A Well Balanced Blog

Grain Free Chocolate Birthday Cupcakes

Grain Free Chocolate Birthday Cupcakes

Category: Recipes

Servings: 12-15 cupcakes

Grain Free Chocolate Birthday Cupcakes

So these don't have to be birthday cupcakes ... but they're definitely delicious and pretty enough for a celebration!

You know, sometimes you just really need a cupcake. And not one of those healthy tasting cupcakes -- the REAL DEAL. So that's what I set out to do ... make a cupcake that has the taste and texture of a good old fashioned cupcake. And I think these are pretty darn close!

A few things about this recipe. The espresso powder is optional, but I promise it gives that chocolate a really rich and decadent taste. It's totally worth it. Also, you can add more maple syrup (or other sweetener if you would like) ... but I like my cupcakes slightly sweet with a really sweet icing on top. And lastly, dipping the cupcakes in the melted chocolate makes them absolutely beautiful! They don't need any other toppings ... but sprinkles make me happy. And they make the cupcakes more legit, especially for birthdays.

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups fine almond flour
  • 1/3 cup arrowroot powder
  • 2 tbsp coconut flour
  • 1/2 cup organic cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp espresso powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 4 eggs
  • 1/3 cup melted butter, ghee, or coconut oil
  • 3/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup full fat coconut milk
  • Dash of vanilla extract
    For chocolate icing:
  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips (I use Enjoy Life)
  • 1/2 tablespoon coconut oil
  • *Sprinkles are a fun topping! I like Color Kitchen Foods for a safer option.

Instructions

  1. Place parchment paper liners in muffin tins (this recipe usually makes me about 15 cupcakes).
  2. Add dry ingredients together in bowl (almond flour, arrowroot powder, coconut flour, cocoa powder, espresso powder, baking soda, and salt.
  3. In large bowl, add eggs, melted fat, maple syrup, coconut milk, and vanilla. Use mixer to combine well.
  4. Add dry ingredients to wet and mix until smooth. You might need to taste the batter at this point to make sure it's ok ...
  5. Fill lined muffin cups with batter about 2/3 full.
  6. Bake at 350 degrees for 18-22 minutes, or until toothpick inserted comes out clean. (I'm always a fan of the lower baking times). Remove from oven and let cool completely.
  7. FOR THE GLAZE: Melt chocolate chips and coconut oil in double boiler over medium heat. Stir often and remove from heat when chocolate is smooth. Let cool for about 5 minutes.
  8. Take each cupcake and turn upside down, then swirl it around to coat the top in the chocolate. Let chocolate drip off before flipping right side up.
  9. Add sprinkles if desired. Don't wait too long before doing this because the icing will begin to harden. The upside to this is the sprinkles stay on really well!
  10. Time to celebrate!
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Gluten Free Mini Corndog Muffins

Gluten Free Mini Corndog Muffins

Category: Recipes

Gluten Free Mini Corndog Muffins

So before you do anything, I want you to head over to Amazon and buy the following cookbook: Fast and Simple Gluten-Free by Gretchen Brown, R.D. Because she's one of my bestest friends ever (we met in 6th grade), and the basis for this recipe is from her book! Check out the Butter Rolls on page 115.

Gretchen is basically the better and more glamorous version of me. She's tall and statuesque, has this long, thick and stunning brown hair, is a military spouse doing the single parent gig while her husband is deployed for the year, has a straight up GORGEOUS blog (www.kumquatblog.com) and honed her skills working in the Southern Living test kitchens. For real, you guys. SHE IS THE REAL DEAL. I'm like the watered down and much shorter version stumbling along as I go. But I'm totally ok with that because I love her so much -- she's always there for me. Always.

So back to the recipe. When G was writing her cookbook, this was the recipe I received for early testing! And I've been making it ever since. It doesn't really have corn in it and I've added a bit of sweetness to it, but it's always reminded me of sweet corn muffins. Add some hot dogs and you've got some kid-friendly treats that work great for lunches, snacks, or anytime yummies. My boys are ALWAYS asking for more food, so these are great to have on hand. I like mine with some good old fashioned mustard to really make it feel like I'm at the fair munching on a corndog. Because junk food is good, y'all.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup gluten free flour (I use Bob's Red Mill)
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, melted
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tablespoon milk or milk alternative
  • 1/2 cup organic sour cream
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • About 3-4 hot dogs cut into 1/2 inch slices (I use Applegate Grass Fed All Beef Hotdogs)

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Combine flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt in a bowl.
  3. In separate bowl combine melted butter, milk, sour cream, egg, and maple syrup. Blend with mixer.
  4. Add in flour mixture and blend into wet ingredients until smooth.
  5. Add spoonfuls of batter into mini-muffin tins coated with cooking spray or melted coconut oil. (Use the good stuff! I use Chosen Foods Avocado Oil Spray) Make sure muffin cups are only about half full at this point -- adding the hotdog will fill it up a lot more!
  6. Take cut up hotdogs and push into batter until just the top is showing. This should cause the muffin mixture to raise up to the top of the muffin cup.
  7. Bake for about 15 minutes or until edges brown and a toothpick inserted comes out clean.
  8. Pretend you're at the fair and enjoy! (P.S. This recipes makes about 24 corndog muffins.)
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Gluten Free Snickerdoodles

Gluten Free Snickerdoodles

Category: Recipes

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

Category: Recipes

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

Category: Recipes

Servings: 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

Category: Recipes, Uncategorized

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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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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