Organic Strawberry Cinnamon Chia Seed Jam (No Added Sugar)

Last week, we took a little trip to the Texas Hill Country to pick some fresh berries. It was such a great time, and we came home with a full box of beautiful strawberries ready to be used for something yummy. It sent me searching for healthy options the whole family would enjoy. I settled on these Strawberry Banana Oat Bars and these Strawberry Blackberry Yogurt Popsicles. The boys loved both but my biggest take-away was the chia seed jam used in the oat bars; I fell in love with it! I made a little modification and ended up making four batches to share with family and friends.

The highlight of this recipe for me is that it take 25 minutes total and there is no added sugar! We are planning a little trip back to the berry farm next month and I'm so excited to use my pickings for more jam.

2 Cups Fresh Strawberries; cut into quarters
2 Tbls. Organic Maple Syrup
2 Tbls Organic Chia Seed
1 Tsp. Organic Vanilla
1/2 Tsp. Organic Cinnamon

1. Add fresh berries, maple syrup and cinnamon to sauce pan and cook for 15 minutes over medium low heat. Stir every few minutes to break down strawberries and help release their natural liquids.
2. Add chia seed and vanilla and cook for another 15 minutes string every few minutes. Watch your temperature at this stage to avoid burning the chia seeds on the bottom on the pan.
3. Remove from heat and transfer to glass jar with lid. Move to fridge once cool.

Come back Friday for more on our trip to Sweet Berry Farms!


Banana Spiced Quinoa Granola

Happy Monday, friends! I'm so excited to share this quinoa granola recipe my family has been loving this past month. There are a few store-bought brands with no refined sugar, but they can be a little pricey at the rate my guys gobble it up. Granola is also such a simple, quick recipe, why not make it on your own?! Some of our favorite ways to use this is over yogurt, smoothies, fruit bowls, salads and as cereal. I hope you enjoy!

2 Cups Organic Rolled Oats
3/4 Cup Organic Uncooked Quinoa
3/4 Cup Organic Raw Pumpkin Seed
1/4 Cup Organic Sliced Almonds
1/2 Cup Organic Raisins
2 Tbl. Organic Chia Seed
1 1/2 Tbl. Organic Cinnamon
1/4 Tsp. Organic All Spice
Pinch of Salt
4 Tbl. Organic Maple Syrup
3 1/2 Tbl. Coconut Oil
1/2 Tbl. Vanilla
2 Medium, Very Ripe Bananas (Cut into tiny pieces and slightly mashed)

1. Heat oven to 365 degrees, line large cookie sheet with parchment and spray with coconut oil.
2. Whisk together banana, vanilla, coconut oil (no need to melt) and maple syrup. In separate bowl, combine all dry ingredients. Pour wet mixture over the dry ingredients and combine with large spoon, then use hands to fully incorporate.
3. Transfer to large cookie sheet and press down to form an even "sheet" of granola. Make sure the sides are the same thickness as the rest of the "sheet" to avoid burning.
4. Bake for 15 minutes then bring out and break into big clumps with spoon. During this step make sure to look for raisins that may be sitting on the edge of the cookie sheet. The raisins and smaller pieces will burn quickly so it's best to move these to the center of the sheet or incorporate with other clumps. Place back in oven and bake for an additional 15 minutes. Take out and turn the granola, then bake for an additional 5-8 minutes depending of how crispy you want it. NOTE: This final baking time will be determined by how large your clumps are and how crispy you want it. Also, I've tried dropping the granola in large clumps to the cookie sheet to begin with, but the method I use here seems to allow the granola to become more crispy and stay in clump form longer.
5. Remove from oven and let cool before transferring to mason jar.


Second Annual Valentines Hike

For Lincoln's first Valentine's Day last year we decided to make a little trip to one of our favorite Texas State Parks for a picnic and hiking. We had such an amazing time that we decided to make a little tradition out of it. It's our family Valentine's date and boy was it fun. We invited Tanner's dad to join us and little man was obsessed with the water and rocks! Making memories and traditions with him is pretty exciting and we are looking forward to continuing this one for many years to come!

This is my hat...that my 18 month-old can wear! Boy has a huge head!


Wear: Pleated Pink

Top | Skirt | Heels (NA J.Crew) | Clutch (NA J.Crew) | Sunnies | Watch | Necklace | Earrings | Lips (Mac Hot Gossip & Bobbie Brown Rose Sugar 3 Gloss)

Happy Valentine's Eve. This skirt makes me feel like Baby in Dirty Dancing and for that, I love it. Sometimes you just need to break out of your mom wear and slip into something that makes you want to dance! 


Wear: Pretty Pink Lace

Blouse | Jeans | Booties (I found mine at TJ Max) | Sunnies | Earrings | Necklace | Watch | Lips 

Happy Tuesday, friends! I picked up this sweet pink lace top on the sale rack at Target a few weeks ago and I'm in love. My everyday style is a little more casual now that I'm staying at home with little man and this lace-up lace detail is just the perfect addition to this simple top. As a bonus, these jeans are also on sale at J.Crew and they are some of my favorites this season.

I hope y'all have a great one!



Wear: Favorite Winter Workout Gear

Any other mamas out there desperately trying to settle back into a routine after the holiday madness? This year, more than any other I can remember, I was ready for the holidays to end and for us to get back into a normal schedule. I know that is bah-humbug of me to say, but somewhere in the middle of the never ending stomach bug I found myself praying January would get here.

Routines work well in the Vaughan house so this week has been dedicated to finding our new one. We started meal planning and snack prepping again which has decreased our HANGRY meltdowns by about 100%. We also had spring-like weather in Austin the first part of the week which made it easy to get back into our long walks. After virtually stopping these in December my body was a little "hill shocked" on Monday but boy did it feel good. It was a good reminder why I need to be active each day. My mind needs this time to de-stress and I'm a better mama to Lincoln with this little break.

To continue on that note I thought I'd put together a few of my favorite workout pieces. There are some major sales on active wear over the next few weeks, so no better time to stock up than now!
Wear: Winter Workout Gear


Crockpot Creamy Chicken Soup

Before we start, can I confess something? I almost didn't post this soup recipe because the quality of these pictures leave much to desire. My train of thought went something like this last night...As I'm dishing up the soup, I thought maybe I should share this with my friends - it's cold/flu season and there has to be some busy mamas that might need a simple, hearty meal for their families. So I snapped a picture while my little man was screaming for me to pick him up and my family was waiting patiently to eat. I didn't bother with lighting, staging or even my actual camera...and you can tell. After I got my little guy down, I quickly typed out the recipe while I still remembered all the correct seasonings amounts, because mom brain is a real thing, and went to go add the pictures. As I clicked preview, I was hit with the loud thought, "You can't post this, your pictures are awful!" Then, I stopped myself, "Who the hell cares, Ashton?!" I don't live a perfectly staged life and sometimes all I have is 15 seconds, with a blood curdling scream in the background, to get a picture of a recipe I think might help someone else. So cheers to unpolished, yellow, grainy pictures and a whole lot of REAL in 2017. My promise to you is to share even when my pictures aren't insta-worthy because it might just be what you need to see. Alright, on to the good stuff.

Is there anything worse than a winter viruses? Over the last three weeks the stomach bug has made it's unwelcome way through Lincoln, myself and finally Tanner. It was 50 shades of not pretty and we have been babying our guts to make sure they heal before welcoming anything spicy back into our lives.

One of my favorite comfort foods while sick is chicken soup and this crockpot version always hits the spot. It is a dump-and-forget kind of meal that tastes a whole lot like chicken and dumplings without the actual dumplings. We are off dairy right now, so I opted for organic almond milk but coconut or cashew milk would be perfect as well. We also like our dishes more flavorful so I'm heavy-handed on the celery salt and thyme. If you like things a little more bland, follow the notes on alternative amounts mentioned below.
1 Cup washed uncooked Brown Rice
1 LB Chicken Tenders or Boneless Skinless Chicken Breasts
1 Cup Chopped Sweet Onion
1/2 Cup Chopped Celery
1/2 Cup Chopped Carrots
4 Cups Reduce Sodium Chicken Broth
4 Cups Water
4 Tsp. Minced Garlic
1 Tsp. Pepper
3 Bay Leaves
1 Tsp. Adams Best House Rub (Includes: Pepper, Sea Salt, Garlic)
1/2 Tsp. Reduced Sodium Chicken Bouillon
3/4 Tsp. Celery Salt (Decrease to 1/2 Tsp. if you would like it more bland)
1/2 Tsp. Ground Thyme (I love Thyme but if you don't just use 1/4 Tsp.)
1/4 Tsp. Reduced Sodium Season All
1/2 Tsp. Poultry Seasoning
1/4 Tsp. Salt
2 Tbl. EVOO
1/2 Cup Flour
2 Cups Organic Almond Milk

1. Place all ingredients until EVOO (Extra Virgin Olive Oil) in crockpot. Cook on low (8 hours), or high (4 Hours).
2. Remove chicken breasts and shred meat then place back into crockpot.
3. In saucepan, heat 2 Tbl. EVOO over medium heat. Add 1/2 cup flour and whisk for one minute. Next, add 2 cups organic almond milk or coconut milk and simmer while whisking until it thickens. Once complete, stir into crockpot and fully incorporate into soup.
4. Serve with french bread or biscuits.

NOTE: This is perfect to freeze for up to three months. Simply place in saucepan with 1/4 cup of water to reheat.

I hope you enjoy this EASY comfort meal as much as we do!
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