Tuesday, May 28, 2019

Mal’s Birthday Celebration x 4

Mal had quite the birthday this year – complete with 4 different celebrations! Woohoo!

Celebration #1: Family party

Mal’s birthday celebration officially kicked off the day before with a family “Euro party” at home. And, of course, no family party would be complete without Mal’s beloved Funfetti cake. We make it for him every year! 🙂 Quinn was ALL about baking Funfetti cupcakes, so I picked him up early from school to get a jumpstart on them.

When Mal got home from school, we headed out to the Euro Mart for sandwiches for dinner. Mal (ok, all of us) have a minor major obsession with the Euro Mart. If you’re local and have visited before, you KNOW what I mean! 😉

Back at home, we ate dinner together and then Mal opened his birthday presents. We gave him Eight Dates and a gift card to Huckberry – both of which were big hits!

The party concluded with us sing “Happy Birthday” and eating Funfetti cupcakes! 🙂 Please note: The birthday sign in the background. We’ll leave that up until late June since all of us have birthdays within a month of each other!

Celebration #2: Dinner with friends

On Mal’s actual birthday, we got together with a big group of friends for dinner and drinks at The Range. I ended up getting wrapped up in conversation and barely took any photos, BUT I managed to snap this one of the birthday boy before we blew out his candles!

Celebration #3: Vitamin Sea

Quinn wanted to get “bee-ah” (said in a South Shore accent) for Dada’s birthday, and Mal wanted to visit Vitamin Sea (a new local brewery) for months now, so we went on Saturday afternoon. Mal absolutely loved it, and he’s already planning another visit soon!

Quinn found a rusty chain in the parking lot and a padlock in my purse, so he had a great time at Vitamin Sea too. Ha! I know… we’re Parents of the Year! 😉

But, seriously, Vitamin Sea is a great spot for families – we just didn’t plan well since we couldn’t stay for long. We ended up having a jam-packed Saturday!

Next time, we plan to visit with friends (and toys and games)! 🙂

Celebration #4: Dinner with Papi and Lori

Mal’s final birthday celebration was dinner with his dad and his fiancé at Trident. We planned much better for this adventure and brought Quinn’s Tegu blocks (magnetic wooden blocks) because the tables inside and out are made from metal. They kept him entertained for quite awhile!

It was a really fun dinner – complete with oysters (Quinn tried one!!!), entrees, drinks, and dessert. Mal and Quinn blew out the candles on birthday creme brûlée! 🙂

After dinner, we walked around the Hingham Shipyard for a bit before saying goodbye to Papi and Lori.

All in all, it was a wonderful birthday celebration for Mal. He really had the best few days! 🙂

Primally Pure Giveaway

Thank you to everyone who entered the Primally Pure giveaway last week! And THANK YOU for your feedback. It helps me create content for CNC that I hope you’ll enjoy! 🙂 Without further ado, here’s your winner:


I always read your Friday 5/recommendations posts. I usually skip anything about macros or challenges since I don’t track macros. I’m intrigued by the natural deodorant!

Congrats, Tricia! Please email me at tina@carrotsncake.com with your full name, mailing address, and deodorant choice. Don’t forget, you can save 10% off your Primally Pure order with code carrotsncake!

P.S. Just a reminder, if you’re looking for a little kick in the butt as far as your diet goes, I’m hosting a 19-day macro tracking challenge starting on Saturday (6/1). It’s totally free to join. Details here!

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Clean Eating Raspberry Banana Bread Recipe

This raspberry banana bread is a summery twist on everyones favorite way to use up over ripe bananas, and it’s delicious for breakfast, lunch or dessert.

Hi! My name is Charlie, and I am really excited to share this recipe with you today! Since I started blogging my clean eating journey at The Kitchen Shed I have really loved finding clean versions of my favorite baked treats. Banana bread has been one of the easiest recipes to ‘clean up’ because even a whole food version still tastes delicious. I really love banana bread for so many reasons. Firstly it is a great way to use up over ripe bananas and secondly it is really quick and easy to make. (Even I can make it and I am no baker!).

A few slices are cut and laying next to this loaf of Clean Eating Raspberry Vanilla Banana Bread.


Clean eating baked goods do not last quite as long as refined versions. However, I keep clean eating banana bread fresh for about 3 days. I store my banana bread in an airtight container, unsliced to keep it fresher for longer.


Banana bread freezes really well especially if it is sliced, wrapped and frozen in individual portions. This raspberry vanilla banana bread does not freeze as well as a plain banana bread. When you freeze and thaw raspberries they can break down and make the banana bread soggy. For that reason, I do not freeze this recipe and enjoy it fresh instead.

An overhead view of a full, uncut loaf of this Clean Eating Raspberry Vanilla Banana Bread.


Absolutely! Blueberries work really well in banana bread especially if you add some ground cinnamon to the mixture! I also like to put raisins or dried cranberries in my banana bread too.

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Clean Eating Raspberry Banana Bread Recipe

A delicious way to use up your ripe bananas!

  • 1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 cup melted butter ((or coconut oil))
  • 3 medium overripe bananas
  • 2 medium eggs
  • 4 tbsp. maple syrup
  • 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup fresh raspberries
  1. Preheat the oven to 325* Fahrenheit and lightly grease a loaf pan.

  2. Whisk together the flour and the baking powder in a large bowl and set to one side.

  3. Gently melt the butter over a low heat.

  4. Mash up the bananas with a fork and add the melted butter, eggs, maple syrup and vanilla extract. Mix together well.

  5. Pour the banana mixture into the bowl of flour and mix until just combined.

  6. Add the fresh raspberries and stir until evenly distributed.

  7. Pour the banana bread batter into the loaf pan and bake in the oven for 40 minutes until golden brown and cooked through.

  8. Allow to cool on a wire rack before slicing and serving.

Please note that the nutrition data given here is a ballpark figure. Exact data is not possible.

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Mark’s Cold Brew Coffee

Welcome to summer, everyone. (I think most people agree it starts after Memorial Day, right?) One of the things I’ve always loved about summer is cold brew coffee. As most of you know, I’ll take coffee anytime year round, but cold brew is its own animal and worth looking forward to this time of year. That said, cold brew needs to be done right to achieve the smoothness and sweetness its known for. Here’s how I create my own cold brew.



  • 2/3 cup medium-coarse ground coffee
  • 2 cups filtered water
  • Optional: 4 Tbsp. Oat Milk (Thrive Market has a clean and tasty version for those who want to add a splash or two to the final result. Feel free to use regular dairy or another non-dairy milk.)
  • (You’ll also want a couple medium mason jars with lids.)


Grind 3/4 cup of whole bean coffee to a medium-coarse consistency as pictured to make about 2/3 cup ground coffee. (I wouldn’t advise the pre-ground coffee you find in the store, since you’ll have a heck of a time trying to drain it. The result? Coffee that’s likely too strong and muddy instead of smooth.)

Divide the ground coffee between two medium mason jars. Pour room temperature filtered water over the coffee—one cup of water per jar. Screw the lids on tight, and let infuse at room temperature for 12 hours. This is where the magic happens. You could go a little shorter (e.g. 10 hours) if you need it sooner, but I’d be cautious about exceeding 12 hours as I’ve found a lot of coffee gets bitter pretty quickly past that point. Start with 12 hours and experiment from there if you want a more concentrated brew. Some people like to put the jars in the refrigerator for added chilling. This works, but the infusing process will be a little slower.

After 12 hours, open each jar. Filter through a clean dish towel or cheesecloth. I know some folks use a very fine sieve or paper coffee filters for this step. Others like to double filter.

Check for concentration and dilute (to your own personal taste) with cold, filtered water, diluting less if you’re going to add milk or cream or if you’re going to use ice.

Put a few ice cubes in the bottom of two glasses, pour coffee over them. Add milk or cream if that’s your thing.

Store any extra filtered coffee in a clean mason jar in the refrigerator, and use within a few days for freshness.

Thanks for stopping by, everybody. Do you have a recipe you’d like to see the team or I cover? Share your ideas below. Have a great week.


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Star Spangled Memorial Day


I hope you all enjoyed a three day weekend. The extra day of family time was so nice.


Thomas and I have really been enjoying our quiet Friday nights at home. Matt has been doing fun adventures with Mazen on Fridays and took him tubing on the Rivanna River! They saw a snake in the water – eeek!

We had porch time with Birchie and enchiladas with a black bean + corn salad for dinner.


After some coffee time and breakfast, Birch and I went on a stroller run and met up with Mazey.

We came home and played Legos/Old Macdonald for a while and had a little lunch before I set out for a hair appointment.



Thanks to Holly for adding in some nice curls!

The boys were holding down the fort! And Mazen had a water balloon fight with Nona!

Thomas invited his friend Kyle and his two kids over for dinner while the mamas went OUT!

The four of us all had fall babies and we hadn’t all been in one room without the babies before!

Carly and I met up a little early and ended up doing the downtown escape room!! We bumped into two of my former soccer teammates and joined their group. They were quite the escape room pros because we got the second best time in the four years the room has been open!

After that we walked to Tavern + Grocery to meet up with Erica and Caroline.

We shared some french fries and kale salad with burata.

And I enjoyed this delicious halibut for dinner.

We also enjoyed some white wine, but we had to cheers with water halfway through dinner as a reminder for four nursing moms to hydrate!

The babies (and two big boys) were all successfully sleeping when we returned home. Thomas and I had some ice cream and watched a show.


Thomas made us special waffles on Sunday morning! I had mine with butter + syrup and an egg on the side.

Mazen and I went on a biking adventure down the greenway after breakfast. We stopped for a honeysuckle break to fuel up on nectar.

Lunch was a salad with leftover fish cakes from Plenty, olives from Lampo, and candied pecans.

I also made some Raspberry Crumble Bars to take to a party later on. These were Pinch of Yum’s recipe and turned out so great!!!

We spent some time working on the house in the afternoon. We hung blackout curtains in Birch’s room (more on that in another post!) and worked on the yard/patio a bit.

Thomas made pizza on the grill for dinner!

We had a sitter come that evening and jumped in T’s four wheel drive truck to head to the country for a bonfire. Note the human height for reference. This was a HUGE bonfire!

America The Beautiful

We had fun talking to friends and enjoying the lovely evening – until it started to pour down rain!


Red and blueberries with drinkable yogurt and peanut butter.

We went to the annual ACAC Memorial Day Parking Lot Workout mid-morning. My favorite workout of the year! It was a super hot and sweaty 45 minutes of jumping, dancing, and sprinting.

We had leftover burgers for lunch!

I tried the new Beautycounter Tinted Sunscreen, which is like a sunscreen foundation for your body! It blends in with a slight tan and helps even skin tone. I am a fan!! I’m wearing the light/medium shade. It can rub off onto white/light towels and cover ups so do keep that in mind. FYI, there is 24ish hours left of the Memorial Day sale to get a free Sun Set with any $125 purchase.

Left Bare // Right Tinted Sunscreen

Followed by more yard/house/family time. I love a good day with no plans! Thomas smoked ribs and we watched Virginia Men’s Lacrosse win the National Championship!

What was the highlight of your weekend?

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