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Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Wordless Wednesday: October 31, 2012

Monday, October 29, 2012

6 Ways to Rebalance Hormones Naturally

Hi all!  I'm back and feeling fabulous!  That two week break was much needed and appreciated.  I am still catching up on emails, so please do understand if you haven't hear back from me yet.  There are a lot of questions to answer, some of which are coming up in today's post.

Many of you asked me to share what I did over the past two weeks to revamp my health.  Let me first explain a little of what I've been feeling health-wise and why I felt was time for a revamp.

Hormone imbalance is something I am predisposed to.  I have battled it my entire life.  In 2008, doctors had told me it was unlikely I would conceive.  While I never got a "medical diagnosis," it was likely I had PCOS and possibly cancer cells forming on my reproductive organs.  I decided to take a natural approach to healing.  While taking courses along the way so I could teach the natural detox processes to my own clients, I underwent a year long full body detox process of balancing my hormones and healing my organs.  After going through the completely natural healing process, I finally knew what it felt like to be healthy and living at my optimal potential for the first time in my life.  And shortly after, we were overjoyed to learn that we were expecting our son, Austin.

Since he was born, I have exclusively breastfed my son.  Long story short, after the first few weeks I learned that I wasn't producing enough milk that Austin was asking for on a daily basis.  Trial and error, it turned out I wasn't eating enough carbs.  I was eating Advanced Plan after the birth, but my body needed more carbs to turn into milk.  The things that worked best were oatmeal, brown rice, quinoa, and sprouted grains.  Eating a serving of one of these with almost every meal was basically essential to making enough milk for my little man.  As long as I did it daily, we had no supply problems come bedtime.  But what I knew is that sugar is a huge offset to my hormonal balance.

My body slips back into hormonal discourse very easily.  I knew what to expect: weight gain, bloating, fatigue, brain fog, and blemishes.   Now, I was not at all concerned with fast weight loss after pregnancy.  I trusted my body and the breastfeeding process.  However, I have noticed I have gained over 15 pounds since a year ago.  The bloating has been particularly bad in the last few months, and my memory is all over the place, which is just not me!  These were my wake up calls.  It was time to get things under control again.

Austin has started eating food in the last 2 months.  He's been pretty good about eating breakfast and dinner with me every day.  We still breast feed at least 3 times a day, but his feeding frequency has cut about in half from where we were 2 months ago.  I figured this would be the perfect time to make some diet changes (i.e. THE ADVANCED PLAN) and begin a few supplements to casually support hormone balance.  (Note: I am not doing a full hormone or estrogen detox.  While breastfeeding, you want to avoid any supplements that will cause your body to dump toxic estrogen from the body, and essentially into the milk your child will drink.)

I wanted to take two weeks for some ME time because I have also been feeling like I neglect myself since becoming a Mom.  I can see your heads nodding.  It's true, once you become a Mom you put your family's needs first every single time.  But, as we teach our patients, if YOU aren't healthy who will take care of them?  It was time for some Elise focus!  Daily devotions and bible time, bath time without baby, meditation time to clear my brain, and exercise every day.  (Oh yeah, I have probably never mentioned how much I HATE working out??  I've never been athletic.  I always had crafts or something indoors I wanted to be working on.  I still cling to that mindset unfortunately.  Blogging, dishes, cooking...there's always something I would rather be doing.)  I usually get a burst workout in about once a week, but in order to keep my hormones in sync and my weight healthy, I needed to get consistent with at least 3 times per week workouts.

Okay, so here is what I did to revamp my health in 2 weeks!

How To Rebalance Hormones Naturally

#1)  Exercise

Exercise is a huge component for hormone balancing.  Weight training in particular causes a lot of healthy hormone reactions that in turn work to reboot and rebalance.  I recommend consistent burst or surge style exercise for maximum rebalancing affect.

This was a huge one for me personally.  It's all about getting into a consistent routine of both aerobic and weight training.  My 2 weeks of health revamp fell perfectly in line with a boot camp a friend who is a personal trainer was hosting near our home.  It was exactly what I needed as far as accountability.  I also learned a lot of new workout moves to keep the variety going.  This was my first experience with personal trainers and I've got to say I really enjoyed it!  If you are like me and need that accountability and/or a little guidance along the way, I highly recommend looking into a trainer.  The boot camp was so fun!  I worked out burst style 6 days per week, and 4 of the days we were required to do 2-a-day workouts.  Cardio in the morning, weight training in the evening.  I thought I was going to die, but actually those days I felt AMAZING!

#2)  Nutrition & Diet
Guide to the Advanced Plan
I don't mean start counting calories.  Focus on clean eating and cutting out sugar, caffeine, bad fats, dairy, conventional meats, non-organic produce, and anything else that contributes to hormone offset or weight gain.  The cleaner you eat, the better your body will be at detoxing naturally.

For me, this meant two weeks of strict Advanced Plan.  I was so happy that my milk supply was fairly steady with Austin's nursing demands after cutting out the grains!   We had a couple nights at the beginning that I needed to have a little more kale protein shake to catch up from all the exercise I was doing, but we figured it out and the rest has been going great!  I've been trying to eat raw as much as possible.  You'll notice the bloat will dissipate quickly by cutting out the grains.

#3)  Reduce Stress & Fill Your Cup
Schedule in YOU time, reduce daily stress, and get plenty of rest.  I've learned that it's so so important to have some time to yourself on a daily basis to "fill your cup."  Do something you love every day to recharge your batteries!  For me, it's trying out a new recipe in the kitchen while daddy watches the baby, visiting a girlfriend kid-free, working on a craft while Austin naps.  Even if it's just 15 minutes of reading a new book, I always feel better after getting some alone time every day.  The happier you are on a daily basis, the better your hormones will be at adapting to the day's stress and changes.

It's also a good idea to incorporate some meditation and/or stretching, or some other way to clear your mind and relax your muscles daily.  For me and many of my female clients in the past, it's hard to reduce stress in our every day lives.  I find my day goes better if I take just 10 to 20 minutes in the morning to pray, dive into a daily devotions book, read my Bible, or look out the window at nature.  This time is for thinking about you, giving thanks, and clearing your head.  Do not think about your to-do list or what the day will bring.  Unplug for this short time and let the stress melt out of your muscles.  I like to get on the floor and stretch out while I meditate on a prayer or happy thought.  Each line of the prayer is a new stretch or pose.

Sleep is just as important.  When you sleep, your body reboots.  Getting enough sleep each night will give your body the best chance to heal where it needs to.  If you aren't getting enough sleep (6-8 hours a night at least!) then your body will never be balanced.  It's as simple as that.

#4)  Chiropractic & Spinal Correction
Specifically, Maximized Living doctors work to correct the physical structure of the spine when your structure has curved or lacks the perfect structure needed for optimal nerve function.  The doctor can look at your thermal nerve scan or xray and see if your endcrine system or specific reproductive organs are being affected at the root level.  If there is pressure on the nerves, they can then work to remove that pressure and help your body correct the structural problems for a healthier future.  I cannot recommend getting in to see your local Maximized Living chiropractor strongly enough!  If you're going to pick one thing on this list to do, this is the one, because without 100% nerve function going out to your endocrine system, how can you expect anything else on this list to work for those organs?  You don't know until you get checked.  Definitely get checked so you know what is happening inside!

I didn't know until I got checked either.  My first exam warranted a set of xrays be taken.  I had no idea I had a 12 degree scoliosis in my low spine, RIGHT at the nerves going out to my uterus and adrenal glands.  I also had lost the good curvature in my neck, and the straightened out structure was putting pressure on the nerves going to my hypothalamus, pituitary, and thyroid.  It took some time to get my spinal structure corrected, but with each adjustment I felt better.  I had more energy.  I felt like my food was digesting better.  As time went by, my menstrual cycles returned after over 2 years of none.  Weight dripped off my body without even trying to workout.  My metabolism was on the rise!  And my vision improved, I no longer needed to wear my weak strength glasses.  My doctor (aka my husband Dr Dave -- I am so blessed!) monitored my progress along the way.  It was so reassuring to see on the follow up xray that all my hard work was paying off.  I could see the structure correction happening right on the xray!  It wasn't until we had corrected the scoliosis completely that my hormones were completely rebalanced and my endocrine system in sync.  A month after finishing my spinal correction, we conceived.  It was a complete surprise, because I didn't know still if my body would ever be strong enough to hold onto a baby and care for it.  God blessed us powerfully that day!

#5)  Acupressure or Acupuncture
Acupressure and Acupuncture work by stimulating reference points along the body that refer back to specific organs in a means to create healing response.   I really believe in coupling either of these methods with Chiropractic as a method of long term optimal wellness.  Your care provider will be able to specifically focus on your endocrine system, which will help your body put extra attention and energy into those organs and get them working together again faster.

In the past, while trying to beat infertility, I have seen an acupuncturist.  Currently I am seeing a reflexologist.  Both methods are wonderful, but I think I prefer the reflexology personally.  [If you are in the Charlotte area and need a great referral, the woman I see for reflexology is wonderful!  Top notch!  And affordable!! Email me.]

#6)  Supplementation
There are a few more specific supplements than the ones I am about to list that I recommend for hormone balancing and detox.  If you think you are a candidate for a more intense estrogen cleanse or a complete hormone/endocrine system overhaul, please email me to schedule a consultation.  I offer detox consultation packages via Skype or phone.

As I am still breastfeeding, I am taking a very mild approach with my supplements.  I don't want my body to go into full detox dumping mode because any excess estrogen shed will most likely go into my breast milk.  Two weeks ago, and for a while after giving birth, I felt like my body was heading downhill.  I had to be patient and wait to make some changes until Austin wasn't depending on me for food so much.  I wanted to add a few things in to my diet that would stop the downhill progression and help my body to start climbing the other way.  I'm not going for a shock method, but a gradual flip.  I added in:

Nutiva Hemp Oil
raw maca powder

-  Magnesium & zinc

Vessel Care (the best complete B complex vitamin formulated for optimal methylation; order through me)

Phytoganix (my favorite way to get phytonutrients like spirulina and acai; order through me)

Estrium (a 'medical food' powder full of herbs and supplements that work to reverse hormone imbalance; order through me)

-  Omega 3s (I added extra raw hemp oil and coconut oil to my diet)

-  And my usuals: Vitamin C, liquid Vitamin D3, probiotics, kombucha and Dynamic Greens (the best organic antioxidant drink I have found!)

Feel free to contact me with any questions.  And again, if you think it's time to take charge of your health and do a hormone reset, please email me to schedule a consultation: elise@healingcuisinebyelise.com.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Wordless Wednesday: October 24, 2012

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Wordless Wednesday: October 17, 2012

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Be back soon.

Hi all!

I'm taking a 2 week blogging hiatus while I shift focus onto myself for a little while with some detox+exercise+hormone balancing.  It's much needed and I can't wait to begin tomorrow!  During this time, your emails will go answered in an UNtimely fashion.   Thanks for your understanding!  I'll be back soon....  xo

~ Elise

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Snickerdoodle Cookies

I was craving snickerdoodle cookies a few days ago, badly.  I think it was buildup of seeing bake sales and not-good-for-you-but-taste-so-good treats all weekend at a fall festival.  Do you ever experience those food envy cravings?  I had to get in the kitchen and figure out how to make some snickerdoodles.  This recipe is inspired by my Cinnamon Walnut Cookie recipe on page 48 of Season's Eatings holiday e-cookbook.  And boy, did these snickerdoodles turn out great!  Chewy on the outside and gooey in the middle, with crunch at the edges.  I just needed that cinnamon-sugar taste and a little chewiness to make my brain chemistry okay again.  : )

(I also tried a pumpkin snickerdoodle version, but it didn't turn out perfectly.  I'll post that recipe later after I tweak it.)

TIP:  I made two batches of snickerdoodles.  For the first batch, I coated them in both cinnamon and xylitol.  On the second dozen, I used only cinnamon.  As you may know, xylitol doesn't melt down at all like sugar does.  For that reason, I liked the cinnamon-only cookies better texture-wise.  But that's just me.  You or your kids might like them with cinnamon+xylitol.

Snickerdoodle Cookies
Makes 16 Cookies

2 cups fine ground blanched almond flour
1/4 tsp sea salt
1/4 tsp baking soda
5 Tbsp coconut oil or raw butter, melted
2 Tbsp raw honey or grade B maple syrup or vanilla honey (makes these cookies nice and crispy!)
30-40 drops pure liquid stevia
2 tsp pure vanilla extract

3 Tbsp xylitol
3 Tbsp cinnamon

1.) Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Line two baking sheets with unbleached parchment paper.  In a medium bowl, mix together the almond flour, sea salt and baking soda.

2.)  In a separate small bowl, whisk together the melted coconut oil, honey, stevia, and vanilla extract.

3.)  Mix wet ingredients into dry ingredients, stirring until well combined.

4.)  In a small bowl, stir the cinnamon and xylitol together for the snickerdoodle coating.

5.)  Take Tablespoon sized scoops of the cookie dough, form into a circle in your hands, then roll the dough ball in the snickerdoodle coating mixture covering all sides.

6.)  Place your coated dough balls onto the cookie sheets evenly.  Use the bottom of a canning jar or coffee mug greased with coconut oil to press out each cookie into a perfect circle, about 1/4 inch thick. 

7.)  Bake for 8-10 minutes.  Remove from oven and let cool on the pans for 10 minutes before moving to cooling rack.  Let cool completely on cooling rack before eating, as they need this time to set and get crunchy on the edges!

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Wordless Wednesday: October 10, 2012

Friday, October 5, 2012

Kombucha Tea Flavorings Round 2

Looking back through my posts in the last few years, I see it's been a while since my last post about brewing kombucha.  Hard to believe!  Well I have about a year's worth of new flavor combinations to share with you.  But first, take a look back at our past discussions about brewing kombucha at home.  If you haven't started yet, believe me it's easy and takes very little effort!  The cost savings of home brewing and health benefits of consuming regularly are abundant!

Weird science project or tasty drink?: How to Brew Kombucha

Is My SCOBY Moldy?

Kombucha Tea Flavorings Round 1

Kombucha Smoothie 

Kombucha Mojito

I hope you like some of these new kombucha flavors.  These ingredients are added during the second fermentation period.  We love to try new combinations.  Exotic blends are at the bottom.  Always use organic ingredients, because chemicals and pesticides can harm the SCOBY and kill the natural yeast production.  Be sure to check out the original kombucha tea flavorings post from 2010 first to see if you want to try any if the classic flavors, too!

Kombucha Tea Flavorings Round 2

To 3 quarts of kombucha tea for the second fermentation period, add:

Watermelon-Lime Kombucha
Watermelon-Lime:  1/3 cup fresh squeezed watermelon juice  +  1/4 cup lime peel cut into strips

Pineapple:  1/4 cup fresh pineapple

Pineapple Pomegranate:  1/4 cup fresh pineapple  +  1/4 cup pomegranate juice

Apple Berry:  1/3 cup unsweetened organic apple juice  +  1/3 cup fresh mixed berries (or thawed frozen berries, or 1/4 cup unsweetened jam)

Cherry Vanilla: 1/4 cup dried cherries OR 1/3 cup pitted fresh cherries  +  2 tsp pure vanilla extract 

Pear-Almond:  1/4 cup fresh pear  +  2 tsp pure almond extract

Orange-Grapefruit: 1/4 cup fresh squeezed orange juice  +  1/3 cup fresh squeezed grapefruit juice   OR  1/4 cup orange peel  +  1/4 cup grapefruit peel 

Lemon-Blueberry:  1/4 cup lemon peel cut into strips  +  1/3 cup fresh blueberries (or frozen thawed blueberries, or 1/4 cup dried blueberries)

Peach:  1/3 cup fresh peaches (or thawed frozen peaches)

Strawberry-Mango: 1/4 cup fresh mango  (or frozen thawed mango)  +  1/3 cup fresh strawberries (or frozen thawed strawberries)

Kiwi:  1/3 cup fresh kiwi

Calm Blend:  1 tsp dried lavender flower  +  1 tsp dried chamomile flower

Chai Blend:  2 tsp of my favorite whole chai spice blend

Apple Pie Kombucha
Apple Pie Chai:  1/3 cup unsweetened apple juice  +  1 tsp chai spice blend  +  1 cinnamon stick

Apple Pie:  1/3 cup unsweetened apple juice  +  1 cinnamon stick

Pumpkin Pie:  1/3 cup pumpkin puree (optional)  +  4 whole cloves  +  2 cinnamon sticks  +  1/2 tsp ground nutmeg  +  3/4 tsp ground ginger  +  1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract

Chocolate Malt:  1 heaping Tablespoon raw cacao powder  +  1 heaping Tablespoon maca powder

Continue with the second ferment for at least 2 days.  Sometimes we forget and let our bottles go about 7 days for the second ferment.  They still taste good, but start to get a bit vinegary tasting again.  I think 3-4 days is the sweet spot.  Then pop in the fridge overnight, strain and enjoy!

Don't be afraid to experiment!  And don't be afraid to pour a batch down the drain if it didn't come out how you wanted.  I've done that a few times myself.  You can always make more!  The fun is in the experimenting, creating, and enjoying.

If you have a favorite flavor, please share it in the comments section!  I'd love to hear from you!

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Wordless Wednesday: October 3, 2012

Monday, October 1, 2012

Whole Food 1st Birthday Party Menu

Photo courtesy of Marissa Nixon Photography
After a month of planning, our son's first birthday party arrived last weekend.  We wanted to make this a special day for Austin, even if he won't remember it.  Turning 1 is a big milestone; a momentous occasion to honor and celebrate all of his growing and learning done over the past 12 months!

We celebrated at a local park and invited Austin's closest friends.  The day was filled with extra bright sunshine!  We had a few guests with certain food allergies and some who were strictly eating the Advanced Plan, so I wanted to tailor the recipes to their nutritional needs as much as possible.  (I also wanted to design a new birthday party menu, different from my Kids Menu Planner e-book, to give you all some different options.)  I had many parents who were at the park with their children come up to me and compliment on how fresh and healthy everything looked, and one mom passing by even said she couldn't believe all the kids were eating the healthy food!  It was quite humbling to hear compliments from strangers, but also a sobering reminded me that Standard America does not associate fresh whole foods with birthday parties.  I hope some parents realized you don't have to overload kids with sugar and sweets to have a fun celebration.

We celebrated with a healthy spread of Core & Advanced Plan whole food dishes.  {Plus, a new cupcake recipe that I am in love with!}  A special thanks to our skilled photographer and friend Marissa Nixon for taking many of the photos shared today.  Her photography portfolio can be found here.

Use my invite template here.

The party planning started with the theme.  Since he was just a few months old, Austin has loved balloons.  And while Dave might have fought for a Green Bay Packers theme for a day or two, we both agreed that Austin would love a balloon party.  The invitation design was the foundation for the rest of the party decor.  I love bold colors, and picked grass green, medium blue, and sky blue as the color scheme.  I laid out a simple but cute invite layout in inDesign using the balloon as the main focus.  I also found sheets of 100 balloon stickers at the Dollar Tree, perfect to use as embellishments on the envelopes.  (The stickers were my Plan B after ordering the wrong size blue envelopes from a company online.  Oops.)  You can now customize and print the invitation template I designed at Zazzle.com

 Once the invites were sent out, I had about 3 weeks to design the table scape.  Decor items I made or purchased: polka-dot glassine cupcake wrappers from Bake It Pretty, polka-dot nut cups from Bake It Pretty, polka-dot straws from Bake It Pretty, 5 oz clear cups from Party City for white bean dip, 3-tier plate stand from Target, I spray painted the bottoms of clear plates from Dollar Tree with green & blue, spray painted cake boards green for the cupcakes, punched 2-inch circles from scrapbook paper and taped to skewers to make balloon decorations for cupcakes, 30 helium balloons from Party City, balloon napkins and banner from Dollar Tree.   The table scape also included the food!  I wanted lots of green on the tables to play against blue table cloths.  The recipes also had to be kid friendly.  Here is what I came up with:


Photo courtesy of Marissa Nixon Photograpgy
White Bean Dip with fresh veggies
Makes 6 Servings
(multiplied by 4 for 30 guests)
Advanced Plan

1 15-oz can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
2 cloves garlic
2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
1/3 cup olive oil
1/4 cup fresh Italian parsley leaves
Sea salt & fresh black pepper, to taste

Add all ingredients to food processor.  Pulse until the mixture is as smooth as you'd like it (I puree to hummus consistency, but some people like their bean dip coarse). Season with sea salt and pepper, to taste. Transfer the bean puree to a bowl and refrigerate until ready to serve.

Chickpea Pesto Salad  (YES, the kids ate this, even the babies loved it!)
Makes 6 Servings
(multiplied by 4 for 30 guests)

Advanced Plan

1 garlic clove
1/4 cup raw almonds
1/2 cup fresh basil leaves
3 Tbsp olive oil
2 Tbsp freshly grated Parmesan cheese

2 15-oz cans organic garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
1 organic English cucumbers, sliced
2 celery stalks, thinly sliced
2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
Sea salt and fresh pepper, to taste

Add garlic clove, almonds, and basil leaves to food processor.  Pulse until finely chopped.  With machine running, drizzle in olive oil.  Add Parmesan and pulse to combine.  In a large bowl, toss together together garbanzo beans, cucumber, celery, lemon juice and pesto. Season with sea salt and fresh ground pepper.  [This salad is also delicious with shredded chicken.  I often have this for lunch, replacing one can of chickpeas with roasted chicken.]

Photos courtesy of Marissa Nixon Photography
Kale-Carrot Salad  (Kiddos love this marinated kale!)
Makes 8 Servings
(multiplied by 3 for 30 guests)
Core Plan

2 bunches organic kale, destemed, rinsed, and dried
1/2 cup shredded organic carrot
2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
3/4 tsp sea salt
1/4 tsp fresh black pepper

Stack two or three kale leaves and slice into strips.  Then, chop the kale strips in half.  Add all ingredients, including the chopped kale, to a large bowl and cover with a tight fitting lid.  Shake the bowl, then turn upside down and shake some more.  Kale should be completely covered in dressing.  Let sit in fridge 24-72 hours to marinate.  Serve cold or room temperature.

Fresh Fruit with Coconut Cream Sauce  (A healthier alternative to a cool whip jello salad)
Makes 6 servings
(Multiplied by 4 for 30 guests)
Core Plan

3 organic bananas, sliced
3 organic granny smith apples, chopped
1 organic pineapple, chopped
8oz organic cream cheese, room temperature
1/2 cup coconut cream, chilled (the thick white fatty cream from the top half of a can of coconut milk)
1 cup powdered xylitol (pulse xylitol in a spice grinder)

In a stand mixer, whip together the cream cheese and coconut cream until smooth.  Add powdered xylitol and whip smooth.  Stir chopped fruit together in a large bowl.  Toss with whipped coconut cream.  Serve immediately or chill until ready to serve, up to 48 hours.

Healing Cuisine Chicken Salad  (A classic for outdoor parties!)

Lime-Mint Infused Stevia Water
Makes 3 Gallons

3 gallons filtered water
4 sprigs of fresh mint leaves
2 limes, sliced
2 Tbsp lime Stevita stevia powder

Stir together all ingredients in a drink dispenser or pitcher.

Photo courtesy Marissa Nixon Photography

Vanilla Buttermilk Cupcakes
Makes 36 Standard Size Cupcakes
Core Plan

1 cup organic butter, room temperature
1 1/4 cup organic sugar (or xylitol)
5 free range eggs, room temperature
1 Tbsp pure vanilla extract
3 cups fine ground blanched almond flour, sifted
1 Tbsp baking powder
1/4 tsp sea salt
1 1/2 cups buttermilk, room temperature

With a stand mixer, beat the butter and sugar on until light and fluffy, about five minutes. Beat in the eggs one at a time until combined.  Beat in the vanilla.  In a small bowl, whisk the dry ingredients together.  With the mixer on low, add 1/2 of the flour mixture to the butter mixture, beating to combine.  Beat in the buttermilk, then the remaining flour mixture until just combined.  Scrape down the bowl as needed.   Pour into lined cupcake tins and bake at 350 degrees F for 30 minutes.  Let cool for 10 mins then remove from pan to a cooling rack.

I cheated on the frosting for the cupcakes.  I ordered 4 pounds of butter cream frosting from Whole Foods, 2 pounds each of green and blue.  They make their frosting with all natural food dyes from fruits and veggies, so this was the least expensive route to go for colored healthier frosting.  And, since we were having a lot of babies at the party, I didn't want to make my usual xylitol sweetened frosting as babies can't digest xylitol.  I was fine with giving my baby just a little bit of sugar on his special day.  Whole Foods also uses organic rBGH-free butter and milk in their frosting, so that put my mind at ease enough to go ahead and order it.  The only thing I was bummed about is that when we went to pick up the frosting, the blue color was more purple.  It's understandable because you can't get a true blue color using natural dyes, but I was still bummed by how purple it came out.  Instead, we took home white and green frosting, and I was very pleased with how it looked on the table with the cupcakes and embellishments.

Alternatively, you can make sugar-free frosting many different ways.  I shared my 4 favorite cake and cookie frostings in my Season's Eatings holiday e-cookbook.  You can also use bananas, cashews, or avocado as the base for you frosting.  We made a bright green frosting using avocados for Austin's actual birthday at home.
Avocado Frosting
The cupcakes, the food, the colors, the details...it all came together just as I had hoped.  It was a fun 1st birthday party filled with happy memories we will cherish forever.

Photo courtesy of Marissa Nixon Photography
Photo courtesy of Marissa Nixon Photography
See more professional photos from our celebration here.

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