Monthly Archives: December 2013

Happy 2014 y’all!

I joined the crowd and did a Flipagram to recap 2013! David and I have had a wonderful year. Here are some note worthy events:
January– Snow, the flu, and a CF competition. We also committed to a paleo lifestyle after a very tough fall 2012 (autoimmunity at an all time high). A very wise decision… I’m not sure what my health would look like right now without that commitment. Crucial timing… And I started meal planning.
February– Our first Valentine’s Day as a married couple and our first 21 Day Sugar Detox.
March– I got to celebrate my 25th birthday in Austin, TX. My first birthday in my paleo lifestyle and we were at the PaleoFX conference. Very cool and got to meet paleo celebs!
April– Focus on my thesis was at an all time high (as was stress). Paleo cookbook release season started πŸ™‚
May– Defended thesis and house hunting (and job!) was at an all time high. The roller-coaster of life was really taking us up and down! But we kept our faith that it would all work out.
June– We closed on our home that we fell in love with (June 6th). I got my first job as a research project coordinator at the UA Center for Ethics and Social Responsibility. I also started to learn how to play chess this month– a main component of the initiative I work with!
July– Danielle of Against All Grain asked if I would be interested in helping with book reviews and I couldn’t have been more excited! First book review had me trying my hand at kombucha πŸ™‚ Also had the shortest blueberry season we have experienced here in Tuscaloosa, but still got out to the organic farm down the road from us (we have went at least the last 3 years) for some berries to store for the winter.
August– School started and my first semester as a (non-student!) UA employee began. Settling into my new life/routine was my big focus– hello spiritual growth! I also started seeing a ND/acupuncturist here in town! But what takes the cake this month, David and I celebrated our 1 year anniversary. It couldn’t have been more perfect– included lots of local food and we even created an anniversary WOD to do each year!
SeptemberCrossfit Candor opened their doors and my husband couldn’t be happier working with the Candor family! We also expanded from the Stokes duo to trio when we got our black British lab, Paleo ‘Leo’ Stokes!
October– We were making our way through puppy parenthood and hosted our first family dinner in our home this month. Downtown Northport really started to feel like home! We love the area and even experienced some of the attractions of the cute downtown (the stores, Kentuck festival and park, the walkability, etc.). Also a stray cat showed up… She’s now well-fed and her name is Kitty Kitty.
November– Football took over the weekends but we found ourselves wanting to stay at home with Leo on gamedays instead of going to tailgate and to the game. Leo supported that decision πŸ˜‰ Thanksgiving was spent at the farm with my side of family. It was a blast and all paleo (for family functions I have to at least keep it grain free, medically)! My sister, mom, and I used Against All Grain’s Thankful, Balanced Bites’ Thanksgiving e-book, and Gather from The Food Lovers. My sister ordered a turkey from a local farm… Needless to say, with all of that local goodness, we made the best broth in Cookin’ Up Life history. It gelled y’all!
December– From Christmas parties, Dickens Downtown just down the road from us, and Christmas travel took over. Also Hallmark (Christmas) movies πŸ˜‰ Our first Christmas season in our first home was perfect– even decorated the porch and had the best lookin’ Christmas tree we had ever seen (even upgraded our lights for the tree, clear lights now). We also traveled from the middle of Alabama to the top and bottom and Leo loved every bit of it! What an awesome family we have πŸ™‚

I hope y’all had a great day before 2014… Here’s the video πŸ™‚

Blessed and excited for 2014!

Happy New Year y’all!

*Don’t forget about the giveaway– check out this post for all of the details.

Review and Giveaway: Paleo Sweets and Treats

Hi guys, I was so happy to receive a review copy of Heather’s newest book, Paleo Sweets and Treats: Seasonally Inspired Desserts that Let You Have Your Cake and Your Paleo Lifestyle, Too. Heather has a wonderful blog, Multiply Delicious, that I have been following for a while now. She is an amazing person– paleo blogger/cookbook author (paleo celeb!), mom of 2 cuties, wife, and a crossfitter.


Heather takes you through each season and gives you ideas on how to utilize the seasonal produce. Whether you have a great hometown market or shopping at a grocery store, you will find that shopping seasonally will save you money. Who doesn’t want that?

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Each page is filled with color that compliments each beautifully photographed treat. As you can see from the Table of Contents, the book is well organized, which makes this book easy to navigate.


I was so zoned in on the seasonal chapters, but there is a whole chapter dedicated to “year round” desserts in here too. These desserts are made with items that you should be able to acquire any month and serve for any occasion.

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You better believe I will be whipping up her S’mores soon… how delicious do these look? That marshmallow… holy moly y’all!


The cookbook also lists some great resources and has a chapter on how to “stock” a paleo pantry. I will admit, when I made the switch to grain-free, knowing that I had the staples around for some paleo goodies was comforting. Also it makes a HUGE difference in the outcome if you know what brand and type of ingredient, for example almond flour, they used. Things will turn out fluffier and tastier if you use what they recommend πŸ™‚

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Now when I sat down to decide what recipe to try out for y’all, I had the hardest time. For real. They all look amazing, her pictures are just gorgeous. To make this decision easier, I chose one based on the ingredients I had in my pantry. Drum roll please…

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Since I got the book during the fall season, I decided to stick with the fall chapter. I literally had every corner turned down. Among the choices: Pumpkin Pecan Pie Bars, Apple Spiced Cupcakes with “Caramel” Frosting, Butternut Squash Cinnamon Almond Tart… I could go on! But what about something that I hadn’t baked before… like whoopie pies?? I happily started whipping these up, Carrot-Apple Whoopie Pies, to be exact. First time with a whoopie pie and her directions made it so easy. Very clear and easy to understand. *I love the word whoopie!*


These reminded me of oatmeal cream pies… I loved them growing up (very Southern I know)! The middle was a sweetened cashew mixture. I should’ve been patient and let it set up longer in the fridge, but I just couldn’t wait. I had six sets of cookies waiting to be transformed into whoopie pies and an impatient kitchen manager πŸ™‚

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David and I both loved them and think you will too πŸ˜‰ As for the winter chapter, I have my eye on Molten Orange-Chocolate Lava Cakes and Honey Spiced Orange Cake. Can’t wait!

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I have always been a “sweets eater,” not just a sweet tooth here, a full set of sweet teeth πŸ™‚ So when I transitioned to a paleo lifestyle I knew I had to find grain-free options for all my favorites. Heather offers you staple desserts like cupcakes and brownies, then goes beyond that using all seasonal fruits and veggies to create delicious and nutritious treats. Some people enjoy a paleo lifestyle without sweets, but I can easily admit, I love choosing to include paleo treats.

And yes, Leo approves of this paleo cookbook πŸ™‚

Heather is so sweet and very generous– she has offered to give one of you a free copy of her cookbook!

How to enter:
1) Like Multiply Delicious and Cookin’ Up Life on Facebook.
2) Comment on this blog post saying you liked them both and what your favorite sweet treat is.

For example, “I have liked both pages and my favorite sweet is Pecan Pie!”

Good luck! Giveaway starts Friday, December 27th at 9:45PM (Central) and ends Saturday January 4th (2014!) at 10AM (Central). All comments posted at after 10AM will not be entered. Only one entry per person πŸ™‚

*A special thanks to everyone that supports my blog. I love interacting with you on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram. And in person, no link for that πŸ˜‰ I appreciate each of you and love to hear from you!

AffiliateΒ links were included in this post. The links will allow me toΒ receiveΒ a small percentage of sales which helps fund the blog! So use the links to make purchases and know the Cookin’ Up Life team appreciates it… the team being: David the kitchen manager, Leo the editor/approver, and myself the blogger!