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Spring is here! Garden seeds are planted!
2
Peanut Butter Oatmeal Bars with Chocolate Frosting
3
Celebration Vanilla Whoopie Pies
4
Slow Cooker Shredded Chicken and White Bean Soup
5
First 20 Weeks of Pregnancy
6
Easy Pumpkin Pancakes
7
Gluten Free Baked Vanilla Donuts with Pink Frosting
8
You should grow black beans in your garden!
9
Shredded Chicken Dumpling Soup

Spring is here! Garden seeds are planted!

I’m officially declaring it Spring because a few days ago I was able to wear a dress without tights under!  Since it’s Spring that means one thing – it’s time to plan our garden!  We always look forward to planting our seeds in Spring and the organization that comes with it.  First we talk about what grew good last year, what we didn’t think do that well, what we grew too much of (bok choy!), what we need more of.  Then we discuss adding new vegetables to the garden – is there anything that we really want to grow that we aren’t already? From there we view catalogs, make a list, order any seeds that we might need and start planting.

The answer some of those questions…. the garden is staying pretty similar to last year with some little changes.  Cauliflower continues to be challenging for us to grow and leaves us not feeling that it’s always worth it.  Matthew wanted to get rid of cauliflower completely this year but I talked him into giving it one more chance, so we’re trying a new variety (Snow Crown).  Cauliflower, don’t let me down, you’re on notice.   We grew almost 100 bok choy plants last year which was crazy, so this year we are growing less, and I will be picking it earlier in the season to enjoy it in it’s “baby” size.  We’re getting rid of radishes, they’re so easy to grow that it almost feels wrong to stop but I just haven’t been in a radish mood.    

How to Plan Your Spring Garden. Spring is a great time to organize your seeds and decide what vegetables grew great and didn't work last year. Follow these tips and ideas for a successful Spring garden planting season!

The new addition to the garden is celery! We’ll be trying to grow it for the first ever this year so stay tuned on how that goes!  Isn’t it amazing to see 100 future celery plants in my hand?  (We aren’t growing 100 though!)

How to Plan Your Spring Garden. Spring is a great time to organize your seeds and decide what vegetables grew great and didn't work last year. Follow these tips and ideas for a successful Spring garden planting season!

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Peanut Butter Oatmeal Bars with Chocolate Frosting

Guilt-free Peanut Butter Oatmeal Bars with Melted Chocolate Frosting on top!  You’ll love how easy this recipe is and how these bars don’t fall apart!  These bars are great for breakfast or dessert and are packed with protein!   To keep it light on calories substitute 1/2 cup Stevia Blend instead of sugar.  

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Whole Earth Sweetener Co.. All opinions are 100% mine.

I have a sweet tooth that can’t be contained right now.  If life continues this way, the baby’s favorite food will definitely be donuts.  Because I was craving something sweet but wanted to watch the calories (that means you can eat more!) I made these Peanut Butter Oatmeal Bars with Chocolate Frosting using Whole Earth Sweetener Baking Blend, which has less sugar and calories than traditional sugar per serving.  In the recipe, I will give you both options, Whole Earth Sweetener Baking Blend and sugar, but I wanted to share with you how great this raw sugar & organic stevia blend has been for me and my baking adventures.   Guilt-free Peanut Butter Oatmeal Bars with Melted Chocolate Frosting on top! You'll love how easy this recipe is and how these bars don't fall apart! These bars are great for breakfast or dessert and are packed with protein! To keep it light on calories substitute 1/2 cup Stevia Blend instead of sugar.

These bars are delicious.  A few weeks ago my husband went on a Bachelor’s Party weekend to Vermont skiing.  Because I knew the boys would need fuel in between skiing down the slopes and playing Magic the Gathering (it was a wild weekend), I sent Matthew on the trip with a whole pan of these bars.   The bars were quickly gone,  and the boys were happy.   Lots of times when you do a chocolate frosting you worry that they will be messy to handle, but if these can take on a road trip – then you can imagine how great they’d be for your own road trip, school/work lunches, birthday parties, sleepovers, or just having some always on the kitchen counter ready to be enjoyed. Yummy Peanut Butter Oatmeal Bars with Melted Chocolate Frosting on top. To keep it light on calories substitute 1/2 cup Stevia Blend instead of sugar.

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Celebration Vanilla Whoopie Pies

Tracking PixelIt’s time to celebrate with these classic Vanilla Whoopie Pies!  This easy recipe makes delicious vanilla whoopie cake pies with marshmallow creme filling (just like homemade Amish Whoopie Pies!).  These pretty treats are perfect for a birthday party or baby shower celebration (Its a girl!) with the help of pink food coloring and rainbow sprinkles.   This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Bob’s Red Mill.

These super delicious (seriously, I ate so many in the past day, someone take them away from me!) whoopie pies scream CELEBRATION!  They are perfect for celebrating birthdays, baby showers and “I’m special, so let’s celebrate with whoopie pies” kinda days.   I mean do we really need a reason to celebrate cake tasting whoopie pies that are pretty pink in color, baked with rainbow sprinkles and then have more sprinkles on the yummy marshmallow creme?  Nope, we don’t need a reason.  So bake yourself some Vanilla Celebration Whoopie Pies!

It's time to celebrate with these classic Vanilla Whoopie Pies! This easy recipe makes delicious vanilla whoopie cake pies with marshmallow creme filling (just like homemade Amish Whoopie Pies!). These pretty treats are perfect for a birthday party or baby shower celebration (Its a girl!) with the help of pink food coloring and rainbow sprinkles.

Whoopie pies are one of my childhood favorites.  Whenever we made weekly trips to the Amish Market I would beg Mom and Dad to spoil me with a whoopie pie for the trip home.  These Whoopie Pies taste just like I remember as a kid, they pies are soft and taste like cake.  The cream inside is made up of powdered sugar, butter and marshmallow fluff so it’s rich tasting, sweet and very addicting (it’s my favorite part of a whoopie pie!). 

It's time to celebrate with these classic Vanilla Whoopie Pies! This easy recipe makes delicious vanilla whoopie cake pies with marshmallow creme filling (just like homemade Amish Whoopie Pies!). These pretty treats are perfect for a birthday party or baby shower celebration (Its a girl!) with the help of pink food coloring and rainbow sprinkles.

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Slow Cooker Shredded Chicken and White Bean Soup

Slow Cooker Shredded Chicken and White Bean Soup is packed with healthy, hearty vegetables which is going to warm up your dinner table! This recipe is easy to make – throw all the ingredients in your crock pot for 8 hours and it’s ready! Even better – this meal is economical and doesn’t cost much to make!

This Slow Cooker Shredded Chicken and White Bean Soup warms my heart physically and emotionally.  It’s everything a comforting Winter time soup should be – easy to make, makes the house smell great, is filling and makes me feel warm.  
Slow Cooker Shredded Chicken and White Bean soup is packed with healthy, hearty vegetables which is going to warm up your dinner table! This recipe is easy to make - throw all the ingredients in your crock pot for 8 hours and it's ready! Even better - this meal is economical and doesn't cost much to make!

On the emotional side it makes me happy because it is filled with vegetables from our Summer garden.   Besides the carrots and celery we are using our canned stewed tomatoes which I can’t get enough of.   We canned so many of these tomatoes I lost track of how many.
Stewed Tomatoes in Slow Cooker Shredded Chicken and White Bean Soup

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First 20 Weeks of Pregnancy

Talking about the first 20 weeks of pregnancy for a first time mom.  Symptoms, Mood, Weight, Ultrasound Pics, Doctor Visits and more discussed! 

I wasn’t sure if I was going to make these types of posts.  And then I got to thinking more about it and felt it would be fun to look back on one day.  Instead of documenting every 1 or 2 weeks, I’m doing Weeks 1-20… and then probably 20-30 and then 30-40, or something like that.  I guess time will tell as I’m facing new experiences.

So here we are..  I’m in Week 24 now but we’re going to just discuss the first 20 weeks for now.  We’ll save talking about how baby is now participating in zumba classes in my belly for another post.  I guess we can get the stats and dates out of the way first.  We had sex on October 14 to make the baby (hello TMI).  Yes, I know the exact date.  My Doctor never believes that I know the exact date but I know because we were working hard on a job and only had time/energy to do the sexy dance once during my peak ovulation week.  You know how they tell you in school it only takes once to get pregnant?  They’re telling the truth.   My ovulation was peak on October 15.  Before trying to get pregnant I had no idea you could track your ovulation with test strips.   I would highly recommend them, even if you aren’t trying to get pregnant as it’s pretty wonderful to really start to witness how amazing your body is and how in tune we can get.  If you’re trying to conceive I’d also suggest using a app (I used Ovia) that tracks your period, symptoms, etc and lets you know when you’re most fertile.   We took a pregnancy test on October 29, which would be DPO (that’s days post ovulation) 14.    It was positive.   So calendar speaking, we found out around Week 4 we were with baby (to make things more confusing the first day of the last menstrual period becomes the date from which pregnancy is counted to start even though conception occurs about two weeks later.)

Pregnacy-Week-1-20

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Easy Pumpkin Pancakes

You’ll love how easy this Pumpkin Pancakes recipe is! These delicious extra fluffy pancakes made from scratch are low carb and packed with protein (1/2 cup pumpkin!). They make a healthy substitution instead of buttermilk pancakes. My family considers them “the best pumpkin pancakes in the world!”.

I know you’re probably thinking “Isn’t NYC in a snowstorm right now, but yet you’re posting a pumpkin recipe?”.   You’re right.  NYC is under a blanket of beautiful white snow.  And I still have over 100 pounds of pumpkins from the Fall garden decorating my apartment.    Can you believe it?   We have big pumpkins, pie size, and munchkins sprawled out all over the apartment just like it was still Halloween.   I have to clear a few out as they go bad, but at this rate I think I’m good to go with fresh pumpkins for at least the next few months! 

You'll love how easy this Pumpkin Pancakes recipe is! These delicious extra fluffy pancakes made from scratch are low carb and packed with protein (1/2 cup pumpkin!). They make a healthy substitution instead of buttermilk pancakes. My family considers them "the best pumpkin pancakes in the world!".

Being a girl who loves pumpkin year round and doesn’t believe that pumpkin only needs to be celebrated in the Fall I wanted to bake up a pumpkin breakfast to satisfy my pancake craving I’ve been having (hello baby!).    Pumpkin pancakes are one of those foods that are near perfection for me.  Throw a little dab of butter on top, definitely add some maple syrup and you have the perfect breakfast (or dinner!).  These pancakes are fluffy, moist and have a delicious flavor of pumpkin and spices to take them to that next level.  Pumpkin pancakes, I love you.

You'll love how easy this Pumpkin Pancakes recipe is! These delicious extra fluffy pancakes made from scratch are low carb and packed with protein (1/2 cup pumpkin!). They make a healthy substitution instead of buttermilk pancakes. My family considers them "the best pumpkin pancakes in the world!".

If you don’t have any fresh pumpkins lying around in March, don’t worry.  You can use frozen pumpkin puree that you kept from your Fall pumpkins (remember how easy it is to make?) or you can use canned pumpkin.  Either way, I hope you enjoy these Pumpkin Pancakes soon!

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Gluten Free Baked Vanilla Donuts with Pink Frosting

Gluten Free Baked Vanilla Donuts recipe with a bright pink frosting on top!  The icing glaze is completely all natural and made with beet powder – which has no beet taste to it!  These cute donuts are great for birthday party, bridal party and wedding desserts!

These donuts are stunning.   They are beauty pageant material.    With a golden brown baking finish, and the prettiest natural pink color frosting on top  you might as well call them Miss Donut World 2017.  And the taste?  Oh my! Give the donuts their sash and crown already because they’re delicious!

Gluten Free Baked Vanilla Donuts recipe with a bright pink frosting on top!  The icing glaze is completely all natural and made with beet powder - which has no beet taste to it!  These cute donuts are great for birthday party, bridal party and wedding desserts!

FAQ for this recipe:

Where can I buy a donut pan?
You can buy one at kitchen supply stores, most large department stores and of course – Amazon!  I recommend getting 2 pans as most recipes make 12 donuts.

Is your recipe right, do I really need to use 6 eggs?
Yes, you really do.   Coconut flour is super absorbent and needs extra liquid in it.   When substituting coconut flour for all purpose flour, you should add 1 extra egg for every 1/4 cup of coconut flour being added.  For example, this recipe when using all purpose flour calls for 2 eggs, but since we’re using 1 cup coconut flour we need to add a extra 4 eggs equaling 6 eggs.   I know this sounds crazy if you’ve never used coconut flour but you’ll be amazed by how much the flour absorbs the liquid.

Can I use all purpose flour instead of coconut flour?
Yes,  use 1 cup all purpose flour and 2 eggs (instead of 6).

My donuts always fall apart when they come out, what did I do wrong?
Most likely you didn’t cook them long enough so please (especially with this recipe) make sure to use a toothpick to insert into a donut to make sure they are fully cooked.  When you are absolutely sure they are fully done, remove from the oven and let cool for 15 minutes. After that I use a butter knife and gently scrape around the edges to remove each donut.  

Do you have any other frosting recipes?
Sure, try chocolate or peanut butter frosting.

Do I have to use beet powder?
Of course not – that just gives them a pretty natural color. If you want to add no color to the frosting, don’t add add beet powder (it will just be a plain white frosting).  If you don’t have beet powder you can use blueberries (great for a natural dye) or food coloring (not so natural).

How many donuts does this recipe make?
It makes 12 dozens.

These donuts are so pretty and yummy! Gluten Free Baked Vanilla Donuts recipe with a bright pink frosting on top! The icing glaze is completely all natural and made with beet powder - which has no beet taste to it! These cute donuts are great for birthday party, bridal party and wedding desserts!

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You should grow black beans in your garden!

How to grow black bean plants from seeds in your vegetable garden.  Looking for a new plant to grow in  your garden this year?  Try growing black beans!  They’re easy to grow, produce a good yield and store great for recipes!

It’s the beginning of March which means your garden has already crossed your mind. We’ll start planting seeds indoors in about a week for our Spring garden, but it’s never too early to start planning for Summer.   Whenever I post a black bean recipe I get a few readers that say they want to grow black beans.  You know what? You should! You all should! If you are looking for a new plant to grow in your 2017 garden, why not try dry black beans? 

How to grow black bean plants from seeds in your vegetable garden. Looking for a new plant to grow in your garden this year? Try growing black beans! They're easy to grow, produce a good yield and store great for recipes!

Quick How to Grow/Harvest Black Beans

The black beans we always grow are Midnight Black Turtle Soup beans from Johnny Seeds.  We’ve had year after year success with them so if you’re looking for a recommendation, get them. We grow our black beans in the “beans” garden bed where they grow alongside dry white beans, soy beans and green beans.  To get a idea of how much time they take to grow, last year we planted black beans  (directly in the soil) on May 29 and we pulled them to dry on September 10.  On average they take 100-110 days to fully mature, ours took 104 days to be exact.  The way that you know the plants are done is when the plants topple over and turn brown.  The other trick is is to shake the bean pod.  If you hear the beans rattling around then you know they’re full developed and ready to be picked.   You’re going to want to hang up your black bean plants to dry for a week so just yank up the entire plant and tie up in some place that will remain dry.   We usually ties ours up in our garden shed.   Once they’re all dry, now comes the fun/terrible part – time to individually pick each pod off the plant, break it open and remove the beans. And just like you have black beans to use and store.

Tips/Info:

If you intend on eating these often, I would suggest growing 15 plants per person.   This should last you throughout all the seasons until you grow again.   If you really love black beans, grow even more!  The black beans won’t go bad, so it’s not like you’ll be wasting them if you grow too many.

Black beans are incredibly easy to take care of, they are kind of no nonsense plants.  Plant them, water them occasionally, give them sunshine and they’ll grow without any additional help.   

You can grow these in the ground or in containers – both work great.

How to grow black bean plants from seeds in your vegetable garden. Looking for a new plant to grow in your garden this year? Try growing black beans! They're easy to grow, produce a good yield and store great for recipes!

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Shredded Chicken Dumpling Soup

Easy to make recipe for Homemade Shredded Chicken Dumpling Soup with potatoes, carrots and celery. This creamy soup is a healthy comfort dinner food! Best served with biscuits to dip into the chicken broth! Mom, your families are going to love this!

This soup is a Winter comfort food favorite.   It’s so delicious that I can almost guarantee that whenever I make it, we’ll have it the night after again because the craving will still be there.  That’s what happened last week. I made it on Wednesday, we ate it all, we loved it.  On Thursday we decided we were going to make it for dinner again.  And we ate it all again.  

Easy to make recipe for Shredded Chicken Dumpling Soup with potatoes, carrots and celery. This soup is a healthy comfort food!

The best thing about this soup besides the homemade dumplings (yum!) is that it’s also filled with veggies – potatoes, celery, carrots – everything a good chicken soup should have in it.  

Easy to make recipe for Shredded Chicken Dumpling Soup with potatoes, carrots and celery. This soup is a healthy comfort food!

FAQ for this recipe:

Can I substitute or add additional vegetables?
Feel fee to make it your own and add additional vegetables if you’re trying to empty out the fridge – onions, peas, green beans, and bite size cauliflower are all equally good in it.  Just don’t skip on the potatoes – never skip on the potatoes!

Can I use chicken bouillon cubes instead of broth?
Absolutely, I do it all the time.   

Can I make this vegetarian?
You sure can.  Use vegetable broth instead of chicken broth and don’t add in chicken breast.  You might want to add in some additional protein like white or great northern beans. 

Are dumplings hard to make?
No.  Homemade dumplings are one of the easiest things to make.  It’s really just about mixing some simple ingredients together and then dropping it into hot broth to form the dumpling.   The dumplings might not be the prettiest you’ve ever seen, but they will taste just as delicious. 

Do I need to make a side dish for this soup?
I never do, it’s pretty hearty as is.  I like to serve with some buttered bread or rolls.

How many servings is this recipe?
3-4 supper servings.

How good is this soup?
So good you’ll make it again tomorrow.

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