A Different Kind of Spring Break

Happy Sunday Friends! Today is my last day of Spring Break before heading back to school tomorrow…however, it feels different. It feels like I’ve been on break for weeks. It is different. I’ll be heading back to school virtually tomorrow. How I wish that I would be having the #SundayScaries and actually be physically heading back to school tomorrow. I miss my students, my school, my colleagues, my classroom…life just feels different.

This was a Spring Break I most definitely will not forget. Although it did not go as expected–I was supposed to travel to Austin with my besties and have my Bachelorette party *sad face*–it still was very satisfying, rejuvenating, and relaxing. I want to share some highlights of my Spring Break in picture and comment form. Feel free to ask more questions about each of these pictures…maybe I’ll even dedicate specific blog posts for them if you’re interested. However, I’ll be speaking through pictures and captions today and deCLAIREing what made my Spring Break so happy!

New Baking Recipes

MY FAVORITE FOODS OVER BREAK

BECOMING *virtual* TRIVIA & GAME ADDICTS

Catching Up on Hobbies (New & Old)

Looking back, I am almost glad that my Spring Break was spent at home. I had time to do things I’ve been meaning to try and to complete things that have been on my to-do lists for ages.

Over these past couple of weeks, I know it has been overwhelming. I also know it has been emotional. We are so unsure on a lot of aspects. There are many events and activities that have been canceled. We’re not sure what is going to happen next.

I hope that though, with this extra time at home, you are able to find some things that make you happy:)

Definitely reach out and share some things that have made YOU HAPPY over these past couple of weeks! AND, also reach out if you would like me to expand on any of the recipes I made or activities I did over break. Just remember, we are #BetterTogether.

XOXO,

Miss deCLAIREing Happiness

You want S’MORE Sugar Free Treat Recipes?! I Got You!

Happy Friday Friends! If you reside in the state of Illinois then you just heard the news from our governor about the “shelter-in-place” order. This is ALL so weird. So weird. I feel like I am in a movie or something. New things are happening by the hour and I feel as though it’s been hard for me to process. I was supposed to have a fun girl’s weekend up in Wisconsin (after I canceled Austin Bachelorette Party that was originally planned), but we had to postpone.

I’m looking on the brighter side of things–accepting the fact that events need to be canceled to ensure the safety and health of many. One thing that I do deCLAIRE is making me happy is this healthy, no sugar S’MORE recipe I made by baking homemade, sugar free, gluten free graham crackers and marshmallows.

I AM OBSESSED. And I also have leftovers to last me until the potential end date of “Shelter-In-Place” Order: April 7, AKA Joel’s Bday!!! If you have these ingredients or are able to find them at your store, I highly recommend making this recipe. It was very fun, took up some good time, and made me smile.

TO START, I made the graham crackers. I found the recipe for these graham crackers on All Day I Dream About Food (yeah me too!!!) For the graham crackers, you’ll need:

Whisk together the flour, sugar, cinnamon, and baking powder. Then, add in the egg, melted butter, and vanilla. You will get a dough like consistency.

Put the dough on a piece of parchment paper and shape into a rectangular ball. You can flatten this dough a little with your handing. Place another piece of parchment paper on top and use a rolling pin to roll the dough into 1/4 thickness. You can use a pizza cutter or knife to shape it into a more perfect rectangle if you would like…I did not do this however.

With the pizza cutter–or knife–cut your graham cracker dough into square pieces. As I mentioned, some of them may not be perfect rectangles and that is ok! Using a fork, puncture each square about four times. This will give them their “graham cracker” appearance and help while baking.

I think the hardest part for this recipe is the actual baking…because you have to WAIT so long for them… and I just wanted to EAT THEM!!!! Once you are all done cutting and scoring with the fork, place the parchment paper and crackers on a baking sheet. Bake at 300 degrees for 25 minutes.

WHILE THESE ARE BAKING, MAKE YOUR MARSHMALLOWS:) I don’t have pictures for this one…but I added lots of details in the recipe below:)

When your timer BEEEeeeEEEEEeePpppS, take out your graham crackers and turn off the oven. Do not separate the graham crackers yet. Let the crackers cool for 30 minutes. Then, after the 30 minutes, place them back into the oven. The oven should be off, but still warm. If it is not warm, put it on a low temperature (no warmer than 200 degrees). Leave the crackers in the oven for 30 minutes.

FINALLYYYY, take the graham crackers out and let them finish cooling. They will harden as they cool. BAM! You’re done! Taste one right after they cool and they taste like the real deal:)

Using these two recipes, if you want to make a s’more and you don’t have the luxury of a campfire, you can use your oven broiler!! Heat your oven on broil. Place two graham crackers on a baking sheet and place a piece of chocolate on top. To make it sugar free, I used Choc Zero Milk Chocolate Squares. Then, I placed a marshmallow on top of the chocolate and put it in the oven for about 1-2 minutes..constantly checking it.

I took them out of the oven and placed the other graham cracker on top. SMUSHHHH it together and you’ll get a S’MORE. Not kidding when I say this… it was the

BEST DARN S’MORE I’VE EVER TASTED IN MY LIFE.

The picture above doesn’t even do it justice.

SUGAR FREE + GLUTEN FREE= GUILT FREE! I have 23 more marshmallows and 24 more graham crackers SO I KNOW WHAT MY DESSERT WILL BE FOR THE SHELTER IN PLACE:))))

So amidst all the craziness, I found this recipe that makes me happy! I hope you all can find little joys over the next couple of weeks and when you do… please share them:) We are all #BetterTogether.

Thank you for following along my journey!

XOXO,

Miss DeCLAIREing Happiness

Cleaning & Clearing Your Mind

Raise your hand if you are D-O-N-E with the news?! Raise your hand if you are D-O-N-E with this “c” word virus that is going around?! Raise your hand if you need ways to distract yourself during these crazy times?! Then THIS is the blog post for you.

Throughout this week, we have entered uncharted territories. Schools have moved online, parents have started homeschooling, restaurants are not serving in-house, hospitals are busier than ever, and we are told to keep our distance. This has all been hard to navigate and I know it’s been very overwhelming.

Wednesday morning I came to the realization that most of the worries and anxieties that I–and others–are facing, are against our control. I knew I had to do SOMETHING when I had to turn off my favorite TV show–the Today Show. They had their 12395827240 segment on the Coronavirus. I thought to myself “What more is there to say?!”. The media was consuming me and it was not helping me feel any better.

Although this fear is understandable, it does not do any good to worry. After turning off the Today Show, I instantly received an email notification from K-Love. They were sending me my daily verse. This was the verse:

God was sending me a sign to not worry. HE is the only one who can control what is happening right now… and He is in control. God was literally telling me that when I put my trust in Him, I won’t feel so in the dark. I’ll see the light and realize that everything is going to be ok.

Right then and there I started making a list of ways I can distract myself from all this craziness. I wanted to share it with you all so that when the going gets tough, you too can find a way to distract yourself too. I created a Shareable Google Document where you too can add ideas of how you like to draw away from this virus talk while you’re staying at home. My goal is for this to be a working document that can be shared for everyone. Be as creative as you would like to be on the document. I am attaching a video on my slide to teach you how to add your own ideas without erasing others. Do not be afraid to be the first person to add to the slide:)

We are all #BetterTogether! We are all #InThisTogether! One positive that I have witnessed and experienced during this time is that families, friends, neighbors, and communities are finding new ways to be there for each other and that has made me happy:)

That’s all for now folks! Stay healthy and stay safe ❤

XOXO,

Miss DeCLAIREing Happiness

Sugar Free Sunday: Sugar Free Sugar Cookies!

Happy Sunday Friends 🙂 WOW oh WOW. That is all I can say about this week. I am sure you have had a crazy week too. I will not even mention the “C” word that we have heard endlessly over the past month. I know this has been the talk of the town and the news. This blog post is all about deCLAIREing happy things so that is just what I’m going to do for you! Take your mind off of what is going on in the world and read about how I took my mom’s famous sugar cookie recipe andddd…. made it sugar free😱

Maybe with your extra time at home, you can even make these:) I would just recommend Amazon Priming two ingredients… and then I’m pretty sure you have everything else!

For today’s #SugarFreeSunday, I made some Sugar Free Shamrock Cookies:

You might be thinking, “Uh Claire? Isn’t the point of sugar cookies to have sugar in them?!”. Well, I used my favorite natural sweetener to replace the sugar. I have blogged about it before: Lakanto Monkfruit Sweetener. Order it on Amazon NOW!!! They can bring it right to your door and you can make these yummy cookies while you are staying at home. This sweetener tastes 10 times sweeter than sugar and does not make your body feel gross. It’s zero calories!! Not sure how that is possible. Alsoooo, go and order Anthony’s Cassava Flour. I have blogged about this flour before too. It is a gluten free (and vegan) substitute that tastes like the CLOSEST thing to white flour. It’s amazing!!!

To start–like you do with any cookie recipe–you cream the butter and sugar. However, for this healthier recipe, I used coconut oil in replacement of the butter.

Next, you add your egg and vanilla and mix some more:) Then, add your baking soda and salt and keep on mixing!!! Lastly, you’ll add your flour a half a cup at a time, continually scraping the sides. You will get an AWESOME cookie dough texture. Feel free to try some… I won’t tell🤪

Next, decide how you want to shape your cookies! Since St. Patrick’s Day is coming up, I wanted to be festive and make some shamrock cookies. I rolled out the dough to about 1/8 inch thick and used a cookie cutter to shape my pieces. There was a little leftover dough so I made circle cookies with the rest. This made about 20 shamrock cookies and 1 circle cookie lol.

**If you want simple circle sugar cookies, roll the dough into 2 inch balls. Then, you can do my mama’s secret trick. Take a damp paper towel and fold it in a bowl. Add two tablespoons of monk fruit sweetener to another bowl. Using the bottom of a flat glass cup, dip the cup in the paper towel and then the sugar to get a sugared bottom. Using the sugared bottom, flatten the dough balls.

Put your cookies on a cookie sheet and bake in the oven for 4 minutes at 375 degrees. Then, flip your cookie sheets (if you have two) and bake cookies for another 5 minutes…watching them closely so they do not burn. Take the cookies out and let them cool.

OKKKK I gotta tell you honestly. When these cookies first come out, they are REALLY spongy. This freaked me out the first time. Do not let it freak you out! The more time the cookies have on the warmed sheet to cool, the better. They harden so to speak. I let mine cool for about 15 minutes while I prepped my frosting😋

I used a recipe adapted from an instagram story of @choosing_balance! By using coconut butter, almond milk, and maple syrup, you can have a cookie frosting similar to royal icing. You can even use food coloring to dye it too!

Combine all the ingredients together and microwave for about 10 seconds! Let the mixture sit for five minutes and add your food coloring. I made mine green for St. Patty’s Day☘️💚 Then, I let it sit for another 10 minutes. By this time, my cookies were cool and firm AND the frosting was ready.

My tip for the frosting: DIP the cookie in the frosting. I tried using a frosting knife to apply the frosting and it was too runny. So instead, I dipped the cookie in the frosting and carefully pulled it out. I then lightly shook the cookie to get any excess frosting off. The texture of the frosting with the coconut butter made a really cool tint on the cookies! After cooling the cookies in the fridge for 15 minutes–they probably could have used more, I was just too excited–they looked like a tie-dye green effect.

I then used some Good Dee’s Sugar Free Sprinkles to add some extra pizazz!!! 🌈 Lol look at my cookie photoshoot!!

Y’all… I am so excited for this recipe!!! Just ask my dad, fiancé, brother, and future sister-in-law!!!! I was jumping for joy making and tasting these because they are the #REALDEAL!!!!! While you are staying home this week try making this recipe with your family, I highly recommend it! Then, share some pictures with me🤩🤩

Since I’m going to be staying home the next couple of weeks, I am so excited to continue blogging. I’ll be sharing more recipes, more clean life tips, crafting ideas, and other hobbies (???? I feel like I might get a little cooped up lol). Thank you for following along in my journey! I hope you all stay healthy and find some things that you can deCLAIRE that make ya happy!

XOXO,

Miss DeCLAIREing Happiness

Sugar Free Sunday: Irish Soda Bread

HAPPY MARCH Y’ALL!! How did you do with the time change? Are you missing that extra hour of sleep? I’m missing my extra hour in the morning. I slept until 7:00 today!! (Technically it would be 6:00 if we did not have the time change so I guess it’s all the same 🤷🏼‍♀️).

I am ready for Spring! It has been BEAUTIFUL here in NW Illinois. Today, it’s supposed to reach 60 degrees. AHHHHH:) This sun makes me SO HAPPY. You know what has also made me happy…I was able to take my mom’s famous Irish Soda Bread recipe and make it sugar free, gluten free, AND vegan. Her bread recipe was one of my favorites and I now found a way to continue to enjoy it that fits with my clean lifestyle. Soooo for the second edition of #SugarFreeSunday, here is my Healthy Classic Irish Soda Bread:

Something that makes me smile is that my mom was 100% Polish and made 100% the best IRISH Soda Bread. There was no Irish in her body, but her bread baking during the St. Patty’s Day season was THE BEST.

Now, how did I make this recipe sugar free, gluten free, AND vegan?! I had two special ingredients: Lakanto Monk Fruit Sweetener and Cassava Flour.

I purchased both of these supplies on Amazon (gotta love that #Prime), but I know that Lakanto can be bought at some local grocery stores. Just do your research on their website:) I used this brand of cassava flour, but any brand will do. Prior to making the recipe, I did some research in what flour I wanted to use. Some other vegan and gluten free options are almond flour and coconut flour, but personally, these flours have a distinct taste to me. I did not want their taste to overpower the Irish Soda Bread. With looking it up online, I found that cassava flour comes from a plant. This flour is the most similar to a wheat flour. I am hooked!!!

I am also hooked on Lakanto Monk Fruit products. Seriously, check out this company. All made from monk fruit, they have white sugar substitutes, brown sugar substitutes, powdered sugar substitutes, liquid sweetener, no sugar added chocolate, and no sugar baking mixes. I LOVE THEM!!! You know what’s also awesome. All of the monk fruit sweeteners are 0 calories. I don’t know how that’s possible considering how sweet their products are.

So back to the bread making…I combined all my dry ingredients (flour, monk fruit sweetener, baking soda, baking powder, and salt). Then I combined my wet ingredients (melted coconut oil, almond “buttermilk” made from almond milk and lemon juice, egg, and vanilla). Using an electric mixer, I mixed the dry and wet ingredients.

I should have taken a picture of the consistency, but it resembled a cookie dough. I placed this dough in my cast-iron skillet. Come on, ya HAVE to make it in the skillet. I feel like it makes it more authentic LOL. BUTTTT I understand that not everyone has this skillet pan, so a pie pan would work as well. I pressed the dough into the pan and then topped it with some extra monk fruit sweetener. (You can’t really tell, but it’s there in the picture on the right!!!!)

The bread needs to bake at 375 for about 35 minutes. You can use a toothpick to decide if it needs more time after the 35 minutes. Bake it for longer if the toothpick does not come out clean or if it is not browned on top. Once fully baked through, I let my bread cool for about 15 minutes before slicing. I COULD NOT WAIT TO HAVE SOME. The first of the season!!! I LOVE eating it warm and with some butter (Hence, when I eat the bread the next day, I make sure to either warm it in the microwave or toaster oven).

I can not emphasize how delicious this bread is!!! I am going to make another batch soon because #TisTheSeason☘️☘️☘️☘️☘️ It makes me SO HAPPY how I was able to alter my Mom’s classic recipe and made it clean and healthier!

I’m Claire, and I am deCLAIREing that making recipes clean make me happy. Please try this recipe to celebrate St. Patty’s Day, whether you are Irish or not!! Let me know what you think of it:) I hope you ALL have a beautiful Sunday!

XOXO,

Miss DeCLAIREing Happiness

New Series: Sugar Free Sunday Featuring Chocolate Peanut Butter Protein Krispies

HAPPY SUNDAY!! Man, do I LOVE Sundays! Sunday mornings are my favorite. I sleep in and by sleep in, I mean wake up at 6:30. I meal prep. I make a nice breakfast. Joel and I go on our “#SundayWalk”. I can just rest and relax ❤️

An additional event I want to add to my Sundays is sharing a new series to this blog–Sugar Free Sunday. As many of you have learned, I have developed a passion for eating clean. One of the aspects of eating clean is getting rid of artificial sugars. Over the past couple of weeks, I have loved trying and creating new recipes that are sugar free…but taste good. I get so excited when I can make an “unhealthy recipe” HEALTHY! Miss DeCLAIREing Happiness DOES have a sweet tooth, butttt, I am learning how to harness a natural sweetness in treats and recipes. I thought it would be fun and beneficial to share these recipes with you all!

Sooo for the first in the series, here is my #SugarFreeSunday recipe:

If you have been following my instagram (@missdeclaireinghappiness), you probably have learned my enthusiasm for the company “Magic Spoon” and their cereal. Their protein cereals are packed with 12 grams of protein and 110 calories per serving. They have a wide array of flavors from Chocolate, to Blueberry, to Frosted, to Fruity…. and I think Cinnamon (I haven’t tried this one yet!!). All of the cereals are keto, gluten-free, grain free, wheat free, soy free, and sugar free. THE. CEREAL. IS. AMAZING.

With my new passion for this product, I wanted to create a way to eat this cereal besides just in a bowl with almond milk. Thus, “Rice Krispies” came to mind!!

I did a little research and brainstorming of how I could create healthy, clean krispies without the added sugar… and marshmallows. Now, there are sugar free marshmallows, but I wasn’t interested in reading the ingredients to see what they were made of LOL. I thought of ways to add some extra protein: Chocolate Peanut Butter Protein Krispies were born!!!!

Below, you will see the specific ingredients I used in addition to Magic Spoon, coconut oil, and almond milk. I believe that any different brands will do. However, make sure that if you are adding the protein powder, you choose a “flavor” that would fit with chocolate and peanut butter. (**If you use a different protein powder, it might affect the nutritional facts of this recipe**)

I combined all of the ingredients–except the cereal- in a stovetop on low heat. I stirred the mixture for about 1-2 minutes, making sure it did not burn or thicken too much (if it does thicken for you, add extra almond milk to thin out). Then, I mixed the peanut butter mixture with the chocolate cereal.

Next, I sprayed a 9×9 pan with coconut spray and pressed the cereal mixture into the pan. I let this pan freeze so that the mixture could harden. After about an hour in the freezer, I cut cereal into bars 12 pieces. VOILA!!! The protein cereal bars were created and eaten!!!

I’m sooooo excited to snack on these throughout the week because they are yummy and protein packed! Let me know if you try this recipe and/or any modifications you make:)

The next recipe I hope to post about is a sugar free “Irish Soda Bread”. I’ll be channeling my roots and finding a way to enjoy one of my favorite St. Patrick’s Day recipes in a clean way ☘️☘️

Thank you for following along in my journey!

XOXO,

Miss DeCLAIREing Happiness

Using My FAV Pancake Mix For Muffins!

Good Morning!! Happy Monday to you all…especially ALL YOU TEACHERS OUT THERE WITH THE DAY OFF 🤩🤩🤩 I was able to make this post/experiment in the kitchen because I had the day off, so thank you, Presidents!

Whenever I complete a fulfilling workout and I extra time in the morning, I like to make a nice breakfast. Today, I used my Birch Bender’s Chocolate Chip Keto Pancake and Waffle mix for the first time! Check it out below and check it out at your local Whole Foods!

I made these yummy pancakes, topped with melted butter AND with strawberries and PB bananas on the side. I AM STILL DREAMING ABOUT THIS NOW. Please, go do yourself a favor and find this mix at your local store.

After devouring every yummy little bit, I started to get a little sad. I realized that as #worthit these pancakes are, I don’t have the time during the school week to make them. What to do?! What to do?! MAKE MUFFINS. Muffins are a PERFECT breakfast meal as you can easily pop them in your mouth after making them ahead. I decided to figure out a way to make these into a muffin and add some extra protein.

I did some research and found the PERFECT recipe to alter for my muffins! Here is the recipe that I modified.

So… I WAS READY!! 💪🏻💪🏻 I gathered all of my ingredients–mostly curtesy of Trader Joe’s lol.

  • Birch Benders Chocolate Chip Keto Mix
  • Creamy Almond Butter
  • Organic Maple Syrup
  • Unsweetened Vanilla Almond Milk
  • Ancient Nutrition Multi Collagen Vanilla Protein Powder
  • Coconut Oil
  • Egg

In my mixer, I creamed together the almond butter and maple syrup….making sure to scrape the sides. It gets a little sticky! Then, I added in my protein powder, melted coconut oil, and egg. The mixture was VERY oily and liquidy *see below*

I put my mixer on HIGH and mixed for 2 minutes! Notice the change in the consistency in the picture below. It is so important to continue scraping the sides and put your mixer on high speed.

Once my mixture was blended, I added the Birch Benders mix. HAVE I SAID HOW MUCH I LOVE THIS?! Thank you for making a sugar free chocolate chip mix!!! The mixture turned into a cookie dough type consistency *see below*

Soooo, this is where the almond milk comes in to make it more batter like. I added the 1/2 cups of almond milk and kept the mixer on medium. I combined everything for about a minute. Then, it turned into that batter consistency I needed to make the muffins!!

Next, I prepared my cupcake/muffin pan with tins! I used an ice cream scooper to divide the batter evenly into twelve. I baked the muffins for 15 minutes at 350 degrees, letting them cool for 5 minutes afterwards before taste testing one 😋

THESE MUFFINS ARE DELICIOUS!!! I can’t wait to have them this week. They store for 3 days, room temperature, but if you want them for longer, freeze them! When I eat them, I’ll reheat them in the toaster and top with butter. YUM YUM YUMMMMMYYY

ENJOY!!!

XOXO,

Miss DeCLAIREing Happiness