Truffles are one of the easiest things to make, for realz.
A 'regular' truffle consists (basically) of cream, chopped/shaved chocolate, and vanilla extract. This paleo version is just as simple, but I opted out of cream and used coconut oil instead. I have also made truffles with coconut cream (from this site), and they were good, but I wanted to make some on a different occasion and had no coconut milk. So, I just threw some things together and made these....which, after I had made, photographed and eaten them...it came to me...I've made these before, sort of...in October 2013 I wrote a "healthy chocolate treats" post and the chocolate I made then was the same. I tried to re-invent the wheel, and came out at the other end with, have you guest? A wheel. I'm loosing my edge here people, this is serious. Sheesh. Anyway, these are tasty, easy, and apparently my "go to" for a chocolate fix....whether or not I even realize it.....
Paleo Dark Chocolate Truffles
So easy, right? They are a real treat!
I have always had a serious sweet tooth, but I have especially always loved chocolate, and so I like to have little chocolate treats available that are a healthier than the sugar and hydrogenated oil filled store bought versions. You can buy some good store bought versions, but the prices are usually whacko! I have more time than I do money, so I'll stick to making my own.
Anyway, I didn't plan on posting this today, but here I am, doing it anyway. I'm a rebel without a cause!!! Ok, I'm not, I just want to share a chocolate treat because, well, why the heck not? :)
Have a great Tuesday!
St. Patrick’s Day in Ireland dates back to the 17th century, as a religious feast day that commemorates the death of St. Patrick in the fifth century. St. Patrick is credited with having brought Christianity to Ireland, and so became a figure of national devotion and eventually, the nation’s patron saint. The day’s importance was confirmed in 1631 when it was recognized by the Vatican(1)
Celebrations worldwide generally involve public parades and festivals, and the wearing of green attire or shamrocks (4 leaf clovers). Some Christians also attend church services, and the Lenten restrictions on eating and drinking alcohol are lifted for the day (which may explain the holiday's tradition of alcohol consumption).
In the Republic of Ireland, Saint Patricks Day is a public holiday, as it also is in Newfoundland and Labrador (here in Canada), and also in the British Overseas Territories, Montserrat (in the Caribbean).
It is also my Mom's birthday. Happy birthday Mom!!! xoxo Her name is Pat, isn't that clever. :)
Anyway, I wanted to share a few Irish recipes with yee today, none of my own, but all recipes that I have tried.
Good luck! Get it? Luck? Irish? Never mind...
The point of Irish stew was to be simple and cost effective. I get the feeling that Irish Stew is not meant to be anything specific except to be easy and cheap to prepare, so don't make a fuss over it! Meat (usually lamb), onions, carrots and potatoes cooked in water are the main (and only really required) ingredients. But adding different flavours and veggies is not un-heard of. And I generally use a broth or stock to really give flavour to the stew.
Here's a favourite recipe of mine for a fantastic stew. I sub in gluten free flour (A Bob's Red Mill blend) for the flour, and this New Grist Gluten Free Beer for the Guiness, and I have also used stewing beef instead of lamb shoulder a few times (I have used lamb shoulder when I could find it, and it was affordable).
Click the green link to find the recipe and make this beautiful Guiness Lamb Stew from Jen Segal at Once Upon a Chef.
Corned Beef with Cabbage
This next recipe is similar to stew, it's just as simple, but uses sausage and bacon in it. Gosh it's good, we have it around here often. It's called an Irish Coddle, which just means you gently simmer everything together. I think the early Irish were pretty busy since most of their recipes let them cover a pot and walk away for some time, and also tasted great (sometimes even better) the day after being made.
This Dublin Coddle of sausage, bacon, onion and potato is simple, and extremely tasty. The recipe says to use the best sausage you can find, but honestly, I've only ever used Schneider's Oktoberfest Sausages and it's tasted great. I'm sure those aren't the best I could find, but we like them.
This recipe can be found at food.com
Though corned beef and cabbage are not well loved by everyone in my family, I certainly enjoy it! Corned beef is not made with corn, as most people believe. It is a beef brisket that has had time to soak in a salt brine (the large, coarse salt grains being referred to as 'corn'). We eat it here in Canada mostly as "Montreal Smoked Meat", which is basically corned beef that has been smoked after sitting in the brine.
Anywho, that factoid being known, this simple dish is gluten free, & paleo without even trying! How modern! :)
It's a super simple dish of corned beef, cabbage, carrots and onions with the addition of some savoury herbs. My only change I've made to the recipe I'm linking to is that I use a homemade stock in place of the water.
Find the recipe from Epicurious here.
Carrigaline Whiskey Pie
I'll end this Ode to Saint Patricks Day post with a dessert that is as simple as all those main courses. This whisky pie uses traditional Irish ingredients, and is a dessert cross between a sunken souffle and a quiche. It's delightful though, and gluten free.
I first made this pie a few years ago after Googling "using leftover potatoes" and was amused to find a dessert among the results. I haven't made it in a while, but I remember how good it was. It was good enough that I printed out the recipe and tucked it into my recipe book. I have looked at it from time to time thinking, "I must remember this when I've got leftover potatoes", but the truth is, I'm lazy about potatoes! I rarely make mashed potatoes because they require more effort than I am generally interested in investing into my food! Especially since my kids don't like them!
Anyway, really, the amount of potatoes you need for this pie isn't that overwhelming and could be quickly boiled, just for a special occasion like St. Patrick's Day. :) Find the recipe at Hungry Rabbit, right here.
I hope you enjoyed this Irish fare roundup, and get to make something festive for dinner tonight!
Random memory time....when I was young, on St. Patrick's Day my mom got her friend (who was from Ireland) to come over and teach us an Irish Ceili (pronounced kay-lee). I remember it being a lot of fun, and we may have also made fun of my Mom's friend who would count the dance, "one, two, tree and one, two, tree". She was patient with us though (I know I wouldn't have been if I were her!). :)
Anyway, have a good day, whatever Irish or non-Irish thing you decide to do!
I'm still here, but I've just been super busy!
Sorry to post another sweet treat...but I needed to share it! It's like the classic super easy peanut butter cookie, only made a little more substantial with oats (so you don't feel so bad about eating it), and then chocolate chips added (....so you feel bad again). Just kidding, don't feel bad about eating cookies, it totally ruins them! ;)
I made these recently to bring (of course) to rehearsal, and they got gobbled up. Gobb-bulled.
So, here are the cookies with the longest name ever, or otherwise known as the f.p.b.o.c.c.c! :) At least that rhymes!
Flourless Peanut Butter Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies
*This dough does require some chilling time*
**If you double this recipe you'll need to use 3 eggs. Otherwise the dough is too dry and won't hold together**
*Chill the cookie dough for at least 30 minutes*
These cookies freeze really well, by the way. I like to make a batch just to stick in the freezer to have handy for the kids when they get home from school, or as a quick add-in to a snack I'm packing for a day away from home.
I love a cookie that has a soft, chewy centre, but a beautiful golden crisp outside. Yummmmm!
These are easy to whip up too, you just have to be ok with the cooling time. I really rather dislike making cookies that require cooling time (when I want cookies, I want them sooner than later!), but these loose their body if made right away. The oats, peanut butter and eggs need time to really bind properly.
Anyway, I hope everyone had a good week!
We're on the hunt for a new van (originally by choice, but now by force...it's a long story, but just know our van is wobbling like a clown car!).
So, I'm signing off! Have a great weekend, and try to get in a random act of kindness today (this was R.A.K week!).
Last week I shared a seriously delicious gluten free chocolate chip cookie dough dip recipe....and I warned you that my treat day brain worked some magic to add to how de-lish the recipe was...oh yes, I sandwiched it between two gluten free (and flour free) brownie cookies. Yum-o X 1000! :)
I decided to bake the brownie cookies a pinch longer than I normally would to make sure they would be sturdy enough to be involved in a cookie dough sandwich. They were perfect! The original post for those beauties is here.
In a way, these seem like they would take a lot of work, but the cookie recipe is simple, and the cookie dough dip recipe is simple too. I made both the cookies and the dough dip the day before I needed them, then assembled the next day. I actually made a double batch of both the cookies and the cookie dough dip, and made about 35 sandwich cookies.
Flour-Free Brownie Cookies
Makes approx. 35 cookies
Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Dip
What I did to make these and make the most of my time was to start the cookie dough dip because the melted butter mixture needed to cool.
While it was cooling I made the brownie cookies, and by the time I was done baking, the dough dip butter mixture was cooled, and I could finish making that. Taa-daa!
Time to Assemble!
I don't think you need instructions for this part, but just in case you do...
I created a little assembly line of sorts to make the sandwiches. I lined some cookie up with the tops facing up, and some with the bottoms facing up. Then I used my small (1 Tbsp) scoop to dish out the dough dip onto each cookie with it's bottom facing up, and then took it's cookie partner (the cookie with the top facing up), and squished them together.
Yummy, right? You have no idea!!!
They disappeared at the rehearsal I brought them to, and one person said, "I thought gluten free food was supposed to taste gross?" She thought wrong, real wrong.
I can prove that gluten free doesn't have to be gross, but also that it doesn't have to be even a little bit healthy! Haha...I'm just poking fun at those whose brains say: gluten free=healthy!
For real, these are a treat, and eat them in moderation, blah, blah, blah...
I have rehearsal again tonight, and I'm going to whip up a batch of something to bring. I'm not sure what I'm going to bring yet, actually? Anywhooo...
On Wednesday night the hubby and I and some friends went to see ZZTop in Peterborough, and that was actually fun (I wasn't too sure it would be). They still have their little choreographed moments, they brought out their fizzy guitars, there was a really drunk guy in the audience wearing a cowboy hat trying to dance with anything that walked by him...yikes....he finally got escorted out! It was really loud, so I felt kinda old, but we were right near the front and it was a good show! Those are the coolest 65 year old guys ever...well, except for my Dad, he's pretty cool. Although he's older than 65...never mind, I digress.
Have a good weekend internet dwellers, and don't forget it's daylight savings this weekend, so you need to spring your clocks ahead one hour! Most people hate this loss of an hour, but for my husband who is working a 12 hour night shift, it turns it into an 11 hour night shift, which might not seem like a lot, but it is to him! :)
Last year I shared my thoughts and feelings about loosing a child to a miscarriage. I gave birth to a beautiful baby girl, Ezra Faith, on Sunday March 3rd, 2013 at the Belleville General Hospital.
I wasn't ready last year to give the details about the story. But I will share them today, on the 2 year anniversary of her birth. The facts are clinical, true, and sometimes alarming (I just want you to be warned and prepared). But I feel comfortable enough to put these facts out there, and I want to be able to be a life line to any woman going through a miscarriage and searching the internet for stories about what the experience could be like (like a full-term, live birth, each miscarriage is different) and to find help here, and to know they are not alone.
To read about my first miscarriage of my little boy Abraham, look here. Or to read about my version of coping, read this post called Feeling Blue.
The pregnancy was not planned (at all). I had suffered a miscarriage a few months earlier, and we weren't thinking we would try again, but knowing I was pregnant again did have a healing effect. Like my body could be trusted a little again.
The pregnancy went along really normal, with no sign for concern at all. But deep down, I was really struggling to be hopeful. I can read now through some of my journal entries during those early weeks that I was excited, but still feeling nervous about going full-term. We decided to wait (as most people do) until the 12 week mark to tell people, but as the date approached, I changed my mind. We had told people at 12 weeks with the last pregnancy, only to call them/tell them all a few days later the baby had passed away.
With each passing week beyond the "magic 12 week mark" we were feeling better about telling people. So, after my mid-wife appointment at 16weeks 5days where we heard the heartbeat still, we slowly started making our announcement. At 20 weeks, we made the announcement at church (which was a big deal to us). We thought, we're halfway through the pregnancy, I'm starting to show a little (I don't show much until I'm nearer to the 30 week mark), so let's do it. There were a few other women pregnant with due dates around mine, so I could talk freely with some of them now about the pregnancy.
The 10 days or so leading up to the end are a strange mix of blur, and extreme clarity. On the Wednesday after we had told our church we were pregnant, I had my first dance rehearsal for a production I was working on with our local theatre. But that Wednesday night as I got dressed for the rehearsal, I went back and forth in my mind about if I would tell some of the cast I was expecting. I knew some of them well, but decided to wait until it was really obvious. That moment feels clear to me, and I think it was because the Lord knew I would need a corner of the world where I was still "me"-not pregnant, not grieving, just neutral. This show turned out to be a refuge for me. It gave me dances to work on and choreograph during the week, a goal to have, a task. Going to rehearsals was a God-send; it was the only place people didn't know what was really going on, so I felt free to go to rehearsals and smile, have fun, talk about things besides loss, like in another life I was suffering so much inside, but in that life things were chugging along as usual.
The next day, on Thursday February 21st, I had a mid-wife appointment and ultrasound booked. I remember my secondary mid-wife was doing my appointment, and I had never met her before. We made our introductions, and then she started asking the usually questions about how I felt, etc. I cut her off and said, "I don't want to be rude, but could we chat after you listen for the babies heart beat?" I told her I was really nervous, and didn't want to chat about a baby I was still feeling un-sure was even there......
She couldn't find the heart beat......she tried to give me (really sweet) excuses, "maybe the baby is farther back, etc", but I knew. I asked her to go and get my primary mid-wife (who I knew well, and trusted). She came in, with a grim look on her face. I love her. She is strait forward, but still really kind and caring. She checked for a heart beat too, and said something like, "This doesn't look good".
Because I was already booked for the 20 week ultrasound after my appointment, she told me to go there, and to call her after.
The ultrasound tech is someone I still would punch in the face if I ever saw him again. I went into the room, feeling sick to my stomach, and sat down on the bed. He was looking over my information, and said, "o.k., so this is a scan just to check that the baby is developing normally", and I said, "well, it was supposed to be, but I just came from my mid-wife, and we could find the heart beat, so, this scan is really to check if the baby is still alive". He looked a little annoyed at me for even saying it, but I knew they had rules. The patient is not to know the results of a scan, they are supposed to wait until their healthcare provider calls them with the results. But I wanted to know. I needed to know. He quietly did the scan, making little grunts under his breath, looking disapproving. Then, he suddenly turns the machine away, and tells me we're finished. I've been to ultrasounds before, and they always end with the tech letting you hear the heart beat, looking at the baby, and printing off photos from the scan for you.
So, I sat up, and said, "can you tell me?". "Oh no", he replies, "I will pass the info onto your mid-wife, probably in the next day or so, and she'll get in touch with you". I was too mad/shocked/heartbroken at that point to know how to react to his coldness. I walked out of the room, and looked to my left where the waiting room was. My husband turned to look at me, and shrugged, as if to say, "do you know?", and I burst into tears, and ran to the right, and locked myself in the bathroom.
When I finally told my husband about the scan, but more about how the tech said he wasn't going to tell me, or pass the into on for a day or two, he pleaded with the receptionist, who did have a heart, and promised to send the results to the mid-wife the minute they were ready. So, we called the mid-wife about an hour after the appointment, and she told us that the scan showed the baby had stopped growing (therefore he heart had stopped beating) around a week earlier.
Fast forward to Saturday, March 2nd. The day booked for me to go to the hospital to have my labour induced. The time between finding out the baby had passed away and this date was a blur. I wrote this same Psalm in my journal over and over....
Psalms 6: 1(b)-3, 6 "Be merciful to me, Lord, for I am faint; oh Lord, heal me, for my bones are in agony. My soul is in anguish! How long, oh Lord, how long?". v. 6 "I am worn out from groaning; all night long I flood my bed with tears. My eyes grow weak with sorrow...."
That is the most honest way I can describe the time I spent trying to mentally prepare for what was ahead. I wasn't allowed to try to "wait it out" at home as I had with our last miscarriage because I was farther along, and the baby would be bigger, and there was a bigger chance of complications.
I arrived at the hospital at noon, and I was brought into the labour and delivery ward. I was told what "the plan" was, and then we settled in for what we thought would be a few terrible hours.
They gave me the meds for induction (misoprostol) at 2pm, and again at 6pm, and again at 10pm......my body was not ready for this. My mid-wife was very apologetic and alarmed that I hadn't gone into labour yet. She thought (because I had previous pregnancies and deliveries) I would go into labour with the first dose, but it wasn't happening.
This day that I was dreading was stretching out before me, with nothing good at the end of it. The mental capacity it took me to stay there and not run like a lunatic through the halls, out the doors, and never stop, was just barely in my reach. A really nice nurse gave us the WiFi password for the hospital so we could watch shows online on the iPad we had brought along. It helped to pass the hours, and gave us a mental rest. There are saints working in the Belleville General Hospital.
I kept getting doses of meds, hoping it "would take". The OBGYN who was "technically" in charge of my labour and delivery told me to rest, and she would be back at 2am to give me another dose of the meds if I needed it.
Lying in our semi-dark maternity ward room, I could hear newborn babies crying down the hall. They had put us as far away as they could, but I could still hear them, and I couldn't stop crying.
The contractions finally came in waves about midnight. Looking at the clock, I could see they were getting to be 2 minutes apart. I was in a lot of pain. As much pain as any of my other full term labours, and at this point, this ordeal had been almost as long as my longest labour. I went to the bathroom, but after peeing, I felt pressure. I felt down there, and could feel something coming out. So, I pulled the emergency cord, and when the nurse came in, she helped me back to my bed. The OBGYN came back in, and quickly checked my cervix. She said, "I can't feel anything coming down at all?". I told her for sure I not only felt the pressure, but I felt with my own hand something. Because I was being given vaginal misoprostol, when I would go to the bathroom, the pill would often fall out (it is only placed right inside the vagina, to be at the cervix opening to soften the cervix). So, when I felt that pressure and felt something coming out, the meds also fell out. I saw the pill, and I told the OBGYN, but she felt that if the last contractions were so strong, they would continue on their own. So, we waited 30 minutes (until 2am), and nothing happened, so, she gave me another dose, and we waited some more.
Another hour.....and nothing was happening. She told me to rest again, and left the room. At about 5 am, I felt the contractions again, but they were suddenly intense, horribly painful, and extremely close together. The OBGYN, some nurses, and my mid-wife all came in, I wasn't going to let this stop this time. I was tired of waiting, tired of wondering, tired of being the in hospital for what was supposed to be a quick induction and labour. 15 hours had gone by, I wanted to be finished.
Very suddenly I said I needed to push, and in one push I was finished.
My baby was still in the sack, so they broke it open, and told me she was a girl. They wrapped her in the same white/blue/pink blanket they wrap all newborns in, and gave her to me to hold. She was tiny, but perfect. She weighed so little (5.7 oz) but I could feel the weight of her in my arms. I still can.....
My husband and I sat crying for a long time. Eventually, we cleaned her up, and wrapped her back up, and placed her into her coffin. We packed up our things and headed home with our daughter.
It is a dark and hollow feeling going home from a labour and delivery, and bringing home a beautiful white casket, and no baby to care for. My husband and I went to sleep for a few hours, and then I just needed to get up. I wanted photos of my daughter. I had a foot print from our son we had lost, but was unsure about pictures. But, leading up to going into the hospital with this miscarriage, I had read every blog and forum about miscarriage, and a lot of women regretted not having some photo or another (and I felt that regret from our last baby lost). So, I got up, and took some foot and hand prints, as well as photos of her feet and hands. I decided against a photo of her face because (the morbid & natural) truth was that she was in ‘poor condition’. Because she had passed away at least 10 days previous, she had begun to deteriorate. So, I got what I felt I would want (whether I looked at it in a day, a week, or if I wasn’t ready again in 10 years to see the photos), I now knew I had them.
We held a service for her at our house on March 15th, and it was terrible, and wonderful. The support from those who came was enormous, but the event was one I dreaded. I didn’t hardly sleep leading up to it. We planned on burying her before everyone got to the service as we felt it would be too emotional for us to do in front of others, and also possibly awkward for those coming as this whole situation was different than a usual "funeral". Our pastor was there and he said a few words, and I said a few words too.
We choose the gerbera daisy as Ezra's flower, and handed one out to each person who came to the service as a remembrance.
All of the post-partum stuff came to me, as it would have if I had delivered a full term baby. My milk came in 3 days after having her, and that was heart breaking. Then, to add more complication to it, after my regular post-partum bleeding was finished, (after about 3 weeks), suddenly a week later I started bleeding again, but violently, and unstoppably. I had to go in for 2 more inter-vaginal ultrasounds, one to confirm that I had pieces of placenta attached to my uterus, which was causing the bleeding, and the second a week later to confirm it was all out. I opted out of a scraping of the uterus and promised to let my mid-wife know if I felt too ill, and told her I would ride it out. This bleeding stopped on April 7th. I got the news I miscarried on February 21st. 46 long, terrible, unbearable days later, and it was finally all over.
The following Sunday I went back to church for the first time since we had made the announcement we were pregnant back in February. I felt so overwhelmed with emotions of being there, seeing those same pregnant ladies who were still pregnant. Most of them who told people they were pregnant when they were 4, 5, 6 weeks pregnant. I waited until I was 19 weeks pregnant….half way through the pregnancy! I felt so much anger, sadness, hatred. But, I also felt a love, knowing a lot of people in this “family” had made me meals, given us money for groceries (which my friends would buy, and bring out to me), given us flowers and cards, but mostly their prayers.
I purchased a beautiful photo box from the craft store Michael's, and put the things into it that I wanted as a remembrance of Ezra. My positive pregnancy test, then cards and notes from friends and family after the loss. The hospital bracelets, little knitted cap, and blanket they had wrapped her in. Her hand and foot prints are in this box, as well as a "Mary's Bear" we purchased for her, because all of my other kids have one.
Here I am, 2 years later, and I still struggle with knowing the balance between remembering and forgetting. Is there even a balance?
I don't "ooh & ahh" over new babies, but I have at least gotten close to them. This is mostly because I have 5 and 6 year old girls who want to see every baby they encounter! If that's the method God is going to use to get me to stand within a 10 foot radius of a new baby, then o.k. I don't feel excited over a new pregnancy announcement; I mostly feel nervousness mixed with irritation that someone else is pregnant. But I feel this less now than I did 2 years ago, so I can be hopeful that one day I may have genuine happiness for other pregnant woman and woman with newborns.
I miss the little girl who I never really knew, but I had her worked into my life already. I was already planning my sons summer birthday around her (actual) due date. I wondered how we could re-arrange the kids in their rooms based on if we had a baby girl or baby boy. I was happy and prepared to have her at home with me when all three of my kids went off to school this year. But I am alone at home.
I think about Ezra literally every day. I sometimes imagine her here with us and what she might have been like. I sometimes imagine her in heaven, looking sweet and beautiful and happy.
I feel pain so deep knowing that she is being forgotten by everyone except myself. I know others think of her, though not every day, and not with the pain I feel. I am the only one who knew her, who felt her. I don't blame anyone for forgetting; each person has their own life. I don't remember/know the birthdays of some of my own siblings, or the exact day one dear friend of mine passed away. I know he passed away in the month of June, but the exact day? I'm not sure I've ever remembered it. So thinking someone should remember the passing of a baby they never knew or met is unreasonable. This is important to remember because if I decided to be angry with anyone who didn't pay tribute to Ezra's honour I would be forever unhappy and would push others away from me. This attitude is not one that will bring healing, but more loneliness and grief.
I pray that my feelings, my thoughts, the story I share can be an encouragement and help to others. I hurt deeply thinking about this loss, but I can say that time does heal. But, you have to let it. Time spent lying in bed, grieving endlessly, thinking of nothing else but the loss is not time spent healing. We heal by equal parts grief, sharing, giving of ourselves, and working towards goals. Don't be afraid to feel happy, it doesn't mean you have stopped loving the baby you lost, it just means you can still love life without that baby. And that is allowed. You can cry, look at ultrasound scans, and remember the feeling of a baby growing inside of you. But you also need to laugh, look at real life happening around you, and feel what you still have inside of you to give to others.
Today I remember Ezra Faith and the loss, but I remember most what she's done for me. She taught me to feel deeply, she reminded me to be real, to be present. To know that God has each day planned for us, from birth until death, and we can't stop it. The grief and fear that get tangled together in the middle of the storm can seem overwhelming, but it will settle.....eventually. I remember the love of friends and family who reached out to us and cared for us during the storm, and how they were a beacon of light.
I remember the weight of her in my arms, the tears I cried from deep inside of me while I held her in that hospital room.
I am thankful for Ezra Faith and every moment I got to spend with her. And I look forward to holding her again someday.
Hi, I'm Amy-Lyn!
I am the lady behind this here blog! I live in the sticks with my animals, my super handsome husband, and my
3 amazing kids!
Here you'll find things from recipes (gluten-free, paleo, and strait up junk food!), DIY ideas, thoughts on raising a son with autism, and whatever else pops into my brain! : )
Read more about me by clicking here!
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