Paleo Pumpkin Pancakes

February 3, 2017

This is a recipe I’ve been meaning to post for a long time and have just never gotten around to it! It probably would be better suited to the fall when people go crazy for anything pumpkin, but I think pumpkin is perfectly suitable to eat year round (although, it gets harder to find!). Pancakes have long been an occasional weekend staple in the Rowland household, but a year or two ago, I decided to try my best to stop eating unnecessary carbs. Since there is literally nothing healthy about a traditional pancake, I stopped eating them. Since I generally stick to as much of a Paleo diet as possible, this is a great occasional weekend breakfast treat! (I usually drink green smoothies for breakfast every day, recipe here.)

Paleo Pumpkin Pancakes
makes 10-12 pancakes

Ingredients:
-1 (15oz) can pumpkin
-6 eggs
-2 tsp vanilla
-4 Tbsp pure maple syrup
-1 cup almond flour
-2 tsp pumpkin pie spice (or alternatively, 1 tsp nutmeg & 1 tsp allspice)
-2 tsp cinnamon
-1 tsp baking soda
-coconut oil, for cooking
-pure maple syrup, for serving
-optional extras for serving: Kerrygold butter, chopped pecans

Directions:
1. In mixing bowl, mix together pumpkin, eggs, vanilla, and maple syrup.
2. Add almond flour and combine.
3. Add spices and baking soda and stir to combine.
4. Melt coconut oil on an iron skillet or electric griddle.
5. Scoop out in 1/3 cupfuls onto griddle, spreading out slightly.
6. Cook on both sides until done (this will vary on temperature of your pan, I cook on a 350 degree griddle for a couple minutes per side).
7. Serve warm with butter, maple syrup, and pecans. A side of bacon and a cup of orange juice are also lovely additions!

Enjoy!

P.S. This does make a lot of pancakes! I’ve made many half batches before, but I hate that a half batch only uses 1/2 a can of pumpkin, and I never end up using the other half for anything. So I’ve started making full batches and then reheating leftovers for additional breakfasts. If you’d rather make a half batch (5-6 pancakes) here are those measurements: 1/2 can pumpkin, 3 eggs, 1 tsp vanilla, 2 Tbsp maple syrup, 1/2 cup almond flour, 1 tsp pumpkin pie spice (or 1/2 tsp nutmeg & 1/2 tsp allspice), 1 tsp cinnamon, 1/2 tsp baking soda.

P.P.S. The original recipe that I started this from doesn’t call for the almond flour and I’ve made these many times without it. They are still great that way, however, they are really delicate and hard to flip without completely falling apart.

Shredded Pork Carnitas

January 15, 2017

Shredded pork Carnitas (stuffed into arepas, on tacos, or in burrito bowls) is one of our favorite meals! So delicious and simple to make.

Shredded Pork Carnitas

Ingredients:
-~3 1/2 lb pork butt or shoulder roast
-2 Tbsp butter or olive oil
-1 onion, chopped
-5 cloves garlic, minced
-juice from 1 lime (or roughly 2 Tbsp)
-juice from 1 orange
-2 cups chicken broth
-2 tsp dried cumin
-1 tsp dried oregano
-salt and pepper, to taste
-serving ingredients, as desired (tortillas, arepas, lime wedges, avocado, sour cream/crema, cheese, cilantro, salsa, hot sauce, etc..)

Directions:
1. Melt butter or olive oil in dutch oven on the stove.
2. Salt and pepper pork on both sides and brown both sides in melted butter/oil.
3. Add onion and garlic to sides of roast, cooking slightly in remaining butter.
4. Add lime juice, orange juice, chicken broth, cumin, and oregano and stir until combined.
5. Put lid on dutch oven and place into oven. Cook at 350 degrees for ~3 1/2 hours.
6. 1 1/2 hours through cooking, flip roast. After another 1 1/2 hours (~3 hours total), roast should be tender enough to shred. At this point, I shred the meat up with a fork, removing any large bits of fat and the bone (if it has one). Stir shredded pork into juices, place back into oven, and cook for a remaining 30 minutes or so until tender and flavors are combined.
7. Enjoy on tacos, in burrito bowls, or stuffed into arepas!

Lately, arepas have been my newest food obsession! An everyday food in Columbia and Venezuela, arepas are a cross between a tortilla, cornbread, and a biscuit. They are naturally gluten-free, so I’m finding them to be the perfect quick and easy bread for sandwiches! We have a really great arepas restaurant in New Orleans (Maïs Arepas if you are in the area) and I found myself missing it while in Savannah. But out of limitation, comes innovation! I’m so happy I decided to try making my own arepas at home. So quick, easy, and delicious!

Arepas
makes four ~4 inch arepas

Ingredients:
– 1 cup Donarepa precooked white corn meal (There are several brands of this, I just buy Donarepa at my local grocery store. Goya and Harina PAN are others. Make sure you buy precooked white or yellow corn meal, as regular corn meal or masa harina are not the same.)
– 1/8 tsp salt (closer to 1/4 tsp if using regular butter)
– 1 Tbsp Kerrygold salted butter (I use this for its extra salty and delicious flavor, and that it is softer and incorporates easily into this recipe. If you use regular butter you will need to up the salt content slightly.)
-1 cup warm water
-coconut oil, for cooking
-toppings/fillings, as desired

Directions:
1. In medium sized bowl, mix arepa flour and salt together.
2. Using a pastry cutter, cut butter into flour mixture until incorporated — butter is in small granules.
3. Stir water into mixture until thoroughly combined and a soft dough forms.
4. Let dough sit for several minutes. (this helps form softer arepas, making sure the arepa flour has absorbed the liquid)
5. Knead dough slightly into a ball and separate into four quarters.
6. Shape each quarter of the dough into a ~4 inch thick flat circle.
7. Cook arepas on both sides in coconut oil on a flat griddle or iron skillet. Start at a lower temperature, helping the arepas cook through, then raising the temperature for the outside to crisp. You can also bake them in the oven. Arepas should be soft on the inside and slightly crisp out the outside.
8. Enjoy as is, with cheese and melted butter, cut open and stuffed with meat, cheese, etc, or however you’d like!

I love them stuffed with white cheddar, shredded pork carnitas, avocado, and crema!

Goals for 2017

January 2, 2017

Last year, I re-imagined the way I set yearly goals. Instead of setting traditional goals or benchmarks (which often look more like a yearly “to-do” list), I started to define my personal values and aimed to live with those values as a guide for my life. Over the course of the year, I found that living from my values instead of trying to meet specific “goals” made the things that I accomplished much more meaningful because they were purpose-filled. Not just as things I thought would be neat/cool/fun to do, but as things that were leading me in the direction I wanted to go and towards the values that I wanted to embody. Instead of frantically trying to check things off a yearly accomplishment list, I used my guiding values to evaluate decisions I made on how I spent my life/time. It allowed me to much easier say no to things that weren’t aligned with my values. Of course, I had some ideas of things that I wanted to make happen in my personal life and career, but letting values instead of goals guide me allowed myself to flow a little more, being open to what my future held (instead of being intent on making happen what I wanted to happen).

The guiding values that I set for 2016 were: create daily, live simply, value rest, and be open to adventure. (read more about them here) Over the course of the year, as I started to refine those values, I realized that they weren’t just things that I wanted to work on in 2016, but they embodied the way I wanted to live my life as a whole. A life filled with creativity, simplicity, mindfulness, and adventure.

For 2017 in particular, here are some of the ways I would like to live out those guiding values:

CREATIVITY:

  • refine my work — quality, deepen my personal style, define my “why”
  • market my work — build my brand, build a following, share patterns/studio/process on Instagram, shed the fear of putting myself/my work out there
  • finish graduate school (masters in fibers/textile design) — final portfolio that I’m proud of and is helpful to moving my career forward
  • get a job in the textile design industry (print & pattern)

SIMPLICITY:

  • live in the same place as my husband again! (only have/pay for one apartment!)
  • continue to live debt-free
  • continue to be mindful of the purchases I make for my home and clothing — only things I really love, need, and fit within my style/aesthetic
  • continue to be mindful of the environmental impact of my choices

MINDFULNESS:

  • come from a calm and peaceful place — center myself so that peace radiates from within
  • wake up every day with gratitude and love for life
  • learn to be alone
  • be better to my mind/body/soul — meditation, self care, rest, take real breaks, read for pleasure, journal, whole/paleo foods, nature, walks, exercise, empathy, kindness
  • direction and clarity for my life moving forward — refine my “purpose”

ADVENTURE:

  • let go of fear and let life flow — be open to the possibilities of my future

My mantra: I am strong, capable, creative, talented, brave.

I’m really excited to see what 2017 has in store for me! I know that it will be a year full of good/hard growth, but I’m confident there are exciting times ahead! Here’s to new adventures, discoveries, patterns, places, and opportunities ahead.

“There are stars you haven’t seen and loves you haven’t loved. There’s light you haven’t felt and sunrises yet to dawn. There are dreams you haven’t dreamt and days you haven’t lived and nights you won’t forget and flowers yet to grow and there is more to you that you have yet to know.” –Gaby Comprés

P.S. Past old year reflections and new year goals: Reflections on 2016Goals for 2016Reflections on 2015Reflections on 2014, Goals for 2015Reflections on 2013, Goals for 2014Goodbye 2012, Hello 2013, Happy 20122011 and 20 Before Twenty

P.P.S. The image above uses one of my favorite patterns I’ve made so far and also my own digital hand lettering! 

P.P.P.S. For more help in figuring out your own guiding values, look into Lara Casey’s Powersheets, Jess Lively’s Values Based Intentions, and the 52 Lists Project. I’ve found all of these helpful to me on my journey. 

In 2016:

Drew and I took a two-week backpacking trip across Europe. We visited friends in Copenhagen and they showed us around Denmark and Malmö, Sweden. Drew visited the renowned Cantillon Brewery in Brussels, Belgium while I spent the day traveling through Amsterdam, Netherlands and on to visit the tulip fields in Holland. We stopped in Paris for part of a day so that Drew could see the Notre Dame and the Eiffel Tower, before we took a train up into the Swiss Alps for several days of exploring the beautiful towns of Lauterbrunnen, Mürren, Gimmelwald, and Stechelberg, Switzerland. We both fell in love with Switzerland — it’s quaint towns, breathtaking mountains, and crystal clear streams and waterfalls. We met up with my sister Kelsey as she studied abroad in Italy and explored the coastal cities in the Cinque Terre with her. She showed us around Florence and we ate the most delicious gluten-free pastries and more gelato in a week than I have in the rest of my life combined. We went on to eat the most amazing pizza in Naples and explore the ancient ruins of Pompeii. We ended our trip in Rome, seeing the Colosseum and Trevi Fountain and visiting Vatican City and the Sistine Chapel.

I applied to grad school at the Savannah College of Art & Design, got accepted, quit my job as a graphic designer, moved from New Orleans to Savannah, Georgia, decorated a new apartment, made it a third of the way through my Masters degree in Fibers/Textile Design, and lived apart from Drew for three months so that I could start school and he could continue working in New Orleans. (read more about grad school here)

Drew and I finished a 3+ year process of paying off all of our credit card, car, and student loan debt! (read more about our debt free journey here) We lived the majority of this year completely debt free for the first time in our married lives, even with paying for two apartments in separate cities and for my grad school tuition! We stretched our possessions to furnish two separate apartments, without buying much more than a Craigslist couch, trash cans, and a couple rugs. I also simplified my clothing into a capsule wardrobe and realized that I pretty much only wear black.

Many road trips happened between New Orleans and Savannah and I made the trip from Savannah to Jacksonville, Florida to pick up Drew from the airport many times. We made a few trips to Nashville and Southern Illinois to visit family. We also explored Tybee Island, Georgia and Hilton Head, South Carolina. I even evacuated Savannah from a hurricane — driving the 8 hours to Nashville by myself at night (with Violet). I also traveled to visit my sisters and aunt in Raleigh, Wilmington, and Kure Beach, North Carolina.

I worked my full-time job in graphic design for 8 months out of the year, made another quilt and another quilt top, did a 60-day daily practice of block printed patterns, starting painting with gouache, created a complete pattern collection with three colorways, did a lot of reading, writing, and research, re-branded my art portfolio website, and learned a lot about myself and my design style and where I want to go with my career.

I turned 25, celebrated 9 years together with Drew, lived completely alone in a new city by myself for the first time in my life, had to learn how to take care of a household alone, struggled with starting school again, missed my husband more than I can even put into words, appreciated him so much more, learned what it means to miss New Orleans, spent both major holidays away from family for the first time, and felt some of the deepest sadness and loneliness I’ve ever felt. For the first time in my life, I cared deeply about the US Presidential Election and was devastated by the results. In stepping so far outside my comfort zone this year, I’ve felt more emotions than I even knew were possible and I’ve also felt so much more alive.

I realized just how important getting ~10 hours of sleep every night is to my productivity and sanity. I ate healthier and drank green smoothies for breakfast almost every day. For the first time in over three years, I took time off not just for travel, but to rest. I spent the last month of this year back in New Orleans, clearing my head, re-evaluating my life and priorities, centering myself, and finding so much clarity. I realized the true importance of taking time to rest and recharge. I also realized how much better I design and operate when it comes from within myself and not to meet other people’s expectations. I also found so much more bliss in small, everyday moments — eating at my favorite restaurants, being back at SCAPC, and slow Saturday mornings with Vietnamese food at Singletons and a visit to a coffee shop with Drew.

2016 was a year of some of the highest highs and lowest lows for me. It was a year of growth in many ways, but growth in addition to being good, is also hard. I’m grateful for the ways that it pushed and strengthened me, glad I lived through it, but also glad to see it behind me. I’m looking forward to what 2017 has in store, but I know that much of it will also be full of good/hard growth. Here’s to new adventures, discoveries, patterns, places, and opportunities ahead.

“There are stars you haven’t seen and loves you haven’t loved. There’s light you haven’t felt and sunrises yet to dawn. There are dreams you haven’t dreamt and days you haven’t lived and nights you won’t forget and flowers yet to grow and there is more to you that you have yet to know.” –Gaby Comprés

P.S. Past old year reflections and new year goals: Goals for 2016Reflections on 2015Reflections on 2014, Goals for 2015Reflections on 2013, Goals for 2014Goodbye 2012, Hello 2013, Happy 20122011 and 20 Before Twenty