Vegan Cilantro Green Sauce

A simple 5 minute homemade sauce. This is a plant-based, nutritious sauce that the kids will love! It's vegan + gluten free + allergy friendly. This cilantro sauce is perfect for baby-led-weaning, for a toddler's meal + for the hungry dad as well. Top on noodles, rice, even sandwiches. 

Allergy friendly dinner EZPZ

Grill or sauté your favorite, seasonal veggies + you'll have a quick + easy meal ready in no time.

Allergy friendly dinner EZPZ

This sauce pairs great on corn + quinoa noodles. My kids love it in an EZPZ Happy Mat from The Baby Cubby.  It makes for a fun lunch or dinner.

Allergy friendly dinner EZPZ

Vegan Cilantro Green Sauce

Ingredients:

2 cups (or 1 bunch) fresh cilantro (with stems)

1/2 cup oil of choice (Olive oil or avocado oil)

1/2 fresh garlic clove

1 tbsp fresh lime juice

1 tsp salt

1 tsp black pepper

Directions:

Add all ingredients into a food processor. Blend on medium for 1 minute. Pour over your favorite dish. Enjoy!

 

Photography by:// Lindsey Lee & Co

 

Looking for other quick + easy recipes?

 

Welch's® Fresh:Frozen Grape Acai Smoothie

Vegan Lemon Parsley Rice

Lunch Idea's: Let's Have Some Fun

Our Peanut Allergy Diagnosis

I've found there's something similar among all the allergy mom's I've met. We've all experienced trauma. The initial food allergy reaction is traumatic. It's unexpected. It's heartbreaking. It's overwhelming. It changes who we are as mother's. It changes our families. It changes our roles + what's required of us. It changes who we are as people + how we see the world. I'm going to share a little about the trauma I experienced with our peanut allergy diagnosis here. 

Peanut  allergy diagnosis

I'm sharing this story because you never know what someone has been through. My experience isn't the same as everyone else, but I bet we have a lot of similarities. Food allergies are often seen as a "special diet" or a "special accommodation" + often looked to as a burden. But, every family I know that lives with allergies would erase them in a heartbeat if they could. 

These photos of my sweet little 15 month old Bowan have sat on my camera's memory card for two years + haven't seen the light of day. I took these photos because I thought I might want to remind myself that it wasn't in a horrible dream, that this indeed was reality. But, I didn't want to go back + revisit this hospital stay. Part of me has wanted to erase this experience. That isn't possible. Instead, I'm going to share about my experience to help myself heal a little more + to hopefully help the new + old allergy families out there. 

In April of 2015, I took my tiny little 19 pound, 15 month old to have his blood drawn for IgE allergy testing. He had a reaction to a tiny amount of peanut butter + I wanted to confirm the allergy. Additional foods were included in the labs, like avocado, as he had gotten whole body hives from his first taste of this infamous superfood. I was shaking the entire way to the hospital, dreading this experience. I really didn't want to face the situation, but I knew I had to. Bowan sat calmly in my lap, he didn't even flinch during the poke or blood draw. He never even shed a tear. He was so strong. I tried to be as strong as he was, but I didn't want to be. 

Later that week, I got a call from our pediatrician's office that the blood work results were in. The blood work confirmed an anaphylactic allergy to peanuts + eggs. He was also high to avocado, cat + dog. Deep down I absolutely knew Bowan had a serious allergy to peanuts, but my heart actually broke confirming this. I could actually feel my heart break. I can't describe it, but I can still feel it. 

There were some really unfortunate things about this phone call. The most concerning was that our pediatrician delivered the news of the food allergies but did not call in a prescription for an EpiPen to our pharmacy. They told me to make an appointment with an allergist + they would prescribe an EpiPen. I was a wreck wondering what I'd need to do if an emergency were to happen in the seven days leading up to our appointment. 

I was still nursing Bowan, so what I ate impacted him. He would eat very little solid food on his own + nursing was his primary source of nutrition. After this phone call, I put so much pressure on myself to learn what foods were safe for him. I was so discouraged to see that all of our gluten-free flour in our pantry was labeled "made on equipment with tree nuts." I felt like nothing was safe + I had so much learning to do. The allergist's office made it clear that Bowan needed to be free from anti-histamines for a week prior to our visit for the skin testing to be valid. So, I would have to be extra careful with what I would feed him + with what I would eat. If he had a reaction, it would push back our allergy testing. 

RSV in Hospital

That Friday night, after the phone call, I finished making cupcakes for a baby shower. I didn't eat any, I was too afraid. The package read  "may contain tree nuts." Blood work is drawn by weight. And, there were other foods in question that were not included in the blood work but needed to be confirmed through skin testing. I don't think I was able to think straight at all. I was crushed + didn't know what to do or where to start. 

The following day, Saturday, we went to a neighborhood birthday party. It was a really rainy + wet day. I have a dog dander allergy, but I am rarely bothered by it after completing environmental allergy shots years ago. But, that night my throat felt tight + I could really feel the dog dander impacting me. That night, when we came home, Bowan seemed congested + I thought, the dog dander must have really impacted him as well. My mind was spinning + I also thought to myself, don't start overreacting over everything. 

Sunday morning, I went to a yoga class. That was the best thing I could do for myself. Sixty minutes alone, a chance to get a hard workout in + an opportunity to be reminded to breathe. The class was super challenging, just what I needed. I came home soaking wet in my own sweat + felt more positive + refreshed. Until I walked into our kitchen. I greeted Breck + Bowan playing garbage trucks on the wood floor. Bowan's breath seemed to be labored + with fresh eyes, I knew something was wrong right away. I took his Onesie off + his skin looked bluish-purple + I was able to see his skin retracting under his ribs.

One thing I have learned as a mom, is that if one of my children has a health concern, I need to think: can I fix this situation at home, or is there nothing I can do at home to help my child? I thought: no, I'm pretty sure there is nothing I can do. So, I called the Children's Hospital line, they asked for Bowan's symptoms... The nurse said, your son is showing all the signs of respiratory distress, you need to have him here within the 1/2 hour.  

RSV and food allergy diagnosis

I ran upstairs, changed into dry clothes, threw a few things into a bag. Then, headed to the hospital. Once we got there, I was still questioning myself as to if this was an emergency. Maybe he was fine? Maybe I was totally over reacting? Maybe this wasn't even reality?

Once we were in the room, the doctors assured me that Bowan was in the right place + he needed to be treated for respiratory distress. They first tried steroids. If he responded to the steroids, we would know it was allergy or asthma related. He did not. He was then diagnosed with RSV + was put on oxygen + was monitored. He was on oxygen for the required amount of time. (I think that was 3 to 5 hours). But, he was not improving + was working very hard to breathe, even with the help of the oxygen. 

The doctor decided Bowan needed to be transferred to the main Children's campus downtown Denver/Aurora. At that point, it was the middle of the night, maybe 2 am + they placed tiny Bowan onto a stretcher with oxygen + we rode in an ambulance to the hospital.

I was so scared + angry to be in the ambulance. I felt like it was just a prelude to our new life with food allergies. I couldn't  help but think this must be the start of hospital visits + ambulance rides. I was so overwhelmed + all alone. The ambulance ride was the first nap Bowan had that entire day. He slept so peacefully as a tiny little baby on the big stretcher. 

I think the worst part of this experience was arriving in the E.R. + hearing a child scream as we arrived. That child screaming was screaming because something was seriously wrong, they were in serious pain. It broke my heart. I was so overwhelmed, the entire experience was just breaking me down.

Food Allergy diagnosis

We were admitted to a room. The nurses assured me that Bowan needed to stay in the hospital. They told me that RSV can be common for babies + toddlers, yet it is very serious. The nurses let me know we'd likely be in the hospital 3 days + that we were on the floor where we needed to stay quarantined to our room, as RSV is highly contagious.  

During those 3 days, Bowan slept with me on the pull-out Bed, attached to oxygen. He cried in the crib, so the nurses let him sleep with me. I held him in my arms as I tried to sleep. Even though I was completely exhausted, I barely slept as I kept checking on him all night. On our final day in the hospital, he finally slept on his own as we were being discharged. I took these photos + tried to process this experience. 

I remember thinking this hospital stay was very similar to a hospital stay after the birth of a baby. In that, the doctors + nurses were in + out all day. It was completely chaotic. One morning, Bowan was sound asleep on our little bed. I got up + started to wash my sweaty yoga hair in the sink with the antibacterial hand soap. A doctor came in at that point + I don't think I ever rinsed out the soap + I kind of dabbed it dry with the paper towels. I remember feeling like everything about the stay was chaotic. 

I barely ate while we were in the hospital. I didn't know what I should order, there weren't many gluten-free or vegetarian options for me. And, when the food did arrive, there was some kind of interruption. I remember truly feeling like I was starving while we were there. It was a horrible feeling + it amplified all of my other negative feelings. 

RSV Hospital stay

Another difficulty that we faced was that our pediatrician's office was closing on Wednesday, so I had to find a new office + schedule follow-up appointments while we were in the hospital. I remember feeling extra stressed that we had to find a new doctor in the middle of this. 

We were finally discharged after our 3 day stay. Bowan came down with an ear infection on our final day + needed antibiotics. I was so discouraged, yet happy we could go home. That evening while at home, Bowan had his dose of antibiotic, my husband gave him a bath while I laid in bed. When he brought Bowan to me, I thought something's wrong again. He looked blue + purple, but I thought he must be really cold after the bath. He nursed, then projectile vomited all over me. I've never experienced anything like that. I knew something was very wrong. His body was limp + he kept throwing up. I called my friend that was an experienced allergy mom. Right away she said... Call 911. Within hours of arriving home, we had an ambulance + fire truck at our house. Bowan had an allergic reaction to the antibiotic. He threw it up + did not need any additional care. But, I surely could've used the Epi Pen in that situation, but I didn't have one yet. We went back to the hospital, they assessed him + changed his medication.

The following day we had our appointment with the allergist. I was so thankful to get more answers + hopefully a little more help. The allergist always checks vitals before skin testing. I was heart broken when he said, we can't skin test today because he has pneumonia. We were then prescribed a nebulizer + steroids to give Bowan for the following week to help the pneumonia pass. We also finally got the EpiPen prescription. 

Another week went by of carefully eating, reading labels, researching companies + emailing companies to learn about the manufacturing processes. We finally did get in for skin testing the following week, he was clear of pneumonia + we also learned of Bowan's tree nut + sesame allergies. 

Peanut Allergy Diagnosis

Following this experience, I became very depressed. It surely took time for me to process the situation + educate myself about food allergies. I was sad + angry that I threw away or gave away our entire pantry. It felt like I was cooking all day + creating recipes. I shut down my Etsy shop + stopped working. I read a lot on gut health. And, in November of that year, I attended Fablog Con + met other like-minded food allergy moms. It's been a long road, but I am surely on the other side. There will always be dark patches, but this experience has strengthened me. 

If you are working through a new diagnosis, I strongly encourage you to find a counselor that can help you work through the complexities of the diagnosis + lifestyle changes. It was extremely helpful for me to practice EMDR treatments. As, my counselor helped me walk through an emergency allergy situation to help me feel prepared + to help me to rid it from my mind so I wouldn't feel like it was haunting me. I would have nightmares that Bowan would find a peanut in the corner of our house or under the coushins of our couch. I was afraid I wouldn't be able to take my eyes off of him even in my own house. What if he found an allergen that I didn't know was there? She empowered me to know that deep cleaning my house was a realistic + proactive thing to do. And, sure enough, I did find some peanuts in one couch + it was a smart + safe thing to do. 

If you know someone that is going through a new diagnosis, ask them: how can I help? Listen. Even the smallest act of service will be more impactful than you'd ever know. 

My Motherhood Motto + a Giveaway

I'm sharing my motherhood motto with you along with the motto's of my blogging besties. I actually have a lot of thoughts on motherhood, so I'm summing up a few thoughts that I think are important + valuable. Plus, my friends share amazing advice that I'm sure will encourage you this Mother's Day. 

honest motherhood

We long to be mother's. The road to motherhood is different for everyone, but an honest answer from many moms is that motherhood is more difficult + trying than we ever imagined. We also often loose ourselves along the way, or we need to redefine ourselves at some point along or motherhood journey. 

My motherhood motto that I share below centers on finding our identity as moms + women. We have voices everywhere telling us everything we should do + can do. But, it's not realistic + it doesn't lead to happiness. If we are pushing ourselves to do + be everything. We won't be happy. And, our kids won't either. Some moms like to be homebodies (I mean, getting the kids into carseats is more work than it's worth sometimes) + some moms enjoy being on the go. Some moms enjoy art projects with their kids, some would rather send them to art class. Some moms love baking + some know where the best bakery is in their area. Some moms enjoy a workout in their home with chaos around + some need the space to workout outside the home. Some moms love traveling + globetrotting with their children + other moms like staycations + adventures within driving distance. 

I'm trying to share encouragement with you to listen to your gut. That still, small voice. I surely know that sometimes that voice is lost + it's a heart breaking struggle to find it again. But, I promise you it's worth it. We can't be everything to everyone. But, we can be healthy, whole + seeking the best sense of balance we can find. And, I think our kids will thrive on it. 

motherhood motto

Motherhood for me is complete selflessness. I'm not the focus, my children are. Motherhood is all about never giving up the struggle. It's a struggle everyday but a beautiful and fulfilling one. When you tell yourself never to give up that's when the real beauty of a mom is shown. We fight the good fight of surviving the hard days and the good days. It's the only job in the world I never want to quit! Alia of Little Mrs. Priss

For me, motherhood is about balance, grace, and love. Raising tiny humans is so hard and not at all glamorous, but it is also beautiful, amazing, and so rewarding. At the end of the day you just have to see the beauty in it all, give yourself grace, and embrace it. Amidst all the chaos, motherhood is a joyous journey.  Jessica of Mama Essentials.

Motherhood is a marathon not a sprint.  I've learned to just do the best I can and to not be so hard on myself.  There is no such thing as a perfect mom. Andrea of With love... Andrea

Motherhood is so many things, but the one word that encompasses it all for me is selfless. A mothers life is dedicated to loving and raising her children, often with little concern for herself. It is a crazy, fun, busy journey and there is nothing that has brought me more happiness in my life than my children. Kaycee of Cordially Kaycee

Motherhood is a personal journey that looks different for everyone. It's important for women to learn what their core beliefs are so they can incorporate them into their parenting style + daily routine. My motherhood motto is find who you are as a mom and be that, everyone else is already taken. Find your top 5 parenting values, thrive on those and don't fret too much about the rest. Lindsey of Lindsey Lee & Co.

Motherhood to me is trying to be present in the wonderful moments + the chaotic moments. Whether you're present or not, time will slip right through your fingers. #YouHaveMyWholeHeartForMyWholeLife Stefanie of What's Up Buttarcup

Motherhood Motto

Motherhood Mottos:

Motherhood in the last two years has taught me strengths I didn't know I had, fears I didn't know I could have, but most of all a love that I didn't know existed!! Motherhood is a wild and crazy ride that I feel so blessed to experience. Kayla of A Darling Dream

For me, being a mama is all about doing whatever it takes. Whether it's figuring out how to survive with a baby who doesn't sleep, or balancing work and motherhood, we all have to do what works best for our babies and our families. We are all doing the best we can, and no one is ever going to agree with everything you do (and that's ok!). You do you mama! Lindsay of Middle of Somewhere

I've only been a mom now for two years, but it has been the best two years of my life so far. Everyone always tells you when you're pregnant that your life is going to change once a baby comes, and it does, but for the better. You see this little person that you created growing each day and experiencing things for the first time and it brings you an indescribable joy to your life. Being a parent is the hardest thing I've done so far, but it is the most rewarding job I've ever had. I've had moments in my life where I wasn't sure if I wanted a child, and now that I have one I can't imagine not being able to experience such a crazy type of love for someone.  Does becoming a parent change your life? Absolutely, but I wouldn't  trade it for the world! Sarah of Sew Sarah R

My motherhood motto is support and patience.  It's about allowing your tiny human to find their own way, while guiding them down the right path.  Then to not lose your "you know what" when they don't make the right choice. Megan of the Fashionista Mama

Your greatest contribution to this world may not be necessarily what you do, but someone you raise. Changing the world starts with within your household. Hannah of brave Blonde

Motherhood isn't about having a picture perfect home with spotless floors + perfect little ones running around... Motherhood is about loving on your crying baby at 3am, changing the millionth dirty diaper, + enjoying the sweet and very real moments that come along with being a mama... I'm just enjoying the journey of motherhood because these babies of ours sure won't be little like this for long. Kasey of Thee Girl in Yellow

 

motherhood motto

These lovely ladies + I are excited to be teaming up to giveaway the ultimate mommy + me prize pack. Be sure to enter via the Rafflecopter below. Also, remember that the more entries, the better your chance of winning is! The giveaway is open to US residents only. It will run from 12am MST on 5/10 until 5/17. One lucky winner will receive the following:

A $150 giftcard to Target

A $50 giftcard to Incredibundles.com

A set of 6 supersized bath bombs from Sky Organics

A Mother's Day gift set from All In the Cards

A $50 gift card to Miss Match

A 5mL bottle of Lavender essential oil from Young Living

A diaper caddy from b.box for kids

A pair of boy or girl shoes from PediPed

A ergoPouch ergoCocoon swaddle to sleep bag

A $40 gift bag of assorted products from MAM

A $30 gift package of assorted GoSili products

  aRafflecopter Giveaway

Apple Cinnamon Vanilla Cupcakes with Mott's® Fresh Sliced Snacks

Fresh apples in cupcakes? Yes, please! Fresh fruit isn't just for snacking. It's perfect for baking, too. This recipe is the perfect combination of a hot apple pie + a moist cupcake + a fresh, crunchy apple slice. Plus, Mott's® Fresh Sliced Snacks already completed much of the prep work for you with this delicious treat. 

gluten free apple cinnamon cupcakes

Cupcakes are really just muffins that believed in miracles. 

apple cinnamon cupcakes 12.jpg

This Fresh Apple Cinnamon cupcake recipe is also perfect as a muffin recipe. You can enjoy the warm muffins with a side of Mott's® Fresh Sliced Snacks: Apple Slices + your favorite coffee or smoothie for the kids. Or, dress up this muffin with the rich, apple cinnamon frosting topped with the fresh apples for a touch of fancy. 

gluten free apple cinnamon cupcakes

Did you know that many of the children in the U.S. do not meet the daily recommended intake of fruits + vegetables? It is recommended that children eat 2 1/2 cups of vegetables + 1 1/2 cups of fruit daily. This recipe is a fun way to get your kids to eat a healthy serving of fruit both in + on these cupcakes. Your kids may even want to eat the Apple Slices right out of the snack bags + dip them into the frosting!

Gluten free cupcakes

Apple Cinnamon Cupcakes with Mott's® Fresh Sliced Snacks

Ingredients:

3 Large packages of Mott's® Fresh Sliced Snacks: Apple Slices

1 1/2 Cups of your favorite gluten-free flour blend

2 Eggs (Or, 2 egg substitutes: 2 Tbsp ground flaxseed + 6 Tbsp water)

3/4 Cup Rice milk (or milk of choice)

1/2 Cup Sugar

1/4 Cup dairy-free butter substitute at room temperature

1 tsp Vanilla extract

1 1/2 tsp Baking soda

1 tsp Xanthan Gum

1 tsp Salt

Ingredients for Fresh Apple Filling:

2 Cups of the Mott's® Fresh Sliced Snacks: Apple Slices from above

1/4 Cup Sugar

2 Tbsp Gluten-free cornstarch

1 tbsp Fresh lemon juice

 1 1/2 tsp Cinnamon

1/4 tsp Nutmeg

1/2 Cup Water

Ingredients for Fresh Apple Cinnamon Frosting:

1 Cup Palm shortening

3 Cups Confectioner's sugar

1 Tbsp Rice milk

1/4 Cup reserved Apple Pie filling from above

 

apple cinnamon vegan cupcakes

Apple Cinnamon Cupcakes with Mott's® Fresh Sliced Snacks

Directions:

Apple pie filling:

Finely chop 2 cups Mott's® Fresh Sliced Snacks: Apple Slices. Place apple slices in a bowl. Add 1/4 cup water + lemon juice + toss to prevent browning. In a saucepan, on low heat, whisk together: cornstarch + additional 14 cup water until blended. Add cinnamon + sugar + nutmeg + whisk until blended. Add the contents of the Fresh apple bowl to saucepan. Cook on low heat until apples are tender. Set aside.

Cupcake batter:

Pre-heat oven to 325 degrees. Place cupcake liners into the cupcake tin. 

Combine lemon juice, vanilla + rice milk + set aside. 

In a small bowl, add ground flax seed + water. Mix + set aside. 

Beat dairy free butter substitute with a mixer until smooth. Add in sugar + increase mixer speed to medium. Add flax eggs + beat for 20-40 seconds with mixer. 

Reduce mixer speed to low + add gluten free flour + baking soda + Xanthin gum + salt. Mix until just combined. 

Scoop the apple pie filling into the batter + stir. Reserve 1/4 cup of the apple pie liquid filling for the frosting. 

Fill the cupcake liners 3/4 of the way full with batter. Bake for 18 minutes, until the top is golden brown + a toothpick can be inserted in the middle of the cupcake to come out clean. Transfer to a cooling rack. Let cool completely before frosting. Yields 15 cupcakes. 

Frosting:

In a mixing bowl, cream palm shortening with a stand or hand mixer for about 1 minute on medium speed. Add confectioner's sugar, rice milk + reserved liquid apple pie filling. Beat until smooth + fluffy, for 3-5 minutes. 

Add frosting to a piping bag + pipe frosting onto cupcakes once cupcakes are completely cooled. 

Arrange Mott's® Fresh Sliced Snacks: Apple Slices onto the frosting. Enjoy!

 

How do you like to enjoy your moist cupcakes + crunchy fresh fruit?

This post was sponsored by Mott's® Fresh

Photography by: // Lindsey Lee & Co. 

Apple Cinnamon vanilla cupcake recipe

 

 

Safety + Quality Time with Ring

Safety + quality time don't happen by accident. We need to plan for it + structure safety + quality time into our lives. I'm home with my kids during the week. It sure can be chaotic + busy. But, I do my best to spend quality time with my kids in-between all the cooking + cleaning. We recently installed the Ring Video Doorbell + we are loving it! Ring has given us safety + privacy that has improved our quality time at home. 

Lifestyle photography

Recently, I was cooking lunch for the kids. Breck noticed someone at the door. He called me over to answer it. So, I left the quinoa cooking on the stove, picked up baby Bridger, while Breck + Bowan came to the door with me to answer it. I forgot the quinoa was cooking until a few minutes into our conversation. By then, a second salesperson came to the door. So, it was super chaotic. I was trying to listen to two people at the same time, the kids needed me + I ended up having to cut-off the conversations to semi-save our lunch.

Ring video image

If I would've had Ring installed for that situation, it could've saved all of us the hassle of chaos + miscommunication. When someone walks up to your front door, the video senses motion + sends an alert to your phone. Through the App, you can also talk to the people outside through your phone! So, I could've set-up a new time for them to come back, or I could've asked them to leave the information on our front table, or I could've just not answered at all. I love this feature + I will surely be using this when this situation comes up again, because I know it will. Here's a photo of Me + baby Bridger ringing our Ring doorbell + my husband checking who it is on the App on his phone. 

Another amazing feature of Ring, is that it saves videos of motion or people at your front door. I was thinking this could be very useful if we ever have our own emergency at home. My kids understand how to push the button + talk into it. This could be a great way to set-up an emergency action plan for help if we ever need it, as my kids do not know how to use my phone + we don't have a landline. Here's a quick video the was saved to our App. You can also download and send videos if you'd ever need to make a police report. The video recording feature of Ring is only an extra $3 a month, and it'll save an unlimited number of videos for up to 6 months. 

We love that Ring is easy to use + was easy to install + came with everything we needed to hang it up quickly. You can also set the doorbell to chime inside your house or to remain silent. Perfect for nap times! Then, you can just answer through your phone. 

Ring Video doorbell

I also love that both my husband + I can see when a package has been dropped off to our house. We order what we can online. Because, it's hard taking your kids to the store with you! It's really helpful to know if something has arrived + we need to bring it inside. My husband can even see that something has arrived from his office. 

lifestyle photography

Just in time for Mother's Day, Ring is sharing a $25 discount code with me that's good for the purchase of any Ring device, valid now until May 14th. If you have a momma in your life, this would make a great gift for her for Mother's Day! Simply make your purchase through this link + use code THANKSMOM at checkout. 

Cheers to more uninterrupted time with our kids! I do what I can to not let the tiny moments slip by. Now, we can at least have fewer interruptions with help from Ring.

 

This post was sponsored by Ring. #AlwaysHome

 

Photography by: // Kathleen Peachey   +   Lindsey Lee & Co. 

Bento Box Snacks with Minted + Pottery Barn Kids

May is Food Allergy AwarenessCeliac Disease Awareness month. 1 in 13 kids in America now lives with food allergies. 15 million Americans live with food allergies. And, 3 million Americans live with Celiac Disease. Food allergies + Celiac can be very difficult to manage, but there are some great products that surely enhance our quality of life. I'm going to share a few things we love here. 

bento box

My family loves this bento box from Pottery Barn Kids. I just love the little compartments. It helps me to think more creatively when preparing a meal or snack. We use these boxes both at home + out + about. When we aren't at home, it is so nice that the food is contained to the box. 

bento box

Unfortunately, food allergies means no sharing + no reaching into other people's lunches. Even a slight amount of cross contamination from the finger tips that just touched a wheat cookie is still enough to cause a severe reaction for someone with a medically necessary gluten-free diet. 

allergy friendly lunch

We also love the personalized lunchbox stickers from Minted. First of all, they are completely adorable! They also clearly state my kid's names + list things like: no gluten, I have a nut allergy.  We have multiple styles of stickers + they are all very useful. It can be difficult for me to be direct about our food allergies sometimes when we are at a park or and event. It's much easier on me when the other kids or parents are able to see that we need to keep our allergy-friendly food separate. 

bento box
bento box lunch

It's important find joy in the ordinary moments. We do our best to find joy around here. Honestly, I am most joyful when we are safe, as safety is a basic human need. Something that may seem as simple as lunch boxes + stickers really can make a big difference for us. Plus, my kids think they are fun. So, it's a big win all around. 

Bento box

Here is a great video that helps spread Celiac Disease awareness in 60 seconds. It's a great video + very helpful. Celiac Disease + food allergies are different conditions, but share similarities. Both Celiac + food allergies require people to 100% avoid the food allergen or gluten. The only way to treat Celiac Disease is through a medically necessary gluten free diet. 

bento box
food allergy awareness
food allergy awareness
food allergy awareness

Thank you so much for your kindness + support during Food Allergy Awareness + Celiac Disease Awareness month. It means the world to the people living with these conditions. 

Featured Items:

Pottery Barn Kids Bento Box

Minted Lunchbox Stickers

Gathre Mat

Enjoy Life Foods Cookies

Glutino Foods Pretzels

 

 

Photography by: // Kathleen Peachey

Earth Day Activities For Kids with Oriental Trading

Earth Day is a perfect opportunity to teach our children about our environment, recycling + compassion. According to my 5 year old, everyday is Earth Day! And, he's right! Everyday we can do things both big + small to help take care of our planet Earth. I'm sharing a fun Earth Day activity here with Oriental Trading.  

Earth Day Activity

Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It's not. -The Lorax

earth day craft

Making a positive impact on our environment can seem like a daunting task. But, we believe both big + small projects can be impactful for our environment. My kids have become obsessed with trash trucks + that has also led to a fascination with recycling. We do all we can to recycle weekly. We also enjoy learning about other ways to be environmentally friendly.

Kids Earth Day Activity

Another way we like to improve our environment is by growing plants. Did you know that there are many plants that clean the air? We painted some flower pots so we can plant some new air cleaning plants. We ordered both finger paints + flower pots from Oriental Trading.

Earth Day Craft

Here are some plants that help to purify indoor air:

Aloe Vera

Spider Plant

Peace Lily

Boston Fern

Gerbera Daisy

English Ivy

Weeping Fig

earth day craft

I know it may seem small + insignificant, but it's not about what it is, it's about what it can become - Dr. Seuss' The Lorax

earth day craft

I think Earth Day is not only about planting trees + plants. I think it's also about exploring our own creativity. That's where new big ideas will bloom. It's the small creative ideas that may be able to greatly impact our future. I wanted this activity to be a fun, unstructured creativity that could lead to ideas, questions + a little curiosity. 

Garbage truck kid

Here's Breck, my 5 year old son that has had a fascination with garbage + recycling trucks since he was 18 months old. I never would've guessed that trash + recycling would be the things that he would love most. But, I love that he has helped to teach his family = friends about the importance of recycling. Photo by: // Kathleen Peachey

Earth Day craft

We don't inherit the Earth from our ancestors, we borrow it from our children. -Native American Proverb

 

So, let's teach our kids to find creative ways to celebrate Earth Day every day. 

 

Photography by: // Lindsey Lee & Co.     +     Kathleen Peachey

Go Organic for Our Environment + Our Kids with Finn + Emma

Organic cotton is better for our kids + our environment. When I can, I go organic. I love the organic clothing line by Finn + Emma. It's adorable + environmentally friendly. Plus, turquoise.... It's my color!

organic baby clothing

Organic farming has lots of benefits for our environment. At times, it can be hard to remember our clothing actually is derived from plants or crops. Organic cotton is grown alongside food that feeds our farmers + neighbors. Planting, growing + harvesting organic cotton produeces up to 94% less greenhouse gas emissions than conventional cotton. 

Newborn photography

Three reasons to choose organic:

  1. Save precious water.
  2. Combat climate change.
  3. Help farmers feed their families.

Read more reasons to go organic here

organic baby clothing

Do the best you can until you know better. Then when you know better do better. -Maya Angelou

finn and emma
Organic baby clothing
Organic baby clothing
Childhood photography

I love cuddling little Bridger, the days are long + the years are short. Holding him + wearing him in soft clothing makes the moments even more special. Finn and Emma's® garments are made with buttery soft, G.O.T.S. certified organic cotton + non-toxic, eco-friendly dyes. The adorable garment snaps are lead + nickel free + feature real coconut inserts. The clothing line is made to accommodate cloth diapers + they fit so well on Bridger with a cloth diaper. 

 

Photography by: // Lindsey Lee & Co.

Vegan Lemon Parsley Rice from our local Whole Foods, Colorado

I focus on feeding my family fresh plant-based meals.I have always valued health. I hope to instill this lifestyle in my own children. Maintaining a healthy diet is even more important to me now that I have a family of 5. Health is really the center of who we are. We love finding fresh + health-giving foods from our local Whole Foods in Colorado. 

vegan gluten free dinner

Whole Foods carefully regulates which foods + companies they place on their shelves in order to maintain the focus on health-giving products for customers. Some "ingredients" that are not found in the store are high fructose corn syrup, hydrogenated fats, and artificial flavors + sweeteners + preservatives + colors. I love the selection of nutritious foods at our local Whole Foods. I also love to create fresh meals with the produce I find in the store as well.

vegan gluten free dinner

Lemon Parsely Rice + Fresh Sautéed Vegetables

Ingredients:

Rice:

2 Cups Rice

4 Cups Water

1 Tablespoon Olive Oil

Rice Seasoning:

1 Bunch Fresh Parsley

3 Tablespoons Jarred Minced Garlic

1 Fresh Lemon

2 Tablespoons Olive Oil

Salt + Pepper to taste

Sautéed Vegetables:

1 Bunch Easter Raddishes

2 Large Portobello Mushrooms

2 Cups Sliced Button Mushrooms

1 Green Pepper

1 Red Pepper

1 Zucchini

1/2 Red Onion

Olive Oil for Sautéing 

Lemon Parsley Rice

Directions:

Prepare rice according to package directions. Many rice varieties are 1:2 ratio of rice to water. Add olive oil instead of butter for a vegan option. Prepare your pot of water for your rice as you begin to work on the next steps of your meal.

Wash the lemon. Next, grate your lemon rind over a medium sized bowl for your rice seasoning. Grate 2 Tablespoons of fresh lemon rind. Then, slice your lemon + squeeze two tablespoons of fresh lemon juice into your mixing bowl. Reserve remaining lemon juice to add to vegetables or rice to taste. Then, add 3 tablespoons jarred minced garlic to the mixing bowl. Then, add 1 tsp of pink Himalayan salt + 1 tsp of fresh cracked pepper to your mixing bowl (adjust to taste). Wash the bunch of fresh parsley. Next, mince the parsley on a cutting board. Add one cup of fresh parsley to your mixing bowl. Mince the remaining parsley + reserve as a garnish toping for the rice.

Next, place a large colander in your clean sink. Wash your vegetables. Begin to slice your vegetables to sauté in the frying pan. Chop the vegetables lengthwise on a large cutting board + place on a large clean plate. Fill your large frying pan with 1 tsp of olive oil + place a thin layer of vegetables in the pan. Turn heat to medium high. Turn vegetables with a spatula + continue to watch the rice. As the first batch of vegetables are cooking, slice the Easter radishes + arrange on plates. Watch vegetables in the pan + continue to turn. As the vegetables become sautéed, transfer to plates + add additional vegetables to sauté.

Once rice has cooked + you've allowed it to stand covered according to package directions, add the prepared mixing bowl of rice seasoning to the pot of rice. Stir + cover until vegetables are finished sautéing.  

When the vegetables are all sautéed, scoop rice onto individual plates. Sprinkle the reserved minced parsley on the top of the rice. Drizzle a small amount of reserved lemon juice on top of the rice as well. Add sautéed vegetables around your rice. Set your table with salt + pepper to add to taste.

For kids, try placing some sautéed vegetables in a corn tortilla with rice added on top + roll up. Kids generally love food rolled in a tortilla. 

For a garlic allergy, omit garlic and substitute 1 bunch minced chives (if chives are tolerated, they are in the same botanical family as garlic). My son, Bowan, once had a garlic allergy. He has since outgrown it + now often eats all forms of garlic with no reactions. As, hives on the face were his previous reaction as a toddler. 

vegan dinner

Enjoy your fresh, family-friendly meal! This batch of rice should be enough to allow you to save 1-2 servings of rice for lunch for the following day. Try adding it to corn tortillas with fresh vegetables + a sliced avocado, for a quick grab-and-go lunch option.  Do you modify the presentation of your dinner for your kids? Like, adding your meal to a tortilla for them? I'd love to know in the comments.

 

Photography by: // Lindsey Lee & Co

vegan lemon parsley rice

 

Looking for additional vegan, gluten-free, allergy friendly recipes?

Try these below:

Welch's® Fresh: Frozen Grape Acai Smoothie

Sunflower Seed Sauce: Peanut-free Version of Peanut Sauce

Green Goodness Cilantro Sauce

Let Them Eat Cake! With Allergen Free Bakes

Allergen Free Bakes is a new bakery in Denver, Colorado that is free of the top allergens + serves up inclusion, joy, safety + of course, cake! As a mom of a child with food allergies, it sure can take a toll on me to provide a safe treat for my son for every party, event or outing. Food is included at almost every event + sometimes food even feels like the main attraction. I was so excited when Allergen Free Bakes started up in Denver, as our family really doesn't get to do typical things like head out to a bakery, or order a cake or dessert for a party. I'm typically the baker. It's just one of the requirements of us allergy moms.

Denver Blogger

Let them eat cake! Is the focus + goal of Allergen Free Bakes. The founders of the bakery, Angie + Steve both have allergies + Celiac Disease themselves. Plus, they have two sons with food allergies. They live the daily struggles of the management of food allergies + auto-immune disease. Because they live it + because they have big hearts, they started a business based on compassion + empathy. 

I was lucky enough to meet Angie + Steve in person at the Food Allergy Bloggers Conference. Angie + I since have become friends. Angie is an incredibly positive person, yet she is open to sharing her heart that has been broken, yet presses on... 

Denver bakery nut free bakery

As individuals with food allergies, we know how it feels to be excluded. We decline invitations to dine out, or we accept, but only order drinks. Sitting plate-less at a table keeps us safe, but leaves us disconnected. -Angie

Kathleen Peachey Photography

We live in a society where food is so readily available, almost literally on every street corner. Families living with food allergies + Celiac Disease are naturally kind of set apart from the rest of society. Because we can't just grab + go, our time is spent very differently. Planning + preparing safe meals is just part of life with food allergies + Celiac. And, it honestly impacts many other areas of our lives. 

Gluten free cupcakes
denver blogger

As parents of kids with food allergies, we know how it feels to watch exclusion. We cook the night before our kids attend parties so they'll have something to eat while the other partygoers have pizza + ice cream. We teach them to keep their food separate, and to not share their food, for fear of cross contamination. That made me tear up. We teach our children not to share. Food allergy life is challenging in many ways. -Angie

Gluten free cupcakes
Denver Nut free bakery

Shortly after our business launched, we were approached by a couple planning an inclusive wedding. We sat with coffee + cake sample + they told us about their family + friends with food allergies. They chose to have us provide all of the wedding desserts, though only a small set of their guests needed food accommodations. This compassionate couple wanted everyone to come to the same table. That's beautiful! -Angie

kathleen peachey photography allergen free bakes

I hosted Christmas at our house this year. I embrace the cooking + planning + cleaning I have to do for my family. But, honestly, I get very overwhelmed at times. Sometimes, I even get a little angry about what's required of me. I just want to feel normal. I didn't want to take on everything on Christmas day if I did't have to. I wanted to spend time playing with my kids. That's what they will remember. Plus, I had a three month old baby that still needed to nurse often, so I was surely crunched for time. 

kathleen peachey photography lifestyle photography

I ordered a beautiful chocolate cake from Allergen Free Bakes for Christmas. It was double layered with vanilla frosting + topped with ganache. It was stunning + delicious. Plans for Christmas day changed last minute + I was going to have more guests at a short notice. I asked Angie if she made cinnamon rolls that we could have for Christmas breakfast. Of course she did! And, of course they're amazing! Christmas season is a very busy time + she accommodated my request + I was able to place 3 orders of cinnamon rolls last minute. I will always be grateful for her graciousness to likely over-extend herself to fill orders during the busy holiday season.

nut free cupcakes Gluten free cupcakes
Food allergy mom

Part of our job as allergy-friendly bakers is sourcing the safest ingredients with the lowest risk of cross-contamination. We contact companies frequently, as we know manufacturing practices + ingredients can change with zero fanfare. We disclose all of our ingredients, + the companies we use on our website. It's important for people to know what's in their food, so they can make informed choices. -Angie

Nut free bakery

Allergen Free Bakes makes many incredible desserts. Everything in their bakery is top-8 free, vegan, gluten-free, celiac-safe, nut-free, seed-free, corn + yeast-free. This is incredible + so hard to find. Their bakery items include: ganache filled cupcakes, banana breakfast cake, bundtletts, toasted coconut chocolate cream pie, signature cupcakes, cinnamon rolls + banana cupcakes. 

Kathleen Peachey Photography
lifestyle photography

When you can't find the sunshine, be the sunshine. Life often has unexpected difficulties + set-backs. Small business owners oftentimes experience many hardships, growing-pains + set-backs on top of "life". Allergen Free Bakes recently had a pipe break + a water-leak in their kitchen, so they are closed for repairs. Of course this is heartbreaking + overwhelming. I believe in them so much. Starting a small business takes bravery. But, even the bravest of creatives can still face discouragement. Can you do me a huge favor? Can you please head over to their Instagram + leave some encouragement for them? It would mean the world to me. You may also spread so much kindness to help change the course of someone's life. Hugs. 

 

We feel honored to provide baked goods for our food allergy community + the people who support their safety + inclusion. Our motto is: Let them eat cake! Together! -Angie

 

Let the beauty we love be what we do. -Rumi

 

Photography by:// Kathleen Peachey        // Please visit Kathleen Peachy on Instagram to see her beautiful work.

Welch's® Fresh: Frozen Grape Acai Smoothie

Fresh fruit is an amazing treat. It's a treat to our health + our taste buds. Naturally sweet, kids love this nutritious food. Fruit is perfect in smoothies + this recipe easily disguises a green leafy vegetable, spinach, that is often difficult to get kids to eat. Welch's® Fresh grapes take center stage in this recipe. It's one I'm sure your whole family will enjoy.

Welch's grapes

Did you know grapes are packed with important nutrients + have many health benefits?

Grape Nutrition:

  • Grapes are a good source of the essential trace mineral copper, which is crucial for energy production. 
  • One cup of Welch's® Fresh grapes contains only 104 calories. 
  • Grapes are a good source of phytonutrients which are thought to have health protecting qualities such as, fighting free radicals that are known to cause damage in the body. Phytonutrients are so important that The American Cancer Society + The American Heart Association recommend eating a diet high in fruits + vegetables too ensure a high intake of phytonutrients.
  • Grapes are a good source of riboflavin (B2). Riboflavin helps the body metabolize fats + protein. Riboflavin also helps the body convert B6 + folate into usable forms in the body.

 For more nutrition information, visit eatright.org

grape smoothie bowl

Welch's® Fresh: Frozen Grape Acia Smoothie Ingredients:

2 Cups Frozen Welch's® Fresh Grapes

2 Cups Frozen Raspberries

1 Cup Frozen Blackberries

1 Cup Filtered Water

1/2 Cups Welch's® Frozen Grape Juice Concentrate

1/2 Cup Fresh Spinach

1/4 Cup Frozen Marion Berries 

1/4 Cup Frozen Acai Juice or Concentrate

2 Tbsp Hemp Seeds

2 Tbsp Ground Flax Seeds

 

To create a Smoothie Bowl, Top with any of the following options:

1/4 Cup Edible Flowers

1 Tbsp Hemp Seeds

1 Tbsp Ground Flax Seeds

1/4 Cup Fresh or Frozen Grapes

1/4 Cup Seeds or Nuts

Welch's Fresh Grapes

Directions:

Wash Welch's® Fresh grapes under cool water in a colander. You can use a little salt or baking soda to help wash off any debris from Nature's elements. Peel the grapes off the stem + place in a ziplock bag. Measure out two cups + extra for snacking. Do not dry off, place in the bag with a little moisture. Place in the freezer for 3-5 hours or overnight.

In blender add: frozen grape concentrate, spinach, hemp seeds + flax seeds. Next, add the frozen fruit: frozen grapes, frozen raspberries, frozen blackberries + marion berries. Next, pour in water + acai juice. Place the top on the blender + blend on your smoothie setting or on high for 30 seconds. Check the consistency, then add a little extra water if needed or blend for an extra 20-40 seconds.

For a quick smoothie drink: pour into glasses + top with a straw + enjoy!

Grape Smoothie Bowl

Directions for a Hearty Smoothie Bowl:

Pour blended smoothie into a bowl. Arrange edible flowers in your bowl. Top with flax + hemp seeds. For extra crunch + protein add: seeds + nuts, granola + some frozen Welch's® Fresh grapes. Enjoy!

Welch's grape smoothie bowl

The frozen grapes are such a nice touch to this smoothie. They give the smoothies a great chill, just as ice cubes do, but with more nutritional benefit. The frozen grape concentrate brings a natural sweetness to the smoothie as well as a little tart kick. My kids honesty love this smoothie + continue to ask for it. They generally don't eat a spinach salad, but they help put the spinach into the blender + love it! My kids think it is a lot of fun to watch the grapes change their consistency when frozen. I love that they are able to learn about healthy plant-based foods as children. I think touching the food, talking about it + helping prepare it will help them to develop a life-long value for health + wellness. That sure is my goal, so bring on the frozen Welch's® Fresh grape experiments!

Welch's Fresh grape Smoothie Bowl

We love Cooking with Welch's® Fresh grapes at our house + we hope you will too! You can enter the Welch's® Fresh Great Grape Shape-Up Sweepstakes by entering Here. You could win a $100 Visa Gift Card! Cheers!

 

This post was sponsored by Welch's® Fresh. These opinions are my own + I hope my honest thoughts + recipe help you in your kitchen!

 

Photography by: // Lindsey Lee & Co.

The heartbreaking side of life with food allergies

My heart is broken today. Sometimes I feel like my heart breaks so far apart I may not be able to put it back together again. Sometimes it hurts so much, I don't want to put the pieces back together. Sometimes I wonder if this is just how life will always be with food allergies? But, I was given some wise advice: Be the person you needed when you were younger. So, that's what I'm going to be right now. I'm going to be honest + lay my heart out here for all the internet to see. Because these are the words I needed to hear two years ago. Honesty, I still need to hear them today.

food allergy diagnosis

There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you -Maya Angelou. I realize that some people in my life may think it revolves around food allergies. But, honestly, I hold the pain + sadness in so tight that it hurts. I try to bear the pain + responsibility of managing a child with life threatening allergies. But, days like today, I just can't carry that load anymore. It's like I walk around with a plastic bag over my head + I'm getting just enough oxygen to survive, but sometimes that bag gets really tight + I start to suffocate. That's today. 

food allergy diagnosis

My middle son, Bowan, has multiple life threatening food allergies. We get by + we deal with them. But, it's hard. Sometimes it's just completely overwhelming. What always overwhelms me the most is when he has an allergic reaction in my own kitchen. Our house is supposed to be a safe space. Our happy place. A place where my three kids are loved, encouraged + feel safe. But, there have been times when I've unknowingly bought, stored + fed my son foods that could kill him. I know I sound so overly dramatic. But, this needs to be said for my fellow allergy moms. This is the reality we face. This is what I needed to relate to two years ago. I still need to relate to other moms that struggle with the same complex issues of life with food allergies as I do.

food allergy diagnosis

Back to the feeling judged piece that my life revolves around food allergies... Feeding kids? It's a lot of work right? I mean, even for the family with no food restrictions, it can feel all-consuming at times. There's the grocery shopping. Researching prices or couponing. Spending time to shop, or ordering online. Either meal-planning or winging it. Then there's the snacks. I mean, that can feel like all day, everyday. There's the messes. I've never met a kid that can eat without making a mess. Have you?! The non-messy eaters I know don't make messes because the mom's spend time to feed them + make sure the food ends up in their mouths. My point is as moms, food is a huge part of our lives wether we like it or not. 

food allergy diagnosis

So, food is a big part of motherhood. But, no one really talks about this. The responsibilities relating to food are high. But, what about trying to feed one child one food + the other a different, allergenic food? What about preparing a safe + an unsafe food? To me, it's like having a loaded gun in the house. Not just in the house, but on the kitchen table, or on your child's hands, or spilled all over the floor, or wiped all over the wall, or all over your non-allergic child's face. I just can't live that way. It sucks all the joy out of motherhood, out of my life. Maybe this will be easier when my kids are older, but I'm not going to spend my days wishing their childhood away. This is a complexity of mothering a child with food allergies. Some families may be able to graciously navigate this complexity of safe + unsafe food, but I just can't do it. Honestly, I don't want to think this hard about every move I make in my own house. Living with only safe foods in our house brings a sense of normalcy to me. I love that little bit of peace. It's a ray of sunshine to me. 

food allergy diagnosis

Thank you for taking a peek into my heart + kitchen +  our life with food allergies. We all face challenges + difficulties + hardships. But, I think we really do each other a disservice when we don't share them. I hope that by sharing this small piece of my story, that your difficulties feel a little more validated + seen. It's hard for me to walk around with a plastic bag over my head + I don't want you to be doing that, too.

Having courage does not mean that we are unafraid. Having courage + showing courage mean we face our fears. We are able to say, I have fallen, but I will get up. -Maya Angelou

 

Photography by: //  Kathleen Peachey Colorado + Worldwide

 

Related Posts:

Our First Few Weeks as a Family of Five

A New Allergy Diagnosis: The Emotions it Brings

Ten Tips for the New Allergy Mom 

 

 

 

Love is worth every second with Jord

Love isn't perfect. It isn't a fairytale or a storybook + it doesn't alway come easy. Love is overcoming obstacles, facing challenges, fighting to be together, holding on + never letting go. It is a short word, easy to spell, difficult to define + impossible to live without. Love is work, but most of all, love is realizing that every hour, every minute, every second of it was worth it because you did it together. -Unknown

product photography

Life with three kids is pretty chaotic. Especially with 3 little boys! We always have trucks crashing, driving + piles of toy trash. They love garbage trucks so much, we always have piles of toy trash all over our house! But, there is just something about a baby, where we wish time would just stand still. We try to forget about the mess, chaos, to-do list + we wish we could just hold, cuddle + maybe even stare at our sweet little baby, if at least for a few minutes. These moments + days are fleeting + we are cherishing them the best way we know how.

family photography

Parenthood is everything we expected, yet more than we expected. Our parenthood journey started with a miscarriage, so that loss shaped our parenting experience before our children were ever born. But, at the same time, it is very difficult balancing everything that goes into life with kids, especially 3 kids. So, I recently got my husband a wood watch from Jord. I wanted to let him know I value his time + effort he puts into our family + his career. It's a lot to balance + every second he gives counts + matters.

product photography

I chose this watch because I loved the two-toned wood. It's sophisticated, yet reflects the rugged Colorado mountain man that he is. I love the contrast of the Dover Zebrawood + the Dark Sandalwood. The contrasting wood reminds me of the contrasting finish on his wedding ring + I just love that. 

lifestyle photography

I'm so happy that my husband loves this watch. He loves wearing it to work. I know men don't exactly get excited about clothing or fashion like us mom's do when we get to wear something other than our yoga pants. But, it's a great feeling to get a little dressed up + present our best self. Especially when you're starting a new career as a businessman Downtown Denver, like my husband is. I hope during the day, this watch reminds him that we all believe in him + love him when he checks the time.

product photography

If your'e looking for something special for your husband, I highly recommend this company. They have excellent customer service + very fast shipping, especially for the custom-fitted watches. The Men's shop has lots of styles + would have a perfect fit for your husband. The wood is unique + classy + makes such a great statement.

mens fashion

This post was sponsored by Jord. All opinions are my own + my husband + I both love this watch + company. Please let me know what your favorite style of watch is in the comments!

 

Photography by: // Lindsey Lee & Co.

Sunflower Seed Sauce: Peanut-free Version of Peanut Sauce

This peanut sauce look-alike is peanut-free + also free of the top 8 allergens. Nutritious SunButter is used to replace peanut butter. Plus, this recipe is soy free + gluten free, two other ingredients that can often be found in a traditional peanut sauce.

peanut free peanut sauce

I made this peanut-free "peanut sauce" + my husband said, do we have any vegetables to go with it? I'm not kidding that made my day! Of course I had some vegetables to go with it. My husband has no food restrictions. So, sometimes he's a hard sell on allergy friendly recipes. But, he loved this. And, he thinks my recipe tastes like the real thing! I sure was excited to hear that. I love this recipe also. But, honestly, I've forgotten what peanut butter tastes like as I haven't had it for almost 2 years now.

Sunbutter Sauce

Sunflower Seed Sauce: A Peanut-free Version of Peanut Sauce:

Ingredients:

1/2 Cup SunButter

1/2 Cup Water

2 tbsp Nutritional Yeast

1 tbsp Honey

1 tbspn Fresh Lime Juice

2 tsp Red Pepper Flakes

1 tsp Garlic Salt

 

Optional: 1 tsp Fresh Ginger. For garlic allergy, omit garlic + add extra red pepper to taste. For strict vegans, use bee-free honey.

sunbutter sauce peanut sauce

Directions:

Turn stovetop to Medium heat. In a small sauce pan, add SunButter + water. Stir well. Slowly add in the remaining ingredients + stir well.  Remember to keep the heat low to prevent burning.

 

Add your SunButter Sauce to: Jasmine rice + sautéed eggplant, tomato slices, and steamed green beans.

 

Enjoy!

sunbutter sauce

I hope you love this simple sauce + as always, add whatever vegetables you'd like. Or, what you have on hand. Or, what you found on sale at your local store this week.

 

Photography by: // Lindsey Lee & Co.

Our first few weeks as a family of 5

Our first few weeks as a family of five were beautiful, loving, chaotic, busy + messy: food + toys + kids, always equals a mess! Kathleen Peachey captured photos of our family in our first few days after Bridger's birth. They are beautiful. They are truthful. They are graceful. And, the photos captured some of our mess, too!

Newborn photography Kathleen peaches

Let me love you a little more before you're not little anymore. -Michelle Thevenot. Kathleen captured beautiful moments with our brand new baby, Bridger Lee. She also captured some 'behind the scenes' photos when the big brothers decided to create some mischief while Bridger was having precious photos taken.

newborn photography

Well, big brothers Breck + Bowan are completely obsessed with garbage trucks. And, their imagination was sparked when they decided Bridger's crib was a garbage truck. They decided everything in the nursery was 'trash' that had to be dumped into the hopper of the garbage truck. I mean everything. They are hard workers, they did not want to overlook any trash. They surely did not want to create any pollution. Every book, diaper, decoration + each piece of clothing that was neatly folded + arranged on the shelf by size for our little newborn.... It was all dumped into the crib...

newborn photography
Newborn photography kathleen peachey

Bridger's swaddle blankets were displayed on a blanket ladder in the nursery. But, those blankets were added to the garbage truck hopper. And, that ladder sure was an important part of the garbage truck operation. Sigh...

Newborn photography Kathleen Peachey

One of the blessings of having a third child, is that I know I must enjoy the moment + treasure it for what it is. Things sure aren't easier with three kids. There's more to do, more to clean, more to remember. But, so much more to love + treasure because I know for sure how fleeting these moments are.

Kathleen Peachy

The art of being happy lies in the power of extracting happiness from common things. -Henry Ward Beecher.

lifestyle photography

So this is love.

Newborn Photography Kathleen peachey

When I found out I was pregnant with a third baby, especially a third baby boy, I couldn't help but think... How will I manage? Can things actually get more chaotic?! Well, yes, yes they can. But, Bridger has been an incredible blessing to our family. He is loved beyond measure + his sweet little soul already shines so brightly.

Nursery photography

Back to reality here. It was like the Grinch that Stole Christmas. Breck + Bowan made sure not to leave one little thing behind. They even took the hanging toys off of the baby gym. Just like how the Grinch even took the Christmas ornaments. They sure are detail-oriented trash guys in training.

Newborn photography
lifestyle photography

Authenticity is the daily practice of letting go of who we think we're supposed to be + embracing who we are. -Brene Brown. Back five years ago, when Breck was a newborn baby, I had expectations of what I thought motherhood would feel like. I had expectations about what I thought I would be like as a mother + how I could 'balance' everything. Well, balance is kind of elusive + the more I embrace the reality of my day to day + the limits of what is true in our life, the happier I am. The happier all 5 of us are. We try to have it all together, but honestly this is what our life is really like most days.

newborn photography kathleen peachey

In raising my children, I have lost my mind but found my soul. -Lisa T. Sherperd

newborn photography kathleen peachey
lifestyle photography
Newborn photography kathleen peachey
lifestyle family photography

We chose this photo for our Christmas card this year because this so beautifully displayed our family. A little messy, a little chaotic, really tired parents + big smiles. Oh, and can you see the wheels turning in their little heads on the next mischevious thing that they are planning?!

christmas card minted

I love printing our special moments with Minted. Minted is the ultimate source for unique holiday card designs + birth announcements from independent artists. The gold foil brings a special touch to every piece. The unique designs are so memorable. I love printing ornament cards for our family + friends because they are so much fun to hang on the tree. I love it when our family lets us know that they got our ornament out again from last year. One of our little cousins even hangs our cards on her bed so she can see her cousins + it's just the sweetest thing. It warms my heart so much that the cousins are connected even though we are separated by a thousand miles. You can see our previous cards with Minted here. And, our Valentine's ideas with Minted here

peachey-93.jpg

These wild kids sure know how to make anything an adventure. Whether it's an empty nursery or an empty bedroom. There is always an adventure to be had. I'm also convinced that they can't wait to train their youngest little brother. I will surely be outnumbered then. I sure hope my coffee will always be stronger than the will of my toddler. 

kathleen Peachy
kathleen Peachy

Motherhood is a choice you make everyday to put someone else's happiness + well-being ahead of your own, to teach the hard lessons, to do the right thing even when you're not sure what the right thing is... and to forgive yourself, over + over again, for doing everything wrong. -Donna Ball

If you're looking for a photographer in the Denver area or worldwide, Kathleen Peachey aims to capture grace + I sure think she captured grace so well for my family. Mention Lee when you contact her for your photo session for 10% off. You can see our Maternity session with Kathleen here.

 

Photography by: // Kathleen Peachy Denver + Worldwide Photographer

Destroyed Crib + Nursery Photography by: // Lindsey Lee & Co.

Printed Cards: // Minted

Non-toxic Kitchen Organization with The Baby Cubby

An organized kitchen is a dream come true for busy moms. That dream can become pretty elusive when you throw in all of the baby + kid supplies into the cupboards. Recently, The Baby Cubby helped me solve one organization problem I had + now I couldn't be happier. Organization isn't about perfection. It's about efficiency, reducing stress + clutter, saving time + money + improving your overall quality of life. - Christina Scalise

Kitchen organization

My family lives with multiple food allergies, so I am always in the kitchen cooking. That means I'm also in the kitchen cleaning + washing dishes. I mean lots of dishes. I was getting really frustrated with the plastic cups that crept into our kitchen. They aren't the safest option for my kids, with the leaching of chemicals. So, I wanted them out of our kitchen.  I also found the plastic difficult because I like to wash plastic by hand rather than place in the dishwasher at high heat. The kids often broke our glass cups that we had, so that was a whole other difficulty I faced. Nothing like sidelining a day with cleaning up broken glass.  Also, I did I mention water bottles? Can I say ten thousand pieces?! That is a lot of washing. The water bottles are great for soccer practice, but not for everyday in the kitchen.

Kitchen organization sippy cups

I found the Boon SNUG Spout at The Baby Cubby + I thought what a great idea! I got rid of all of those pesky plastic cups + I also bought a case of Ball Mason jars at my local craft store. The glass cups are thick + hearty. Perfect for the dishwasher. Perfect for everyday use + the perfect size for the SNUG Spout. Also, kids + adults can use the Mason jars as cups, so no special cups for anyone, completely interchangeable. Also, if any of the glasses do break, it is easy to replace them so we always have matching cups. We also had the problem that many of our glasses broke so everything was mis-matched. Now we are much more organized + streamlined with one set of matching glasses.

Kitchen organization sippy cups

I love that our new sippy cups are spill-proof, 100% silicone, BPA, PVC + Phthalate free. There are many health concerns over the use of BPA in products, especially in products used for children. To learn more on the effects of BPA, you can read more information through The National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences.

BPA free kitchen organization

The Baby Cubby has a great selection of the best products for babies + children, I'm so thankful I found these safe + stylish sippy cups in the shop. The Baby Cubby is for every parent out there who has ever felt overwhelmed or discouraged about becoming a parent. The Baby Cubby team is made up of parents who have been there. They know what it's like + they are passionate about encouraging, reminding + inspiring parents how amazing they are + how important their role is. They find the best + safest baby gear. They price match everything, even Amazon. They offer free shipping nationwide at Babycubby.com + discuss some difficult parenting topics on the Baby Cubby Community Blog. The blog is a great place to find encouragement + inspiration!

mason jar kitechen organization.jpg

Encouraging words to organize your non-toxic kitchen:

A good system shortens the road to the goal. - Orison Swett Marden

For every minute spent organizing an hour is earned. 

Growth comes from setting your goals high + reaching for the stars. - Spencer W. Kimball

Your home is LIVING SPACE, not storage space. - Francine Jay

People with clear, written goals, accomplish far more in a shorter period of time than people without them could ever imagine. -Brian Tracy

This post was sponsored by the Baby Cubby. We love our safe + curated items that the Baby Cubby carries + all optnions are my own.

non-toxic kitchen organization

Photography by: // Lindsey Lee & Co.  

Vegan Truffles: Enjoy Life Foods ProBurst Bites

In the New Year, we always make resolutions to improve our health. But, sometimes they are unrealistic. So, I'm sharing Veganuary tips on Instagram to help you get more plants in your diet + to stay motivated to eat a healthy, plant-based diet. Go vegan in January. No rules, no tricks, no standards that are unrealistic, just More Plants! Yay! A plant-based diet can be so tasty + can still include sweets. I found Enjoy Life Foods ProBurst Bites, I love them + I'm so excited to share them with you.

Vegan truffle

One myth about vegan diets is that they don't include protein. Like any diet, restricted or not, we need to make balanced + health-conscious choices. And, there are many plant-based sources that provide protein. Like, sunflower + pumpkin seeds that can be found in the ProBurst Bites. These truffle-like bites boast 6-7 grams of plant-based protein per serving + contain a creamy, smooth chocolate center.

Vegan snack

The Pro-Burst Bites are ideal high-protein snacks, post-workout eats + easy snack bites to get more clean plant-based protein in your diet. As a mom of 3 little boys, it can be difficult to find time to cook everything my family + I eat. That's what I love about the Bites, grab and go. Can I get an, Amen? Now, can I just clap my hands + my house will clean itself? Probably not, but at least I can have a delicious high-protein snack before I go scrub those floors.

Enjoy Life Foods

My favorite flavor is the SunSeed Butter ProBurst Bites. They are also available in Cinnamon Spice, Mango Habanero + Cranberry Orange. The truffle bites are nutrient rich, yet taste delicious + indulgent with a creamy, smooth chocolate center. I love that the servings are pre-portioned  for protein on the go. 

vegan truffle enjoy life foods

The ProBurst Bites are made in a dedicated allergy-friendly facility, so there is no guessing or de-coding the nutrition label for families like us, with food allergies. The Bites are certifies Gluten-Free + Non-GMO Project Verifies + are free from the 8 most common food allergens. The Bites come in a resealable pouch, so they are so easy to take anywhere. They will be available in stores this spring, but are currently available on the Enjoy Life Foods website.

Vegan truffle

Which Enjoy Life Foods ProBurst Bites flavor would you like to try? What's your favorite way to get plant-based protein into your diet? Let me know in the Comments.

 

This post was sponsored by Enjoy Life Foods. The views here are my own + I'm so happy to have this high protein vegan snack available. I love them! Plus, no dishes for me! Double win!

vegan protein snack

If you'd love some ProBurst Bites, you can use the code: PROBURST369 for 10% off your new snack!

Photography by: // Lindsey Lee & Co.

Gluten Free Gingerbread House with Enjoy Life Foods

It is so much fun to make a Gingerbread house during the Christmas season. But, most Gingerbread house kits in the stores contain gluten, wheat, eggs + often warnings that the treats may contain peanuts, tree nuts + other allergens. Well, that can take all the fun out of gingerbread making for families with food allergies. So, I created a gluten free gingerbread house recipe with more nutritious ideas for the decorations as well.

gluten free gingerbread house

My kids love to snack while making a gingerbread house, which is really fun. But, honestly, I aim for nutritious snacks over sugary sweets. They had their fare share of powdered sugar intake during the making of our gingerbread house, but the Enjoy Life Foods Seed + Fruit Mix was a big, nutritious hit! We went for a cottage look + covered our house with sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds + dried pineapple. All of the Enjoy Life products are certified gluten-free + free-from the top 8 most common allergens as defined by the FDA (wheat, dairy, soy, eggs, peanuts, tree nuts (including coconut), fish and shellfish). They are also all verified Non-GMO, certified Kosher and Halal, and are made with no artificial ingredients. The Seed + Fruit Mix was not only nutritious, but I love giving my family food that I know is free from our allergens.

Enjoy life foods gingerbread house

My Gingerbread recipe centers around the Enjoy Life Foods Gluten Free All Purpose Flour. Did you know all 5 of the Enjoy Life Foods Baking Mixes (Brownie, Pancake + Waffle, Muffin, Pizza Crust + All-Purpose Flour) are also certified vegan? They are made with a blend of ancient grains (teff, buckwheat, millet + quinoa), contain 5g of plant-based (algal) protein per serving, and contain the probiotics strain Ganeden BC30! You can find full ingredient + nutritional information here.  

Gluten free gingerbread house

Gluten Free Gingerbread House Ingredients:

1 Box Enjoy Life Foods Gluten Free All Purpose Flour (4 cups)

2/3 Cup Rice Milk

1/2 Cup Molasses

1/2 Cup Vegetable or Palm Oil Shortening

1/2 Cup Cinnamon Applesauce

1/2 Cup Sugar

2 Tablespoons Baking Powder 

1 Tablespoon Fresh Ground Ginger

1 Tablespoon Cinnamon

1/4 Tsp Allspice

1/2 Tsp Salt

enjoy life foods gingerbread house decorations

Gingerbread House Decorations:

Enjoy Life Seed + Fruit Mix

Cranberries

Cinnamon Sticks

Candy Canes (Organic, nut free, kosher)

Sugar + Confectioner's Sugar for dusting

Non-food Decorations:

Wreaths

Bottle Brush Trees

Beaded garland or Mini Christmas Lights

Cardboard

Gingerbread House Frosting:

1 Cup Confectioner's Sugar

1 Tablespoon Water or Rice Milk

Gluten free Gingerbread house

Directions:

Melt shortening in a saucepan. Add sugar + molasses + mix well, with sugar fully dissolved. Sift together in a mixing bowl: flour, baking soda, nutmeg, allspice, cinnamon, salt + ginger. Gradually stir 4 cups of the dry ingredients into the melted shortening mixture. Mix in rice milk + applesauce. Mix thoroughly. Transfer to a bowl + refrigerate for 4 hours or over night.

Place baking sheet on workspace. Line with parchment paper. Roll out dough. You may put a piece of parchment paper on top of the dough for ease of rolling. Cut Gingerbread house pieces. I found this Gingerbread cookie cutter set on Amazon, just search "Gingerbread cookie cutter." Trim + smooth up sides with a knife. Remember to cut your doors + windows prior to baking. Remove excess dough + roll out to cut additional pieces. Bake at 350 for 10 - 12 minutes. Cool on baking rack.

For the frosting: mix 1 Cup confectioner's sugar to 1 Tablespoon water or rice milk. When creating your Gingerbread house, you can apply your frosting with a knife, spoon, piping bag, Ziplock bag with the corner cut off, or generic ketchup bottle from a cooking store or The Dollar Tree.

Place a piece of cardboard on your workspace to build your Gingerbread house. With your frosting, glue your house directly onto the cardboard. Glue the walls, one at a time + let it dry for a few minutes before adding the next piece. You can use cans of vegetables to hold up your walls while drying. 

To re-create this design, line the bottom edge of the house with fresh cranberries. Then, start from the bottom + work your way up + spread the frosting on the wall then place in the sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds + dried pineapple to look like a cobblestone or brick wall. Work in small sections until complete. Decorate the roof + let dry before adding it to the house. For the roof: spread with frosting + sprinkle on candy cane crumbs + fine sugar. Add wreaths + trees as you wish. Sprinkle confectioner's sugar + fine sugar on your cardboard to create snow. Cheers! 

Gluten Free gingerbread house

What are your favorite accents on a Gingerbread house? Have you cut doors + windows out of your Gingerbread house before? Let me know in the comments. Merry Christmas!

 

This post was sponsored by Enjoy Life Foods. All opinions are my own. My family has allergies to peanuts, tree nuts, wheat, dairy, soy + sesame, plus I am a vegetarian, so Enjoy Life is a brand we truly do enjoy. 

Photography by: // Lindsey Lee & Co.

Bridger's Hospital Photos: 10 Thoughts on a Natural Birth

It's hard to process newborn photos, because it means the moments already happened, they're gone. The memories are so sweet + I'm so thankful for them. But, I have a hard time looking back right away because the moments were all too fleeting.  

newborn feet

Honestly, my three birth experiences have been incredible moments in my life. They surely were painful. I had moments where I thought maybe I couldn't do it. But, I did. And, for me, the recovery was honestly more painful than the births were. But, special they were. Maybe Bridger's birth has a special place in my heart because it just might be the last birth I ever experience. I could barely get out of bed after Bridger was born, let alone hold a camera up. I'm so thankful I caught a few photos of his first few hours. Here's to stepping back in time, three months.

Newborn Photography

Here are some of my thoughts on my three natural birth experiences with my son's Breck, Bowan + Bridger. If you are expecting a new little one soon, maybe something here can encourage + empower you for your upcoming birth:

1. Every birth is unique, no matter how many births you've experienced.

2. At some point it's going to hurt. At some point, it will be over, too.

3. Your heart will grow immensely bigger once you meet your baby, no matter how many babies you already have.

4. You can learn to trust yourself through the process.

5. You're stronger than you think you are.

6. Short births aren't exactly less painful. Work through each contraction as it comes.

7. Your hopes for your baby begin to fill your soul.

8. You are your best advocate. You are your babies best advocate. Listen to that still, quiet voice inside. It's always there.

9. Find someone to tell your birth experience to afterwards, it's so important to process it all.

10. Take the pictures, I promise you won't regret them.

newborn photography

The moment a child is born, the mother is also born. She never existed before. The woman existed, but the mother, never. A mother is something absolutely new. -Rajneesh

newborn photography

Birth is not only about making babies. It's about making mothers: strong, competent, capable mothers who trust themselves + believe in their inner strength. -Barbra Katz Rothman

newborn photography

Although birth is only one day in the life of a woman, it has an imprint on her for the rest of her life. -Justine Caines

freshly picked

Every adventure requires a first step. -Cheshire Cat

newborn photography

It is said that women in labour leave their bodies... they travel to the stars to collect the souls of their babies, + return to this world together. -Anonymous

newborn photography

However much we know about birth in general, we know nothing about a particular birth. We must let it unfold with its own uniqueness. -Elizabeth Nobel

Mamas, you are strong + gifts to your children, just as they are gifts to you. Hold them tight + let them fly. Let's love ourselves through the process so we can teach our kids to do the same. 

Head on over to Instagram to enter to win a pair of Freshly Picked moccs for your precious little one.

Baby moccasins: Freshly Picked

Nursing Robe: Pink Blush

Nursing Supplies: Bamboobies

 

Photography by:// Lindsey Lee & Co. 

 

Frozen Coconut Berry Pie with So Delicious Dairy Free

Creating a dairy free, top 8 free dessert really isn't as complicated as it might seem. I just thought outside of the box. And, looked into the carton. The So Delicious carton, that is!

Dairy free dessert

When So Delicious asked me to create a recipe with the Dairy Free Coconutmilk Yogurt Alternative, I thought, creating something for Thanksgiving would be so much fun! Friends, this recipe was fun to create + it is fun + easy to make! No baking! The best part is, you can make this ahead of time + throw it in the freezer + your work for Thanksgiving day is cut down. 

Dairy free yogurt

Honestly, the most difficult part of this recipe is seeding the Pomegranate. But, I look at it as a relaxing activity, a chance to let my busy mind relax.

To seed the Pomegranate:

First, cut the pomegranate in half. Next, place your strainer inside of your clean sink. Then, hold the half of the pomegranate with your thumbs at the center of the skin, over the strainer + push the halved pomegranate inside out. Next, peel the seeds out of the membranes + place in a separate bowl. Rinse + set aside.

Shhhh... Here's a secret: if you feel pressed for time on seeding the pomegranate, you can buy pre-seeded pomegranates at most grocery stores!

So Delicious Dairy Free

Did you know the pomegranate is a great source of soluble + insoluble fiber + high in Vitamin C? Foods high in Vitamin C are great immune boosters. So helpful, especially around the holidays! Pomegranates are also high in antioxidants. Antioxidants are so valuable for our health, it's really important to include them into our diet, you can read more about the health benefits here.

Ok, let's get onto this pie making adventure.

Dairy free pie

Frozen Coconut Berry Pie with So Delicious Dairy Free

Ingredients:

Coconut Berry Pie:

2 Cups So Delicious CoCo Whip Original

1 1/2 Cups So Delicious Unsweetened Vanilla "Yogurt" Alternative

1 1/2 Cups Raspberries

1/2 Cup Pomegranate Seeds

3 tbsp Sugar

1/2 tsp Pure Vanilla Extract

Graham Cracker Pie Crust (I used the MI-DEL gluten free + peanut free crust)

Strawberry Sauce:

1 1/2 Cups Strawberries (sliced + hulled)

1/4 Cup Sugar

1 Lemon, zested

Dairy free pie

Frozen Coconut Berry Pie with So Delicious Dairy Free

Directions:

First, open up your pre-packaged graham cracked pie crust + set aside. Next, seed the Pomegranate, rise + set aside. (See above instructions for seeding the pomegranate). Rinse raspberries + set aside. Measure 11/2 cups So Delicious Unsweetened Vanilla "Yogurt" Alternative + 2 cups So Delicious CoCo Whip + combine in a large bowl. Mix the yogurt alternative CoCo Whip. Add 1 cup of raspberries to the bowl + mash with a fork. Add half of the pomegranate seeds + mix. Heap mixture into crust + freeze for 3 hours or overnight

Next, top with Strawberry Sauce + reserved raspberries + pomegranate seeds.

Strawberry Sauce Directions:

Add sliced + hulled strawberries into blender + zest 1 lemon into the blender. Add sugar + blend on high. Add strawberry sauce when ready to serve + get creative with the reserved raspberries + pomegranate seeds.

top 8 free pie
dairy free so delicious pie
dairy free so delicious

What's your favorite thing about a frozen pie? Do you eat dairy free for health or environmental reasons? Let me know in the comments.

My opinions outlined here are my own + I do love So Delicious Dairy Free!

Photography By: // Lindsey Lee & Co.