banana carrot almond flour pancakes

IMG_0808

These banana carrot almond flour pancakes are my new favorite breakfast!  There is so much to love about them – the flavor (sweet from the ripe bananas), the texture (soft but not mushy), and the goodness inside them (eggs! bananas! carrots! almond flour!).

bananacarrotpancakes

They are similar to my banana-egg-oat pancakes but made grain free with an added ump of veggies from the finely grated carrots.  Paleo and whole30 friendly if that what you’re looking for.  Perfect for anyone who’s looking for a breakfast that tastes like a treat, but is really filled with real whole food ingredients that energize your body! We love them topped with a little butter or natural peanut butter + unsweetened shredded coconut, which gives them even more staying power from the fat.

Related: my 10 favorite fats

My kids love them too – but really they get excited for any pancake.  I don’t try to hide veggies in food because I like them to know what they are eating.  That said, you really could not tell that there are 1.5 cups of carrots in the whole batch!  It’s just a bonus in case you do have picky eaters (kids and adults alike).  The key is to finely grate the carrots.  This makes them almost melt into the batter and become invisible, adding bulk and stability to the pancakes, along with sweetness.  Win-win-WIN!

IMG_0790

Prep them ahead of time by grating the carrots in advance and even mixing the batter up the night before.  They keep well in the fridge for a couple of days (if they last!).

Enjoy your new favorite breakfast!

IMG_0808

Banana Carrot Almond Flour Pancakes

Makes about 12 pancakes

Ingredients

  • 3 ripe bananas
  • 5 eggs
  • 1.5 cups finely grated carrots
  • 1/2 cup almond flour
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • coconut oil for cooking
  • optional for topping: unsweetened shredded coconut + butter or natural peanut butter

Directions

  1. Pre-heat electric griddle to 350 degrees or a large non-stick skillet to medium-high heat on the stove top.
  2. In a medium bowl mash the bananas then whisk in the eggs.  Stir the carrots, almond flour, cinnamon and sea salt into the banana-egg mixture.
  3. Add coconut oil to the griddle/pan and pour 1/4-1/3 cup of batter for each pancake.  Cook on the first side for 3-5 minutes, or until the top begins to bubble, then flip and cook another 2-3 minutes.  Repeat with remaining batter.
  4. Sprinkle unsweetened shredded coconut on top or your favorite pancake toppings!

Tell me about the last pancakes you ate.  What is your go-to recipe?  Happy weekend all!

Heather

choose a focus word for the new year

img_7515

Hello!

The new year is right around the corner and lately I’ve been hearing a ton about resolutions, new beginnings and challenges people are looking to take on.  What about you, is it surrounding you too?  Are you getting excited for new challenges and goals?

For me, I don’t really jive with resolutions.  I am of the mind set that if I want to do something, I’m just going to start it when it becomes important in my mind.  Maybe you’re the same way, or maybe you thrive with goals to meet.

how to choose a focus word for the year

Whether you are into it or not, I have a new idea to throw out to you: choose a focus word for the year.

Focus Word for the Year

What is a focus word?  It is a word (or phrase) that you want your year to be about.  When you’re faced with decision throughout the year, your focus word will guide you.  When you look back on your year, the feel of the word/phrase shines through.

I’ve asked a few people around me think about what their focus word would be.  I had them share the word that popped into their mind first – what their heart was telling them.  Happier was shared a couple times along with more.  It’s so interesting to hear what other people’s focus words would be!

My focus word for 2017 is less.

Less seems so negative to me, because I am naturally drawn to more.  Doing more.  Being more.  Less is not a word I sought out, but my mind kept picturing it, and my heart kept sharing it.

Less to me means less running around and having time filled, less clutter and objects, and also saying no more to things.  Less of that so I can really do more of what is super important to me: connected with my people.

img_7515

I’m excited to see how my focus word guides me throughout the next year!

Does a particular word or phrase stand out to you as you go into the new year?  Please share!

Cheers and happy new year!

Heather

DIY orange butterfly costume

img_8469

Last week I shared Hunter’s DIY green T-Rex costume, and this week it is all about Zoe’s DIY orange butterfly costume!  I am completely in love with how adorable this turned out.  The flowers, the wings, the little flutter cap sleeves…. it’s just perfection.

DIY orange butterfly costume

I love the process of letting the kids pick out what they want to be dressed up as for Halloween.  We start talking about it a good month and a half before the actual day so they can really settle into their choice and know that once mama starts making their costume, there’s no switching.  Hunter was easy, he has a green T-Rex stuffed animal he loves, and never wavered from that.  I just showed him different costume ideas I saw on Pinterest and we both settled on the paper mache dino mask I shared last week.  You can read so much more about his full green dinosaur costume if you’d like.

Since Zoe is only 2.5 years old, she still needs ideas to pick from.  I start by sharing different costume ideas starting with animals and different jobs (think doctor, firefighter, etc.), while keeping in mind my own costume making ability.  Once she heard butterfly she was set.  I did the same thing with her, we looked at butterfly costume ideas on Pinterest and she settled on being a blue butterfly.  But, the blue didn’t last because I couldn’t find blue butterfly wings I liked so when it got down to time to order wings she chose orange instead, which worked out perfectly.

This year was my favorite costume making yet!  Everything came together and even has function after halloween is over.  Read on for the DIY orange butterfly costume deets!

DIY orange butterfly costume

DIY ORANGE BUTTERFLY COSTUME

Here are the details on Zoe’s DIY orange butterfly costume!

DIY orange butterfly costume - flower antenna headband

Flower antenna headband

This is my most favorite part of the costume.  It is also Zoe’s least favorite part of the costume.  She only kept it on for some pictures, so I’m saving it until she’s into it and wants to dress up with it.

My inspiration came from this pin for an antenna for sale.  Once I saw it I knew I could easily make one.  Even better, it was EASY!

Flower antenna headband how-to:

I started with a headband of Zoe’s that fit well.  I then used my hot glue gun to attach the rest. The antenna is black floral wire I wrapped around the headband and glued on, then shaped the swirly antenna.  The flowers and leaves are fake and cut off of stems of flowers I picked up at the craft store. The orange butterfly is a clip I also picked up at the craft store.  Easy peasy!

Orange butterfly wings

I wanted oversized wings on my little girl so I ended up purchasing orange adult sized butterfly wings on amazon.  I’m super happy with them!  Before I shorted the elastic for the arms, I wore them a couple times for my costume (a kids bday party and my body pump class on Halloween).  They move really well with you and have a pretty sparkle!

Here are the specific wings I purchased: Orange monarch butterfly wings

Black geranium dress with flutter sleeves

The geranium dress is my go-to pattern and I love using it in a solid color for costumes because then it can be worn as an everyday dress too.

Orange tights

Zoe already had thick orange tights on hand for her costume – they are these from Hanna Anderson.

Bonus tutu

I hadn’t planned this into her costume, but for some added fun she wore her yellow-gold tutu I made her last Christmas.  I tied it high in line with the waist of the dress.  The tutorial came from the book Oliver + S Little Things to Sew.

DIY orange butterfly costume - tutu

If you were going to be a butterfly, what color would you be?  I love the look of this blue butterfly (my original inspiration for Zoe’s costume), but orange seemed so classic – I loved it too!

DIY orange butterfly costume

Happy crafting!

Heather

disclosure

DIY t-rex costume

img_8621

Hello and happy November!  Last night we took the kids trick of treating with some friends and had a blast.  I hope you did too!

Today I’m here to share Hunter’s costume with you – a DIY T-Rex costume!

img_8661

In the past, Halloween really wasn’t a day I was super into.  However, after having kids and getting the joy of making their costumes + watching their excitement for trick or treating has changed how I looked at the holiday.  I love how kids make everything more fun!

This year I made two costumes: a green dinosaur t-rex and an orange butterfly.  The kids picked out what they wanted to be and I ran with it.  It was invigorating letting my creative side come out again and actually sewing after a solid 8 month hiatus (hello third baby!).  I’m so happy with how their costumes came together.  Today I’m going to share Hunter’s t-rex costume and all the parts to it.  The next post with be my adorable butterfly girl Zoe!

diy-t-rex-costume

DIY T-REX COSTUME

There were three parts that helped to create Hunter’s costume: the t-rex paper mache mask, the dinosaur tail and green clothing.

T-Rex paper mache mask

I found a tutorial for this diy paper mache dinosaur mask and knew I had to make it.  I hadn’t paper mache’d in probably close to 20 years, and it was such fun!  I’m seriously thinking about all the things I want to paper mache now.

The mask starts with a construction hat, it is then shaped with cardboard pieces, balloons for the eyes and lots of tape to add more shape.  After that the paper mache is added and to finish it paint is applied.  All in all it probably took me 5-6 hours, but since it was spread out over a week the project didn’t seem challenging or overwhelming at all.

Dinosaur tail

Hunter’s green dinosaur tail with black spikes came straight from this tutorial on running with scissors.  The construction is really simple and the function is fantastic!  The tail has gotten a ton of use and I have more tails I plan to make just for play around the house.

Green clothing

Finding green clothing was the most simple part of the costume.  You can use whatever solid green clothes you have around, or buy solid green PJs which you can then you after Halloween is over too.  Our green top and bottoms didn’t match the mask and tail, but it still worked out great. :)

img_8621

How was your Halloween?  What was your favorite or most creative costume that you saw?

Heather

how to build a meal worthy salad in 5 simple steps

img_7315

You guys, I have been salad obsessed.  O.B.S.E.S.S.E.D.

build a meal worthy salad

I love food, and I love eating, but I’ll admit some foods make me feel better than others.  Salads make me feel especially good, but don’t always leave me feeling full and satisfied.  I need a meal with some oomph to them, and these meal worthy salads sure do the trick!

For over a month now I’ve been eating filling, delicious and energizing salads for lunch.  I eat them for probably 80% of my lunches.  Those days that I don’t have my big salad, and I choose leftovers because I’m hurried and need to eat, I am left feeling tired right after.  There is something about fresh greens that energizes me.

build a meal worthy salad

HOW TO BUILD A MEAL WORTHY SALAD IN 5 SIMPLE STEPS

I’m hooked on them in the best kinda way.  I hope you can be too!  Here is how I like to build my meal worthy salads so that I’m not bored, they taste great and I get a variety of foods throughout the week.

STEP 1 // Build your base

This is where you choose your greens to create the base for your salad.

Ideas: romaine lettuce, spring greens, kale, arugula, spinach, cabbage or any combination of lettuces

STEP 2 // Add your protein

Typically I use leftover meat from dinners here to keep it simple.

Ideas: chicken, steak strips, taco meat, burger patty, turkey meatballs, shredded bbq pork, roasted salmon, lunch meat, chicken sausage, salami, tuna, sardines, hard boiled eggs, beans and tofu

STEP 3 // Increase the carbs

A salad that is just vegetables and protein won’t hold me over.  I need a good mix of carbs, protein and fat.

Ideas: roasted sweet potato cubes (my fav!), roasted potatoes, cooked corn off the cob, cut and crisped corn tortilla strips, apple or pear, roasted butternut squash

STEP 4 // Make it interesting

This is where you can throw in whatever vegetables you have on hand – freshly cut or leftover roasted veggies work great.  I also like to add nuts, seeds or avocado here too.  Offer your salad some extra textures and crunch that may be missing.

Ideas: cucumber, tomato, broccoli, avocado, bell peppers, mushrooms, cheese, nuts and seeds, dried fruits, bacon

Step 5 // Dress it up nicely

Dressings and sauces make food so much more interesting.  Prep one or two dressings ahead of time and you’ll save time on this step to finish your salad game strong!

Ideas: kefir ranch (we cannot get enough of this), honey poppyseed dressing, lemon vinaigrette, oil and vinegar/lemon juice, a mix of kerif ranch + sweet onion salsa, a mix of kerif ranch + peanut sauce, a mix of kerif ranch + bbq sauce, caesar dressing

build a meal worthy salad

I hope this leaves you inspired to create interesting and delicious meal worthy salad creations!  See more of my salads on instagram as I keep sharing them, and tag me (@fitmamarealfood) if you create your own meal worthy salad.  I’d love to see it and be inspired!

Tell me, how would you build your ideal meal worthy salad in 5 steps? I’ll go first: mixed greens, roasted salmon, roasted sweet potatoes cubes, cucumber, kefir ranch mixed with bbq sauce

And that is how you win the salad game.

Heather

the plan that fixed all my laundry folding problems

img_7707

Can I get a hand raise from the laundry folding haters?

(My hand is WAY up high.)

Out of the multitude of household chores that suck the life out of you, laundry sure is at the top of the list.  To be specific, folding laundry is the troublesome part for me.  I can wash and dry laundry all day long.  In fact, I’m pretty good at it.  Like really good.  But those piles.  Oh those piles just keep getting bigger and bigger and the dirty laundry just doesn’t stop.  I have my moments, very few moments when I am on top of my laundry folding game, but the majority of the time, I am stuck in a losing battle.

The problem with so many laundry folding plans

I’ve tried the suggestion to just fold the laundry once it finishes in the dryer, but that just wasn’t realistic.  It wasn’t realistic because i just wouldn’t do it, then the piles would grow.  Scratch that plan off the list.

I’ve tried telling myself I’ll just fold one load before going to bed, but then I get tired and go to bed.

I then flipped that and tried folding a load first thing in the morning, which actually worked okay for a while, but then mornings seemed to get busy and I hate rushing so it didn’t stick.  Another plan bites the dust.

The plan to have a single laundry day where you wash and fold everything… yeah that one never had a chance.  Just imagining the amount of laundry would be too overwhelming (10-12 loads) plus running out of things that I want to re-wear just didn’t sound ideal.

Sounds like I’m full of excuses!  (I am)  However, I was determined to win this multiple year long battle.

the plan that fixed all my laundry folding problems

The plan that fixed all my laundry folding problems

I am winning the battle because I figured out a plan that has been working for me!  Here is my plan that has made laundry a stress free chore:

I picked two evenings that are my laundry folding days.  For me it’s been working out to be Mondays and Thursdays.  I knew I wanted the weekend to be free from this chore.  I’m also usually pretty tired on those two evenings so it works out that all I want to do is put a show on to watch.  Since I’m watching a show folding laundry doesn’t seem as daunting of a task.  I also put all of mine and hub’s clothes away after folding and then the next morning I put the towels and kid’s clothes away.

Laundry: no more stress!

Once I figured out this plan it was like a weight was lifted.  The stress of having to fold laundry was instantly gone because I was no longer worrying about when to fit it in, now I know that on Mondays and Thursdays I’ll be folding laundry.  It’s just what I do on those nights.  I don’t even do much thinking about running the washer until those days or the night before.  Laundry is no longer cluttering my brain and it’s getting done!

Maybe this plan is for you, but maybe not.  I sure hope it helps somebody out and you get to turn this dreaded chore into just another thing on your schedule.

Tell me, are you in the love or loath laundry camp?  How do you get your laundry folding done?  Share  your secret plan!  Do you think a plan like this would be your solution?

Heather

aren’t you a bit chubby for that skirt?

words I never want my daughters to hear about their bodies

I remember the exact moment when I learned I was a chubby little girl.  I must have been somewhere in the 6-8 year old age range, but really that part doesn’t really matter.  We were at a church picnic, I was wearing a demin skirt and having a blast playing all the games that were set up and just running around like kids do.  In just a few seconds of time, my whole view shifted.  An older gray haired lady made a simple one sentence comment that changed how I looked at myself and the world around me.

“Aren’t you a bit chubby for that skirt?”

And it couldn’t be undone.  My new world view couldn’t be undone.

I don’t remember if I just moved on or went somewhere and cried, but it was a big moment.  My eyes were opened.  I realized that I wasn’t just normal kid (which I was), but I was chubby kid.  It was now how I looked at myself.  I wasn’t just Heather, I was an active little girl that had some chub on her and apparently that wasn’t okay to that lady.

Now that I’m 29 I can look back on it and see it was just some elderly lady saying what was on her mind, probably with no ill intentions.  But in that moment I was hurt.  That single sentence changed how I was going to look at my body for the rest of my life.

words I never want my daughters to hear about their bodies

I have two beautiful little girls.  Two perfect girls.  It hurts my heart so much to think about them going through a moment like that.  I want their minds to stay innocent for as long as possible.  I want their views of the world and how they look not to be based on what someone else said.  I don’t want the choices they make to be because someone said their body wasn’t good enough.  Dear Lord I sure don’t want that for them.

But I know eventually they’ll hear people talking negatively about their body or overhear someone putting down their own body.  That they aren’t good enough because they aren’t thin/athletic/tall/you-name-it enough.  And that makes me so sad.

words I hope my daughters never hear

But I have hope.  I have hope that more and more people will read messages like this.  That they’ll think twice before they make a comment to young girls or even adult ladies.  You never know how much words can impact a person, so please please please keep your thought to yourself about my daughter’s bodies.  Let them be little sweet girls for as long as possible.  Don’t poison their minds with negative body image thoughts.

I know my past can’t be changed and I’ll always remember that moment, but what I can do it raise strong girls that love their bodies.  Strong confident girls that won’t be affected by a negative comment like I was.  Strong girls that love themselves and aren’t dependent on the approval of others.

Let’s raise up the girls around us, and not tear them down with little comments.  You never know what words will stick.

Heather

easy weeknight lemon pepper salmon

img_7625

easy weeknight lemon pepper salmon

I don’t know about your house, but dinner time here can sure be hectic.  With three little kids, someone is sure to get hangry (aka hungry and angry) during that hour or so before dinnertime.  And maybe that someone can be me… I am not perfect.  When we need dinner fast, with little prep and actual hands on cooking, salmon is a go to for me.  I always try to keep a few salmon fillets frozen in the freezer (which I stock up on when a sale hits), so with a little foresight to pull it out of the freezer, I can make dinner in a flash.  Pair it with roasted vegetables and kale chips to round it into a full meal.

READ: the cost of real food + 5 tips to save more money

There are so many reasons why I love this recipe for lemon pepper salmon, and salmon in general.   Cooking a salmon fillet is quick to prep and quick to cook.  The prep work is done by the time your oven is preheated.  Dinner done in no time.

easy weeknight lemon pepper salmon

Plus it is delicious!  And so nutritious!  According to the world’s healthiest foods, salmon is high in vitamin B12, vitamin D, selenium, vitamin B3, protein, and of course omega-3 fats which is one of the reasons salmon is a highly recommended food to eat.

easy weeknight lemon pepper salmon

We just love salmon in our house, and I hope you will give this recipe a try and start incorporating it into your weekly rotation too!

easy weeknight lemon pepper salmon

Lemon Pepper Salmon

Serves 3-4

Ingredients

  • 1 lb wild caught salmon fillet
  • 1 tsp avocado oil, divided
  • 1/2 lemon
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt (we’ve started using Real Salt)
  • 1/2 pepper
  • 2 green onions
  • 1 tsp unsalted butter

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.  Line a baking sheet with foil.
  2. Pour 1/2 tsp avocado oil on the foil and spread it around to lightly coat the foil.  Place the salmon on the foil and spread the remaining 1/2 tsp all over the salmon.
  3. Sprinkle the sea salt and pepper evenly over the salmon.  Squeeze a little bit of lemon juice over the salmon and place the lemon on the foil lined baking sheet.  Lay green onions on salmon.  Cut the butter into tiny pieces and spread over the salmon.
  4. Bake for 10-12 minutes, or until the salmon is cooked through but not dry.  Salmon should be firm to the touch but slightly pink on the inside.
  5. Take the cooked lemon and squeeze the remaining juice over the salmon to serve.

Are you a fan of salmon?  What is your go-to way to prepare it?

Heather

disclosure

how to practice being present + lessons learned over summer break

how to practice presence

Tomorrow will officially be the first day of fall.  Hello changing leaves, flannel shirts and scarves!  It also means my summer break is over and I’m back!!

So… HI!  Welcome back!  I’m so glad we are both here!  I hope your summer was judt wonderful and filled with everything you love.

Summer was quite magical.  Magical in the way that it really felt like just a week of time flew by, but in reality it was 3 months of time.  Magical in the way that we crept out of the confines of our home walls and spent mornings playing out in the grass, picking flowers and sampling from our neglected but fruitful garden.  Magical in the way that laying under the magnolia tree, for both big and small people, had a trace like effect.  It was both calming and life giving.  Energy giving.  Watching the leaves move snuggled with a kiddo or two in my arms was one of my favorite places to be in our backyard.

how to practice presence

It helped me to slow down and be more present.  I connected more by being less connected with technology but also some of the business of life.  I did less, but got so much more out of what I did invest my time in.  I spent more time for myself reading and taking in some quiet moments.

how-to-practice-presence

Five ways I practiced presence over summer break

  1. I kept my phone away from me more often and made a conscious effort to not pick it up to fill space
  2. I conversed with people in person or on the phone more, which meant less texting too
  3. I prioritized my time by deciding what really needed to be done and what could wait (hint: there’s a lot that can wait, but messes stay around longer)
  4. I said yes to activities even if it didn’t fall into “the plan” of the day
  5. I decided to take in every moment, to not rush and to be okay with imperfect moments

It’s tough to be present so much of the time when my mind is always thinking about all the things that need to be done or things to work on, but practicing more presence has made such a difference on how I view what is most important (connecting and making memories).

During our summer break we slowed down in some ways (less arts and crafts, less teaching on my part, I took a blogging break and my cooking simplified), but picked up in so many more ways (water play, yard work for all, lazing around the yard, more play dates, picnics outside). The theme was definitely all about being outside, connecting and making summer special.

how to practice presence

As summer went on, I had 5 different realizations that became clear.

Five lessons I learned over summer break

  1. I truly missed writing.  I’ve never thought of myself as a writer growing up, but then when I began my blog almost 8 years ago on a whim, I turned into one.  I’ve made great strides and fell in love with sharing my thoughts, life and things I’m learning.  I missed it so much (but forced myself to stay away from the computer over summer) that I started a journal about the kids – just a couple sentences a night about something that happened that day.
  2. I am not the greatest without a schedule.  I thrive on lists and routine and feel relaxed when I know what I need to, or want to accomplish. I can then prioritize and procrastinate less. I’m such a procrastinator by nature that when I have extra free time I tend to accomplish less. I see conflict between my desire to be present but my liking to be scheduled and routine – something to work on.
  3. Three kids 4 and under is a lot of work.  Once Nova passed the calm, sleeping a lot infant stage I felt like I was left with no time to myself.  That is OK, but I just had to take some time to adjust to that. I know the time when they are all so little and love filled is fleeting, and I will eventually get a full night sleep again (right?).  This season of life comes with its challenges, but man it’s pretty darn wonderful.
  4. Connecting face to face with more friends, family and people in my classes has brought me a whole lot of joy.  I’ve learned a lot more about health journeys outside my own little bubble and I’m excited to get back to something I feel so deeply passionate about – sharing knowledge to help people live happy and healthy lives.
  5. Making summer special was really important this year with the kids.  I wanted it to be memorable.  Something they look forward to.  Hunter spent 5 mornings one week at vacation bible school, and it was an absolute blessing for him.  It was also probably the best week he’s ever had.  A month later they are still singing the songs, so I know it made an impact on them.

I need to hear from you!  How was your summer?  Do you struggle with practicing presence?  How do you work on being more in the moment?

Heather

summer break

summa

The sun is out, our grass is green and we’re spending the summer playing and having fun!  I just wanted to pop in and let you all know I’ll be back in September.  I’m taking a summer break of sorts to relax and just take a little something off of my plate to give more to these little humans of mine.  I hope you enjoy you’re summer and let’s meet back up in September, mmmkay?

summa

Be sure to sign up for my newsletter (link here) so you get an email when new posts are live!

Have a great one!

Heather