Chocolate Silk Pie: Paleo Edition

This has become a new staple in my apartment.

Typically, I don’t think it’s recommended for any given dessert to be a staple, persay, but what can you do. This one is. Because it’s PALEO so it’s totally fine for 6 meals a day. Right?

I got the recipe from La Fuji Mama but with just a few tweaks – I was at Kroger shopping for ingredients before the first time I made this and they didn’t have coconut palm sugar so I just used Truvia. It tastes great and I haven’t run out yet so I’m still using that. I really don’t like almond extract so I skipped that. Also, I can’t wait 24 hours for the coconut whipped cream process, so I’ve been topping with fresh raspberries. One day I will muster up the will power to wait and try that because it does look great. Until then, raspberries win.

20141130_181544

20141130_181713

20141130_181834

 

20141130_182016

20141130_182139

20141130_185818

20141130_204742

Paleo Chocolate Silk Pie (adapted from La Fuji Mama)

For the chocolate almond crust:
1 2/3 cup blanched almond flour
1/3 cup cocoa powder
1/3 cup coconut palm sugar (or Truvia)
1 large egg
1 tablespoon coconut oil

For the chocolate silk pie filling:
3 large eggs
1/2 cup raw honey
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
6 ounces unsweetened chocolate, finely chopped
1 1/4 cups unsweetened coconut milk

Fresh raspberries for garnish (or go to La Fuji Mama for instructions on coconut whipped cream)

——————————————————————————–

1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit.

2. Whisk the almond flour, cocoa powder, and Truvia together in a medium bowl. Add the egg and coconut oil to the bowl and mix together until you have a moist, crumbly mixture.

3. Press the dough into a 9-inch pie plate. Bake in the preheated oven for 10 minutes, then let the pie crust cool completely before making the chocolate silk filling (you can expedite this process by putting it in the freezer).

4. When the chocolate almond crust has cooled completely, place the eggs, honey, and vanilla in a blender, followed by the chocolate . Blend until smooth.

5. Heat the coconut milk in a small saucepan over medium-high heat, until it starts to simmer. (Take care not to let it boil.)

6. With the blender running on low speed, pour the hot coconut milk over the ingredients inside and blend until the mixture is smooth and completely incorporated.

7. Pour the chocolate mixture into the cooled chocolate almond crust and refrigerate until solid (a few hours at least, although you can also try the freezer for expediting).

8. Top the chilled pie with raspberries and serve.

Halley Chavey halley@eventsbythebackyard.com

Halley Chavey
halley@eventsbythebackyard.com

Visos Tie the Knot: Getting Ready

The morning of my wedding, I woke up extremely thankful that I had been able to get a solid night’s sleep the night before. As anyone who knows me can attest, sleep is one of my favorite activities, and I get a wee bit grumpy if I don’t get enough. But that morning, I woke up refreshed and ready to go/obsessively check the clouds outside for any sign of the predicted thunderstorm. After joining Honora and Halley for a few quick squats and pushups (yes, really) we headed to the hair salon!
Wedding_07.26.14 001

My beautiful sister-in-law, Tammy, gifted me with my hairdo at a local salon. I was going for something simple and classic and, after many many hours scouring Pinterest, settled on my style.

photo (36)

My genius mother provided lots of snacks for us girls as we got ready. I guess after raising eight children you know better than to go somewhere without food!

Wedding_07.26.14 002

Tammy also did the makeup for my mom and me, which was a wonderful way to get pampered. I was originally planning to do my own makeup, but on the day of the wedding I was so thankful to not have to worry about a thing except soaking in the emotions of the day. I volleyed back and forth between pure excitement and a bundle of nerves, but having all of my favorite ladies surrounding me that morning helped me to calm down and enjoy the special day!

Wedding_07.26.14 003

Wedding_07.26.14 005

After we finished hair and makeup, we all headed out to the church! We hit some construction on the way up, which caused some mild worry overblown panic, but still managed to arrive in plenty of time. I had provided everyone in the bridal party and immediate families with an extremely detailed schedule for the day of the wedding, which allowed the over-planner in me to feel a little more assured that everyone would be in the right place at the right time.

Wedding_07.26.14 006 Wedding_07.26.14 007 Wedding_07.26.14 009 Wedding_07.26.14 010 Wedding_07.26.14 013 Wedding_07.26.14 015

Pro tip: if your wedding dress has lots of tiny buttons held closed by elastics, a small crochet hook is a must!

Pro tip #2: if your wedding dress has lots of tiny buttons held closed by elastics, have your MOH help you undo them before you leave the reception, so as not to panic your newly wedded and not-so-nimble-fingered husband.

Wedding_07.26.14 020 Wedding_07.26.14 022 Wedding_07.26.14 023 Wedding_07.26.14 024

Despite the nerves, I really enjoyed every one of those minutes with my favorite women in the world. Each of my bridesmaids has played such an extremely important role in my life, and their joy for me on my special day was truly an amazing gift.

Up next: after a few hiccups, we walk down the aisle!

Visos Tie the Knot: Practice Makes Perfect

The day of the wedding rehearsal was spent tying up loose ends and packing things up for the big day. Truthfully, I didn’t end up having that much to do the day before, which I completely attribute to my overly detailed and ridiculous timelines. Even my wedding coordinator laughed at how much I loved my spreadsheets. I started with the awesome resources found here and adapted them based on the specifics of our wedding. One thing that completely saved my sanity during wedding week was this: in all of the planning I did, I pretended that my wedding was on Wednesday, not Saturday. So, even though things inevitably got pushed back a bit, I still spent most of Thursday and Friday doing fun things like getting my nails done and visiting with out-of-town family and friends and only had a few wedding details to finish up. Once Friday evening rolled around, we were all packed up and ready to rehearse!

Reh2

Another thing that really helped everything run smoothly was my amazing day-of coordinator, Kathy. Even though I felt confident in my ability to plan everything going into the wedding weekend, I cannot even begin to express how nice it was to be able to hand everything over to Kathy once the big day came. Not only did this allow me to relax and soak in the day, but it also allowed my family and friends to do the same, which made everything that much more special.

Reh1 Reh10 Reh8 Reh9

We chose the church where we were married because it is my family’s home parish and we have a good relationship with the priest there. Jacob and I loved working with Father Gerald during our marriage preparation sessions, and because of his guidance we felt completely ready to become husband and wife. We were also lucky that the church itself is absolutely beautiful!

Reh4

Even though I felt at-ease with how everything came together, and thrilled to be marrying Jacob, it was about the time of the rehearsal when I started to feel the nerves. There wasn’t any real reason to be nervous or scared, but I think that all of the emotions of the day and the family and friends gathered around hit me all at once. Thankfully, having such dear friends and sisters in my bridal party carried me through the butterflies I felt, and they helped me to stay excited and joyful throughout the whole weekend, instead of letting my nerves get the better of me.

Reh11 Reh7 Reh5After we finished rehearsing, we made our way to the rehearsal dinner! Unfortunately, I didn’t get pictures of this, but Jacob’s parents graciously threw us a wonderful party at a local seafood restaurant. After dinner, we all said our goodbyes, then Honora, Halley, and I checked into the hotel room and all snuggled up in a big king-sized bed. Although I was too tired to stay up for much, it meant the world to me to share my last night as a single woman with two of my favorite ladies, who had both been so supportive and wonderful throughout the whole wedding planning process. Thankfully, I was able to get right to sleep and got a good night’s rest – I would need it for the big day ahead!

Up next – push ups, sit ups, squats, and a hair appointment!

Visos Tie the Knot: It’s a Wolfpack Party.

WEDDING PICTURES ARE IN!!! I can’t wait to share all of the beautiful images of our wedding, but first let’s recap the pre-wedding festivities. The celebrations officially kicked off on Thursday night with a fantastic bachelorette party planned by my bridesmaids, especially my drop-dead gorgeous MOH/Sister:
10384825_10153018014038696_365103263360557451_n

My Cousin/Bridesmaid Mary graciously hosted us at her apartment in Ann Arbor, which was the perfect setting to relive college memories and celebrate the upcoming wedding with so many of my favorite people. I am so grateful for all of my friends who traveled from near and far to support me and celebrate with me. I hadn’t seen many of these girls in over a year, so it was amazing to catch up and spend some time together before the big weekend.

1907387_10153018010233696_7667771655703198427_n 10509543_10153018013588696_2979620090525833832_n 10462019_10153018009338696_7095734644729136267_n 10543643_10153018051708696_6519271769313370265_n 10524599_10153018070908696_2414814203484744886_n 10462833_10153018067908696_7615149963111883580_n 10504842_10153017985133696_5578916098802652522_o 10520428_10153018076373696_8622679127710835434_n

The party had a subtle Hangover theme, and Honora did a great job with getting tons of fun props and decorations, including those awesome “Wolfpack” pins. She also put together some really fun games, though unfortunately I don’t have pictures of me guessing who bought which pair of underwear for me (my competitive nature really came out during that one, and I think I guessed around 75% correctly).

One of the best parts about the wedding weekend was getting to see two of my best friends, Allie and Gab. The three of us spent tons of time together throughout college: laughing, dancing, watching Friends, going to UM football games, and quite often stuffing our faces with chicken wings and pizza rolls. For some bizarre reason, one of our favorite things to do is to have photo shoots with increasingly strange poses/faces. Even though we hadn’t seen each other in quite a while, we picked back up right where we left off with this string of gems:

10509649_10153017986698696_2079133558820211484_n 10580208_10153017999168696_8525120732414663288_n 10513473_10153017995433696_3877705393595068695_n 10440978_10153017998293696_3663549367314825971_n 10559766_10153018001148696_8445224087414924083_n 10524009_10153018002308696_1439857594328729689_n

After the games were over and snacks had been consumed, it was time to head out for the night! But first, we had to take a group picture:

1451325_10153018065063696_6594074460977152546_n

And Honora and Halley had some selfies to take:

60527_10153018056828696_7432422296245071544_n

A big reason why this party was so special was because of how personal Honora made the events. She knew that the thing I would want to do most on the night of my bachelorette party would be to reminisce over all of the wonderful times I’d had with my friends. Since many of the attendees were former UM dance majors, we traipsed over to the Dance Building on campus for some pictures and lots of laughs about our time in college.

1795691_10153018080818696_7191302775690825564_n 10561726_10153018093908696_8833759785403214910_n 10446009_10153018110888696_772356550740973605_n

When it’s my turn to plan Honora’s bachelorette party, I will definitely take a cue from her and do my best to think of events that would be personal to the bride and her friends. The dance/wolfpack/photo shoot party was perfect for me, and was an awesome opportunity to create even more memories with all of my wonderful friends.

Next up: We act a bit more civilized as we rehearse for the wedding!

Broccoli, Brussels, Pecorino and Sausage Bowls

20140930_192030

For you paleo followers  out there, you can eat this every day. This may be one of the healthier meals you’ll eat this fall. This is very green.

I have made this twice. The first time went undocumented, and I used better sausage the first time, so I’m sorry, but this documented sausage wasn’t as good. However, you can use any sausage your little heart prefers.

20140930_182556

Never in my life have I bought a brussels sprouts stalk before, but this gigantic thing was $2.99 at Trader Joe’s, the same price as a tiny bag of Brussels, so i decided to go for it. Besides, it whittled down to a reasonable amount once I broke them off the stalk.

20140930_182940

Cut them in half, then set them aside and cook your sausage.

20140930_183728

 

20140930_183802

 

While your sausage is cooking – make sure you cook it until it’s extra crispy because it gets lots of juices into the pan and tastes great that way – chop your broccoli.

20140930_184429

Drizzle with olive oil and garlic, toss lightly, and bake at 400 for about 15 minutes.

When your sausage is done, get it out of the pan, set it on a plate with a paper towel, and crumble it in small pieces.

Then cook your brussels in the sausage grease pan.

20140930_190121

20140930_190530

When your broccoli is almost done, take some of these bad boys and put them on top, then back in the oven for 5 more minutes:

20140930_184818

20140930_191121

And voila. You have a very green feast ahead of you.

20140930_191622

We like to eat this out of bowls.

20140930_191748 20140930_191813 20140930_191839 20140930_192030

20140930_192036 20140930_192119 20140930_192205

Serves: 2 extremely hungry big eaters, with leftovers for one big lunch

Ingredients:

Two heads broccoli

One stalk (1.5 bags?) Brussells sprouts

1/3 jar of sun-dried tomatoes in olive oil

1-2 lbs sausage

Pecorino or parmesan cheese to taste

Salt and pepper to taste

Olive oil to taste

Minced garlic to taste

Directions:

  1.  Cook your sausage on the stove on medium heat until extra crispy. Preheat oven to 400 F.
  2. Meanwhile, wash your Brussels sprouts, cut off the butts, and slice them in half.
  3. Cut the stems off your broccoli until you are left with bite-sized portions, mainly crowns. Drizzle with olive oil, add minced garlic, and toss lightly. Put in the oven for about 15 minutes.
  4. When the sausage is done, take it out and place it on a plate with a paper towel. DO NOT THROW AWAY THE GREASE. Place the brussells sprouts face down in the grease and let them cook a few minutes, covered, before tossing and finishing. They should have some brown spots. If you have two many Brussels to fit in the pan on the first load, add some olive oil and do a second round. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  5. Pull your broccoli out of the oven and put some of the sun-dried tomatoes in various places around the pan. Bake another 5 minutes or until golden and crunchy. Add salt to taste.
  6. Assemble your bowls and top with pecorino or Parmesan cheese.

Questions? Comments? Want to try a variation? Comment below.

Halley Chavey halley@eventsbythebackyard.com

Halley Chavey
halley@eventsbythebackyard.com

Grain-Free Pumpkin Chip Bread

PumpkinBread

I could not be more cliche when it comes to my love for fall. Give me all the sweaters, all the scarves, all the boots, all the football, all the changing leaves, and especially all the pumpkin! Between pumpkin candles, homemade pumpkin spice lattes, and this delicious pumpkin bread, I’ll have turned into a pumpkin by next week. And I don’t even hate it.

Although I love all versions of pumpkin bread, this one has the added benefit of being grain-free, so you can even pretend you’re being healthy as you scarf it down! Enjoy it hot out of the oven with a cozy mug of tea (I love this pumpkin tea – I’m nothing if not predictable!).

Grain-Free Pumpkin Chip Bread

Ingredients

2 cups almond flour

1 tablespoon ground cinnamon

2 teaspoons nutmeg

1 teaspoon cloves

1 teaspoon allspice

1 teaspoon sea salt

1 cup pumpkin puree

1/4 cup pure maple syrup

6 eggs

1 cup bittersweet chocolate chips

Instructions

1. Preheat oven to 350° and grease large loaf pan.

2. In a mixing bowl, combine dry ingredients until blended.

3. Add pumpkin puree, maple syrup, and eggs and blend until smooth. Stir in chocolate chips.

4. Pour batter into prepared loaf pan and smooth top.

5. Bake for 40-50 minutes, until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.

6. Cool completely on wire rack.

Enjoy! What are some of your favorite fall recipes?

Wood_Headshot (2)

Michaela Visovatti

Visos Tie the Knot!

So I know I didn’t exactly blog about the whole wedding planning process. I’m sorry. Bad blogger. Can I blame moving across the country a month before the wedding? Either way – I’m back! And married! Our professional pictures should be in any day now, but in the meantime I’ll leave you with a few guest photos and a promise to be back with some of the planning madness details!

BachParty1

Rehearsal1

GettingReady1

CouplePicture1

CoffeeBreak1

BridalParty1

ReceptionDetails1

Cake1

Groomsmen1

Bridesmaids1

Brunch1

Wood_Headshot (2)

Michaela Visovatti (!!!) Michaela@eventsbythebackyard.com