Grain-Free Dark Chocolate Donuts/Muffins and Other Lovely Things


Fall in Juneau means rain, and darker/shorter days. There’s nothing here like the crisp frosty mornings of red and gold and yellow that you down South are enjoying. We are headed into the season that makes Juneauites question why we decided to live in an isolated rainforest.

It really gets to some people. Especially when Winter sets in and our days are just 6 hours of weak sunlight (often still cloudy). Some people travel, some use “happy lights.” All of us are overjoyed when Spring comes round again.

This will be our third time through this season as Alaskans, and I’ve done a bit to be pro-active this year. We have made sure all of us have cold and wet weather gear that fits (we love Oakiwear for the kids and LL Bean for us adults), and I organized an “Elementary Outdoor Adventure” group with a few other homeschooling mama helpers to ensure that our kids get out at least once a week – rain or shine. I’ve already been thankful for it innumerable times as it’s kept us active during this post-partum period when I could easily get away with bowing out of much outdoor play.

I’ve also been trying to focus on making our days as smooth and peaceful as is possible with four children under 8, while giving us all plenty of time for the fun things that fill each of our soul-cups. And that leads me to Lovely Thing #1 that I want to share with you!

I’ve so been enjoying Periscope these last few months! I’m still a complete newbie at “scoping,” but I decided to scope a bit of each of our outdoor dates for all of you far away! The idea was that you’d get weekly glimpses of our family (most likely being crazy, because that what children naturally do when finally released into fresh air, right?), and see some of our favorite outdoor places in Juneau! Unfortunately, my erstwhile ambitions have been a teeny bit crushed since it seems like our Alaskan cell service isn’t up to the task of live recording/streaming. I’ve had connection troubles each time, but I really do hope to find a solution.

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{Thanks for the photos, Angela! And for my awesome new coat, hubby!}

If you have the Periscope app on your phone, please please add me- @anjanetteopal – so that you’ll be notified when I’m broadcasting live! You’ll be able to chat with me realtime and ask whatever you’d like to know about life in Alaska. Periscope “scopes” are only available in the app for 24 hours after broadcasting, but all of my Scopes will be available afterward on a different website – Katch – though you will only be able to watch and not comment.

Here’s the scope from this week’s trip to the Glacier on an unexpectedly gorgeous day (those days are when we locals remember why we live in an isolated rainforest!):

Even more than broadcasting, I’m loving the unrehearsed and unfiltered community that Periscope is creating! It’s easy to add any friend or people you follow on Twitter if you sign up with Periscope with your Twitter handle. Some of my favorite people, like Sarah Mae, Crystal Paine, and MacKenzie from Bold Turquoise are using Periscope regularly. And I’ve met some new favorite Scopers, too!

Speaking of MacKenzie, her regular morning scopes (The Cultivating the Lovely Show– Weekdays 6:30-7:00am PST) have been part of my inspiration to be intentional about creating beauty and good things in my life every day. That’s a theme also repeatedly expounded on in the book I’m reading with my Sunday School at church, Own Your Life by Sally Clarkson (Lovely Thing #2). Sally shares so many great ideas for really living into the place God has us. One of the ways she chose to be intentional with her children was to have a daily “tea time,” with yummy things to eat and maybe a candle lit.

I’m a hopeless romantic and idealist and that really just sounded like the most wonderful way to brighten an afternoon to me. I’m so thankful she gave me permission of a sort to start a tradition like this with my children. I’ve needed a way to bring more beauty into our day, especially for the sake of my beautifully passionate daughter who has more than her limit of dealing with testosterone-filled brothers.

So, lovely thing #3 that I’ve been enjoying lately is tea time with my children. 2pm every day that we are home – stop by if you’d like to join us! :)


I’ve been chronicling our tea times and other lovely moments in our days on Instagram! That’s Lovely Thing #5! I’ve never had a phone with a decent enough camera to use Instagram, but Rob passed his down to me last month and I can’t get enough of capturing these kiddos in filtered little squares. :) You don’t have to have a smartphone to see my photos – just click here.

And just one more lovely thing before we get to the recipe for those donut holes you see up there (YUM!) – READING ALOUD! Lovely Thing #5  lately is that I am absolutely loving the time I’m spending reading to the kids. We’ve always read a lot, and they’ve always enjoyed it, but having a 7 and a 5 year old has really changed the game. Not only is Aidan reading independently like a boss, and Cora is coming up right along behind him, they are both finally engaging fully in the stories we read. Until now, Aidan has eaten up our read-aloud time and Cora has tolerated it. Cora is so super eager to read these days that it makes my heart sing! Chapter books we’ve read recently (in the last few months):

  • Anna Hibiscus series (the first 4 – LOVE!)
  • The Milly Molly Mandy Storybook
  • The Miraculous Journey of Edward Toulane
  • Prince Caspian (Chronicles of Narnia)

If you’d like to see a complete list of the books I’ve read to the kids or would like to read, make sure you follow me on Goodreads. My “Read to Kids” list is here.

Now for the chocolate! :)


We aren’t strictly avoiding any foods here in the Barr house, but I do like to mix things up and not rely as heavily on wheat and dairy as our culture usually does. And I definitely like to give my kiddos high quality foods whenever possible. So, when my friend gifted me a donut-hole maker, I knew I was going to have to get creative with recipes.

I’ve been making this recipe for my kids for over two years now, so I decided if they are still enjoying it it’s probably worth sharing. We used it last week to teach Aidan and Cora how to follow recipe directions, too!

little helper

This particular recipe can be used for either donuts or muffins. We did a bit of each. Directions for both are at the bottom of the post.

Coconut flour absorbs liquid differently than wheat flour, so if you are new to using it follow the directions and use these photos for reassurance. You really DO need this many eggs, and it really does soak up a ton of liquid! It can also be clumpy, which is why I am extra careful to mix the dry ingredients well and break up any clumps.


My donut maker only makes 7 at a time, but it’s super-duper fast. I open it once or twice to see how things are going, and its pretty obvious when they are done. The donuts go from this:


to this:


In just about 4-5 minutes! Since this recipe is low sugar (like very dark chocolate), I really like to cover the donuts in melted chocolate when serving to guests or for special occasions. We love that Costco sells a giant bag of responsibly sourced chocolate chips! My kids will devour them either way. I don’t worry about them looking fancy. They don’t last long enough! (My silicone baking mat was temporarily lost. Foil makes me sad, but this is real life.)


And if you’d like to make muffins with the batter instead (since most of us have limited space for random cooking appliances), fold the (unmelted) chocolate chips in last to get the same sweet boost. Here’s that recipe – let me know if you try it!



1/2 cup coconut flour
1/3 cup cocoa powder
1/4 cup shredded coconut (optional)
1/2 tsp baking soda

6 eggs
1/2 cup melted coconut oil
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup nut butter (optional)

1 cup chocolate chips


Preheat oven to 350. Prepare muffin pan or cups (we love silicone muffin cups).

Mix dry ingredients in a large bowl, making sure to break up any clumps. Scramble/whisk eggs in another bowl with a fork then add other wet ingredients to eggs and stir throughly.

Combine wet and dry ingredients and let sit for a few minutes to that flour soaks up moisture. Fold in chocolate chips.

Fill muffin cups 3/4 full and bake for 15 minutes.

Makes 12 muffins (or about 20 donut holes)

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