide banded gold watch. Looks and function-wise. I turned to look at my wrist and voila! There was the time!

When I got my Apple Watch, I tried wearing it a few times, but it comes with a white sports band and that was just not  “me”. I like my watch to double as a jewelry piece as well as be functional. I thought the Apple gold bands were crazy expensive, but I guess on Amazon, there are tons of compatible bands for far less cost. The one in the picture I think was around $18. Because of the white band, I was hardly wearing it at all until my husband gave the suggestion to buy a band from Amazon. That was a game changer for me having the gold band. For the last few months I have been wearing it pretty much every day. That said, there are some pros and cons for me. Keep in mind, I am not a tech lover and still prefer to write my grocery list on an old fashioned notepad.

So here’s my breakdown list of PROS and CONS:

PROS:
  • With a band that fits your style, it’s a good looking watch
  • Tracks your steps, activity level and bugs you with a little buzz on your wrist to stand if you have sat too long
  • You can quickly glance at a text when you receive one
  • Tracks your walking and/or running
  • I can see when I’ve received an Etsy message
  • Shows weather…and a whole lot of other features. Let’s be honest – I don’t use it to it’s full potential
CONS:
  • Incoming buzz updates on your wrist can almost cause an accident if you are driving in traffic
  • Clock doesn’t always light up when you turn your wrist to look – big annoyance on my part! I like a watch to work when I need it too. And my hands are usually full so I can’t tap the screen with my other hand.
  • You have to charge it nightly so you can’t use it for the sleep monitoring function
  • I can’t use it to play soccer or when I exercise with a kettle bell so the fitness function is a moot point when I do these
  • I also have a fitbit and the steps calculated are more than on my fitbit. Sounds good, but which one is accurate???? I tend to lean towards on the lesser side to be safe.
  • I’m always worried I will scratch or crack the screen
  • Replying back to text messages isn’t practical when driving. Your phone is much easier when you have a moment.

So there is my unbiased review! I hope my husband isn’t disappointed with all my cons, but for someone like him, he loves it. He optimizes his to it’s full potential and is a tech guy through and through. I’m on the fence about it and if you are someone like me, but aren’t sure about getting one. I’d wait until the next generation comes out.

 

Triple Berry Ice Cream

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My seven year old has been in the kitchen lately and she is doing a fantastic job. I’m not sure if she has a knack for picking recipes or if it’s her cookbook The Silver Spoon for Children, but so far she has made some really yummy dishes. The recipes are super simple, yet with sophisticated ingredients that are familiar and liked by most people. Particularly children! And the illustrations are fun to look at too! I highly recommend this for your kiddos.

This triple berry ice cream is…how do I say this?…A.MAZING!  I can usually skip ice cream to save a few valued calories, but this is worth it. So worth it. Here’s the recipe in case you don’t go out to get the book. But really, the cookbook is worth it even if you are not a kid.

 

Triple Berry Ice Cream

Ingredients

  • 1 Cup Heavy Whipping Cream
  • 3.5 Cups of frozen berries such as blackberries, raspberry’s, redcurrants or blackcurrants (I used Trader Joes mixed berries)
  • Half a Lemon
  • 1 Cup Super Fine Sugar

Directions

This recipe makes enough for 6-8 people.
1. Pour the cream into a big bowl and using a hand whisk or electric whisk, whisk until it holds in soft peaks-when you lift the whisk out it should look like snowy mountains (if you whisk the cream to long it becomes firm & stiff).
2. Put the frozen berries into the food processor. Squeeze the lemon juice over the fruit, add the sugar and whiz until mashed up.
3. Spoon the mashed berries into the whipped cream and carefully fold everything together. Spoon into a freeze proof container (I used a bread load pan)), cover and freeze for 3 hours or until frozen.

 

Free Printable Lunch Notes!

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I can’t believe I am talking about back to school already! We still have some serious summering to do, but back to school is nearing and I need to start thinking school supplies, clothes, backpacks, etc.

Last year I put a lunch note in my girls’ lunches nearly every day. There were some days I missed and I have to confess, the majority of them were more clustered at the end of the year. Partly because they were getting tired of the same old rotation of notes, and partly because I was burnt out on making lunches!!! Most days I wondered if they even cared I put a note in their lunch and if it had any impact. But when I would forget, I would hear about it when they got home. So if it helps them feel a little love to get them through the day, I’m willing to go the extra step. After all, the days when want a note from mom in their lunch and aren’t embarrassed by me are numbered. So I will take this time while I have it.

My littlest is starting Kindergarten this year (when did that happen?!) and so I want to make her first big year just as special as her big sister’s. To help myself not slacking on adding notes to their lunches, I created another lunch note set and I plan on printing a TON before school starts so I’ll always have a supply. Click here for the free printable download and check out my Frella Design Etsy shop for some more lunch note sets.

Wedding Outfit Inspiration

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We had a wedding this last weekend, as I am sure most people are on the wedding circuit during these summer months. We don’t have as many the last few years since most of our friends are married and even finished having all of their kids. So a wedding here or there is kind of fun and not a burden :)

I have to say, I had some of the most fun I’ve had in a long time getting dressed up. It’s a rare occasion for me these days, with fewer weddings to go to, being a stay at home mom, and just plain ol’ busy with the kids. The week before I did a last minute shopping spree on Amazon (Amen to Prime!) for a fun skirt. I was surprised that there were so many cute tea length full skirts for a steal! There was still the question of quality, but I could always return them. So I took a gamble and ordered a green one and the yellow one you see in the picture. I’m returning a few others I tried, but the green and yellow ones are amazing for $20!! I’m keeping both :) Then with a little inspiration from what I had in my closet, I settled on the stripe blouse from Target, black studded shoes from Aldo (years ago), and jewelry from Madewell and Loft. A pretty inexpensive outfit that was fun, easy (skirt has pockets – bonus!) and comfortable…minus the hot weather!! That part I wasn’t a fan of and could have used cool air zipping up my skirt. But we can’t have it all, right?!

And the best part about getting dressed up this weekend? My girls were away with grandma and grandpa so I actually had time to think about what I wanted to wear without little ones crowding around me in my closet and asking a million questions or needing something every 10 seconds…so maybe it wasn’t the actual outfit, but simply that I had TIME 😉

Enjoy the wedding season!

Thank Card Freebie

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I have some thank you’s to catch up on since my “birf”day was not too long ago. I didn’t have anything lying around that I haven’t used a million times already or that was a bit more sophisticated than a kids thank you note. Sooooo, after a fun day trip to Edison, WA with girlfriends, a trip to Colorado and an oh-so fun and much needed girls-night-in last night, I was finally able to sit down to create a new thank you card.

I’m a lucky lady to have such thoughtful friends in my life. I am always blown away at the care my friends put in to their gifts. Of course I always love the gifts I am given, but it is thoughtfulness that gets me every time. Truly – one hundred percent – feeling the love – how did I end up with such extraordinary ladies in my life?

And to share that love with you all, you can download this free thank you card right here. I hope everyone has friends in their lives that know just the right little something to make you feel special.  For me, it’s an awesome marble cheese board and a circle picnic blanket with a concert ticket (yippee!!). Such a difficult person to please 😉

 

Two Ingredient Cookie Swirl Fudgecicles

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Summer has been off to a slow start here in the NW, but I am determined to make the most of it for my girls. I feel like having a cup of hot cocoa at times, but it’s summer. Right?! So the calendar says anyway. I’m deciding to listen to the calendar instead of the weather and with that advice, I made some super easy fudgecicles that require only two ingredients, a bowl and a whisk. Can’t get any easier than that!!

So here it is…Trader Joes Speculoos Cookie and Cocoa Swirl spread and chocolate almond milk. That’s it!!! And they make for a super yummy summer treat. Do you think if you eat enough fudgecicles summer will arrive out of pity for us? Oh and did I mention they only have 150 calories per pop?

Ingredients:

1/2 cup Speculoos Cookie and Cocoa Swirl Spread

1 1/2 cup chocolate almond milk

Directions:

Whisk cookie and cocoa swirl spread with 1/2 cup almond milk in a large bowl until smooth. Add the rest of the almond milk and stir until combined. Pour in popsicle molds and freeze for at least 4 hours.

Oatmeal Raisin Cookie Granola Bars

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It was a granola bar kind of day around here – cloudy and kinda slow. I do a different variation of this recipe almost every time, but today I wanted to keep it simple and classic with the flavors of oatmeal raisin cookies. I have brought these bars to plenty of parks, picnics and play dates and I have never met a kid (or husband) that didn’t like them. They whip up super quick, make a ton and last for at least a week or more. A pretty perfect snack if you ask me.

Feel free to add in, swap or exchange ingredients. I substitute some of the oats for rice crispies, use coconut flour, add flax, hemp or chia seeds at times too (I did throw in a little hemp seeds in this batch!!). Dried cranberries, dates, apricots or cherries are also yummy alternatives. The one thing I don’t alter is the coconut oil. I tried several batches with butter and/or oil and they both fell apart or were too greasy. The coconut oil is perfect for melting and then solidifies when it’s cooled – plus it’s a healthy alternative and adds flavor. Have fun experimenting!

Ingredients

  • 4 1/2 cups rolled oats
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2/3 cup coconut oil melted
  • 1/2 cup brown rice syrup (or honey)
  • 1/3 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 cup raisins

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C). Lightly grease one 9×13 inch pan or line it with parchment paper.
  2. In a large metal mixing bowl melt the coconut oil over the stove top (very important it’s metal! Otherwise melt it in the microwave). Add brown sugar, brown rice syrup and vanilla and mix until combined.
  3. Add in the oats, flour, baking soda, and cinnamon and mix until combined. Stir in raisins.
  4. Press mixture into the prepared pan. Bake at 325 degrees F (165 degrees C) for 18 to 22 minutes or until golden brown. Let cool for 10 minutes then press down again with a flat surface (a measuring cup works great). Cut into bars. Let bars cool completely in pan before removing or serving.

Free Nature Scavenger Hunt Printable

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I was out with my girls yesterday and we found some local trails to explore. Normally, my seven year old is gung-ho to explore and my five year old is “too tired” to walk anywhere. However, to my surprise, they were both willing to see where the said trail led and we were off on a little unexpected adventure. It was a breath of fresh air (literally) to be outside in nature enjoying ever turn and corner with my two little ones. No one complained or whined and we kept going to see what we would discover. Even my five year old said she wants to do more trail walks…what?! OK!! To help keep interests alive, we made it an adventure to see how many different things we could find. We saw bunnies, a blue heron, ducks, flowers, creeks, bugs, etc. I think it’s so important for young ones to get out and see what is past their backyard. Fortunately in the Northwest, we are so lucky to have woodlands and forested areas just minutes outside any given neighborhood.

During our excursion yesterday I was inspired to make my own version of a nature scavenger hunt card. I was kid free this afternoon and had fun creating little illustrations for the printable. I rarely get several hours at a time to myself to create something fun just because. And here it is to share with you all…for free! Click here your free download and I hope you have many adventures this summer exploring your local trails with the little ones!

 

Yellow Squash Cranberry Muffins

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A few years ago I planted some yellow squash and it went gang busters in the garden. I made fritters with it, sauted it, roasted it, you name it. But I was at a loss of what else to do with it. So I found this recipe from CaramelPie and altered it to cut down on prep time and make them a little more healthful. And since the, they have been by far one of my favorite summer baked goods.

I just baked up my first batch of the season and they are just as yummy as I remember! Super moist, light and delicately sweet!

Ingredients:

15 muffins

  • 2 cups baby yellow squash grated
  • 2 eggs
  • 1⁄2 cup melted butter
  • 1⁄2 cup applesauce
  • 1⁄2 cup sugar
  • 1⁄2  cup brown sugar
  • 2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 5 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1teaspoon salt

Directions:

  1. Wash squash, trim ends, and grate.
  2. Measure 2 cups of the squash, combine with eggs, butter, and applesauce, and set aside.
  3. Combine dry ingredients in a large bowl.
  4. Make a well in center of mixture.
  5. Add squash to dry ingredients, stirring only until moist.
  6. Spoon into greased muffin tins, filling 3/4 full.
  7. Bake at 350 degrees F for 18-20 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center of muffin comes out clean.