Strawberry Lemon Pancakes {vegan}

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Nothing says summer to me like juicy, red strawberries! And we are definitely a family of strawberry lovers. We go through about 2-3 lbs a week during the summer months. We eat them cut up, in smoothies, as a snack, as a dessert and any other way we can think! In fact, my 4 year old has been asking me to make Strawberry Pancakes for months. I thought this was a great idea and decided to try and make it happen…

We don’t really do processed cereal for breakfast. So I typically will make waffles, smoothies, oatmeal and of course, PANCAKES! Pancakes are a huge hit in our house with the boys. I try to switch it up and make different kinds and not just regular plain pancakes. So this was another great reason to try to create a yummy summer pancake recipe.

And I am happy to say, I made it happen on the first try (I think all my pancake and waffle making has paid off!)ūüėČ

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These are¬†light and fluffy! Which is awesome for a vegan pancake. Also, considering the moisture the strawberries will release, I was very excited that they didn’t make the pancakes deflate! With the addition of lemon juice and lemon zest, these pancakes are refreshing, making them perfect for breakfast in the summer.

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Strawberry Lemon Pancakes

Yields: 6-7 servings/ pancakes

Created By: Jenn F.

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2¬†cup AP flour
  • 1 Tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 Tablespoon sugar
  • pinch salt
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 1 cup non dairy milk (I used almond)
  • 1 Tablespoon ground flax seed
  • 1 Tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 3 Tablespoon oil
  • 1 cup diced strawberries

Directions

  1. In a small glass or bowl, mix non dairy milk, flax and lemon juice. Set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, mix flour, baking powder, sugar, salt and lemon zest.
  3. Pour milk/ flax/ lemon mixture into center of dry ingredients. Add water and oil. Stir until just combined. Be sure not to over mix. Fold in strawberries. Let batter sit for 10-15 minutes.
  4. Heat pan over low-med heat. You want your pan heated before adding the batter. (I use a cast iron skillet, on my stove, my heat setting is between low & med but closer to the low mark.)
  5. Before adding batter, spray skillet with non stick spray/ oil (I use Trader Joe’s spray coconut oil). Spoon batter onto skillet in heaping 1/4 cup dollops. Let it cook about 3 minutes, until edges look dry and the top starts to slightly bubble. Flip ONCE and let cook another 2-3 minutes. Repeat until all the batter is used!

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All Images 2014-2015 ©NaturallyAwesomeMama All Rights Reserved

Toasted Coconut Mocha

I am 3 weeks postpartum and I am almost back to my pre pregnancy weight. If you have been following me for a while, you know before I got pregnant with our 3rd baby, I had been on my journey to health. I had actually just reached a big milestone of 50 pounds lost about a week before we found out we were expecting our sweet little Jackson. I had become a smoothie addict and a lover of vegan foods. Now that I am no longer pregnant, I am continuing where I left off and have about 25 pounds to get to my goal weight and where I feel I would like to be. Although, I love and truly appreciate my body, I feel it would be best for me to get into a healthy BMI.

I am now nursing though. And when I nurse, I am hungry ALL. THE. TIME! With my first two boys, this is when I gained back the baby weight because I wasn’t making healthy choices. But this time, I am not letting that happen. I just feel better when I eat healthier options. So I am back to my daily smoothies. Since I have been making them for a while, I am now trying my own creations and thought I would try and start sharing some with you all. I post pictures on my Instagram and Facebook all the time and get a lot of comments from people asking for the recipes. I will be honest, I don’t really keep track and write things down. Now with 2 toddlers who are also ALWAYS hungry and a newborn who wants mommy, when I get in the kitchen, I just go to work and toss things in the blender.

Now¬†I am not a big coffee drinker. I definitely don’t drink it for the energy… ALWAYS decaf for me. I just have moods where I want the taste and I only like cold coffee drinks.¬†Sure, I can go to Starbucks and spend about $4 on a drink like this… but realistically, I won’t. It is NOT worth getting the kids loaded in the car to get a coffee. Plus, their drinks are loaded with sugar and nasty unnecessary chemicals. It is nice they are starting to offer more vegan friendly options. But it still really isn’t worth it to me. Instead I threw this smoothie together this morning…

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All vegan, plant based ingredients and super delicious.

Here is what you need:

  • About 6 coffee ice cubes (yes, you will have to plan ahead and freeze the coffee before making this!)
  • 1 frozen banana (can use a fresh one, but it won’t be as thick and creamy)
  • 1/2c- 3/4c coconut milk
  • 2 T chia seeds
  • 4 T shredded coconut
  • 1/2T-1 T raw cacao powder, or cocoa powder
  • dash cinnamon
  • dash vanilla
  • ***optional: homemade chocolate sauce (for making the cup pretty and topping the smoothieūüėČ )
  1. First, you want to toast the coconut. Preheat oven to 325 and spread coconut out on a baking sheet. Cook for no longer than 5 minutes. Keep a good eye as it will burn quickly if you wait too long!
  2. Add the coconut milk to the blender. If you have a high speed blender, like a Vitamix, you can get away with less milk. Add the chia seeds and do a small blend to mix in the chia seeds so they plump up a bit. Let sit until the coconut is done toasting.
  3. Once the coconut is done, add it to the blender (you can reserve a little for topping if you like) along with the frozen banana, coffee ice cubes, cacao powder,¬†cinnamon and vanilla. Blend until smooth! Top with more toasted coconut and chocolate sauce…¬†Enjoy!

*** If you want to make chocolate sauce, the easy way is about a teaspoon of coconut oil mixed with a few tablespoons of chocolate chips (I prefer vegan/ dairy free chocolate chips!). Heat in microwave for 20 second intervals, stirring well until melted. It will be more of a chocolate shell once mixed with the cold drink, but just mix it in and it adds texture of chocolaty goodness!

All Images 2014-2015 ©NaturallyAwesomeMama All Rights Reserved

Jackson’s Birth Story – Part 2- Labor & Delivery

This is Part 2 of 2… If you are interested in reading Part 1, click here.

This was the first pregnancy that I experienced many new things. One of those was prodromal labor. It is also called false labor, however, I believe there is nothing false about it as it still can make changes to your cervix and prepare your body for birth. I started experience prodromal labor for about 4 days a week before our baby was born. For 4 days in a row, EVERY evening at around 10pm I would start getting cramping contractions. They were legit contractions and different from Braxton Hicks (BH). BH contractions for me always just felt like tightening of my whole uterus. It was uncomfortable but with a change of position or drinking water, they would go away. Real labor contractions for me have always felt like really bad menstrual cramping that comes on slow, peaks then fades away. Sometimes the pain would radiate to my lower back as well. Anyway, these contractions I experienced for the 4 nights in a row were real. Every night I would start timing them only to see them be all over the place, never getting stronger and never getting closer together. Eventually I would fall asleep and wake up feeling fine in the morning.

It is very hard to deal with prodromal labor. You think “this is it!” only to be let down. It is very emotionally and physically tiring. I am lucky to have wonderful mamas who I was able to turn to online and get some support and words of encouragement. The rest of the week after having prodromal labor, I felt awesome. No contractions or other signs of labor. My due date came arrived. I began getting lots of pressure and tons of twinges and pinches in my cervix. I was excited as I remember the same feelings before I went into labor with Braydon. I continued to feel these pains the next day when I was 40 weeks and 1 day.

That night, May 14, I started getting some mild contractions again. However, once again, they weren’t regular and I was able to fall asleep by 11:30pm.

Then, at 1 am, I woke up having a cramping contraction. It was strong enough to wake me, but not the worse pain. I got up to pee and went back to bed. As I lay in bed, I was trying to fall back to sleep. But I kept getting contractions and it was hard to sleep. I tried drinking water and moving around to see if they would subside. They did not… So I decided I would start timing them on a contraction app on my phone before waking up Kyle. The last thing I wanted to do was jump the gun. As I timed them, they would be anywhere from 2 1/2 – 8 minutes apart. They would last about 50-60 seconds. As they continued, I could feel pressure in my pelvis so I started doing pelvic rocks and squats. I was not comfortable laying in bed during them so I figured I would work with them and see if it would make them more consistent.

At around 4 am, I was still awake having them. I went pee again and this time I noticed when I wiped that I was beginning to lose my mucus plug! I was very excited about this as I knew this meant my cervix was changing and getting ready. After this I went downstairs to get myself more water. I also decided I would wake Kyle up and give him a heads up that I *might* be in early labor. I continued having contractions so I bounced and swayed on my birthing ball during them. They were now around 4-6 minutes apart, still lasting 50-60 seconds. They still weren’t any stronger though, so I decided to let Kyle sleep and that I would try to sleep as well. If this was it, I wanted to try to get more sleep considering I had only about an hour and a half of sleep so far.

However, I was not able to sleep. They continued at about 4-6 minutes apart. I would have to stop and breathe through them also. At this point, I was definitely convinced that this could very well be it and that I was in labor. Every time I peed, I was still losing plug too.

It was now 5 am, on May 15. I decided to wake Kyle again before he got up to get ready to go to work. I told him that the contractions were now 5-6 min apart and about a minute long each. I knew my midwives wanted me to call once they were 5-1-1 or 5 minutes apart, lasting 1 min for 1 hour. I didn’t know if I should call yet since some were closer to 6 minutes apart. I told him I think he should stay home for a bit before leaving in case things changed. I sent my mom a text giving her a heads up as well that I might be in labor, I wanted to be sure I told her before she headed to work as well as she would be the one to watch Shayne and Braydon. I decided to take a shower as I know sometimes the warmth might slow things or stop them if it wasn’t actual labor. I figured this would be the test to decide if I would call the midwife!

I took a shower and had 3 contractions during my shower. My shower was 15 minutes, so I knew they had to be 5 minutes apart. I had to breathe through them as well. After the shower, I had to pee again and noticed this time the plug was no longer clear but now tinged with pink blood. This told me, I should call the midwife and see what they say.

I timed a few more contractions and they were indeed now 5 minutes apart for 1 minute. It had been about an hour. So I called the on call midwife. I explained everything from when it all started at 1 am. I also explained if they felt I needed to come in that it would take about 40 minutes for my mom to get to my house PLUS at least an hour for us to get to the hospital. She told me to have my mom come over and call when my mom got to my house and we would see how things were progressing at that point. I called my mom and told her she got to take the day off work and to come over. Luckily, it was before she would left for work so that meant we wouldn’t be waiting too long for her to get to our house. During this time, I got dressed and finished packing my hospital bag.

When my mom arrived, I called the midwife before we left. Contractions were still 5 minutes apart for 1 minute. They didn’t seem any stronger, but I was still being stopped in my tracks during them not able to concentrate on anything else. I also was continuing to lose bloody plug. She told me to go ahead and leave to get to the hospital. So we got ready to leave. Braydon and Shayne were still sleeping, but I heard a stir from Shayne and he was waking up just at we were about to leave. It was about 7:40am. I went up and told him that mommy was going to go to the hospital with daddy so mommy can have the baby! He was very excited and even more excited when I said Nana was here to watch him and Braydon. I gave him a big hug and kiss and said I would see him soon and he would get to meet his new brother or sister.

Kyle and I headed out to the car and left. We didn’t know what to expect on the drive. It was morning rush hour and it could be a good drive or a bad one. We decided to stay off the main highway though as it had been quicker in the past for us when we would go to my doctor appointments. We set off, I put on my favorite Foo Fighters CD singing in between contractions and hoping the drive wouldn’t be too long. The last thing I wanted was to deliver a baby in the car. The drive when SO well. I continued having contractions. They weren’t any stronger but it seemed worse because I was buckled into a seat and couldn’t move around. They were also radiating around to my back which sucked. About halfway to the hospital, the on call midwife called to check on how the drive was going. I thought this was so sweet. I was once again reassured that I chose the right place to deliver our baby. I never would have expected them to call to see how I was doing. I told her we were halfway to the hospital and that contractions were still going. She said that Beth, one of the other midwives, was heading in to the hospital and would be waiting for us to get there.

The rest of the drive went very smooth as well. We pulled up to the main entrance of the hospital. They had complimentary valet so that was nice that we could go right in and up to labor and delivery. When we walked in, the nurses were expecting us. The nurse joked and asked what brought me in. It was nice to laugh. They brought us to the room I would be laboring and delivering in. It was a nice bright room. It was a very good size too and had a birthing tub. I was excited to try to use water as a comfort measure this time! I noticed though, that I hadn’t had a contraction since we arrived and it had been about 10 minutes. I got nervous thinking maybe I did jump the gun and that I would end up getting sent home. The nurse took some info from me and asked if she could do an exam and see where I was. This was the first cervical exam I would be having this whole pregnancy, so I was curious to see too. I got on the bed and she checked. She told me I was just about completely thinned out and 6 cm dilated but she could stretch me to 7 cm! I was so shocked to hear I was already so far along, especially considering the contractions were so bearable. So the nurse said, “oh ya, so you’re not going anywhere. We will have a baby here soon!”

I was beyond excited. I changed into what I would be laboring in. This time even though I was still birthing in a hospital, I didn’t want to feel like a sick patient wearing a huge hospital gown. I brought a birthing skirt that was handmade according to my size in the color of my choosing. I also decided I would just wear a nursing sports bra with it. This way I could move around and not feel restricted or have to mess with a hospital gown falling down because they are always so big.

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The nurses pretty much left me to do my own thing. I had them bring me a birthing ball to use for comfort during contractions. I didn’t feel like I needed water yet, so held off on using the tub.

At 10am, after a few contractions on the birthing ball, the midwife came in to see how things were going. My contractions were still only about 5 min apart and not intense. She asked if she could check me, I agreed as I knew we would possibly have to do something to get things moving a bit. I was still the same and my bag of waters was still bulging. She asked how I felt about artificially rupturing my waters. Honestly, it was something I didn’t want to consider until it was really necessary. With my first birth, there were tons of interventions, rupturing the bag of waters was one of them, and interventions always mean csection to me. HOWEVER, this time was different. I went into labor on my own and I was already 7cm. I knew breaking the water would bring baby’s head down fully which would get contractions more intense and bring our baby earth side. I agreed considering the circumstances. It went very well. The water was clear and she was able to help ease the baby’s head down gently. He was in perfect position she said and that it wouldn’t be much longer.

breathing through a contraction

breathing through a contraction

Contractions didn’t pick up right away but they were starting to get a bit more intense and I did notice they were starting to get closer together. I also noticed that I was getting a lot more pressure now. I still felt good though and I was handling them very well. Kyle was great support. He let me lean on him, hang on him, he “slow danced” with me while I swayed through contractions. It was so wonderful and peaceful. He helped me stay loose and not tense. I labored like this for about an hour.

A little after 11am, contractions were definitely more intense. I was getting more vocal with my moans and breathing. I decided to labor hunched over on the back of the bed. I knew laying down or being on my back was NOT how I wanted to labor or push baby out. I knew to use gravity to my advantage so kneeling on the bed would be enough to use gravity but also give me a way to rest in between contractions. After the first couple contractions on the bed, I told Kyle that I was starting to get the “pushy” feeling. After another contraction, the nurse came in to check on me and I told her about the feeling. She asked if it was new or if I had been feeling it. I said that I know I will be having to push soon. So right away she left to get the midwife.

when things got intense!

when things got intense!

As soon as she left, another strong contraction came over me. My body started pushing on its own this time and I told Kyle to get them. He hesitated a bit because he knew the nurse had just left to get the midwife. By now the contractions were about a minute apart so the next one, I yelled “GET THEM IN HERE NOW!!!!!”

THIS WAS IT!!!

The midwife came in, I told her that I cannot resist pushing. She checked and could see baby’s head. She told me to go ahead and start pushing how I felt I needed to as she got gowned up and the nurses rushed around to get ready to have a baby. The way I was pushing, I was still hunched over the back of the bed, kneeling on my knees. I felt this was the best way and I honestly don’t think I couldn’t have moved from that position! Contractions were pretty much right on top of each other and I really couldn’t tell when one stopped and another started. All I could feel was intense pressure and the urge to push. Baby was not stopping and was ready to come out. This time I felt the baby crowning and the “ring of fire”. With my last birth, I did not feel this. One big push and the head was out. She asked if I could slow down a second because she noticed the cord was wrapped around the baby’s neck. Luckily, she was able to loosen it and said I could continue pushing. A couple more big pushed and the baby was out.

right after he came out, but before they took him to get oxygen

right after he came out, but before they took him to get oxygen

It is crazy how once the baby is out, there is no more pain. I quickly turned around and sat on the bed to see my baby. I look and saw it was a boy! ANOTHER BOY! Unfortunately, though, he was a bit blue and even though he was whimpering, they wanted to check him right away because of the fact the cord was wrapped twice plus he was holding onto it as he came out. We did not get to delay cutting the cord much because of this as well. Just goes to show how things do come up and plans change. Of course, the health of our baby boy came first. They walked him over to the warmer and Kyle went with as I waited to deliver the placenta. I was able to watch and see that they did have to give him a little oxygen and then he suddenly showed off how great his lungs were. I remember, I didn’t feel scared. I knew he was fine. They weighed him and told us he was 8 lbs even (my biggest baby) and 21 inches long. He arrived at 11:26am on 5/15/15!

One little push and I delivered the placenta. Then the nurse brought my sweet little boy to me. He was still a little pale but was doing just fine. We immediately did skin to skin and I offered the breast. He wasn’t into nursing right away as he was still a little congested from amniotic fluid in his throat which eventually we got out. As soon as that cleared out, he was super eager to nurse. I was so surprised as how well he latched on right away and went to town. Especially for only being about 30 minutes old.

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Welcome Jackson Cash!

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I am now 3 days postpartum as I finish up his birth story. I am still basking in the new baby warmth, smell, snuggles and the high of having another successful drug free VBAC. I cannot help but feel so strong and empowered. I am so happy and wouldn’t change a thing about Jackson’s birth… well maybe it would have been nice to try out that lovely birthing tubūüėČ But it was another amazing birth. I am so surprised at how quickly it went and how well myself and my body handled it. I honestly enjoy giving birth vaginally and naturally without drugs. And although having my VBACs have been extremely healing for me, I still cannot help but have regrets and thoughts about my first birth, which was a csection. I wish I educated myself as much as I am now. I wish I would have chosen a better practice for my care. And I wish I was patient. Waiting for my last two babies to come when they were ready really was the best thing I could do. I am glad I allowed my body to go into labor on it’s own even if I went past my EDD. I hope sharing my 3 birth stories will only give hope to other moms in similar situations.

All images ©2014-2015 NaturallyAwesomeMama All Rights Reserved

Baby #3 Birth Story – Part 1- Pregnancy

We always hear that no two pregnancies are the same. This has totally been true for me. I have had 3 pregnancies and all were different in their own ways. My third and most recent pregnancy, however, was by far my most emotional, trying and difficult pregnancy. It always seemed as though once I started feeling good, I was hit with something to change that.

We found out we were expecting our third baby in September 2014. I began suspecting I was pregnant rather early on, around 4-5 weeks, because I was getting early symptoms similar to my second pregnancy. These were fatigue, sore breasts and random nausea. Sure enough, we bought some tests and they were positive right away. I have to say, it was somewhat unexpected. We knew we wanted to try and conceive our third child in 2014 but had planned to really try in the Fall. However, it happened much sooner than we expected. We have a history of having a harder time conceiving in the past so we honestly didn’t think it would be “so easy” this time. I had mixed emotions at first. A week prior to finding out, I had reached a milestone in my weight loss journey and reached 50 pounds lost and although, I knew I was healthier and felt good. It still hit me that I would now be gaining weight! But eventually, I got over it and we were super excited.

Once I reached the 8 week mark is when morning sickness hit. I was lucky enough to not vomit as much as I did with my first two pregnancies, but the nausea was unbearable. I was nauseas if I didn’t eat and if I did eat. I was nauseas from the moment I woke up in the morning until I went to bed at night. Sometimes I even woke up in the middle of the night running to the bathroom. It was not fun. I had no appetite for anything and literally felt like I had to force myself to eat just to fuel my body.

We had our first appointment at 11-12 weeks. We decided on yet a new practice that was an hour away but it consisted of one OB and 5 midwives. They were the best in the area and practiced evidence based care. Even though I had one successful VBAC under my belt, I will always be considered a VBAC and it is hard to find truly supportive practitioners. If you look back at my last birth, I still had to fight a bit to achieve my VBAC. I did not want to have to go through that again. Our meeting with the doctor went so well. He was so supportive and definitely didn’t give me any red flags. He gave us our due date of May 8 and then did an ultrasound. This was the first time we would see and hear our baby! The ultrasound measurements showed a estimated due date of May 13. So since this was more than 3 days off from the May 8 one, the doctor decided to change it to be May 13. He said, this will only give us more time to let baby come on its own! Not to mention, as long as myself and baby were fine, I could go to 42 weeks.

Baby looked and sounded great on ultrasound. It is always so exciting seeing this tiny human being bouncing and dancing around. We decided we would keep the due date a secret. With my first two pregnancies, we shared the due date and it really caused me more stress. For some reason other people think the due date is an expiration date and they don’t always think about how they say things or how a woman feels about reaching her due date and going past it. So this time around, we shared a due month. I found I really enjoyed going about it this way as even I forgot what week I was in most the time.

Baby's 1st picture!

Baby’s 1st picture!

Once I hit about 18 weeks, the nausea was finally gone. I was still on monthly prenatal appointments and things were going very well. At 19 weeks, we had our second trimester ultrasound. This would potentially be when we could find out the gender of our baby. But of course, we like to wait and we chose not to find out again. The baby looked great. We even got a picture of baby giving us a thumbs up telling me “everything was just fine in here!”.¬†:-) Baby measured on track with the May 13 estimated due date (EDD).

Baby's thumbs up!

Baby’s thumbs up!

During my second trimester, baby was growing rapidly and often times this brings on those lovely round ligament pains and Braxton Hicks (BH) contractions. I felt BH with my second pregnancy but never really experienced round ligament pains. I would get some sensations of pulling here and there but NOTHING compared to this pregnancy! This pregnancy, they would stop me dead in my tracks. It felt like a jolt of electricity would run through my abdomen if I made a certain movement. Some were so surprising that I would be nervous to move for about ten minutes after feeling one.
Two months later was now time for the lovely Gestational Diabetes (GD) test. I know a lot of my naturally minded friends choose to opt out of this test. However, I personally choose to do it because of having a family history of diabetes. To me drinking one drink that I would not normally consume and getting a blood draw is worth it to make sure myself and my baby are fine. Luckily enough, I passed with flying colors and had no signs of GD, same as with my previous pregnancies. This test also marked the beginning of the last stretch, the third trimester!
FINALLY, I was actually feeling great. Although most women start losing energy and getting more and more uncomfortable at this point, I was the total opposite. The first two trimesters for me were difficult. I was tired and nauseas all the time. But the third trimester was awesome. I had tons of energy and I almost felt normal besides having a basketball for a belly. That was until I hit the 9 month mark. My kids and I were driving home after a day of running errands and we were in a minor car accident. Another driver rear ended us. Thankfully, no one was hurt. There was damage to our new van but that was fixable. Because I was so pregnant and I started having backpain and contractions immediately following, paramedics did check me out. But everything was fine. However, it did affect me more than I thought. I became very anxious in the car and I didn’t drive for a couple weeks. I have always been the one to drive, even if Kyle was with us but this whole incident changed that. Not only did that cause me a lot of stress, the stress of dealing with getting the van repaired, multiple phone calls from insurance companies and getting replacement car seats for the boys put a lot of unnecessary stress on me. I like to feel prepared and get things done. So having only a few weeks before baby could possibly arrive, made all this more stressful on me. It was definitely not how I wanted to spend my last weeks of pregnancy.
At my next appointment following the accident, it was brought to my attention that my blood pressure had sky rocketed. I have always had a healthy blood pressure, in fact, it has always been a bit low if anything, even during pregnancy. But they were getting readings of 160/100+. I felt fine and it was actually surprising to me. However, with it being my last weeks of pregnancy, there is always a possibility of pre-eclampsia. I figured it was probably the stress I was under as I showed no other signs or symptoms of pre-e. There was also the possibility of it just being pregnancy induced hypertension (PIH). Either way, both can cause issues with the baby, the placenta and myself so they began monitoring me twice a week instead of once a week. I also was to begin taking a natural supplement (another reason why I love this practice, they are more naturally minded) called Natural Calm. It is a magnesium supplement that can help with stress, anxiety, headaches and blood pressure. I was asked to monitor my blood pressure at home and get lab work done that included a full panel and 24 hour urine test (not fun!). The labwork was to check to see if pre-e was a possibility with checking certain levels, especially protein and creatinine. My first round of lab work came back beautifully. My urine did come back with some protein but my level was still low enough to not cause a need for concern. I continued with twice weekly visits and another 2 weeks of the bloodwork/ 24 hour urine testing to monitor the protein levels. Every week, my blood pressure was still high at the office and I was getting elevated readings at home but not nearly as high as in the office. Also my labwork only got better each week. So I was hopeful that things would be fine.
By my 39 week appointment, I still felt my anxiety of being in the car played a role in my blood pressure readings at my appointments. On a good day, not during rush hour, we have about an hour drive to the office that is mostly on the high way. I honestly could feel my blood pressure increase during the drive. I would feel a little off and my ears would get warm. And sure enough, my blood pressure would always be high. They would always take a second reading after I had been there a while and it would go down to the 130/90 range. So it would get better but still not perfect. However, I decided to diffuse lavender essential oil in the car on the way to my appointment. I used lavender when I was in early labor with Braydon and I remember how calm and relaxed I was. I figured there was no hurt in trying. When I got to my appointment, the midwife told me my urine protein levels were in normal range and my blood pressure was back to being my normal reading, which was low! I also had an NST scheduled that day just to be safe and baby looked beautiful on it! All great news. I couldn’t help but wonder if the essential oil actually helped me relax in the car. The whole week when I would check my blood pressure at home, it was also back to normal as well.
I went in for my 40 week appointment, the day before my EDD. Once again, I diffused lavender in the car and my blood pressure was great. I am finally told I no longer have to do anymore of the labwork and 24 hour urine tests! THANK GOODNESS!!!!! I finally felt like I can stop worrying and enjoy the end of my pregnancy. I am thankful that the doctor and midwives were proactive in monitoring myself and my baby. And even more thankful that they didn’t jump the gun. I know so many mothers who found themselves in similar situations only to be sent to the hospital after a couple high blood pressure readings and some protein in urine who end up being induced or with a csection. I know every situation is different and that sometimes these things NEED to be done. But in most cases, like mine, just having these two symptoms shouldn’t be cause for concern unless they get worse after monitoring. I am glad that I trusted my instincts and knew things were fine. I stayed positive and took care of myself.
For the 4 days prior to my 40 week appointment, I experienced what I believe to be prodromal labor. Every evening at the same time, I would begin to get contractions. They would come anywhere from every 2-11 minutes lasting around 50-60 seconds. Eventually, they would stop and I would be able to fall asleep for the night, only waking in the morning feeling nothing! I will admit it has been a little discouraging, especially because some of them are pretty painful and intense. It is also both emotionally and physically exhausting. However, I am staying positive and telling myself that my body is preparing. My body is getting ready to birth my baby and I am happy to feel the progress.

Yes, pregnancy is actually TEN months people! Not 9 months. At least for most of us! ;-)

Yes, pregnancy is actually TEN months people! Not 9 months. At least for most of us!ūüėČ

Now, I sit here at 40 weeks and 1 day (or 1 day past my EDD). I am feeling really good. I am excited to meet our new family member very soon. I do believe in letting baby decide when to come and that baby will come when s/he is truly ready. Fortunately, my midwives and OB feel the same and have not mentioned the words csection or induction. My last couple appointments end with “well, now we wait!”. It really helps having supportive care providers. Our due dates are really an estimate but I would be lying if I didn’t wish our baby would have arrived by now. I technically went past my EDD with my first, however, I was induced and ended up in a csection due to not having a supportive and patient doctor. Our second child arrived nice and early ON HIS EDD. I keep reminding myself even subsequent pregnancies can go past the 40 week mark just as first time mothers can deliver their babies a week “early”. I know baby is doing well and I am still feeling great. I still have tons of energy. Our house is extremely clean, I have been able to prepare and freeze some snacks and meals for after baby arrives, laundry is caught up, everyone’s bedding is washed and fresh, baby’s cosleeper is set up, I have a drawer in my room and the kid’s room ready and stocked for the baby, boys have had their yearly check ups, hospital bag packed and double checked. The only thing not ready is the infant seat in the car. Maybe I need to get Kyle on that!

Healthy Shamrockin’ Shake

March has finally arrived and with that comes St. Patrick’s Day which means a certain fast food chain brings back their famous Shamrock Shake. Of course, it has been a few years since I last had one and my kids have never even seen one. My Facebook feed has been buzzing with people who have indulged in a Shamrock Shake and I thought maybe I would try making my own version of one.

By the way, have you even looked at the ingredients in a Shamrock Shake!? It easily has over 40 ingredients. Full of processed sugar, artificial flavors & colors, preservatives and sulfites. Not to mention, in just a small 12 oz serving, you will be consuming a whopping 530 calories!

After 1 attempt, I did it!¬†My healthy version¬†has about 8 ingredients (less if you go without the whip). It is dairy free, egg free, artificial color/ flavor free, has nut free option, soy free¬†and vegan. In fact, you can even have one for breakfast with absolutely no guilt! Each serving of my shake contains only 327 calories (under 300 if you don’t use whip) and is made with real food ingredients. To get the green color, I used kale and the base itself is made from frozen bananas and dairy free yogurt. Both of my boys even loved it, so I can say it is toddler/ kid approved!!!

WAY prettier, in my opinion, too :-)

WAY prettier, in my opinion, tooūüôā

Healthy Shamrockin’ Shake

dairy free, egg free, soy free, nut free option, vegan

Serves: 2

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup -1 cup almond milk* (use 3/4c if you want a thicker shake)
  • handful of kale (or spinach)
  • 1 – 6oz container greek style dairy free yogurt (plain or vanilla, I used SoDelicious coconut milk based)
  • 2 frozen bananas
  • 1/8 tsp peppermint extract
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1-2 Tablespoons vegan chocolate chips (optional but adds a yummy mint “chip” texture)
  • coconut whip for topping** (optional but recommended!)

* – use a different non dairy milk for nut free. Coconut milk would probably be amazing!

** – To make coconut whip, get a can of full fat coconut milk (Trader Joe’s actually sells coconut cream in a can which is all solid and perfect for making coconut whip!). Otherwise, refrigerate the can overnight, scoop out the solid white part into a bowl. Using a hand mixer, whip the cream until light and fluffy. Keep as is, or you can add a dash of vanilla extract.

How beautiful is that coconut whip!?

How beautiful is that coconut whip!?

Directions

1. In a high speed blender, add all ingredients except the chocolate chips and whip. Blend on high until smooth.

2. Add in chocolate chips, if using, and blend just enough to break chips up into little bits.

3. Pour into 2 glasses, one if you’re not sharingūüėČ

4. Top with coconut whip and mini chocolate chips, if you desire, and enjoy!

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Resources:

All Images ©2014-2015 NaturallyAwesomeMama All Rights Reserved

How I am Preparing for Labor

Being as into pregnancy, birth, breastfeeding as I am, I typically surround myself with those of like minds. And with this comes questions… lots of questions. All about how I am doing, how I plan to birth, where I plan to birth etc. Having gone through this a couple times before and having become a natural birth advocate, I don’t mind sharing most things. One question I get is how am I preparing my mind and body for labor? I also see a lot of moms asking this question on social media forums and thought it would be fun to share my experiences.

  • Belief in Oneself- I truly believe that you must believe and trust in your body! That is definitely at the top of the list. For millions of years, women’s bodies having been carrying and birthing their babies without interventions. (of course I am aware that in some cases medical intervention is necessary but with most healthy, full term pregnancies, it is not). I believe our mind and body work together. We must be sure that we trust our body to birth our babies and we must also trust that our baby will come when s/he is truly ready. Due dates are not expiration dates, they are merely an estimate.¬†I love reading positive birth affirmations and even repeated a couple to myself when I was in labor with my second.

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  • Red Raspberry Leaf Tea (RRL)- RRL tea has grown in popularity over the last several years. It is an herbal tea that is safe to consume throughout pregnancy. However, I typically wait until¬†the beginning of the 3rd trimester to start drinking it,¬†but that is just my personal preference. I really enjoy Earth Mama Angel Baby’s 3rd¬†Trimester Tea because they add some other yummy things to it to make it tastier than plain RRL, in my opinion. ¬†Studies have shown that mothers who drink RRL tea during their pregnancies typically have less chances of needing medical intervention. RRL is known to tone and strengthen the uterus to help when the woman is in labor and helping the uterus return back to normal after the baby is born. It can also help during pregnancy with boosting the immune system, soothing sore throats, easing morning sickness and increasing circulation.
  • Date Fruit- A rather recent study has shown that pregnant women who consume dates in late pregnancy can have positive effects on labor and delivery. It showed that women who consumed 6 dates per day during the last 4 week of pregnancy had higher mean cervical dilation upon arrival to the hospital and higher chance of having intact membranes than those who didn’t consume dates. Spontaneous labor occurred in 96% of the women who ate the dates. Also half (47%) of women who did not consume dates needed their labor augmented with Pitocin, compared to 28% of those who had dates. I did eat dates with my second pregnancy, which was my first vbac and am curious to see if I have the same positive outcomes I did then with this next vbac I am planningūüôā
  • Vitamin D- A study that I actually came across early in my second trimester of this pregnancy has to do with higher levels of Vit D during pregnancy and it’s effects on labor pain. The study stated that women in labor¬†who had higher vitamin D levels did not require much, if any, pain management or epidural compared to women in labor with lower vitamin D levels.¬†*Most* Americans are in fact deficient in Vit D. This ended up being true for me after receiving my bloodwork from my first trimester. I wasn’t terribly low, but low enough to need to add daily vit D to my vitamin regimen. I take 3,400¬†ius daily plus whatever I may get from the sun (although not getting much of that now that we are in the middle of winter)¬†or from food.¬†One thing to look at is how much is in your daily prenatal. Almost all prenatals do not contain nearly enough vit D that an adult would need on a daily basis. I look forward to seeing how this labor compares to my last since this pregnancy I have been very diligent in taking my vit D.
  • Prenatal Yoga- I did prenatal yoga at home with an instructional DVD with my second pregnancy and found it to be very relaxing. It helps you learn to breathe, relax, bond with your growing baby, listen to your body and can greatly reduce stress. All are great in preparing for labor. Also, the positions and stretching involved can help with many aches and pains that the hormones of pregnancy can cause. I also found that it helped open up things from my ribs to my hips and help get baby into an optimal position. Whenever I felt my baby was wedged up in my ribs, I would do some simple yoga poses and would get great relief. With having two toddlers this pregnancy, I am sad to say I have yet to start my yoga but will now that I am in the final trimester. I definitely believe it is beneficial during pregnancy and it is a great way to workout without over doing it, especially for those who don’t normally exercise.
  • Use of Birthing Ball (exercise ball)- I love my birthing ball. I look forward to inflating that bad boy every pregnancy. Especially toward the end of pregnancy, it can be very hard to get comfortable when sitting. However, with a birthing ball, it is almost always a win. I use it to just sit on, to do exercises on and to bounce on. All are beneficial for labor. The gentle bouncing or circular motions you can do on a birthing ball can help open the hips and bring baby into optimal birthing position. It promotes good posture which helps with this as well. Sitting on one also takes pressure off the spine and can increase blood flow. I did use the hospital’s birthing ball while in labor with my second and found it to be very helpful and comfortable when I wanted to sit and rest but still remain in a position that would be helpful in birthing my baby.

Along with a healthy diet, I feel by continuing these simple measures, my mind, body and baby will be prepared for labor and delivery. Have you tried any of these? What other preparations have you tried to prepare for labor?

All Images ©NaturallyAwesomeMama All Rights Reserved

Henna Hair Color

I have been coloring my hair since I was a teenager. I have been blonde, brunette and pretty much everything in between from red, auburn and highlights of pink and purple. I have had my hair professionally dyed and done it myself with store bought boxed brands. Lots and I mean LOTS of nasty chemicals have been put on my hair and scalp and inhaled by myself and those around me. *YUCK!* Now that we are living chemical free, regular hair dye is not something I want to mess around with anymore. However, I do enjoy getting that gloss and shine a fresh dye job gives. So I set out in search of a chemical free option and came across henna hair color.

Henna is a tropical bush or shrub and it’s leaves are ground up into a fine powder and this is what you use to color your hair. It is the same stuff you use in henna tattoos. It is from the earth and all natural. Pretty much if you’re into all that “hippie” stuff, henna is for you.ūüôā As a hair dye, it is not “permanent” and typically lasts 4-6 weeks or a bit longer depending on care. What I like about it, is it doesn’t grow out like conventional hair dyes where you see your roots growing out. Henna simply fades. Typically henna will bring out reds in the hair. There are different types of henna though, where you can achieve darker colors.¬†Also, henna has many benefits and won’t damage your hair.

Benefits of Henna

  • all natural, from the earth
  • strengthens hair
  • coats hair which may result in smoother, shinier hair
  • naturally antifungal which helps with dandruff

I have tried 2 different brands of henna hair color. The first time I did it on a whim and bought a brand my local grocer sold. I used Light Mountain Henna Burgundy. It comes in a box and is simply the powdered henna in a bag. It was about $5 for the box so not bad on the wallet. You add hot water, mix it up and apply. I got a beautiful color that lasted about 5 weeks.

The second time, I purchased my henna from LUSH. I heard a lot of great things about their henna so wanted to test it out. Their henna is more expensive (about $25 per block). But they also add other stuff to it. I chose the Caca Marron color. It is in a block because the base is cocoa butter to help condition the hair. They also add coffee grounds, lemon juice, irish moss, clove bud oil and a few other oils.

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I will be showing the steps to application using the LUSH brand henna¬†and my opinion on both brands in this post. Let’s get started!

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What the LUSH henna looks like

Step 1 Рcut up your henna into desired amount. Those with shorter or thinner hair can probably get 2 uses out of one block. My hair is almost to my butt so I had to use the whole thing.

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Step 2 – set up a double boiler or just boil hot water to melt your henna blocks. You will want to use a¬†glass or metal bowl¬†and I wouldn’t recommend putting directly into your good pots.

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You want to add enough water to achieve the consistency of brownie batter, maybe a bit thinner

By this point you will realize where they got the name ‘caca’ marron from *hehe*

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Just about there. I didn’t measure but added about 2-3 cups of hot water to get it all mixed and clump free

Step 3 – While the henna cools a bit (you want it warm but not hot when applying it) set up your space. Henna can stain! So it is important to use old towels or newspaper where you will be applying it. This is one thing that may turn off people from using henna. It *IS* messy! But after you have done it a time or two, it gets easier and not that difficult to contain.

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Make sure you check to see if your henna kit comes with gloves! You will NOT want to use your bare hands or else you will have tinted brown/ red hands for a while.

Step 4 – Get on your “official star wars hair coloring shirt” (henna will stain any clothing it gets on!!!), use petroleum jelly and apply a thin layer along your hair line, neck and ears (henna can stain your skin!)¬†and start adding this goop to your hair. If you are anything like me, you don’t have a plan on how to apply it and just glob it on starting at the roots and move back. I have seen videos where people use hair coloring brushes, section their hair. But honestly, I have 2 toddlers, I am pregnant and I don’t have that kinda time or organization in my lifeūüėČ My “messy” method has worked just fine for me. Make sure you really get all the way to the roots and really get the henna into all your layers, especially if you have thicker hair! Henna will get a bit dry as you use it so there will be particles/ clumps that fall off your head as you are applying it. You can add hot water as you find necessary but I have found it just comes h the territory of using henna. Once all your hair is covered, roll it all up on top of your head and cover with plastic wrap or a plastic grocery bag or a tight fitting plastic¬†shower cap. Be sure to use warm water and old rag to clean up any areas on your skin the henna got onto!

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looking good, eh!?

Typically, henna sets within 2-4 hours. It depends on how dramatic of a difference you want. I always keep it on for 4 hours. If your hair is lighter to begin with, 2 hours may be better for you. If you aren’t sure, it is recommended you do a strand test before even starting!

Step 5 – Rinse it out! Once again, this part can get messy. I recommend leaning over your tub and rinsing that way so it is contained. Use warm/ hot water but don’t burn yourself. You really want to try to avoid using shampoo for a day or two after using henna as you have a chance of stripping out the henna. However, if you must shampoo, use a little and I would recommend using a chemical free/ natural shampoo. You can use conditioner if you like right away though! You want the water to run clean, however, still use an old towel as it may still run off and stain.

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What my tub looked like after I rinsed out the henna. Looks worse than it is really. Only took a sponge and warm water to wipe it all away! Easy peasy!

The thing I am torn about with the LUSH henna and this step was the cocoa butter base they use makes your hair extremely greasy!!! It is also very hard to wash it out. The Light mountain brand does not have any cocoa butter and I did not have this awkward, greasy feeling in my hair and on my hands. With the LUSH it looked like I hadn’t washed my hair for a week, that’s how greasy it wasūüė¶ So if you use the LUSH brand, make sure you don’t have any plans to go out that same day!

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Maybe not best picture, but my hand is shiny and greasy from the cocoa butter left in my hair

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greasiness!

Here are my results. Henna typically takes 2-3 days for you to see what your full results will be as the henna oxidizes over a couple days.

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Yes, the changes are subtle but in sunlight, my hair looks lighter and redder! It is amazing. It looks natural and not like I obviously colored my hair. You can also see in the Day 1 that my hair was still a bit greasy. I did wash it with chemical free shampoo to get a lot of the greasiness out. Day 2 was taken the second morning after I henna’d my hair. I did not wash it, blow dry or straighten it. The picture was taken after brushing my hair after getting up in the morning. So you can totally see how smooth, tamed¬†and shiny it is without needing to be styled or straightened. It also feels so soft!

So which brand do I like better? Honestly, I like the cheaper brand Light Mountain because it didn’t have the awkward greasy stage and I still felt the same smooth, silky, soft results. Also, the color results I received¬†are very comparable.¬†LUSH is awesome though too. So it really depends on your individual preference, I suppose. For the price and results, it makes sense to go with the cheaper brand. I didn’t notice that LUSH was anymore better quality than Light Mountain. I thought LUSH henna smelled more pleasant, but they also add more to their henna. Henna will never smell great, it smells like nature, earth, mud, seaweed… I may try adding essential oils next time which may help a bit. But overall, the smell won’t deter me from doing it again.

Hope this was helpful if you are on the fence about using henna. What brands have you tried and loved?

All Images ©NaturallyAwesomeMama 2014-2015 All Rights Reserved

Books I Recommend Reading During Pregnancy

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I am someone who likes to prepare and plan. I also like to research and read about a lot of things that may come up in our lives. One of these things is pregnancy. Especially after my first pregnancy, labor, birth and postpartum when I ended up feeling defeated and not as educated as¬†I should have been. During my first pregnancy, I read the ONE book I believe most, if not all pregnant women read: What¬†to Expect When You’re Expecting. And honestly, while it was fun getting all the little facts about my growing baby every week, it does not give much realistic advice on preparing for a natural birth and knowing red flags when it comes to¬†maternity care. I¬†personally, would not recommend this book to any woman and have since thrown out my copy.¬†Since having my first child, I have become somewhat of a birth and breastfeeding¬†advocate and believe in sharing as much information and helping to educate others. I completely believe in the saying “when you know better, you do better” and believe women¬†should educate themselves on ALL of their options when it comes to pregnancy, childbirth and beyond.¬†I decided to compile a list of books I have found helpful (and some books I am currently reading) about natural pregnancy, birth and breastfeeding.

Books I Have Read

  • Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth – This is by far my favorite! It is written by Ina May Gaskin who started The Farm in Tennessee. She has 30+ years Midwifery experience and in my opinion, THE best in the field. This book really makes you feel empowered and is all about helping women believe in their bodies. It has some positive birth stories, what many practitioners fail to tell you about the interventions used these days, how to create a peaceful birthing atmosphere and MUCH more.
  • Ina May’s Guide to Breastfeeding – Another by Ina May. Great resource, full of information and everything you need to know about breastfeeding your baby. She talks about the benefits of breastfeeding, challenges, weaning, pumps etc.
  • Breastfeeding Made Simple: Seven Natural Laws for Nursing Mothers – I read this book while pregnant with my first child. I knew I wanted to breastfeed and this book DEFINITELY came in handy! Now looking back on my breastfeeding journey and have nursed 2 newborns, babies and toddlers, I know I owe some of my success to the realistic advice of this book. I really loved how easy this book was to navigate and looking up something if I had a specific question.
  • Pushed: The Painful Truth About Childbirth and Modern Maternity Care – I found this book VERY interesting. It is a long read and shares a lot of information and statistics plus the¬†history of maternity care. I really found that this book opened my eyes and was one of the reason I continue to research and ask questions! It really will benefit ANY woman who is pregnant or planning on becoming pregnant regardless of the type of birth you want.
  • The Other Baby Book: A Natural Approach to Baby’s First Year – Exactly as the title states, it is a natural approach to parenting and caring for baby in the first year. It is all about following your intuition and more of the attachment parenting or “crunchy”¬†way of doing things. Topics include, birth, breastfeeding, sleeping, sign language and baby led weaning. It was a very easy and fast read!

Books I am Currently Reading

  • Birthing From Within – I am about halfway through this book this pregnancy. It is a VERY spiritual and holistic approach on pregnancy, labor and birth. It helps teach women that birth is not a huge medical problem but natural and more of a rite of passage. It offers exercises and techniques for women to look inside themselves and discover any fears they may have about birth and ways to overcome them. There are techniques for coping with labor without the use of drugs and a section for the fathers/ birth partners explaining their role. It also touches on some basic newborn care.

Books I will be Reading This Pregnancy

  • Childbirth Without Fear: The Principles and Practice of Natural Childbirth – I have yet to read this one, but it comes highly recommended for those wanting a natural birth. I will update once I have read it!!

**BONUS** Documentaries I Recommend

  • The Business of Being Born – This documentary explores maternity care in the U.S. I HIGHLY recommend for any expectant or soon to be expecting mama AND father/ birth partner. I watched it on Netflix.
  • More Business of Being Born – A 4 part continuation of The¬†Business of Being Born. A conversation with Ina May Gaskin, exploring options and a part on VBACs. Also watched this one on Netflix.
  • The Milky Way – A wonderful doc on breastfeeding. The lack of support many women have when it comes to breastfeeding in the U.S., a look at how things are done in the U.S. vs other parts of the world. Very informative and a great watch for those interested in breastfeeding. (My son and I have a breastfeeding picture cameo in this doc too ;-)¬†)
  • Breastmilk – This one is on Netflix, I plan on watching it VERY soon and will update!

What books have you read and found helpful in preparing for your birth?

All images ©2014-2015 NaturallyAwesomeMama All Rights Reserved

Update and Vegan Nachos

I have been a bad blogger..ūüė¶ It has been so long since my last post and so much has happened in that time. We found out we are expecting our 3rd child this Spring, early pregnancy was very difficult for me with morning ALL. DAY. SICKNESS, then the holidays came and now we are in a new year! But now I am past the halfway mark and feeling great so ready to get back into the swing of things.

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I do have a lot of wonderful posts I plan on sharing and writing over the remainder of my pregnancy. I will share more about my pregnancy and things I am doing to prepare for my second VBAC. So keep and eye out for those!

In the meantime, I have still been making a lot of delicious vegan food and thought I would come back with this super easy recipe for vegan nacho night! This was a hit with 3 out of 4 of us. My oldest was iffy but still enjoyed some of it. I was able to throw it together on a Sunday night in less than 20 minutes. It would be great if you are vegan or vegetarian and want to try something different or for a Meatless Monday meal!

Vegan Nacho Night

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You will need:

  • tortilla chips
  • vegan/ vegetarian chili (I took the easy way out and instead of homemade used Trader Joes Vegetarian Chili!)
  • Favorite toppings: black olives, lettuce, taco sauce, tomatoes, scallions, jalapenos, cheese (dairy or non dairy depending on preference), your favorite “cheese sauce”, sour cream, salsa..etc.
  • A batch of Oh She Glows Avocado-Cilantro Cream Sauce

What to do:

  1. Heat your chili. While it’s heating chop and dice up all your toppings.
  2. Spread tortilla chips on plate/ platter.
  3. Top with heated chili first, then add remaining veggies/ toppings. Save sauces for last!

And that’s it! See, can’t get any easier than that!

Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Muffins

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So I don’t know about you, but as soon as September hits, I am officially ready for Fall! I love everything about this season. To me it means cooler weather, changing leaves, beautiful colors, apples, trips to the pumpkin patch and of course all things pumpkin! This recipe is my first original recipe that I created about a year ago! And now that I have a blog, I can share it with you all and not just friends and family.

They are vegan, come together quickly and taste delicious! The perfect food for any Fall gathering or just to snack on with the family.

Mix dry ingredients

Mix dry ingredients

Add wet ingredients

Add wet ingredients

Fold in chocolate chips!

Fold in chocolate chips!

Should be a thick, moist batter

Should be a thick, moist batter

Fill muffin molds

Fill muffin molds

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DONE!

Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Muffins

dairy free, egg free, vegan

Yields: 12-14 regular sized muffins

Wet Ingredients:

1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons Almond Milk (or non dairy milk of choice)

2 tablespoons Flax Meal

1 cup canned pumpkin puree

1/3 cup coconut oil, melted

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

3/4 cup sugar

Dry Ingredients:

1 1/2 cup all purpose flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1 1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice

1/4 teaspoon salt

Other:

3/4-1 cup vegan chocolate chips

raw turbinado sugar, optional for topping

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit

2. Grease muffin tin and set aside

3. In small cup or bowl, beat together milk and flax meal, set aside.

4. In a large bowl, combine your dry ingredients.

5. In a medium bowl, add pumpkin, melted coconut oil, vanilla and sugar. Add in milk/ flax mixture and mix well with a fork.

6. Add wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix until just combined. Be careful not to over mix as this will cause the muffins to be dense and chewy. We want soft, fluffy muffins!! The batter won’t be runny. If it seems too thick, add a splash or two of milk.

7. Fold in chocolate chips.

8. Spoon batter into tin, filling each 3/4 of the way full. Sprinkle tops with raw sugar, if using. Bake for 18-21 minutes until toothpick inserted comes out clean. Let cool in muffin tin, then ENJOY!!!

Variations:

  • For mini muffins cook 11-13 minutes.
ENJOY!!!

ENJOY!!!