eat well, travel often, dream big!

Yucatan Pollo Pibil and Corn Tortillas for #SundaySupper

If it’s even possible to believe, it snowed this week. Not just a little dusting either but 7″ of the white, yucky stuff. The weatherman says that it’s supposed to melt right away but I can’t help feeling depressed. But, today in a celebration of Cinco de Mayo, I’m teaming up with the rest of the #SundaySupper team to share some of our favorite Mexican inspired recipes. The inspiration for my recipe was this;

Cozumel Mexico Beach

Hello Cozumel! As much as I adore Morocco, I have to say our trip to Mexico made me a gigantic fan of the people, scenery, and if it was possible made me love the food even more!  Our day in Cozumel was honestly, one of the best days of my life lately.  We had such a fun time snorkeling, driving mopeds around the island, and eating real Yucatan food beach side.  So, when I found out today’s theme was Cinco de Mayo, I of course wanted to make a Yucatan dish. Not sure where the Yucatan Peninsula is?

Cozumel is a an island off the eastern coast of the peninsula. The food of the region is heavily influenced by traditional Mayan cooking styles and ingredients, with an infusion of Spanish and other tribal cuisines. I decided to try my hand at pollo pibil, a tangy chicken filling, and homemade corn tortillas. I wouldn’t say this recipe  is traditional because I had to use what I had on hand and make substitutions to try and replicate the flavors but overall we were really happy with how it turned out! It’s important to note this has a strong undertone.  It’s got a lot of citrus and may even be sour to some.  It was perfect to me but MarocBaba thought cutting back on the citrus would be better. Boils down to personal taste!

Mexican pollo pibil

Ingredients for Pollo  Pibil

  • 1 .5 lbs of chicken (a mix of boneless breasts and thighs works great)
  • juice of 2 limes
  • 1/4 cup orange juice
  • 1/4 cup white vinegar
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 1 tsp achiote paste
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp allspice
  • 1/4 tsp cloves
  • 1/2 – 1 whole onion sliced into strips (your preference for amount)
  • 1 large tomato roughly chopped


The best part of this recipe?  It’s so easy to make!  Clean the chicken and add to a slow cooker along with all of the other ingredients.  Cook on low for 6-8 hours until the chicken is falling apart. Then transfer to a large pot, shred the chicken with a fork and reduce the liquid. If you don’t have a slow cooker, you can make this is a large, heavy bottomed pan.  Just cook on low and pay close attention to the liquid levels and add some water or chicken broth if it begins to get too low.  The cooking time should only take about 2 hours if cooking this way.

Pollo Pibil

Homemade Corn Tortillas


  • 2 cups masa harina 
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • warm water


In a large bowl add the the masa harina and salt.  Slowly begin to add the warm water until the dough comes together.  It should be pliable, and a little crumbly but stick together.  You can make the tortillas using a tortilla press or simply flatten them with your hands on a cutting board.  Cook in a hot skillet until each side browns.  These must be served hot or they simply don’t taste very good!

Stop by and check out what the rest of the #SundaySupper team is making – you won’t have to look any further for your Mexican feast! Jen from Juanita’s Cocina is the gracious host this month.  The rest of the lineup includes;

Join the #SundaySupper conversation on Twitter on Sunday, May 5th to celebrate Cinco de Mayo! We’ll tweet throughout the day and share recipes from all over the world. Our weekly chat starts at 7:00 pm EST. Follow the #SundaySupper hashtag, and remember to include it in your tweets to join in the chat. Check out our #SundaySupper Pinterest board for more delicious recipes and food photos.

[tbpquotable]Need a Mexican inspired, easy slow-cooker, meal tonight? Pollo pibil is it! [/tbpquotable]

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Motivation and Weight Loss 2:6

One of the biggest hurdles when losing weight is finding motivation.  There’s very little instant gratification! But finding the tools that make you get moving can be even more important than what you eat or how much you exercise.  This month, I’m sharing a video about what motivates me and how I’m doing so far.




Since starting the Shaklee program 2 months ago, I’ve lost 10 pounds and 5 inches overall! I do a heavy workout 2 days a week, and light exercise 1-2 other days a week. If I can do this – you can too!

Share with me – what motivates you?  What makes you struggle with finding motivation?


Disclaimer: This is a sponsored post as part of the Shaklee Corporation blogger program. I have received free products, online support, and incentives for participating. My opinions are my 100% own. People following the weight-loss portion of the Shaklee 180™ Program can expect to lose 1-2 pounds per week.
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Caramel Vanilla Bean Krispie Treats

Rice Krispie treats are a staple treat from my childhood and thankfully one of the easiest gluten-free desserts I can make. But, I’m not happy to just settle for the original kind, I like to make them just a little different, like my Indian Spice Krispies. The Caramel vanilla bean krispie treats were inspired by the caramel bombardment I’ve seen online lately. I have wanted to make caramel for a long time, and this seemed like the perfect occasion. So, for this month’s Leftovers Club I came up with these. Erin of eat, drink, bake, cook is going to be receiving her very own box of these delicious bars in a few days!

Caramel Vanilla Bean Rice Krispie Treats
I’ll give you fair warning, these are rich. You’ll want to keep the pieces small, in fact bite size is perfect. The only problem you might have is taking bite, after bite, after bite!

First, you’ll need to make the caramel. Yes, you can buy caramel and melt it down BUT it’s very easy to make and I know you’ll enjoy it!


How to Make Caramel

Ingredients for Caramel

this can be easily doubled or tripled to have extra caramel on hand

  • 1 can of sweetened condensed milk (14 oz) 
  • 7 oz of butter
  • 5 oz of light brown sugar
  • 1 vanilla bean
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract (optional)

Directions for Caramel

1) In a large heavy bottomed pan, add the butter and begin to melt on low heat.  As the butter melts down, add the brown sugar.

2) Continually mix until you are left with a butter/sugar sauce.

3) Slice open the vanilla bean and scrape out the seeds.  Add the seeds and the pod to the mixture and continue to stir. If you want a more vanilla flavor, add 1 tsp pure vanilla extract.

4) Pour in the condensed milk and keep stirring.  This is the point that does take time. You can not leave this alone on the stove. It needs to be watched and stirred.

5) In about 15-20 minutes the liquid will have reduced and thicken to a caramel consistency. Remove the vanilla bean pod and turn off the heat.

Ingredients for the Krispie Treats

  • 6 cups of puffed rice cereal (like rice krispies)
  • 25 regular size marshmallows
  • 2 Tbsp of butter
  • caramel sauce
  • large jelly roll pan, lined with parchment paper


1) In a tall pot, like a stock pot, or anything large enough to hold the krispies and allow you to stir, melt the 2 Tbsp of butter and marshmallows on low.

2) Stir until they’ve reached a liquid consistency.

3) Mix in the krispie cereal and stir to combine well.

4) Next add in the caramel. Add 1/2 of the caramel you’ve made.  Mix until it’s coated the cereal.

5) Prepare your jelly roll pan by covering with parchment paper.  Then, pour out the cereal and use a spatula to flatten out the bars.

6) Because who doesn’t love caramel, drizzle the top of the bars with more of the extra caramel.

7) Place the tray in the freezer or fridge to set.  Store in a sealable container, using parchment paper between layers so that they don’t stick together – or just eat them all at one time.

Hope you enjoy Erin!

I hope you’ll stop by and visit the other members of the Leftover’s Club.  Everyone is making some great recipes this month! If you’re a food blogger and want to become a member, you can find out more by visiting the Leftovers Club webpage. 

Savory Simple – Quinoa Energy Bars
The Girl In The Little Red Kitchen – Cashew Butter and Blackerry Jam Thumbprint Cookies
Dining with Dani – Pancakes and Bacon Cookies
Juanita’s Cocina – Butterscotch Browned Butter Blondies
Eats Well With Others – Salted Caramel Shortbread
Frugal Foodie Mama – Cookie Butter Pecan Bars
Let’s Give Peas a Chance – Chocolate Stout Brownies
Budget Gourmet Mom – Crisp Oatmeal Cookie Sandwiches
Sugar Dish Me – Strawberry Lemonade Loaf
Roxana’s Home Baking  – Chocolate chip bars
O’Boy! Organic – Rhubarb Cake
Omeletta – Brown Sugar Meringues
Eat Bake Drink Cook – Everything Cookies
Healthy. Delicious. – Carrot Cake Granola
Souffle Bombay – Sweet & Spicy Pecans
The Spiced Life – Garam Masala Caramel Corn
Bakeaholic Mama – Chocolate Cookie Dough Macarons
Whey Beyond the Naked Truth – Chia Seed Protein Bites
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Real Food on a Budget: Freezer Cooking

I’ve always been intimidated by freezer cooking. But, as much as it intimidates me I also envy those who embark on the task.  I finally feel like I’ve gotten a good method down and plan to freezer cooker until we leave the US. You may however, be surprised to know the adept Moroccan woman will have a freezer stocked with pastries and baked goods that can be pulled out for company.  It’s a style I have tried to emulate! Many of you have asked, “what is freezer cooking?” so let me start by explaining the concept. The basic idea is that you spend a few hours, or an entire day (if you choose) batch cooking or preparing food that can then be frozen and taken out for meals. It’s like frozen dinners but way healthier, tastier, and cheaper. I don’t make individual portions (but you can!) instead opting for family size meals.  There are many, many websites, styles of freezer cooking, and recipes that exist so in this post, I’ll share my latest freezer cooking adventure and give you a few resources and ideas to get started.

Real Food on a Budget Freezer Cooking

Styles of Freezer Cooking

I mentioned there are different styles of freezer cooking.  These are a few that I have picked up on through my experience.

Dump and Go Meals 

These are the freezer meals I gravitate to.  These recipes require no cooking on your preparation day.

Some Cooking Required

Think of these meals as the kind that require browning meat or partially baking some or all components of the recipe.

Single Course at a Time

Freezer meals aren’t just for dinner.  You can prepare breakfast, lunch, and dinner foods.  You could do them all at one time, or you can just do a single meal.

Single Protein at a Time

Say you’ve found a great sale on chicken breasts.  Chances are you won’t be using 5 -10 pounds of chicken breast at a single time, and you could freeze the chicken as it is.  But, what if you took a few extra minutes to add some extra ingredients?  Then when it’s dinner time you just removed that container from the freezer, put it in the crockpot or oven and had dinner ready? Think how much time this would save!  This is the idea behind single protein cooking.  You simply use one meat and create freezer meals around that item.

Full Menu

This is a mixture of recipes and ideas all prepared at once.  This likely will take more time, be more of a mess, and may cost more to implement at a single time – however you’ll be set for several weeks once you’re done!

Beef Freezer Meals

This is an example of single protein and dump and go meals.  I had purchased a large arm roast of beef on sale and needed to freeze it right away.  I sliced the beef very thin and divided among three Ziploc freezer bags.  I then mixed up 3 different kinds of marinade; an Asian soy sesame, BBQ, and carne asada . Each bag got one bowl of marinade and was then mixed well to combine. I removed all the excess air and placed them in the freezer.  In about 10 minutes, and for about $3 I had 3 dinners.  On the night that I’m cooking these, I add them to the freezer and prepare any side dishes or extras to go with the meal.

How Do You Do It?

There are hundreds, if not thousands of recipes for freezer cooking.  You can follow my Freezer and Slow Cooking Board on Pinterest for tons of inspiration and recipes!

You need to first ask yourself these questions;

  • How many meals do I have space for?
  • How much time do I have to prepare the meals?
  • What style do I want to use?
  • Then (the fun part) which recipes do I want to make?

Once you have these questions answered it’s time to start looking for recipes.  I like this freezer cooking cookbook.  I also am a huge fan of Once a Month Mom.  My sister recently cooked one of her full menus, and I followed suit, piecing together recipes from a couple menus.  If you’re new to freezer cooking I recommend signing up for her monthly plan, and following it a few times until you’re comfortable.

If you want to do this on your own, here’s how I prepare.

  • First, find the recipes you want to use. I highly recommend printing out the recipes so that you have a hard copy.
  • Remember you can double or even triple recipes and portion it out accordingly.
  • Then, make a list of the ingredients you know you don’t have on hand. Be sure to include quantities!
  • Note: if you have one recipe in the stack that calls for one spice you don’t have and know you won’t use again, look for a substitution before buying it!
  • Take your ingredient list and go through your pantry to double check you don’t have those items.
  • Look at what kind of containers you will need.  If you have any casseroles, the throw away freezer containers are really great. Add them to the list.
  • I recommend shopping and cooking on separate days so you don’t get worn out.
  • Go shopping!

Cooking Day

  • Clean your kitchen and empty your dishwasher before you start.  Have plenty of towels on hand, and if possible have extra eyes on your kids!
  • Chop and cut all of the ingredients ahead of time.  This is standard in any professional kitchen and will speed up your time immensely.
  • What has worked well for me is prepping any breakfast recipes first, as they usually need to bake or cook in some way.  While they are baking I do the dump and go recipes. Then I finish with any other lunch or dinner items that need to be pre-cooked.

You will find a method that works for you.  My sister makes one recipe at a time, cleaning up after each because the mess drives her crazy.  I have a full blown tornado on my hands.  I am fine making a huge mess and cleaning up once.  One more note of advice, start small.  The recent freezer cooking batch I did was 14 different recipes, but the first time I did this I only made 5.  Don’t overwhelm yourself the first time!

That’s Great but How Does This Save Money?

I’m so glad you asked! I just shared that I made 14 different recipes, that comes out to about 34 meals for us (I made several batches of some things). I spent $175 on groceries, including containers and bags (that was about $12). That’s a little more than $5 a meal, probably a little bit more once I add a side dish.  So, where can you get a meal for 4 people for $5 total?  Think about the last dinner you ate, even if you’re baking your own food, shopping seasonally, and watching sales – I bet it was more than that!

Freezer cooking combines all of the tips that I’ve shared up to this point.  By shopping in bulk when it makes sense, eating seasonally, cooking and baking, and potentially butchering your own meat you can really save a lot of money and eat very well.

Some Easy Ideas to Get Started

  • Roast 2-3 chickens, allow to cook and then shred the meat.  Divide and store in freezer bags to grab for a quick meal.  You can then make stock with the carcasses.
  • Ground beef that is already cooked is quick to put together, divide, and store for meals.
  • My slow cooker chicken shwarma recipe can easily be made for the freezer.  Simply combine all the ingredients with raw chicken breast and place in a freezer bag. To cook place in a slow cooker with 1/2-1 cup (to partially cover the chicken) chicken stock, and cook until falling part.
  • Asian Style Beef Tacos – combine ingredients and freeze.  Add 1/2 cup water when adding to slow cooker.
  • Mediterranean Shredded Beef
  • Greek Slow Cooker Chicken 

Have you ever freezer cooked? Do you know? Any tricks you would add to this list?

Missed the others parts of this series? Find them on the intro of 10 Ways to Eat  Real Food on a Budget.

[tbpquotable]Want to start freezer cooking? Find out more and get started with @marocmama [/tbpquotable]

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Expat announcement

One of the really interesting things about having this blog is that I have somewhere to share, or not to share, information. I have always wanted MarocMama to be a resource for other women, other families who were in a similar situation to us. Over the last few months, MarocBaba and I have contemplated what it would mean to make the decision to go back to Morocco.

To live.

Our boys are getting older and we worry that without immersing them in an Arabic speaking environment they will not be able to achieve fluency, something we both desperately want for them. We’ve thought about this for years but for some reason this winter it really struck us that this move needed to happen now or never.

We’re comfortable here in the US. MarocBaba has adjusted to life here, and it’s our home, but we’ve always felt something was missing. We’ve always wondered, what if we moved? Would we like it? Would it be somewhere we’d want to live? The thought of living in Africa makes me grin. That’s not to say I don’t understand the realities of living in the developing world. Moroccan bureaucracy drives me batty. I don’t speak passable Arabic, and my French has long since faded. I know my level of independence would be curtailed greatly by the language barrier.

But we finally made up our minds.
We’re moving.

August 20th.

Can I tell you how terrifying/exciting/emotional it was for me to sit and stare at a screen flashing 4 one-way tickets to Morocco? My friend Alison reminded me, “frankly I’d be more concerned if you weren’t full of emotion – it’s a big decision!” I have been making endless to-do lists. Every day I’ve made it my mission to do one thing on the list so that August doesn’t roll around with a million things to do in a week.

I wanted to do this. It was my idea!

But before I could buy those tickets I went to MarocBaba and I started to cry. Not because I was sad. Not because I didn’t want to do this, but because I did! I’ve moved before but I’ve never moved overseas, not like this. In that moment I saw everything I had put MarocBaba through. My impatience and cavalier about his immigration to the US. I couldn’t wait for him to get here. I pushed – hard – for him to leave immediately. I realized I never really thought about what it meant. Frankly in that moment I felt like a big jerk. The gravitas of the situation hit me like a ton of bricks. He told me “you know what, let’s sleep on it, and tomorrow we’ll buy them together. But, don’t think for a second I’m not going to take care of you when we’re there.”

I will miss my mom terribly. I will miss my sister, and my niece and nephews, that make up my everyday. I will miss autumn in the Midwest and the first snow in the crisp winter air. I will miss Christmas with my dad, and the spring thaw. But you know what, we’ve got a million memories to make. Every morning I can walk up the stairs to our roof, and see the Atlas Mountains stretching across the sky. I can walk to the market every day and get the freshest, in season produce. I’ll be learning a language that I’ve worked hard to become conversational in. I’m going to learn how to make all of the foods I haven’t figured out yet.  I have the opportunity to get to know my mother in law, sister in laws, and loads of nieces and nephews. We’ll be able to explore Morocco and even take a trip here or there to Europe.

You’ll be here won’t you?


I do hope you’ll take this journey with me.

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Mommy Protein Balls

Mom's Protein Power Balls


I can’t believe how fast April is flying by!  We’ve been busy and I have to say I haven’t been cooking a lot.  It’s been easy things that I can pull together fast or relying on meals I’ve prepped and stored in the freezer. Speaking of which, I’ll be sharing a post next week to fill you in on freezer cooking.  It’s part of my real food on a budget series and I have to tell you, this has been revolutionary for me.  I have another batch of meals to prep this weekend so I’ll be taking you with from beginning to end. Make sure you’re following me on Instagram as I post pictures through the process.  If you’re not on Instagram, don’t worry I’ll be posting pictures in the post Wednesday too.

In the chaos that has been our life lately, breakfast has been really hard for me to squeeze in.  I’ve never really liked to eat breakfast so it’s a stretch for me to get anything in.  As weird as this may sound, I also struggle with eating regularly in general.  After having my weight loss surgery, I lost most of appetite. I have to force myself to eat.  It might sound like a great problem to have but I assure you – it’s not. My sister always gives me  a hard time about not eating and/or drinking protein shakes.  I admit if eating doesn’t sound good, drinking is even harder. She shared this recipe with me for protein balls to help me boost the amount of protein I get, and to have something around that I can just pick up and eat when I walk by the fridge. We affectionately refer to them as mommy balls.  (It’s a long story!) I’ve been using Shaklee 180™ products for the last two months and while drinking a protein shake isn’t always in the cards for me, I will eat 2-3 of these a day to get in protein!

Really, these are perfect for anyone who needs a breakfast or snack to grab and go.


Protein Ball Ingredients


  • 3 Tbsp PB2 powder
  • 4 Tbsp all0natural peanut butter or other nut butter
  • 1 c Shaklee Vanilla Smoothee Mix (or other protein of your choice)
  • 1/2 c quick cook oats
  • 1 Tbsp flax seed meal
  • 1 Tbsp chia seeds
  • 4-6 Tbsp raw honey


  • In a bowl, mix the PB2 powder with water until a paste is formed.  It will look like regular peanut butter
  • Add to the bowl the nut butter, smoothee mix, quick cook oats, flax seed meal, chia seeds, and honey.
  • Mix all of the ingredients together, you can use a spatula but your hands will probably work the best.  You may need to adjust the honey and/or add a little water.  If it feels too wet, add a little more oats, if it feels to dry add a bit more honey or water.
  • Roll into balls, whatever size you like.

Using this recipe, I rolled 16 balls and each ball has about 5g of protein.  Not bad!  You could increase the amount of PB2 and decrease the actual nut butter amount to lower the fat content.  The total protein will vary depending on the brands that you use and the size of each.   To store, keep in an air tight container or a ziploc bag in the refrigerator. I really love these and I hope you will too!

**If you’re wondering where to get PB2 powder, I’ve seen it at Trader Joe’s, and at my local pharmacy (believe it or not!). You can purchase on Amazon PB2 Powdered Peanut Butter – and Bell Plantation that makes this product has a store locator on their site if you are looking for local options.

This is a sponsored post as part of the Shaklee Corporation blogger program. I have received free products, online support and incentives for participating in the Shaklee Corporation blogger program. My opinions are my own. I am also a Shaklee Independent Distributor. People following the weight-loss portion of the Shaklee 180™ Program can expect to lose 1-2 pounds per week.
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Eating Real Food on a Budget: Building Reserves



Today’s post touches on some of the points I made last week when I talked about buying in bulk.  I want to make something clear; when I say build reserves, I don’t mean hoard food. I’ve seen too many Extreme Couponing shows to know that, that is a reality.  There are many benefits to building up a pantry and freezer that can help you off-set costs later. You might be wondering when it would come in handy.  Recently my hours were cut from full-time, 40 hours a week to 10 hours a week. This was a gigantic blow in our monthly budget. It took me several weeks to scale back up some other income areas to make up the money that was lost.  During this time we only had to grocery shop for fresh produce and some dairy because I had meat in the freezer, dry goods, and other staples in the reserves. I consider it my food emergency fund.  We were able to save about $500 in grocery costs over a 2 month period by using what I already had on hand.  You never know when something like that might happen.  It was a great relief not to have to worry about feeding my family or sacrificing the quality of food we were eating.

If you’ve ever watched the aforementioned TV shows, you’ll know that a lot of the “food”, and I use the term loosely, is frozen, processed food.  There generally aren’t sales on real food and the real food you can purchase doesn’t have a long shelf life in it’s purchased state.  That being said there are a lot of things you can freeze to extend their shelf life; cheese, milk, meats, spices, and nuts can all be frozen in the state you generally buy them.  While you can’t freeze fresh fruit and vegetables you can preserve them or freeze them after a quick blanch and cooling. Allrecipes has some great instructions and ideas for how to freeze produce.

How do you know what to add to your pantry?

This will really vary depending on your family.  For us, meat is always something that I will buy extra and keep on hand. I always keep frozen vegetables on hand.  If I have the choice between frozen or fresh and it’s not a time of “distress” as I call our lean periods, I will go with fresh and save the frozen.  Dry goods like pasta, beans, crackers I also tend to have a few extra on hand.  Jams, jellies, and other shelf stable condiments that I opt to purchase instead of make I also store.  The next question usually is, ok, so how much do you have?  I try to have no more than 5 boxes of pasta, 3 lbs of dry beans, 3 -5 boxes of crackers, and 2 containers of shelf-stable condiments.  Meat I don’t really limit because we have a large chest freezer.  I won’t pass up a good sale on free range or organic meat, how good the sale determines how much I buy!   Again, pointing out the point is not to hoard.  I like to have enough on hand to last 4-6 weeks if need be.

How do you make sure the food doesn’t go bad?  

This is important.  Just because I have the food in my reserves doesn’t mean we don’t use it!  I am constantly dipping into these items and using them, and then replacing them.  I have a small kitchen, so I keep some pantry items in my kitchen, but my reserves are stored on a stacking shelf that is on the landing of our basement steps. It’s out of the way, in a cool environment, but still accessible.  If I put this storage actually in my basement I would never go down to get things – leading to a lot of waste. You will have to think about and figure out a way to make this best work in the space you have.

So how does this save money?

Are you scratching your head on this?  How can you actually save money by buying more? This is the key.  I don’t buy extra when items are at full price. I buy them when they’re on sale. For example, a few weeks ago my store had an organic juice that we like on sale. Normally it’s $2.79.  The sale price was $1.69.  That’s a $1.10 savings! The juice is shelf stable so I bought one to drink now and 3 others for later.  Now, I won’t need to buy it again for awhile, and hopefully the next time I do go it will be on sale again. Grocery stores cycle their sales, this is true for most of their products, including organic and whole foods. It takes a little time to follow the sales cycles but it can save you big bucks! There are also more and more coupons available for organic products.  Sometimes I’ll get lucky and hit a sale and a coupon but it’s rare. If we look back at the buying in season principles with produce, you can see how buying fresh food in season coupled with freezing for your reserves can stretch your budget a little further.

Do you keep a food reserve?  What other tips can you share? 

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Anniversaries and Chocolate Peanut Butter Cookies


Anniversary Collage

Seven years ago today, MarocBaba and I were married. It caught me a little off guard when I put together these pictures, and it was fun listening to our boys comment on how mom and dad look.  In my mind there are so many days when I feel like we’re just “playing grown-ups.”  That I still feel somehow like I’m just pretending to be a mom, a wife, an adult. Of course, I know there’s no pretending going on. I wonder sometimes if that’s a by-product of the early growing up I (we) did. I was just 21 when we were married, and only a month past 19 when we met. We were crazy, two 21 year-olds overcoming the hurdles of immigration, barely having any money between us, but ready and willing to take on the world – together.  Today, I know we were crazy.  But, I’m so glad we took the chance.

It was so unlikely for us to meet how we did, strangers on the streets of a North African city.  We had led such different lives, come from different backgrounds, religions, family situations. If anyone would have gambled when looking at us on paper they would have said no way, no how.  But, I like to think there were bigger plans at play and that we both ended up exactly where we were meant to.  So even though it’s been just seven years since we said, “I do,” I’ve no doubt our souls have been together for much longer, just waiting for our physical selves to find each other.

In honor of our special day, I’m sharing a cookie recipe I recently made.  A few weeks ago I found a recipe for soft-baked peanut butter swirl chocolate swirl cookies on Sally’s Baking Addiction, and wanted a dozen of them that instant. But I knew I couldn’t make them without changing the recipe so that they were gluten-free. I was incredibly happy with the results and so was everyone else.

Gluten Free Chocolate Peanut Swirl Cookies


Gluten-Free Peanut Butter Chocolate Cookies

2 hours, 30 minutes

15 minutes

24-36 cookies

A delicious gluten-free peanut butter chocolate cookie adapted from Sally's Baking Addiction.


    Chocolate Cookie Dough
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup dark brown sugar (or dark brown)
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2/3 cup white rice flour
  • 1/3 cup tapicoa starch
  • 1 Tbsp xanthan gum
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 Tablespoons heavy cream
  • Peanut Butter Cookie Dough
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
  • 1/2 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 3/4 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 cup white rice flour
  • 1/4 cup tapioca starch
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup chocolate chips


    To make chocolate dough
  • 1) Cream the butter and sugars together with a mixer until fluffy.
  • 2) Mix in the egg and vanilla until well combined.
  • 3) In another bowl, blend together the white rice flour, tapioca starch, xanthan gum, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt.
  • 4) Slowly mix the dry ingredients with the wet ingredients. Unlike some other gluten-free mixes, the dough will be thick.
  • 5) Finally mix in the cream.
  • 6) Place the dough in a bowl or container, cover with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator.
  • To Make the Peanut Butter Dough
  • 1) Again in a stand mixer or with a hand mixer, cream together the butter, sugar, and brown sugar. 2) Mix in the peanut butter, egg, and vanilla.
  • 3) Finally add in the baking soda, white rice flour, and tapioca starch.
  • 4) Use a spatula to fold in the chocolate chips.
  • 5) Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator.
  • Chill the chocolate dough and the peanut butter dough for at least 2 hours.
  • Preheat oven to 350F degrees.
  • Line a cookie sheet with a silicone baking mat or parchment paper. Remove doughs from the refrigerator and begin to pull off small balls of dough. The size is up to you but keep in mind you'll be mixing the balls together to form the final cookie. The chocolate dough also tends to be quite sticky so I rolled all the balls onto a plate first, washed my hands, and then rolled the peanut butter dough.
  • When you have a ball of each dough ready, squish them together and roll into a large ball. Place this onto the cookie sheet and repeat.
  • Bake the cookies for 12-15 minutes. The cookies will look and feel very soft. You will think they are not cooked through. Leave them on the cookie sheet for 5-10 minutes. The cookies will deflate and firm up. Transfer to a cooling rack to finish cooling.
  • If there are any left, store in an air tight container.
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