Everyday Mom's Meals: Weekend Company {Guest Blogger Amber}

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Weekend Company {Guest Blogger Amber}

Good Morning and welcome to the last weekend of October. Yes, you read that correctly. Hard to believe, right??!! But to celebrate, my guest is sharing an awesome autumn recipe that I could absolutely see on your Thanksgiving table. So beautiful and festive.

Today's guest blogger has such an interesting story to tell. I have known Amber since high school, but we've really reconnected over the last year through Facebook...and FOOD! She too is a mama and a blogger; and I have so much respect for how she has totally revamped her family's eating habits. But I will let her tell you more about that. Please welcome Amber to EMM~

Hi, I’m Amber from Whole Foods for Whole Families, and I’m excited to be doing my first-ever guest blogging post here for Krista. Like most of you on here, I LOVE food. But our family eats a little differently. My husband and I follow a Paleo lifestyle – grain-free, dairy-free and legume-free. Since I started eating this way about 6 months ago, I have cured my Chronic Fatigue and GERD, lost 8 lbs (I’m a size 2), and have enjoyed more energy, clearer thought processes (no more brain fog!) among other things. My husband has also had noticeable changes to his health; he’s lost 25 lbs (and counting), his cholesterol levels have come into a healthy range, his skin has cleared up all over his body (his back used to be red and bumpy, now it’s super soft and smooth) and he has much more energy, just to name a few.

But the biggest change has been with my youngest daughter, Little A, now 4-and-a-half-years-old. When she just turned three, she became very sick after having a routine surgery to remove her adenoids and insert a new set of ear tubes. She was diagnosed with Chronic Benign Neutropenia of Childhood which is a fancy way of saying that her neutrophils, the white blood cells that fight bacteria, are chronically low. After taking her to one of the best pediatric hospitals in the country, we were left with no treatment options, just a wait-and-see approach. This wasn’t good enough for us. I didn’t want to sit around, waiting to see if my child was going to fall seriously ill again, so my husband and I researched and researched… and then we researched some more. Our research led us to how our diets can affect our health so we completely changed the way we eat. After being gluten- and dairy-free for a year, Little A’s health has completely transformed. She used to be sick nearly all the time with constant fevers, colds, runny noses and ear infections (even after having ear tubes). Winter time meant endless trips to the pediatrician, but the first winter after we became gluten-free, neither Little A nor my oldest, Big C, had to go to the doctor. Not even once. For us, that was a huge deal! In fact, Little A has not had one fever since going gluten-free. She also put on weight, her skin no longer looks pale and pasty, the dark circles under her eyes have diminished and she is full of much more energy while requiring less sleep. The transformation of Little A’s health has inspired me to blog about our journey on my site in the hopes of helping other families find their path to health as well.

But enough about me; let’s get down to some food. I promised Krista I would come up with a recipe that was gluten-free but without any of the “weird” ingredients we gluten-free people tend to use. I didn’t want to post a recipe that required ingredients most people don’t have, like almond flour or coconut flour, staples in a Paleo diet. And I also wanted to come up with a good fall recipe, something you can make as a special treat for Halloween or even the upcoming holidays. This recipe for Baked Apples is easy, but the results look impressive. And it tastes unbelievable. I’ve been making this for years, long before we became gluten-free, and I’m happy that one of my old favorites still has a home in my new dietary repertoire. I hope you enjoy, and if any of you have any questions about eating and living a gluten-free lifestyle, please stop by my site or my Facebook page and drop me a message.

Baked Apples
4 apples, cut in half across the equator
¼ cup pure maple syrup
1 tsp cinnamon
1/3 cup chopped walnuts
½ tsp vanilla extract
4TBSP butter, divided

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Scoop the seeds and core out of the apple halves, creating an opening inside the apple to hold the syrup. Place in an 8x8 square baking dish.
In a small saucepan, gently heat syrup and cinnamon over low heat. Cook, stirring constantly, until syrup has slightly thickened, about 2-3 minutes. Off the heat, stir in walnuts and vanilla extract. Pour syrup over apples, filling the openings created from the cores. Divide the butter into 4 equal parts and place pats of butter on top of the apples.
Bake for 30-40 minutes until apples are tender. Ladle syrup drippings over the apples. Serve warm.

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