Pesto Zucchini Pasta

Say What?!?

A Post!!!

zucchini pasta-eleven

That’s right! I’m sure there are pigs flying somewhere right?

Well today’s post is featured on Venus Williams Eleven By Venus Blog!

Zucchini Pest Pasta! I am LOVING my julienne peeler! I have so many ideas in my head on how I can play around with it!

To check out the recipe, GO HERE!

ALSO…

We are back home as of yesterday, and we aren’t leaving town for another week and a half so I have PLENTY of time to share things with you! Be looking out for new recipes and etc.!

Thanks again for all of your support! Much love!!

I’m still here!

There are times here on this blog where things might seem a little quiet. ..

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It’s not because I don’t love this blog, or I’m pounding down chocolate covered anything…It’s honestly and truly because I love this blog too much.

I’m always going to be a wife & mom, first and foremost. Sometimes that means that I don’t have all the time in the world to blast your social media accounts with all my up to date news/pics/etc. Sometimes it is summer, and our family is here, there, and everywhere.

And sometimes I really value this place and you guys too much, I want to post the BEST. If I can’t give you the best, I don’t want to post it.

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I know that means you won’t always hear from me everyday, or even every week…I’m sorry.

But know that I’m still here,  living a healthy life, and I’ll post soon. Sometimes life happens, and what’s most important comes first…

I hope you still love me?

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Soon enough you will have an awesome post, I promise!

If not, I swear I’ll send you some chocolate.

Pinky Promise!

Peanut Butter Cookie Dough Balls

We’ve all heard about those kind of kids…

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The ones whose pictures float across the internet of them covered in diaper cream while standing in a gallon of spilled milk. Or THAT kid who flush wallets, watches, and other valuables down the toilet…Or worse yet, swallows them.

Or how about that kids who screams like a baby piglet when they don’t get their way in the store…seriously? Whose child is that?

Before I had kids, I remember thinking to my self, “How on earth did that child end up in THAT situation?! Wasn’t anyone watching the kid?” (For example; diaper cream switch.) Or, “Seriously, those parents are the WORST parents ever to have that screaming kid! If that was my child…”

And then one day, I birthed THAT child.

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The child who finds her self in the most unbelievable messiest situations when I run to the bathroom. The child who shoves a pearl in her ear. The child who screams like a piglet when she wants G-U-M at the store…

The child who whenever they see a glass full of liquid HAS to dump it all over my open and perfectly working computer…And then play with it.

AND THEN, when you take that computer to the store to get fixed, said child throws a major tantrum on the floor because she wanted G-U-FLIPPEN-M.

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I love THAT child.

I love that child’s multiple kisses and hugs. I love her funny phrases, songs, and noises, (most of them.)

I love that child’s bubbly, bright, and silly personality. That sneaky smile and the way she closes her eyes, bows her head, and folds those chubby arms when she says her prayers.

I love that child more than life it self…

Even if she cost me $234983749.98 to fix my dang computer. (And all my pictures, videos, programs…etc.) #yup

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Dear child,

Please continue to be THAT child. And I promise I’ll continue to be one of THOSE parents.

xo-

Mommy

Now…For some much needed cookie dough balls ya?

(I shared a picture of these cookies on my Facebook page and the results were outstanding! I knew I had to share the recipe with all of you! xo)

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Peanut Butter Cookie Dough Balls
 
These don't last long in our household! They are perfect for a quick pick me up, since they are full of protein! They also work great for treats in kids school lunches! Either way you eat, enjoy!
Ingredients
  • 1 c. raw peanuts
  • ½ c. oats
  • 2 TB. honey
  • 2 TB. maple syrup
  • 1½ tsp. vanilla extract
Instructions
  1. In a food processor or blender, add peanuts and blend until a fine flour comes together to form a dough. (Don't process after that or you will get peanut butter!!) Note: Don't process all ingredients together because the mixture won't turn out. You will get a cookie crumble, which is totally fine, but it won't form into balls!
  2. Next add the rest of the ingredients, besides chocolate chips, and blend until combined. (Not too much blending!)
  3. Add the chocolate chips and pulse a few times to mix.
  4. Using a small cookie scoop, make balls and keep in the fridge or freezer!
  5. Makes 14-16 small balls!

 

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THAT child loves these PB cookie dough balls.

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And THAT child makes a huge mess when she eats them, and then dumps her milk all over the place to top it off…

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I love that child.

Our First Family Getaway

I guess you could call us ‘moochers’, since we’ve always relied on grandparents to go on family getaways and vacations, but for the first time we ventured out just us four. I wish we would have done this sooner, but with student life and school loans, we haven’t had the opportunity to do so. Luckily, everything worked out perfectly for our little family to take this trip, and it was exactly what we needed.

We didn’t go anywhere exotic (well, to some it might be), just to the beautiful state of Utah. We haven’t been in years, and I was dying to see grass. (It’s against the religion of Las Vegas to have grass I think?) I’ve never felt more like a family than I did on this trip. I still feel happy thinking about the memories we created.

We visited my grandparents grave first thing, and it was a beautiful start to the trip. It really put things into perspective for me. I couldn’t help but think how happy my grandparents were to see their two great granddaughters running around and reading the names on their grave site. I know they would have loved my babies more than anything!

The next day was July 4th, and boy does Utah love to celebrate. We attending the provo parade, and then sat under the stars on a large blanket in Pleasant Grove, Utah. We knew no one, but had so much fun cuddling, tickling, and laughing on that blanket as we waited for the fireworks.

On Saturday we went to Salt Lake City where we toured Temple Square. There are so many fabulous things about temple square that I love, especially all of the flowers, grass, and trees. (Again, non existent in Las Vegas.) We watched a movie, read stories, viewed beautiful buildings, and ate ice cream. Then we walked across the street to the mall and went to the Disney store. (There was some bribing that happened in order for that stop…)

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I can’t say it enough…I loved every second of this weekend. Every day home life is special in it’s own way, but going out and doing things as a family, and enjoying each others company is completely different. I treasure these moments and I hope in 15 years my girls still consider my their best friend. (And my husband too!)

Oh, and seriously…I LOVE grass.

Blackened Halibut

I have this intense love hate relationship with fish.

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The thought of eating it makes me sick, the smell of it makes me want to (ya know), and the look of it…BAHLSDFKJALDFHKLJDF!!!

But then I went to this sea food restaurant in Newport Beach and had the best tasting halibut of my life, and I’ve dreamt about it once a week since then.

IT’S SO CONFUSING!

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A problem I’ve been faced with a lot since living in Las Vegas is getting ‘fresher’ food, especially meats and fish. We aren’t that far away from the ocean, but it’s just not the same since living in San Diego. I notice the fish smell a lot worse and the fish are colored to look a certain way…(Which makes it sound even less appealing.)

I used to buy salmon because it was the one I was most familiar with, but I don’t think I will ever go back. Many of you have suggested I try halibut, and boy I wish I would have listened sooner! It basically taste like chicken…I mean seriously, it’s the REAL chicken of the sea.

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I’ve also noticed that I prefer my fish blackened, which means it has a little crisp and char on the outside. Also, fish taste amazing with a lot of butter. Buuuutttaaaa. But I recently found out it also taste good with coconut oil too! Which ever you prefer to use, both work great!

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This version can be made on a grill, or if you are like me and don’t own one, then a cast iron skillet works great too! (Even a regular pan is fine!)

And if the idea of eating fish sounds disgusting to your kids, tell them it’s chicken. #greatparenting

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Blackened halibut
 
Ingredients
  • fresh halibut
  • butter or coconut oil
  • fresh garlic
  • old bay seasoning
  • lemon
Instructions
  1. Heat your cast iron skillet on the stove on medium heat. (This allows the pan to get hot!)
  2. For each halibut, melt 2 TB. of oil (or butter) and ½ tsp. chopped garlic clove.
  3. Dip halibut into the melted butter, and coat completely.
  4. Remove the halibut and place on a plate. Sprinkle each side generously with Old Bay seasoning.
  5. Melt 1 tsp. of butter or oil in the pan. Add the halibut, which should make the pan smoke.
  6. Cook halibut for a few minutes on each side until it's cooked all the way though.
  7. Finish off with fresh lemon juice.
  8. Enjoy!

 

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I’d love to know your favorite ways to eat or prepare fish, and which fish is your favorite! I wouldn’t say I’m 100% sold on the idea of loving fish…But, a little convincing never hurt anyone right?!

Kids Macaroni & Cheese

Since the beginning, I’ve always been a ‘food based blog’. I started out as cupcakes, next was just desserts, and then I went healthy. All.Over.The.Place. Right?

Kids Mac n' Cheese! Secret ingredient is CARROT puree to up the nutrients for your kiddos! Recipe from The Diva Dish!

I love blogging about food and healthy meal ideas, but recently I’ve been thinking of ideas of how I want to do more than just blog about food. Obviously food is a huge part of living a healthy lifestyle, but I also believe so many other aspects go into health, and happiness. I want to stretch this blog a little more and focus on the idea of ‘health & happiness’ as a whole…and not just food.

(Did I repeat myself?)

I haven’t fully decided what that means, but I am hoping that over the summer The Diva Dish will be able to find it’s voice. Whether that means more of this or that I don’t know…But food will always be a big part of this, so don’t worry. :)

How many times can I say the word food in this post?

Kids Mac n' Cheese! Secret ingredient is CARROT puree to up the nutrients for your kiddos! Recipe from The Diva Dish!

 

A small part of that change will be sharing more of a reality as to what my kids really do eat. Pretty recipes and “true stories” can only convince you guys so much right?! I mean…Do my kids REALLY eat healthy? Have they ever even had boxed Mac n Cheese?!

Yes and Yes.

Kids Mac n' Cheese! Secret ingredient is CARROT puree to up the nutrients for your kiddos! Recipe from The Diva Dish!

 

Sometimes I get worried to post a recipe that has cheese or a high amount of calories because it may not be considered “completely healthy” and then the world will think I’m a FRAUD!! But here right now, I will tell you my kids eat cheese. And some of their meals are probably high in calories…

One important thing I’ve learned with my kids is that they are growing and their body needs food and it’s nutrients to grow. Their body doesn’t need fat free, calorie-less foods. They need the fats, proteins, carbs, etc. to help their brains and bones!

Kids Mac n' Cheese! Secret ingredient is CARROT puree to up the nutrients for your kiddos! Recipe from The Diva Dish!

 

Mac N’Cheese is always a kid favorite, and I’m not going to lie, making it from a box can save a lot of time. But on the days where I have a little more time, I love to make homemade mac! It last us for the next couple of lunches, which is one of the things I love about it!

Switching up the pasta shapes is always fun for kids, but I love adding in orange-colored pureed veggies to really up the nutrients! This dish has carrot puree, which brings out a subtle sweetness to it! And, carrots are orange, fake cheese is kind of orange…soooo….

Win Win!

Kids Mac n' Cheese! Secret ingredient is CARROT puree to up the nutrients for your kiddos! Recipe from The Diva Dish!

 

Kids Macaroni & Cheese
 
Ingredients
  • salt
  • 2 medium carrots, diced
  • 12 ounces pasta of choice
  • 1 TB. butter or coconut oil
  • 1½ TB. flour (can use whole wheat, spelt, all purpose, etc.)
  • 1 tsp. ground mustard powder
  • 1 12 ounce can evaporated milk (or other milk of choice)
  • 2 c. sharp cheddar cheese
  • ½ c. mozzarella cheese, shredded
  • For the Topping (optional)
  • 1 TB. coconut oil
  • ½ tsp. paprika
  • ½ tsp. tumeric
  • ¼ c. bread crumbs (fresh)
Instructions
  1. Bring a large pot of salted water to boil. Cook the carrots until tender.
  2. While the carrots are cooking you can make your topping.
  3. Melt the oil in a pan, then add the rest of the ingredients for the topping. Whisk together for a minute or so then remove from heat and set aside.
  4. Remove the carrots when they are done with a slotted spoon and transfer to a blender.
  5. Add the pasta to that same pot/water. Cook pasta until tender. Reserve 1¼ cup of pasta water, then drain the pasta. Add the water to the carrots in the blender.
  6. Puree the carrots until smooth.
  7. In a sauce pan melt your butter/oil on medium heat. Whisk in the flour and mustard powder and continue to whisk for 1 minute.
  8. Then whisk in the evaporated milk and carrot puree until smooth.
  9. Simmer the mixture until it has slightly thickened.
  10. Remove from heat and stir in the cheese until it has melted. Fold in the pasta!
  11. Serve into individual bowls and top with crunchy topping!

 

Kids Mac n' Cheese! Secret ingredient is CARROT puree to up the nutrients for your kiddos! Recipe from The Diva Dish!

 

As for us parents, don’t be ashamed to eat a little mac n’ cheese! Serve this along side fresh veggies and a large salad and you are great!

Kids Mac n' Cheese! Secret ingredient is CARROT puree to up the nutrients for your kiddos! Recipe from The Diva Dish!

For the record, Carrots > Fake Cheese.

 

What would you like to see more of on The Diva Dish?! I Would LOVE your input!!

 

Mexican Style Salad Naan Pizza

Often times I try and make dinners that can please the whole family, and everyone will enjoy.

That’s in a perfect world though…In reality, my husband wants Del Taco, one daughter is screaming for a popsicle, and the other is eating crumbs off the kitchen floor…And I just want to make peanut butter and honey sandwiches for everyone and tell them to suck it up. (And then I’ll go out and have myself a nice dinner.)

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Nothing’s worse than making this huge dinner to have one person try it, and the rest of the family dabble at it. So glad I spent 45 minutes making dinner for everyone to not eat it.

AM I RIGHT MOMS?!?!

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I’ve learned that effort is good when making dinner, but going all out crazy just isn’t worth it. No matter how many sauces, dips, spreads, spices, and methods I used making that dinner, there is a chance that 50% will eat only a few bites. And then I feel bummed because all the work I put into dinner, so I finish off everyones plate to make up for it.

It’s not pretty.

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So when it comes to dinner, I try and think simple. I remember that I have two kids under 3, and a husband that has the flavor palate of a 15 year old. I also usually try to stick with dishes that can easily be adapted for my kiddos. That means that I can take different parts of that dish and serve them separately to my one year old. For example, this pizza.

I made it so I can serve her the chicken separately, along with the corn, and I can make a quesadilla out of the rest of the ingredients.

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The sauce is so easy that it took 2 minutes to make, just the way I like it! It’s vibrant and green due to the cilantro and avocado, which goes perfectly for a mexican style pizza! I also added this in my girls quesadillas!

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Let’s not forget about the “crust” in this pizza. It’s garlic naan bread, which just took a few hours off my dinner prep. On days where I don’t have the will or time to make homemade dough, naan bread is the perfect sub. It’s fluffy and flavorful, and when you broil it in the oven it has a nice little crunch just like pizza dough would!

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Then there is my husband and I who have completely two different food preferences. So for my pizza, I opted for no cheese to keep it a little lighter.

But for my husbands pizza, I added a little bit more chicken, lots or cheese, and a few dashes of hot sauce!

After the pizzas are baked, I drizzled cold plain greek yogurt on top, which brings it all together!

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Mexican Salad Naan Pizza
 
Ingredients
  • For the Pizza
  • Garlic Naan Bread
  • Avocado Cilantro Sauce(Recipe to follow)
  • romain lettuce
  • Cooked chicken
  • corn
  • tomatoes
  • peppers
  • cheese
  • plain greek yogurt
  • hot sauce
  • (For the Avocado Cilantro Sauce)
  • 2 small avocados
  • 2 small limes (juice)
  • 1 small bunch cilantro
  • ¼ c. chopped white onion
  • 1-2 gloves garlic chopped
  • ½ tsp. cumin
  • salt/pepper
Instructions
  1. Make the dressing by combining all of the ingredients into a blender, and blending until creamy. Adjust salt/pepper to preferred taste.
  2. To make the pizza, get the naan bread. Spread the sauce on top of the bread.
  3. Then top with chopped romain, corn, diced tomatoes, diced peppers, cooked chicken, and if desired, cheese.
  4. Turn the oven on HI broil, and cook pizza for about 5 or so minutes, until the naan bread is a little crisp and the cheese is melted.
  5. Drizzle with greek yogurt.
  6. Enjoy!

 

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My husband said this was his favorite dish from me. But he totally says that all the time because I’m such an amazing cook so…

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This is what the girls dinner looked like. It wasn’t as colorful, but they enjoyed it! Their quesadillas had cheese and the avocado sauce.

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Don’t worry, tomorrow night I WILL serve peanut butter and honey sandwiches.

 

Sea Salt Chocolate Cookies-Paleo Friendly

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I’ve got a delicious Chocolate Cookie recipe for you today over on Venus Williams blog! It’s the perfect balance of sweetness with a hint of salt. It’s made with almond flour, which makes it paleo friendly. And it’s sweetened with bananas, and no other added sweeteners or sugars!

It’s the perfect cookie when you need to conquer that sweet tooth, and I think it would even make the perfect breakfast cookie topped with a little nut butter!

Head on over to Venus Williams Blog (Eleven by Venus) to get the recipe!

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Popeye Spinach Juice

We are now three weeks into summer ‘break’ with my girls, and I’m ready for September.

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Not because I don’t love being with my girls all day, but I’m over the 110 degree weather (and it will get worse). And…As much as I love swimming every day, I don’t. Unless it’s on a beach, of coarse.

Throughout the day, the girls and I get really thirsty, and I’m always looking for new ways to rehydrate without plain water. Lemonade is always a requested choice, but I would love something that offered a little more nutrition. Then I was reminded about THIS drink that I had a few weeks back, and knew I had to recreate it.

I could have gotten in my car and just ordered one for myself. But it’s 110…I don’t drive in 110. Unless it’s to a place where my body will be in water…

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Popeye Spinach Juice
 
Ingredients
  • 2 navel oranges
  • 3 handfuls spinach
  • 2 limes
Instructions
  1. Juice all ingredients in your juicer, not blender.
  2. Drink immediately, and serve over ice. (Make sure all of your ingredients are cold before juicing!)

 

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I haven’t tried this drink with other greens or citrus but I have a feeling it would taste great with lemon too!

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Now i’m off to blow up  a large inflatable Disney Princess Pool in 110 degree weather and try not to pass out.

Wish me luck!

Homemade Bread

Let me share a story with you about breadsticks…

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We were young, thin, and energetic, and we went to dinner at Olive Garden. That’s where you go when you live in Rexburg, Idaho. That or Wingers. Or Jack in the Crack.

I remember being so nervous and thinking, “Ok I’ll only eat one breadstick, because if I eat more than one he’s going to thing I’m this out of control pig right?…” We sat down to order, and of coarse I asked for the soup and salad like a lady. Then, came my husband (BF). He ordered this seafood Alfredo pasta with a side of alfredo sauce and extra breadsticks.

First thought…

No making out tonight.

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Our meal was brought out to us, and we casually began to eat, flirt, and eat. I remember sitting there watching him pound bread stick after bread stick, as he dipped each bite into a bowl of warm alfredo sauce.  “Another basket sir?”, said the waiter. “Why yes, thank you!”, said the boyfriend.

SIX baskets later, he was done.

Six baskets of bread, three extra servings of alfredo sauce, one seafood alfredo, and the most garlicky sea food breath one could ever imagine.

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Want to know the worst part of the whole story…He weighs like 140 pounds. Feel free to shout at the screen, because IT’S JUST NOT FAIR!

To this day, he is still the same way. Anything he loves food wise, he goes crazy. I have to buy it or make it in bulk, because quickly it will be gone. Especially homemade bread. I usually reserve a loaf just for him, because late at night I’ll hear, “Babe? Will you toast me some bread with butter and honey? Oh, and could you get me a glass of chocolate milk too?”

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So far, I’ve been making THIS homemade bread from I Heart Nap Time, and it’s worked perfectly every time! Our family loves it! Obviously this is a healthy lifestyle blog, and the recipe calls for butter, white flour, and a little sugar, which might contradict someone’s idea of “healthy.” But I’ve always felt that making something from scratch in your own kitchen is always better than buying it at a grocery store, so I’m perfectly fine with making the bread with the ingredients that the recipe calls for.

BUT, I love a challenge, and I decided to see if I could up the nutrients a little and make it a little more “wholesome.”

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I was worried that the ingredients I added would completely mess up the bread, but it came out beautifully! I know that baking bread is a scary thing, but i’ve learned that practice makes perfect. I’ve finally learned how to proof yeast after years of failing. Honestly it was all trial and error, and sadly lots of errors. Play around with water temperatures, and make sure that the water is warm enough to wear you can stick your finger in it for a few seconds without it being too hot.

As for the bread rising, I’ve learned that the place it rises is crucial.

Since it’s 110 where I live, (Jealous?), I open the window and place the bread/yeast on a chair next to the door. It worked perfectly! (I just leave the door open long enough until my husband notices I’m letting out  all of the cool air…)

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And besides, who doesn’t love to bake bread in a hot oven when it’s 110 outside?!

Am I right, or what?!

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Homemade Bread
 
Ingredients
  • 2 c. warm water
  • 2½ tsp. yeast
  • ½ TB. sugar
  • ¼ c. melted coconut oil
  • 1 TB. salt
  • ¼ c. coconut sugar-or organic sugar
  • ⅓ c. evaporated milk
  • 5-7 c. bread flour
  • 4 TB. ground flax seeds
  • 3 TB. chia seeds
  • 4 TB. quinoa flour
  • 4 TB. oat flour
  • 1 TB. melted coconut oil
Instructions
  1. In a small bowl whisk together yeast and sugar. Add warm water over the top and whisk for a couple of seconds Set aside for 15-20 minutes until the yeast rises and become bubbly and frothy. (Place this mixture next to a warm area, such as by a window with sunlight.)
  2. In a mixing bowl fitted with a stand mixer, add the oil, salt, sugar, and milk. Whisk together. Then add the yeast mixture and whisk together.
  3. Attach the bread hook to the stand mixer. Slowly add in 3 cups of the bread flour, kneading until incorporated.
  4. Next add in the flax seeds, chia seeds, quinoa flour, and oat flour. Knead, until incorporated.
  5. Then, using ½ c. measurements, slowly add in flour until the dough is somewhat sticky, but doesn't stick to your fingers.
  6. Remove the dough from the bowl, knead a little if needed. Form dough into a bowl, coat with the 1 TB. melted coconut oil.
  7. Place the dough into a bowl, cover with a light towel, and place in a warm area.
  8. Allow the dough to double in size, about an hour and a half.
  9. Punch the dough down after its doubled.
  10. Knead the dough onto a lightly floured surface. Cut the dough in half.
  11. Rough each dough into a rectangle, then roll it up into a loaf.
  12. Spray a bread pan with cooking oil, place the loaf into the pan, cover with a light towel, and let the dough rise until it's come about the top of the pan.
  13. Bake in a 375 degree oven for 20-25 minutes.
  14. Top with coconut oil.
  15. Enjoy!

 

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I also made little rolls out of the loaf, and they turned out great for lunch sandwiches!

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So now that my husband turned 30 this year, I told him all of those breadsticks and other food he loves is going to eventually catch up to him…And then he will come running to me saying, “Oh babe! You were so right! Please help me to eat healthier! I love you I love you I love you!! “…

Any day now…Any day…