Paleo Almond Brownies

Hi guys and gals. How is everyone doing? Hopefully well with Spring coming right around the corner! It is going to be 50 in Minnesota today and I am going to enjoy it with a 10 mile run. Sorry treadmill I am breaking up with you today and moving on to the outdoors, lol.

As for what is going on with me….well, I am busy running fitness and clean eating challenge groups. They are so rewarding and help keep me on track with my nutrition and fitness, but also makes me feel so great when my challengers get the results they are looking for! In my latest 7 day challenge, I had a challenger send me a personal message saying they struggle with eating chocolate and it is must have item in their diet.

Chocolate, oh yes, I get it. For me, I have a hard time living without peanut butter. I work daily to limit how much of this little jar of heaven I put in my mouth. Back to chocolate, I told my new friend that I would do my best to find recipes that would help her with her chocolate fix. I found some recipes on Pinterest and posted them to the Facebook group page, but then it dawned on me…..why not make her a brownie recipe? Hello…..I love baking and love sharing my healthy creations, so I got busy in the kitchen and came up with this healthy and delicious brownie recipe this morning. When I saw morning, I MEAN MORNING. These babies came out of the oven at 3:21 AM. FREAK! Yes, but I am a morning person 100% and who doesn’t love having a brownie for breakfast, lol. I only had a 1/2 of one, but the day isn’t over yet. I will be eating the other half and maybe one more after I finish my run. WHOOP, WHOOP.

All right, so I hope you all enjoy these brownies. They are the bomb! Seriously!

Paleo Almond Brownies
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Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
20 min
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
20 min
Ingredients
  1. 1 C Almond Butter (unsweetened)
  2. 2/3 C Cacao Powder (unsweetened)
  3. 1/3 C Maple Syrup
  4. 1/3 C Coconut Palm Sugar
  5. 1 tsp Almond Extract
  6. 1/2 tsp Sea Salt
  7. 2 Eggs
  8. 1 tsp Baking Soda
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Mix together ingredients in a medium sized bowl with a hand mix until combined together.
  3. Pour into an 8x8 greased cake pan.
  4. Bake for 20-22 minutes (test with fork; if it comes clean the brownies are done).
  5. Cool for 10 minutes until devouring!
http://barerootkitchen.com/
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Espresso Protein Bites

Finished my first half marathon of 2016! It was the longest distance I have ran since the Boston Marathon in April of 2015. Overall, it was a perfect day for running. High 30’s with no wind! Can’t really ask for a better day at the end of January. The course was pretty hilly, but not too terrible until the last hill heading up to the finish. My GOD, I thought I was going to die at that point!!

For time, I almost hit my PR, but didn’t quite get there. I am totally okay with that considering I am still nursing and do not really have all of my energy stores for races! The funny part is Luke picked me up on the way home. Mason was thirsty and all we had in the car was Powerade. He took one sip and said, “Oh mom, this tastes awful!” Um yah, buddy I hear ya! Sports drinks are gross in my opinion. Never liked them, ever! We are getting into the parenting stage where Mason says really funny shit.

For a pre-race snack, I have been experimenting with new protein energy bites. My protein powder of choice for making energy bites is Shakeology. I have been drinking Shakeology and making energy bites for almost two months now and have noticed considerable differences in my overall health. My nails are stronger, my hair is fuller, my energy levels are through the roof and my sweet tooth cravings are virtually gone (which is amazing because I am total cookie/dessert lover). The reason why I love Shakeology is because it is packed with over 70 superfoods ingredients(e.g. chia, flax, blueberries, kale, spinach, spiralina, etc.):

• Proteins and fiber – to help reduce hunger and food cravings
• Antioxidants, Phytonutrients, Vitamins, and Minerals – to help fight free radical damage and help support a healthy immune system*
• Adaptogen Herbs – traditionally used to help the body adapt and respond to the effects of stress
• Prebiotics, Probiotics, and Digestive Enzymes – to help nutrient absorption and support regularity and healthy digestion

What better way to fuel up for a run than with some charged superfood bites! I had three of these before my race and they stayed with me until the finish. Plus, they taste AMAZING! I seriously have to limit myself to how many of these bad BOYS I can have a day.

Espresso Protein Bites
Serves 24
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Prep Time
10 min
Total Time
10 min
Prep Time
10 min
Total Time
10 min
Ingredients
  1. 1 C Peanut Butter
  2. 1/2 C Peanut Butter Powder
  3. 1/2 C Oats
  4. 1/3 C Maple Syrup
  5. 1/4 C Carob Chips
  6. 1/2 C Café Latte Shakeology
Instructions
  1. Add everything to a medium bowl and mix together with a hand mixer.
  2. Roll into walnut sized balls.
  3. Store in refrigerator for up to 3 weeks or in freezer for up to 3 months (if they last that long!).
http://barerootkitchen.com/
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Oatmeal Raisin Bites

Peanut butter is HANDS DOWN my favorite food and our dog’s too! If we get out anything in the kitchen that remotely resembles peanut butter (e.g. toaster, knives, celery) she immediately runs to get her peanut butter bone. For those Harry Potter fans we have to call it Voldemart or she goes crazy. I totally get her reaction! I mean really what could be more incredible than eating peanut butter right out of the jar?

Nothing in my opinion! Give me a spoon!

But I do not like just any peanut butter. I am a PB snob! I either like to make it from scratch, which is way easier than you might think if you have a food processor. All you have to do is add 4 cups of peanuts, a tablespoon of sunflower oil, 1 tsp salt (optional), couple tablespoons of coconut palm sugar or evaporated cane sugar and let the food processor go until it is creamy. When I don’t make it from scratch my favorite brand of peanut butter is Justins (for almond butter and they make a mean hazelnut spread that actually has hazelnuts instead of sugar as the number one ingredient, unlike Nutella….don’t buy Nutella, EVER). This PB is sold at Target, but is hard to find at other grocery stores, so my runner up is Smuckers natural. I hate and I MEAN HATE Jiff, Skippy, Peter Pan…..EWWWW! There is a “fake” taste to them that I just can’t get over.   

Now, as far as peanut butter combos my favorite is apple slices and PB, but I also like celery and bananas with PB. The banana/PB combo is why I made these oatmeal cookie bites. Well, and due to the fact that I am STARVING 24 hours a day between nursing and distance running! All I can think of is, “LAY OFF ME I AM STARVING.”

Aside from making these bites, we finally overcame a 102.9 degree temp in Mason on Thursday afternoon. Poor kid! We knew something was up when he was not running around the house like a maniac! Kaeden is also tipping the scales. At his 2 month appointment he was in the 100th percentile for his height/weight ratio and was over the 100th percentile for head circumference. Big kiddo :)

Tomorrow is also my birthday. BIG 3-7. What the heck happened to me just turning 21. Geez! Anyway, I got three presents from Mason. A mini-basketball, glow in the dark bracelets and a toy car. The best part about this gift was Mason loved them so much and we were able to play together, BEST PRESENT EVER! Wow, do I love my kids. My other birthday present was dinner with Luke at Fogo de Chao. Delish! Thanks gamma for babysitting and undergoing chaos for a couple of hours so mommy and daddy could have some quality time! 

Oatmeal Raisin Bites
Serves 16
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Prep Time
10 min
Total Time
10 min
Prep Time
10 min
Total Time
10 min
Ingredients
  1. 2 C Banana Chips
  2. 1 C Slivered Almonds
  3. 3/4 C Peanut Butter (or Almond Butter)
  4. 1/2 tsp Cinnamon
  5. 1/2 C Raisins
  6. 1/3 C Maple Syrup
  7. 1/2 C Protein Powder (vanilla or chocolate)
  8. 1/2 tsp Salt
  9. 1 C Oats (gluten free certified)
Instructions
  1. Chop up banana chips and almonds into fine pieces in a food processor. Transfer this mixture into a large bowl.
  2. Add the remaining ingredients to the bowl.
  3. Mix together with a hand mixer until everything is blended together into a thick dough.
  4. Roll into walnut sized balls.
  5. Store in an air tight container or food storage bags in the refrigerator for 1-2 weeks or in the freezer for up to 2 months.
http://barerootkitchen.com/
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Trail Mix Cereal Bars

15 weeks as of yesterday. Only 25 weeks to go, but who is counting? ME! 

I know some ladies love being pregnant (why? I will never, EVER understand), I am not a fan. Never was during Mason and am not this time around. I guess the nerves of being the soul provider for a baby really get to me. This is especially because after having several miscarriages I am a nervous wreck and constantly think, “Oh my goodness what if I lose the baby today.” I know, I know that is a horrible thing to say, but when you have faced loss it is hard to block these feelings. Debbie Downer, yes! 

Aside from me being a worry wort, I also do not like to feel like a Goodyear Blimp for 40 weeks. I know part of being pregnant is gaining weight to support the growth of the baby, but being bloated, growing out of your clothes and being endlessly gassy or constipated just flat out SUCKS. I am high endurance athlete who loves to run and all of these things make doing my favorite stress reliever extremely difficult. Yes, I still ran into 37 weeks with Mason, but 30 to 37 I really had to struggle to run 4 minutes per mile behind my normal pace. SNIFF, SNIFF…..it is hard to do my favorite hobby half-assed and more like quarter-assed for 9 months! Actually with after birth recovery it is really closer to 11 months.

Okay, I had to get out my feelings :) Thanks for letting me vent.

Aside from my depressive, I hate being pregnant rant….I did make some really tasty trail mix cereal bars this week. I made these two days ago and the pan is already over half gone. Mostly because my husband took some with him for his boy’s date night with neighbors. Although I do have to say that Mason and I put a pretty big dent into them too.

My main reason for making these was I wanted rice crispy bars, but didn’t want to use corn syrup or marshmallows. So, I replaced the nasty and unhealthy sweeteners with a combo of honey, maple syrup and can sugar. THEY ARE YUMMY FOLKS!  

Trail Mix Cereal Bars
Serves 16
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Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
10 min
Total Time
15 min
Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
10 min
Total Time
15 min
Ingredients
  1. 5 C Brown Rice Cereal
  2. 1 C Sunbutter
  3. 1/3 C Honey
  4. 1/3 C Maple Syrup
  5. 3 tbsp Evaporate Cane Sugar
  6. 1 tsp Vanilla
  7. 1/2 C Sunflower Seeds
  8. 1/2 C Peanuts
  9. 1/3 C Raisins
  10. 1/3 C Chocolate Chips or Chocolate Coated Candies
  11. 1/3 C Yogurt Covered Raisins
  12. 1/3 C Dried Cranberries
Instructions
  1. Heat sunbutter, vanilla, evaporated cane sugar, honey and maple syrup in a large saucepan over medium heat until it starts to bubble. Stir occasionally to prevent the sunbutter mixture from burning.
  2. Add in the brown rice cereal and mix together until the cereal is evenly coated with the syrup.
  3. Allow to cool for about 5 minutes and then stir in the remaining ingredients.
  4. Press down in a 13 X 9 cake pan with parchment or wax paper. Wait 30 minutes before cutting and serving.
  5. Store at room temperature for up to five days (if they last that long).
http://barerootkitchen.com/
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Cinnamon PB&J Oatmeal

I need fuel before my long runs and I have found the meal that gives me the most sustained energy is oatmeal. Even though it doesn’t 100 percent agree with my stomach, I haven’t found anything else that keeps me going for as long as it does :) I wanted to make this oatmeal high in protein (hence the addition of both peanuts and peanut butter) and was looking for ways to use up the abundance of homemade jam and jellies we have in our pantry. This oatmeal was super duper yummy!!  

This oatmeal may be too high in calories for some, so if you are looking to skinny it down use water instead of the non-dairy milk, skip the cane sugar and do not add the peanuts. This will save you about 100 calories per serving. It will not be as delicious though (trust me and indulge). However, if you are a high endurance athlete leave everything in because you need the fuel or if you are a high endurance athlete and pregnant (like me) than you really need the caloric bonus! At any rate, enjoy! 

Cinnamon PB&J Oatmeal
Serves 2
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Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
5 min
Total Time
10 min
Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
5 min
Total Time
10 min
Ingredients
  1. 1/3 C Oat Bran
  2. 1 C Instant Oatmeal
  3. 2 tbsp Peanuts
  4. 2 tbsp Peanut Butter
  5. 1 C Non-Dairy Vanilla Milk
  6. 1 C Water
  7. 1 tbsp Maple Syrup
  8. 1/2 tsp Cinnamon
  9. pinch of Nutmeg
  10. 1 tbsp Evaporated Cane Sugar
  11. 1 tbsp Jelly
  12. pinch of Salt
  13. 1/2 C Apples, chopped
Instructions
  1. Add evaporated cane sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt, oats and milk to a microwave safe bowl. Cook for 3 minutes, stirring halfway through cooking time.
  2. Divide into two bowls and top with remaining ingredients.
Notes
  1. Add additional non-dairy milk and toppings as desired.
http://barerootkitchen.com/
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Cherry Coconut Flax Cereal

Yesterday was sort of a pooh, pooh day. Okay it was good for the most part, but I got a little down thinking about how our family doesn’t eat normal. When I say normal I mean I cannot just grab a jar of pasta sauce and noodles and whip together spaghetti for dinner.

A, because tomatoes flare up Luke’s arthritis and B, because he can’t have any grains on his diet right now (not even rice because he had a slight flare up of inflammation after eating it). Nor after working 10 hours a day can I call Dominos to deliver a pizza. Again because it has pasta sauce and grains.

It is extremely difficult to coordinate meals around my husbands’ diet because I can’t use eggs, corn, rice, quinoa, oats, buckwheat, amaranth, wheat (Mason and I are gluten free so that doesn’t really matter), tomatoes, potatoes, eggplant, dairy, soy, peppers (bell, jalapenos, cayenne pepper, chili powder), cumin/seed based spices, etc. It is by far one of the biggest challenges I have faced and lately I have been short on ideas!

So, I actually drummed up an idea for dinner….FINALLY! It is going to be stuffed artichoke and spinach chicken breasts wrapped in bacon with an egg-free/grain free flat bread. Stay tuned for this yummy goodness and sorry about my ranting. All I want to do is make food for my husband to feel better and it is a challenge that exhausts me many days, so I wanted to garner up some support :)

All right, now I predominantly eat Paleo (e.g. no grains). However, when training for a marathon I have found that I need grains to fuel this high endurance activity. I know, I know you could run marathons on a Paleo diet, but it doesn’t get me to my maximum performance. Trust me I have tried Paleo approved high carb goodies before runs and they do not work as well as a bowl of oatmeal or gluten-free cereal!

The hard part is finding a good gluten-free cereal that is loaded with protein, dried fruit and solid mix of grains. I seriously stared at the grocery aisle for 15 minutes trying to find the perfect multi-grain one. Finally I gave up! I bought almond butter, maple syrup, cinnamon, dried cherries, dried raisins, oats, coconut, nuts, seeds, Enjoy Life Crunchy Flax cereal, and Nature’s Path Mesa Sunrise Flakes and made my own amazing protein packed multi-grain cereal. It came out as a cross between granola and cereal, but it is oh so delicious.

Cherry Coconut Flax Cereal
Serves 16
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Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
30 min
Total Time
45 min
Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
30 min
Total Time
45 min
Ingredients
  1. 2 C Unsweetened Coconut
  2. 2 C Oats, Gluten Free Certified
  3. 1 C Dried Cherries, unsweetened
  4. 1/2 C Raisins, unsweetened
  5. 2 tsp Cinnamon
  6. 2 C Mixed Nuts, chopped
  7. 3/4 C Sunflower Seeds
  8. 1/2 C Maple Syrup
  9. 1 tsp Vanilla
  10. 2 tbsp Coconut Oil
  11. 2/3 C Almond Butter
  12. 1 box Enjoy Life Flax Crunch Cereal
  13. 1 box Nature's Path Mesa Sunrise Cereal
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Melt together almond butter, coconut oil, maple syrup, cinnamon and vanilla in a small microwave safe bowl. Microwave for 60 seconds.
  3. Add oats, nuts, seeds, coconut and dried fruit (cereal will be added after roasting the oats and nuts in the oven) to a large mixing bowl. Pour the melted almond butter mixture over the oat/nut/dried fruit mixture and stir until even coated.
  4. Evenly space the almond butter and oat/dried fruit mixture onto a large cookie sheet.
  5. Roast in the oven for 30 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes.
  6. Remove from the oven and allow it to cool completely before stirring in the cereal.
Notes
  1. Store in an airtight container in the pantry for 3-4 weeks or in the freezer for up to 3 months. Enjoy with your favorite non-dairy milk or yogurt.
http://barerootkitchen.com/
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Tropical Blueberry Bars

As I was mixing together the Peanut Butter Oat Bars, Luke comes up to me and says, “What are you making?” I told him, “Peanut Butter Oat Bars.” After hearing the words peanut butter and oats he immediately got a sad look on his face because he can’t have either on his AIP diet.

After he left for work, I rummaged through the pantry looking for ingredients for protein bars that he could eat and came up with these tropical blueberry bars. When he got home that night he was like a kid in a candy store eating these bars! Over the years I have learned that it is the little things that truly make people happy and I am just glad something so small could make Luke’s day!

So, if you are allergic to peanuts, cannot tolerate oats (I have a hard time digesting them so I eat them occasionally and pay for it later) or are following the Paleo diet than these are the perfect bars for you.

Tropical Blueberry Bars
Serves 16
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Prep Time
15 min
Total Time
15 min
Prep Time
15 min
Total Time
15 min
Ingredients
  1. 1 C Dried Pineapple, chopped
  2. 1 C Dried Blueberries
  3. 6-8 Medjool Dates, pits removed
  4. 3/4 C Almond Butter
  5. 1/4 C Sunbutter
  6. 1 1/2 C Walnuts
  7. 1/2 C Pepitas
  8. 1/4 C Maple Syrup
  9. 4 tbsp Coconut Palm Sugar
  10. 1 tsp Vanilla
  11. 1/2 tsp Sea Salt
Instructions
  1. Add dried fruit and nuts/seeds to food processor and chop until they are in small pieces. Mix in the maple syrup, almond butter, sunbutter, sea salt, vanilla and coconut palm sugar until blended together and resembles a thick dough.
  2. Press into an 8 X 8 cake pan. Refrigerate for an hour before cutting into bars and serving.
  3. Bars can be stored in refrigerator for up to 2 weeks or in the freezer for 3 months if they are in an air-tight storage container.
http://barerootkitchen.com/
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Peanut Butter Oat Bars

I found a baby picture of Mason while cleaning out my office along with an unused picture frame. Instead of it continuing to collect dust, I put it out next to the TV in my office. Well, Mason, engaging in his terrible twos, thought it would be fun to start sliding the frame across the TV stand. PUSHING MOMMY’S BUTTONS, yeppers! I asked him to stop. He scowled and proceeded to throw the picture frame against the wall. It didn’t break luckily, but it put a hole in the sheet rock. I wanted to say, “What the blankety blank is wrong with you, you flippity flip, jerk off!” Obviously I didn’t say this!

Instead my reaction was to turn off cartoons, take away his milk, cars/toys, etc. until he apologized. He laid on the floor kicking and screaming for a good 15 minutes until finally he got up, came over and said, “I am sorry mommy.” I showed him the hole in the wall and told him, “You gave the wall an ouchie and that is not nice. What do you say to the wall?” He then apologized to the wall. Super cute, but jeez I kept thinking, “Oh my, this is just the tip of the terrible twos and “terror”ific threes iceberg! Fun times ahead!”  

Allright, now on to my some breakfast goodies….Homemade Clif Bars…SO YUMMY! 

My all time favorite snack for long runs are Chunky Peanut Butter Cliff Bars. They are 100% amazing, have many good organic ingredients. Even though the ingredients in Clif Bars are far better than almost every other energy bar, I am still skeptical of soy lecithin and soy protein. In a pinch this my bar of choice (e.g. on the road or away from home or just when I am too lazy to make some at home). However, I really do like to make my own energy bars because then I know all of the ingredients and can control the amount/type of sweetener. Hope you enjoy these bars as much as my mouth does!   

Peanut Butter Oat Bars
Serves 16
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Prep Time
15 min
Total Time
15 min
Prep Time
15 min
Total Time
15 min
Ingredients
  1. 1 1/2 - 2 C Gluten Free Certified Oats
  2. 1 C Peanut Butter
  3. 1/4 C Maple Syrup
  4. 4 tbsp Coconut Palm Sugar
  5. 2 tbsp Coconut Oil, melted
  6. 1/4 C Cacao Powder
  7. 8-10 Medjool Dates, remove pits
  8. 1/2 tsp Sea Salt
  9. 1 tsp Vanilla Extract
Instructions
  1. Chop dates in a food processor until they are broken down into small pieces. Add in the peanut butter, maple syrup, vanilla extract, cacao powder, coconut oil, salt, and coconut palm sugar and mix together until combined together.
  2. Pulse in the oats 1/2 cup at a time until they are mixed together and a thick batter forms. I only used 1 1/2 cups for my bars, but add more depending on if you want the bars dry or not.
  3. Press the dough into the bottom of an 8 x 8 cake pan.
  4. Refrigerate for 1 hour, cut into squares and serve.
http://barerootkitchen.com/
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Frozen Strawberry Parfait

Another breakfast item, whoop, whoop! I love smoothies, but sometimes I want them to be thicker and have some crunch to them! To get this effect yesterday, I made a smoothie, but added less liquid to make it thicker and layered it between a nut mixture to give it some crunch. I was also able to sneak some spinach into the smoothie layer too. I know kids are suckers for not wanting to eat greens, but I bet you they would eat this and not even know there was spinach in there (well unless they see you make it). 

I must admit that even though I am loading this recipe under breakfast, I actually made this for lunch because I wanted a strawberry spinach salad, but wasn’t in the mood for physically eating spinach. I go through streaks where I am salad fanatic and then don’t want to be near greens for months. What to do? Well, put greens in something so I don’t even know I am eating them. Yep, yep, just call me a BIG KID. 

At any rate this totally hit the spot! Enjoy! 

Frozen Strawberry Parfait
Serves 2
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Prep Time
15 min
Total Time
15 min
Prep Time
15 min
Total Time
15 min
Ingredients
Frozen Strawberry Layer
  1. 1 C Frozen Strawberries
  2. 1 C Spinach
  3. 1 C Ice
  4. 1 C Strawberry Greek Yogurt
  5. 1 tbsp Agave Nectar
  6. 3/4 C Pomegranate Juice
  7. 1/2 C Water
Almond Coconut Granola
  1. 1/4 C Almonds
  2. 1/4 C Coconut Flakes, unsweetened
  3. 1 tsp Coconut Palm Sugar
  4. 1 tsp Maple Syrup
  5. 1 C Fresh Strawberries, sliced
Directions
Frozen Strawberry Parfait
  1. Place smoothie ingredients into a high powered blender. Blend on low to get the ingredients to start mixing together and turn to high. May need to stop periodically and mix everything together by hand a few times (or use the plastic mallet that comes with your blender to push the ingredients towards the blade while mixing). Stop when the ice, spinach and frozen strawberries are blended together.
Almond Coconut Parfait
  1. Pulse together almonds, coconut and sweeteners in a small food processor. Chop together until the almonds and coconut are into smaller pieces.
  2. Add 1/2 of the frozen strawberry layer to a glass, top with fresh strawberries and a tablespoon of the granola mixture. Repeat this and add more granola/strawberries to the top.
  3. Serve immediately.
http://barerootkitchen.com/
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Cranberry Brownie Bites

I made these brownie bites while Mason was eating breakfast. As the food processor was going he kept pointing at it and saying, “I want that, Mommy.” I gave him a spoonful and he absolutely loved it!

Seriously this batter is so good that if you are having sugar cravings or want a healthier, higher in protein and allergy friendly alternative to brownies, MAKE THESE!

Aside from making this yummy snack, I have been listening to the Autoimmune Summit. Autoimmune conditions are detrimental to the body because they tricks the body into attacking healthy cells and joints. The summit discusses how food contributes to the growing epidemic of autoimmune conditions, ways to reduce symptoms through elimination diets and what herbs/extracts promote the growth of healthy gut cells/prevent leaky gut.

The talks are EXTREMELY informative and are free if accessed within 24 hours of them airing online. Thus far, my key takeaways I have found to be the most relevant are:

– Clean eating elimination diets can help improve digestion issues and reduce symptoms associated with autoimmune conditions.
– Our digestive system makes more decisions related to our immunity in one day than the rest of our body does in our lifetime. 
– Food as a curative medicine is 5 1/2 times more effective at treating autoimmune conditions than conventional prescription medicine. 
– Children of parent’s suffering from autoimmune conditions are more likely to develop similar diseases if fed a gluten, GMO and processed food diet. 
– Toxic chemicals from GMO products are further exacerbating the growth of bad bacteria and causing the cell walls of the gut to break down, which is allowing particles to escape into our blood stream. Once in our bloodstream our body is treating the particles as a foreign invader through an autoimmune condition.

Cranberry Brownie Bites
Serves 12
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Prep Time
10 min
Total Time
10 min
Prep Time
10 min
Total Time
10 min
Ingredients
  1. 1/3 C Cacao Powder
  2. 2 C Cashews
  3. 1/2 C Carob Chips
  4. 6 Medjool Dates
  5. 1 C Dried Cranberries, unsweetened
  6. 4 tbsp Honey or Maple Syrup
  7. 2 tbsp Coconut Palm Sugar
  8. 2 tbsp Palm Oil Shortening, melted
  9. 1/2 tsp Salt
  10. 1 tsp Vanilla
Instructions
  1. Put cashews, dried cranberries, cacao powder and coconut palm sugar in a food processor and process until broken down into course flour (2-3 minutes).
  2. Add palm oil shortening, salt, vanilla, carob chips and honey. Pulse together until smooth batter forms.
  3. Roll into walnut sized balls.
  4. Store in the refrigerator for up to 5 days or in the freezer for 1 month.
http://barerootkitchen.com/
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Blueberry Lucuma Smoothie

I have been dying to try lucuma powder in smoothies! I do not always put a natural sweetener in smoothies, but some of the greener ones (high content of kale specifically) need it! Finally, I broke down and bought some to give it a whirl in a kale smoothie!

So, you are probably wondering, what is lucuma powder? Well, lucuma powder is made from drying whole Peruvian Lucuma fruit at low temperatures and milling it into a fine powder. This low-glycemic sweetener has a distinct maple-like taste and contains many nutrients including beta-carotene, iron, zinc, vitamin B3, calcium and protein. For those looking to decrease their sugar consumption, the low sugar and carbohydrate content make it the perfect addition to smoothies, yogurt, cereal or desserts. 

This blueberry lucuma smoothie is heavenly I must say! As far as flavor, I found the lucuma powder to be a cross between medjool dates and maple syrup (which I love, love, love). In a smoothie, the taste is very mild and it gives of a delicious element of sweetness. YUMMY! You don’t need very much either as I only added two teaspoons (equivalent of 20 calories and 4 carbohydrates). 

For information, the lucuma powder I bought came in a pack of two for $21 on Amazon. If you are wondering why I also add turmeric powder to this smoothie please check out my post turmeric ginger smoothie

Blueberry Lucuma Smoothie
Serves 2
Lucuma powder is the perfect low-glycemic natural sweetener to add to green smoothies. This Peruvian fruit also contains a trace of key nutrients, antioxidants, and micronutrients.
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Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
5 min
Total Time
10 min
Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
5 min
Total Time
10 min
Ingredients
  1. 2 C Blueberries, frozen
  2. 2 C Mixed Berries (strawberry, raspberry, blackberries), frozen
  3. 2 Bananas, frozen
  4. 3 C Purple Kale
  5. 1 tsp Turmeric Powder
  6. 1 C Orange Juice
  7. 2 C Pomegranate Juice
  8. 2 C Water
  9. 2 tsp Lucuma Powder
Instructions
  1. Add ingredients to blender and mix until smooth.
  2. If the smoothie is too thick, add an additional tablespoon of water or juice until desired consistency. If too thin, add an additional 1/2 cup of frozen fruit.
Notes
  1. This smoothie was created as a meal replacement (makes 2 - 32 ounce servings). If you are looking for a smaller portion cut the ingredients in half.
http://barerootkitchen.com/
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Flax Chia Protein Balls

For the last 6 weeks I have been trying to follow the Autoimmune Diet Protocol with my husband. He is doing it to determine if eliminating certain foods will reduce his psoriatic arthritis symptoms and I am tagging along because I have a whole host of digestive issues from food (e.g. milk, wheat, potentially oats & nightshades as I am learning from the elimination diet).

Even though I have felt very good on the diet, I have found it very difficult to find sources of energy that keep me going for high endurance physical activities. It really hit me last Sunday when I trekked out for a 14 mile run. From the start, I felt off and my time showed it. On a normal training run I clock in at around 8 minute miles, but that day I was just under 9. This is not optimal when I am training for the Boston Marathon. Due to my general decline in running ability, I have started to reintroduce foods, such as flax seeds, chia seeds, oats, nuts/nut butters, and gluten free grains (oats primarily), that gave me energy for runs before. The kicker now is oats, unless I consumer them in small quantities they are really hard on my digestive system. I made these scrumptious little bites with oats and I have predominantly okay, but I am going to try other recipes using Quinoa flakes.

What I can say is I have been making my normal green smoothie and then grabbing two of these babies before my short runs this week and my times are back up. Whoop, whoop! These little treats have made a WORLD of a difference in my performance and I am sure they will help you too. Needless to say, I still like the overall feel of the autoimmune diet, but I really need to fuel my marathon training. To do that I am going to keep adding homemade energy bars and balls to my workout routine. Also, overall the next couple of months I plan to add a lot of different variations of these little guys, so stay tuned!

Oh, these are pretty easy to make too! All you have to do is add the ingredients to your food processor like this picture and hit buttons (well and maybe stir them a few times):

Flax Chia Protein Balls2

The chia and flax seeds make these energy balls slightly crunchy. If you do not like that texture then use flax or chia meal. Now on to the recipe!

Flax Chia Protein Balls
Yields 2
Protein packed energy balls that are perfect for workouts and snacking!
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Prep Time
10 min
Total Time
10 min
Prep Time
10 min
Total Time
10 min
Ingredients
  1. 1 C Gluten Free Oats
  2. 1 C Ancient Grain Cereal Flakes
  3. 2 tbsp Flax Seeds or Meal
  4. 2 tbsp Chia Seeds or Meal
  5. 4 Medjool Dates, pits removed
  6. 1 1/4 C Almond Butter
  7. 1/4 C Coconut Palm Sugar
  8. 1/8 C Maple Syrup
  9. 1/2 tsp Sea Salt
Instructions
  1. Add ingredients to a food processor and pulse together until a thick dough forms. You may have to stir the mixture a couple of times mid-way through the process.
  2. Once the dough has come together, you can either press it into an 8x8 pan to make bars or take a heaping tablespoon and roll them into balls like I did in the picture.
Notes
  1. For the ancient grain flakes, I used Erewhon Quinoa and Chia cereal flakes.
  2. I store mine in the freezer (for up to three months) and take a couple out 10 minutes before I want to eat them.
http://barerootkitchen.com/
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Homemade Coconut Milk

I am feeling a bit lazy this morning! I really should write up an extensive post warning you against purchasing any commercial prepared non-dairy milks because of the harmful additives, but I am just to going to post a few links and you can read at your discretion. Also, I would be a hypocrite because I purchase them for Mason due to his issues in digesting pasteurized dairy milk. However, I must say I only buy hemp milk and almond milk without carrageenan listed as an ingredients. I am recently finding that is just not good enough because of the harmful food additives used to improve texture and prolong shelf life, so I decided to make my own coconut milk this week. Before I get to the recipe, here is some detail on the ingredients:

1) Carrageenan –

http://www.onegreenplanet.org/natural-health/why-carrageenan-is-no-good/

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1242073/pdf/ehp0109-000983.pdf

Detail: Evidence to support why the FDA should reconsider the advisability of carrageenan use as a food additive are:

  • Carrageenan is a known co-carcinogen in animal models of carcinogenesis
  • In animal models, carrageenan has been associated with development of intestinal ulcerations that resemble ulcerative colitis
  • Carrageenan exposure to gastric acid in the human stomach can lead to the depolymerization

2) “Natural Flavors” – http://www.healthy-holistic-living.com/additives-in-non-dairy-milk.html

As a results of all of this, it is my goal to start making more homemade non-dairy milks and to also try raw, unpasteurized dairy milk. I know the claims by the FDA, warning consumers against raw dairy because pasteurization kills unwanted bacteria, but and there is a big but since pasteurization also kills essential vitamins. Numerous surveys/case studies have found individuals with lactose intolerance cannot tolerate pasteurized milk, but are perfectly fine with raw, grass fed dairy milk. This post by Chris Kesser, “Raw Milk Reality: Benefits of Raw Milk,” is an excellent read if you want to know more about why people should consume raw dairy over pasteurized dairy products. If you are like me and like the science methods behind the madness, you will get excited to know that Stanford University is doing a study on the “Effects of Raw Milk vs. Pasteurized Milk on Lactose Maldigestion and Symptoms of Lactose Intolerance Among Lactose Intolerant Adults.” This study is still pending, but I cannot wait to see the results! I will pass along when it is ready. 

Okay, I said I wasn’t going to write up an in-depth post, but I did it anyway. Bonus for everyone! Now on to the creamy coconut milk. 

Homemade Coconut Milk
Serves 6
A three-ingredient, easy to make homemade non-dairy milk without the food additives of carrageenan, guar gum, Vitamin A Palmitate and Vitamin D2.
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Prep Time
5 min
Prep Time
5 min
Ingredients
  1. 3 C Shredded Coconut, unsweetened
  2. 6 C Water
  3. 1-2 tbsp Maple Syrup
  4. 1/2 tsp Salt
Instructions
  1. Add ingredients to high powdered blender and process for approximately 1 minute.
  2. Pour milk through a nut bag to remove the pulp (this will leave behind the creamy texture).
  3. Another option if you do not have a nut bag is to strain through a flour sack. Just pour the milk into the flour sack twist it together at the top and then squeeze the milk into a bowl.
Notes
  1. Store in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
  2. The fat will separate, but can easily be fixed by shaking up the milk prior to serving.
http://barerootkitchen.com/
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Cinnamon Applesauce

With a trip to the apple orchard comes lots of apples! I am in the process of making an apple butternut squash soup (it is cooking away in the slow cooker), but I also made this delicious cinnamon applesauce in my other slow cooker. In fact, between pre-marriage and marriage we have 6 slow cookers in our house. Talk about having a slow cooker showdown, huh?

For fun, my little mohawk man loved this applesauce … I think he even used some to spike his hair!

Mason and applesauce

So, if you have little ones and want huge smiles on their faces, getting all your slow cooker and whip up a batch of this delicious gluten free and Paleo friendly applesauce!

Cinnamon Applesauce
Serves 16
With apples in season, this is the perfect fall recipe. Just grab your slow cooker, toss in some apples and a couple hours later you will be enjoying this delicious snack!
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Prep Time
20 min
Cook Time
2 hr
Total Time
2 hr 20 min
Prep Time
20 min
Cook Time
2 hr
Total Time
2 hr 20 min
Ingredients
  1. 1 dozen Medium Apples (any variety)
  2. 1 tbsp Coconut Palm Sugar (optional)
  3. 1 tbsp Maple Syrup (optional)
  4. 2 tsp Cinnamon
  5. 1 C Water
Instructions
  1. Remove peel and core from apples. Cut into 1 inch slices.
  2. Add apples, cinnamon, water, coconut palm sugar and maple syrup to the slow cooker. Cook on high for 1 1/2 to 2 hours, stirring halfway through cooking time.
  3. After apples are completely tender (broken down into smaller pieces), use emulsion blender to make into a smoother sauce if desired.
Notes
  1. I prefer a creamy applesauce so I used an emulsion blender to make mine really smooth. If you prefer a chunkier applesauce, skip step three in the directions.
  2. For apples, I used Sweet Sixteen for this recipe, but other apples (going with Minnesota grown) that would be great are Sweet Tango, Honeycrisp, Zestar and Fireside. Many are ready now, but Fireside is a late harvest (end of September; beginning of October) if you cannot make to the orchard until later.
http://barerootkitchen.com/
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Cranberry Pork Roast

Yesterday was a fun family day at the apple orchard. Mason was able to pick his own apples, ran through a hay bale maze and go on a tractor ride. The fun part was watching him in the maze. He would get to a dead end and say, “Oh no!” It sure tuckered him out because he had a good two hour nap! 

After getting back we came home to this aromatic meal cooking away in the slow cooker. With the weather starting to get cooler, I really wanted to create a fall meal by slow roasting a pork roast in cranberry sauce. We served this meal over a bed of sweet potato mash. The best part about this meal is it is super easy. You can just toss stuff into the slow cooker and then cheer it on or salivate over the wonderful smells that fill up your house along the way! 

Cranberry Pork Roast
Serves 4
Fall time flavors begin and what better way to kick them off with a cranberry braised pork roast. This delicious meal is autoimmune, paleo and gluten free friendly and was served on a bed if sweet potato mash.
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Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
8 hr
Total Time
8 hr 10 min
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
8 hr
Total Time
8 hr 10 min
Ingredients
  1. 3-4 lb. Pork Roast
  2. 1/2 C Carrot Juice
  3. 1 C Pomegranate Juice
  4. 2 C Cranberries, fresh or frozen
  5. 1/4 C Maple Syrup
  6. 1 tsp Peppercorns
  7. 1 tsp Salt
  8. 1 tsp Cinnamon
  9. 1 tbsp Garlic, finely chopped
  10. 1 tsp Garlic Salt
  11. 1 tbsp Olive Oil
  12. 1 tbsp Coconut Oil
Instructions
  1. Place juice, spices and oils in bottom of slow cooker.
  2. Cut 1/2 slits into the pork roast and place on top of the juice.
  3. Cook on low for 6-8 hours turning the meat over halfway through.
Notes
  1. For the sweet potato mash, I microwaved 4 sweet potatoes for 8 minutes, scooped out the potatoes flesh into a medium bowl, added 2 tablespoons of melted coconut oil, and mashed them with a potato masher. I then stirred in salt/crushed peppercorns to taste.
http://barerootkitchen.com/
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Date Crumble Squares

Growing up, one of my favorite desserts was date bars because they remind me of Fig Newtons. I even went through a period where I was making them repeatedly in high school. Then I went on a ten year hiatus until I bought a gluten free date bar at the co-op near our house. It was total heaven in my mouth, so I thought why not try to attempt a grain free and nut free version at home. I must admit that I borrowed the crust (with minor modifications) from the “Pear-Caramel Pie” recipe in the Autoimmune Paleo Cookbook by Mickey Trescott. However, I made the date filling from scratch. Overall, these bars taste exactly like the ones I buy from the co-op, but I am pretty sure my version has a lower sugar content because the number one ingredient on their packaging is organic cane sugar. 

Date Crumble Squares
If you love fig newtons, you should know that these date squares taste similar and make for a scrumptious desserts. These little babies are also allergy friendly with being dairy free, nut free and grain free. Plus, they have a lower sugar content through the use of dates and raisins as the primary sweetener.
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Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
30 min
Total Time
40 min
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
30 min
Total Time
40 min
Ingredients
Crust/Crumble
  1. 1 C Coconut Flour
  2. 1 C Arrowroot Powder
  3. 3 tbsp Maple Syrup
  4. 1/4 C Coconut Oil, melted
  5. 1/2 C Water
  6. 1/2 tsp Salt
  7. 1/3 C Coconut Palm Sugar (used for crumble)
Date Filling
  1. 2 tbsp Coconut Flour
  2. 2 C Dates, pitted
  3. 1 C Raisins
  4. 4 tbsp Sunflower Butter
  5. 3 tbsp Tahini Butter
  6. 1/4 C Maple Syrup
  7. 1 tsp Salt
  8. 1/3 C Water
Directions
Crust
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Mix together ingredients (except for coconut palm sugar) for crust until crumbly dough forms. Reserve 1 1/2 cups for the crumble.
  3. Press the remaining dough into an 8x8 metal pan.
Date Filling
  1. Place ingredients into a blender. Mix on high until a smooth filling is formed.
  2. Spread this filling on top of the unbaked crust.
Crumble
  1. Add the coconut palm sugar to the remaining dough and sprinkle on top of the date filling.
  2. Bake for 30 minutes.
  3. Allow to cool completely before servings.
http://barerootkitchen.com/

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Macadamia Nut Cookies

Today is my five year wedding anniversary! Cheers to five wonderful years with my husband and to many years! It was five years ago today that we also learned that you actually needed a marriage licensed issued by the courthouse five days before you intended to get married. LOL. It was a miscommunication where we thought the justice of the peace was bringing that item. Anyway low and behold our ceremony date of August 22, 2009 was really just a ceremony. The actual signing of our marriage licence happened one week later in a Starbucks over a couple of lattes (well really juice for my husband, since he doesn’t like coffee). So, moral of the story, get your marriage license, but don’t fret it you forget it. Things will work out just fine! 

Here is a picture of our wedding. So much fun! 

Wedding 2

Now on to the delicious cookies I made yesterday afternoon. They are not Paleo because of the white chocolate chips and I did use a little bit of evaporated cane sugar, but they are gluten free and grain free. These cookies are chewy and soft just the way I love my cookies. Also, I just love the combination of macadamia nuts and white chocolate. Hope you enjoy! 

Macadamia Nut Cookies
Serves 24
These chewy, delicious and moist cookies are grain free and gluten free. The combination of cranberries, macadamia nuts and white chocolate make them perfect for a treat, birthday party or work gathering.
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Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
1 hr
Total Time
1 hr 10 min
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
1 hr
Total Time
1 hr 10 min
Ingredients
  1. 1 3/4 C Almond Flour
  2. 1/4 C Coconut Flour
  3. 1 tsp Salt
  4. 1 1/2 tsp Baking Soda
  5. 1 C Spectrum Vegetable Shortening
  6. 2/3 C Evaporated Cane Sugar
  7. 2 Eggs
  8. 1/3 C Almond Butter
  9. 1/3 C Maple Syrup
  10. 1 tsp Vanilla
  11. 1/2 tsp Almond Extract
  12. 1/2 C Cranberries, dried
  13. 1/2 C Macadamia Nuts, roughly chopped
  14. 1 C White Chocolate Chips
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. In a food processor, combine vegetable shortening, almond butter and evaporated cane sugar until a smooth batter forms.
  3. Add in eggs, vanilla, almond extract, maple syrup and salt until combined.
  4. Add dry ingredients of almond flour, coconut flour and baking soda. Mix until for 1-2 minutes.
  5. Using the pulse feature, fold in the cranberries, macadamia nuts and white chocolate chips. Be careful to pulse the mixture just until combined to keep the nuts, fruit and chocolate in large pieces.
  6. Drop dough in large spoonfuls (about a walnut size) onto cookie sheets. Evenly space them apart so you do not have one big cookie after baking. Bake for 11-12 minutes or until the cookie starts to get golden brown on top.
  7. Allow cookie to cool on pan for 2-3 minutes before transferring to parchment paper to cool completely.
http://barerootkitchen.com/

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Cranberry Energy Bars

Ever tried a Larabar? They are delicious and typically only have five ingredients. Instead of spending a dollar per bar I decided to make some at home to save some money.

My son loves these bars. He wakes up in the morning asking for a, “beckfast ba, momma.” He can eat two big ones in one sitting, which I love since it is hard to get him to eat other sources of protein.  I also love having them around the house for a snack or even a pre-workout pick me up.

Cranberry Energy Bars
Serves 16
These bars are gluten free, dairy free and free of processed sugars. They make for a perfect breakfast for toddlers or for a pre-race snack for high endurance athletes.
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Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
5 min
Total Time
15 min
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
5 min
Total Time
15 min
Ingredients
  1. 2 C Mixed Nuts (almonds, cashews, pecans, peanuts, etc.)
  2. 1 C Sunflower Seeds
  3. 2 C Dried Cranberries, no sugar added
  4. 3/4 C Dried Plums, no sugar added
  5. 1 C Sunbutter
  6. 1/3 C Maple Syrup
  7. 1 C Oatmeal
  8. 1 tsp Sea Salt
  9. 1/2 C Mini Dark Chocolate Chips
Instructions
  1. Put nuts, oatmeal, sunflower seeds, chocolate chips and dried fruit into a food processor. Pulse until nuts are finely chopped.
  2. Add in sunbutter, maple syrup and sea salt. Combine until a sticky batter forms.
  3. Press into an 8 x 8 pan and refrigerate for one hour before serving.
  4. Slice into squares and enjoy!
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Stuffed Acorn Squash

Sundays are great because it gives us time to do family activities. One of my favorites is to have a nice brunch.

We had some delicious pre-cooked beff/pork sausage from our meat CSA and some acorn squash, so I made this meal. Luke told me three times that this was really good, so that should be some incentive to try it!

Plus, cooking gave me a break from watching the World Cup. Don’t get me wrong I like soccer, but not 9 hours per day for a weeks on end. Sorry soccer enthusiasts, but I would rather watch American Football :)

Stuffed Acorn Squash
Serves 4
Apples, fresh pork/beef sausage, oregano and almonds stuffed in acorn squash made for a delicious Sunday brunch with the family!
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Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
45 min
Total Time
1 min
Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
45 min
Total Time
1 min
Ingredients
  1. 2 Acorn Squash
  2. 2 Apples, chopped
  3. 1/4 C Fresh Oregano, chopped
  4. 1 tsp Salt
  5. 2 tbsp Maple Syrup
  6. 1/8 Cayenne Pepper
  7. 1/2 tsp Pepper
  8. 1 lb. Pork/Beef Sausage (pre-cooked), chopped
  9. 1/2 C Almonds, raw & chopped
  10. 1 Yellow Onion, chopped
  11. 1 tbsp Garlic, crushed
  12. 1 tbsp Coconut Oil
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Cut squash in half & scoop out inside of squash. Place upside down in cake pan and fill 1 inch of water in the bottom. Top with tinfoil and bake for 45 minutes.
  3. While the acorn squash is baking, heat up coconut oil in large saucepan. Add onions and garlic and cook for five minutes.
  4. Toss apples, almonds, sausage, oregano and spices into pan and saute for another five minutes, stirring occasionally. Add more salt and pepper to taste (if necessary).
  5. After squash is done, pour a heaping spoonful of the sausage apple mixture on top.
http://barerootkitchen.com/

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