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La Petite Maison Verte

La Petite Maison Verte

Monday, July 30, 2012

Monday's Inspired Musings

Some reading and inspiration for your Monday:

Stop doing these 3 things to transform your life.  And some things you should do.
I feel like this was written directly to me, as though she had a magnifying glass and was peering into my soul through the pupils of my eyes.  Trying to please other people? Check.     Compares herself to others?  Check.  Waiting for permission from someone else?  Double check.
Really, I wanted to share this article to remind myself of the things I can start doing in order to become empowered to live the life I love and want to lead.  

The perfect meal for one. 
I couldn't agree more with this beautifully-written piece from The Kitchn.  While Brian has been away, I have found myself gravitating to the simplicity and comfort of an omelette with a glass of wine at least 2 or 3 nights a week.  Nothing else feels at once homier and yet somehow elegant, especially when done right.  My favorite variety lately has been 2 organic cage-free eggs, chevre and fresh-snipped chives from my backyard.  Sometimes, I mix it up and add sauteed mushrooms.  I enjoy roasted asparagus or a salad on the side.  Then there's my juice box of wine, poured out into a glass, for the illusion that I am fancy...or something.       

Whenever I need to be inspired I turn to the always-eloquent Danielle LaPorte (and I quote:)
You have to WANT to be inspired to be...inspired.  The desire to be inspired is a special kind of craving that's part of being self-aware.  
So many of us wait for it to light upon the crest of our minds like the blue bird of happiness, when really, we need to hunt inspiration down like empty bellied stealth birds of prey.
 God how I love her words.

Have a lovely Monday!


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Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Paleo Fruit Cobbler and a Giveaway!

For those of you who have been following this blog for a while, this is going to come as no surprise to you:

I have a major sweet tooth.

I know, earth-shattering, right?  But for someone who loves to eat healthy, who knows how harmful refined sugars and flours are to her body, and who still craves sweets in the worst way on a daily basis, this presents quite the problem.

That is, until I tried this recipe.  This recipe, my friends, is quite possibly one of the best things I have ever made.  That's saying a lot, I know.  But here's why:

  • no refined sugar or flours
  • highlights any fruit flavor you wish - whatever's in season
  • combines natural sugars (from the fruit) with healthy fats from the almonds to lessen the impact on blood sugar
  • is simple and quick to make and is infinitely adaptable to whatever fruit you have on hand
  • requires very few ingredients and none of them are difficult to find
  • no artificial ingredients:  that means no artificial sugars, preservatives or strange chemical compounds that require a PhD to pronounce
  • Oh, yeah, and it tastes damn delicious and satisfies my sweet tooth without any guilt - and THAT, my friends, is worth more than I can say.

This won't win any awards for beauty and it will probably not blow anyone away with originality.  It doesn't involve layers upon layers of delicate pastry or a whole stick of butter.  It is simply, the season's freshest fruit topped with a just-barely-sweet almond topping.  The crumble reminds me of marzipan, albeit not as sweet, but with the same nutty flavor and texture.  

Top a bowl with a dollop of coconut "whipped cream", as I did, to keep it truly Paleo, or if that sort of thing doesn't matter to you, a little real whipped cream or greek yogurt would be lovely.

For the fruit, you can really use anything you wish.  I have made a couple of variations and used both fresh and frozen fruit, and both work beautifully.  For my first attempt, I used a combination of fresh apricots and frozen raspberries from Trader Joe's.  Then, the second time I made it I used halved, pitted fresh cherries.  If you're using frozen fruit, don't thaw it fully - just enough to separate the pieces.  I think blueberries, blackberries, peaches, nectarines and plums would all work perfectly.

This recipe is gluten-free.  And just a note, as with all nuts that come into my house, I always store my almond flour/meal in the refrigerator or freezer to prolong its shelf life once it's been opened.

Rather than baking it in one pie dish, you can also distribute the fruit and topping into 4 ramekins.  The baking temperature and time is the same, but you should check it at 20-25 minutes to make sure the topping isn't getting too brown.

Paleo Fruit Cobbler
adapted from Everyday Paleo
serves 4-6

2 1/2 - 3 cups fresh or frozen fruit (I used fresh pitted, sliced apricots and frozen raspberries)
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon (optional)
1 1/2 cups almond meal/flour (I use Bob's Red Mill, this is simply finely ground almonds - you could make this yourself if you have a food processor or Vitamix)
1 egg (or substitute 1/4 cup egg whites)
2 Tablespoons coconut butter (or substitute coconut oil)
1 Tablespoons honey or agave nectar (feel free to omit this, it just won't be as sweet)
1/4 cup coarsely chopped nuts (optional)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.  

Lightly spray a 9" pie dish with olive oil baking spray.  Distribute your fruit inside the pie dish and sprinkle the cinnamon over the top.  Set aside for now. (Alternatively, you could use 4 ramekins - just evenly distribute the fruit among them)

In a medium bowl, add the almond meal, egg, coconut butter and honey/agave.  If your coconut butter is solid at room temperature you may need to microwave it for a few seconds to melt it slightly.  Stir everything together to combine well - the mixture will be very thick.  Using your hands, crumble the almond meal mixture evenly over the fruit until you have used it all.  Sprinkle over the chopped nuts, if using.

Bake at 350 degrees F for 30-35 minutes, until the fruit is bubbling and the topping is crisp and lightly browned.    Serve warm with a dollop of coconut whipped cream, real whipped cream or greek yogurt.

Ready for baking...


Today I have a giveaway for you! 

A few months back I was lucky enough to be able to try an assortment of nut butters from Artisana Organic Foods, a company which I not only admire for their high-quality products but for their ethical and eco-friendly business practices. 

They sent me a box containing two 8-oz jars along with 8 pouches of all of their assorted nut butters.  Check out my review and some of my ideas for how I used their products here.  I used their Coconut Butter in this fruit cobbler recipe and loved the sweet, mellow and subtle coconut flavor it added.  Coconut Butter is also delicious as an ice cream topping, mixed into a fruit and protein smoothie, spread on banana bread or stirred into oatmeal.

The winner will be chosen at random and will receive an 8-oz jar of Artisana's Coconut Butter and sample packs of each of their classic nut butters which are perfect for when you're on-the-go, traveling or even just snacking at home. 

Here's how to enter, you can have up to 4 entries:

1.  Leave a comment telling me which of Artisana's products you are the most excited to try and what you plan to do with it.  
2.  Tweet about this giveaway (be sure to include a link to this post and my twitter handle @lapetitejuju)
3.  Share this blog post on Facebook
4.  Subscribe to this blog via the e-mail link

Leave me a separate comment for each entry-method.  And please leave your e-mail address as well (if it's not linked to your blogger profile) so I can get in touch with you if you're the winner. 

The winner will be chosen on Saturday July 28, 2012 so you have until 11:59 pm on Friday July 27th to enter.  Good luck!

Updated 7/28/12:  This giveaway is now closed.

And the winner of the Artisana nut butter sample pack is Liz!  Congratulations!


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Monday, July 23, 2012

Artisana Product Review: Nut Butters Galore

A few months ago I reached out to Artisana Organic Foods, hoping to try their Coconut Butter for myself after reading other healthy living bloggers mentioning how much they loved it.  I had been a huge fan of coconut oil for a long time but was confused about what makes coconut butter any different.  Luckily for me, the folks at Artisana were happy to shed some light on the difference for me and they sent me a sample of their products to try out for myself*.

All I can say is, Coconut Butter puts Coconut Oil to shame!

Coconut Butter is made from the flesh of the coconut, not just the oil.  It has a thicker, super creamy consistency and more-pronounced and (naturally) sweet coconut taste compared to coconut oil.  And because it's made from the coconut flesh it contains the fiber and protein that occur naturally in this fruit - or is it a nut?!

Artisana's Coconut Butter is made from 100% organic, raw coconut.  That's it. It tastes sweet because of the small amount of natural sugar present in the coconut.  It tastes amazing stirred into a bowl of oatmeal or yogurt, drizzled over a bowl of vanilla ice cream or stirred into an equal amount of peanut butter for the most insanely delicious concoction you have ever tasted in your life.  Just spread it on a graham cracker and call it a day.

But it doesn't end there.  Thanks to Artisana's generosity, I was also able to try all 8 of their organic raw nut butters.  They come in individual serving On-the-Go packs which came in handy when I was traveling and staying in a cheap but dog-friendly hotel that provided a free "breakfast." You know what I'm talking about: they have about 8 different choices of packaged, processed white flour bagels, danishes and muffins, along with a make-your-own waffle station and a couple types of (sugary) cereals.

If you're lucky you can find a couple packets of plain oatmeal and some fresh fruit (apples and bananas) and maybe hard-boiled eggs, that is, if the high school soccer team staying there hasn't gotten to them first.  But I need healthy fats at every meal in order to keep me feeling full and satisfied, so that's where these On-the-Go packets come in handy.  I added one packet of Artisana's raw almond butter to a bowl of plain oatmeal and topped it with a half of a sliced banana.  Add a drizzle of maple syrup and you're all set.

Each nut butter we tried tasted completely different and we found some favorites among them:

Pecan Butter:  OMG this tastes just like a cookie.  This was our favorite of the nut butters and it was amazing stirred into oatmeal with some fresh blueberries or layered with greek yogurt, homemade strawberry jam and granola for a breakfast parfait.  Or, you know, just plain on a spoon.

Plain 2% Greek yogurt, homemade jam, pecan butter, granola

Walnut Butter:  Second runner-up to the Pecan Butter.  The walnut butter had a mild flavor and rich, slightly crunchy texture.  Perfect with sliced bananas on top of high-protein oatmeal pancakes.  We are sold on this one for life!

Whole wheat waffle, walnut butter, banana

Cacao Bliss  Reminded me of a healthier version of Nutella.  This one is sweet, chocolatey and has the distinct flavor of coconut rather than hazelnut though, and is made from only natural ingredients.  It was an indulgent treat fit for a Chocoholic on top of waffles with some Nature's Path Dark Chocolate & Red Berries Love Crunch granola.  I'll bet it would also be delicious warmed and spread on crepes or drizzled on vanilla ice cream.

High-Protein Oatmeal Pancakes, Cacao Bliss, Dark Chocolate & Red Berries Love Crunch Granola

Almond Butter:  We've been long-time fans of almond butter and Artisana's raw almond butter was probably the best raw almond butter I've tasted.  My favorite way to eat it is on warm toast with my amazing 3-ingredient homemade strawberry jam or mixed in a smoothie.

Ezekiel toast, homemade jam, almond butter

Macadamia Butter:  This one didn't have a very distinct macadamia nut flavor to me but it was enjoyable nonetheless.  It had a creamier texture and a more savory flavor than some of the others and could probably be used as a substitute for butter in baking or in some cooking applications if you wanted to get really creative.

Cashew Butter:  This was another super creamy one and didn't seem to have a very strong cashew flavor, in fact it was pretty mild tasting and would probably make a good substitute for tahini in homemade hummus or salad dressing like my lemon-tahini dressing.

And even with all of the good things I can say about Artisana's high quality products, I would be remiss if I didn't mention their superior principles as a company.  They support small organic farms and are committed to sustainable living practices.  And for those who are are allergic to peanuts, gluten or soy - they do not process these ingredients, so that's one less thing for you to worry about.

And for those of you who have taken the time to read all the way to the bottom of this post, here's a heads-up that I will be having my first giveaway later this week!  Check back for a chance to win an awesome package of goodies from Artisana, you won't regret it!

*I received a sample of 8 assorted On-the-Go Squeeze Packs and two 8-oz jars of products from Artisana .  The reviews and opinions stated here are entirely my own.  


Saturday, July 21, 2012

Bon Weekend

As I sit here at Sophie's in Hyde Park sipping on what is probably my 19th iced coffee of the week (I told you I just can't get enough) I am enjoying what is already proving to be a blissful weekend.

I am happy to say I have lots of exciting things coming up in my life....

I'm writing a guest post for a fellow Tampa-area blogger!  I'll be making something delicious and sharing the recipe over on the Parkesdale Farm Market blog in a couple of weeks.  I'll let you know when it's up and posted, but in the mean time check out Xiomara's site - it's full of yummy recipes and healthy inspiration.  Xiomara is a triathlete AND mom of two little girls - if that doesn't inspire you to get out there and and exercise, nothing I ever say will!

my 5-ingredient coconut ice cream

Yesterday, one of my recipes was featured on the Daily Buzz Top 9:  Splurge with Homemade Ice Cream.  If you didn't check it out before, here is the recipe for my delicious homemade Coconut Ice Cream with just 5 ingredients! I'll admit, it feels really good to be recognized for something I've written.  While I love writing my blog for the pure creative process, I occasionally feel a little bummed when nobody comments on a post or "likes" my shared post on Facebook.  I tend to draw a lot of my confidence from the opinions of others, which I know isn't good, and I'm working hard to change that.  But still, every once in a while when something I do is recognized, I light up on the inside.

As if that wasn't enough, today my review of the Village Health Market was featured as Yelp's Review of the Day!  How cool is that?!

On Thursday I was surprised with these beauties sitting at the front door!

And even better than that, I get to see the sweet guy who sent them in a week and a half :-)  It's been a LONG two months and I'm just giddy with excitement that it's almost over.....

Tomorrow is Sunday, which means Yoga in the Park.  It has become one of my favorite weekend rituals to attend this free, outdoor yoga sesh in Curtis Hixon Park in downtown Tampa.  It is the perfect end to the weekend and always helps me to relax and re-focus for the week ahead.

And in other exciting news, I have a couple of awesome giveaways coming soon!  I'm not saying what or when but just know that they're coming and if you like food even half as much as I do, you'll want to check back often in the next few weeks for your chance to win some of my recent favorite things ;-)

Here's a hint for one of the giveaways....

crunchy deliciousness...and that's all I'm going to say for now.

Well, that's all I have for you today.  I hope you're having a happy, relaxing weekend with family and friends.  I hope you'll join me as I try to live in the present moment and cherish these long summer days!



Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Mid-Week Inspiration

Just because today is Wednesday.

Just because it's been raining all day here.

Just because I love lists. and things that inspire. and sharing those things with you....

Some links I've been loving lately...

I'm starting to fret just a bit about my upcoming trip to Ireland at the end of August:  The logistics of driving in a foreign country.  Hoping the B&Bs we picked are charming but not too quaint.  What to pack?!?


This image is my inspiration for the trip, and on my list of items to buy:  folding wellies like these, double-breasted trench coat such as this (swoon), big purse to hold necessary items (travel guide, passport/identification/important documents, snacks, etc.)

Seriously, can we talk about these Brownie Cookies with Salted Caramel Cream Filling from Bakers Royale for just a minute.....

source+ recipe

...they look like a dream come true.  And also like cellulite...but I think I could be OK with that for just one little bite....

source + tutorial
I want, no, need, to make these friendship bracelets.  It's summer time.  Summer camp is happening across the country.  I might not be there (hellooo, and welcome to life at 28) but if I made these bracelets it could be like I was there again....except without the scary daddy longlegs and corn dogs....

All of a sudden I am obsessed with iced coffee.  I never used to even like it (at least, that's what I kept telling myself).   Now, it's all I can think about and this recipe from Hungry Girl Por Vida looks perfect.  Must make ASAP, Starbucks you have gotten enough of my cash in the last two's time I get on top of this at home.

source + recipe

Ever since my visit to the Baltimore Museum of Art when I was in Maryland a few weeks ago, I have been so inspired by Henri Matisse.  I don't think I ever realized it before then, but I absolutely swoon for his use of bright colors and contrasting patterns. The following three were my absolute favorites in the gallery.... 

Henri Matisse.  Interior with Dog. 1934
Henri Matisse.  Anemones and Chinese Vase. 1922
Henri Matisse.  Purple Robe and Anemones.  1937
If you live in Maryland, please do yourself a favor and check out the museum.  Oh, and did I mention admission is free!

This recipe for homemade Margherita pizza from The Kitchn has me craving it in the absolute worst way.  It looks so gosh darn simple, too...if only I had some mozzarella cheese....

source + recipe

I am loving the idea of wearing a turban on my head.  Random, perhaps.  But there is just something so classy, so elegant, so unexpected about the turban.  It's like the perfect accessory for the summer - keeps your hair back, adds a pop of color and feels carefree.  Now I just need the perfect silk scarf, this one perhaps?


I think most people (myself included) probably need to be reminded of this every once in a while. 


And finally, this is just beautiful and I felt that it should be shared.  Just wow.


How do you find inspiration to get you through the week?!  Do share, I'd love to know!


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Monday, July 16, 2012

Summer Berry Eton Mess

Things I love about summer time:


daylight until 9 pm

cut-off jeans and cowboy hats

mountains of sweet corn, zucchini, summer squash and basil

the freckles that pop up on my nose

summer camp (why isn't there a summer camp for adults? friendship bracelets are so in right now....)

citronella candles on the porch

road trips with the windows down

water-gun fights (you guys remember Super-Soakers, right?!)


flip-flops (and pedicures!)

frozen custard at the boardwalk


coconut-scented sunblock

the sound of crickets in the evening

the sound of the lawnmower on Saturday morning

dining al fresco and impromptu picnics

and berries, ripe berries of every kind.....

Of course it goes without saying, summer berries need no adornment to be delicious.  But when the occasion calls for a summer dessert besides a simple bowl of pure, unadulterated fruit, I frequently make the light and simple but elegant Eton Mess.

I forget when or how I first became aware of Eton Mess, perhaps I was looking for a gluten-free recipe to showcase summer's sweet bounty for my brother in law Rob, but all I know is it has been a favorite ever since.

Store-bought vanilla meringues are broken into pieces and layered with fresh, lightly whipped vanilla-scented cream and macerated berries.  I think strawberries are the traditional fruit used, but I don't see why blueberries, blackberries or raspberries couldn't stand in when they're at their peak.  And for that matter, I think sliced fresh peaches or plums would work beautifully too.

I don't typically measure anything or follow a specific recipe when I make this dessert.  It's so simple and you literally cannot mess it up (see what I did there?).  I based this recipe off of Nigella Lawson's because she is just, well, my favorite British foodie, but I've put my own American spin on things.

Eton Mess
adapted from Nigella Lawson
serves 4

4 cups sliced berries (I used a combination of sliced strawberries and blueberries)
4 teaspoons sugar, divided (feel free to substitute stevia, splenda or another sugar substitute if necessary)
2 cups heavy whipping cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
8-12 vanilla flavored meringue cookies or nests (or fewer, if yours are very large)
mint sprigs, optional, for garnish

Place your washed, hulled and sliced berries into a large bowl and toss with 2 teaspoons of the sugar. Allow to sit at room temperature for about 20-30 minutes, gently stirring once or twice, so the berries can release their juices.  (This step can be prepared ahead of time:  if preparing in advance, instead of leaving at room temperature mix the berries and sugar in the bowl, cover with saran wrap and refrigerate for 1-24 hours).

Just before serving, whip the heavy cream with the remaining 2 teaspoons of sugar and the 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract until soft peaks form.  Break up the meringues into large chunks and mix half of the pieces into the whipped cream.

In 4 serving glasses, layer the remaining broken pieces of meringue with the macerated berries and the whipped cream.  Garnish with fresh mint, if desired.  Serve immediately.

What are your favorite things about the summer time?  Summer has always been my favorite season, ever since I was a kid.  Even though I'm an adult and no longer have the freedom to enjoy the endless summer days of vacation, the happy memories always return as the days get longer and the evenings grow warmer.  


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Monday, July 2, 2012

July Already?

I feel like this year is just flying by, don't you?  It's already July, people!

Summer has me feeling kind of lazy when it comes to the blog.  Cooking in a hot, tiny kitchen and sitting at my computer editing pictures are basically the last things I want to be doing.  I'd much rather be lounging with a good book sipping lemonade.  Or under the umbrella at the beach listening to the waves.  Or off on vacation somewhere....

I also feel like my blog is having an identity crisis lately.  Is it a healthy living blog?  Or more of a food blog?  Should I stop using blogger and switch to Word Press?  Should I change the name to something in English so people can understand me when I tell them what it's called?  Oh decisions, decisions....

Later this week, I'm flying up to visit my mom and dad in Maryland.  I hope to catch up with old friends, spend plenty of time relaxing and just soaking in the comfort of being home.  My little trip couldn't come at a better time.  I feel like inspiration has been a little lacking lately and a change of scenery will be just what I need to get the creative juices flowing again.

And, because I feel the need to prove that I haven't fallen into a black hole, here are some pictures of what I've been up to lately....

I bought a new headboard for our guest bedroom.  It's beige linen fabric and it was love at first sight...which is why it was worth renting a HUGE pickup truck all by my little (5'3") self and hauling it home.

I attended a Chevy Fit 4 Life Tour event yesterday put on by GM In The Southeast with a group of girls from my blogging meet-up group.  It involved a bootcamp class at Lifestyle Family Fitness in Hyde Park Village, followed by lunch at Fit Life Foods, an art class at Painting With A Twist and finally, Yoga in the Park.  It was a long, busy day and I was sweaty and sore at the end of it - but in a VERY good way!

Here are some photos I "borrowed" from the Tampa Bay Lady Bloggers Facebook page, courtesy of Caroline:

Learning how to do rows on the TRX during bootcamp.  [Photo credit]
Getting out our frustrations with medicine ball slams.  (Julia the PT is not so happy with her body mechanics here).  [Photo credit]

FEED ME. [Photo Credit]

Embracing my inner artist. [Photo credit]

My finished product.  I despise the "snakes" at the bottom of the dress - WHY?!!?

What it was "supposed" to look like. [Photo Credit]
Yoga in the Park.  (took this pic a few weeks ago at Yoga in the Park but it always looks about the same)

Swag bag from the event.  Love the headbands!
 Today, Hudson and I went for a nice long 3 mile walk.  Only, it had to be at least 90 degrees out and Hudson decided he needed a rest break.

Crazy eyes!

Reading magazines at the hair salon today and came across this tasty photo.  It's going on my must-make list!
Thinking I'm going to try this recipe soon.  It looks GOOD!
 Got a hair cut and high/low lights today.  Lookin' good!

Today's hair cut and high/low lights.
Latest fave Luna Bar...

Eat this!
And please check out some of the other lady bloggers for their posts on the Chevy Fit 4 Life Event!  Here are just a few...

Caroline from My Fascinating Life
Tori from In Love and Peanut Butter
Kat from Sneakers & Fingerpaints
Christie from Average Moms Wear Capes

And you can follow them on twitter at @GMSoutheast, with the hashtag #chevyfit4life, or on Facebook.

What are you most enjoying about the summer so far?  What are you looking forward to the rest of the summer?


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