Keto Chocolate Fudge

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I recently jumped on the Ketogenic Diet bandwagon and I have to say that not only has it been incredibly easy to stick with, but I feel AMAZING! My mind feels clearer, I have had the energy to do something active every day, and have completely cut back on caffeine with hardly any side effects!

It has also inspired to get back into the kitchen and make good things from scratch. I have been trying to find “healthy” dessert recipes, specifically chocolate, that tasted good and were easy. After a few tries and combining some recipes that I found out there- I created a simple recipe that is actually really tasty!

 

Keto Chocolate Fudge

servings: 11-12
time: 15 minutes
PER SQUARE:    Calories: 96  Fat: 7  Carbs: 4  Fiber: 2   (net carbs: 2 per serving)

Ingredients:
1 medium ripe avocado
8 squares (or 2 oz) of Baker’s chocolate 
1 tbsp of MCT oil or liquid coconut oil
1 tbsp butter (grassfed & unsalted if possible) <– replace with coconut oil if dairy free
2 tbsp coconut oil
1 packet of Stevia sweetener
1 tbsp of Erythritol sweetener, then 1/2 to sprinkle on top (optional)
Himalayan Pink or Sea Salt to sprinkle on top (optional)

If you would like to add nuts, go for it! Just add the macros to what I’ve provided if you track them :)

Directions:
Start by peeling your avocado and blending in a food processor (I use a small Magic Bullet) with the 1 tbsp of MCT oil or liquid coconut oil. You may need to stop and stir with a spatula every now and then since it is pretty thick.

Then, in a separate bowl- add your Chocolate, Coconut Oil, and Butter and microwave for 30 seconds and then 10 second increments until liquid. Stir in the Stevia and Erythritol, then add the blended avocado. Stir with spatula until completely blended. You should have a pretty thickened mixture.

Pour into your candy molds (I used these ones) or in a small baking dish- spray with cooking spray or line with wax paper to avoid sticking. Top with optional 1/2 tbsp of Erythritol and Salt. Put in freezer until hardened- release from molds and store in a freezer bag or container to enjoy whenever! The refrigerator or freezer for storage is great- depending on how hard you like your chocolate.

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Surviving Bullying…it gets better.

 

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To our children: you are unique and you are beautiful. One day I hope you will see this about yourself.

This post has been a long time coming- I have been hearing so many stories from friends about their little girls being bullied at school and as a parent, not knowing what to do about it. One friend in particular has been actively posting about her 5th grader who “got dumped” by her girlfriends at school and openly posting about day-to-day challenges they are facing. Yesterday, I heard about this local 5th grade girl who tried to commit suicide after repetitive bullying in her class.  Unfortunately, this is more common than any of us like to admit…and not just happening to girls. 

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I guess it’s time to share my story:

I am always envious when I see people who have a group of “lifelong friends.” Those friends that you have known since kindergarten and stuck together through college. When I was a little girl- I attended five different grade schools by 2nd grade. Friends would come and go, and then we would move. By the time I got to 3rd grade, I started at McKinley Elementary. I was SO excited, since it didn’t look like I would need to change schools for the remainder of elementary. Now was my time to build those friendships that would last.

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I met a close group of friends and from 3rd to 5th grade, we were inseparable. Until one day at school and my supposed “best friend” told me that I was no longer their friend and that the group was “dumping me.” She wouldn’t allow anyone to talk to me and I was officially shunned by my friends with no explanation. As a logical adult looking back, it actually seems a little silly- but the ache is still there and real. I know now that I did nothing to deserve this, and that the ring-leader that facilitated this was actually a very troubled child from a broken home…but the 10-year-old me wouldn’t be able to see that.

Luckily, I was a well-liked kid, and it wasn’t hard to find a new group of friends at the same school and still had friends from my neighborhood who went to a different school. Plus, my mom immediately got me regular visits to the school counselor until I finished out 5th and 6th grade, then moved again. (I didn’t have anything like this happen again until I was 19 years old- when my first roommate bullied me out of our apartment for no reason…a whole ‘nother level of unexplained crazy!)

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(above is a photo of two dear friends that I was lucky enough to have when this was going on…
lots of tears and cuss words between us as they helped me through)

It’s funny that I still have the pang of embarrassment and hurt like it was yesterday. This happened to me more than 20 years ago- why do I still feel shame for this!? Being abandoned by my friends lead to some serious anxieties throughout my adolescence and adulthood. Feeling like people hate you when you are still trying to figure out WHO you are is quite damaging. As a grown woman, I still hate talking about it.

Our children need to know that they will not be defined by these short years, and it will be such a blip on the radar of their long lives. We need to be talking to our children and reminding them that they are special and that uniqueness will be what sets them apart in the years that matter. We need to be teaching kindness and love to our children and making sure that they understand the consequences of their actions towards others.

My heart is aching for these sweet kids, and as both a mom and a little girl who remembers the heartbreak- I want to hold them and tell them it gets so much better. To my local friends, please know that I am here to talk to you or your kids and help in any way that I can. I only hope that I can teach kindness and love to my own child, and that he will be able to stand up when he sees cruelty. I cringe thinking about the day that anyone should hurt him and what I will say….

To those who have been bullied, I would love to hear your story!! We need to come out from under the rocks and talk about it. The more that we share, the more we can let these kids know that they are not alone. 

 

Working it. Owning it.


So I cut my hair off. Which shouldn’t be deserving of it’s own blog post (especially the only one I have written in almost a year, yikes!) but this wasn’t any ordinary haircut. Most women would make an appointment at a salon,  choose a few ideas on Pinterest, etc. My haircut was done by myself with some kitchen shears in the bathroom sink like I was on the run while simultaneously plucking out my eyelash extensions. Breakdown right? Perhaps, or maybe not. (My hair has since been cut and colored by a professional prior to taking these photos, the homeless scraggly look IS actually what I am going for…)

What the heck?

I suffer from social anxiety, that really surprises a lot of people since I can usually compose myself well with strangers- but it is all too real. Fake it til you make it. When I meet new people, I am overly criticizing the way I look, act, and my facial expressions. I lose track of what I want to say and often break into hives on my neck and chest when nervous. Frannie used to always ‘joke’ that I needed to make sure to wear my scarves when going into consultations with potential new clients, but she was totally right. When I have too many social situations in a row, I have to counteract them with reclusive downtime. I am a total homebody, and could certainly live most of my life with barely any social interaction with the outside world. I could, and do, live this way most of the time.

Another thing- I have always had issues with my weight. I can remember dieting and doing aerobics tapes as early as 8 years old, which in retrospect-is nuts, but such a huge part of who I am now. It is something that I have always been obsessed with and have let control me. I gained quite a bit of extra weight from my pregnancy (I hit 200 by the time I delivered- swollen and miserable) and then after I gave birth, I got to keep a pretty big majority of it for quite a long time… plus the stretch marks that extend the whole length of my belly. Along with postpartum hormones, I was blessed with a huge amount of my hair falling out, especially around my forehead like a legit, old man receding hairline…little blessings! When you feel like a balding tub of lard who has no time for yourself, the most obvious thing to do is to get hair and eyelash extensions to camouflage your insecurities, right? In my case: yes, and many spray tans.

Becoming a mom has made me REALER than I’ve ever been, even though I was definitely the fakest. Feeling like hot garbage can bring out out some major revelations, especially when no matter how terrible you look or feel- you still have a grinning little boy who wants to stare at you like the prettiest most wonderful thing they have ever seen. It kind of just makes you not give a crap about anything else! I have a newfound confidence and I feel more like ‘myself’ than I ever have. Benson has forced me to be more outgoing, to actually need time outside the house, and to enrich myself in moments and people. I feel like I have found my personal style and feel “ok” in what is leftover of my imperfect, damaged body. Not to say I won’t ever go back to gluing wefts of mermaid hair on my head or having individual eyelashes glued to every lash; for right now, I need less.

I need less, like immediately, in the bathroom sink.


 

Grandma we will miss you…

 

It’s been a sad week as Matt lost his Grandma Martha on Monday.

I met Grandma Martha exactly 2 years ago this week in Katy, Texas where we stayed with her in her home and I took this photo of her and the late Edwin Schoener. I had the pleasure of spending that one and only week with her and Poppy Ed.

Although I didn’t know her very well, I liked her right away. I never felt like I had to prove myself, which is rare with meeting new in-law family. She kept a PRISTINE home and liked things orderly. She was blunt, honest and actually really funny. I will never forget flipping through her huge family photo albums that were meticulously arranged in chronological order. She told me stories that made me fall even more in love with my husband, referring to baby Matt as “Mattso Fatso”- and that the only person who would ever call him by “Matthew” was himself; which is what I always say.  She truly made me feel like I “fit in.”

I was 6 weeks pregnant with Benson, and it was a secret that she was the first to know.

Since leaving Texas, I would write every now and then and send photos of the baby. But never had the pleasure of going back to Katy and introducing her to Benson. Grandma Martha, we will miss you more than you know. I am so thankful that I had a chance to spend a wonderful week with you and Poppy and I hope you get to reunite in Heaven. We love you so much!

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Benson’s Bear Birthday

Your first baby only turns one once. With how busy I have been with work, prioritizing a party for a baby who doesn’t know any different seems like the last thing I should be doing. When all is said and done, I am so glad I did. This was a celebration of so many things: sharing a year with the tiny human we created, a year of growth- physically for Benson, a year of breastfeeding (holy crap!), and most of all- our year anniversary of becoming a family.

We spent the afternoon with our closest family and friends with a yummy baked potato bar, ping pong in the garage, and roasting s’mores in the fire pits.

We call Benson “Bear” or more like “Beeeeeeeahhhhrrrr”- but he answers to it, and so it was only fitting that it be the theme of his party. Since the kid won’t keep anything on his own head for more than a millisecond, I decided that bear ear headbands would be the perfect guest favor so we would all be bears for Benson (suuuuuper easy- hot glue, head bands, and cut out felt), and the bees and honey just followed suit. I think it turned out cute. The next day we went out to do a photoshoot with the leftover balloons and Benson’s teddy that he loves.

At this point he was standing like a big boy but not totally 100% comfortable. Since then- he has been walking up a storm and getting more and more confident. It is so sweet. Our boy is so BIG.

The “cake smash” was too funny. We don’t usually give Benson a lot of sugar, so a whole cupcake was a little out of my comfort zone. Since this kid loooooooves food and the little tastes of chocolate we have given him, I thought for sure it would be a smash disaster…. but this kid is NOT a fan of being messy, so he kept picking up the cupcake to hand to Matt and I TO FEED TO HIM! Yes, the crown is fitting for our little prince. Oh brother!

Benson’s Weekly Photos

I seriously cannot believe I stuck to something for an ENTIRE year! It was sort of a big commitment, but I am seriously so glad that I stuck to it. Especially when I am trying to remember back to “oh, when did he get that tooth?” or “how old was he when he started sitting up?” It’s funny how quickly you can forget…so it is so great having the photos to refer back to.

My tiny bear, growing so fast…

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It’s an “Us” kind of LOVE

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Benson Ross was born on November 30, 2014. Although I was happy before, I had no idea that my love could grow to such a caliber. I loved this tiny little being more than I thought was possible, but it also expanded my love for my husband, my family, even our home. I named this blog “Us kind of love” because of the special relationship that I have with my husband. Although things are definitely difficult sometimes (as is every marriage, I assume) I feel like I lucked out with Matt…we really have something special, and I really think that the decisions I made in my life were because I was supposed to meet him. He is the  sweetest, weirdest, funniest guy, and I think he was made for me. And after seeing this quirky little weird baby we created…I am pretty sure I’m right.The “us” love that has always been me and Matt, was now an “us” of 3…an even better “us.”  We are a couple of weirdos…and our love is the kind only understood by “us.”

Now that we are celebrating a year of welcoming our tiny guy, I am also celebrating the time of when “us” grew by one more.  xoxo

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Oh, and the reason you haven’t ever seen these photos before is because being a mom is hard-ass-work. There are about a zillion more posts that maybe one day I will get around to…

In the Christmas Spirit…

Because sometimes you have to take a break from your insane Holiday workload and upload your baby’s face to a cat-twerking elf body.

#priorities #merrycatsmas

Here are a few of my favorite moments:

9 Months In….9 Months Out.

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I still can’t believe I didn’t blog this. It is one of those things that I am SO glad I did- taking a photo of myself at 38 weeks when I was totally miserable. It is so fun to have and such a cool thing to be able to put in Benson’s baby book! I love it.

(again….a month and a half late! I will get caught up- still have a baby shower I need to post too….yikes!)

Benson’s Nursery


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For Benson’s nursery- I wanted something that was bright and airy, but still colorful and fun. We chose an “Idaho” theme with the woodsy details yes still really modern. The colors are: aqua, burnt orange, peach, cream, gold, black and white. I started with the peach on the walls. Everyone thought I was crazy painting a boy’s room “pink” but I wanted it to feel soft and warm, and I am so glad that I stuck to my gut because I think it really has a lot to do with the overall feeling, yet it is super subtle with all the other details. I just wanted a place that felt happy and cozy- and I feel like it is. We can spend all day rolling around on the SUPER SOFT rug and cuddling in the rocker and reading or nursing. I spent a lot of time in here when I was pregnant, and Benson loves his room!

I know every mom probably says this, but I truly feel like I am time traveling. I used to be such a “doer” and now, if it comes to something personal- I am totally a “get-around-to-it-er!” I have so many things that I have put time and effort into and then I never actually document it, or things that I document but never actually post. My nursery is something I never even documented and I am kicking myself for not snapping pics when it was in pristine form! Now it is a definitely “lived in” and “loved” space, which maybe makes it better is some ways? But the crib is lowered, so you can’t see the bedskirt that looked so cute before- and there is an ugly mesh bumper on the side. I am sticking to: “lived in & loved” and better documented after 9 months (and actually posted at 10.5!) than not at all. So…here we go!
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I am trying to remember all of the places I got things- but sorry for the ones I forget:

Bookshelf, Crib, Dresser, Changing table: Ikea

Log Pillow, Blue Bird Pillow, Crib Sheet & Changing Pad Cover: Land of Nod

Knit Fox & Bird Dolls: Blabla Kids (Paperie + Pen)

Cream Fringe Rug & Orange Poof: Overstock.com

Fox Print: Gingiber (Paperie + Pen)

Newco Aqua Glider Chair: I searched the internet for this guy  since I was in love and it was discontinued. Finally found a place where they had one left in stock…sorry I can’t remember the name.

Side Table & Lamp: TJ Maxx

Random Glass Details (clock, bird cup, porcelain feather, milk jar) & Plush Fox in Suiting: Anthropologie

Chalkboard Garland: Urban Outfitters

Eat you up & World is lucky Prints: Lindsay Letters

Bear Print: Missmalagata on Society 6

Wood Camp Arrow: VintageKrew on Etsy

Wood Alphabet: graphicspaceswood on Etsy

Wood Idaho: Random Idaho Market

Wood Acorns: Random little store in Sun Valley Idaho

Curtains & Wood rod ends: Ikea

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