Guilt-Free (mostly) Carrot Cake Doughnuts

carrot cake doughnutsI would normally never think to make my own doughnuts but this pan was half off in the checkout lane and I couldn’t resist. 

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I couldn’t figure out exactly what to make but then when I had a bunch of leftover carrots one day, I had my answer. I love carrot cake, but I never think to make it. These aren’t really official doughnuts, more of a carrot cake in a circular shape, but I prefer to call them doughnuts. 

It’s actually pretty easy.

For the cake, you will need:
2 Eggs
1 Cup Sugar
3/4 Cup Applesauce (guiltfree version). Otherwise, use 3/4 cup Vegetable Oil
1 1/2 Cups Fresh Carrots, grated
1 Cup Flour, all-purpose
1 tsp Baking soda
1 tsp Cinnamon, ground
1/8 tsp Nutmeg, ground
1/2 tsp Salt

You can add a few tablespoons of ground flax seeds or chia seeds into the batter if you want a few extra nutrients. You could also add some raisins if you like.

In a large mixing bowl, combine the eggs, sugar and oil using an electric mixer. Beat at medium speed until mixture is smooth and creamy (about 2 minutes). Fold in the grated carrots and mix well.

In a medium mixing bowl, combine the all-purpose flour, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt. Mix well.

Whisk the dry flour mixture into the wet egg mixture until smooth. Using a small spoon, spread batter into sections of the doughnut pan.

Bake at 350 degrees F until doughnuts are done. Since the molds are fairly shallow, check on them often as the bake time may be quicker than usual. They are done when a toothpick comes out clean.

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Let doughnuts cool completely before frosting.

For the frosting, you will need:
2 oz Low fat or fat free cream cheese (guilt-free). Otherwise, use full flavor
1 Tbs Butter (room temperature)
1/4 Cup Powdered Sugar
1/4 tsp Vanilla Extract

This recipe makes a small batch with a light layer of frosting. Feel free to double recipe if you need a larger batch.

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I’ve found that sometimes just changing the shape of a food item can make it more fun to eat. Plus, I love calling them doughnuts to my family when I know the non-fried truth!

Enjoy!

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Combining Bedrooms with a Boy and Girl

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As soon as we found out we were going to have a third baby, I began worrying about the sleeping arrangements. I knew the most logical thing would be to move our two year old son into our four year old daughter’s room, at least for a while.

I immediately began imagining them talking, giggling, and throwing things all night. I admit I was expecting the worst. We went back and forth for a while about when to make the move and we finally decided to just do it and get it over with.

To distract me from worrying about the sleeping part of the room share, I decided to focus on the actual room. That was more fun.

We really didn’t change much as far as the decor. Here was her room before.

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We just moved her bed by the window and put his crib by the wall.

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We hung back up the second shelf that had come down a while ago to give them each their own shelf.

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We kept the tissue paper flowers and added a pink sparkle twig headboard for her side of the room. We also kept her jeweled mirror on the wall and got her a larger twin bed (after I took these pictures).

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For his side, we kept it baby blue with his sheets and framed fabric decor over his crib.

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Then we just swapped out the large glider for a smaller one we had and moved it to the other side of the room.

Easy.

As far as the sleeping, it’s gone about as expected. After the third night we learned to put our sound-sleeping boy down first, let him fall asleep, and then take our daughter in. So far, so good. Sometimes.

 

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Fresh Thyme Store Visit

In my last post I shared about a new farmer’s market-style store coming to Columbus. The $25 gift card is still up for grabs until Sunday, so head over and comment on that post to enter.

I had the chance to visit their pre-grand opening last night and wanted to share some photos of the store.

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The produce looked amazing.

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And the prices were really reasonable.

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The had a little bit of everything.

Flowers.

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Bulk coffee.

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Bulk foods.

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Juice Bar.

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Wine.

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Vitamins, books and GREAT magazines.

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There was also a deli with fresh foods (the pizza was awesome), a bakery, and meat.

For the pre-party, they had a band, food samples, champagne, and a chocolate fountain.

I made sure to take advantage of the free massages they were giving out!

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All I can say is this store is all I was hoping it would be and I look forward to many more visits. Thank you to Fresh Thyme for including me in the fun! Columbus welcomes you with open arms!

Don’t miss the Grand Opening tomorrow! Also check out their web site for more info at http://freshthyme.com.

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Fresh Thyme Farmer’s Market Grand Opening (and Giveaway!)

win a gift card fresh thymeWhen it comes to health stores, I believe you can’t have enough of them. Each has its own personality, products, events, and staff. This is why I’m really excited that we have another one coming onto the scene.

Fresh Thyme is designed to have a farmer’s market feel but with a physical, permanent location. They have stores around the midwest (see if one is near you here) and more set to open within the next year.

Dublin’s grand opening is set for Wednesday, August 13 and they are allowing me to offer a $25 Fresh Thyme gift card to one of my lucky readers…yes, you. So, keep reading :)

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I’ve never been to a Fresh Thyme but from the photos on their website, I know I’m going to love it. I was asked to help them get the word out about their opening and, in full disclosure, they have compensated me for the help. The main reason I agreed to help is because I am genuinely excited about this store coming to Columbus! Plus, their goal is to support local farmers so their produce is fresh and supports our community.

More information can be found on their website at http://freshthyme.com. They also have a Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/freshthymedublin for updates and other fun info!

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Simply comment below and a name will be chosen randomly from the comments. The contest is also opened up to those on Maggie May’s Facebook page so you can also go there, like the page, and comment on the giveaway post there. That will give you another entry! Contest will run until August 17th, 2014 and I’ll announce the winner on Monday, August 18, 2014 on Facebook and the blog, so make sure you are following.

The only requirement is that you have a store near you to win. Here are the locations again to see if there is one in your area.
http://freshthyme.com/our-stores.

Good Luck and see you at Fresh Thyme!

 

 

DIY Pudding Pops- all natural, non-dairy, delicious

pudding popI promise this will be my last popsicle post for a little while, but I couldn’t resist. I just love these pudding pops.

A while ago I shared a recipe for a dairy and gluten-free pudding. 

pudding-dairy, gluten freeI was making some recently and decided to put the pudding into our popsicle molds instead. With the hot weather, my kids are more into frozen treats right now.

What I love most about these is how great they are for those days when your kids will only eat a little bit of their dinner but can miraculously find room for dessert. I offer a pudding pop and they think they are getting a delicious dessert but in reality they are getting nutritious avocado, banana, fruit, chia seeds and almond milk. I see it as a win-win.

Basically just make this recipe of chocolate pudding:

1 ripe avacado
1/2 cup almond milk (I like vanilla but you can use unsweetened or even chocolate)
1/4 cup stevia or sugar
3 Tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 frozen banana
1/4 cup frozen mixed berries
2 Tablespoons chia seeds

Peel and pit your avocado and place into a food processor (or blender). Add in the carob powder, vanilla, milk, sweetener, chia seeds and frozen fruit. Blend until smooth. You may need to add a little extra milk or fruit in order to get the consistency you like.

For the pudding pops, just pour pudding mixture into popsicle molds and freeze.

Delicious.

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Decorate With Your Kid’s Favorite Book

book pagesWhen your kid decides that a particular book is his all-time favorite, you can expect it to get destroyed pretty quickly.

Kids aren’t exactly gentle with their books and when it’s one that they read over and over and over, you can bet it’s going to get beat up. I’m sure you have some books that look like this..

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I have to admit that after reading a book 2,000 times, I start to get a little sentimental towards it knowing that it will most likely become a childhood memory for my kids.

So when those books get too beat up to even read anymore, I hate to throw them away. They have become a part of me (and my kids) by then.

I wanted to see if we could keep the memory alive somehow even if the book was ruined. I thought about framing the pages but that would have required a trip to the store. Plus, the pages in the book I wanted to use were an odd size making it a challenge to frame.

I remembered making hanging frames in the past (you can see that post here) with ribbon and decided to give that a try.

To do this project, you will need:
Your book
An X-Acto knife or scissors
Nails or 3M removable hooks
Ribbon
Buttons or other flat embellishment

First decide where you will be hanging your pages. This will help you know how many pages you can use and the size of ribbon to cut.

Then remove the pages of your book using scissors or and X-Acto knife.

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Cut your ribbon. You will be folding the ribbon in half, so keep that in mind when you cut.

Then just tape or hot glue your ribbon to the back of your page starting at one side and folding ribbon over so you can tape or glue the other end to the other side of your page.

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Now you can play around with them on the wall to determine where to put your hooks.

Then hang.

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To add some color and hide the hook, hot glue a button or other fun embellishment onto it.

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And now your favorite book doesn’t have to be forgotten.

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Note: This project is probably best with a cardboard book. If you want to display paper pages of a book, you might be better off framing them. But who knows? Try it and see. And then let me know!