Monthly Archives: December 2014

2014 Highlights

So cliché, but so necessary in order to track important life events. How did we ever keep track of what happened before social media?!??! Anyways, without further ado, here’s my favorite moments from 2014.


Valentine’s Day Flowers <3


World of Beer, February Break


We didn’t beat Duke 🙁


But it was a memorable game


NCAA Tournament in Buffalo



Our new piggies!


Birthday wine tour




Memorial Day 2014






Four wheeling




We got Anna


Our anniversary at the Tamarack Club


My pup




More friends





ASP #3

Camping Trip- Allegany State Park 2014




Thanksgiving at home













SU Game November 2014


Paleo book signing!


Dresser Rand Christmas Party 2014


Christmas 2014

Wow it’s been a great year. Odd how all I have to do is look at some pictures in order to really get a sense of how lucky I am. This next year I really resolve to stress less, and put my energy more towards things I really like to do, like farming, gardening and homesteading. I also want to see if I can get the hubby to cancel cable, but we’ll see how that goes. Those are my resolutions! How about yours??


Christmas 2014

Woahhhh…long time no talk! All I know is I haven’t {felt} like blogging for the past three weeks-ish… I didn’t, shoot me!

Plus we were out of town and that makes it hard. I like to blog from my little computer at home and that’s pretty much it! How was your Christmas? Mine was too good not to share so I decided to sit down today and photo dump.



Someone enjoyed the Christmas tree!


I mainly got pictures of food…can you blame me? I made some GREAT recipes from some of the new cookbooks I got. I actually got Mediterranean Paleo Cooking and Every Last Crumb at the Paleo book signing the weekend before we left. I really have no words for that experience- it was amazing and meeting these ladies (and guy!)  was everything I thought it would be!



I look like a super creeper.

Anyways, back to the food! I started Christmas Brunch with the cinnamon rolls from Brittany Angell’s Every Last Crumb. SO glad I bought this book. I almost didn’t! I highly recommend it. It has grain free recipes like I’ve never experienced! Yes some of the ingredients are different but totally worth the effort for these amazing cinnamon rolls!


Let me back up for a minute. For Christmas Eve I made lemon garlic shrimp  from Mediterranean Paleo Cooking. Everyone loved it!


That’s it in the top corner. Great appetizer for New Years if you’re looking for one!

Back to Christmas brunch. We enjoyed mimosas with the cinnamon rolls. Then chowed down on ham (from my pigs!), asparagus and sweet potato quiche from Mediterranean Paleo Cooking.



What a delicious way to start the day!


We were just missing Frank, who I had left at my parents house. After brunch that’s where we headed for more Christmas fun. Notice I didn’t mention any presents….clearly you can tell what’s important to me: food! And family of course!


Our buddies finally reunited!


Overall it was a wonderful week that we enjoyed spending with family and friends. I’m so ready for the new year. I’m not sure how often I’m going to be getting to this little blog of mine. I’m on the fence about how often I want to post. I’m sure you’ve noticed I’ve backed off a bit this last 6 months. The motive for blogging is a lot different now than it was in the beginning. For now, I’ll just stick to posting when I feel like it. I hope you have a happy and healthy new year!

What was your favorite Christmas food?


Holiday Gift Guide

Yup, had to do it! I am having the hardest time deciding what gifts to get people this year and I am loving everyone’s holiday gift guides! I read them every time and have even gotten some ideas from them.

So I decided to do one of my own! First up is a list of gifts I already have and HIGHLY recommend for any foodies/whole food enthusiasts in your life:

holiday gift guide 1

1.Spiral Vegetable Slicer – love this to make veggie noodles.

2.Silicone Baking Cups – These make EXCELLENT vessels for any paleo/coconut flour muffins or cupcakes.

3.Practical Paleo: The essential how to guide for anyone that’s interested in starting Paleo!

4. Silpat mats – use these for EVERYTHING that I don’t want stuck to the pan! I actually could use more.


Now here’s some gifts that I don’t have but are on MY list!


holiday gift guide 2


1.Clinique Happy – I love this scent! I got a free sample and now it’s out and I’m hooked.

2. I Pad cooking stand I also asked for a keyboard for my Ipad. I could use a cooking stand since I use my Ipad for recipes so much! I usually make a mess which isn’t good because my Ipad isn’t even technically mine….

3. I could also use a fancy looking apron for in the kitchen. Again, I am messy!

4. Shameless: Season 3 : Best show ever! I left off at season 2 and never got to watch it since we cancelled Showtime.

5. Funny shirts from This website is the best- they have the funniest shirts. Check it out!!

Okay, hope I gave you some ideas! Hurry up because the deadline for buying gits online is coming up fast!

Do you do a lot of shopping online?

What do you want for Christmas??

** Some of these links are affiliate links, which means I earn commission if you click and buy. As always, thanks for supporting Pencils and Pancakes.


7 things I’m willing to give up in order to buy quality food

When introducing people to the “whole foods” lifestyle, one of the first reactions is regarding how expensive it must be to eat this way. I agree. And I am one of the cheapest, money saving people you will come across so I understand why the prices on things like grass fed meat, organic produce and other specialty food products may come as a shock.

Your mindset has to be in the right place of prioritizing food over other things in your life before you will be ready to adopt this lifestyle. I’ve talked about this before and have given some tips you can use when you go to the grocery store to save money on real food.

My mind is in this place where I consider some things to be a LOT less important than what I am actually putting in my body. You have to decide yourself where to draw the line. I get annoyed when people talk about how they could “never afford” grass fed meat at the same time they’re wearing designer clothes, have a perfect manicure and are holding a can of soda.

Here’s 10 things I’m willing to ditch in order to afford real food:

1) Aforementioned: monthly manicures. I used to get acrylics almost every two weeks. Not necessary!


Here’s a  pic of when I had them! Throwback!

2) Expensive Clothes

This is really a no brainer. I’ve never been much of a fashion person. It’s not like I dress like a homeless person or anything, lol, I just stop myself before I buy clothing and think “do I really NEED this?” 9 times out of 10, I don’t.  A great website I use to get designer clothes on the cheap is Thred Up. It has quality pre-owned designer clothing at a DEEP discount. I got some great pieces on here for back to school!

thred up

3) Expensive Make-up Wearing make-up every day

Okay, so I admit that for most of the year I was getting my make-up couponing from drug stores. It’s easy to get really cheap make up for next to nothing this way. But recently the cheap-o make up was making me break out. So make up is definitely something un-important to me, but recently I decided to splurge and get some quality make-up with the concession that I don’t use it every day. I’ll really only put on full blown make-up if I’m going out or doing something special. I mean who am I trying to impress at school, lol, the kids?


Yeah, yard work does not require make-up!

4) Hair products and monthly haircuts/color

My hair is long, so I can go 4-6 months between cuts! Not saying it looks pretty by month six, and when I go I just get a basic cut. I used to get hair color treatments but that gets wayyy pricey, especially if you do it once a month! Highlights and color can cost as much as 100 plus tips!

5) A new car


Austin and I have had both of our cars for awhile. Not like getting a new one with a payment would make us go broke, but I’d rather not have the payment right now. I wish we could go down to just having one car, but it’s not feasible with both of us having jobs in different towns. Maybe sometime in the future when I’m a stay at home homesteader/blogger 😉

6) Expensive specialty “paleo” bars/treats


All the delicious paleo treats out there are very alluring and look delicious, but unless I’m getting a free sample, some sort of discount, or REALLY in a bind, I’m not buying them. Sometimes I’ll coupon for Larabars, or splurge on some Steve’s Paleo Packs when we’re going on vacation or something and I need something quick, but that’s the extent of it. I’ve even started making my own nut butter and sunflower seed butters to save a couple of bucks. Almond butter at the store is way too expensive!

7) Going out to dinner


We used to go out to dinner maybe once a week….but to be honest the restaurants around me suck and I cook better food here so why even bother? I’m not going to go pay $10 for a freaking salad (because that’s literally all I can order) that sucks. I like to save going out to dinner for when we’re in Syracuse (back home) or on vacation.

Well I tried to make it to ten things but just couldn’t think of anything else that wasn’t too repetitive (new shoes…that falls under clothes) or obvious (like….soda and processed food, duh you already know I don’t buy those).

What things do you consider less important than processed food?

Do you eat out a lot?


Thanksgiving 2014

Sorry for dropping off the face of the blog earth for a week. I was away from home without the best internet connection or motivation to blog much to be honest!  Just wanted to enjoy the holiday with family and friends. Now that I’m home here’s the highlights from the week:


We had to bring both of our animals back home with us…it certainly made for an interesting trip!


Here’s one of them lounging on the couch at home.

Saturday before Thanksgiving we got together with our friends for a “friendsgiving” it was fun to get everyone together since it’s hard for us living out of town!


Yes I know Thanksgiving is spelled wrong. Our friends’ son made that and I thought it was too cute. Looked more like Christmas than Thanksgiving in Syracuse!


Whatever! It’s not 6 feet so I’m cool with that. Last Tuesday I was able to catch an SU game. Not the

team we had last year but…here’s to a less stressful season…


And now….for the Thanksgiving goodies I made…

Ample supplies for Paleo desserts..


I made two pies from Danielle Walker’s Against All Grain Pumpkin and Chocolate Pie. This is my absolute favorite cookbook for special holiday treats. She really has some great dessert recipes. I made the chocolate pie for Easter too and it was amazing but I later dropped the pie dish which broke and got broken glass all in the pie…so I had to throw it away. So as soon as I remembered how delicious that pie was I HAD to make it again! I actually think the pumpkin was from her holiday e-cookbook. That’s a kindle version- you can get it for wicked cheap!



Pumpkin was good but Chocolate was best! The pumpkin lacked sweetness, which was fine for me since I just finished my 21 DSD. It also made a great breakfast the morning after!

I also made a sweet potato casserole…no recipe but it turned out great!


And Brussels sprouts with bacon!


Thanks pretty much all the photos I have to dump on you. Hopefully I’ll be back this week with some more posts.


How was your Thanksgiving? What’s the best thing you ate/did?