A Well Balanced Blog

Gluten Free Snickerdoodles

Gluten Free Snickerdoodles

Gluten Free Snickerdoodles

I've been thinking long and hard about this, because it's really important. I'm pretty sure snickerdoodles are my most favorite cookie of all time.

I've always been a sucker for anything with cinnamon sugar. On the rare occasion I find myself in a donut shop, I always go for the cinnamon twist. And I don't know if Einstein Bagels still exists, but I used to eat the mess out of their cinnamon sugar bagels back in the day. YUM. The 90s were just one giant carbfest, am I right?

Back to snickerdoodles. There are a lot of grain free recipes out there with very little variation (seriously, google it). I think that's just because it's a fairly simple taste. The standard almond flour with a bit of coconut flour, butter, sugar, and either baking powder or cream of tartar. Variations are typically based on whether or not you're doing strict paleo ... otherwise bring on the butter! And of course there's cinnamon and sugar. I also like to throw in a little nutmeg for that extra bit of spice.

The BEST thing about this recipe is the dough isn't sticky at all, so it rolls into dough balls super easily. No, that's not true. That's the second best thing. The absolute BEST thing about this recipe is they have perfect consistency and flavor. My 90s self would have eaten these by the dozen.

*I've added notes for substitutions if you choose to do a paleo version.

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup butter, room temp (can use coconut oil for paleo)
  • 1/4 or 1/3 cup organic sugar, depending on preference (can use maple syrup for paleo)
  • 1 egg
  • Dash of vanilla
  • 1 1/2 cups almond flour
  • 2 tablespoons coconut flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon gluten free baking powder
    Spice mixture for rolling cookies:
  • 2 tablespoons organic sugar (can use coconut sugar for paleo)
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

Instructions

  1. Combine butter and sugar together in a bowl. Use mixer to cream together. Add egg and vanilla and mix until smooth.
  2. Mix in almond flour, coconut flour, salt, baking powder, cinnamon and nutmeg. Stir together until smooth batter forms.
  3. Separate batter into equal pieces and roll into balls (I usually get about 16 cookies).
  4. In a small bowl, mix together sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Roll each dough ball in sugar mixture and place on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper.
  5. Use the bottom of a glass (or a flat surface) to slightly flatten cookies.
  6. Bake at 350 degrees for 14-16 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool on cooling rack. Cookies will harden slightly while cooling.
  7. I dare you not to eat more than one.
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Paleo Beef Stew

Paleo Beef Stew

Paleo Beef Stew

First things first. This is not my recipe ... it's flat out Mel Joulwan's recipe from her amazing blog known as Well Fed. Head there right now and marvel in all the goodness. I've made a lot of beef stews over the years, and this is hands down the best. I switched up the seasoning a bit and made my version a bit thicker and chunkier, but it's that red wine and tomato paste combo that gives it an amazingly rich taste. Everything about this just feels so decadent.

Now listen. I know it's spring and everything, but I will eat soup or stew any day of the year. It's just comforting and oh so good! There's just something about letting those flavors simmer for hours on a stove. Did you know digestion actually begins in the brain? We have all that time to see and smell the food, and it stimulates the brain to get ready for this delicious meal. And this recipe is chock full of nutritional goodness. Grass fed beef, lots of root veggies, bone broth, healthy fats .... oh and there's red wine. Did I mention the wine?

Y'all, make this. And if you have one of those people in your life that thinks anything paleo is tasteless or boring, serve them this for dinner. I bet they'll be eating their words ... along with a second bowl.

Ingredients

  • 1.5 - 2 pounds grass fed beef stew meat
  • Cooking oil/fat of choice (I used ghee)
  • 2 tablespoons + 1/2 teaspoon arrowroot powder or tapioca starch
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2-3 carrots, chopped
  • 3 celery stalks, chopped
  • 1 cup sliced mushrooms
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 rounded teaspoons + 1 tablespoon Trader Joe's Herbes de Provence (poultry seasoning can be substituted)
  • 3 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 cups bone broth
  • 1 cup red wine
  • 1 pound new potatoes, cut into halves or quarters
  • Sea salt
  • Cracked pepper

Instructions

  1. In a large bowl, mix arrowroot, 1 1/2 teaspoons sea salt, and 1 teaspoon black pepper. Add the stew meat and toss until well coated.
  2. Heat a soup pot over medium-high heat. Add the cooking fat and allow it to get quite hot, then add the beef and brown on all sides. Let a little crust form each piece. Then remove the meat and set it on a separate plate. (If the meat sticks to the pan, the oil is not hot enough!)
  3. Once the meat is browned and set aside, add the onion, carrot, celery, mushrooms, and garlic to the same pan. (I usually add a bit more cooking fat to the pan for this). Sauté the vegetables until they’re soft and golden, about 8-10 minutes. Add the tomato paste, 1 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon black pepper, bay leaf, and 2 teaspoons of herbes de provence. Cook, stirring often, about 2 minutes.
  4. Pour in the wine and broth and stir to combine. Lastly, add the beef and accumulated juices to the pot. Cover and simmer 1 hour.
  5. Cut the new potatoes and toss them with 1 tablespoon of the herbes de provence. Once the stew has simmered for one hour, add the potatoes to the pot and simmer for another hour. Beef and potatoes should be fork tender.
  6. Uncover and stir 1/2 tsp of arrowroot powder into the stew. Let simmer uncovered for 5-10 minutes.
  7. By this point, your kitchen smells like heaven! Serve in soup bowls and enjoy that amazing flavor. It's seriously so delicious.
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Gluten Free Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

Gluten Free Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

Yield: 24 cookies

Gluten Free Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

You guys, this is the first time I've ever attempted to create a cookie recipe. Don't get me wrong -- I love cookies. I just don't make them all that much. Because I'm kinda lazy.

Cookies take so much more time and precision! I mean, you have to refrigerate the dough, make sure the cookies are all the same size, separate them properly on the cookie sheet, make multiple batches, put the cookie sheets in the freezer in between batches so the cookies don't spread too much from the heat, wait just the right amount of time before setting them on cooling racks, etc.

Oh wait. Turns out I'm not lazy, I'm crazy uptight and particular about cookie baking. Shocker. And yeah ... since I know that about myself, I usually don't bake cookies because I know how painful I am and I just can't deal.

But today, I wanted cookies. Oatmeal chocolate chip cookies to be exact. This was a creation based on what I had in the pantry, so they are gluten free, dairy free, and refined sugar free. Well, except for the chocolate chips. Y'all, oh my goodness gracious they smell heavenly. Like I could totally be wearing an apron and be that mythical Pinterest mom who has fresh cookies made when the kids come home from school. Wait. Do I even own an apron???

Ingredients

  • 2 cups gluten free oats
  • 1 cup fine almond flour
  • 1/4 cup shredded coconut flakes, unsweetened
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil, melted
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1/2 cup Enjoy Life mini chocolate chips

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Combine the dry ingredients (except chocolate chips) in a bowl.
  3. Combine maple syrup, melted coconut oil, and egg. Add to dry mixture and mix until throughly combined.
  4. Stir in chocolate chips.
  5. Refrigerate dough for about 30 minutes. (You can skip this, but it makes the dough easier to manage ... 'cause it's pretty sticky.)
  6. Place rounded tablespoons of dough onto a baking sheet with parchment paper. (Your fingers will get messy but it's totally worth it.)
  7. Bake at 350 degrees for about 17-20 minutes. About halfway through the baking time, use the bottom of a glass to flatten the cookies a bit.
  8. Let cool completely, otherwise the cookies will fall apart. They will harden to perfection during the cooling time.
  9. Y'all, these are GOOD. Enjoy!
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Gluten Free Berry Tart with Shortbread Crust

Gluten Free Berry Tart with Shortbread Crust

Gluten Free Berry Tart with Shortbread Crust

Sometimes it takes me 3 or 4 (or 17) times to get a recipe right. And then occasionally, you have those magical moments where you throw some ingredients together and it comes out OHMYGOODNESS SO YUMMY AND PERFECT on the very first try. And you guys, the shortbread crust for this berry tart is one of those unicorn recipes. Pretty sure I'm going to be using it in a lot of upcoming creations!

Ok, here's the deal on this berry tart. You can make it Paleo if you use coconut oil instead of butter. But if you do eat butter, then use butter! It's a shortbread crust, so hello -- BUTTER. You can also toss the berries in coconut sugar if it needs to be strict Paleo. It's still going to be delish.

I know berry tarts typically have a yogurt or cream filling, but there's something really simple and nice about just using fresh berries. Despite the buttery crust, this is a really light dessert that is oh so satisfying for that sweet tooth without being a gut bomb. If you need something more, top it with whipped cream (or coconut cream) or go crazy with some vanilla ice cream.

Lastly, if you want that first slice to be served up perfectly, you're going to want to use a true tart or springform pan where you can remove the sides. Otherwise, it's a bit challenging to get that crust to slice without falling apart. But as my husband said after he took his first bite ... "Who cares what it looks like after you take the Instagram pic?" I love that man. He gets me.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup almond flour
  • 1/3 cup coconut flour
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1/4 cup melted butter (can use coconut oil for paleo)
  • 3 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 2 cups mixed berries
  • 2-3 tablespoons raw cane sugar

Instructions

  1. Combine almond flour, coconut flour, and sea salt in mixing bowl.
  2. Add beaten egg, melted butter, and maple syrup. Mix with spoon until combined.
  3. Press into greased tart pan (or pie dish, 8x8 square pan, 8-inch springform pan). I use a small piece of parchment paper to make it as even as possible! Try to press it up the sides of the pan, too.
  4. Use a fork to pierce the crust in a few places.
  5. Bake in the oven at 350 degrees for 15-17 minutes or until cooked through and edges are starting to brown.
  6. Remove from oven and let cool.
  7. While shortbread crust is baking, wash and cut berries if needed. Toss in a bowl with the raw cane sugar and let sit for the sweetness to develop.
  8. Once crust is cooled, pour berries into pan and spread out.
  9. OHMYGOODNESS. Isn't it so pretty??? Feel free to add some whipped cream or vanilla ice cream. I mean, it can't hurt.
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My Safer Sunscreen Recommendations

Ohhhhh,​ ​sunscreen.​​ ​Doesn’t​ ​it​ ​seem​ ​as​ ​if​ ​all​ ​the​ ​information​ ​we​ ​get​ ​about sun​ ​safety​ ​is​ ​conflicting?​ ​Don’t​ ​go​ ​in​ ​the​ ​sun,​ ​it’s​ ​dangerous!​ ​Go​ ​in​ ​the​ ​sun, you​ ​need​ ​to​ ​make​ ​Vitamin​ ​D!​ ​Too​ ​much​ ​sun​...

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Simple Paleo Egg Salad

Simple Paleo Egg Salad

Simple Paleo Egg Salad

Raise your hand if you grew up eating egg salad sandwiches the week after Easter. And not just regular egg salad, the kind with rainbow colors because the dye seeped through the shells and colored up the whites. Back then I thought it was so cool. Pink egg salad?!? Sign me up. But now I am super grossed out by what kind of weird food dyes and chemicals I ingested post-Easter week.

Even though egg salad gets tons of press around Easter, I actually eat this on the regular. We always have hard boiled eggs in our fridge for quick snacks and meals, so I mix up this egg salad almost weekly. I usually eat it with some raw carrots, Siete chips, and a few grapes on the side. YUM.

On a side note, this egg salad recipe is a mix of what I grew up with and the kind my husband ate as a kid. Finding an egg salad recipe that worked for both of us was almost as bad as deciding on a church! A Catholic and a Baptist completely at a standstill about egg salad -- sweet or savory? Serious decisions, you guys. So just like church, we compromised and go sweet AND savory. (Yes, I totally compared egg salad to religious faith.) Hope y'all like it! And do me a favor -- don't use the eggs with the food dye. Please.

Ingredients

  • 4 hard boiled eggs
  • 1 tablespoon paleo approved mayo (I use Chosen Foods Avocado Oil Mayo)
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic salt (or regular sea salt)
  • 1 tsp finely chopped onion
  • 1 good squirt of regular yellow mustard (think French's)
  • Dash of paprika
  • 1-2 teaspoons of organic sweet pickle relish (skip for true Paleo or use dill pickle relish)

Instructions

  1. Chop up boiled eggs and place in mixing bowl.
  2. Add mayo, pickle relish, garlic salt, paprika, onion, mustard, and cracked pepper.
  3. Mix well.
  4. Y'all, that's it.
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Basic Cauliflower Rice

Basic Cauliflower Rice

Basic cauliflower rice

I distinctly remember the first time my husband made cauliflower rice. We were living in Alabama, and he had agreed to do a Whole30 with his sister. Outwardly, I was super supportive! Internally I was rolling my eyes and thinking, "This is going to be totally gross. Gag." Clearly I still have the mind of a 15-year-old girl.

Y'all, cauliflower rice is delicious! Okay, it's totally not rice. Like at all. But it's a really yummy seasoned veggie that tricks your body into thinking it's getting a starchy carb. And you can walk away from the table not feeling like you have a brick in your stomach.

Fun fact: My 13-year-old prefers cauliflower rice over regular rice. He won't even touch regular rice, not even at a restaurant. BOOM. Be still my nutritional therapist's heart. I'm totally rocking this parenting gig.

Ingredients

  • 1 head of cauliflower head, chopped in food processor or one 16 oz. bag of riced cauliflower (Trader Joe's is the best IMO!)
  • 2-3 tablespoons ghee, butter, coconut oil, avocado oil, or olive oil
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • Sea Salt
  • Cracked pepper
  • Minced garlic, optional

Instructions

  1. Put cauliflower florets in food processor and chop until course. Avoid using the cauliflower stalk (I think it has a funny taste) and make sure not to chop too finely or your rice will be mushy!
  2. You can totally skip the above step if your lucky self has access to Trader Joe's riced cauliflower.
  3. Heat your fat of choice over medium heat until shimmering, then add the onion (and minced garlic if using). Stir often until onion is soft and translucent.
  4. Add riced cauliflower and stir until well mixed with onions and fat.
  5. Season with sea salt and cracked pepper.
  6. Cover and cook for about 5-10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  7. Don't overcook because then it's mushy!
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Choosing Safer Self Care

My life is crazy. I wear a ton of hats (literally and figuratively because I live in Alaska!), so I feel like I’m always running from one thing to another with no downtime in between.  I pretty much live on coffee and brightly colored sticky notes.    Sound familiar?...

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Hey Girl, Hey!

I’m Amanda! I’m a Pilates & Barre Master Trainer, Nutritional Therapy Consultant, Director with Beautycounter, military wife, and mother of two very energetic boys.

I’ve given up the unrealistic notion of being awesome at everything and embraced the idea of just keeping the important stuff well balanced.

My life is not nearly as cool as my Pinterest boards, you guys. But I do try to live a healthy life and make better choices for my family. If you have any interest in doing the same, please stick around! Read More…

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