Kid-Approved Healthy Paleo Banana Muffins/Bread

Every time I post about these banana muffins/bread on my Instagram story I get lots of questions about the recipe, which gets a little tricky because I modify one I found online! Before I did Whole30 in January I would make this recipe from Cookie and Kate and it definitely felt healthy enough for us. But once I did Whole30 I wanted to experiment and see if I could make a few easy substitutions to make the recipe paleo and make me feel even better about giving these to the kids. Simply subbing almond flour and nut milk does the trick for the most part! The muffins are sweetened with maple syrup or honey, so they are refined-sugar free and made with coconut oil — a much healthier alternative to all the butter you usually find in banana bread!

You can make this recipe into muffins or banana bread. The muffins tend to be my go-to, even though I’m not sure why because they become way too easy to just grab and scarf in no time at all! The kids are seriously obsessed with these and I end up having to hide the muffins after we make them (out of sight out of mind??) so they aren’t asking for literally seven a day HAHA! We love these as an afternoon snack or something easy to grab on our way out the door in the morning. They are SUPER moist and don’t taste “healthy” at all. Hope you enjoy them in your home as much as we do in ours!

KID-APPROVEDHEALTHY PALEOBANANA MUFFINS

Kid-Approved Healthy Paleo Banana Muffins/Bread
recipe adapted from Cookie and Kate healthy banana bread recipe

INGREDIENTS

  • ⅓ cup melted coconut oil
  • ½ cup honey or maple syrup (we almost always use Trader Joe’s 100% Pure Maple Syrup)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup mashed ripe bananas (about 2 ½ medium or 2 large bananas)
  • ¼ cup homemade almond milk (or any unsweetened almond milk or other nut milk) or water
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon, plus more to swirl on top
  • 2 cups almond flour (I use Trader Joe’s Blanched Almond Flour)
  • Totally optional: ½ cup mix-ins like chopped walnuts or pecans, chocolate chips, raisins, chopped dried fruit, fresh banana slices…

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit (165 degrees Celsius) Grease a 9×5-inch loaf pan if baking bread or line a cupcake pan with cupcake liners
  2. In a large bowl, beat the oil and honey/maple syrup together together with a whisk. Add the eggs and beat well, then whisk in the mashed bananas and nut milk or water. (If your coconut oil solidifies on contact with cold ingredients, simply let the bowl rest in a warm place for a few minutes, like on top of your stove, or warm it for about 10 seconds in the microwave.)
  3. Add the baking soda, vanilla, salt and cinnamon, and whisk to blend. Lastly, switch to a big spoon and stir in the flour, just until combined. Some lumps are ok! If you’re adding any additional mix-ins, gently fold them in now.
  4. Pour the batter into your greased loaf pan and sprinkle lightly with cinnamon. If you’d like a pretty swirled effect, run the tip of a knife across the batter in a zig-zag pattern.
  5. Bake for 55 to 60 minutes if baking bread and 22-25 minutes if baking cupcakes (or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean) Let the bread/muffins cool in the loaf pan for 10 minutes, then transfer  to a wire rack to cool for 20 minutes before slicing.

Anniversary Day Date in Willamette Valley Wine Country

This past weekend my mom came over and hung out with the kids while Corey and I headed out to wine country for a little day date to celebrate our seventh wedding anniversary! Sometimes I think day dates are even more fun than evening dates, but it’s definitely hard to choose. I guess you can’t go wrong with a little adult time #amiright?! 😉

We started our day with brunch at Jory — the restaurant at The Allison Inn & Spa. Corey and I have stayed here overnight a couple times and their breakfast rivals some of my absolute Portland favorites — it’s definitely worth the drive out there! We started with their beignets and you just cannot pay them a visit without ordering some. They come out hot with fresh cream and berries and basically melt in your mouth. Oh my gosh I feel like I need some more right.now!

After stuffing our bellies we headed over to taste wine at a new winery in the Willamette Valley – L’Angolo. I have to admit what really brought me to this place was the gorgeous tasting room. It has floor-to-ceiling windows all around the structure with 360 degree views of beautiful grape vines and an impressive vaulted ceiling. We were eyeing the indoor/outdoor fireplace knowing it would be a dreamy place to watch the weather patterns pass along during the fall, winter and spring months. We also pretty much had the place to ourselves and Jacob, the hospitality manager on site, was so charming and knowledgable we couldn’t speak more highly of our visit. We walked out as their newest wine club members and can’t wait to return to pick up our first wine shipment in November.

After our long stay at L’Angolo we made a quick stop at Penner-Ash, a wine country favorite. Stunning views, plenty of space to sit and a large grassy area to walk and admire the grounds. Instead of tasting we went straight to a bottle of Pinot Noir Rose and casually sipped a glass before heading home to greet our sweet babes.

It was such a special day and a great reminder to take the time to focus on each other, do things we love together and celebrate the beautiful life we’ve built. Cheers to another seven(ty) years! 😉

P.S. Apparently I like really popular things because this dress and cardigan are both totally sold out. If you scroll to the bottom of the post I chose a few other darling little white dresses that I love!

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Little White Dresses

My Camera + Editing Tips & Tricks

I was blown away by the response on Instagram when I mentioned I might do a post on what camera equipment I use along with how I edit my photos! I am always happy to share any insight I can, but I will say, I am not an expert. Pretty much everything I’ve learned has been through a ton of practice and trial and error.

First things first: I shoot with a Canon 5D Mark II and I have two lenses — a 50mm 1.4 and a 28-135mm. I use my 50mm 80% of the time and I am obsessed with it. I’ve heard the 50mm 1.8 is a great option if you aren’t wanting to spend as much on a lens.  If I can recommend one lens to invest in, it would hands down be the 50mm. It is small and gives great quality photos, can be used to shoot in low light and gives that beautiful blurred background I love so much. I mostly only use my wider angle lens when I’m shooting interiors or for travel photography.

If you’re just starting out and looking for an entry-level camera, I started with a Canon Rebel and it was a great one to use to learn. My biggest advice if you’re just starting out with a DSLR is learn how to shoot in manual mode from the very beginning. This can seem intimidating at first, but you just need to learn the basics — aperture, shutter and ISO — and you can go from there.

This leads me to my next disclaimer. I think you can approach photography from two sides — art or science. Science means you are super knowledgable and obsessed with getting your settings just right — you believe there is a “right” and “wrong” way to shoot and follow all the “rules”. I am more of the art type. I know what I like, and I shoot that way, whether that be right or wrong. I don’t mess with my settings much and I honestly couldn’t even really explain how my camera works very well. I just know from practicing a lot what I’m doing and I am still in a constant state of learning and discovery. So, basically, take what I say with a grain of salt, because I’m far from an expert! And if you’re a real-deal photographer and you’re reading this — it will probably make you laugh and maybe even roll your eyes, and hey, that’s okay. You do you! But if you like the way my photos look and want to replicate the look and feel, that I can help you with 🙂

Aperture // I really like the look of a blurred background (shallow depth of field), so I rarely put my aperture at a number higher than f/4.5. Of course if I’m traveling and want an entire landscape in in focus, or taking photos of my home, I’ll use a larger aperture.

ISO // Here’s where my non-professional status shows through — I often keep my ISO on “Auto” — GASP!!! The only time I manually mess with it is if I am taking portraits inside in low light, I make sure it’s on a higher number to help let in a bit more light, but sometimes that means sacrificing the sharpness and accepting a little more grain to the photos.

Shutter // I am not ever really overly concerned with my shutter speed, I use it more as the last component to the “exposure triangle” (Aperture/ISO/Shutter). I mostly shoot stationary objects, but when my subjects are moving (perhaps a squirrelly toddler?) I make sure I use a faster shutter speed (higher number).

EXPOSURE // I tend to like my photos to be super bright and light, so I almost always over-expose them on the meter by one or two clicks.

LIGHTROOM EDITING

When I edit photos on my computer, I use Adobe Lightroom. I use the presets in the Mastin Labs Fuji Pro Pack almost exclusively. Which preset I use from the pack depends on what I was shooting — for my most recent photos at the beach I used the Fuji 160NS – C.

One thing I really love about these presets is once you purchase them you get a few videos in your inbox that show you exactly how to use them to their full potential. It was so helpful for me since I am definitely a beginner level with Lightroom!

I don’t do anything super tricky when editing — first, I choose which present I want to use and then I adjust the exposure, contrast and saturation (usually increasing most of them). A lot of times I’ll stop there, but if the photo still doesn’t look “right” to me, I’ll adjust the Blacks or Whites and Shadows/Highlights. And on the rarest occasion I go into the HSL / Color / B&W section and adjust the red and orange tones to fix skin tone issues if necessary. But that is very rare. That’s honestly it! Easy peasy, right?

Here are some before and afters for you to take a peek at. I’ve also included my camera settings as well as the settings for each of the “afters” to give you an idea of where things landed.

Before:AfterCamera settings: f/8.0 / ISO 3200 / 1/8000 sec

Lightroom Settings: Temp 0 / Tint 0 / Exposure +.40 / Contrast +54 / Highlights -47 / Shadows +30 / Whites -53 /  Blacks +100 / Clarity 0 / Vibrance -9 / Saturation -5Before:After1

Camera Settings: f/2.8 / ISO 3200 / 1/60 sec

Lightroom Settings: Temp 0 / Tint 0 / Exposure +.60 / Contrast +58 / Highlights -63 / Shadows +33 / Whites -41 /  Blacks +88 / Clarity 0 / Vibrance -10 / Saturation -5]

Before:After2
Camera Settings: f/2.2 / ISO 3200 / 1/500 sec

Lightroom Settings: Temp 0 / Tint 0 / Exposure +.10 / Contrast +49 / Highlights -63 / Shadows -2 / Whites +12 /  Blacks +91 / Clarity 0 / Vibrance -10 / Saturation +17]Before:After3Camera Settings: f/1.4 / ISO 3200 / 1/3200 sec

Lightroom Settings: Temp 0 / Tint 0 / Exposure +.40 / Contrast +899 / Highlights -90 / Shadows -+43 / Whites -88 /  Blacks +82 / Clarity 0 / Vibrance -10 / Saturation -13]

iPHONE EDITING

The same company that made the presets I use also have an iPhone app called Filmborn, so it won’t surprise you that I use that app to edit almost all of my iPhone photos. The interface honestly seems kind of complicated, but much like my Lightroom editing, I keep things pretty simple here too. I usually just choose my photo and apply one of their filters — 99% of the time I use one of these three: Fujifilm 160NS or 400H or Kodak P160. I am obsessed with the look of film, but don’t actually know how to shoot film so their presets and this app give me the ability to get as close as I can to that film look without actually shooting film!

Once I’ve chosen the filter, I usually bump up the exposure, contrast and saturation and them boom! done! See — told you it wasn’t hard 😉

I feel like I could probably go on and on about photography, but this should cover the basics of the equipment I use, the editing software and presets I use and then my typical edits. If you want more specifics on anything or if anything wasn’t clear, please feel free to ask in the comments and I will answer!

{this post contains some affiliate links, which means I make a few pennies for sharing the love with you! I truly appreciate you supporting lizdenfeld.com!}

Day Trip to Cannon Beach

Corey’s taking a little staycation this week so we decided to kick it off with a bang and take a day trip to Cannon Beach (and check one off the Denfeld Summer Bucket List!). Temperatures in Portland were supposed to get near 90, so we thought it would be the perfect day to beat the heat and head to cooler temps along the coast.

I was so impressed with how well the kids did being off their schedules and with the hour and a half car ride. I know that doesn’t sound like a lot, but our kids seriously hate the car. Any drive lasting longer than 25 minutes and one or both start melting down (mostly James). They each napped a little on the way there and back and the rest of the time Elodie colored and James snacked on Cheerios (haha!).

I reached out for Cannon Beach recommendation on Instagram before we left Portland and I got lots of great ones! We ended up grabbing lunch at Pelican Brew Pub and a quick pint at Public Coast. We started the beach day at Tolovana Park and then stopped off along Hemlock and Center Streets and walked down to Haystack Rock. Of all the (many) times I’ve visited Cannon, this was the closest I’d ever gotten to Haystack Rock! It was such a beautiful day (albeit really windy). The kids were seriously in heaven and all their smiles and delighted squeals made me so glad we decided to make the day trip!

If you find yourself in Cannon Beach, here are a few other spots you should check out: Sea Level Bakery for pastries and good coffee (if you’re a coffee snob like us!), Bill’s Tavern for fish & chips or Pizza a Feta for a delicious slice!

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{Photos © Liz Denfeld Photography}

What To Wear For Family Photos

This weekend, we finally had our family photos taken! We ended up going with a variation of Option 1 here and I think it turned out really well! I ended up deciding I didn’t want my dress to be the focal point of the pictures, which is why I went with the more neutral dress for me (even though I am obsessed with that floral maxi and wish I had an excuse to buy it!!).

I had a couple questions on Instagram about how I pick our outfits for family photos and having been on both sides of the camera, I thought I’d post some of my best advice along with some examples. I know that picking outfits for the whole family can be stressful and intimidating, but it really doesn’t have to be! I find that a little planning ahead goes a long way so you’re not standing in your closet the night before having a freak out (not that I’ve ever been there or done that 😉

Start with your location/setting and work backwards for a color scheme: Are you going to be taking photos in a really vibrant, colorful place? Will you be in your home that is mostly neutrals? What colors will complement or clash with the colors in the environment where you’ll be taking photos? Do you typically like lots of bright pops of color in your photos, or do you prefer neutrals? What will your photos be used for — to be framed in your home? For a holiday card? These are all questions you can ponder to help you start thinking of a color scheme for your family’s outfits. You can take inspiration from your location to decide on a color palette/scheme, or equally as important, decide what colors to avoid. Speaking of color schemes…

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Decide on a color scheme before you start deciding on clothing items. Once you’ve taken inspiration from your location on what sorts of colors you want to wear, you can use a color palette to round out the rest. A quick search on Pinterest for anything from “family photo color scheme” to “neutral color palette” to “blush color palette for clothes” can give you tons of inspiration and direction.

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photos by kati dimoff

Coordinate don’t matchCoordinating and matching are different. Matching means you’re all wearing a white top and blue jeans or you’re all wearing the exact same pattern. Coordinating means the color scheme you’re all wearing works together and your patterns aren’t clashing. A good way to know if your looks coordinate is by imagining that all colors and patterns are being worn on one person (got this tip from the lovely Jane Johnson) — if you wouldn’t wear the prints together or the colors together in one outfit, then they probably don’t coordinate well.

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Make sure you’re comfortable and you’re not wearing anything too “fussy”. If you aren’t comfortable, or you’re wearing something that only looks good from certain angles, or tucked in just so, it’s going to show in the photos. And if you’re wrangling your kids for most of the shoot, chances are your outfit isn’t going to stay perfectly in place. Choose pieces where this won’t be a problem.

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photos by olivia strohm

Try to avoid large-scale prints. Or, if you choose a large-scale print know that the eye will go there first when looking at photos. Perhaps choose a more neutral palette for the print so it isn’t too overwhelming. Smaller prints will blend in more and are typically a little easier to coordinate with.

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Don’t feel like you need to be super dressed up. You want the photos to be a true reflection of you at this moment in your life. If you rarely dress up and you’re more comfortable in a t-shirt in jeans, there are still ways to make that look cute for family photos! Going casual can actually be quite cute!

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photos by olivia strohm

I hope this was helpful! If you have any more questions – feel free to ask in the comments, I’d love to help!

 

Our Family Photos // Summer 2017

I’ve had a vision to go back to our wedding venue to take family photos with the kids for a while now and this weekend we finally made it happen! The photos were done by our friend Vic Garcia who also took the photos from Elodie’s first birthday, which are truly some of my favorite pictures we have of our family. I’m so glad he got to capture us now with sweet baby James here too. I couldn’t recommend him enough — he is incredibly talented and seriously awesome with kids. He had James giggling up a storm and Elodie showing off for him! I am so thrilled with the way our photos turned out and I already know they will be treasured for years and years to come.

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9 Diaper Bag Backpacks for the Modern Mama

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one // two // three // four // five // six // seven // eight // nine

One thing that saves my sanity on my daily adventures with Elodie and James is my diaper bag backpack. I had a Petunia Picklebottom diaper bag I absolutely loved before James came along, but after he was born I realized a backpack would be so much more comfortable and easier to carry around. Any opportunity to keep my hands free, especially with two kids, is a huge win. Carrying around a backpack has proven to be so easy, I now wonder why I ever carried anything but a backpack! I’ve rounded up nine amazing diaper bag backpacks, including the one I carry around daily, which is less than $50!

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{Photos © Liz Denfeld Photography}

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2017 Denfeld Summer Bucket List

Summer has finally arrived in Portland! After the second worst winter in our city’s history, I am so ready for a summer full of sun and fun! Last week Corey and I put together a little summer bucket list to help motivate us to do all the things we always say we want to do… But somehow never get around to. Maybe if they’re written down and documented we’ll actually do more of them?! Here’s hoping! I’d love to hear what you’ve got on your bucket list this summer — especially fun activities for one and three-year-olds!

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+Take a day trip to Cannon Beach
+Go strawberry or blueberry picking
+Go wine tasting in the Willamette Valley
+Walk the west hills and/or go on a hike
+Teach Elodie how to swim (in grandma & grandpa’s pool!)
+Take a day trip to Hood River
+Try three new (to us) restaurants (any Portlanders have recommendations?!)
+Make popsicles
+Go to an Oregon Zoo concert
+Host a backyard barbecue (we actually checked this off this last weekend!)
+Make s’mores
+Take the kids to our wedding venue – David Hill Winery – for a picnic
+Go on a kids-free overnighter (maybe for our 7th wedding anniversary?!)

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don’t you just die for my niece’s bright blue eyes?!

{Photos © Liz Denfeld Photography}

Nine Books You & Your Toddler Will Both Love

Screen Shot 2017-06-19 at 1.51.32 PM.pngI have a confession. I hide my daughter’s books. Not all of them, of course… Just the ones I find annoying, way too long or just plain strange. Please tell me I’m not the only one who does this? It’s getting a little harder now that she’s three and she has a crazy good memory, but I’ll still try the ‘ol hide the book trick if I really have to. So from one parent to another, here’s a list of some legitimately awesome books you and your toddler will both love equally.

One: Gaston // It’s no surprise I love this book, since we have a Frenchie/Boston mix ourselves. But this has become one of Elodie’s favorites. The illustrations are so cute I want to frame them and the story is so sweet!

Two & Three: Ada Twist, Scientist and Rosie Revere Engineer // I’m grouping these two books together because they are by the same author/illustrator and both share the same concept —  these books are …”the perfect tool to remind both young girls and women that they have the intelligence and perseverance to achieve their dreams.” Does it get much better than that? Love the message, love the stories and love the illustrations — win all around in our book (pun intended hehe)

Four: Knuffle Bunny // This book was gifted to me before Elodie was born by a very dear friend who lives in the Netherlands. Knuffel means hug in dutch, so she couldn’t resist this book and I’m so glad she gave it to us. It’s an adorable story of a dad and his daughter who go run and errand when the baby’s adored bunny gets left behind. Elodie now loves asking Corey if he’ll take her on an errand – adorbs!

Five: Mix It Up // I don’t know how we went so long without an Herve Tullet book in our house, but this was gifted to us by Corey’s aunt (who happens to be a talented calligrapher) and I was obsessed from the very first time we “read” it. This is a really fun interactive and creative book that teaches kids about colors and mixing colors. Elodie now sits and reads this one to herself all the time. I love that it’s educational while being fun! Now I’m on a mission to get a few more Tullet books in this house!

Six: Little Kids First Big Book of Animals // Elodie is a huge animal lover (birds included), so I wanted to find her a book that was appropriate for her age and could teach her more  about some of her favorite animals and also learn about some new ones. This book delivers on both accounts! She loves learning about lions, zebras, giraffes, penguins and polar bears and has been known to recite some of her favorite facts to Corey and me (did you know there are 17 species of penguins and zebras sleep standing up?).

Seven: The Bear and the Piano // Most of our favorite books have been gifted to us. I think this means I’m pretty lousy at picking good ones myself! I just think this is a really cute story about a bear who learns to play the piano and gets “discovered”, makes it to the big city and then returns to his friends in the forest. The illustrations are also beautiful, which is such a bonus!

Eight: The Night Gardener // I think Amazon does a better job of explaining this story and why I love it than I ever could… “In the spirit of Goodnight Moon and The Curious Garden comes a stunning debut picture book filled with whimsy and creativity from brothers Terry and Eric Fan.” This is a beautiful book that lights up the imagination, an easy favorite for both Elodie and me.

Nine: Last Stop on Market Street // This is a new book in our rotation and I truly couldn’t love it more. Elodie is really starting to notice the world and people around her and this book has helped introduce the concepts of volunteering, thankfulness, urban life and more. It’s a story about a young boy, CJ, and his grandmother who take a bus ride after church to volunteer at a soup kitchen. It’s about the sights and sounds they experience on their journey. Such a wonderful book with lasting lessons to take away from it.

We are always on the hunt for new books around our house — what are a few of your favorites?

 

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Family Photos // Outfits

We are having family photos taken next week for the first time in over a year! I love getting professional photos taken as much as we can, and I can’t remember the last time we waited an entire year between shoots (well, since we got pregnant with Elodie)! The kids are so little and grow so fast and I love the opportunity to gets photos of us as a whole family.

I’m still undecided on the location (definitely outdoors), but I have been thinking a lot about what I want the fam to wear. Now, have I ever put a mood board together for family photos before? No. But now that I have a blog and a place to share these things, I figured WHY NOT. Putting these together was maybe a little too fun for me! I like both options for different reasons and there is one I am way more heavily leaning toward at this point… But I want to hear what you think before I make the final decision. So tell me, do you like option one or option two better?

Screen Shot 2017-06-15 at 7.17.17 PMdress // baby boy shirt // baby boy pants // toddler dress // men’s shirt // men’s jeans

Screen Shot 2017-06-15 at 7.23.42 PMdress // baby boy shirt // baby boy pants // toddler dress // men’s shirt // men’s jeans

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