Have a cupcake or six.

I have really enjoyed this week.  I made a point to try and do some festive things with Poppyseed this Halloween, and I’m glad I did.  I was a little behind in getting her costume (October 30th found me running from store to store in desperate search of something/anything) but in the end I prevailed and she was an A-D-O-R-A-B-L-E little honey bee.

And yes the capital letters and hyphens were absolutely necessary.  A-B-S-O-L-U-T-E-L-Y.  Because she was just that darn cute.

I know I posted pictures on my last post, but here is the costume.

Bee costume


So, on the 30th I took her to a carnival at a local church.  I’d heard from some friends that it was a lot of fun, so I figured it would be perfect.  Unfortunately the weather was predicted to be horrible, so the church moved all of the activities indoors.  We got there right when it opened and it was already packed.  It smelled like a junior high boy’s locker room.  It was SO packed.  All of the booths were packed and it was just people running into people.  We played one game and that was it.  All I got out of that visit was this blurry picture.  Eh, it’s proof that we tried.

On the 31st I took her to our neighborhood Halloween party.  We actually had a really good time.  I didn’t go last year (I don’t think I knew it was happening) but I was surprised that just about everyone in our subdivision came.  The HOA provided a huge cake, candy bags, and prizes for a costume contest.  Obviously we didn’t eat the cake or take a candy bag, but I appreciated the time and effort that the committee put into making the occasion special for all of the families.  And I was totally cracking up that Poppyseed won 3rd prize in the costume contest!  I’m pretty sure it’s because I taught her to say “Bzzzzz!”  That was probably what pushed the judges over the edge.

After the party we just came back home and sat on the porch to greet the trick or treaters.  I had a lot of fun watching all of the kids walk around in costumes.  Poppyseed actually didn’t seem too interested in the other kids.  Instead she sat on the porch and completely focused on getting every single raisin out of the tiny raisin boxes.  I tell ya, that kid loves her some raisins.

Last year I was SO excited to live in a neighborhood and have trick or treaters.  I grew up on a lot of land in the woods (not in a neighborhood) and so I have actually never had any trick or treaters come to my house!  I wanted to buy healthy treats, so I bought raisins, stickers, and balloons.  I’ll never forget how many weird stares I got while I sat on the steps of my porch with six month old Poppyseed and passed out these nonconventional treats.  I caught so much crap for the balloons.  In my defense, c’mon, I had one kid under the age of 1, how was I supposed to know that balloons are chocking hazards?  How are those less dangerous than, say, a jolly rancher?

So this year I took great care to select healthy treats that I didn’t think would get me in trouble.  I went with cuties, raisins, stickers, and sunglasses.  I let the kids choose 2 treats.  It was a lot of fun, and I think that the kids enjoyed the options.  I actually didn’t get any weird stares from any of the parents this year.  I guess it’s pretty tough to choke on sunglasses.


One little boy (I’m guessing he was about 6) ran up to our porch and stopped in his tracks when he saw our selection.  He looked at me with wide eyes and said, “Why did you get ORANGES!?!?”  I didn’t miss a beat and gave him a huge smile.  “Because we LOVE oranges!  We think they are delicious!   You can choose any two treats that you want, go ahead!”   He plucked an orange and a pair of sunglasses out of the bowls and took off to the next house.  So, that was about all of the conflict we had over our healthy treats.

I’d also like to point out that I didn’t spend any more money than I would have had I bought candy.  I looked at the candy aisle before I did my shopping, and if I’d have gone the traditional route I’d have probably bought two of the oversized bags of chocolate candy such as Snickers, M&Ms, etc.  It would have been about $9 per bag.  Instead I bought two bags of cuties ($6), two bags of plastic sunglasses ($5), two sheets of stickers ($2), and 2 bags of raisins ($6).

I wish more families would take this route.  I know that there are tons of fun cheap toys at the dollar store.  Target also has an awesome $1 aisle now that usually has a lot of fun options.  It actually isn’t difficult to mix it up and buy treats that aren’t going to cause pancreatic distress.  🙂 And the kids really DO like it!

I know that there are some people out there that will just always buy candy, and that’s fine.  We will probably do the “Switch Witch” trick when Poppyseed gets older and begins trick or treating.  We’ll let her trick or treat and then choose a few pieces of candy to eat.  She’ll leave the rest in a bowl in the house and go to bed, and then wake up to find that the witch came to our house and left her a prize in exchange for her candy.  But it sure would be nice if there were a few more houses in our area that would offer something without a bunch of sugar and dyes in them.

A girl can hope.

Which…. brings me to the whole reason I wrote this blog in the first place.

Let’s talk about special occasions and special treats.

I feel like I’m in a really great circle.  The vast majority of my friends are health conscious.  Most of them know what “paleo” is, or at the very least they are on the “whole food” bandwagon.  It’s really nice to exist in this little bubble where I can take my kid to a gym and all of the kids are running around eating Larabars instead of goldfish.  Even in the circles where we are the only strict paleo family, I would say that 9 0ut of 10 of my acquaintances all want to make healthy choices for their kids.  Most of my friends and family agree that the amount of crap junk food that is being fed to kids at school, birthday parties and holidays is really out of control.

But this year I have started to really pay attention and I have noticed a trend.  Before I go into detail, I’m not singling anyone out.  I’m not talking about anyone in particular, I am talking about EVERYONE in particular.  Here is the scenario:

Mom loves her kids and takes their health seriously.  She tries to cook good whole foods at home, makes every attempt to pack a healthy school lunch, and gets very frustrated that there are so many sources of “bad food” in schools, at parties, and at extracurricular activities.

YET… when that Mom’s kiddo has a birthday, or when that Mom has to send a group snack to a school or extracurricular event, what does she do?

She buys the same box of Betty Crocker/Duncan/Martha Stewart cake mix that everyone else’s parents makes, whips up a batch of crap cupcakes, and sends them off to school with her kiddo.

This has really made me scratch my head.  Why do we complain about the junk that is constantly offered to our kids and then do it ourselves?  A lady at my gym put it into words for me.

“I feed my kids 100% paleo at home, and we don’t eat a lot of treats.  But then for some reason if I host something at my house, the first thing I want to do is go buy a bunch of candy that I’d never usually allow in my house and serve them to all of the kids!  Why?  I guess because you want to make the kids happy, and you want your kids to fit in.”

I completely get that.  I really do.  I think it is just our culture to want to show love to our kids through food.  We also want very much for our kids to fit in and be accepted.  So sometimes it just seems like it’s okay to feed these types of foods to our sweet little ones and mumble to ourselves, “Well, it’s a special occasion.  Everything in moderation, I suppose.”

The only problem is that we humans love to celebrate, and every day it seems there is a birthday or holiday that just “wouldn’t be right” without a yummy snack of some sort.

And frankly, with ingredients like this, I don’t think the “everything in moderation” mantra really flies.  I don’t want my kid to eat moderate amounts of partially hydrogenated anything.  Or propylene glycol.  Or mono or diesters of fatty acids.  I mean, WHAT!?

Now that Poppyseed is starting to notice other people’s food, I’ve started to sort of stress about how I will handle these celebratory occasions.  I don’t want to be a stick in the mud.  I don’t want to give her a complex about eating desserts or treats.  My goal is to teach her about real food and guide her in making good choices, but not to shame her for indulging or to cause her feel to left out.  I also don’t want to have to go to extreme measures such as skipping these types of events or not enrolling her in activities that she would love in order to avoid these types of foods.

Plus, I love treats myself!  And some of my favorite memories from my childhood are of making cookies and cakes with my big sister, who learned how to make perfect chocolate chip cookies and cupcakes from our mom.

So why are all of these healthy moms buckling and sending a bunch of junk when it’s their kid’s turn?  I think it’s because, well, they just don’t know what else to send.  There’s a birthday every week in your first grader’s class, and all the other moms send delicious desserts.  What’s your kid going to think if you send a supersized bag of raisins?  Yeah, I get that.  And moms know that there are other options, but sometimes it’s just a LOT of extra work to try a new recipe.  Some of the “healthy” recipes contain obscure ingredients that can be hard to find.  Plus, I’ve tried a few paleo recipes that honestly turned out just plain bad.  I can totally see where if I were pinched for time on the evening before my kindergartener’s birthday party, I might scrap my ambitious plans for a healthy cake and just go with the tried and true Betty Crocker cake mix.

But again, I honestly don’t think even small amounts of those ingredients are a good thing.  And when your kiddo is eating that crap food at every special occasion, it really does add up.

So last week I started looking at some good paleo recipes.  And I found a few that I’ll definitely be keeping in my back pocket.  Here is the one that I wanted to share tonight, from Elana’s Pantry.

Elana’s Pantry Paleo Chocolate Cupcakes

These little cupckaes were really easy to make.  I really liked this recipe because I actually had all of the ingredients in my pantry already, so there was no shopping for weird items that I’d only use once.  The only two ingredients that some people may not already have in their pantries are coconut oil and coconut flour.  Three years ago when we went paleo, I had a hard time finding these in stores and bought them on Amazon.  But now our local HEB and Kroger both carry them.  I’m not sure if residents of smaller towns would find them in their hometown groceries or if Walmart carries these specialty items yet, but again – don’t forget Amazon! I’ve used two brands of coconut flour with great success and they are these two:

Try not to be sticker shocked at the price you’ll pay for coconut flour.  A bag of all purpose flour will only cost you a couple of bucks, but you’re probably accustomed to using about 2 cups of it per recipe. With coconut flour I find that most recipes call for less than 1/2 cup per batch. This recipe in particular only calls for 1/3 of a cup.

I followed her directions exactly, only she used a food processor and I used my kitchen aid mixer.  I simply put all of the dry ingredients in the bowl first and mixed them up.  Then I put all of the wet ingredients in a separate bowl, whisked them together, and poured them into the dry ingredients.

Elana recommends pouring the batter into muffin liners, but I have found that they come out much better if you grease your muffin tin with either coconut oil or butter.  (I like to use Kerrygold butter for this…this is a butter made from grassfed cows.)  They come out perfectly formed and you don’t lose any of your delicious muffin because it stuck to the paper.

The only discrepancy I found in her recipe was that she said that one batch would yield 12 cupcakes if you scooped 1/4 cup of batter into each muffin tin.  I scooped about 1/8 of a cup into each muffin tin and only got 10 cupcakes.  So, just double the recipe.


So, when Poppyseed turns 4 and starts preschool and it’s my turn to send a treat with the kids, I may just be lazy and send fruit kabobs or ziplocs of sweet potato chips.  Or, maybe I’ll preheat the oven and get my game face on.  Only not really, because these guys only take about 30 minutes of work, and they taste delicious.

Again, the link to Elana’s cupcake recipe is here.  Try them and then thank me for the idea!

If you have any tried and true healthy recipes, please let me know.  I want to have at least 5 or 6 awesome ideas for this holiday season.

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  1. I really like this protein ball recipe that I have. I will find it and email you! Props to you for working so hard to offer your lil doll baby the best!

  2. http://Www.againstallgrain.com has an awesome chocolate chip cookie recipe

    • It’s funny, I literally just heard of Against All Grain last week! I just liked her on facebook and will have to check out some of her recipes. Thanks.

  3. Lauren Faxel says:

    This is one of my go-to recipes for desserts when we’re going to someone’s house for dinner. Easy and delicious! (May not be something you can wrap up for individual servings, but I love it!)



    2 x 600g bags of unsweetened, frozen fruit (berries or bite-sized pieces work best)

    Western Family brand “Bite Sized Blend” works perfectly for this recipe.
    “Bite Sized Blend” works perfectly for this recipe.
    1 large egg
    2 tbsp coconut oil
    1 tbsp honey (use up to 3 tbsp if you like your crumble topping sweeter)
    1 tsp vanilla
    pinch of salt
    2-3 cups almond flour*
    2 cups unsweetened dried coconut (I use one cup of ribbon cut and one cup of shredded)
    1 cup crushed walnut pieces
    cinnamon to taste


    1. Preheat oven to 350˚F.
    2. Dump both bags of frozen fruit into a 9 x 15″ baking dish.
    3. In a large mixing bowl, stir together egg, coconut oil, honey, vanilla and salt.
    4. Add 2 cups almond flour, dried coconut, walnut pieces and cinnamon.
    5. With your hands, mix the ingredients together until you have a relatively dry, crumbly dough.
    *Add more almond flour, as necessary.
    6. Using your hands, crumble the dough over the top of the frozen fruit, in a shallow, even layer.
    7. Bake for 40 minutes, or until the crumble topping is dry and slightly browned.

    Serve plain, or drizzled with coconut milk.

    Serves 8-12.

  4. These jaffa rum balls are amazing. I use rum essence if kids will be eating them, or you could leave it out and just do jaffa balls:
    Her banana bread is also fantastic.

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