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Renee Kohley

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No Cook Paleo Granola :: 10 Minute Prep, Grain Free, & Protein Rich!

March 24, 2017

This 10 minute prep, no cook, paleo granola is a little  bit sweet, a little bit salty, a fun crispy crunch, and big time kid approved!

No Cook Paleo Granola :: 10 Minute Prep, Grain Free, & Protein Rich!Product links in this post are affiliate links. It does not cost you anything and helps maintain the free information on this site, as well as answer the questions of “what brand do you use?” Please know I never personally recommend any product I wouldn’t use on my own family.

They sure do give you a run for your money, don’t they?!

You know…toddlers! While I’m nearing the end of a 7 year stint of having at least 1 toddler in the house, these little 1-3 year old people still have a way of completely throwing my day off with their “fascinating” requests, utter disregard for the concept of time, and sudden obsessions.

No Cook Paleo Granola :: 10 Minute Prep, Grain Free, & Protein Rich!Which has everything to do with no cook, paleo granola, right?

Well of course it does! Because when the 3 year old has it in her mind that she just *has* to have yogurt and granola one afternoon, momma is out of the said granola, and there have been more than enough battles chosen for this particular day…you figure out a way to make some sort of granola pronto.

I initially had the thought of just crumbling up some crispy nuts  from the pantry, sprinkling a bit of coconut flake,  and drizzling a bit of raw honey…but then I had an idea!

No Cook Paleo Granola :: 10 Minute Prep, Grain Free, & Protein Rich!All of the granola components without the cook time!

What if I did a quick “crumble” in the food processor (pulse!) of these components to make it really look like a granola mixture?! I decided to use dried fruit instead of the honey just in case it really did work and I wanted to easily store it away in a container. Bingo! After a few attempts at getting the right combo of dried fruit to nuts/seeds/coconut, we definitely had a winner…but did the toddler buy it???

No Cook Paleo Granola :: 10 Minute Prep, Grain Free, & Protein Rich!She was all over it!

The dates provided the perfect, mild sweetness for a little one – and my taste buds are quite trained now so I don’t need things super sweet anymore. You can always add a drizzle of honey to the bowl if you need! She enjoyed her bowl of yogurt with fresh granola, and anyone with a toddler in the in their care knows that I am not exaggerating when I say the day was saved!

No Cook Paleo Granola :: 10 Minute Prep, Grain Free, & Protein Rich!Notes about ingredients, swaps, and nutrients!

  • I used dates as the “sweet” for this granola. Dates are a fantastic source of essential minerals such as potassium, calcium, magnesium, iron, and zinc, that we all need on a daily basis. I like the fiber component of using real fruit for sweetening things for little guys too! You could swap the dates for another dried fruit (like raisins or dried blueberries) to provide the “sticky” to hold the bits of granola together.
  • I really think that any nut and/or seed combo would work for this granola. My biggest suggestion would be to change things up every time you make it! Different nuts and seeds have different nutritional benefits – take advantage of the variety. I do like the ingredient profiles of chia and flax and have tended to keep those in the mix each time. Chia seed and flax seed are a good source of omega 3 fatty acids, which most of us could use more of! They are also a good source of protein and fiber.
  • I have also liked to pull out some of the nuts and use more coconut shreds. Coconut shreds have protein and fiber as well as iron and zinc! We aren’t huge coconut flavor fanatics here, but I like the texture and the dates cover up the coconut flavor! I understand that coconut has become problematic as an allergen for some with leaky gut going on. If that is the case, simply leave the coconut out and swap for another seed or nut.
  • If you are nut free, you can swap the nuts for pumpkin seeds and sunflower seeds, and/or more coconut shreds!

No Cook Paleo Granola :: 10 Minute Prep, Grain Free, & Protein Rich!Serving suggestions for everyone!

We have a bit of a split home as far as who tolerates dairy and who doesn’t, so I have a lot of serving ideas for you!

No Cook Paleo Granola :: 10 Minute Prep, Grain Free, & Protein Rich!

5.0 from 1 reviews
No Cook Paleo Granola :: 10 Minute Prep, Grain Free, & Protein Rich!
Author: 
 
Ingredients
  • 10-12 dates, pitted and chopped (I think a couple cups of other dried fruit like raisins would work here, and probably wouldn't need the initial chopping!
  • 1 cup walnuts (I like to use soaked/dehyrated nuts for best digestion)
  • 1 cup pecans (I like to use soaked/dehyrated nuts for best digestion)
  • ½ cup chia seed
  • ½ cup flax seed meal
  • 1 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
  • ¼ - ½ tsp sea salt (leave out if your nuts were salted)
  • {I get all of our nuts and seeds, as well as dates from Costco. I purchase coconut shreds in bulk at our local health food store.}
Instructions
  1. Put everything into the food processor. Mix with a spoon to combine everything evenly first.
  2. Pulse to combine into the texture you like (I have left the chunks bigger than what is pictured in this post as well and that is my favorite - my toddler prefers it smaller like what is pictured). Store the granola in an airtight container in the pantry up to 3 months.

More real food recipes you might like ::

No Cook Paleo Granola :: 10 Minute Prep, Grain Free, & Protein Rich!

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Real Food For Real Families :: How to make real food happen with a busy schedule and on a budget!

March 21, 2017

How do you make real food happen with a busy schedule and on a budget? Let this veteran real food momma show you how!

Real Food For Real Families :: How to make real food happen with a busy schedule and on a budget!Product links in this post are affiliate links. It does not cost you anything and helps maintain the free information on this site, as well as answer the questions of “what brand do you use?” Please know I never personally recommend any product I wouldn’t use on my own family.

Early mornings. Clingy toddlers. School work. Never ending bills. Babies that just…won’t…nap.

Dear momma, I am right there in the trenches with you. I get it. I get the time crunch. I get the budget. I get your desperate desire to feed your family well and just not knowing where to start, or where to put your priorities into what part of it is the most important.

Real Food For Real Families :: How to make real food happen with a busy schedule and on a budget!Baby steps.

Here is some veteran momma wisdom for you. Let’s start somewhere. Instead of getting overwhelmed with fancy food prep, elaborate meals, and time consuming recipes, let’s get back to the basics. Real food at its core. Because let’s face it…our ancestors would have kept it that simple.

Real Food For Real Families :: How to make real food happen with a busy schedule and on a budget!How to save time among the chaos of mommahood

I do not, I repeat, I do NOT spend all day in my kitchen. Here are a few ideas for you to make your meals work for YOU!

  • Dear momma, make that meal work double time for you. I almost always make more of a meal than we need. Especially when it comes to soups, casseroles, and baked goods etc double up that recipe and use it later in the week when you don’t have time to cook.
  • Get the kids in on the action. I know what you are thinking…doesn’t that make it take longer?! Well, yes at first. But let me give you a little perspective. If the problem with getting the meal made is the kids being around, isn’t getting their hands busy washing, peeling, or playing with scraps at the counter keeping their hands busy so you can do your thang?! YES! Secondly, I promise you that over time, those hands that fumble over a peeler, and need constant supervision at the stove, will become your best soux chefs! My little helpers have become my right hand in the kitchen at times.
  • Prep day. Or prep afternoon or evening. Or prep hour even! Whatever you can do, have one set aside time during the week where you can have a little prep time. Wash and chop veggies (so you don’t have to buy the expensive pre prepped veg!), make salad dressings, mayo, and other simple staples you need for the next couple weeks. Make a huge pot of soup to eat from on busy days so you can avoid reaching for fast food or convenience foods when life happens.
  • Lastly, keep it simple. I love a fancy meal just as much as you. But life doesn’t always allow fancy food prep time. You can still put a delicious, satisfying meal on the table keeping things simple.

Real Food For Real Families :: How to make real food happen with a busy schedule and on a budget!A little dose of real life…

One of my goals in every post, and every book I write for you, dear readers, is to keep myself as relate-able as possible. My real life is about as real as it gets. We lived for years on one income. We’ve been the one car family, the laid off family, the food stamp family. We have been the sleepless night family, the 3 kids four years old and under family, the both momma and daddy working family.

Real Food For Real Families :: How to make real food happen with a busy schedule and on a budget!My heart is to show you that despite “life,” this real food thing really can happen.

Because of this real life that I live, I am very choosy about projects that I take on. I’m talking super picky. I only have so much time to pour into projects with my busy family, and I want to be ensured that every project I take on will have meaning for you, my readers.

Real Food For Real Families :: How to make real food happen with a busy schedule and on a budget!A new project!

Which is why I quite literally jumped at the opportunity to be a part of the 30 Minute Clean Eats On a Budget e-book project. When I read through Kelly’s vision for this E-book my heart leaped.

Her vision for this ebook project included:

  • Recipes need to be free from most common allergens and Paleo friendly. (Grain-free, gluten-free, dairy-free and soy-free.)
  • Recipes need to be 30 minutes from start to finish, and must be made in a pot or pan (No slow cooker or Instant Pot recipes because not everyone has one or can afford one).
  • Recipe cost needs to be under $20 for 4 people (the lower the better).

Doesn’t that just make you perfectly giddy?

Real Food For Real Families :: How to make real food happen with a busy schedule and on a budget!

Well, we did it!

Along with a talented group of 19 veteran real food bloggers, we have compiled an affordable E-Book cookbook of over 80 budget friendly, time crunch friendly, real food meals for the whole family! Not only is this e-book loaded with recipes you can make today, there are tried and true real food budget tips to help you baby step your way into this lifestyle.

Get 30% off “30 Minute Clean Eats On A Budget” for the next 80 hours! Just use the code “CHEAPEATS30” at checkout! Order today before the coupon expires!

Real Food For Real Families :: How to make real food happen with a busy schedule and on a budget!An epic giveaway just for YOU!

Because we are at the edge of our seats excited for you to make this lifestyle change, we are celebrating with an epic giveaway!

There will be 8 winners (!!!) and following is the list of prizes!

  • Grand Prize: a 6 quart Instant Pot®, a Year Membership to Thrive Market and a Month Membership to 20 Dishes!
  • 2nd Runner up: A Year Membership to Thrive Market and a Month Membership to 20 Dishes
  • 6 Runner ups : A copy of 30 Minute Clean Eats on a Budget

Hop over to our giveaway page to enter! Good luck!

If you just can’t wait, need to get cooking today, and want to jump in with both feet, you are totally my kind of people!

You can snag up your copy of the 30 Minute Clean Eats On a Budget e-book here right now! {Don’t forget to use the code CHEAPEATS30 for 30% off!} Let us hold your hand through this lifestyle change – we are so excited for you!

Cold & Flu Season Dinner Ideas Healthy Kids and Teens Lunch Ideas Nourishing Staples Real Food 101 Real Food Tips school lunches Soup

Gluten Free Ginger and Leek Chicken Noodle Soup :: Grain Free Options

March 17, 2017

Give that bowl of classic chicken noodle soup a ginger and leek flavor upgrade!

Gluten Free Ginger and Leek Chicken Noodle Soup :: Grain Free OptionsProduct links in this post are affiliate links. It does not cost you anything and helps maintain the free information on this site, as well as answer the questions of “what brand do you use?” Please know I never personally recommend any product I wouldn’t use on my own family.

One last warm, wintry soup for the season, ok?!

I’m staring out the window at more snow falling. On March 17…

It’s pretty safe to say I’m over it, but for the moment I’ll embrace the last of winter hanging on…as long as I have a warm bowl of soup like this to cheer me up!

Gluten Free Ginger and Leek Chicken Noodle Soup :: Grain Free OptionsA chicken noodle soup make-over

My kids rarely tire of classic chicken noodle soup – in fact 9 times out of 10 when one of my girls requests soup, chicken noodle is definitely her jam. She asked for it a few weeks back and I decided to change things up a little bit. We were getting over a bit of a cold and I had some ginger to use up from making our cold busting ginger tea. It made simply the most amazing noodle soup we’ve had in a long time!

Gluten Free Ginger and Leek Chicken Noodle Soup :: Grain Free OptionsAn early taste of spring!

We needed a bit of cheering up after fighting our cold, and the brightly colored rainbow carrots and fresh green leeks seemed like just the ticket – and made the perfect swap for the typical carrot and onion. Since I wanted the ginger flavor to shine, the leeks were a lighter background onion flavor, and the pretty yellow carrots were a hit with the kids.

Gluten Free Ginger and Leek Chicken Noodle SoupWhether you have special diet needs or not, we’ve got a noodle for that!

Gluten Free Options ::

Grain Free Options (Use a spirilizer, Y Peeler, or Julienne Peeler to make these veggie noodles! Also, back off on the bone broth by a couple cups and make a tapioca starch or cassava flour slurry to make the broth smooth and have the starchy feeling of noodles) ::

  • Zucchini Noodles
  • Sweet Potato Noodles
  • Butternut Squash Noodles
  • Golden Beet Noodles
  • Parsnip Noodles
  • Carrot Noodles

If you are not on a special diet, and can handle the gluten, I recommend using a wheat based noodle using Einkorn flour for best digestion.

Gluten Free Ginger and Leek Chicken Noodle Soup :: Grain Free OptionsDon’t forget to pack the leftovers for school!

And work too! My husband loves his travel crockpot to warm up soup right at his desk without ruining all of the nutrients in the bone broth in a microwave. He keeps the base at work and just brings the liner home to clean and fill back up. You can read more about the thermoses I like to use for the girls at school here – they keep the soup very warm all the way to lunchtime!

Gluten Free Ginger and Leek Chicken Noodle Soup :: Grain Free OptionsHere’s to happy spring thoughts coming our way!

Gluten Free Ginger and Leek Chicken Noodle Soup
Author: 
 
Ingredients
  • 3 TB friendly fat to cook in such as butter, tallow, coconut oil, or avocado oil
  • 2 medium carrots, peeled and diced (I like to use 1 orange carrot, and 1 yellow carrot for more color)
  • 1 large stalk of celery, diced
  • 2-4 inch knob of ginger, peeled and grated (about 1 TB of grated ginger will leave a very mild ginger flavor and almost no heat. 2 TB of grated ginger will leave more flavorful heat to the soup - we like the heat!)
  • 2 large cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 leek, leaves and roots removed, quartered lengthwise, then chopped (soak in a bowl of water and strain to get the sand out)
  • 1 bunch green onions, chopped (save some of the green to garnish the top)
  • 2 quarts bone broth (You can use Instant Pot Broth, or here is my slow cooker method)
  • 1½ cups shredded cooked chicken (Use leftovers from your roasted chicken, slow cooker chicken, or Instant Pot chicken)
  • 6oz gluten free noodles
  • Sea salt and pepper to taste
Instructions
  1. Melt the butter in a soup pot over medium heat, and add the carrot and celery. Add a big pinch of sea salt and cook over medium heat for 5 minutes to get the carrots softening.
  2. Add the grated ginger, minced garlic, leeks, and green onion. Cook for another 3-5 minutes over medium heat until fragrant and soft.
  3. Add the bone broth and chicken, turn the heat to high, and bring to a simmer. Add the noodles and cook over medium/high heat until the noodles are cooked to your liking. Sea salt and pepper the soup to your taste.

More real food recipes you might like:

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Paleo Fish ‘N Chips :: Quick Sheet Pan Prep!

March 10, 2017

Crispy and flavorful paleo fish ‘n chips are the perfect family friendly dinner menu idea made healthy!

Paleo Fish 'N Chips :: Quick Sheet Pan Prep!Product links in this post are affiliate links. It does not cost you anything and helps maintain the free information on this site, as well as answer the questions of “what brand do you use?” Please know I never personally recommend any product I wouldn’t use on my own family.

Boxed fish sticks…

As far as my childhood goes, and probably many in my generation, that was definitely the extent of most kids’ exposure to fish. I don’t think I touched a piece of fish from the time I was a teen until my mid 20’s when I learned better, and boy I am determined to change that!

Paleo Fish 'N Chips :: Quick Sheet Pan Prep!Know better, do better…

While I know beyond a shadow of a doubt our generation’s parents were just doing what they thought was best (fish is healthy right?!), those boxed fish sticks were pulled from questionable sources, and the breading…well, let’s just say the mile long list of ingredients probably didn’t do any of us any good!

More and more of us are becoming more conscious of fish sourcing importance, as well what the toxins and ingredients in processed foods do to our health (liver overload, every autoimmune disorder imaginable from Hashimoto’s to RA, Chron’s, and IBS all have roots in toxins from our environment and food).

Paleo Fish 'N Chips :: Quick Sheet Pan Prep!So what can we do when we just want to have something fun like fish and chips from our childhood?

Give those fish and chips a real food makeover, of course! Sure it’s not as fast as a box of fish sticks dumped onto the tray, but I gauruntee this preps faster than you think, *and* here’s the kicker…over time, those boxed fish sticks will wreck havok on your digestion. Making your own won’t be overloading your body with foreign food-like chemicals and ingredients which means you’ll feel better!

Paleo Fish 'N Chips :: Quick Sheet Pan Prep!Sheet pan prep fast and oh so good!

This crispy fish is super fast to bread up and the fries get so crispy with minimal effort! The trick is all in the oven temp and cook time! I love using this organic all seasons salt to season the fries – it seriously tastes just like a restaurant! Such a treat!

Paleo Fish 'N Chips :: Quick Sheet Pan Prep!Ideas for batching up the fish into the freezer

This busy momma knows that taking the time to make dinner sometimes just doesn’t happen. That’s why those boxed fished sticks from the store became so popular in the first place, right?!

So the next time you stock up on some wild caught fish, take a 20 minutes and bread up a bunch of fish for the freezer. You can get them all coated up, put them on a sheet tray into the freezer for an hour, and them pop the frozen breaded fish into a bag – they will pull out of the freezer just as convenient as the boxed kind!

Paleo Fish 'N Chips :: Quick Sheet Pan Prep!Super quick veggie sides for fish ‘n chips!

  • Salad (here are some kid friendly 5 minute dressings!)
  • Sheet pan roasted veg that can roast right along side the fish and chips
  • Steamed frozen veg – just dump the bag in, steam, and add butter! So fast!

Paleo Fish 'N Chips :: Quick Sheet Pan Prep!A quick note on sourcing

Wild caught fish is always best. We have a local fish monger that sells wild caught cod and salmon sometimes, but my main source most of the time is actually Costco. Their freezer section has great wild caught cod and it is always there! The health benefits of wild caught fish versus conventional/farm raised fish is vastly different. Cod is a great source of fat for brain development, so it is a nice meal to get your littles used to from very young.

(You can read more about how to introduce babies and toddlers to fish in my cookbook, Nourished Beginnings).

Paleo Fish 'N Chips :: Quick Sheet Pan Prep!I hope this recipe brings back a little bit of childhood to you!

5.0 from 7 reviews
Paleo Fish 'N Chips :: Quick Sheet Pan Prep!
Author: 
 
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
  2. Pat dry the sliced potatoes as much as you can, place on a large baking sheet, and toss with the avocado oil and seasoning salt. Put the tray in the 425 degree oven for 15 minutes. Stir the fries around and bake another 15 minutes.
  3. While the fries are baking, you can prepare the fish. Sea salt the cod fillets on both sides. Put the potato starch in one bowl, whisk the egg and mustard in a second bowl, and whisk the almond/coconut/rice flours, garlic powder, and Italian seasoning in a third bowl.
  4. Coat one of the cod fillets in the potato starch covering all sides. Dip in the egg/mustard, and then coat with the seasoned almond flour mixture. Place the breaded fillet on a baking sheet, and then continue to bread all the cod fillets. (If you aren't making as many cod fillets, you can just bread the fillets and set them on the same baking sheet as the fries when it is time to bake them).
  5. Once the fries have baked for 30 minutes (15 minutes, stir, 15 minutes), put the breaded cod fillets in the oven and bake both the fish and fries for 15 minutes.
  6. Put the fish right under the broiler for 2 minutes, flip the fish, and broil another 2 minutes. The fries can just hang out in the oven while you broil and crisp up the tops of the fish.
  7. Serve your fish with lemon wedges and homemade tartar sauce (there is a recipe in my new cookbook, Nourished Beginnings), and your fries with your dipping choice such as organic ketchup!

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Paleo Herb Roasted Grassfed Meatballs and Brussel Sprouts with Butternut Squash Noodles

March 3, 2017

Quick prep, delicious meatballs, and amazing noodle texture in vegetable form that the whole family will love!

Paleo Herb Roasted Grassfed Meatballs and Brussel Sprouts with Butternut Squash Noodles Product links in this post are affiliate links. It does not cost you anything and helps maintain the free information on this site, as well as answer the questions of “what brand do you use?” Please know I never personally recommend any product I wouldn’t use on my own family.

That thing when one of your most used kitchen tools breaks…

Oh I was just devastated when the handle on my spiralizer broke a few weeks back! I use that bad boy all the time…hence the worn out handle!

Paleo Herb Roasted Grassfed Meatballs and Brussel Sprouts with Butternut Squash Noodles Patience…and innovation!

Of course I would have loved to hit that little Prime button that day and have my new spiralizer on my doorstep in 2 days flat, but until that money tree grows in the backyard, we have to save and budget for this kind of stuff!

So I made use of what I did have…a hand peeler!

Paleo Herb Roasted Grassfed Meatballs and Brussel Sprouts with Butternut Squash Noodles The perfect, curly ribbon noodles!

Oh friends! This is pretty much becoming my favorite way to do the veggie noodle thing! Sure it takes a little elbow grease to get a squash completely peeled – honestly it didn’t really take that long, and with a really good, sharp Y-Peeler, it was very easy! I’ve even been doing carrots quicker (which don’t do real well in a spirilizer anyway because they are so thin!)

By the way! Y Peelers are fantastic for little guys who want to help you peel things! My little ones from as young as 2 years old helped peel easy things like carrots and potatoes using this peeler!

Paleo Herb Roasted Grassfed Meatballs and Brussel Sprouts with Butternut Squash Noodles Weeknight dinner quick for the whole family

If you have a half hour, you can have this on the table for dinner! Just 10 minutes to prep everything for the oven, and everything roasts in the oven together for 20 minutes! My kids loved the big thick “noodles” and my toddler approved the mild, simple flavor.

Paleo Herb Roasted Grassfed Meatballs and Brussel Sprouts with Butternut Squash NoodlesWhat’s in season? Use it!

I roasted these lovely brussel sprouts to fill our bowls because that’s what is around here are decent prices right now. Brussel sprouts get sweet and their leaves get crispy and salty when roasted – they are so good! You could swap the sprouts for asparagus in the spring, broccoli or a mix of summer veg in the summer, and greens or cabbage in the fall.

Paleo Herb Roasted Grassfed Meatballs and Brussel Sprouts with Butternut Squash Noodles So…will I buy another spiralizer?

Ummm yes! I do love my peeler, and still plan to use it for ribbon noodles, but have you seen the spiralizers with the downward handles?! They have taken the amazing spiralizer and made it even better! Gravity is on your side with these making veggie noodle making even easier. I’ll come back and let you know how I like it as soon as I am able to buy one! (If you like to use Instagram – hop over there and follow because I’ll probably do a video InstaStory once I get it to show you!)

For now, enjoy my creative efforts in using a hand peeler for a bowl full of irresistible veggie noodles!

Paleo Herb Roasted Grassfed Meatballs and Brussel Sprouts with Butternut Squash Noodles

 

5.0 from 3 reviews
Paleo Herb Roasted Grassfed Meatballs and Cabbage with Butternut Squash Noodles
Author: 
 
Ingredients
  • 1 lb grassfed ground beef
  • 1 large handful baby kale or spinach, chopped finely
  • 2 tsp dried thyme
  • 1½ tsp garlic powder
  • 1½ tsp onion powder
  • 1¼ tsp sea salt
  • ¼ tsp pepper
  • 1½ pounds brussel sprouts, halved or quartered depending on their size (or, enough to feed your crew for one meal - I like to fill a full baking sheet for my family of 5)
  • 1 medium/large butternut squash, peeled with a Y-Peeler into "ribbon noodles", or spiralized into spaghetti or ribbon noodles
  • 1 large handful baby kale or spinach, chopped finely to mix with the butternut noodles (optional if your kids might be funny about the extra green - it really just looks like herbs and doesn't have a taste though!)
  • 8 TB roasting fat of choice for the veggies (butter, coconut oil, avocado oil are good choices)
  • Sea salt and pepper to taste
Instructions
  1. Pre-heat the oven to 425 degrees
  2. Mix the beef, kale, thyme, onion powder, garlic powder, sea salt, and pepper in a small mixing bowl. Roll in to 2 inch balls and place on a Silpat or parchment paper lined baking sheet.
  3. Toss the brussel sprouts with 4 TB of melted butter, and sea salt/pepper to your taste on a baking sheet.
  4. Toss the butternut squash noodles with 4 TB of melted butter, chopped kale, and sea salt/pepper to taste on a separate baking sheet. I also like to add a bit of onion and garlic powder to the noodles - of course optional but we like it!
  5. Roast the meatballs, brussel sprouts, and butternut noodles at 425 degrees for 20-25 minutes, stirring the noodles and brussel sprouts 2 times during the roasting. This will leave the noodles a bit "al dente" - if you prefer them much softer, you can cook another 5-10 minutes. (I use all 3 racks in my oven, one sheet pan on each rack. If you are making a half recipe for a smaller crew, you could fit all the veggies on one tray)
  6. Serve the meatballs and brussel sprouts over bowls of the butternut noodles. You can add homemade sauces or pestos if you wish too!

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Liver Support For Every Season Of Motherhood :: Gentle Liver Support & Detox Tips PLUS! A “Liver Love Smoothie” Recipe!

March 3, 2017

Gentle liver support and detox tips for every season of motherhood, plus a liver love smoothie recipe!

Liver Support For Every Season Of Motherhood :: Gentle Liver Support & Detox Tips PLUS! A "Liver Love Smoothie" Recipe!

Momma, this one is for you!

Get baby to sleep in that sling, get a stack of coloring books out for your toddler, and send the big kids off to play, and settle in so we can talk about taking care of you for a bit!

Spring cleaning…

I’ve never been enthusiastic about housekeeping, and while I do a form of spring cleaning on the house each year (as much as can be done with little whirlwinds running around the house!), I’m going to be talking about spring cleaning…you!

Momma, did you know that it is ok to focus on your health? In fact, it is vital to your kids to have a momma that feels her best and is functioning at her best!

Gentle is the name of the game…and the most effective.

So here’s the deal. I’m a go-getter. I’m a jump in with both feet kind of a person. I decide I’m going to do something and I’m full on, 100 percent into it…and then some.

However, when it comes to our liver, brute force, full on, over doing it is not always wise, especially if you have never done anything to help support or detox your liver before. I am putting this all in bold at the beginning of this post because I have over done before. And it is not pretty. And it actually is super ineffective as you flood your body with toxins you can’t handle.

I am going to show you how to add a few things into your daily routine to assist your body at getting rid of toxins in a natural, gentle, and effective way. Because when we just DUMP and over do it, you can really throw your body off as toxins are released. It makes you feel even sicker, or cause Herxheimer reactions, that will make just about everyone need to stop. Including someone like me {ahem…can you tell I have experienced this?!}

Do you need to work on loving your liver a little?

Do you eat food? Breathe air? Drink? If you answered yes to any of those questions, then the answer is probably yes! Unfortunately there are toxins just about everywhere we go these days, and even if you are a “clean eater”, the environments that we live in are just not ideal.

Our livers were designed to filter these toxins, but sometimes things get backed up. Helping the liver stay clear and doing a few things to unclog the liver will keep things flowing well. Many of these items are things you can do on a daily or weekly basis to keep your liver happy, all year long.

My goal in this post is to show you the most gentle effective ways to give your body’s natural filtering process some love during all seasons of life.

Detoxing can take on many forms, and depending on what stage of the game you are, you will want to find the best fit for you in the season of life that you are in.

  • If you are planning on getting pregnant, are pregnant, or are nursing, your goal will simply be to give your liver some love and support so it can do it’s thing. You don’t want to be dumping and detoxing while making or nourishing a baby.
  • If you are not in a season of pregnancy or nursing, but have never given your liver a second thought before (IE you have never done any of the items on the list before), you may want to consider starting out with just a few of the first suggestions. Dumping too quickly will make you feel pretty crummy.
  • If you are a veteran dry brusher, detox bather, caster packer, and beet and dandelion lover, I’ve got some great supplements to share with you at the bottom to up your liver love game – and they truly have been a game changer for this veteran! You’ll love them!

Set your thought process in the right direction.

Your thought process in this gentle, effective detoxing should be…

“I am going to nourish my liver and lymph system whose job it is to clear toxins from the body.”

You are like the assistant making the environment prime for filtering. Dumping out loads of toxins is not the end result you want. Believe me. Assisting the unclogging of your liver and getting lymph moving should be at the forefront of your mind, and your body will do the rest for you.

I promise that there are gentle things you can do to assist your body’s natural cleaning process while you keep your body environment safe, and still able to function.

So let’s get started!

Liver Support For Every Season Of Motherhood :: Gentle Liver Support & Detox Tips PLUS! A "Liver Love Smoothie" Recipe!


Proactive Ways to Support Your Liver and Lymphatic System


You can add some of these to your day today! Don’t be overwhelmed with getting every point in *right now*, however. In fact, just start with what appeals to you the most with where you are at. Some of you that maybe are already doing the first couple points are ready to move on to something more in depth. And those of you that haven’t done anything ought maybe just start with the first couple of ideas.


Lemon Water

Quite simply lemon water is a great place to start. Especially if you have never done anything to aide your body in detoxing, drinking lemon water will get the party started. It will also get things moving and flushing so the other detoxing methods can work effectively. It is something you can start today, and just about everyone can afford it!


Eat Foods That Encourage Natural Detoxing

From beets to greens, turmeric, garlic, and other herbs, there are every day foods you can fit into your meal plan to make detoxing a part of your everyday life. Beets blend into smoothies nicely (see the Liver Loving Smoothie at the bottom of this post!), as well as make a great roasted veggie side for dinner. We love this beet slaw for a side salad or as a topping to a grassfed burger too! You can wilt greens into just about any stir fry and they blend up into a green smoothie without even noticing! And as far as the herbs, well…dress your food up with real food medicine! Turmeric is the main component of curry blends – you can make curry for the whole family in the form of curry soup or curry skillets and to get that in. We also love collecting dandelion greens from the yard in the spring to make dandy salads.

Another quick note about food and the liver! The liver cleans out around 1-2am every middle of the night. If you eat big, heavy meals at night, you might notice you wake up and feel crummy around this time of the night. Try to make the last meal of your day a healthy dinner and skip the bedtime snacking to allow your liver free space to work at night and  not be so bogged down. (If you are pregnant or nursing you can snack on healthy options, but I encourage you to try eating most of your food during the day so your digestion and liver and recover at night).


Dry Brushing

You can coordinate dry brushing with your detox bath which I will discuss below. Dry brushing moves lymph. Our lymphatic system carries toxins from various parts of the body to the liver to filter. Moving the lymph keeps things, well…moving! It makes your skin feel amazing too which is just an added bonus!

To dry brush, simply start at your feet brushing towards the heart. Swipe each area 3-4 times moving up the legs and the groin, tummy, back, arms, armpits, and chest. Always brushing toward the heart. I like to use this brush for my body, and then I have this brush for more sensitive areas like my chest, neck, and face.

This is another super affordable method to aide detoxing that just about everyone can start this week!


Detox Bath

Epsom salts have been used for ages for natural detoxification. A simple hot bath full of epsom salt draws impurities out of the body after just 20 minutes, and then after about 20-40 minutes of soaking you will absorb the mineral benefits of the epsom as well. I use 3 cups of epsom salt in my bath. You can use a cup or two of baking soda in your bath if you don’t have a water filtration system. It neutralizes the chlorine and helps the minerals in the epsom salt to absorb.

This is the simplest, bare minimum detox bath, and it is very effective. If you want, you can occasionally add clay or Himalayan salt to your bath to up the ante. I like to add a few drops of lavender essential oil, and I make an herbal tea bath once and a while to make things even more relaxing. Just steep a strong pot of chamomile tea and pour it into your bath. It is very soothing!

I buy large bags of epsom salt and baking soda at Costco.


Castor oil packs

*NOT recommended if you are pregnant or trying to get pregnant!*

Castor oil packs are another very simple, cost effective way to draw toxins out of the liver or digestive system. I am 3 years out from a very looong season of being either pregnant or post partum or trying to get pregnant, so castor oil packs are newer to me in the last 2 years. I used to hate doing them because it meant I needed to lay down (ha!) and I just didn’t have time for that…or did I?!

You know that 30-60 minutes before you go to bed or are laying in bed looking at your phone (yeah yeah yeah, I know we aren’t supposed to do that, but we pretty much all do it anyway!)? THAT dear momma is the perfect time to castor pack!

Castor oil packs improve lymph circulation and lower inflammation to the area it is directed toward as well as the natural detoxification for that area. You can focus on different areas depending on what you are going for. For instance, you can lay the castor pack over your liver to stimulate the liver, over the lower intestine area to aide digestion, etc

To make a castor oil pack, you will need caster oil, a thin cotton cloth (use an old cotton cloth, piece of flannel, piece of an old tee shirt, or you can buy castor oil flannel here.), and a heat source such as a hot water bottle.

  • Place the cloth in a quart jar and pour about a tablespoon or so of castor oil over the cloth and let it soak in completely. Keep adding the oil until the cloth has absorbed it all but it is not dripping wet.
  • Lay down with your feet elevated slightly and place the cloth directly over the area abdomen you are looking to help. If you are not moving your bowels well, I would recommend starting there so you can get things moving – you don’t want to be backed up while you are detoxing. Place your heat source over the cloth and rest for about an hour if you can. If you don’t want oil to get on your heating pad, put a layer of plastic wrap over it.
  • When you are done, put the oiled cloth back in the jar, put the lid on, and keep it in the fridge for up to a month to re-use. You can then wash it and reapply the oil. Make sure to drink/stay hydrated while using a castor oil pack to keep things moving. I try to aim for 3 times per week when I am focusing on detoxing because that is what I can fit in – if you can fit it in daily that is fine! Uncomfortable side effects from castor packs are rare – only really good deep sleep and relaxation! It is truly a gentle way to detox.

*Please remember castor oil packs are NOT recommended while pregnant or while trying to get pregnant!*


Rebounding

Rebounding is a great routine to make your exercise while loving on your liver because it moves lymph very effectively! Here’s the way this multi-tasking momma looks at rebounding….exercise AND lymph movement checked off my list for the day, all in one shot?! I’m in! My friend Kristen wrote a great post about rebounding here if you would like to learn more. (This is another one that I would be careful with if pregnant – gentle is the name of the game. You can always do stretching, yoga, or walking to move lymph and exercise too!)


Herbal supplements for liver detoxing

BIG BOLD notes for mommas who are planning on getting pregnant, are pregnant, or who are nursing! Repeat after me…“My liver focus is supporting my liver so it can do it’s thang!” You do not want to be dumping toxins while making or nourishing a baby. Focus on the supportive things above. Milk thistle is a liver supporting herb, and I loved sipping on milk thistle tea while nursing – or make milk thistle tea and use that as your base for the Liver Love Smoothie below if you don’t like tea. This is a great Milk Thistle Tincture you can add very easily to your day as well. I big puffy hear love this post my friend Kristen wrote about detoxing while pregnant or nursing.

Ok! Onto my friends who are not in a season of pregnancy or nursing! There are so many herbal supplements on the market to try out for loving on your liver. Some of them use herbs or herbal blends that are more supportive in nature, while others are focused on actual detoxing and removing toxins.

Over the years I have tried numerous liver loving herbs. I like making dandelion root tinctures because they are easy. And adding milk thistle to tea is great too. I have used a handful of herbal liver detox supplements on the market, and I am quite impressed with the Liver Detox supplement from Perfect Supplements. (If you decide to give the PS Liver Detox a try, be sure to use your RGN reader code for 10% off! Just put GENERATION10 in the coupon spot at checkout!) I have been using the Perfect Supplements Liver Detox for the last month!

The Perfect Supplements Liver Detox is naturopathic doctor designed and endorsed. It is SO easy to take, and lets just be honest…sometimes I don’t make the time to brew tea! It is the perfect blend ratios of milk thistle, turmeric, and artichoke as well as schisandra berry, broccoli sprout powder, cilantro, and chlorella superfoods to enhance both phase I and II Liver detoxing. It really is an “all in one” package! I like to take liver detoxing supplements at night on an empty stomach so that by the time “liver time” comes around in the middle of the night (livers clean out around 1-2am!) they have the support they need.


Notes About Detoxing Symptoms & When To Back Off


While everyone is certainly going to have different responses, there are a few general ideas to keep in mind as you take on unclogging the liver so you can get rid of toxins. You may not notice more than a few pimples as your body rids toxins. If you are doing something more thorough such as some of the supplements, you may feel more.

Here are some of the symptoms I have experienced myself:

  • Tiredness/Fogginess/Energy Decrease. It is a lot of work to detox. And the toxins can make you feel a little off. It shouldn’t last long – again if you feel really off it might be indicating that you are doing too much too soon. Back off on doseage, and start with some of the basics of unclogging your liver so it can filter better. Be gentle to your body as you start, getting enough rest/sleep so your body can work.
  • Nausea/Digestive Upset. As the liver and gall bladder drain, it can cause nausea, and as old material in the digestion get moving, you can feel bloated. Again – if this is amplified over days, it might mean you need to back off a bit.
  • Skin Eruptions/Rashes. Your body can get rid of toxins through the skin. A bit of acne or a skin rash may indicate some detoxing. It should be mild – if it is not and you feel like you are having a Herxheimer type reaction (I have experienced this – NOT fun!), you may be doing too much too soon. Back off and start with some of the basics of unclogging the liver.

Be sure to check this post from my friend Kristen for  more possible detoxing symptoms, and a thorough explanation of healing reactions.


What can I do to get over detoxing symptoms and still function as a mom?


GREAT question! I think many (including myself way back when) think detox equals energy. And it just doesn’t until you get rid of the toxins. Detoxing is getting rid of the yuck so you are not going to feel fabulous until the yuck is gone. I don’t feel awful when I do these things anymore, but when I first started out it wasn’t very fun. Here are a few things I have learned that will help you over the detox hump so you can still get through your day.

  • Take it easy. Nap, sleep, rest. Whatever you have to do. This is another reason why it is important for pregnant and nursing moms to not go full on overboard with detoxing. It is near impossible to get the amount of sleep you will need for a big detox when you are up nursing a baby or rolling all over uncomfortable in bed at 8 months pregnant. I am not ashamed to say that while I am spending a focused period of time on detoxing, I get at least 9 hours of sleep per night. It’s called discipline. And it stinks. I set an alarm for my bedtime. I let a few things go on the house so I can occasionally get a nap in. It is so worth it though. In the end you will have MORE energy!
  • Drink more water/herbal tea/lemon water. You may feel more thirsty while you are detoxing (I usually do), but even if you don’t, drink as much as you can to flush it out. I don’t do well with plain water diluting my electrolytes, so I sip on sea salted lemon water or herbal infusions all day. It sounds simple, but I even plan ahead for this. I have an alarm set on my phone to remind me to make a gallon of herbal infusion to sit over night so I don’t forget. Plan ahead!
  • Eat well and ditch the sugar. *ducking*. I know it. I’m sorry. But we all know sugar just doesn’t jive with a healthy lifestyle. Even “real foodies” can sometimes get caught up in making real food treats, and for occasions, that is totally fine. But sugar is still sugar at the end of the day, and it inflames the body when we get too much of it. Period. So you can do all the liver cleansing techniques you want, but if don’t eat well, you are just putting it all right back in. You don’t need to be 100% perfect in my opinion, but if you want to feel well, I do think the food we eat plays a roll.
  • Don’t over do the exercise. Again, it is a lot of work to detox. Gentle walking, stretching, and yoga are great for getting lymph to move without taxing your body. Rebounding is probably one of the best exercises during detoxing as it is a great way to move lymph and get the yuck out.
  • Sweat it out in a hot bath or infared sauna. Not only will a hot bath make your achy-ness feel better and relax you, you can make it work double time for you by making it warm enough to sweat the toxins out. This is one of my favorite indulgences to let myself have during a time of focused detoxing. I literally schedule it in and am very protective over it. You are allowed to have a 20 minute bath every once and a while. (More details on how to take a detox bath are in the Detox Bath section above.)
  • Make sure your bowels are moving. It goes without saying that your bowels are moving waste out! You don’t want to be backed up while unclogging your liver. Add some chia seed to your smoothies (see the Liver Love Smoothie below!), drink plenty of water, make half of your plate veggies, take a good probiotic (you can see the probiotics I take in the supplement section of this post), and keep the sugar low.
  • Support your adrenals and boost your mineral intake. Your body can always use a little support for the adrenals. Adaptogens like Cordyceps keep the adrenals balanced, improve energy, and build resistance to bodily stressors. I added the Aquatic Greens from Perfect Supplements into my daily routine while taking the Liver Detox supplement for added minerals to support my organs. (Adaptogens like Cordyceps and the Aquatic Greens are NOT recommended while pregnant or nursing)

As promised! My Liver Love Smoothie Recipe!


This is safe for every momma, no matter your season of momma-hood! Just watch the notes on the Aquatic Greens for my pregnant and nursing momma readers! This liver love smoothie is refreshing and energizing!

Happy liver loving to you dear friends!

5.0 from 7 reviews
Liver Love Smoothie!
Author: 
 
Ingredients
  • 1 cup liquid base of choice (I used herbal tea infusions or coconut water. Any herbal tea or even water works fine too. If you have higher calorie needs such as if you are pregnant or nursing, you can use coconut milk or raw milk per your tolerance)
  • 1 scoop Aquatic Greens (leave this out if you are pregnant or nursing. You can use fresh or steamed spinach instead)
  • 2-4 TB steamed peeled beets or greens like kale or spinach (freeze a load of them so it's easy to grab!)
  • 1 scoop grassfed collagen (this adds 10g of taste free protein!)
  • 1 TB healthy fat of choice (I use Bulletproof Brain Octane Oil or an egg yolk. Melted coconut oil, avocado oil, or avocado would work too)
  • 1 TB chia seed (to keep your bowels happy!)
  • ¼-1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • ¼-1/2 tsp ground turmeric
  • Juice of ½ lemon
  • 1 whole small/medium orange, peeled (I like my to be frozen. Just freeze bag full of orange slices so they are easy to grab!)
  • 1 pitted date (raw honey would be fine here or leave it out if you want it less sweet)
Instructions
  1. Everything into a high powered blender to blend until smooth. Tastes the best if the liquid base is cold and the oranges are frozen. You can freeze a load of orange slices and steamed beets and keep them in a freezer bag in the freezer for convenience. You can also steam huge boxes of baby spinach or kale and freeze them into "pucks" in a muffin tin and then into a freezer bag.

 

Dinner Ideas Feeding Babies Nourishing Staples Real Food 101 Real Food Tips

Kid Friendly Orange Ginger Salmon :: Gluten Free & Soy Free!

February 24, 2017

Change up dinner time with brain nourishing, kid friendly, orange ginger infused salmon!

Kid Friendly Orange Ginger Salmon :: Gluten Free & Soy Free!

We got hit with the crud…

A couple weeks ago my girls fell 1 by 1 to the fever bug going through the school. Thankfully it was quite short lived, and my sweet toddler was probably the hardest hit. She kicked her fever like a rockstar within 24 hours, and when she came out of it, she was….hungry!

Kid Friendly Orange Ginger Salmon :: Gluten Free & Soy Free!What do you crave as “comfort” when you are ill?

New mommas here is my encouragement to you! When you start these little guys out eating really nourishing food from the get go, they become comfort food to them. I don’t know about you, but it took me a long time to re-train my definition of “comfort food” during illness. I’ve gone from Sprite soda pop, Saltine crackers, and peanut butter toast that I grew up on during illness, to bone broth based soups, teas, and meat.

Kid Friendly Orange Ginger Salmon :: Gluten Free & Soy Free!She asked for her “pink fish”….

I am literally in awe every time my girls ask for something like “pink fish” (salmon) when they are recovering from being sick. This is my youngest’s typical request. My first born is my soup girl and will eat bowl after bowl when she is recovering. My second asks mostly for anything with fatty fish or raw milk related (glass after glass of raw milk, yogurt, fish, spoonfuls of butter…). It is truly fascinating to watch.

{For more in depth discussion and almost 100 recipe ideas for getting your baby started on nourishing baby food, training toddler palates, and nutrient dense meals for the whole family, you can find my cookbook, Nourished Beginnings, at Barnes & Noble, and Amazon!}

Kid Friendly Orange Ginger Salmon :: Gluten Free & Soy Free!Her favorite salmon!

What kid wouldn’t love an orange infused salmon to eat! The marinade for this salmon not only infuses a very kid friendly, mild ginger orange flavor, but makes the fish literally melts in your mouth! My little ones from 6 or 7 months of age even liked to finger food bits of this soft fish off their trays. (I recommend leaving the extra sauce added at the end of the recipe off their portion by the way – it is the perfect flavor addition for older kids and adults, but not needed for little guy’s sensitive palates)

Kid Friendly Orange Ginger Salmon :: Gluten Free & Soy Free!Weeknight fast prep with a fancy finish!

Fish meals always end up looking so beautiful on the plate – as if you worked on it all day. In reality, pan cooked salmon is one of my favorite weeknight dinners because it is literally just minutes in the pan. You can whisk the marinade up and get the fish fillets in within 5 minutes the night before, and when you get home from work and school, just pop them in the pan. So fast!

Kid Friendly Orange Ginger Salmon :: Gluten Free & Soy Free!Side options

When it comes to fast fish dinners, I usually keep it pretty simple. In this case, my girls were still recovering from a fever bug that I felt had a digestive component, so I kept the sides to a simple steamed veggie and buttered white rice. Super gentle for the gut. And to be honest, little kids usually go for more simple sides than the fancy ones anyway – at least mine do.

  • Roasted root veggies (There are a lot of recipes for roasted veggie sides in my cookbook, Nourished Beginnings)
  • Squash purees
  • Veggie rice pilafs (there is a great recipe for this in my book Nourished Beginnings along with a recipe for how to make cauliflower rice veggie pilaf if the babies aren’t ready for grains (rice) yet.)
  • Steamed frozen veggies – just dump them right out of the bag! I get the organic ones from Costco!
  • Fresh garden veggies steamed or sauteed in butter – from green beans, snap peas, and zucchini!
  • Crusty bread and big salads made up with all the toppings you want! Here are some popular kid salad dressings like Ranch, French, & Thousand Island!

Kid Friendly Orange Ginger Salmon :: Gluten Free & Soy Free!A note on salmon sourcing

I recommend wild caught salmon and to avoid farmed salmon. I realize this can be hard to find in some areas (although it is becoming more widely available as popular places like Costco start carrying them!). If you can’t find a good, sustainable wild caught source, the orange ginger marinade goes really great with pastured chicken or lamb, and grassfed beef too!

I buy my wild caught salmon from Costco (freezer section) for the most part. We also have 2 local fish mongers that occasionally will have it available. If you are local to West Michigan, ask in the comments and I will let you know where we go! Our family also enjoys Wild Planet canned salmon – if you can’t find fresh/frozen, this would be a great way to get the brain nourishing fats from salmon into the kids. My little ones eat it right out of the can, or you can mix it up with this 5 minute mayo for a salmon salad sandwich!

Kid Friendly Orange Ginger Salmon :: Gluten Free & Soy Free!{For more in depth discussion and almost 100 recipe ideas for getting your baby started on nourishing baby food, training toddler palates, and nutrient dense meals for the whole family, you can find my cookbook, Nourished Beginnings, at Barnes & Noble, and Amazon!}

5.0 from 6 reviews
Kid Friendly Orange Ginger Salmon :: Gluten & Soy Free!
Author: 
 
Ingredients
  • 1 cup juiced oranges (you'll need about 3 small/medium oranges)
  • 2 inches of ginger, peeled and grated
  • 2 TB coconut aminos (if you don't have this, you can alternatively use double the sea salt)
  • 1 TB raw honey
  • 1 TB white wine vinegar
  • 1 TB sesame oil
  • ½ tsp sea salt
  • ¼ tsp pepper
  • ¼ cup friendly fat to cook in such as butter, tallow, lard, avocado oil, coconut oil, etc
  • 3 wild caught salmon fillets, cut in half to make 6 small fillets (You could leave them larger if your kids are bigger)
Instructions
  1. Whisk the marinade ingredients in a large glass container with a lid (orange juice, ginger, coconut aminos, honey, vinegar, oil, salt, and pepper). Put the salmon fillets in the marinade, put the top on the container, and put it in the refrigerator anywhere from 2 hours up to 24 hours. (Sometimes I set the fish in the marinade the night before so I don't have anything to do until dinner the next day. Sometimes I set it up quick in the morning.)
  2. Take the salmon fillets out of the marinade, and pour the marinade in a small sauce pan to reduce into a sauce later. You can strain the marinade if you don't like the bits of ginger in your sauce. I love the added heat from the bits of ginger!
  3. Heat a large skillet over medium heat, add the friendly fat to cook in, and then set the salmon fillets in the hot oil skin side down. Don't over crowd the pan. If you have a smaller skillet, cook the salmon in 2 batches. Cook the salmon over medium/medium-high heat for 3 minutes. Flip the salmon and cook another 3-5 minutes to your desired doneness.
  4. While the salmon is cooking, simmer the orange ginger marinade over high heat for 5-7 minutes until it reduces into a sauce. At this point you can either spoon the sauce over the salmon in the pan to cook the glaze on, or spoon the sauce as is over the salmon on the plate. My kids prefer their salmon with very little sauce - my toddler doesn't usually want any. In fact I squeeze a little extra orange juice or lemon onto their salmon and they don't even need the sauce (more for me!). The salmon has a mild, kid friendly orange ginger taste already from marinating so the sauce is just extra if you like it.

More real food recipes you might like::

Healthy Kids and Teens Natural Remedies Products & Books We Love!

Preparing Your Daughter For A Non Toxic Period :: Safe Product Options And Natural Period Relief For Teens

February 24, 2017

Learn why non-toxic period products are safer, and what you can use for natural period relief for your teen.

Preparing Your Daughter For A Non Toxic Period :: Safe Product Options And Natural Period Relief For Teens

Product links in this post are affiliate links. It does not cost you anything and helps maintain the free information on this site, as well as answer the questions of “what brand do you use?” Please know I never personally recommend any product I wouldn’t use on my own family.

A Note From Renee ::

3 girls. 3 girls! I am a bit embarrassed to admit that I haven’t really given a ton of thought as to how we will handle this season of life! Now that I am emerging from the fog of a {long} season of baby-hood and see my little girls growing up before my eyes, researching safer period options has become important to me.

I asked my fellow Green Moms Network friend who is the expert on non-toxic personal care items, Brittany, from The Pistachio Project, if she would address this important topic with my readers. I know a lot of you are moms with kids – even if you don’t have teens in the house yet, this will help you get ready to walk through this special season of life with your daughter!

Welcome Brittany! We are thrilled to learn more about this important information!


Anytime is the right time to start researching!

My daughters are still a few years away from getting their first period but that hasn’t stopped me from thinking about how they will go about dealing with it. When I was a young girl, the only options I even heard about were disposable pads and tampons. I had no idea that there were more natural ways to deal with my period. Thankfully, I now know all about the natural and non-toxic ways to have a period and I enjoy that time of the month a bit more since making the switch. I want my daughters to have the same natural and toxin free period options when their time comes.

Preparing Your Daughter For A Non Toxic Period :: Safe Product Options And Natural Period Relief For Teens Healthier for Her

We’ve all heard about Toxic Shock Syndrome but disposable tampons and pads actually carry other health concerns as well. Synthetic materials, bleach, fake fragrances, chlorine, pesticides, dioxin and other harmful ingredients are in disposable feminine products! This stuff does indeed enter our bodies and can have a negative impact on us. Take dioxin for instance, it’s a known carcinogen that has been linked to cervical and breast cancer! Why in the world are brands allowing this to be in our feminine products?

Lighter Periods and Less Cramps

This has got to be one of the greatest reasons to switch to non-toxic period products. As a woman, you know that heavier periods and cramps are no joke, so naturally you would want to help your daughter so that she doesn’t have to deal with all that! Using feminine products that do not contain all those toxin ingredients that I mentioned above actually can mean less cramps and lighter periods. It’s pretty amazing!

Saves Money

Ok so perhaps your daughter will not care about this factor, as I’m assuming you are likely to pay for her feminine care products right now. But you will appreciate this! Think about how expensive buying period products for you and a daughter will be (or 3 daughters like I will eventually have to do! Oh my!!!) $120 is what the average woman spends each year on feminine products! I can think of better uses for my money.

Reduces Waste

Hopefully your daughter is already a budding environmentalist, but if not then this is a great place to get her aware of how much waste we create. One woman will use over 10,000 disposable feminine products in her lifetime! Those disposable products aren’t going to be breaking down anytime soon either! All that waste will sit in the landfill for ages and the chemicals will seep into the ground and water that we use.

Much More Fun

Sure, these products are ones that nobody but your daughter are likely to see but girls like to have fun! Having fun feminine products will make this new experience much more enjoyable for your daughter. Forget about boring white pads and tampons! These non-toxic period products come in tons of fun colors and patterns (I’m talking mermaids, leopard print, rainbows, emojis, I even just saw some Star Wars pads!!!)

Preparing Your Daughter For A Non Toxic Period :: Safe Product Options And Natural Period Relief For TeensCloth Pads

These are the reusable alternative to disposable pads/pantyliners. (They are also referred to as Mama Cloth but clearly that won’t fly with your daughter!) Their is a bit of ick factor as yes, you will have to rinse these out and wash them but it’s not all that different from dealing with leaked on panties.

Pros:

  • Super easy to use!
  • Similar to their disposable version.
  • Tons of sizes (super light panty-liners, medium flow, overnight, even thong sizes)
  • Super fun colors and prints!

Cons:

  • They have to be washed.
  • Can’t toss them like you would disposables so your daughter would need to carry a small wet bag with her to store the dirty pads. (I recommend a cute little wet/dry bag so that she can store her clean pads in the dry section and the dirty ones in the wet. Plus all she will need to take to the restroom is her cute bag; no trying to hide a pad in the palm of her hand)
  • Can’t go swimming (just like disposable pads)

I love Pink Lemonade Shop for all their cloth pads! They have so many great colors and prints! (A note from Renee: I use cloth pads if you are curious what I use! If you like to use Amazon, I have found lots of great cloth pad options on there too!)

Want more info on cloth pads? I have a more detailed post on mama cloth and how to make the switch.

Menstrual Cups

These are the reusable alternative to tampons. However, they do not look like tampons! They are cup shaped and actually collect the blood unlike tampons which absorb the blood. Like cloth pads, there is a slight ick factor because your daughter will be getting close and personal with her body.

Pros:

  • Can be worn for 12 hours straight including through the night!
  • Can be worn for swimming, sports, exercise.
  • Non-drying as they do not absorb moisture like tampons.
  • No leaks unlike tampons (so long as the learning curve is mastered)

Cons:

  • Have to dump and rinse the cup so it’s a little icky.
  • Must get very comfortable with anatomy (which isn’t necessarily a bad thing).
  • There is a learning curve. Such as learning different folding methods, inserting, and remove menstrual cups.
  • People who do not want their virgin daughters to use tampons would have the same issue with menstrual cups.

There are many different brands for menstrual cups each with their own pros and cons. I love SckoonCup personally but it’s also the only one I’ve tried so far.

Want more info on menstrual cups? I have a more detailed post on menstrual cups on my blog.

Period Panties

These are one of the newest non-toxic period product options! Period panties are quite literally underwear that are extra absorbent. They are like a pad and panty all rolled into one.

Pros:

  • Hold up to 2 tampons worth of blood (depending on panty style).
  • Custom sizing and variety of styles.

Cons:

  • They have to be washed.
  • Must remove pants to remove the underwear so that could be problematic depending on location.
  • Can’t toss them like you would disposables so your daughter would need to carry a small wet bag with her to store the dirty panties. (I recommend a cute little wet/dry bag so that she can store her clean panties in the dry section and the dirty ones in the wet. Plus all she will need to take to the restroom is her cute bag)
  • Can’t go swimming (just like disposable pads)

THINX is the popular brand for period panties! I haven’t tried them yet but they definitely seem like a great option. (A note from Renee: I am very seriously considering trying some Thinx out and they are on my wishlist – I really think they look great!)

Sea Sponges

If nature created a natural tampon, the sea sponge is it. These are actual live (used to be alive?) sponges. They are to be used similarly to a tampon minus an applicator.

Pros:

  • All natural, no man made products at all.
  • Not as scary looking to insert as a menstrual cup.
  • Can be worn for swimming, sports, exercise.
  • Actually contain healthy sea minerals that the body can use.

Cons:

  • Only lasts about a year.
  • Learning curve on how to insert.
  • Only holds one tampon’s worth.
  • Not vegan.
  • Can’t toss them like you would disposables so your daughter would need to carry a small wet bag with her to store the dirty sponges. (I recommend a cute little wet/dry bag so that she can store her clean sponges in the dry section and the dirty ones in the wet. Plus all she will need to take to the restroom is her cute bag)

I’ve not tried sea sponges yet but Jade and Pearl looks like a popular choice. (Edited to add: Please see the comments below for a quick note from a reader on some safety issues regarding sea sponges that was brought to our attention after this was published. This does concern me (Renee), so please keep those comments in mind as you make your choice!)

Preparing Your Daughter For A Non Toxic Period :: Safe Product Options And Natural Period Relief For TeensWhile on the subject of periods, let’s talk about period relief. When I was a teen, I was all about the Tylenol. Now that I’m older and wiser, I prefer not to use drugs unless absolutely necessary. There are lots of great natural options out there and I love using them and I’ll introduce these methods to my daughter when their time comes.

(Note from Renee: It is important to note that extreme PMS symptoms such as extreme cramping can be a red flag to mineral deficiency and hormones being off. I highly encourage a simple hair tissue mineral analysis with my NTP friend, Lydia to figure out your daughter’s unique biochemistry related to her symptoms. Your daughter does not have to live with extreme pain during her period. The items in this section should help with normal cycle symptoms. Coming from personal experience, I can attest to going from really extreme cycle symptoms to not noticing I’m having a period at all through mineral balancing!)

Red Raspberry Leaf Tea

Any lady who has gotten her period should be sipping red raspberry leaf tea! This tea is mellow in flavor (reminds me a bit of black tea) and is amazing for uterine health. It can help relieve cramps and other period related issues like PMS. If your daughter isn’t a big tea fan, try brewing an herbal tea blend similar to this nettle infusion – the hibiscus will make it taste better. You could stir in raw honey if you wish too.

Magnesium

Many people deficient in magnesium these days. Proper levels of magnesium helps with cramps. If you or your daughter are dealing with cramps, try increasing the magnesium rich foods, or spray some magnesium oil on your body.

(A note from Renee: I always keep Cell Salt #8 on hand for period pain. I don’t experience cramps anymore since balancing my minerals and recovering from post partim hormone imbalance, as well as taking a slow release magnesium supplement during the month, but when I was in a lot of pain, those cell salts really took the pain down quite a few notches. Cell Salt #8 is a homeopathic that helps the body absorb and use magnesium efficiently.)

Gentle Movement & Rest

Moving and exercising might be the last thing any woman on her period wants to do, but it actually works great for reducing cramps. Even if your daughter only does some light yoga while her period, it can help her feel better.

It is also important for there to be conversation about how she might feel the day or 2 before, and the first day or so of her period. Making your daughter aware that it is normal to feel more tired and need extra rest is important so she doesn’t feel abnormal. Explain to her it is important to listen to her body and get a little extra rest, take a long bath, and care for herself.

Rice Bags

Much like a heating pad, rice bags can provide warmth and comfort for any aches and cramps. I prefer to use rice bags because they are not tied to electricity and they can go where you go. You can also add soothing scents like lavender to rice bags. You can buy rice bags (sometimes referred to as aromatherapy bags) but it only takes minutes to make your own rice bag.

Menstrual Cramp Relief Salve

This cramp relief salve has worked wonders on my cramps if I get them. It’s not too complicated to make and will last at least a year. Make a jar for you and your daughter (it’s also helpful for any type of cramp/ache so others could make use of it too)

I hope this post has been helpful for you. Please use it as a way to talk to your daughter about these options and about how she can have a non-toxic period. Bonus idea: After you’ve talked to your daughter about what she’d like to use, put together a great first period kit for her!

BrittanyThomasBrittany Thomas is the author of The Pistachio Project. A mother to five children, she began her journey of living green and crunchy because she wanted the best for her kids. However, she soon realized that natural living was a benefit to herself as well and now she shares what she’s learning on her blog. You can also find her at Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest.

 

Batch Up Meals Dinner Ideas Feeding Babies Lunch Ideas Nourishing Staples Real Food 101 Real Food Tips school lunches Soup

Classic Vegetable Soup

February 17, 2017

The classic nostalgia of that red can of vegetable soup, loaded with mineral rich bone broth and packed with nourishing vegetables, all in about 20 minutes!

Classic Vegetable Soup :: Bone Broth Packed & Tastes Just Like Campbell's Canned!

A trip back in time!

A couple weeks ago I showed a quick Instagram Story about my prep day, and I just happened to be making a simple, quick, and frugal vegetable soup. One that I make quite often with varying vegetables depending on what I have in house.

I had mentioned that the flavor is very similar to those little red cans of veggie soup in the soup isle at the grocery store, and you all were very excited about learning how to make it! Even though the nutrition in those little red cans is not stellar, it really brings back a lot of memories for people, I think, and you really can make it taste amazing with real food so your kids can have the same memories!

Classic Vegetable Soup :: Bone Broth Packed & Tastes Just Like Campbell's Canned!It’s all in the flavorful base…

That same sweet, tomato-y broth that the those store bought cans of veggie soup have is very easy to duplicate using real food! Something magical happens when you get that veg down in some butter and let a little time do some work on it. It sweetens the tomato paste as it cooks, and makes for a really delicious broth!

Classic Vegetable Soup :: Bone Broth Packed & Tastes Just Like Campbell's Canned!If it’s in season, it will work!

The beauty of this soup is that it really can be tailored to the veggies your family likes, and what is in season. You can pack it out with as much veg as I do, or add more broth if you want it a brothier soup.

I like keeping the veggies pretty simple – similar to that in the red can, with a few favorite add-ins like mushrooms, and, because I’m always looking for a way to get green in, a couple handfuls of spinach always wilt in so easily adding more nutrient punch to this simple soup.

Classic Vegetable Soup :: Bone Broth Packed & Tastes Just Like Campbell's Canned!

Easy peasy lunch packing!

Because this simple vegetable soup freezes up so nice, it makes a great lunchbox addition. I shoot for a veggie at every meal, so for my kids, soup fills that veg gap a lot of the time. I like to freeze in quart containers for my crew so it is easy to pull out one container that will feed all 3 girls and myself for one meal. You can freeze in smaller portions if you need.

I can also send a quart container with my husband to work for the week that he can have here and there, warming it up in his travel Crockpot.

Toddler tips!

Sometimes those little guys have issues with “pieces” – I know I have one of those right now and there’s no rhyme or reason to it other than…she’s 3! She waivers between not caring about the pieces and caring very deeply about it, so I have a couple tips to save your sanity!

  • Blend it up! Most little ones are more apt to eating smooth, texture free soup so just buzz it up. I have gone from complete refusal to more than willing to eat the soup with just this approach. Choose your battle and just get it into them that way, I say!
  • Let them pick out what veggies are going in. If they get a say in it, they are more likely to eat it. You can set it all out in front of them and ask them to pick 2-3 vegetables they want (in addition to the onion, garlic, tomato paste etc). On that same note you can let them help you cook it too!
  • Make sure it is a good temperature. I don’t talk about this often enough, but most kids are really sensitive to extreme temperatures of food. In fact what is warm or sip-able to you, is most likely scalding hot to them. Same goes cold food. My toddlers always preferred lukewarm to room temp soup, and when it came to stuff right out of the fridge, I usually let it warm up on the counter for a bit.

Classic Vegetable Soup :: Bone Broth Packed & Tastes Just Like Campbell's Canned!Soup and crackers go hand in hand!

Here are some ideas for you to keep in the pantry for easy additions to the lunchbox packing!

Classic Vegetable Soup
Author: 
 
Ingredients
  • 1 small/medium onion, diced
  • 2 medium carrots, peeled and diced
  • 2-3 cups frozen organic green beans, cut into bite-sized pieces (fresh works too if it is in season!)
  • 1 medium potato, cubed
  • 6oz mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 cup frozen organic corn
  • 4 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 2 TB tomato paste
  • 1 15oz can diced tomatoes, drained (if tomatoes are season, use fresh!)
  • 2 quarts bone broth (You can use Instant Pot Broth, or here is my slow cooker method)
  • 2 big handfuls of baby spinach or baby kale
  • Sea salt and pepper to taste
Instructions
  1. In a large soup pot, melt the friendly fat, and add the onion, carrot, green beans, potato, mushrooms, and corn with a big pinch of sea salt. Cook over medium/medium-high heat for about 7 minutes until the veggies soften.
  2. Add the garlic and tomato paste, stir to combine, and cook for a couple minutes.
  3. Add the diced tomatoes and bone broth, and bring to a simmer for 5 minutes.
  4. Turn the heat off and wilt in the baby spinach, and then sea salt and pepper the soup to your taste.

More real food recipes you might like:

Batch Up Meals Breakfast Ideas Nourishing Staples Real Food 101 Real Food Tips Taking Care of Momma

Healthy, Nourishing Breakfast Ideas For Busy Moms :: My Morning Routine

February 17, 2017

Practical tips for getting a nourishing breakfast in among the chaos of motherhood!

Nourishing Breakfast Ideas For Busy Moms :: My Morning Routine

Good morning, dear momma…

Motherhood is one of the most amazing experiences I have ever lived. I am writing this special post about you. For you. While I am usually focused on the kids and feeding families on this blog, today, I want you to set all of that aside for a bit and to talk about you.

Nourishing Breakfast Ideas For Busy Moms :: My Morning RoutineYou are worth taking care of…

I think it is pretty safe to say that in most households, mom probably last on the list. Especially if you have newborns or needy toddlers in the house, it goes without saying that your hands are tied.

Nourishing Breakfast Ideas For Busy Moms :: My Morning RoutineBut can I ask you something?

When a firefighter goes into a burning house, who does he put the oxygen mask to first?

That firefighter is not very helpful if he is on the floor of the burning house not able to breathe because he was more concerned about getting the oxygen to the person inside. The firefighter first puts the oxygen mask to himself, so he is able to help those he is there to save.

Momma, yes tending to newborn cries is important, but if you are not taking care of yourself somewhere in there, you will crash and burn at some point. 

Nourishing Breakfast Ideas For Busy Moms :: My Morning RoutineFill your cup so you can fill the rest of your family

Over the last 8 years of motherhood, I have grown to become incredibly protective over 2 things.

My sleep, and my breakfast.

Sleep is tough when you have babies in the house, but it can be done. I will save that topic for another day, because today we are going to talk about breakfast! Somewhere near that stack of books you know you’ll be reading to little ones all day needs to be a plate or bowl of nourishment for you.

Nourishing Breakfast Ideas For Busy Moms :: My Morning RoutineMomma’s breakfast = not negotiable

A surefire way to get the day started off on the wrong foot is to make sure you don’t eat something. A few years ago I started a post series on my Instagram (hashtag #RGNMorningMommaFuel) as a way to remind moms to eat something, and to keep myself accountable for getting breakfast in. At the time I had a newborn, a toddler, and a school aged kid, and I found that the days I got breakfast in ran much smoother than the days where I just grabbed a quick banana.

Breakfast became a non negotiable for me. While my breakfast routine has changed over the last 3 years as my dietary needs have changed (for example, I’m not nursing babies or pregnant right now), all in all the theme has always been the same (focused on real, nutrient dense food), and it makes all the difference in the world in how my day runs.

Nourishing Breakfast Ideas For Busy Moms :: My Morning RoutineMy routine

I’m going to share some of my weekday, school morning, quick breakfast routines in hopes that it will spark some inspiration with you, my readers.

Here are a few things to keep in mind while you read!

  • I get up before my kids. Period. I know that stinks. But for me, it is crucial to my sanity to have at least 15-20 minutes of quiet before the chaos begins. If you have babies, I realize this is somewhat of a wild card. I also realize however, if you have babies, they gotta nap at some point that morning, so if they are up early to nurse, simply get them in a sling or carrier, or down on the floor with something interesting to look at after they feed, and fix yourself some food. If you have an early rising toddler, give them a quick banana and raw cheese or cup of milk and set them up with some floor puzzles or their favorite book to look at while you get some food. It’s ok for a toddler to learn about someone other than themselves – awareness of others needs is a great social skill for them to learn.
  • Most of these meals come together in 10 minutes or less! I found my day ran smoother eating first versus waiting until the kids got up to eat, or eating after they ate – because by that point I was so far gone on hunger. It is also inevitable that someone will always need you once the kids are up!
  • The food portions and ratios of macros is what works for ME. This is meant to be inspiration. Not set in stone. Figure out what type of fuel your body works best on, and go from there. I am a recovering adrenal exhaustion and Hashimoto’s fighter, and so my food is based on what works for my body where I am at – which is waaaay better off than where I used to be even just a few years ago. While I was a nursing momma, my plate had more carbohydrates because I needed it to function and keep up. While I am certainly not on the low carb train, I do tend to eat breakfast lighter on the carb side as I follow more of an Adrenal Reset type plan, eating more of my carbs later in the day.
  • You will notice I don’t have smoothies on my breakfast plan. If you love smoothies, they make a great quick breakfast, so go for it as long as they are packed with nutrients! I like to chew my breakfast, and enjoy a hot breakfast versus super cold and that is just personal preference. You can see a great green smoothie recipe here – my kids love it for breakfast! I used smoothies when I was  nursing as a mid morning snack a lot.
  • You will notice I side my breakfast with a bit of kimchi or sauerkraut every morning! It is an easy way to add a vegetable to breakfast, help your food digest, and infiltrate your gut with nourishing bacteria for the day!

To see my weekday “Morning Momma Fuel” posts, you can follow the hashtag #RGNMorningMommaFuel on my Instagram!

Nourishing Breakfast Ideas For Busy Moms :: My Morning RoutineEvery Monday, I hard boil 1 to 1 1/2 dozen eggs for the week.

I peel them and get them into a container and they make for fast breakfast additions for myself, as well as the kids’ breakfasts and lunchbox/snack packing for school. I use my Instant Pot which makes this process super fast, but for years (including all of my newborn years!) I steamed them in my steamer or boiled them the old fashioned way!

Hard boiled eggs go with just about anything!

From freezer breakfast cookies (which is our Friday staple!) to veggie wraps, freezer muffins, healthier pancakes, or a bowl of granola with raw milk. One of my favorite uses for hard boiled eggs is with dinner stir fry leftovers! Just top those stir frys with an egg – it is so fast and so good! (See Tip #4 for lists of breakfast cookie and granola options!)

Egg free friends!

We had to be an egg free house for a while back when one of my girls couldn’t tolerate them. It is do-able! Instead of hard boiled eggs,  keep a freezer bag of these great sausage patties in the freezer – you can thaw it out in the pan in minutes.

Nourishing Breakfast Ideas For Busy Moms :: My Morning RoutineVeggie minerals have made ALL the difference in how I feel every morning.

It seems almost too simple! After I had my second baby, I started eating lunch and dinner leftovers for breakfast sometimes when my hands were too full to cook, and I feel in love with eating soup for breakfast. Give it a try for a week or 2 before you write me off!

Soup goes with just about anything!

Eggs, bacon, freezer biscuits or muffins, breakfast cookies, veggie scrambles or hashes, avocados. The soup takes just minutes to warm through and all of those sides are easily prepped in minutes as well.

Some tips for making soup an easy breakfast

  • Make one large pot of soup every week to eat off from all week long. If you search “soup” on my search bar at the top of this screen, there is literally over a dozen different soups to try! Make soup a part of your prep day, or serve a doubled portion for a meal on the weekends so you have some left for during the week.
  • When you make soup for dinner, double the recipe and fill the freezer. A lot of my soup recipes are already large portions for my family of 5, so if you are a smaller family, these will feel like big recipes – use the leftovers for your breakfast!
  • Freeze in convenient portions for your family. When it was just my husband and I and a baby or 2, I used to freeze in these little pint freezer containers so I could just pull one portion out for my husband and I. These days with 5 mouths to feed, I tend to freeze in quart and half gallon portions so that when I pull soup out of the freezer it can feed me for breakfast and/or lunch as well as my family for a meal.

Nourishing Breakfast Ideas For Busy Moms :: My Morning RoutineI mentioned in the soup section how much of a difference I noticed that veggie minerals made in my morning, so veggies are a part of my breakfast most days of the week in some form.

Veggie and egg quick prep tips (or bacon/sausage/avocado if you are egg free)

  • Chop the night before. Since the chopping can be what hangs most people up on the time to get this done, take 5 minutes and prep your veggies the night before. You can just dump them into a hot skillet the next morning and your breakfast can be done in less than 10 minutes.
  • Keep it simple. Two veggies with some onion and garlic make the most amazing skillet veggie hash! Use what is in season so it doesn’t get boring. There are great veggie hash and potato hash recipes in my cookbook Nourished Beginnings – my kids crave it! It is a great one to make large portions of so the kids are eating the same thing as you.

Nourishing Breakfast Ideas For Busy Moms :: My Morning RoutineThis concept is similar to the soup section.

Plan to double your recipe every time you bake, and your freezer will always have something to pull from. Before “Breakfast Cookie Fridays” ever became a thing in our house, it was “nursing momma needs food all the time”! Now that I have school aged kids, it is fun to celebrate Friday with breakfast cookies, but all of those recipes were born out of my hungry nursing days!

Freezer baked goods go with just about anything!

From soup to fried eggs, bacon, and smoothies! You will notice that all of my recipes for these items are a mixed bag of different gluten free flours. My purpose in this is to balance the muffins or breakfast cookies so that it isn’t just a bunch of grain or starch to shoot blood sugars up. There is definitely a method to the madness!

Freezer and thawing tips

  • Lock in moisture by wrapping and freezing leftovers as soon as they are cooled. I don’t always wrap in plastic wrap, but everything does go into a freezer bag and into the freezer by the time they are cooled all the way.
  • I warm freezer baked goods up right from the freezer most of the time. Put them on a baking sheet and into the oven. Turn the oven to 350, and by the time it pre-heats the cookies/biscuits/muffins are thawed and warm, ready to eat. You can alternatively set them out overnight to thaw.

Don’t forget about granola in the pantry!

Granola was always my fall back on unpredictable newborn days (which is most days with a newborn!). It is the reason I have so many recipes on the blog! Pour raw milk or coconut milk over your  bowl, or sprinkle it over yogurt!

Nourishing Breakfast Ideas For Busy Moms :: My Morning RoutineFrittatas are the rushed moms breakfast bake!

Looks fancy, but honestly frittatas are actually one of my fall back breakfasts on mornings I have lost track of time or have early risers.  It looks and feels like a weekend breakfast casserole, but really takes just 15 minutes to make a skillet full that feeds the whole crew.

Egg scrambles are just as fast – simply cook your veg for a few minutes and then scramble the eggs in – you can be done in less than 10 minutes.

Egg cups/muffins are a fun, portable breakfast for kids, but also make a great side to a bowl of soup! There is a recipe here and one in my book Nourished Beginnings. They freeze up great too! You can use the tips for reheating in the muffin/breakfast cookie section to see how I heat them from the freezer.

Nourishing Breakfast Ideas For Busy Moms :: My Morning RoutineListen, I physically lived on dinner leftovers for breakfast for a full on year after I had my 3rd baby.

I would make a huge skillet stir fry for dinner and eat off the leftovers the next morning as I sleepily nursed the newborn. Then I would do it all over again for the next day! Change it up by topping your dinner leftover with a dreamy yolky egg or wrap it all  up it all up as a breakfast wrap, and you can transform dinner into a savory breakfast that will fuel you all morning!

Nourishing Breakfast Ideas For Busy Moms :: My Morning RoutineWhat about the kids?

I totally realize the kids need to eat too, and these meals are great for kids! My kids eat the same as me about half the week I would say. They tolerate things like soaked oatmeal well that I do not, and love smoothies in the morning (which I do not!), so there is usually a few days where I use that as a quick breakfast for them. For more details on my breakfast rotation for the girls, you can read this post.

Nourishing Breakfast Ideas For Busy Moms :: My Morning RoutineMy coffee routine

Because I know it will be asked about in the pictures, I’ll let you know how I take my coffee! Please know that I am absolutely aware that coffee isn’t for everyone. This is simply for those that are interested. If you are not, go ahead and hop down to the next section!

I tolerate coffee just fine – and yes I go days without it sometimes and don’t have a headache or symptoms. I truly enjoy the taste, the experience, the process of making it with love…and, let’s face it…in a crazy day filled with diapers, owies, piles of laundry, and cleaning up spills, sometimes starting your day with a little something that makes you happy and brings you joy is definitely a good thing!

I make 8oz (1 cup) of coffee (This is my favorite coffee brand – it is mold free and very clean sustainable source. Once you taste it, you’ll never be able to buy another brand – it is so delicious!), and then blend it for 30 seconds with 1 tablespoon of Bulletproof MCT oil, 1-2 teaspoons of butter, and half a scoop of grassfed collagen. It is a lovely, frothy, creamy delight that also keeps my blood sugar in check with all of the satiating fat and zero sugar. It is so good!

I also wanted to mention that I French Press my coffee to keep it clean and non toxic. I store my coffee in this airtight sealed container to keep it fresh and moisture free so it doesn’t mold.

http://amzn.to/2kUlxvyMy supplement routine

In a world where our soils are majorly depleted and not given proper resting periods to replenish, I have found I really do feel my best when supplementing. I know this can be a touchy subject in some circles, so if you feel strongly that supplements are not needed, you can absolutely skip by this section and just enjoy all of the real food breakfast ideas that I provided in this post! (Make sure you hop down and catch my final thoughts though!)

First and foremost, I want to clarify that this is what works for me. I have had some branding questions on what I use, so that is what this section is for. If you are unsure of how to supplement with what is best for YOUR current body needs, I recommend working with my friend Lydia, NTP who can look at your unique biochemistry and make suggestions based on what your body is in need of. She does HTMA testing via mail (no doctor’s note needed!) and will work directly with you, no matter where you live!

With my breakfast I always take:

(Remember that I am not a physician/practitioner. I cannot make recommendations for what you should take or dosages that are right for you – this is what works for me, and meant to give you an idea of what my routine looks like as well as answer the brand questions.)

Nourishing Breakfast Ideas For Busy Moms :: My Morning RoutineDear momma, you are so important.

It took me until I was 3 kids into this thing to realize that how I took care of myself mattered. You are the heartbeat of the home and if you are not well, the whole ship sinks. When I have taken the time to take care of myself I always take care of my family better.

You are allowed to take 15 minutes to have a meal.

Did you hear that? Set that baby down with something interesting to look at while you fix some food (you will be glad you start these little increments of learning how to play on their own early so that as they get older they will do it with ease! YES looking at an interesting toy, or out the window is play for an infant! That is a whole different topic for another time!), get those toddlers a stack paper and crayons and let them have at it, and get those big kids either helping in the kitchen, helping with the little guys, or send them off to play for 15 minutes. Your kids deserve a mom that is nourished and can be what they need for the day.

You are worth it, and you are loved!
xo Renee

Breakfast Ideas Nourishing Staples Real Food 101 Real Food Tips

How To Make Any Frittata :: Plus 4 Different Frittata Recipes! :: Paleo Friendly Real Food

February 10, 2017

Easy instructions for how to make a frittata with any veggies you have on hand!

How To Make Any Frittata :: Plus 4 Different Frittata Recipes! :: Paleo Friendly Real Food

Product links in this post are affiliate links. It does not cost you anything and helps maintain the free information on this site, as well as answer the questions of “what brand do you use?” Please know I never personally recommend any product I wouldn’t use on my own family.

A short cut for busy mommas!

Fake out. Short cut. Whatever you wanna call it, frittatas are the busy momma’s breakfast bake fake out! We adore breakfast bakes (in fact, there is the most drool worthy breakfast bake in my cookbook Nourished Beginnings that all of my little ones love!).

But let’s face it…breakfasts bakes are best saved for special weekend brunches when you have a little extra time to fuss a bit, right?!

How To Make Any Frittata :: Plus 4 Different Frittata Recipes! :: Paleo Friendly Real FoodFritattas look and feel fancy and fussy like a breakfast bake, but I can get you in and out of the kitchen in 15 minutes flat!

In fact, these easy frittatas are so fast, that they are frequently on my breakfast rotation on school mornings. You can even do the veggie chopping the night before to shave off another 5 minutes of that time. My kids like to eat frittatas with a side of fresh fruit, or a banana muffin from the freezer, and a glass of raw milk. Little dishes of yogurt work well too. I like to eat mine with a bowl of leftover vegetable soup.

How To Make Any Frittata :: Plus 4 Different Frittata Recipes! :: Paleo Friendly Real FoodWeekday breakfast fast!

I promise you just about anyone can do this. I was petrified of my cast iron skillet until I really gave it a chance a number of years ago. And a frittata? Well, let’s just say it looked fancy, so I wasn’t so sure I could really pull it off!

As it turns out, frittatas are really nothing more than a few handfuls of cooked veggies baked into eggs. Truly whatever veggies you have on hand should work, so it is an evergreen breakfast that can change flavors with the seasons.

How To Make Any Frittata :: Plus 4 Different Frittata Recipes! :: Paleo Friendly Real FoodFrittatas 101…

A frittata begins with some aromatics (ie onion, peppers, mushrooms, etc) and the “harder” veggies that need extra time to get soft (ie potatoes, carrots, etc) cooked down to soften in some butter. You can throw in the more fragile vegetables that don’t need more than a minute of cook time right in after that (ie spinach, tomatoes, etc). Pour over your whisked eggs and herbs and then watch the magic happen!

I like to cook my frittata half on the stovetop, until the edges of the egg are set, and then finish it off on the middle rack of the oven, under the broiler. It really takes the guess work out of whether the middle of the egg is done, and it also gives a beautiful golden top to the frittata.

How To Make Any Frittata :: Plus 4 Different Frittata Recipes! :: Paleo Friendly Real FoodA note on skillets

You will need an oven safe skillet for making a frittata. I have this Lodge cast iron skillet, that was once my mom’s – they really last forever. They are quite inexpensive, and make a great investment since they actually flavor your food better with age!

If you season it just right, they actually have a better non stick surface than any skillet or pan you own! You can check out this tutorial for seasoning your cast iron – it is worth having it done right because my frittatas literally slide right out of the pan because my pan is so slick!

Oven Safe Skillet Options:

{Side note! The handle of these oven safe skillets get very hot! Don’t burn your hand! I wrap a thin kitchen towel around the handle of mine. I did find these really neat cast iron skillet “mitts” that slide right over the handle though!}

How To Make Any Frittata :: Plus 4 Different Frittata Recipes! :: Paleo Friendly Real FoodFavorite veggie and herb combos

I decided to break up 4 different frittata recipes for you to see how you can veggie combo, but you truly can use whatever you have on hand! Think of these recipes as mix and match – make them how you wish. In the spring and summer, fresh herbs are available more readily where I live, so I used fresh herbs for those. Dried herbs work just as well – use what your family enjoys!

How To Make Any Frittata :: Plus 4 Different Frittata Recipes! :: Paleo Friendly Real FoodA note about meat and cheese

If you plan to add some bacon or sausage to your frittata, cook the meat first before getting the veggies in. You can add the meat back into the skillet when you add the eggs. Cheese is also fun to add to a frittata, and you can do that by whisking it in with the eggs.

How To Make Any Frittata :: Plus 4 Different Frittata Recipes! :: Paleo Friendly Real Food

So here is some inspiration for you!

And it is exactly that – inspiration! I can’t wait to hear about the creations you come up with! Keep me posted!

How To Make Any Frittata :: Plus 4 Different Frittata Recipes! :: Paleo Friendly Real Food

 

How To Make Any Frittata :: Plus 4 Different Frittata Recipes! :: Paleo Friendly Real FoodIngredients:

  • 2-3 TB friendly fat to cook in such as butter, coconut oil, tallow, lard, or avocado oil
  • 1/2 medium onion, diced
  • 4 oz mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 small/medium yellow potato (or 1/2 russet), diced
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1 clove of garlic, finely chopped
  • 1-2 handfuls of chopped kale
  • 8 eggs
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 1/4 tsp pepper

Directions:

  1. Set the broiler to high in your oven with the rack in the middle.
  2. At the stovetop, melt the butter in an oven safe skillet over medium heat. Add the onion, mushroom, potato, and sea salt and cook over medium/medium-high heat until the veggies are soft and fragrant, about 3-4 minutes.
  3. Add the garlic and kale and cook for 2-3 minutes.
  4. Whisk the eggs, oregano, and pepper and then pour the egg mixture over the cooked veggies in the skillet. You can move the veggies around so everything is evenly distributed.
  5. Keep the skillet on the stovetop over medium heat for about 3 minutes, until the edges look set. Move the skillet to the oven on the middle rack under the broiler on high heat, and cook another 3-4 minutes until the rest of the frittata sets, and the top is slightly golden.
  6. Let the frittata cool in the skillet about 3-4 minutes before serving. You should be able to slide your spatula right underneath the frittata to slide it onto a cutting board for serving if you wish. (See above for tips on seasoning your cast iron skillet so it is super slick!)

How To Make Any Frittata :: Plus 4 Different Frittata Recipes! :: Paleo Friendly Real FoodDirections:

  • 2-3 TB friendly fat to cook in such as butter, coconut oil, tallow, lard, or avocado oil
  • 1/2 leek, sliced and rinsed of sand
  • 4 radishes, sliced or cubed depending on your preference
  • 1/2 – 1 cup chopped asparagus
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1 clove of garlic, finely chopped
  • 8 eggs
  • 1/4 cup fresh raw cheese (optional, if available)
  • 3 TB chopped chives
  • 1/4 tsp pepper

Directions:

  1. Set the broiler to high in your oven with the rack in the middle.
  2. At the stovetop, melt the butter in an oven safe skillet over medium heat. Add the leeks, radishes, asparagus, and sea salt and cook over medium/medium-high heat until the veggies are soft and fragrant, about 3-4 minutes.
  3. Add the garlic and cook for a minute.
  4. Whisk the eggs, cheese (if using it), chives, and pepper, and then pour the egg mixture over the cooked veggies in the skillet. You can move the veggies around so everything is evenly distributed.
  5. Keep the skillet on the stovetop over medium heat for about 3 minutes, until the edges look set. Move the skillet to the oven on the middle rack under the broiler on high heat, and cook another 3-4 minutes until the rest of the frittata sets, and the top is slightly golden.
  6. Let the frittata cool in the skillet about 3-4 minutes before serving. You should be able to slide your spatula right underneath the frittata to slide it onto a cutting board for serving if you wish. (See above for tips on seasoning your cast iron skillet so it is super slick!)

How To Make Any Frittata :: Plus 4 Different Frittata Recipes! :: Paleo Friendly Real FoodIngredients:

  • 2-3 TB friendly fat to cook in such as butter, coconut oil, tallow, lard, or avocado oil
  • 1/2 medium onion, diced
  • 1/4 medium green pepper
  • 1/4 medium yellow or orange pepper
  • 1/2 – 1 cup chopped broccoli florets
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1 clove of garlic, finely chopped
  • 6 cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 8 eggs
  • 3 TB chopped fresh basil, dill, or parsley
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  1. Set the broiler to high in your oven with the rack in the middle.
  2. At the stovetop, melt the butter in an oven safe skillet over medium heat. Add the onion, peppers, broccoli, and sea salt and cook over medium/medium-high heat until the veggies are soft and fragrant, about 3-4 minutes.
  3. Add the garlic and cherry tomatoes, and cook for 2-3 minutes.
  4. Whisk the eggs, basil, and pepper and then pour the egg mixture over the cooked veggies in the skillet. You can move the veggies around so everything is evenly distributed.
  5. Keep the skillet on the stovetop over medium heat for about 3 minutes, until the edges look set. Move the skillet to the oven on the middle rack under the broiler on high heat, and cook another 3-4 minutes until the rest of the frittata sets, and the top is slightly golden.
  6. Let the frittata cool in the skillet about 3-4 minutes before serving. You should be able to slide your spatula right underneath the frittata to slide it onto a cutting board for serving if you wish. (See above for tips on seasoning your cast iron skillet so it is super slick!)

How To Make Any Frittata :: Plus 4 Different Frittata Recipes! :: Paleo Friendly Real Food

  • 1 TB friendly fat to cook in such as butter, coconut oil, tallow, lard, or avocado oil
  • 3-4 strips of bacon, chopped
  • 1/2 medium onion
  • 1/4 medium sweet potato, cubed
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1 clove of garlic, finely chopped
  • 1-2 handfuls baby spinach
  • 8 eggs
  • 1 tsp parsley
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  1. Set the broiler to high in your oven with the rack in the middle.
  2. At the stovetop, melt the butter in an oven safe skillet over medium heat, and cook the bacon until crisp. Remove the bacon, leaving the bacon grease behind to cook in.
  3. Add the onion, sweet potato, and sea salt to the bacon grease, and cook over medium/medium-high heat until the veggies are soft and fragrant, about 3-4 minutes.
  4. Add the garlic and spinach and cook for 1-2 minutes to slightly wilt the spinach. Add the cooked bacon back in.
  5. Whisk the eggs, parsley, and pepper and then pour the egg mixture over the cooked veggies and bacon in the skillet. You can move the veggies and bacon around so everything is evenly distributed.
  6. Keep the skillet on the stovetop over medium heat for about 3 minutes, until the edges look set. Move the skillet to the oven on the middle rack under the broiler on high heat, and cook another 3-4 minutes until the rest of the frittata sets, and the top is slightly golden.
  7. Let the frittata cool in the skillet about 3-4 minutes before serving. You should be able to slide your spatula right underneath the frittata to slide it onto a cutting board for serving if you wish. (See above for tips on seasoning your cast iron skillet so it is super slick!)

More real food breakfast ideas you might like!

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Simple Gluten Free Crackers :: 5 Ingredient Blender Batter & Easy to Roll Out!

February 4, 2017

Cleaner oil, quick blender batter, 5 easy ingredients…what’s not to love in these simple gluten free crackers?!

Simple Gluten Free Crackers :: 5 Ingredient Blender Batter & Easy to Roll Out!Product links in this post are affiliate links. It does not cost you anything and helps maintain the free information on this site, as well as answer the questions of “what brand do you use?” Please know I never personally recommend any product I wouldn’t use on my own family.

When the sun shines up north in January….

You drop everything and get outside! Literally!

A couple weekends ago, it felt like mid-spring around here and we ditched our winter coats and snow boots for hoodies and rainboots! (Unheard of for January in Michigan!!) I quickly dropped all of my kitchen plans that weekend, and I was so glad I had these gluten free crackers to fall back on for quick, warm bowls of soup and crackers after our outside excursions!

Simple Gluten Free Crackers :: 5 Ingredient Blender Batter & Easy to Roll Out!Modern convenience…

Store bought crackers have really upped their game in the last handful of years, boasting organic labels and safer ingredients. And while many of them still use iffy oils, I have found myself leaning on them here and there in a pinch when life gets busy.

There is nothing wrong with that in my opinion!

Simple Gluten Free Crackers :: 5 Ingredient Blender Batter & Easy to Roll Out!Cheaper and cleaner.

But what if I showed you how to make a load of crackers for the pantry using a healthier oil in very little time, and for a fraction of the cost?! It is possible!

Simple Gluten Free Crackers :: 5 Ingredient Blender Batter & Easy to Roll Out!#MomGoals

My biggest goal with this cracker project was to create something using as little ingredients as I could so it would be something I would actually want to do. When there is a counter full of ingredients, it just makes a project like making crackers every week less appealing. I wanted it to be something I could take 5-10 minutes on a food prep day to throw in the oven easily.

Simple Gluten Free Crackers :: 5 Ingredient Blender Batter & Easy to Roll Out!Fuss Free!

I also didn’t want it to be fussy. I have just about been there and done that with every cracker recipe on the planet. I have said before that I am not a baker…like not even close. I get zero joy out of figuring out batters and dough and trial and error-ing {usually lots of error-ing!}. I wanted a fuss free dough that rolled out easy so that, again, I would actually want to make these crackers!

Simple Gluten Free Crackers :: 5 Ingredient Blender Batter & Easy to Roll Out!The perfect cracker texture

Crispy, light, and salty!

The texture and taste actually reminds me of Oyster crackers (that will take you back!)! They keep in a airtight container in the pantry for weeks without spoiling, and keep their crispy texture for whatever you are going to use them for.

Simple Gluten Free Crackers :: 5 Ingredient Blender Batter & Easy to Roll Out!Our favorite cracker uses!

Oh the possibilities!

  • Soup toppers and dunkers
  • Hummus or guacamole dippers (I don’t always have time to make my own hummus, and love the organic hummus at Costco if you are looking for one! I also like their organic guacamole in a pinch or if avocados are not available at a decent price – which definitely happens where I live! When looking at store bought, be sure you are looking at oils used as well as other added ingredients.)
  • Cheese and crackers
  • Nut butter, coconut butter, or cream cheese dippers

Simple Gluten Free Crackers :: 5 Ingredient Blender Batter & Easy to Roll Out!Soup ideas for your crackers!

Because I had to share with you my obsession over bone broth based soups! There are so many ways to make getting bone broth into the kids – especially when they get to stir in some yummy crackers to their soup!

Simple Gluten Free Crackers :: 5 Ingredient Blender Batter & Easy to Roll Out!I truly hope these crackers are able to become an easy part of your prep day!

Simple Gluten Free Crackers :: 5 Ingredient Blender Batter & Easy to Roll Out!

5.0 from 2 reviews
Simple Gluten Free Crackers :: 5 Ingredient Blender Batter & Easy to Roll Out!
Author: 
 
Ingredients
  • 2 cups Namaste Gluten Free Flour Blend (I pick mine up at Costco. I think other GF flour blends will work but you might have to play around with water amounts - start with less water and you can always add more if you need. I hear the Trader Joe GF flour blend is similar to the Namaste, but I don't have a TJ's near me to look - if someone wants to comment below if they try it, that would be helpful!)
  • ¼ cup avocado oil (I pick mine up at Costco. I think melted butter or coconut oil would work too)
  • ½ - 1 tsp sea salt (depending on how salty you like your crackers)
  • 1 tsp raw honey
  • 1 cup water (again, if you are using a different GF flour blend I would start out with less and add more if it needs it just in case absorbency is different)
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Put all of the ingredients into your food processor and blend to combine until the dough comes together in a ball.
  3. Divide the dough between 2 Silpats (or 2 pieces of parchment paper). Lay plastic wrap over the top of the dough and, using a rolling pin, roll the dough out as thin as you can make it fit the Silpat. Get a butter knife wet with water and make the crackers the size you want. A pizza cutter would work well here too.
  4. Sprinkle sea salt to the top of the crackers if you want, and bake at 400 degrees for 15 minutes (I like to rotate the pans about halfway through). You can check them around the 10 minute mark in case our ovens run differently. After 15 minutes, turn the oven off BUT keep the crackers inside the oven for another 10 minutes or so to crisp up/dehydrate all the way. They will continue to crisp up as they cool.
  5. Store your crackers in an airtight container in the pantry.

More real food recipes you might like ::

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30 Minute Gluten Free Meatball Skillet in a Curry Peanut Sauce :: Nut Free Options Included!

February 3, 2017

Change up your meal plan with this quick, weeknight gluten free curry meatball skillet the whole family will love!

30 Minute Meatball Skillet in a Curry Peanut Sauce :: Nut Free Options Included!

Product links in this post are affiliate links. It does not cost you anything and helps maintain the free information on this site, as well as answer the questions of “what brand do you use?” Please know I never personally recommend any product I wouldn’t use on my own family.

This has nothing to do with curry…

…but I wanted to break up your winter reading with these cutie smiles and the scarce snow we are experiencing this winter! What a mild one for us so far!

30 Minute Meatball Skillet in a Curry Peanut Sauce :: Nut Free Options Included!Meal change up time!

It is so easy to get stuck in a meal rotation rut, isn’t it!? If you haven’t noticed by following my Instagram meal posts, soups tend to be what I fall back on a lot when we have had a busy day and I don’t want to think. I’m not a great meal planner, despite what some may think, and most weeks I’m flying by the seat of my pants (and what’s on sale at the market!) for my dinner menu.

 30 Minute Meatball Skillet in a Curry Peanut Sauce :: Nut Free Options Included!Skillet quick prep!

I can tell when I’ve been serving soups too often when my soup loving, any food loving oldest starts giving me that face like “umm soup again?!” Skillet dinners are just as fast, and a couple weeks ago I perfected a curry skillet that we have grown to really love. The meatballs bake while you make the skillet and just get added it at the end – I timed myself quite a few times and it really does just take 30 minutes for everything.

30 Minute Meatball Skillet in a Curry Peanut Sauce :: Nut Free Options Included!Curry love…

It’s one of my favorite flavors, and you know what? I didn’t grow up eating it! So there is hope for those older kids!

Curry is a season blend originating from south Asia/India, primarily composed of turmeric combined with other warming Indian spices. You can find curry blends just about anywhere in the spice section of your grocer these days. Our local grocer even carries their own label of an organic curry blend. (If you are Midwest local, I’m talking about the Meijer Organics curry blend – it is so good!), but this brand of curry should be available just about everywhere.

30 Minute Meatball Skillet in a Curry Peanut Sauce :: Nut Free Options Included!The turmeric train!

The benefits of turmeric are all over the blogosphere these days. There is no denying the powerful anti-inflammatory properties of this root, and I can’t think of a tastier way to get this healing root into your diet than a skillet filled with mineral rich veggies and kid friendly, fun meatballs!

30 Minute Meatball Skillet in a Curry Peanut Sauce :: Nut Free Options Included!How to serve curry to little kids

My kids….LOVE curry. I have one in particular that seriously wants curry seasoning everything she eats! I don’t even serve curry on a regular basis and my kids have developed a palate for it. It can have a bit of heat to it, so my recommendation is to season your curry meal lightly to start, and you can always add more to your dish if you want it stronger. As this recipe stands, this is a pretty typically seasoned curry, so I would back it off if your kids are not used to curry. My kids gobble this up – even the toddler.

If you have the little guys under 2 years old, serve it right off your plate as is on the amount of curry season (sans the noodles for babies under 1 to avoid the grain). You might be surprised at how they take to the delicious flavor! Turmeric is fantastic for kids!

30 Minute Meatball Skillet in a Curry Peanut Sauce :: Nut Free Options Included!Noodle swaps!

We love using rice noodles for this meal. I think it makes the kids come to the table more eagerly, and cooking them in the broth of the skillet gives the sauce it’s thickening starch so easily! If you can’t handle the rice noodles, or are on a special diet, you can swap the noodles for more veggies or veggie noodles using a spirilizer. If you do happen to do this, just be sure to make a slurry out of your broth so you get some thickening. You can whisk tapioca starch into the broth before you pour it in, and the sauce will thicken right up.

I also think the curry seasoned veggies and meatballs are great over rice (or cauli-rice!) if you don’t have access to a quality noodle and can tolerate rice.

30 Minute Meatball Skillet in a Curry Peanut Sauce :: Nut Free Options Included!For my peanut free friends!

Whether you are Paleo or have a peanut allergy, here are your swaps!

I have made this with almond butter (we get ours at Costco, but here is a good brand you might find at your local grocer), and it is amazing (this works for Paleo friends but NOT for nut allergy friends!). For nut allergy friends that can have seeds, sunflower seed butter tastes so much like peanut butter. I have not tried it in this meal, but when I have swapped sunbutter for peanut butter it always works well.

If you can’t tolerate nuts or seeds at all, I would simply leave it out – it still tastes really good, and I make curry all the time without nut butters. It takes this dish to a whole other level, but it is still tasty without it.

30 Minute Meatball Skillet in a Curry Peanut Sauce :: Nut Free Options Included!

30 Minute Meatball Skillet in a Curry Peanut Sauce :: Nut Free Options Included!
Author: 
 
Ingredients
  • FOR THE MEATBALLS:
  • 1 lb grassfed ground beef
  • 1 egg (a flax egg will work if you are egg free)
  • 2 TB flour of choice (I like to use white rice flour, but tapioca works if you are grain free)
  • 2 tsp curry powder
  • ¼ - ½ tsp sea salt
  • FOR THE SKILLET:
  • 3 TB friendly fat to cook in such as butter, tallow, lard, coconut oil, or avocado oil
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 2-3 carrots, peeled and diced
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 TB curry powder
  • 1½ quarts bone broth (water would be fine here)
  • 3 cups broccoli florets
  • ½ - 12oz bag rice noodles
  • ½ pound baby kale or baby spinach (or other green! Pictured in this post was brussel sprouts because that is what I had! You can pop the Brussels in with the broccoli section to cook!)
  • 3 TB natural peanut butter (I think almond butter would work if you are Paleo. If you can't have nuts, I think sesame seed butter or sunflower seed butter would be fantastic!)
  • 1 TB raw honey
  • Sea salt/pepper to taste
Instructions
  1. Make the meatballs. Preheat the oven to 375 while you roll the meatballs. Mix all of the meatball ingredients in a small bowl, roll up the meatballs, and set them on a Silpat or parchment paper lined baking sheet. Bake at 375 degrees for 20 minutes while you make the rest of the meal.
  2. Melt the butter in a large, deep skillet (use a skillet that has a lid as you will need it later on), and add the onion and carrot. Stir in a pinch of sea salt and saute on medium heat for 5 or so minutes until the veggies soften.
  3. Add the garlic and curry powder and cook for a minute.
  4. Add the bone broth, broccoli, and noodles and put the lid on your pan. Bring the pan to a simmer, and keep simmering over medium/medium-high heat until the noodles are cooked to your liking - about 7 minutes.
  5. Turn the heat to medium low and stir in the baby kale, peanut butter, and honey and cook a few minutes until the kale wilts and the sauce thickens. Sea salt and pepper to your taste.

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Probiotic Rich Homemade Sauerkraut {Fermented Cabbage} :: 2 Ingredients, Quick Prep, Real Food!

January 27, 2017

Homemade sauerkraut is the simplest way to populate your gut with a variety of nourishing probiotics for robust gut health and immune systems!

Probiotic Rich Sauerkraut {Fermented Cabbage} :: 2 Ingredients, Quick Prep, Real Food!Product links in this post are affiliate links. It does not cost you anything and helps maintain the free information on this site, as well as answer the questions of “what brand do you use?” Please know I never personally recommend any product I wouldn’t use on my own family.

The status of your gut determines just about everything…

At this point most people know that just about everything in the body relies on the status of your gut health. And that the status of your gut health is tied to the type of flora (bacteria) dominating the territory.

Probiotic Rich Sauerkraut {Fermented Cabbage} :: 2 Ingredients, Quick Prep, Real Food!If the good bacteria reigns “king,” digestion is sound, the immune system works more effectively, and the brain is clear.

When the bad bacteria is more prevalent, digestion is disrupted in a myriad of different ways (YES we should be pooping daily – if you are not you are constipated. NO your poop shouldn’t be runny, it shouldn’t hurt to poop, and indigestion, heartburn, and tummy aches are not normal!), the immune system is completely off (ie getting sick often, autoimmune disease, cancer, etc), and the brain is a foggy mess (the gut-brain connection is tied to many brain/neurological disorders from depression and Alzheimer’s to ADHD, autism, and everything in between.)

Probiotic Rich Sauerkraut {Fermented Cabbage} :: 2 Ingredients, Quick Prep, Real Food!Infiltrate and populate!

Traditionally fermented foods provide easy to absorb probiotics to our guts to use for battle every day. Whether you are generally healthy or have a few health issues, fermented vegetables such as sauerkraut can populate your gut with the bacteria it needs to sustain a robust immune system, healthy digestive system, and sound mind.

Probiotic Rich Sauerkraut {Fermented Cabbage} :: 2 Ingredients, Quick Prep, Real Food!The simplest prep – let nature do the work!

Sauerkraut prep is so simple, and yet what actually happens as the fermentation happens takes place is so interesting and complex. Just a few teaspoons of sea salt sprinkled over shredded cabbage lends the the cabbage its own brine to ferment. Over the course of a few days to a week, the sauerkraut increases in beneficial digestive enzymes, vitamins C and B, as well as a variety of strains of beneficial bacterial for the gut to flourish. It’s as simple (and as complex!) as that!

Probiotic Rich Sauerkraut {Fermented Cabbage} :: 2 Ingredients, Quick Prep, Real Food!How to add sauerkraut to your meal plan

My favorite way to eat sauerkraut is as a brine-y, pickled bite to a sandwich wrap, burger, or a salad. Think of anything you like to add a salty, brined bite to! If you are eating sauerkraut in a medicinal way, such as if you are on the GAPS protocol, sometimes it’s just best to eat a tablespoon or so before you eat your meal to get the digestive enzymes in your gut to help you digest your meal – and to get it over with if you don’t particularly care for the taste. I have to admit, not growing up on sauerkraut, it took me some time to get used to. I ate it because I knew I needed it, and over time I have grown to love it!

Probiotic Rich Sauerkraut {Fermented Cabbage} :: 2 Ingredients, Quick Prep, Real Food!Ok, but what about the kids?!

Let’s start with the little guys first! If you have little ones at home, say between the ages of 6 months to 1 year old, jump on it! You are at a really great window of time to introduce new flavors and textures where baby is willing and open – and hasn’t really learned or tested the word *no* yet 😉 I served my babies teaspoons of the brine from fermented vegetables not only to get the health benefits from it, but to get them used to the sour bite! I was always really surprised at how my babies took to ferments after the initial pucker! The cabbage softens during fermentation, so small pieces of the sauerkraut makes great finger food material for the little ones chasing food around their tray or table. Out of my 3 {very} different personality kids, they all willingly eat sauerkraut, and I truly believe it is because their palates were trained for it young.

But don’t give up on those toddlers and big kids! My biggest advice would be not to make a big deal out of it. If you have toddlers, give them bites of YOUR food first. They love eating off your plate. Set the example and eat it yourself and maybe give them bites of it straight up, or get it into a yummy sandwich and let them have at it. If you have older, school aged kids and teens I would start with just serving it in a sandwich. If they question it or turn it down, discuss the why. Talk to the school aged kids about what the bacteria in their gut is for. Let the teens read this post! Let them see the why behind it. Talk about how much better they will feel if there are some gut issues or gut related issues (from ADD to anxiety, allergies to frequent colds and on and on!). Some kids might just prefer to get a spoonful in and over-with and then enjoy their meal. Go for it! This is such an inexpensive way to get probiotics in!

Probiotic Rich Sauerkraut {Fermented Cabbage} :: 2 Ingredients, Quick Prep, Real Food!How do I begin eating fermented vegetables if I have never tried them before?

Fermented vegetables are teeming with good bacteria, and, especially for those with sensitive tummies, food allergies, or digestive disorders, fermented vegetables make the entire eating process easier on the gut by acting as a digestive aide! Eating even a tablespoon or so of ferment with each meal will aide in digesting your food as well as provide stability to your immune system and brain health.

Start with 1 tablespoon or so per day to begin with to allow the friendly bacteria to make their home in your gut. Starting out with too much all at once can lead to tummy upset as the good bacteria takes over the bad. Increase to 1 tablespoon 3x per day as you feel comfortable. Once your body is used to the ferments, you can eat as much as you like and tolerate. My school aged girls eat around 2 or so tablespoons of sauerkraut at a time when they eat it.

Probiotic Rich Sauerkraut {Fermented Cabbage} :: 2 Ingredients, Quick Prep, Real Food!Fermenting tools

While you can definitely get your ferments going today with just glass jar and a plastic lid (metal lids will corrode over time so plastic is recommended), as you get going you may want to take a look at fermenting tools that make the process even easier and stress free.

Vegetable ferments do best in an anaerobic environment (that is, “no oxygen” using an air tight seal). Plastic lids work fine, though some air does get through, and as the gasses build up in the ferment you need to “release” them by opening the lid here and there. The air that gets through also makes it easier for stray airborne microbes and molds to get in which can make the whole jar go bad.

There are a couple of sealing options you can choose from, and I really have found these to give the best fermenting results. The one that I use is the first recommendation, the Pickle Pipe.

  • The Pickle Pipe :: I am convinced a busy, “every day” mom invented this fermenting tool! Talk about zero fuss, *easy to clean,* and affordable! The Pickle Pipe creates a seal with a simple (easy to wash!) silicone disk, and the metal ring your jar comes with. The “pipe” part of the silicone disk has a special opening that only pressures open when the gasses build up in the jar and need to be released. So basically…set it and forget it! You don’t have to check for pressure everyday at all. I also am in love with their Pickle Pebbles which weight down the ferment at the top so you don’t have to worry about molding or the tips of the veggies going bad from being out of the brine. Invaluable! I have never had a ferment go bad or mold using my Pickle Pipes and Pebbles.
  • Fido Jar :: Fido jars create an incredible anaerobic sealed environment and are super easy to clean and take care of. No crazy parts to clean, and they are beautiful lined up in the kitchen to ferment! You will need to “burp” these every day or so to let the gasses out but they work very well! They are pricier than mason jars (especially if you already have a lot of mason jars at home, and can just get some Pickle Pipes to top them off), but they will last forever and, again, they are beautiful!
  • Traditional Fermentation Crock :: I have to be honest…I love these! I really do! They are on my foodie dream list and when I can afford a really beautiful new fermenting crock I really, really want one for my kitchen! They are gorgeous, easy to clean and work fantastic. They come with a weight to keep the veggies down to prevent molding and they create a perfect anaerobic environment.
  • Air-Lock Lids :: These are a really great, inexpensive option – especially if you already have a lot of mason jars at home. I think the Pickle Pipes are easier to clean and use, but if you have some of these lying around don’t let them go to waste – they work great!

One last equipment note! Many people find these Pickle Packers useful for squeezing the cabbage for making the natural brine. I have use a wooden spoon for years but think these are great too! {My birthday is in the fall if anyone wants to send me a wishlist gift! 🙂 }. Please keep in mind not to use metal spoons as it messes with the fermenting process – only wooden utensils.

Probiotic Rich Sauerkraut {Fermented Cabbage} :: 2 Ingredients, Quick Prep, Real Food!

5.0 from 7 reviews
Fermented Carrots {that kids will actually eat!} & The Benefits of Fermented Vegetables
Author: 
 
Ingredients
  • ½ medium head of cabbage, sliced thin or shredded
  • 2-3 tsp sea salt
  • 1-2 cloves of garlic, smashed (Optional. I love the flavor and sweetness the garlic gives to sauerkraut - it is the only way I like it!)
Instructions
  1. Put a big handful of the sliced cabbage into a clean pint jar, and sprinkle the sea salt over top. Using a wooden spoon or a vegetable pounder, press and stir the cabbage, squeezing the cabbage down. The salt will draw out the natural juices in the cabbage and it will create it's own brine with the sea salt. (It takes a few minutes for the juices to develop so be patient!)
  2. Keep adding cabbage into the jar, packing it down into the jar, letting the salt soften the cabbage until you reach the top of the jar (Leaving about 1 inch of head-space at the top). Allow the salt to draw out enough juices in the cabbage to be fully submerged in the brine.
  3. Put your fermenting weight on top of the cabbage/brine if you are using one, and wipe the rim of the jar clean.
  4. Close up your jar (Put on your Pickle Pipe, or close the lid of your Fido Jar, or lid and use your Air-Lock. A simple plastic lid can work for your first time until you get the hang of things and want to invest in something to make your fermenting process easier.).
  5. Set the jar at room temperature for 2-7 days depending on the taste you are going for. The longer it sits, the more flavor will develop. You can open and taste along the way until you are satisfied. I ferment mine for about 3 days, and that is the taste my kids enjoy best. Sometimes I make a jar just for me that I let ferment up to a week, but I enjoy that funkier sour taste! One of my older girls does now too! Keep in mind that if you live in a warmer climate, you may not need as much time to ferment.

Tips on recipe size

This recipe makes 1 pint of sauerkraut. It is a great amount to get started on. I typically double this recipe into 2 pint jars (you could double into a quart jar, but I like to use the 2 smaller jars so my kids can get it out of the fridge to help themselves).

A quick note for those with histamine sensitivities!

If you have a hard time tolerating fermented foods or have a histamine sensitivity/allergy, sauerkraut is not recommended. Don’t beat yourself up! I have been there (and healed from!) histamine sensitivity, and it is worth avoiding foods that bother you. I used this soil based probiotic while I was healing and tolerated it well. (I am not a doctor or an expert in this area, so if you have questions I can try to answer them, but the Healing Histamine website is my favorite resource for this topic!)

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Grain Free Chocolate Chip Cookies :: Date Sweetened & Paleo Friendly!

January 20, 2017

Lightening fast blender prep and the perfectly balanced chocolate chip cookie sweet treat for little ones!

Grain Free Chocolate Chip Cookies :: Date Sweetened & Paleo Friendly!Product links in this post are affiliate links. It does not cost you anything and helps maintain the free information on this site, as well as answer the questions of “what brand do you use?” Please know I never personally recommend any product I wouldn’t use on my own family.

Snow day!

We have had a bit of an up and down winter so far as huge snow blizzards followed by melting 40 degree rains sure have us confused about whether it is winter or spring! We’ll take all the snow days we can get off school though as we enjoy the beauty of the snow and where we live!

15538319_1297656526971874_8433198165783478272_n(1)Snowmen, blanket tents, movies…and *naturally sweetened* chocolate chip cookies!

Snow days call for these chocolate chip cookies every time! But I also don’t need 3 kiddos bouncing off my walls all afternoon. This cookie base is sweetened with dates instead of processed sugar, and it is loaded with friendly fats and protein to keep blood sugars stable. The kids are happy because they get a special treat, and momma is happy because the possibility of a nap still exists 😉

Grain Free Chocolate Chip Cookies :: Date Sweetened & Paleo Friendly!Spur of the moment fast prep!

Because the kids get a snow day, but momma probably still has work from home to get done! These cookies have a super quick blender dough, and they can be on the tray ready to bake before the oven preheats. And because the kiddos are home from school on that snow day anyway, it makes a great project for even the littlest of hands to make.

Grain Free Chocolate Chip Cookies :: Date Sweetened & Paleo Friendly!Some notes for my nut and egg free friends!

I have been making these cookies for years but have not tried subbing the eggs and nuts since we tolerate them fine and they provide great nutrition – I do think it can be done though if you have allergies and need to!

  • Nut free friends, I think you can sub another flour of your choosing. I would not use the full 2 cups called for with walnuts however as other flours are going to be dryer than oily nuts. Start with 1 cup of a flour of your choice and see how the dough feels.
  • Egg free friends, I am pretty sure 2 flax or chia eggs will work in this recipe. They might not puff up as much but it will provide a great bind and that baking powder will give a little rise to them.

{If you happen to try these cookies nut and/or egg free, please share with us in the comments what worked for you so that others that stop by and need an egg or nut free option may try!}

Grain Free Chocolate Chip Cookies :: Date Sweetened & Paleo Friendly!Freezer friendly tips

The grain free chocolate chip cookies as well as the uncooked dough freezes well too. They are perfect for last minute play dates, keeping at Grandma’s house so she can spoil the grandkids, or that pile of friends that end up at your house after school!

  • To freeze the dough, simply make up the dough, and roll it up into a log on some plastic wrap. Wrap the log of dough in the plastic wrap, and freeze. Then take the log of dough out, cut into cookie circles and pop them into the freezer bags. You can pull out however many cookies you want to bake when you want!
  • To freeze already baked cookies, bake off a batch or 2 of the cookies, let them cool, and then wrap them in plastic wrap. Put the wrapped cookies in a freezer bag. You can thaw at room temp or put frozen cookies onto a baking sheet into the oven – by the time the oven preheats to 350 the cookies should be thawed and warm.

Grain Free Chocolate Chip Cookies :: Date Sweetened & Paleo Friendly!Healthier chocolate chip ideas…and some chocolate chip swaps!

Our local grocer carries a great local brand organic chocolate chip we like to use for these (If you are Mid-West local with a Meijer near you, the Meijer True Goodness Organic Chocolate Chips in the baking isle is what I am talking about!). The Enjoy Life brand of chocolate chips or chocolate chunks {my fav!} is more widely available however, and is great, “healthier than Nestle” option too! I would also imagine that if you have a Whole Foods or Trader Joes near you (lucky you!) there is probably something available there. Just really watch the ingredient list on the back!

If you have really little guys in the house, or your kids don’t tolerate chocolate, you can use dried cranberries, raisins, chopped dried apricots, or dried blueberries.

Grain Free Chocolate Chip Cookies :: Date Sweetened & Paleo Friendly!

5.0 from 2 reviews
Grain Free Chocolate Chip Cookies :: Date Sweetened & Paleo Friendly!
Author: 
 
Ingredients
  • 2 cups raw walnuts (I think almonds or pecans would work here too. I like to use soaked/dehydrated walnuts for best digestion)
  • 1½ cups tapioca flour
  • ¼ cup softened butter (I think softened coconut oil would work)
  • 2 eggs (If you are egg free I do think 2 flax or chia eggs would work - the cookies might not puff up as much but they will have the bind)
  • 5 dates, pitted (If your kids are used to things sweeter I would add an extra 1-2 dates as these are on the mildly sweet side which my kids are used to)
  • 2 tsp aluminum free baking powder
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • ½ cup chocolate chips (I like to use the local organic brand our grocer carries or the Enjoy Life brand is great too)
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Put the walnuts into a food processor and blend into a fine meal.
  3. Add everything else EXCEPT the chocolate chips and blend until the dough is well combined.
  4. Take the blade out and stir in the chocolate chips with a spatula.
  5. Roll your cookies and flatten them on a Silpat or parchment paper lined baking sheet (Makes about 1½ dozen large or 2 dozen small cookies) and bake at 350 degrees for 12-13 minutes. Cool a few minutes before handling.

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10 Minute Homemade Alfredo Sauce :: Dairy and Dairy Free Options!

January 20, 2017

Classic garlic filled creaminess and everyone’s favorite pasta sauce! Velvety homemade Alfredo is real food at its best!

10 Minute Homemade Alfredo Sauce :: Dairy and Dairy Free Options!Product links in this post are affiliate links. It does not cost you anything and helps maintain the free information on this site, as well as answer the questions of “what brand do you use?” Please know I never personally recommend any product I wouldn’t use on my own family.

Winter comfort…

January seems to be flying by! That is definitely not something I am used to saying as this beach bum really {really!} enjoys her barefoot summer days.

It’s been a mild winter so far however (in Michigan standards!), and we are finding ourselves enjoying the winter fun that surrounds us, especially now that I don’t have really small babies in tow anymore. My kids are true winter lovers!

15803678_248299058937998_3462896345373736960_n(1)And I have to admit, winter comfort food definitely makes the cold more tolerable!

Creamy Alfredo meals are a cold weather favorite in our house. I used to think that Alfredo had to mean really heavy, unhealthy food. As it turns out, when you make it yourself it can truly be a nutrient dense, nourishing meal that tastes so good!

10 Minute Homemade Alfredo Sauce :: Dairy and Dairy Free Options!The simplest of ingredients seriously make the most amazing food!

Amazingly enough, you really don’t need that mile long list of ingredients that the store bought Alfredo sauce has! Next time you are at the store, take a look! You will be floored! A little butter and garlic, something to thicken up the milk a bit and you are in Alfredo heaven.

Traditional Alfredo sauce is made with milk or cream, butter, and garlic. We tolerate raw dairy in our house well, however I find myself making Alfredo sauce with coconut milk more than our raw milk. Our raw milk share is lower during the winter months when the cows don’t make as much milk. We don’t have as much on hand, and I like to save the raw milk for drinking instead of cooking off all of the raw properties. If you have access to a lot of quality milk and cream in the winter, or it is spring and summer for you and the milk is abundantly flowing, definitely give the milk a try! It is simply amazing!

10 Minute Homemade Alfredo Sauce :: Dairy and Dairy Free Options!A note for hesitant coconut flavor friends

I am not a huge fan of the taste of coconut. {I know it. Send in the real food police, right!?} I am just not. I didn’t grow up with a lot of coconut flavored anything, and no matter how hard I try, I just can’t get used to it. I can’t drink it on it’s own, and I rarely cook with coconut oil other than baking because I don’t like the finished taste!

I promise the coconut flavor is completely masked by *all* that butter and garlic. When you get that garlic super fragrant and use amazing butter, the alfredo sauce simply tastes like…creamy, garlicy, amazing alfredo sauce!

10 Minute Homemade Alfredo Sauce :: Dairy and Dairy Free Options!Coconut milk options

I do tend to use homemade coconut milk more than buy it to save money. Especially in the winter when our raw milk share is low, I am in the habit of making it every weekend anyway, so I just double it if I know we’ll be having alfredo. It is so easy to make, and you can avoid the cans and fillers from the canned coconut milk.

If making it isn’t an option, you are in a pinch, or you are just in a season of life where you just can’t make one more thing (yes, I have been there dear momma with that newborn on your hip!), there are a couple of brand options for you. You may find these in your health food store to price compare here!

  • Aroy-D Coconut Milk: This is a gum free coconut milk – just 100% coconut milk for those who can’t tolerate the guar gum added to many coconut milks.
  • Native Forest Coconut Milk: This is a good, inexpensive coconut milk. It does have guar gum added for thickening which does not bother us, but for those with sensitive tummies it might be something to avoid.

10 Minute Homemade Alfredo Sauce :: Dairy and Dairy Free Options!Noodle options

We definitely enjoy a good rice pasta on occasion! (We like this brand of rice noodles) There is nothing wrong with that if you tolerate it ok! Sometimes I don’t have it on hand, or we have already had pasta that week, so changing it up is always a great idea. If you have hesitant veggie noodle eaters, mix in some veggie noodles with regular noodles for a while to get them used to the idea 😉

Veggie “Noodle” Ideas:

Healthier Pasta Ideas:

10 Minute Homemade Alfredo Sauce :: Dairy and Dairy Free Options!Meal ideas for your alfredo sauce! {Psst! It can be more than just pasta!}

Alfredo sauce makes a kid friendly vehicle to get a load of veggies in. Steam a mix of vegetables to pile up on your pasta and drown it all in alfredo! The meal pictured in this post literally took about 20 minutes to make. I pressure cooked frozen organic broccoli in 2 minutes in my Instant Pot while I made the alfredo, and the chicken was leftover from our roasted chicken the night before. It doesn’t get much faster than that! (If you don’t have an Instant Pot, simply steam that broccoli – it doesn’t take long at all!)

We also like alfredo poured over baked potatoes. It feels a lot like drippy cheese for loaded baked potatoes! You can do veggie sides or salads in that case to get the veggies in and even crumble bacon over your loaded baked potato.

This alfredo sauce is also great with just a simple stir fry. If you have to be grain free while you are healing your gut, this is a great option for you to dress up your daily healing veggies!

10 Minute Homemade Alfredo Sauce :: Dairy and Dairy Free Options!

10 Minute Homemade Alfredo Sauce :: Dairy and Dairy Free Options!
Author: 
 
Ingredients
  • ¼ cup butter
  • 6 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 2 TB flour of choice to thicken (I like to use white rice flour. Tapioca or Cassava works if you are grain free)
  • 1 quart coconut milk (Or raw milk. For safe store bought coconut milk options, see the notes in the post above.)
  • ¼ cup grated Parmesan (optional - I don't have access to quality parm all the time, so it is left out frequently and it is still very good - a little extra sea salt takes care of adding the salty bite.)
  • Sea salt and pepper to taste
Instructions
  1. Melt the butter in a sauce pan and add the minced garlic. Saute the garlic on medium heat for few minutes until fragrant.
  2. Whisk in the flour well, and then add the coconut milk.
  3. Bring the sauce to a simmer whisking occasionally, until it thickens, about 3-5 minutes.
  4. Whisk in the Parmesan if you are using it and then sea salt and pepper to taste.

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Grain Free Herb Butter Biscuit :: 5 Minute Blender Prep!

January 12, 2017

Soft and buttery biscuits to go with everything from soup to a plate of breakfast eggs!

Grain Free Herb Butter Biscuit :: 5 Minute Blender Prep!

Product links in this post are affiliate links. It does not cost you anything and helps maintain the free information on this site, as well as answer the questions of “what brand do you use?” Please know I never personally recommend any product I wouldn’t use on my own family.

So I’m thinking we could all use a little biscuit love to get us through mid January?!

We eat a lot of bone broth based soups all year round, but in the winter we have it daily here in our frozen tundra we call home! Somehow we make it outdoors every day despite the snows and wind chills least momma, ahem, I mean the kids go completely stir crazy. That means warming soups are on the menu most days of the week to take off the chill.

Grain Free Herb Butter Biscuit :: 5 Minute Blender Prep!And every bowl of soup deserves a piece of bread to go with it!

Even better, every bowl of soup deserves a butter biscuit to go along with it. These savory butter biscuits are the perfect match for a warm bowl of soup packed with so much buttery flavor. The kids will be all over these, and I’m willing to bet even the most skeptical gluten lover will too!

Grain Free Herb Butter Biscuit :: 5 Minute Blender Prep!Lighting fast, 5 minute blender dough is my answer to a busy day!

I have been using my Instant Pot weekly to make one huge pot of veggie soup for the whole family to eat from throughout the week – what good is a super fast prep soup if the biscuits are going to take forever to make?

I can get these biscuits onto the tray faster than it takes my oven to preheat! I’ve been testing these out for the last month with my weekly pot of soup. Once I get my soup in the pot and pressure cooking, I can have the biscuits done by the time the soup is done!

Grain Free Herb Butter Biscuit :: 5 Minute Blender Prep!The perfect weekend project, and some freezer pro tips!

Weekends are perfect for making a huge pot of soup for the family. You can double or triple up some biscuits into the freezer to save for your busiest weeknight. My biggest suggestion if you plan to freeze them is to wrap them up individually as soon as they cool off and get them right into the freezer. This locks in the moisture that can sometimes end up ruining gluten and grain free baked goods after they have been baked.

On your busiest weeknight, all you have to do is pull the biscuits from the freezer, pop them on a tray and into your oven to thaw and warm through. With my oven, all I have to do is set the tray in and preheat to 350. I turn it off from there and they are perfectly thawed and warmed through. Every oven runs differently so play around with yours. You can have the perfect, hot out of the oven bread to go with dinner every time!

Grain Free Herb Butter Biscuit :: 5 Minute Blender Prep!Don’t forget about breakfast!

These are my go-to right out of the freezer for fast morning momma fuel with a cup of leftover soup and some fried eggs. So fast! The kids will love a side of cheesy scrambled eggs and some fruit with their biscuit and you can feel good about starting their day off with stable blood sugars.

Grain Free Herb Butter Biscuit :: 5 Minute Blender Prep!Flour swapping answers!

I chose coconut flour for these biscuits for a few different reasons. First, I already have a staple biscuit in our house with some grain. I am not against grain in the least for those who can digest it! (By the way the squash drop biscuits I’m speaking of freeze just as great as these to keep on hand!) We handle gluten free grains in our house just fine, and I think they definitely have a time and a place. I don’t, however think, at least in my family, that we need to have grains at every single meal. It is nice to have a grain free biscuit option if we have already had enough grain for the day.

I also love using coconut flour because it is a great source of fiber, protein, and fat. It really makes every bite count for those little guys with little stomachs, and it makes a really great start to the day instead of shooting blood sugars up only to crash an hour later.

Grain Free Herb Butter Biscuit :: 5 Minute Blender Prep!Nourishing soup recipes to enjoy with your biscuits

All of these soups pack well and freeze well! Use your school thermos for the kids and a travel crockpot for yourself if you are away from home during the day! You can have a warm meal on the go!

Pre-heat your oven to 375 degrees. Put everything except the egg into your food processor, and pulse/blend until the butter is smaller than pea sized pieces. Add the egg and blend until the dough forms a ball. Pinch off your biscuits, gently roll them, and flatten a bit onto a Silpat or parchment paper lined baking tray. I always make 5 biscuits with this recipe. Bake at 375 degrees for 14 minutes. Let the biscuits cool a good 5-10 minutes before handling so they can set up.

5.0 from 4 reviews
Grain Free Herb Butter Biscuit :: 5 Minute Blender Prep!
Author: 
 
Ingredients
  • ½ cup cold butter, cubed
  • ⅓ cup coconut flour
  • ¼ cup grassfed cold soluble collagen
  • 1 tsp aluminum free baking powder
  • ½ tsp dried thyme (dried rosemary, oregano, or and basil work too depending on what you are serving the biscuits with!)
  • ¼ tsp onion powder
  • ¼ tsp garlic powder
  • 2 eggs (if you are egg free I do think 2 flax eggs would work here - they might not puff up as much but it would still work - perhaps add a bit of baking powder for the rise? Let us know in the comments if you try something!)
Instructions
  1. Pre-heat your oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Put everything except the egg into your food processor, and pulse/blend until the butter is smaller than pea sized pieces.
  3. Add the eggs and blend until the dough is combined well.
  4. Scoop some of the dough with a spoon, gently roll them, and flatten a bit onto a Silpat or parchment paper lined baking tray. I make 5-6 biscuits with this recipe.
  5. Bake at 375 degrees for 14 minutes. Let the biscuits cool a good 5-10 minutes before handling so they can set up.

 

 

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Instant Pot Winter Vegetable Soup {With Stovetop Instructions Too!}

January 12, 2017

Nourish yourself with the best of the winter produce in a fraction of the time with your Instant Pot!

Instant Pot Winter Vegetable Soup {With Stovetop Instructions Too!}Product links in this post are affiliate links. It does not cost you anything and helps maintain the free information on this site, as well as answer the questions of “what brand do you use?” Please know I never personally recommend any product I wouldn’t use on my own family.

I really should have known better…

Last year when I started playing around with my Instant Pot a bit more, I fell in love with making some of my staple soup recipes in much quicker time. It meant that I could have veggie soups on the table most days of the week – and for this busy work at home mom with 3 kids under 7 years old, that meant…a lot!

We were blown away at how fast I could make a huge pot of soup, but something was missing…

Instant Pot Winter Vegetable Soup {With Stovetop Instructions Too!}Butter and time….

I had gotten into the habit of just tossing everything in and hitting go, foregoing that precious little “Saute” button that our Instant Pots come with. A 5-10 minute butter sauté with some key veggies (namely the aromatics like onion, carrots, celery, etc), takes a pot of soup from good to amazing.

As those aromatics cook with a little butter and sea salt their flavor changes and brings a sweetness and depth of flavor to the soup that will hook in just about any hesitant soup eater.

Instant Pot Winter Vegetable Soup {With Stovetop Instructions Too!}Back to the basics…with a little modern convenience thrown in!

So when it comes to my Instant Pot I’ve gone back to my traditional cooking roots to get that flavor, and am still enjoying the convenience of a quicker cook time than the stovetop would yield. Whether you are a novice cook, or a seasoned foodie I think we would all agree that an extra 5 or 10 minutes to get amazing flavor is worth it – especially when it will be devoured as quickly as this pot of soup did!

Instant Pot Winter Vegetable Soup {With Stovetop Instructions Too!}The best of winter!

So some of us don’t think of very many veggies being in season in the winter (at least those of us with snow piled knee high!). While there certainly isn’t the abundance that late August brings, you really can find some great seasonal vegetables to use.

Sometimes our grocer is hit or miss on a few of these items, but I would say that the vast majority of us have access to most of this list to at least pair a couple items together with staple onion, carrot, celery aromatics and make a really great soup! Just be sure you include at least one “sweet/creamy” starchy veg such as one of the squashes, sweet potatoes, or potatoes to balance out the sometimes bitterness that dark winter greens can have.

  • Leeks and/or onions
  • Parsnips and/or carrots
  • Celeriac and/or celery
  • Fennel
  • Brussel sprouts
  • Cabbage
  • Sweet potato
  • Winter squash (buttercup, butternut, acorn – whatever you can find!)
  • Winter greens (kale, chard, spinach)
  • Potato
  • Cauliflower
  • Broccoli

Instant Pot Winter Vegetable Soup {With Stovetop Instructions Too!}At home comfort in a pack-able meal!

This entire pot of soup didn’t even last a week in my house! Between lunch that day, packing some up for my husband’s Travel Crockpot for work lunch, my breakfasts, school lunch thermoses, and my toddler’s tea cups, it was G.O.N.E.!

If you have never used a Travel Crockpot before, and you work away from home, boy are you about to be mind blown! We actually have 2 of these so that my husband can bring multiple meals to work. He keeps a warming base at work and we have 2 of the liners that he brings home to wash and re-fill. Oftentimes he likes to bring soaked oatmeal for breakfast in one liner, and soup/dinner leftovers in the other. It is really great for those who are gone from home most of the day. If you want to read more about how to “temper” a school lunch thermos for the kids so their soup is nice and warm at lunch, this article explains that better!

Instant Pot Winter Vegetable Soup {With Stovetop Instructions Too!}

5.0 from 6 reviews
Instant Pot Winter Vegetable Soup {With Stovetop Instructions Too!}
Author: 
 
Ingredients
  • ¼ cup butter
  • 2 medium onions, roughly chopped (or 2 large leeks, rinsed of sand, tops discarded, and roughly chopped)
  • 2 medium/large parsnips or carrots, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 1 celeriac, peeled and roughly chopped (If you don't have access to this winter root, 2 celery stalks roughly chopped works fine! Celeriac has a mild celery taste and is so great in soup but even I can't find it at our store sometimes!)
  • 5-6 cloves of garlic, smashed
  • 10 large brussel sprouts, ends cut and discarded (you can use more if your sprouts are small)
  • ½ medium butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and roughly chopped
  • 1 small sweet potato, roughly chopped
  • 1 handful kale, roughly chopped
  • 2 quarts bone broth (You can use Instant Pot Broth, or here is my slow cooker method)
  • ¼-1/2 tsp chipotle pepper or cayenne (optional if you don't like the heat - we love it and it really brings it to another flavor level! Not to mention the warming heat is great in the cold winter here!)
  • Sea salt/pepper to taste
  • Parsley to garnish (optional)
Instructions
  1. Set the Instant Pot to "Saute," melt the butter in the bottom of the pot, and then add in the onion, carrot, and celeriac with a big pinch of sea salt. Saute the veggies for about 10 minutes stirring occasionally while you chop up the rest of the veggies.
  2. Turn off the Saute feature and toss in the rest of the veggies and the bone broth.
  3. Put the lid on, close the valve, and press "Soup". Bring the time down to 20 minutes, and it will turn on automatically. Once the pot comes to pressure, the 20 minutes will count down.
  4. After the 20 minutes of pressure cooking is done, turn the pot off, and open the valve to let the pressure out. Puree the soup with a handheld blender or in batches in a regular blender. After the soup is pureed you can sea salt and pepper to your taste. Garnish each bowl with parsley if you wish.

Stovetop soup instructions

The best part about this section is that it really isn’t much different than using the Instant Pot!

You can still save a bunch of time by just coarsely chopping your veggies – no need to be a perfect dice when it is all going to get pureed anyway! Simply saute the aromatics in butter like the first step. Then add in everything else, bring the whole pot to a simmer, cooking until the veggies are tender. Simmer it at the back of your stovetop so that you can tend to babies, clean up the kitchen, or fold laundry while it simmers away. I did this for literally years dear mommas…I have only had an Instant Pot for a year and a half! Fancy tools are so great, but you really only need a good soup pot if we are being honest!

Instant Pot Winter Vegetable Soup {With Stovetop Instructions Too!}

Biscuit and cracker ideas to go with your soup!

Instant Pot Winter Vegetable Soup {With Stovetop Instructions Too!}

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Fermented Carrots {that kids will actually eat!} & The Benefits of Fermented Vegetables

January 6, 2017

You are 2 household ingredients away from a jar of fermented carrots teeming with gut nourishing probiotics, enzymes, and B vitamins!

Fermented Carrots {that kids will actually eat!} & The Benefits of Fermented VegetablesProduct links in this post are affiliate links. It does not cost you anything and helps maintain the free information on this site, as well as answer the questions of “what brand do you use?” Please know I never personally recommend any product I wouldn’t use on my own family.

Simplicity.

Last week I asked my Instagram and Facebook audiences what they wanted to see more of in the next year and what I heard loud and clear was that many of you wanted to see more of the simple, nourishing staples from our home, and the “why” behind them.

Easy to fix, easy to find ingredients, and food that normal, everyday people have time to make.

I couldn’t be more overjoyed at your request to add more traditional, real food staples to my writing!

Because truthfully, while fancy brunches and fun treats are great, nourishing everyday meals, nutrient dense breakfasts, and staples like these fermented carrots are really where it’s at! This is where we get down to the nitty gritty, nutrient packed foods that are going to make a real difference in your family’s health.

Fermented Carrots {that kids will actually eat!} & The Benefits of Fermented VegetablesThe status of your gut determines just about everything…

At this point most people know that just about everything in the body relies on the status of your gut health. And that the status of your gut health is tied to the type of flora (bacteria) dominating the territory.

If the good bacteria reigns “king,” digestion is sound, the immune system works more effectively, and the brain is clear.

When the bad bacteria is more prevalent, digestion is disrupted in a myriad of different ways (YES we should be pooping daily – if you are not you are constipated. NO your poop shouldn’t be runny, it shouldn’t hurt to poop, and indigestion, heartburn, and tummy aches are not normal!), the immune system is completely off (ie getting sick often, autoimmune disease, cancer, etc), and the brain is a foggy mess (the gut-brain connection is tied to many brain/neurological disorders from depression and Alzheimer’s to ADHD, autism, and everything in between.)

Infiltrate and populate!

Traditionally fermented foods provide easy to absorb probiotics to our guts to use for battle every day. Whether you are generally healthy or have a few health issues, fermented vegetables such as these fermented carrots can populate your gut with the bacteria it needs to sustain a robust immune system, healthy digestive system, and sound mind.

Fermented Carrots {that kids will actually eat!} & The Benefits of Fermented VegetablesProbiotic powerhouse without the fuss!

I know, I know…first it’s bone broth, now it’s “get the ferments in!” You’re thinking you are going to be in the kitchen all day! Not in the least! I, for one, don’t have the time to be in the kitchen all day.

A little salt water, a jar, and some chopped carrots is all you need to get your ferment going, and it truly is one of the least hands on activities going on in my kitchen. The process of the natural bacteria feeding on the sugar and starches in the carrots not only creates a variety of strains of beneficial flora for the gut, it also produces beneficial digestive enzymes and B vitamins. It is truly amazing!

That sounds great, but how in the world am I supposed to get my kids to eat this?!

If you have super little kids – as in ages 6 months to 2 years old, this is where it’s at! Get those palates used to ferments and soured foods as soon as you can! I was always so surprised at how easily my babies took to sour plain yogurt, sauerkraut, and shredded fermented carrots. You can even give the little ones a half teaspoon or so of the fermenting liquid from the jar which is loaded with probiotic goodness!

If you have older kids, I have a couple suggestions. First, don’t make a big deal out of it. Don’t tell them “I’m not sure that you are going to like this but let’s try it”. If they already eat carrot sticks and dip, serve it to them with homemade Ranch – it is delicious! Any age above 2 or 3 years old is also a great time to explain the “why” behind healthy food. Tell those toddlers and younger school aged kids that fermented carrots puts the “good guys” into their tummy to fight off the bad guys! Pull out an anatomy book for those older school aged kids and teens and show them the why. Give them examples of what goes on if the good bacteria isn’t winning the battle.

(I also would recommend halving or leaving out the garlic if you think that might deter the kids. My kids looove garlic and I think the garlic gives an even sweeter flavor to the finished product but you can leave it out and they are a yummy salty/sweet carrot stick to dip in Ranch!)

Fermented Carrots {that kids will actually eat!} & The Benefits of Fermented VegetablesTips for prepping the carrots for babies, toddlers, and big kids

Cut your carrots depending on what texture the kids will like better and what you are using it for. Sticks work best for lunch packing, and shredded works well for sandwiches and salads. Shredded also works best for older babies/toddlers that can’t chew thicker cut sticks. I tend to make sticks so they are ready for lunchboxes, and then just chop them up for salads or wraps. When I had babies in the house, I always had a jar of the shredded fermented veggies on hand for them.

If the taste is overwhelming to your kids at first, try chopping them up small into a salad, sandwich, or wrap. My kids love shredded chicken wraps with fermented veggies. You can make this 5 minute mayo that has a sweeter taste and top the sandwich with sweet tomato slices or even shredded apples to sweeten the deal a little.

Dips!

Listen, so long as it’s sans the store bought junky oil dressings, I say let them dip whatever they want if it is getting it into them! My kids prefer homemade Ranch, though right now my toddler is in a raw honey kick and I’m totally cool with that. Other options might be guacamole or hummus!

Fermented Carrots {that kids will actually eat!} & The Benefits of Fermented VegetablesHow do I begin eating fermented vegetables if I have never tried them before?

Fermented vegetables are teeming with good bacteria, and, especially for those with sensitive tummies, food allergies, or digestive disorders, fermented vegetables make the entire eating process easier on the gut by acting as a digestive aide! Eating even a tablespoon or so of ferment with each meal will aide in digesting your food as well as provide stability to your immune system and brain health.

Start with 1 tablespoon or so per day to begin with to allow the friendly bacteria to make their home in your gut. Starting out with too much all at once can lead to tummy upset as the good bacteria takes over the bad. Increase to 1 tablespoon 3x per day as you feel comfortable. Once your body is used to the ferments, you can eat as much as you like and tolerate. My school aged girls eat up to 1/4 cup or more at a time.

Fermented Carrots {that kids will actually eat!} & The Benefits of Fermented VegetablesFermenting tools

While you can definitely get your ferments going today with just glass jar and a plastic lid (metal lids will corrode over time so plastic is recommended), as you get going you may want to take a look at fermenting tools that make the process even easier and stress free.

Vegetable ferments do best in an anaerobic environment (that is, “no oxygen” using an air tight seal). Plastic lids work fine, though some air does get through, and as the gasses build up in the ferment you need to “release” them by opening the lid here and there. The air that gets through also makes it easier for stray airborne microbes and molds to get in which can make the whole jar go bad.

There are a couple of sealing options you can choose from, and I really have found these to give the best fermenting results. The one that I use is the first recommendation, the Pickle Pipe.

  • The Pickle Pipe :: I am convinced a busy, “every day” mom invented this fermenting tool! Talk about zero fuss, *easy to clean,* and affordable! The Pickle Pipe creates a seal with a simple (easy to wash!) silicone disk, and the metal ring your jar comes with. The “pipe” part of the silicone disk has a special opening that only pressures open when the gasses build up in the jar and need to be released. So basically…set it and forget it! You don’t have to check for pressure everyday at all. I also am in love with their Pickle Pebbles which weight down the ferment at the top so you don’t have to worry about molding or the tips of the veggies going bad from being out of the brine. Invaluable! I have never had a ferment go bad or mold using my Pickle Pipes and Pebbles.
  • Fido Jar :: Fido jars create an incredible anaerobic sealed environment and are super easy to clean and take care of. No crazy parts to clean, and they are beautiful lined up in the kitchen to ferment! You will need to “burp” these every day or so to let the gasses out but they work very well! They are pricier than mason jars (especially if you already have a lot of mason jars at home, and can just get some Pickle Pipes to top them off), but they will last forever and, again, they are beautiful!
  • Traditional Fermentation Crock :: I have to be honest…I love these! I really do! They are on my foodie dream list and when I can afford a really beautiful new fermenting crock I really, really want one for my kitchen! They are gorgeous, easy to clean and work fantastic. They come with a weight to keep the veggies down to prevent molding and they create a perfect anaerobic environment.
  • Air-Lock Lids :: These are a really great, inexpensive option – especially if you already have a lot of mason jars at home. I think the Pickle Pipes are easier to clean and use, but if you have some of these lying around don’t let them go to waste – they work great!

Fermented Carrots {that kids will actually eat!} & The Benefits of Fermented Vegetables

5.0 from 3 reviews
Fermented Carrots {that kids will actually eat!} & The Benefits of Fermented Vegetables
Author: 
 
Ingredients
  • 1 pint warm water
  • 3-4 tsp sea salt
  • 4 medium/large carrots, peeled, and sliced into sticks, or into "coins," or strips/shredded (see notes above for help choosing the size that will work best for you)
  • 1 clove of garlic, smashed (Optional. If you have other household favorite herbs go for it! Many people like to use dill for fermented carrots - I love those too. Garlic happens to be our favorite!)
Instructions
  1. Make the brine. Stir the sea salt into the warm water until it dissolves. You will need most of this brine but will have a little bit left over - you can store the remaining brine in the fridge, or use it for another batch.
  2. Put the carrots into a clean pint jar, packing them in as tight as you can, leaving about 1 inch of head-space at the top.
  3. Pour the warm salt water brine over the carrots to cover them completely. Put your fermenting weight on top of the carrots/brine if you are using one, and wipe the rim of the jar clean.
  4. Close up your jar (Put on your Pickle Pipe, or close the lid of your Fido Jar, or lid and use your Air-Lock. A simple plastic lid can work for your first time until you get the hang of things and want to invest in something to make your fermenting process easier.).
  5. Set the jar at room temperature for 1-4 days depending on the taste you are going for. The longer it sits, the more flavor will develop. You can open and taste along the way until you are satisfied. I ferment mine for about 2 days, and that is the taste my kids enjoy best. Sometimes I make a jar just for me that I let ferment up to 5 days but I enjoy that funkier sour taste! One of my older girls does now too! Keep in mind that if you live in a warmer climate, you may not need as much time to ferment. In the summer sometimes ours are done in just 24 hours.

Tips on recipe size

This recipe makes 1 pint of fermented carrots. It is a great amount to get started on. I typically double this recipe into 2 pint jars (you could double into a quart jar, but I like to use the 2 smaller jars so my kids can get it out of the fridge to help themselves). For a doubled recipe, I use 1 1/2 to 2 tablespoons of sea salt into a quart of warm water to make the brine to divide up into the 2 pint jars.

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How To Cook Spaghetti Squash in the Instant Pot or Oven PLUS 2 Different Family Friendly Dinners To Use It In!

December 30, 2016

Learn how to cook spaghetti squash in your Instant Pot or oven for easy, vegetable noodles for the whole family!

How To Cook Spaghetti Squash in the Instant Pot or Oven PLUS 2 Different Family Friendly Dinners To Use It In!Product links in this post are affiliate links. It does not cost you anything and helps maintain the free information on this site, as well as answer the questions of “what brand do you use?” Please know I never personally recommend any product I wouldn’t use on my own family.

He always picks out the biggest one!

I have to admit, I am a pretty lucky girl. My husband does the majority our grocery shopping – I make the list and he shops. It is pretty much amazing, and it is part of this teamwork thing we try to make work in our house!

It never fails though – there are certain produce items that just always come home “the biggest and the best”! I am most certain he picks through the produce stand every week looking for the biggest squash, the head of garlic with the most cloves on it, and onions as big as my head!

How To Cook Spaghetti Squash in the Instant Pot or Oven PLUS 2 Different Family Friendly Dinners To Use It In!Spaghetti squash for days….

So one particular week when he brought home a spaghetti squash the size of a medium sized pumpkin, I decided I’d create 2 meals out of it and take pictures along the way for you all! It was like having 2 full dinners for a family of 5, all in one squash! And I have to admit…my Instant Pot has made making squash on a busy school night SO much faster!

How To Cook Spaghetti Squash in the Instant Pot or Oven PLUS 2 Different Family Friendly Dinners To Use It In!The squash with a blank canvas!

Spaghetti squash is quite literally a clean slate. It doesn’t have a ton of flavor, which actually is a great thing when it comes to feeding kids! There’s no veggie flavor masking here – you can truly make it taste however you wish.

So here is a complete tutorial on how to cook your spaghetti squash, as well as 2 family friendly dinner ideas for using it up!

how-to-cook-spaghetti-squashCooking Spaghetti Squash – Instant Pot Method

So my Instant Pot has quite literally taken over how I cook spaghetti squash in the last year! It is super fast and easy – you will love it! (If you haven’t taken the Instant Pot plunge yet, have no fear! Keep scrolling for the oven methods below!)

  1. If your squash is too large to fit in the Instant Pot , cut your spaghetti squash in half horizontally (so it can sit up on it’s end). If your squash is as big as mine in the picture, you will only be able to cook half at a time – which is enough to feed my family of 5 for dinner. If you have a smaller squash, simply cut enough of one of the ends off to scoop out the seeds and put the whole thing in!
  2. Scoop out the seeds, and set the squash on the trivet. Put 1 cup of water in the bottom of the pot.
  3. Put the lid on the Instant Pot and close the valve. Press manual and bring the time down to 12 minutes. It will turn on automatically. The timer will start counting down the 12 minutes once it reaches pressure. When the 12 minutes is done, you can turn the Instant Pot off and release the pressure from the valve. Take the lid off and your squash should be done. (Please note that squashes do come in quite different sizes and cook times might need some adjusting. If it doesn’t seem cooked through, simply do another 3 to 5 minutes (I had to do that with the one pictured above by the way – it was massive!).

How To Cook Spaghetti Squash in the Instant Pot or Oven PLUS 2 Different Family Friendly Dinners To Use It In!Cooking Spaghetti Squash – Oven Method

The oven method for cooking spaghetti squash is just as convenient since there is no prepping! It takes bit longer to cook but you can always cook it up ahead of time on the weekends and keep it in the fridge for a weeknight meal if you don’t have the hour to bake it.

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 425 degrees.
  2. Place your un-cut spaghetti squash in a baking dish and bake at 425 degrees for 1 hour. If your squash is quite large, you may need an extra 15 minutes or so.
  3. Cut your spaghetti squash in half horizontally (so it can sit up on it’s end). Scoop out the seeds, and serve.
    So from here your squash “noodles” are a blank slate to color in however you wish!

How To Cook Spaghetti Squash in the Instant Pot or Oven PLUS 2 Different Family Friendly Dinners To Use It In!The possibilities are endless from here!

Spaghetti squash noodles work well bound together with eggs for morning hashbrowns, or drowning in butter and garlic with veggies as a quick lunch, or as you will see here in the next 2 recipes, as a delicious, healthy dinner meal for the whole family!

How To Cook Spaghetti Squash in the Instant Pot or Oven PLUS 2 Different Family Friendly Dinners To Use It In!A quick tip for older kids who are new to spaghetti squash

I highly suggest not making a big deal out of the meal 😉 They feel your nervousness in serving something new and feed off it! Serve and be done! Know you are a good mom, be confident in your meal, and don’t beat yourself up if they turn their noses up at first. If you wish, you could “ease” them in by mixing the spaghetti squash “noodles” with some “regular” noodles. I would also recommend doing this for kids that might need the extra carbohydrates – I do this on occasion for my littler guys that need it.

spaghetti-and-meatballs-banner

I’m all about quick and easy here. While there is definitely a time and place to make your own spaghetti sauce, most busy school nights I’m all about just “doctoring up” some good jarred spaghetti sauce. If you make or can your own go for it!

How To Cook Spaghetti Squash in the Instant Pot or Oven PLUS 2 Different Family Friendly Dinners To Use It In!You can also make the sauce a meat sauce instead of making the meatballs if you are shorter on time. The meatballs do freeze up great, so if you have some time on the weekend, you can roll up a few pounds of meatballs for the freezer making them super easy to grab for a quick school night dinner. Just freeze the meatballs on a tray and then pop the frozen meatballs into a freezer bag.

How To Cook Spaghetti Squash in the Instant Pot or Oven PLUS 2 Different Family Friendly Dinners To Use It In!Ingredients (This makes enough to serve over 1/2 large or 1 whole small spaghetti squash):

  • 1 lb grassfed ground beef
  • 1 egg
  • 1 TB flour of choice (I usually use white rice flour, but tapioca flour works if you are grain free)
  • 1 TB Italian Seasoning
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 2 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 2-3 TB friendly fat to cook in such as butter, coconut oil, lard, or avocado oil
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 1 small green pepper, diced
  • 1 small zucchini, diced
  • 6-8 oz mushrooms, sliced
  • 4 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 jar organic spaghetti sauce

Directions:

  1. Cook your spaghetti squash according to one of the methods above while you make the meatballs and sauce.
  2. Make the meatballs while your oven pre-heats to 375 (If you are baking your squash, you can cook the meat balls at the 425 degrees along with the squash just back off the cooking time on the meatballs to 10-15 minutes.). Mix the beef, egg, flour, onion/garlic powder, sea salt/pepper in a small mixing bowl. Roll into small balls and place on a Silpat or parchment paper lined baking sheet. Bake at 375 degrees for 20-25 minutes.
  3. While the meatballs are baking, you can make the sauce. Melt the friendly fat in a pot and add the veggies with a big pinch of sea salt. Cook on medium to medium heat for 10 minutes stirring occasionally until the veggies soften.
    Add the garlic and cook for a minute.
  4. Add the spaghetti sauce and simmer until the meatballs are ready to be mixed in. Sea salt and pepper your sauce to your taste.
  5. Stir the cooked meatballs into your sauce and serve over the cooked spaghetti squash noodles. Top with freshly grated Parmesan cheese if you wish.

How To Cook Spaghetti Squash in the Instant Pot or Oven PLUS 2 Different Family Friendly Dinners To Use It In!

veggie-spaghetti-bannerBright, fun colors and loaded with mineral rich veggies! Use whatever vegetables are in season or on hand – it doesn’t make any difference when you are drowning it all in garlic butter sauce!

How To Cook Spaghetti Squash in the Instant Pot or Oven PLUS 2 Different Family Friendly Dinners To Use It In!I didn’t leave the guys out of this recipe either – I know my husband wouldn’t be real thrilled with a veggie only dinner so there is pastured sausage in this meal (you could use grassfed beef or even cooked chicken if you wish!). If you don’t mind the all veggie meal, just leave the meat out.

How To Cook Spaghetti Squash in the Instant Pot or Oven PLUS 2 Different Family Friendly Dinners To Use It In!Ingredients (This makes enough to serve over 1/2 large or 1 whole small spaghetti squash):

  • 1/2 lb pastured ground sausage or grassfed ground beef (you could use a full pound if your crew likes things meatier)
  • 4 TB friendly fat to cook in such as butter, tallow, lard, avocado oil, or coconut oil
  • 1/2 onion, diced
  • 1 medium zucchini, cubed
  • 1 yellow bell pepper, diced
  • 1 orange bell pepper, diced
  • 8oz mushrooms, sliced
  • 1/2 small cabbage, sliced thin
  • 5 large cloves of garlic, minced
  • 2 cups halved cherry or grape tomatoes
  • 1/2 tsp oregano
  • 1/8-1/4 tsp chipotle powder or cayenne if you don’t like it smoky (optional but the flavorful mild heat goes really well!)
  • 1/3 cup white wine or bone broth
  • 1 heaping handful baby spinach
  • Sea salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. Cook your spaghetti squash according to one of the methods above while you make the garlic buttered veggies to go on top.
  2. Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add all of the veggies except the garlic and tomatoes. Put a large pinch of sea salt into the pan, stir, and cook over medium heat for about 10 minutes stirring occasionally until the veggies are soft and sweet.
  3. Add the garlic and tomatoes and cook for 1 minute.
  4. Add the wine (or broth) and simmer about 7 minutes until the liquid absorbs a bit and the tomatoes soften and burst.
  5. Turn off the heat and stir in the spinach to wilt and then sea salt and pepper to taste.
  6. Serve over the cooked spaghetti squash with a sprinkle of freshly grated parmesan cheese if you wish.

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Fermented Cranberry Soda :: A naturally probiotic rich, kid friendly, real food soda!

December 17, 2016

Kids and adults alike can celebrate the holiday season with this bubbly, naturally probiotic rich fermented cranberry soda!

Fermented Cranberry Soda :: A naturally probiotic rich, kid friendly, real food soda!Product links in this post are affiliate links. It does not cost you anything and helps maintain the free information on this site, as well as answer the questions of “what brand do you use?” Please know I never personally recommend any product I wouldn’t use on my own family.

I remember the year like it was yesterday…

My oldest was 2 1/2 and we were enjoying a delicious New Year’s dinner platter of raw cheeses, crackers, fruit, olives – the works! My husband and I had glasses of wine to ring in the new year and my toddler was all of a sudden not as excited about her glass of milk!

Fermented Cranberry Soda :: A naturally probiotic rich, kid friendly, real food soda!Listen…kids love to celebrate just as much as we do!

Creating amazing memories for them while they are little so that the smells, the people, the traditions, and the food have a warm, nostalgic feeling every time the holidays come around builds family pride and appreciation.

After that year we started making sure that the girls had something special to drink with us as we rang in the new year as a family! (They also love having these fun swing top bottles to make them feel like they have their own special drink!)

Fermented Cranberry Soda :: A naturally probiotic rich, kid friendly, real food soda!

Naturally fermented, bubbly cranberry soda became our New Year celebration tradition!

While some years I chose the easier route and served store bought Kombucha as I sleepily nursed newborns, or tended to crabby witching hour toddlers, we are now in a really cool season of kids that actually sleep through the night (most of the time!), and a couple of older kids that really love to help in the kitchen and truly appreciate real food.

Fermented Cranberry Soda :: A naturally probiotic rich, kid friendly, real food soda!Use real food to make real, bubbly soda!

All you need to make a traditionally fermented soda is a fermenting medium such as whey, a ginger bug, or brewed water kefir or kombucha, a little sugar for them to feed on to grow, and a really fun seasonal fruit to flavor it! You can choose whatever fermenting medium you wish, and the cranberries give this soda the most vibrant, beautiful red color you have ever seen! It is also helpful to have these grolsch/swing top type bottles to make your fermenting happen easily!

Fermented Cranberry Soda :: A naturally probiotic rich, kid friendly, real food soda!

A note on the sugar

The sugar in the recipe is for the probiotic bugs, not for you! While there is some sugar left behind, the amount is completely up to you! The longer you let the drink ferment, the less sugar there will be, as the bugs in the fermenting medium (the whey, ginger bug, or brewed water kefir or kombucha) eat up the sugar.

The beauty is in being able to taste it along the way. I check the bottles every couple days and decide when it’s done. It’s pretty cold up here so fermenting happens slow in the winter – if you are in a warmer climate I would recommend checking for taste daily.

Fermented Cranberry Soda :: A naturally probiotic rich, kid friendly, real food soda!Fermented drink newbies, this part is for you!

If you are new to fermenting drinks, don’t be intimidated! It is so easy!

If you are just starting out and don’t have a fermenting medium such as a ginger bug, water kefir grains, or a SCOBY for kombucha, simply strain off some whey from a container of quality yogurt and you’ll be good to go! Put a thin towel over a bowl, scoop a 32oz container of plain, whole milk yogurt into the towel, and then tie the towel up to a cupboard door handle. The whey will drip out into the bowl – you’ll need about 1 cup to make this drink recipe and that should take about an hour-ish to drip if you squeeze it a little. The leftover yogurt in the towel is essentially “Greek yogurt”, or, if you strain it completely, it is like cream cheese!

(If you are interested in getting into more fermenting, here is my full tutorial about getting into water kefir brewing, and I love these tutorials from The Nourished Kitchen on making and using a ginger bug, as well as how to brew kombucha.)

Fermented Cranberry Soda :: A naturally probiotic rich, kid friendly, real food soda!Happy New Year from my family to yours!

Have the kids help you bottle up something special to ring in the new year! The hands on time is pretty minimal – once it’s bottled it just needs some time to sit and work it’s bubble magic!

Fermented Cranberry Soda :: A naturally probiotic rich, kid friendly, real food soda!

5.0 from 6 reviews
Fermented Cranberry Soda :: A naturally probiotic rich, kid friendly, real food soda!
Author: 
 
Ingredients
  • 8 cups fresh cranberries
  • 2 quarts of water
  • 2½ - 3 cups organic pure cane sugar
  • 1 cup whey, OR 1 cup ginger bug, OR 1-2 quarts brewed water kefir or kombucha
Instructions
  1. Put the cranberries, water, and sugar into a large soup pot and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer until the cranberries soften and burst. You can use the back of your wooden spoon or a potato masher to squish them up.
  2. Pour the cranberry sugar mixture through a strainer over a gallon jar to strain the cranberry pulp from the sugary cranberry syrup using a fine mesh strainer. Use the back of your wooden spoon to push the liquid through the strainer, spreading the pulp around. The leftover pulp can be blended into a smoothie or stirred into yogurt or soaked oats.
  3. Let the cranberry syrup cool to lukewarm/room temp and then stir in your fermenting medium (The whey, ginger bug, or brewed water kefir or kombucha). If using the whey or ginger bug, you'll have to add water to top off the gallon jar leaving a couple inches of head space
  4. At this point, you can either put a tight lid on your jar to ferment, or transfer to swing top/grolsch style bottles to ferment. Leave the soda at room temp for a few days to a week, checking for taste daily. The rate of fermenting greatly depends on the environment in which you live. This time of year where I live the fermenting takes 7-10 days since it is so cold here (we do have heat but it is still quite cool - this week we were in the single digits for wind chills!). I leave the flip top bottles up in a high cupboard where the heat rises in the kitchen near my stove. I do find that my ferments finish up faster using the flip top bottles versus a jar with lid. A Pickle Pipe on your jars work just as good as flip top bottles in my experience too. (I love my Pickle Pipes!)
  5. Once your cranberry soda is the taste and amount of natural carbonation you like, transfer your jar or bottles to the fridge to slow down the fermenting. They will keep in the fridge 3-4 weeks.

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Cranberry Baked Pears :: Paleo, Refined Sugar Free, and Gluten Free!

December 9, 2016

Festive cranberry baked pears are the perfect kid pleasing yet healthy treat for the holidays!

Cranberry Baked Pears :: Paleo, Refined Sugar Free, and Gluten Free!It just keeps getting better and better.

I have always enjoyed the holiday season, but every December that has rolled around since having kids in the house, things just feel a little more magical.

The first snowfall, Christmas jammies, the childlike awe over lighting up a tree, and the anticipation of Christmas Day….it’s enough to make you feel like a kid again yourself, and it has been so good for me to see Christmas through the eyes of little kids again!

Cranberry Baked Pears :: Paleo, Refined Sugar Free, and Gluten Free!Cranberry baked pears have become one of those Christmas traditions that our kids have grown to excitedly anticipate each year!

When it’s hard to settle in on Christmas Eve in anticipation for the next day’s events, making baked pears has become something to give the girls something hands on to do to “hold them over” while they wait for the fun day to come!

Cranberry Baked Pears :: Paleo, Refined Sugar Free, and Gluten Free!The beauty is in the simple prep!

One of the biggest reasons I started making baked pears on Christmas Eve was because it was something the kids could do almost 100% on their own! When you have so many other things going on such as family gatherings, or Christmas Eve services, or your own family traditions, it is nice to have a simple kitchen project that won’t make a huge mess, and that won’t take up a lot of time.

Line the kids up assembly line style and let them do it all themselves! Serve them up on special plates, flip that Christmas movie on, and let them enjoy a special tradition they will look forward to every year.

Cranberry Baked Pears :: Paleo, Refined Sugar Free, and Gluten Free!Simple and delicious, cranberry baked pears are also healthy!

Because who wants their kids hopped up on a bunch of sugar before bed anyway?! My husband and I love spending the evening on Christmas Eve wrapping presents together with glasses of wine and a movie! Baking the pears brings out an amazing burst of sweetness to the fruit, and pairing it with a fat like butter coated nuts keeps blood sugars happy. So while it feels like an indulgent treat, it won’t send blood sugars out of control right before bed.

Cranberry Baked Pears :: Paleo, Refined Sugar Free, and Gluten Free!A quick note for my nut free friends and those with older babies!

If you are nut free, you can use crushed seeds, or a mix of seeds and coconut shreds, or simply leave that part out! A seed based granola would work well here too. You can still drizzle some melted butter over the pears for a little fat.

One Christmas I had a 9 month old in the house that wasn’t consuming nuts yet and she gobbled hers right up without the nuts. If you have babies you can leave the cranberries and honey out and just serve them a baked pear drizzled in butter – they’ll be in heaven!

Cranberry Baked Pears :: Paleo, Refined Sugar Free, and Gluten Free!I hope to hear from you if you give this tradition a try with your little ones!

You can tag me on Instagram or Facebook – I’d love to see those sweet faces with their special pretty treats!

Cranberry Baked Pears :: Paleo, Refined Sugar Free, and Gluten Free!

5.0 from 2 reviews
Cranberry Baked Pears
Author: 
 
Ingredients
  • 4 pears
  • ½ cup fresh cranberries
  • 2 TB raw honey
  • ⅓ cup butter, melted (If you are dairy free, I have used avocado oil which works well too! Coconut oil will work but will leave a coconut flavor behind if you don't mind that!)
  • ⅓ - ½ cup nuts of choice, chopped (I used walnuts and pecans. I like to chop them by hand versus a food processor so they don't get too fine. If you are nut free you can use seeds, seeds and coconut shreds, or simply leave this part out!)
  • Cinnamon for sprinkling to taste
Instructions
  1. Preheat your oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Halve your pears and scoop the core out with a spoon leaving a little "bowl" for the cranberries. Arrange your pear halves on a baking sheet, flesh side up. (I like to slice the back of the pear on the rounded part of the skin so that the pear sits level and doesn't roll around on the pan.)
  3. Fill the middle of each pear half with cranberries (you'll get 3 or 4 in there depending on the size of the cranberries and the "bowl" you shaped). Drizzle raw honey over the cranberries to fill the bowl in. You can fit about a teaspoon in each half for older kids and back off on the amount if you have really little ones with sensitive taste palates yet. The cranberries are really tart so the honey is needed - you can leave the cranberries out for the really little ones around 1 year old and just do the baked pears without any honey! My babies loved it!
  4. Mix the melted butter and chopped nuts together in a small bowl, and the sprinkle over the tops of the pears. Finish with a sprinkling of cinnamon to your taste.
  5. Bake the pears at 375 degrees for 20-25 minutes until the pears and cranberries are soft and the nuts are crispy.

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Kids Not Sleeping? Environmental Sensitivities & Toxins Could Be The Culprit!

December 8, 2016

Kids spend close to half of their 24 hours in a day in their beds! Are your kids sleeping in a toxin free zone?

Kids Not Sleeping? Environmental Sensitivities Could Be The Culprit!

Product links in this post are affiliate links. It does not cost you anything and helps maintain the free information on this site. I was provided product from NaturePedic in this post for review purposes and did not receive monetary compensation. 

Sleep.

The ever constant desire of almost any parent, and yet it is something that isn’t talked about near often enough.
We talk a lot on this blog about how to nourish kids with the right food so that they can function well all day, and sleep well at night, but the physical environment our kids are sleeping in is just as important as food to their overall health – both day and night.

Kids spend 8-10 hours of every 24 hour day in their beds. (Babies and toddlers 10-12 hours!)

Let that sink in a little bit.

Almost half of every day, our children are in a bedroom, sleeping. If you have never thought about it in that way before, it is a good place to start when asking great questions like, “Why is my (older) child up 3 or 4 times a night?”, and “Why do my kids wake up stuffy and sneezy, or coughing?”, or even “Why do my kids have darkness or redness around their eyes?”

Kids Not Sleeping? Environmental Sensitivities Could Be The Culprit!

This was me about 4 years ago when I put my oldest into a big girl bed for the very first time.

We struggled for almost a year with restless nights, darkness around her eyes, and super stuffed up noses every morning.

I couldn’t figure it out. Her diet was squeaky clean, and I had eliminated all sorts of common food allergens to no avail. I had never thought about environmental sensitivities until I started doing some digging around with my reading.

The very week we threw a load of dust mite arsenal at her room, the darkness around her eyes went away and she slept sounder.

We were still dealing with sneezy mornings (though admittedly less in intensity), and to be honest I knew what the problem was. She was sleeping on an old mattress. I knew it needed to be replaced, so we got to researching a solution. In the meantime, we covered her mattress with dust mite covers and followed a strict protocol to keep the dust mites under control.

 


Our Dust Mite Control Plan!

  • Use an organic pillow to avoid chemicals in the fibers
  • Cover the bed and pillow with dust mite covers.
  • Wash bedding in hot water weekly and put pillows into the dryer on high heat for 30 minutes every week.
  • Limited the stuffed animals in her bed to 5 or less and give those a tumble in the dryer on high heat along with the pillow every week.
  • Wipe down window sills and floor boards every 1-2 weeks, and dust mop 2 times per week. (We have hard wood floors in the bedrooms which is great for keeping dust at bay. If you have carpet, vacuuming every other day would be a good idea if you haven’t already tried that.)

Kids Not Sleeping? Environmental Sensitivities Could Be The Culprit!

My research into safe bedding really opened my eyes to the chemicals and materials commonly used in making mattresses and bedding.

I was even more convinced that her mattress had a lot to do with her environmental sensitivity symptoms. I couldn’t get over the polyurethane in the foams, the toxic flame retardants, the soy, and many other materials and chemicals used to make mattresses!

I spent all this time avoiding chemicals in the food she ate, only to have her spending half of her day in a bed full of toxins!

I researched so many sleep solutions and kept coming back to Naturepedic because the quality was so sound. We have been so happy with our Verse Organic Mattresses for the girls, and even more importantly, I am happy to report that my daughter has been sneeze and cough free every morning since we swapped out her mattress! The girls sleep 10-11 hours every night, and I know they are safe and comfortable.

Kids Not Sleeping? Environmental Sensitivities Could Be The Culprit!

The Naturepedic Verse Organic mattresses boast:

  • 100% Organic Cotton Fabric & Filling :: Organic cotton is the purest form of cotton and a healthier alternative to synthetic fabrics and foams. Naturepedic uses only U.S. grown and certified organic cotton as filling for its mattresses and buys directly from USDA certified sources. This increases purity, organic reliability and support for U.S. farmers. The surface fabric is soft to the touch and easily stretches to conform to your body.
  • Safe Fire Protection :: Due to the innovative natural design and intelligent mattress construction, Naturpedic passes all Federal and State flammability standards without the use of fire retardant chemicals or flame retardant barriers. This is achieved through superior product design, the use of more natural materials and the elimination of polyurethane foam.
  • PLA Comfort Layer :: The PLA comfort layer adds resiliency to the quilt for increased performance and moisture wicking. Our non-GMO PLA is a made from potatoes. It wicks away moisture, offers a comfortable resiliency, and does not off-gas harmful chemicals. In fact, it is used for food packaging and a number of biomedical applications.
  • Breathable Encased Coil Support :: The coils in the Verse are individually wrapped for full body-contouring comfort. This method ensures isolation of movement while promoting balanced support for proper postural alignment. Exclusive construction completely avoids the use of glues or adhesives. Provides just the right amount of bounce while adding excellent breath-ability and heat dissipation characteristics as compared with memory foam and even all-latex mattresses.
  • Safe Fire Protection :: Due to the innovative natural design and intelligent mattress construction, Naturepedic passes all Federal and State flammability standards without the use of fire retardant chemicals or flame retardant barriers. This is achieved through superior product design, the use of more natural materials and the elimination of polyurethane foam.
  • Organic & Greengaurd Gold Certified :: Not only are the individual materials certified, but the finished mattress is certified as well. This ensures that all components meet a healthy non-toxic standard. Certified by OTCO to the Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS). All Naturepedic products are also tested for chemical emissions and certified according to stringent GREENGUARD® Gold certification standards.

An investment in your kids’ long term health

The day it dawned on me that what my kids were breathing in and sleeping on night after night affected their health, was the day my determination shifted to making that environment as safe as possible for not only their respiratory health, but their overall health. Sleep affects everything. Kids are unstoppable when they’ve had a good night of sleep, and every organ and system in their bodies function best when the body is well rested.

Kids Not Sleeping? Environmental Sensitivities Could Be The Culprit!

Start somewhere…

Here is your healthy checklist to get started on *today* for a better night sleep!

  • Naturepedic has an entire line of kid safe specific organic mattress toppers and pads as well as safe pillows and pillowcases that are a great start to breathing safer.
  • Remove clutter from the bedrooms to keep dust at a minimum.
  • Follow the dust mite “protocol” for cleaning the bedrooms above. Get the kids involved to help with the load. If the kiddos are old enough to toddle around following you as you clean, they are old enough to carry a little dust cloth to help!
  • Add a salt lamp to the bedroom to keep the air clean purified. The soft glow doubles as a night light for kids, and it doesn’t affect their sleep rhythms. I have noticed the salt lamp calms my kids.
  • Ultimately the mattress does in fact make a difference. All of these things made a huge difference but it wasn’t until the mattress change that my oldest was finally breathing better the next morning! The Naturepedic mattress has been a great change for us!

So talk to me! Have you experienced sleep struggles with the kids related to environmental toxins? What has worked for you?

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Blender Batter Fresh Cranberry Breakfast Cookies :: Gluten Free, Refined Sugar Free, Paleo Friendly

December 2, 2016

The kids will enjoy the flavors of the holiday season with these fresh cranberry breakfast cookies, and mom will love that they are gluten and refined sugar free!

Blender Batter Fresh Cranberry Breakfast Cookies :: Gluten Free, Refined Sugar Free, Paleo FriendlyProduct links in this post are affiliate links. It does not cost you anything and helps maintain the free information on this site, as well as answer the questions of “what brand do you use?” Please know I never personally recommend any product I wouldn’t use on my own family.

The week before Thanksgiving, my husband came home with 2 of the biggest bags of cranberries I had ever seen!

“They were on sale” he says, “Have fun with them!”

He knows me too well – challenge accepted!

I used one of the bags for fresh cranberry sauce for all of the Thanksgiving gatherings we had in the following week, and then I set to work figuring out what to do with the rest.

Blender Batter Fresh Cranberry Breakfast Cookies :: Gluten Free, Refined Sugar Free, Paleo Friendly

The last thing we needed in our house was another dessert after a week of pumpkin pie slices and Thanksgiving indulging, so I knew I wanted to make something practical.

Something that I could actually use (that was also quick prep!), and that I could feel good about giving the girls to eat. The holidays can be a tough time to keep things healthy. I want my kids to enjoy the holiday season, but I also want to keep them healthy and robust so they can enjoy it all too!

Blender Batter Fresh Cranberry Breakfast Cookies :: Gluten Free, Refined Sugar Free, Paleo Friendly

Sugar has a huge impact on the immune system.

It feeds the viruses and bacteria in the body, and causes inflammation which makes the body have to work harder while it’s trying to “put the flames out”. Keeping the sugar down gives your kids the upper hand at staying well – especially this time of year when we are more cooped up inside and the bugs are passed easily.

Blender Batter Fresh Cranberry Breakfast Cookies :: Gluten Free, Refined Sugar Free, Paleo Friendly

Keeping the sugar down doesn’t have to be a drag though!

Blending dates into the batter gives the cookies a natural fruit sweetness, while adding a vitamin and mineral punch to the cookie. 5 dates spread amongst almost 2 dozen cookies is pretty low sugar – and they are mildly sweet for young palates (you can add an extra date or 2 if you have older kids used to sweeter food to ease them in). And I cannot tell you how amazing these fresh cranberry breakfast cookies make the house smell!

Blender Batter Fresh Cranberry Breakfast Cookies :: Gluten Free, Refined Sugar Free, Paleo Friendly

Pack a nourishing punch in a fun, holiday season breakfast!

We still have a pretty long month of school this December, and I want my kids full and focused for their morning of school work. We do breakfast cookies on Fridays, and while they are always super fun mornings, I have big goals for my breakfast cookies. I want them packed with fat and protein to fill them up!

These breakfast cookies are loaded with fat and protein from 2 different kinds of nuts, coconut shreds, grassfed collagen, and butter. We usually have a side of hard boiled eggs and glasses of raw milk to go with our Friday breakfast cookies! So YES, dear friends, there is a “method to my madness” when choosing a variety of ingredients for my breakfast cookies. These aren’t just a treat – this is part of a meal!

Blender Batter Fresh Cranberry Breakfast Cookies :: Gluten Free, Refined Sugar Free, Paleo FriendlyEat some, freeze some!

These fresh cranberry breakfast cookies freeze up fantastic! I am planning on having them out on Christmas morning! While I love to make a big fancy breakfast on Christmas morning, my kids are just at an age where presents are more important than food! Having a plate of breakfast cookies out while they are opening gifts will keep the “hangries” away, and then you can have a nice brunch later in the morning.

Blender Batter Fresh Cranberry Breakfast Cookies :: Gluten Free, Refined Sugar Free, Paleo Friendly

Blender Batter Fresh Cranberry Breakfast Cookies :: Gluten Free, Refined Sugar Free, Paleo Friendly
Author: 
 
Ingredients
  • 1 cup pecans
  • 1 cup walnuts (I like to use soaked/dehydrated walnuts and pecans for best digestion)
  • 1½ cups tapioca flour
  • ⅓ cup grassfed collagen
  • ¼ cup coconut shreds
  • 3 eggs (If you are egg free, 3 flax eggs plus 1 TB apple cider vinegar will work as a replacement here for the binding and rising - they won't puff up quite as much as the eggs but they still work well!)
  • ¼ cup softened butter (If you are dairy free, use softened coconut oil
  • 2 tsp aluminum free baking powder
  • 1 tsp almond extract (vanilla extract works too)
  • 5 dates, pitted (I get medjool dates from Costco)
  • 1 cup fresh cranberries (I get mine at Costco)
Instructions
  1. Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Put the pecans and walnuts in your food processor and blend until made into a fine meal.
  3. Add the rest of the ingredients except the cranberries and blend to combine. It gets sticky, and you may have to scrape down the sides a couple times.
  4. Add the fresh cranberries and pulse/blend until the cranberries are the size pieces you want. You can alternatively chop them separately if you wish and fold them in, but I have found the food processor to do a fine job and it's quick!
  5. Scoop the batter onto silpat or parchment paper lined baking sheets, flattening them out a bit to the size cookie you want - the cookies will puff up but don't spread out much as they bake. Bake the cookies at 350 degrees for 16 minutes. Let the cookies cool 5 minutes before handling.

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