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Renee Kohley

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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.

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.

 

 

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

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!}

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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“Busy Momma” Simple Gluten Free Pumpkin Pie

November 18, 2016

This gluten free, real food, easy pumpkin pie is something every busy momma will feel proud of!

"Busy Momma" Simple Gluten Free Pumpkin PieProduct 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 “icing on the cake”.

The “cherry on top”.

The pie!

"Busy Momma" Simple Gluten Free Pumpkin PieThanksgiving is truly one of my favorite holidays of the year because it just doesn’t get any better than juicy turkey, buttery potatoes, amazing veggie sides…and the most delicious finish! Pie!

I call this my “busy momma pumpkin pie” because for the last few years that is exactly been my title – Busy Momma!

"Busy Momma" Simple Gluten Free Pumpkin PieWith 3 little ones hanging around, my kitchen is already pretty busy, and I want to be able to enjoy my Thanksgiving.

For me, that means less time in the kitchen, and more time enjoying my family! So the name of my game is easy peasy pie crust that is no fuss and easily rolled out, because I am *not* a baker – it is just not my favorite thing to do!

"Busy Momma" Simple Gluten Free Pumpkin PieI also want a pie filling that takes minutes to make. YES I am totally giving you permission to use that can of pumpkin if you are in a season of “busy.” While I have definitely made my share of pies with homemade baked pumpkin, I have found the canned pumpkin tastes just as good and saves some time.

"Busy Momma" Simple Gluten Free Pumpkin PieThe best of both worlds, this easy pumpkin pie is fast but will help you create nostalgic memories of amazing real food on Thanksgiving Day for your kids.

I remember feeling lost when I had my first baby and the holidays rolled around. I knew I wanted to feed her differently than from a box, but had no idea where to start. Luckily she was just an infant that first holiday season, and I made a decision to figure it all out by the next year!

It has been so worth it. It has been a labor of love to learn how to cook from scratch. The look on my kids’ faces when I tell them Thanksgiving is next week…well that is just the icing on the cake…or the whipped cream on the pumpkin pie!

"Busy Momma" Simple Gluten Free Pumpkin PieThis easy pumpkin pie is everything you love about your favorite Thanksgiving dessert, without the junk!

No sweetened condensed milk here – and no fussing around with a homemade, DIY version of condensed milk (although those work wonderfully and are great! We are shooting for fast here though!). And I don’t know if you have ever looked at the ingredient list on those boxed pies from the freezer section at the grocery store, but a mile long list of preservatives, and fillers is not what I’m going for!

"Busy Momma" Simple Gluten Free Pumpkin PieHappy Thanksgiving to you, dear readers! I am truly thankful for you this season! Your community, questions, and conversation are a joy to me every day!

"Busy Momma" Simple Gluten Free Pumpkin Pie

5.0 from 1 reviews
"Busy Momma" Easy Peasy Gluten Free Pumpkin Pie
Author: 
 
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. Make the pie dough first. Put the flour, 2 TB of sugar, and butter into your food processor and pulse to combine evenly. Pour the water into the oil stream cup on the top of the food processor, and turn the processor on to blend in the slow stream of water. Keep the processor on until the dough gathers into a ball. It will take a good minute or 2. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
  2. Take the dough out of the fridge to warm up a bit while you make the pumpkin pie filling. Simply put the rest of the ingredients into a medium mixing bowl and blend to combine.
  3. Use your warm hands to knead the dough a bit on a rice floured surface - the dough will become nice and soft as your hands warm it up. Using rice flour on your surface and rolling pin, roll the dough out to fit your pie plate, and fix the edges how you like.
  4. Pour the pie filling into the uncooked pie crust, and bake at 350 degrees for 60 minutes. The middle of the pie should not stick to an inserted butter knife although a little bit is ok - it will finish cooking while it cools on the counter.
  5. Let the pie cool to room temp on the counter and then refrigerate (this is a good one to make couple days in advance!). Serve slices of pie with homemade whipped cream.

More Thanksgiving posts you might like ::

Simple & Quick DIY Whipped Cream

Homemade GF Stuffing

Quick Cranberry Sauce

5 Minute GF Bone Broth Gravy

GF Cornbread

"Busy Momma" Simple Gluten Free Pumpkin Pie

Cold & Flu Season Herbal Recipes Nourishing Staples Real Food Tips

How To Make Elderberry Tincture

November 11, 2016

Learn how to make and use an elderberry tincture to effectively battle viruses and boost the immune system!

How To Make Elderberry Tincture ::Learn how to make and use an elderberry tincture to effectively battle viruses and boost the immune system!

Preface: I am not a medical doctor. Use your own discretion, momma gut instinct, and research to make a decision if the natural remedies discussed in this post are for you. Obviously if you or your child is not responding to natural remedies well, or symptoms become worse, seek medical attention. 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 will never forget the year I was sold on using elderberries during the fall and winter seasons.

It was my oldest’s first year of preschool. She was 3 1/2. And my goodness the little germy bugs that float around preschool rooms are enough to make your skin crawl! I had used elderberry syrup on and off up until then, but with our new found school schedule, and accompanying germ-fest, I came to heavily rely on the virus fighting capabilities that elderberries brought.

My youngest just happened to get a cold while I was writing this! She's bouncing back fast!

{My youngest just happened to get a cold while I was writing this! She’s bouncing back fast!}

Every week or so there were emails home about croup bugs, hand foot and mouth viruses, flu, strep, and on and on and on….

We rode out that first year of school with just a couple minor colds, and I was sold. Yes there is a whole lot more to kids staying healthy during the school year than just elderberry syrup. But with as young as my first born was, and as unexposed as she had been (no daycare as a baby), it is pretty amazing she came out of that year with just a couple colds!

How To Make Elderberry Tincture ::Learn how to make and use an elderberry tincture to effectively battle viruses and boost the immune system!

Elderberries have been known for centuries for their immune boosting abilities, and have been shown in studies to enhance immune system function for defending and fighting against disease.

Elderberries boost the production of cytokines, which are the body’s “messengers” for immune system defense. They are also filled with antioxidants for reducing inflammation in the body from being sick or under attack.

How To Make Elderberry Tincture ::Learn how to make and use an elderberry tincture to effectively battle viruses and boost the immune system!

While we love our elderberry syrup, making an elderberry tincture just plain saves this busy momma time!

A tincture is simply a liquid extract of whatever herb you are looking to use. The herb components are extracted into alcohol or vegetable glycerine. Because it is so concentrated, the dosages are smaller, and you won’t be in the kitchen simmering elderberry syrup every 2 weeks to keep up with a houseful of school aged children!

How To Make Elderberry Tincture ::Learn how to make and use an elderberry tincture to effectively battle viruses and boost the immune system!

Is it safe for children?

I happen to adore using tinctures for whatever ails my kids! It is so much easier to take than using a tea because the doses are so small and concentrated. The alcohol per dose is very minimal, however if that still doesn’t sit well with you, you can use vegetable glycerin for your tincturing. (I have not used vegetable glycerin for tincturing, so I apologize I don’t have a good source to recommend.)

How To Make Elderberry Tincture ::Learn how to make and use an elderberry tincture to effectively battle viruses and boost the immune system!

Extend the shelf life of your elderberries!

Elderberry syrup lasts in the fridge about 2-3 months. Tinctures last up to 5 years. If you get to the end of the cold and flu season and find yourself with elderberries left, it is best to tincture them up to maintain their potency. I have found a 9 month old half-used bag of elderberries I forgot in the back of my cupboard only to open them up and find them moldy. Tincturing takes the guess work out of shelf life.

How To Make Elderberry Tincture ::Learn how to make and use an elderberry tincture to effectively battle viruses and boost the immune system!

What you will need to make elderberry tincture

This is the best part! Brace yourselves…this is too easy!

That’s it! And in less than 2 minutes you will be on your way to your own elderberry tincture!

Instructions for making elderberry tincture

  • Fill your jar with about 1 cup of dried elderberries, cover the elderberries with the alcohol, and put the lid on.
  • Gently shake the jar and leave it in a dark cupboard for 6 weeks. Gently shake the jar every day or so (I keep mine right by my coffee mug in the cupboard so I remember to do this most days of the week)
  • After 6 weeks, strain the elderberries with a fine mesh strainer or thin kitchen towel and then pour the elderberry extract into your dark dropper bottle. Keep the elderberry tincture in a dark cupboard at room temperature. (PS! While you are waiting 6 weeks for your tincture to be ready, you can make elderberry syrup to use in the meantime!)

How To Make Elderberry Tincture ::Learn how to make and use an elderberry tincture to effectively battle viruses and boost the immune system!

So how do I dose my elderberry tincture out of my 4oz bottle?

Adults (considered over age 12) ::

  • When ill or at the sudden onset of illness: 2 droppers 3 times per day (2 droppers is about 1 teaspoon)
  • When healthy but the kids are sick (or there is a lot going around the classroom): 2 droppers 1 time per day

Children (ages 5-12) ::

  • When ill or at the sudden onset of illness: 1 dropper 3 times per day (1 dropper is about 1/2 teaspoon)
  • When healthy but there is a lot going around the classroom: 1 dropper 1 time per day

Children (ages 2-4) ::

  • When ill or at the sudden onset of illness: 1/4 to 1/2 dropper 3 times per day (1/2 dropper is about 1/4 teaspoon or about 5-10 drops)
  • When healthy but there is a lot going around daycare or their sibling’s classroom: 1/4 to 1/2 dropper 1 time per day (or about 5-10 drops)

(Please note that under the age of 2, I tend to keep any elderberry useage to tea or elderberry syrup (using molasses or maple syrup instead of honey if under the age of 1). If you are nursing, you can take the tincture yourself and the herb will transfer to your breastmilk. While I do use some tinctures with my babies for teething or calming, I try to keep it limited because of the alcohol and their underdeveloped livers under the age of 2.)

Tips for taking elderberry tincture

  • Tinctures can taste strong. I have found that my kids don’t bat an eye at them because they have been taking tinctures for various reasons since infanthood (such as teething tinctures and calming tinctures), and they are just used to them. Below are some things to keep in mind.
  • Tinctures work best held under the tongue for about 30 seconds. Obviously young children do not do this, but as my girls have gotten older we make it a game by humming the ABC’s or Twinkle Twinkle Little Star while we hold it. You can dilute the tincture a little to tame the alcohol too.
  • You can mix the tincture with a spoonful of raw honey, yogurt, or applesauce if you think the kids will take it better that way.
  • You can dilute the tincture in a warm cup of water with raw honey to make a “tea”.
  • While herbs work best on an empty tummy, just get it in when you can! I do shoot for in between meals, but in a houseful of busy kids that just doesn’t always happen.

More natural remedy posts you might like ::

How To Make Elderberry Tincture ::Learn how to make and use an elderberry tincture to effectively battle viruses and boost the immune system!

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Paleo Butternut Squash Pancakes

November 5, 2016

Make the perfect stack of soft and sweet butternut squash pancakes, with safe ingredients and toddler approved taste!

Paleo Butternut Squash Pancakes :: Gluten, Dairy, & Grain Free :: Make the perfect stack of soft and sweet butternut squash pancakes, with safe ingredients and toddler approved taste!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.

Ever have one of those panic moments when you realize you forgot to take the chicken out to thaw for dinner…at 3pm?

Despite the real food blogger status, the chaos that go along with 3 little ones in the house still leaves me with the title “busy mom” at the end of the day! And with that includes forgetting about dinner occasionally!

Paleo Butternut Squash Pancakes :: Gluten, Dairy, & Grain Free :: Make the perfect stack of soft and sweet butternut squash pancakes, with safe ingredients and toddler approved taste!

These little pancakes were born on one such occasion and, much to my delight, have become one of our family favorite pancake recipes!

If you happen to have a bit of leftover squash from dinner, or from that can of pumpkin you were using for your pie or latte, you can whip these quick little pancakes up for breakfast…or breakfast for dinner! The batter takes just minutes to blend, and they cook super fast alongside a pan of fried eggs.

Paleo Butternut Squash Pancakes :: Gluten, Dairy, & Grain Free :: Make the perfect stack of soft and sweet butternut squash pancakes, with safe ingredients and toddler approved taste!

These butternut squash pancakes are super soft and light in texture, feeling just like a “typical” pancake!

But with powerhouse ingredients like mineral rich squash, and coconut flour loaded with fiber and fat, you can feel good about serving these even to the littlest of kids around the table. Perfectly safe for babies over the age of 1, these grain free pancakes are a fun way to included everyone at the table in a nutrient dense, nourishing breakfast.

(For more real food meal ideas for babies, you can check out my newest cookbook, Nourished Beginnings Baby Food!)

Paleo Butternut Squash Pancakes :: Gluten, Dairy, & Grain Free :: Make the perfect stack of soft and sweet butternut squash pancakes, with safe ingredients and toddler approved taste!

Real Food Pancake Topping Suggestions!

  • For my babies over 1 and toddlers, I tend to serve a pancake with coconut butter and leave it at that. The mild sweetness of the coconut is practically like frosting to such young taste palates, and I like to keep it that way as long as I can! In fact, my 7 year old still eats her pancakes this way most of the time.
  • Butter and a drizzle of pure maple syrup or raw honey
  • Coconut butter and jam
  • Nut or seed butter and raw honey

Paleo Butternut Squash Pancakes :: Gluten, Dairy, & Grain Free :: Make the perfect stack of soft and sweet butternut squash pancakes, with safe ingredients and toddler approved taste!

Pancake Serving Suggestions and Freezing Methods

  • I tend to serve our pancakes with fried eggs on the side and raw milk or coconut milk to drink to round it all out.
  • Pastured bacon or sausage works great too!
  • For on the go, or packing a “breakfast for lunch” in the lunchbox, you can pack the pancakes sandwiched together with the topping suggestions above, along with hard boiled eggs!
  • These pancakes freeze so nice and thaw out just as soft. I freeze pancakes flat in freezer bags and pull them out as needed. I use a toaster or warm pan to thaw them out and warm them up.

Paleo Butternut Squash Pancakes :: Gluten, Dairy, & Grain Free :: Make the perfect stack of soft and sweet butternut squash pancakes, with safe ingredients and toddler approved taste!

5.0 from 1 reviews
Paleo Butternut Squash Pancakes
Author: 
 
Ingredients
  • 1 cup cooked & pureed butternut squash
  • 4 eggs
  • 3 TB pure maple syrup or raw honey
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup tapioca flour
  • ¼ cup coconut flour
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • ½ tsp cinnamon
Instructions
  1. In a medium sized mixing bowl, blend the squash, eggs, syrup, and vanilla for 1 minute.
  2. Add the rest of the ingredients and blend for another minute or two.
  3. Scoop the batter onto a very hot griddle that has been greased with avocado oil, cococut oi, or butter (I use a ¼ cup measuring cup filled about ¾ of the way to scoop the batter), and cook for 1-2 minutes, or until the batter starts to bubble. Flip the pancake and cook for another minute on the other side.

More real food recipes you might like ::

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Versatile Cabbage and Beef Skillet

October 27, 2016

Budget friendly, real food for the whole family with plenty of flavor change ups, so there’s enough variety to serve it often!

Versatile Cabbage & Beef Skillet :: Budget friendly, real food for the whole family, and with plenty flavor change ups, there's plenty of variety to serve it every week!So a little real life for you…

Sometimes life gets busy and I don’t want to think about what to make for dinner…

And some weeks we are stretched super {super} thin on the budget by the time we get to pay day, so the dinner possibilities are not, in fact, endless…

Versatile Cabbage & Beef Skillet :: Budget friendly, real food for the whole family, and with plenty flavor change ups, there's plenty of variety to serve it every week!I’m pretty sure this is not just my reality…and can I tell you something? I have grown to love teaching people how to keep their kitchens real food focused while sticking to a budget.

I have to be honest in saying that I have been fighting myself to even post a recipe like this because…I know it isn’t fancy. It isn’t typical “viral” blog material. But this, dear friends, is real life – this is what we have to do day in and day out. Make real food that nourishes our family without spending all the money!

Versatile Cabbage & Beef Skillet :: Budget friendly, real food for the whole family, and with plenty flavor change ups, there's plenty of variety to serve it every week!Because, let’s face it…you can do some pretty major budget damage at health food stores!

We have so been there. It can ruin your real food eating goals in one shopping trip, and send your spouse running back to that box of Hamburger Helper in about 2 seconds flat. Don’t go broke trying to eat real food. It isn’t worth it.

Instead, get back to the basics! Simple, real food tastes amazing, makes your body feel incredible, and won’t make you go broke if you do it up right!

Versatile Cabbage & Beef Skillet :: Budget friendly, real food for the whole family, and with plenty flavor change ups, there's plenty of variety to serve it every week!Real food budgeting 101…Fall in love with cabbage my friends!

And every other mineral rich vegetable you can get your hands on. When you stretch that grassfed/pastured meat budget by filling the large majority of your plate with vegetables that taste amazing, you really can stick to a super strict budget and still eat very well.

Versatile Cabbage & Beef Skillet :: Budget friendly, real food for the whole family, and with plenty flavor change ups, there's plenty of variety to serve it every week!The secret to amazing veggie flavor is all in the method!

I know when I was just beginning to cook real food, I had zero clue how to cook vegetables. I am not a trained chef, have never taken a cooking course, and I’m from the generation that had their home ec classes taken away. But when I started figuring out the secrets to cooking vegetables in a way that used their amazing flavor potential, that was the turning point!

I truly wish I could make this just one time for all of you, my reader friends, just so you could taste it just once – because I know you would be hooked! This meal is served in our house at least once a week in some form or fashion – and there are so many ways to change it up so there’s no boredom!

Versatile Cabbage & Beef Skillet :: Budget friendly, real food for the whole family, and with plenty flavor change ups, there's plenty of variety to serve it every week!So here is the basic cabbage and beef skillet recipe – our family favorite way of making it by the way!

And at the bottom of the recipe be sure to check out the different ways you can swap things in and out to change it up!

Versatile Cabbage & Beef Skillet :: Budget friendly, real food for the whole family, and with plenty flavor change ups, there's plenty of variety to serve it every week!

Versatile Cabbage and Beef Skillet
Author: 
 
Ingredients
  • 1 lb grassfed ground beef
  • 3-4 TB friendly fat to cook in such as butter, tallow, avocado oil, or coconut oil
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 8 oz mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 small head of cabbage (or ½ - ¾ large head), sliced into strips
  • 8 large cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1-2 tsp dried thyme (or other seasoning of choice)
  • ¼ pound baby spinach, chopped
  • 2 cups cooked long grain white rice or cauliflower rice
  • Sea salt and pepper to taste
Instructions
  1. In a large skillet, add a tablespoon of butter to melt and then brown the ground beef. Set the cooked beef aside but leave behind any of the juices/fat. (I also like to get the rice started cooking when I get the beef going so it is ready to be added to the skillet at the end)
  2. Add the rest of your cooking fat to the skillet to melt, along with the onion, mushrooms, and cabbage with a big pinch of sea salt. Combine and cook this mixture over medium/medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, for about 10 minutes or so until the cabbage, mushrooms, and onion are soft and sweet. If the veggies feel dry, you can add a splash of water or bone broth.
  3. Add the garlic and cook for a minute.
  4. Add the thyme, cooked ground beef, baby spinach, and cooked rice. Combine and cook over medium heat until the spinach wilts to your liking. Sea salt and pepper the skillet to your taste.


Ways to change it up!


Egg Roll In a Bowl!

  • Swap the thyme for coconut aminos, grated ginger, and red pepper flakes (powdered ginger is fine too!).
  • Add shredded or julienne peeled carrots when you add in the spinach.
  • Serve with sliced green onion.

Curry Me!

  • Swap the thyme for your favorite red or yellow curry.
  • Add sliced, colorful bell peppers right in there with the cabbage.

Deconstructed Cabbage Roll Style!

  • Add some oregano in with the thyme.
  • Add a can of diced tomatoes in when you toss the cooked beef back into the pan with the cooked cabbage.

Italian Style!

  • Swap the thyme for Italian Seasoning
  • Add lots of sliced cherry tomatoes in when you toss the cooked beef back into the pan.
  • Serve with freshly grated Parmesan.

Taco Tuesday!

  • Swap the thyme for taco seasoning and a dash of chipotle powder. You could swap the beef or some of the beef for cooked pinto beans too!
  • Add some diced bell peppers in with the cabbage, and chunky salsa to stir in when you toss the cooked beef back into the pan.
  • Serve with a dollop of sour cream OR you could even serve it right in a sprouted corn tortilla shell!
Dinner Ideas Holiday Recipes Lunch Ideas Nourishing Staples Real Food 101 Real Food Tips Soup

Smoky and Sweet Chicken and Pumpkin Corn Chowder

October 21, 2016

Creamy and comforting meets the savory heat of chipotle in this sweet and smoky chicken and pumpkin corn chowder!

Smoky & Sweet Chicken & Pumpkin Corn Chowder :: Creamy and comforting meets the savory heat of chipotle in this sweet and smoky chicken and pumpkin corn chowder!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.

Apple picking, hayrides, fall color hikes, pumpkin carving, and costumes, oh my!

Smoky & Sweet Chicken & Pumpkin Corn Chowder :: Creamy and comforting meets the savory heat of chipotle in this sweet and smoky chicken and pumpkin corn chowder!

October has become such a busy month since having older kids in the house! I am such a summer girl, but over the last couple years, I have really grown to love all of the fun fall activities that October brings…as well as all of the warm meals that go along with it!

Smoky & Sweet Chicken & Pumpkin Corn Chowder :: Creamy and comforting meets the savory heat of chipotle in this sweet and smoky chicken and pumpkin corn chowder!Daily bone broth is one of my simple, daily goals for keeping my crew of kids healthy all season, and sometimes we need a little soup change up!

Even though I am sure this will most certainly become an adult favorite in the home, I really wanted to bring up trying this soup with the kids too. I think you will be surprised at how little ones will like the smoky flavor of chipotle. It has a milder, more flavorful heat that tastes so good. Two of my babies really took to heat as little ones and never really skipped a beat.

Smoky & Sweet Chicken & Pumpkin Corn Chowder :: Creamy and comforting meets the savory heat of chipotle in this sweet and smoky chicken and pumpkin corn chowder!So what about those littles that aren’t keen on spicy food?!

I have one of those! When she was really little I simply used less spicy heat, and then would add more heat to the plates my husband and I were eating from. It’s simple enough, and still trains the taste palate of your little one for a new meal. When it comes to something like soup or chili, I tend to season with the heat we like, and then “cool” her bowl down by stirring in sour cream or coconut milk/cream – it works SO good!

Smoky & Sweet Chicken & Pumpkin Corn Chowder :: Creamy and comforting meets the savory heat of chipotle in this sweet and smoky chicken and pumpkin corn chowder!Creamy and comforting without the dairy! But what about that corn?!

If you can’t eat corn (remember corn is a grain – so if you are grain free listen up!), I have a couple of swaps for you! I think the best swap is using either chopped or “riced” cauliflower. You can cook it right alongside the potatoes if they are chopped, and if it is “riced”, simply add it in when you put the garlic in since it doesn’t need a long cook time. I also have tried diced sweet potato and think that works well (add this right in with the potatoes).

That secret step of blending up half the soup before putting in the chicken is what gives the soup it’s creamy texture! No dairy or flour needed!

Smoky & Sweet Chicken & Pumpkin Corn Chowder :: Creamy and comforting meets the savory heat of chipotle in this sweet and smoky chicken and pumpkin corn chowder!Take advantage of those sweet little pie pumpkins over the next couple months and make that broth super creamy and sweet!

Flavorful soups are the a fun way to make nourishing bone broth a part of everyday. Mineral rich seasonal veggies not only bump up the mineral profile but can also bring amazing flavor and make a daily bowl of soup more interesting and fun!

That secret step of blending up half the soup before putting in the chicken is what gives the soup it's creamy texture! No dairy or flour needed!

5.0 from 1 reviews
Smoky and Sweet Chicken and Pumpkin Corn Chowder
Author: 
 
Ingredients
  • 1 pie pumpkin
  • ¼ cup friendly fat to cook in such as butter, avocado oil, lard, or coconut oil (I happen to love this soup with a good TB of the friendly fat coming from bacon grease - it gives it a really great flavor!)
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 4 medium/large yellow potatoes, small cube or diced (smaller is best if serving to kids but if you like bigger chunks go for it!)
  • 1 large carrot, diced
  • 3 large cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1½ quarts bone broth (if you want a much thicker broth you could use just 1 quart)
  • ½ tsp chipotle powder (this leaves a mild, kid friendly smoky heat - if you prefer it spicier (like I do!) you can add a full teaspoon or just add more to the serving in your bowl. Sour cream or coconut milk can tame the heat for little ones if you want to go that route too!)
  • 2 cups cooked chicken, cubed (use leftovers from roasting a whole chicken, doing a slow cooker whole chicken, or Instant Pottting a whole chicken!)
  • 2 cups frozen organic corn (I get mine at Costco)
  • 1-2 cups baby spinach, chopped
  • Sea salt and pepper to taste
Instructions
  1. Preheat your oven to 425 degrees. Place your whole pumpkin in a baking dish, and roast at 425 degrees for 50 minutes. Slice the pumpkin in half to cool, scoop out the seeds, and puree in a food processor or blender. (You could skip this step entirely and use a can of pumpkin if you are stretched for time! Keep in mind canned pumpkin is typically other squash so it is darker orange in color and will just give the soup a different color - it will still be pretty and so delicious though!)
  2. While you are waiting for your pumpkin to cool, start your soup. Melt your friendly fat in a large soup pot and add the onion, potatoes, and carrot with a big pinch of sea salt and stir to combine. Cook on medium heat, stirring occasionally, for about 7-10 minutes until the onions are translucent and the potatoes are fork tender.
  3. Add the garlic and cook for a minute.
  4. Add the broth, pumpkin puree, and chipotle powder, and stir to combine. Bring to a low simmer and then turn the heat off or down to low. Scoop out about half of the soup to a medium mixing bowl and blend with an immersion blender (or scoop the soup into a blender to blend) until smooth.
  5. Return the blended portion of the soup back to the soup pot, add the chicken and corn, and bring to a low simmer for a 5 minutes. Turn off the heat, add the spinach to wilt in, and then sea salt and pepper the soup to your taste.
  6. Again, for the little ones in the house, you can add sour cream or coconut milk to their bowl to tame any heat. You can also puree the soup entirely for little ones that are funny about "chunks" in their soup.

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Cinnamon Pumpkin Granola :: Gluten Free with Grain Free Options

October 15, 2016

Mineral rich cinnamon pumpkin granola is busy school day ready, and on the go for a fun filled autumn weekends!

Cinnamon Pumpkin Granola :: Gluten Free with Grain Free Options :: Mineral rich cinnamon pumpkin granola is busy school day ready, and on the go for a fun filled autumn weekends!

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.

Before we go into hibernation mode for the winter, we have a pretty amazing fall to enjoy around here!

Cinnamon Pumpkin Granola :: Gluten Free with Grain Free Options :: Mineral rich cinnamon pumpkin granola is busy school day ready, and on the go for a fun filled autumn weekends!The air is finally turning, and the leaves around here are warming up the sky with beautiful autumn colors!

Surrounded by some of the most beautiful hiking paths in the country, we soak in every hiking path we can observing the falling leaves and active wildlife…and dodging autumn rain showers!

Cinnamon Pumpkin Granola :: Gluten Free with Grain Free Options :: Mineral rich cinnamon pumpkin granola is busy school day ready, and on the go for a fun filled autumn weekends!Because we are outside almost as much as during the summer, I need some quicker snacks during the autumn too.

I love having my oven running during the fall to keep the chill out of the house, but I also have days were we just aren’t home at all, and I need quicker, grab and go things!

Cinnamon Pumpkin Granola :: Gluten Free with Grain Free Options :: Mineral rich cinnamon pumpkin granola is busy school day ready, and on the go for a fun filled autumn weekends!

Have the kids pack this cinnamon pumpkin granola up in snack containers themselves for a hike or soccer game on the weekend, and you can also pack it up quick for their yogurt at school. It also makes for a great breakfast with a splash of raw milk or coconut milk on a Friday morning when we just feel like sleeping in a little longer!

Cinnamon Pumpkin Granola :: Gluten Free with Grain Free Options :: Mineral rich cinnamon pumpkin granola is busy school day ready, and on the go for a fun filled autumn weekends!The girls have been devouring this cinnamon pumpkin granola, and I love that it is packed with a different variety of nourishment I can feel good about.

Lightly crispy with a variety of nuts and seeds, and sweetened only with raw honey and blackstrap molasses, this granola is a big mineral rich boost for busy kids that will stick with them. Both buckwheat and pumpkin seeds are mineral boosting powerhouses packed with manganese, magnesium, zinc, and folate to keep our organs functioning properly. Buckwheat is is also rich in B vitamins for energy, and pumpkin seeds are loaded with antioxidants.

Cinnamon Pumpkin Granola :: Gluten Free with Grain Free Options :: Mineral rich cinnamon pumpkin granola is busy school day ready, and on the go for a fun filled autumn weekends!There are some grain free swaps in the recipe ingredients! Even if you aren’t grain free, it is nice to mix things up a bit!

If you are nut free, try swapping the pecans and walnuts for more seeds or even more oats or a different grain! Feel free to use the comments and I would be happy to walk you through any of that! Granola is very hard to mess up – very forgiving!

Cinnamon Pumpkin Granola :: Gluten Free with Grain Free Options :: Mineral rich cinnamon pumpkin granola is busy school day ready, and on the go for a fun filled autumn weekends!

Cinnamon Pumpkin Granola :: Gluten Free with Grain Free Options
Author: 
 
Ingredients
  • 6 cups oats (Not quick oats. If you are gluten free, be sure your bag says gluten free. If you are grain free, simply replace the 6 cups of oats with any combination of coconut shreds and/or coconut flour, and different variety of finely chopped nuts and seeds (brazil nuts, sunflower seeds, walnuts, pecans, pumpkin seeds, etc.) I would NOT do all coconut flour or shreds however - it will be too dry. The coconut flour/shreds do not need to be soaked in the first step but any nuts or seeds do.)
  • 2 cups buckwheat flour
  • 2 cups raw pumpkin seeds, finely chopped (I get mine at Costco. I buzz all of the nuts and seeds in my food processor pretty fine)
  • 2 cups raw pecans, finely chopped (I get mine at Costco. I buzz all of the nuts and seeds in my food processor pretty fine)
  • 2 cups raw walnuts, finely chopped (I get mine at Costco. I buzz all of the nuts and seeds in my food processor pretty fine)
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 TB sea salt
  • 2 - 15oz cans of pumpkin (any homemade squash puree will work here if you have it!)
  • 1 cup coconut oil, melted stove top (II get the linked large container at our Costco)
  • ½ - ¾ cup raw honey (you can taste your granola mixture for sweetness - I can get away with less but if you have older kids used to sweeter things you can bump it up a bit if you need!)
  • ¼ cup organic molasses (I get mine at Costco)
  • 1-2 TB cinnamon
  • 1 TB vanilla extract
Instructions
  1. Put the oats, buckwheat, pumpkin seeds, pecans, and walnuts in a large mixing bowl along with the lemon juice and sea salt. Fill the bowl with water just enough to be able to stir it all together in a sticky mixture. Do not over water because we won't be straining this mixture after it soaks - the more water you put in the more that has to dehydrate out! Cover your bowl with a towel, and leave your mixture to soak on the counter overnight or 8-10 hours. This soaking process decreases the phytic acid in the oats, nuts, and seeds making them digest the best, as well as making more of their nutrients available to absorb.
  2. After the soaking is done, put the rest of the ingredients in the mixing bowl and stir well to combine. You can taste your mixture for sweetness at this point too. I actually use my big stock pot for making the granola mixture as it is easier for stirring!
  3. Spread the granola mixture onto your dehydrator trays (this is the dehydrator I have!) and dehydrate at 125 degrees until the granola is dried out - this can take up to a day depending on how much water you used in the soaking process. You can dehydrate at a higher temp like 150 or 165 degrees which is what I choose to do often and that will take 8 hours or so - many dehydrator brands run differently on those temps so just keep an eye on them! Once the granola is dried out, you can crumble it into an airtight container and store in the pantry.

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Roasted Pumpkin and Garlic Pasta With Sage and Thyme Meatballs

October 5, 2016

Grab the wool socks and put a log on the fireplace! It’s time to cozy up to some cool weather comfort food like roasted pumpkin and garlic pasta and enjoy the season!

Roasted Pumpkin & Garlic Pasta with Sage & Thyme Meatballs ::Grab the wool socks and put a log on the fireplace! It's time to cozy up to some cool weather comfort food like roasted pumpkin and garlic pasta and enjoy the season! 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.

Autumn has really allowed us to ease into cooler weather this year with unseasonably warm temperatures (for Michigan!), and I think I am ready for a little fall!

I won’t spend a much time taunting you with explaining much about this drool worthy dinner, but I did want to give you a few swaps and examples for how to use the roasted garlic pumpkin cream sauce, as well as some swaps for the pasta if you are a home that can’t do that! I want everyone to be able to enjoy this dish!

Roasted Pumpkin & Garlic Pasta with Sage & Thyme Meatballs ::Grab the wool socks and put a log on the fireplace! It's time to cozy up to some cool weather comfort food like roasted pumpkin and garlic pasta and enjoy the season! Roasted pumpkin and garlic sauce

This sauce….oh the creaminess and flavor! You can’t get the depth of roasted flavor from canned pumpkin or a powdered garlic…I promise you will be blown away if you just use the good stuff!

It will quickly become a family favorite which is why I want to offer a few swaps for those that need it! First, if you are a dairy free home, I have made this with all coconut milk and it is so amazing. I am not a huge fan of things tasting like coconut, and I think the roasted pumpkin and garlic take over the flavor of the dish very well. I also have done half coconut milk and half water and it is still really amazing.

Roasted Pumpkin & Garlic Pasta with Sage & Thyme Meatballs ::Grab the wool socks and put a log on the fireplace! It's time to cozy up to some cool weather comfort food like roasted pumpkin and garlic pasta and enjoy the season!

Pumpkin Pasta!

I use the Tinkyada brand rice noodles pretty exclusively for pasta needs in our house, but use whatever you have on hand or like to use. If you are a grain free home, or pasta isn’t in the house, this cream sauce is good on….just about everything! You can make veggie noodles with your spirilizer such as sweet potato noodles or “zoodles” with zucchini. Or you can make a big veggie stir fry and mix the meatballs in along with the cream sauce. Whatever you can swing…try it! This sauce is just decadent!

Roasted Pumpkin & Garlic Pasta with Sage & Thyme Meatballs ::Grab the wool socks and put a log on the fireplace! It's time to cozy up to some cool weather comfort food like roasted pumpkin and garlic pasta and enjoy the season! A note on the meatballs!

The egg in the meatballs is for binding, so if you are an egg free home simply use a gelatin or flax egg and you should be just fine. I think tapioca flour would be a good swap if you are grain free.

Roasted Pumpkin & Garlic Pasta with Sage & Thyme Meatballs ::Grab the wool socks and put a log on the fireplace! It's time to cozy up to some cool weather comfort food like roasted pumpkin and garlic pasta and enjoy the season! Dear friends, this is how we welcome in fall around here! Happy autumn season to you!

5.0 from 2 reviews
Roasted Pumpkin and Garlic Pasta With Sage and Thyme Meatballs
 
Ingredients
  • For The Roasted Pumpkin & Garlic Pasta ::
  • 1 pie pumpkin
  • 4 TB butter, divided
  • 4 garlic cloves, leave them whole and unpeeled to roast
  • ¾ cup whole milk or coconut milk (you can adjust this depending on how thick or thin you want your sauce)
  • ¼ cup whole sour cream (or more coconut milk)
  • Sea salt & pepper to taste
  • ½ - ¾ lb cooked pasta of choice (I use the Tinkyada GF rice noodles)
  • For The Sage & Thyme Meatballs ::
  • 1 lb grassfed ground beef
  • 3 TB white rice flour
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tsp dried sage
  • 2 tsp dried thyme
  • 1-2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1-2 tsp onion powder
  • 2 tsp sea salt
  • 1 tsp pepper
Instructions
  1. Start with roasting the pumpkin and garlic. Halve the pumpkin and scoop out the seeds. Place the pumpkin halves flesh side up on a baking sheet, and spread 2 TB of butter over the flesh of the pumpkins, then sprinkle sea salt and pepper. Roast at 425 degrees for 45-50 minutes until the flesh is soft. Put the garlic cloves on the baking sheet for the last 15-20 minutes to roast as well.
  2. While the pumpkins are roasting, you can make the meatballs. Put all of the meatball ingredients in a small mixing bowl and combine. Roll the meatball mixture into small, 2 inch meatballs and place on a Silpat or parchment paper lined baking sheet. You can bake the meatballs along with the pumpkin at 425 degrees for about 15-20 minutes (I like to put them in the same time as I put the garlic in).
  3. Once the pumpkins and garlic are done roasting and cool enough to touch, scoop the flesh of the pumpkin into a food processor or blender and squeeze the roasted garlic in. Blend the pumpkin and garlic until smooth.
  4. Put the pumpkin and garlic puree into a sauce pan along with 2 TB of butter and the milk and warm to a low simmer. Whisk until smooth (you can add more liquid here if you wish for a thinner sauce). Turn off the heat and whisk in the sour cream, and then sea salt and pepper to taste.
  5. Toss the cooked pasta with the roasted pumpkin and garlic cream sauce and top with your sage & thyme meatballs. Garnish with sage and parsley.

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3 Tips For Encouraging Adventurous Eaters

October 1, 2016

3 simple tips you can start today for encouraging your babies and toddlers to be adventurous eaters!

3 Tips For Encouraging Adventurous Eaters :: 3 simple tips you can start today for encouraging your babies and toddlers to be adventurous eaters!

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.

Is there such a thing as a child who eagerly comes to the table ready to eat anything set before her?

I truly believe that it is a possibility, and whether you clicked on this post because you are a brand new mom hoping for some guidance as you start solids with your baby, or you are a seasoned momma pro who has a bit of pickiness in the house you are hoping to change a bit, I hope by the end of reading this, you will feel empowered.

3 Tips For Encouraging Adventurous Eaters :: 3 simple tips you can start today for encouraging your babies and toddlers to be adventurous eaters!

I think feeding babies and toddlers has become a big source of anxiety for some moms, and I want to take that away.

I remember being so nervous to feed my first baby. I had no idea what I was doing, but along the way I have learned some things that literally make the difference between a toddler completely refusing a food and gobbling it up without question.

3 Tips For Encouraging Adventurous Eaters :: 3 simple tips you can start today for encouraging your babies and toddlers to be adventurous eaters!

A little dose of reality before we get to the tips!

Before we dive in, I wanted share a little real life with you. Many of you might picture my 3 kids as these perfect little angels that float to the table and politely eat every last crumb of food on their plate without complaint…

We certainly have our moments. How can you not with 3 completely different personality kids?! It is impossible. They are kids. They have completely different temperaments, bad days, good days, and they are still learning and growing. Do we have some complaining some days? Yep. But much fewer and far between than many homes. If you hop over to my Instagram and search the hashtag #toddlerfeedingtips you will find a plethora of 2 and 3 year old “moments” that I made teaching examples out of my current toddler, who is…ahemvery 3 years old right now!

3 Tips For Encouraging Adventurous Eaters :: 3 simple tips you can start today for encouraging your babies and toddlers to be adventurous eaters!


3 Tips For Encouraging Adventurous Eaters :: 3 simple tips you can start today for encouraging your babies and toddlers to be adventurous eaters!

Babies are essentially blank slates when it comes to first tastes of new food. Take advantage of that! They have no past experience of food to draw from like you. You may have hesitance toward certain foods that you don’t particularly care for, but your baby might like it on the first try!

Saying things like “It might be kinda bitter” or “You might not like this but…” or “If you don’t like it we can have_________instead”, especially when said with a hesitant look on your face, is totally setting baby up to be cautious about the food! They are reading your face like a book!

Instead, when trying new tastes of food with baby, put that smile on your face even if you don’t like it. Start saying things like “mmm” or “yummy” while you are feeding it to them – keep it happy and light. Never force feed or get upset. First foods should be fun and exciting. I truly miss this part of my babies at home! Make it fun.

Tips with toddlers

If you have toddlers already, continue to keep the atmosphere positive. When a new food arrives to the table don’t make a big deal out of it! I try to not even draw attention to it. Telling them right off the bat “This is a new food and you have to at least try it” is basically telling them, “I know you aren’t going to like, it but you have to at least give it a try.” My current 3 year old is the QUEEN of saying NO to brand new food on her plate. It is the funniest thing because once that first bite is in, 9 times out of 10 she says “oh it’s good momma” and continues on her merry way.

An anecdote about keeping it positive…

I remember a few years ago we finally found a source of wild caught fish in our area. We don’t live in an area where it is abundantly accessible, so my first and second babies didn’t get a ton of fish as babies other than daily cod liver oil, and a huge splurge on something we could barely afford here and there. So we found this source of fish, and because I didn’t grow up on fish (unless you count fish sticks from a box!), I was absolutely just sure they were going to hate it. I pepped talked myself that we were going to have to get them used to it. Despite my hesitancy, I put a smile on my face and served dinner that night. When the girls – toddler and preschooler at the time, asked what it was, I excitedly said “It’s salmon!”, and “It is so delicious! What a treat to find this where we live!” I happily started eating, even though it was a taste and texture that was not my favorite, and the girls took a bite. One of them was hesitant with the first bite, but to this day she is still my fish addict! She would eat it every day if she could. Neither one of them batted an eye to the brand new fish on their plate, and I truly think it had a lot to do with not only the fact that they have broad taste palates from being served a variety of food as little ones, even more so I think my attitude set the tone of the meal.


3 Tips For Encouraging Adventurous Eaters :: 3 simple tips you can start today for encouraging your babies and toddlers to be adventurous eaters!

Our culture overwhelms babies and toddlers. Plain and simple. We overwhelm them with over stimulation in brightly colored, overly decorated fancy toddler plates and fancy sippy cups. And we overwhelm them with way too much food on their plate.

Babies and toddlers are still learning how to sort out any and all stimulation in their environment. Putting a brand new food in front of them on a brand new plate that is very interesting to look at is sending their sensory system into overload. They eventually “cash out” displaying crabbiness and fidgeting because they don’t know what to do with it all!

Keep the portions small.

You can always give them more when they finish! My 5 year old still gets overwhelmed if I put too much on her plate. It makes the plate of food look manageable and appealing when you use smaller portions. Their little tummies don’t hold much as it is – they will ask for more if they are still hungry.

Use appropriately sized, simple feeding gear.

Because I get asked so often what plates, cups, spoons, and bowls are on my Instagram pictures of the girls’ food, I thought I would use this spot to address this, but please, use what you have at home!

I love the Corelle brand because they truly don’t break when dropped – which is going to happen! People often get nervous to give little ones real plates but I have found they catch on quite quickly to keeping the plate on the table (I don’t even bother with plates as babies – feed off your plate or toss it on the table or tray for them!). If you are lucky enough to have some of your Grandma or mom’s Corelle pull those vintage pieces out and use them!


3 Tips For Encouraging Adventurous Eaters :: 3 simple tips you can start today for encouraging your babies and toddlers to be adventurous eaters!

Starting out with lots of variety when they are ready for solids is so key. Even though my 3 year old is in a very toddler stage of wanting to express her independence with that fancy “no” word, she still has a super broad taste palate because when she started solids we tasted lots of different food! My now 5 year old was a lot like her at age 2 and 3 and I literally can’t think of any food she turns down right now.

Especially for those who didn’t grow up in homes that did the home cooked food all the time, I know that cooking seems overwhelming – especially when you throw in there making sure there is variety!

Helping families feed their babies well is such a joy to me. I want to take that source of feeding anxiety away from you. If I could hold your hand and cook with you a few times in your kitchen I would! Because I know how much of a difference it makes to serve real food to little kids.

Which is why I poured my heart and soul into writing Nourished Beginnings Baby Foodfor YOU.

3 Tips For Encouraging Adventurous Eaters :: 3 simple tips you can start today for encouraging your babies and toddlers to be adventurous eaters!

It is my way of walking new and seasoned moms through getting real food into your kitchen for your family in a do-able, busy family way.

  • The food in Nourished Beginnings is simple and nourishing and full of variety.
  • You will learn tips on the very basics of how to start feeding baby, knowing when she is ready for feeding, and what to start with, and how to feed it.
  • You will also learn how to take those basics and move them to the dinner table for the whole family.
  • The book is based on my no fuss approach to feeding babies a wide variety of vegetables, fruits, meats, fish, and fats – without spending all day in the kitchen.  I will walk you through safe foods to start for baby’s developing digestive system, while nourishing their growing brains and bodies.
  • Nourished Beginnings is more than just a baby food book! More than 2/3 of the book is family meals for the whole family with tips on how to serve it to baby. Simple tastes of nutrient dense food as they explore the family flavors in the beginning, will develop into full toddler meals that nourish rapidly growing bodies.

The recipes and tips in Nourished Beginnings is truly the heart of my home, and I am so honored to share this labor of love with you, my readers!

You can find Nourished Beginnings Baby Food here!

Barnes & Noble | Amazon | Indibound

Nourished Beginnings Baby Food ::Nutrient-Dense Recipes for Infants, Toddlers and Beyond Inspired by Ancient Wisdom and Traditional Foods

 

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Pumpkin Spice Baked Oatmeal Cups :: Baked Oatmeal On The Go!

September 24, 2016

Baked oatmeal to go! Pumpkin spice style and kid approved for a busy fall day!

Pumpkin Spice Baked Oatmeal Cups :: Baked oatmeal to go! Pumpkin spice style and kid approved for a busy fall day!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.

Whew has this first month of school flown by!

We are definitely in the school swing and the big girls are loving being back in the classroom. My 3 year old has surprisingly adjusted to solo mornings with momma too! (Though perhaps not surprisingly since she is that go with the flow 3rd born!)

Pumpkin Spice Baked Oatmeal Cups :: Baked oatmeal to go! Pumpkin spice style and kid approved for a busy fall day!Since our mornings are quite early, sometimes my toddler isn’t quite out of bed before it is to head out the door for school drop off.

And sometimes toys are way more interesting than breakfast right when she gets up! Having a portable breakfast has been important for some of our school days. We have been keeping protein banana muffins, healthy apple breakfast cookies, and baked oatmeal cups on hand in the freezer for those slower toddler mornings, and they have been working out great, both for my busy toddler, and for my growing school aged girls.

Pumpkin Spice Baked Oatmeal Cups :: Baked oatmeal to go! Pumpkin spice style and kid approved for a busy fall day!

These pumpkin spice baked oatmeal cups have also been a fun seasonal breakfast for my older girls getting excited for all things pumpkin, Halloween, and Thanksgiving!

The baked oatmeal cups freeze up great and make 2 dozen at a time. We made some for breakfast this week, and I’m freezing half of them to save for a nourishing, but fun pumpkin breakfast on Halloween morning.

Pumpkin Spice Baked Oatmeal Cups :: Baked oatmeal to go! Pumpkin spice style and kid approved for a busy fall day!Start their day out nutrient dense so they are ready for a full morning of playing and learning!

Round out your baked oatmeal cup breakfast with fried eggs (or hard boiled eggs if you are needing portable and on the go!), and raw milk or coconut milk. You could have a baked oatmeal cup with a cup of whole yogurt or some sausage if you can’t have eggs.

Pumpkin Spice Baked Oatmeal Cups :: Baked oatmeal to go! Pumpkin spice style and kid approved for a busy fall day!

5.0 from 1 reviews
Pumpkin Spice Baked Oatmeal Cups :: Baked Oatmeal On The Go!
Author: 
 
Makes 2 dozen Pumpkin Spice Baked Oatmeal Cups
Ingredients
  • 5 cups oats (Not quick oats! If you are gluten free be sure your oats say gluten free or there might be trace amounts of gluten there)
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 2 cups walnuts & pecans, chopped fine (I use the food processor to chop them fast! I use soaked/dehydrated "crispy" nuts for best digestion. IF YOU ARE NUT FREE you can use pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, or even shredded coconut.)
  • 1 - 15oz can pumpkin
  • 2 eggs (I think flax eggs will work here if you are egg free)
  • ⅓ cup avocado oil (or melted butter or coconut oil)
  • ⅔ cup pure maple syrup (This sounds like a lot but remember this makes 2 dozen - I think they are on the mildly sweet side so if you have kids used to sweeter things you could add a bit more - taste the mixture for yourself!)
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 tsp ground ginger
  • ¼ tsp cloves
  • ¼ tsp nutmeg
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • (alternative to the individual cinnamon, ginger, cloves, and nutmeg, you could use your favorite pumpkin pie spice bend - say maybe 1-2 TB of pumpkin pie spice)
Instructions
  1. The night before you want to make the baked oatmeal cups, put the oats and lemon juice in a medium mixing bowl and cover with water. Cover the bowl with a towel and let it soak overnight 8-10 hours. This soaking process breaks down the phytic acid in the oats making the grain more digestible.
  2. After the oats are done soaking, pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees, and put the oats in a strainer to drain off any excess water while you prepare the rest of the ingredients.
  3. Put the remainder of the ingredients into the medium mixing bowl, add the drained oats, and combine with a wooden spoon.
  4. Scoop the oat batter into a muffin tin (I line mine with silicone muffin cups but I think greasing them with butter would be fine), and bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes. The recipe makes 24 baked oatmeal cups.

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Safe Skin Care :: Crunchy Balm Tallow Balm Review

September 23, 2016

A real food, tallow based healing and moisturizing balm, Crunchy balm is perfectly safe for babies to adults with results you will love!

Safe Skin Care :: Crunchy Balm Tallow Balm Review :: A real food, tallow based healing and moisturizing balm, Crunchy balm is perfectly safe for babies to adults with results you will love!

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?” I was provided product in this post for review purposes. Please know I never personally recommend any product I wouldn’t use on my own family.

I think these days we can all pretty much agree that it isn’t just the ingredients in the food we eat that is important…the ingredients in the products we put on our body is pretty important too!

Our skin is the largest organ on our bodies and anything you put on it absorbs into your body. Flip over that bottle of soap or lotion you apply to yourself and your kids day in and day out and you have a list of every healthy ingredient or harmful chemical entering their body.

Luckily, there are so many easy personal care switches you can make, and one of the first I made was using grassfed tallow on my skin and on my babies. Years ago I read in the book Nourishing Traditions, that the saturated fats in grassfed tallow give cell membranes the “necessary stiffness and integrity” necessary for proper function, and after a few days of using tallow on my face before bed I could absolutely tell.

Safe Skin Care :: Crunchy Balm Tallow Balm Review :: A real food, tallow based healing and moisturizing balm, Crunchy balm is perfectly safe for babies to adults with results you will love!

Tallow is gently rendered beef fat.

Our ancestors frequently used tallow to moisturize and protect their skin, yet somewhere along the way we were led to believe that plant-based products were superior, although their chemistry does not match our skin well. Though plant based oils and butters can be great, animal products (like tallow) offer your skin a unique set of nutrients like vitamins A,D, E, and K in perfect harmony with their activators as well as anti-inflammatory CLA.

OK…so you are asking me to smell like a cow all day?!

Well, at first I totally did. I was not an expert DIY’er so I didn’t have a clue how to make it smell…less cattle like! I made my tallow and slathered it on. And you know what? I am still not an expert DIY’er in the least! Which is why I nearly flipped when my amazingly talented friend Emilie from Crunchy Balm sent me her handmade “tallow balm” that did not…I repeat…did NOT smell like a cow!

It was also not rock hard from being in the fridge, and absorbed much better. It truly feels like pampering, and after literally a decade of not using store bought skin care products to avoid toxic chemicals, I have enjoyed every minute of getting to pamper myself with skin care that not only smells amazing and is not toxic, but it works!

Safe Skin Care :: Crunchy Balm Tallow Balm Review :: A real food, tallow based healing and moisturizing balm, Crunchy balm is perfectly safe for babies to adults with results you will love!

3 Crunchy Balm Ingredients! That’s it!

  • 100% grass-fed Tallow :: The tallow in the balm is only sourced from grass-fed cows pastured on organically grown grass, which results in tallow that is rich in nutrients and free of pesticides and other toxins. Man-made toxins found in conventionally raised cows makes the fat from non-organic cows unfit to nourish your skin. Tallow nourishes your skin. It is health promoting and has a cumulative effect, which means the more you use it, the more soft and supple your skin becomes.
  • Organic USA Olive Oil :: Olive oil is superb for moisturizing the skin, containing 3 major antioxidants and hydroxytyrosol which prevents free radical damage to the skin. Because olive oil is very easily cut with cheaper oils and sold as olive oil, Crunchy Balm only sources organic USA grown and made olive oil.
  • Essential Oils :: All of the essential oils used Crunchy Balm products are of the highest quality grade. These therapeutic essential oils are carefully selected for their skin restoring properties. Far from the common “fragrance oils” commonly found in subpar cosmetic products, these plant essential oils can cause various neurochemicals to be released in the brain for true aromatherapy. (For those sensitive to essential oils on the skin, the Unscented Crunchy Balm is just the whipped tallow and olive oil – it is super smooth and creamy just like the scented too!)

Safe Skin Care :: Crunchy Balm Tallow Balm Review :: A real food, tallow based healing and moisturizing balm, Crunchy balm is perfectly safe for babies to adults with results you will love!

Crunchy Balm‘s Purity

Crunchy Balms are non-comodogenic, naturally abundant in vitamins A, D, E & K, sustainably sourced, and handcrafted.

All 3 Crunchy Balms are free from:

  • petroleum based ingredients
  • artificial colors, ingredients, or fragrances
  • chemicals
  • GMO’s

Crunchy Balm is going to make the best birthday gift, stocking stuffer, Valentine’s Day gift, Mother’s Day gifts….and gift to yourself this year!

Which is why Emilie was so gracious enough to give RGN readers a discount code so you can stock up for a year of gift giving as well as self care! Simply fill that cart up to the brim and use the code RGN16 at checkout to get 10% off your order! You can click the image below to get shopping! (coupon expires 10/31/2016)

Safe Skin Care :: Crunchy Balm Tallow Balm Review :: A real food, tallow based healing and moisturizing balm, Crunchy balm is perfectly safe for babies to adults with results you will love!

Find Crunchy Balm online!

Website :: www.crunchybalm.com
Facebook :: www.facebook.com/crunchybalm
Instagram :: www.instagram.com/crunchybalm

 

Lunch Ideas Nourishing Staples Real Food 101 Real Food Tips school lunches

6 {More!} School Lunches Besides Peanut Butter & Jelly!

September 17, 2016

Change up your lunchbox routine with these healthy, easy to prep school lunches!

6 {More!} School Lunches Besides Peanut Butter & Jelly! :: Change up your lunchbox routine with these nourishing, easy to prep school lunches!

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 here we are a couple weeks into the school year…who is needing a little lunchbox inspiration?!

I am pretty sure we all start the year off motivated to pack fun, healthy lunches for our kids…but I will be the first to admit that a month or 2 into the daily packing, unpacking, and washing of trays I start losing a little steam! Guess what? That’s ok! None of us are perfect, we are all human, and school lunch making totally gets mundane after a while!

Which is why it is so easy to fall into the PBJ rut. It’s easy, fast, and a no brainer!

You’ll probably even see it in my daily #rgnschoollunch posts on my Instagram right around April…when I have had enough already with the school lunch packing! Go ahead and browse that hashtag over there to take a look – I can guarantee the sandwich ratio during that last month or 2 of school sky rockets!

So, what’s the big deal then? What’s wrong with PBJ every day?

Nothing! Absolutely nothing if that is how you want to roll with your lunch packing! I am definitely not in your shoes, and I don’t run your house! But, I’m willing to bet because you clicked over to read this post, you are searching for some inspiration. Some ideas to break up the week a little. If you browse my school lunches on Instagram you will notice even I do PBJ once a week. Do it up momma! (PS – if you are in a nut free school zone, coconut butter or sunflower seed butter works as a great companion to jam for those quick sandwiches!)

I am also willing to bet that your clicking over to this post means you have some healthier eating goals in your house. Awesome! Because variety is key in creating healthy, broad taste palates in kids! It makes for less pickiness when it comes to food, and makes those kids well rounded not only in the nourishment hitting their system, but also well rounded in their acceptance of new food.

We pack PBJ *all* the time…where do I begin???

My advice to you if you are a PBJ packer most of the week is to take some small baby steps. If you overhaul lunch in one shot you are sure to get resistance from older kids. Pick *one* day a week to try something new with your kids. I think you would be surprised at how excited they would be to have something different for a change! Show them this list, as well as my other 6 non PBJ school lunch lists, and see what their eyes light up about!

A note on packing time

Because I know what you are thinking…I’m going to be in the kitchen all night packing these kind of lunches! Please note the prepping tips in each lunch idea. I guarantee I don’t spend more than 5-10 minutes packing lunches every evening – promise. I just can’t! I don’t have the time for it. What I do have the time for is making dinners that stretch into lunch and spending an hour in the kitchen over the weekend making things that will stretch into the week.

6 {More!} School Lunches Besides Peanut Butter & Jelly! :: Change up your lunchbox routine with these nourishing, easy to prep school lunches!

I hope to see some of these over on Instagram in the coming weeks – give me a tag so I can see your creations!


The Pizza Day Lunch!

6 {More!} School Lunches Besides Peanut Butter & Jelly! :: Change up your lunchbox routine with these nourishing, easy to prep school lunches!

Whether it’s the cafeteria pizza day, or a just the end of the week that needs to be celebrated in a fun way, using leftover pizza is the perfect way to enjoy a fun pizza day lunch! Simply plan to make pizza night dinner one night, and double it up so there is sure to be leftovers! I always serve a big salad and some fruit with our pizza nights at home so that everyone fills up on the other stuff too which helps with having some leftovers!

Lunchbox Contents:


The Comforting Chicken Noodle Soup Lunch!

6 {More!} School Lunches Besides Peanut Butter & Jelly! :: Change up your lunchbox routine with these nourishing, easy to prep school lunches!

There is simply nothing like a warm bowl of chicken noodle soup on a cool fall day, or those chilly winter afternoons! Warm those kiddo’s bellies up with comforting chicken noodle soup from home! Plan a big pot for dinner one night and pack up the leftovers right into the thermos! Easy peasy! A fatty, satiating side like avocado rounds out the meal and cinnamon apples are just fun! The cinnamon keeps the apples from browning too!

Lunchbox Contents:

  • Homemade GF Chicken Noodle Soup (pictured is this thermos – I love the wide mouth for these kind of soups – just like a bowl! You can read more about how to keep food warm in thermoses in this post.)
  • Avocado (wrap the flesh up in plastic wrap or rub it with lemon juice to keep it from browning!)
  • Apples with cinnamon (or other seasonal fruit you have on hand!)

The Hummus Dipper Lunch!

6 {More!} School Lunches Besides Peanut Butter & Jelly! :: Change up your lunchbox routine with these nourishing, easy to prep school lunches!

I don’t think I’ve met a kid that doesn’t love to *dip*! Hummus is a pretty typical kid friendly dipping side and gives a little variety to lunchtime! Whether you like to use crackers, tortilla chips, or crisped up rice tortillas like I have pictured here, it is perfect for little hands rounded out with fresh veggies and fruit, as well as a hard boiled egg for protein and brain nourishing fat. (Hard boiled egg prep tip! I hard boil 1 dozen eggs every Sunday to keep in the fridge for quick lunchbox addtions!)

I’m even giving you a little permission to cut your time in half and use some store bought hummus if you don’t have time to make it. I love to make hummus, but I rely our Costco organic hummus a lot. Just be very sure to check the ingredient list to avoid junky oils or additives.

Lunchbox Contents:

  • Rice tortilla “chips” with hummus (crackers, tortilla chips, etc would work too!)
  • Sugar peas and tomatoes (or whatever fresh veggies you have on hand!)
  • Hard boiled egg
  • Oranges (or whatever fresh fruit you have on hand!)

The Classic Tomato Soup & Grilled Cheese Lunch!

6 {More!} School Lunches Besides Peanut Butter & Jelly! :: Change up your lunchbox routine with these nourishing, easy to prep school lunches!

It doesn’t get any better than this! We all grew up on this classic lunchtime staple and I love packing these memories for my kids! The fresh tomato soup is such an easy recipe – you can make it to enjoy over the weekend and pack the rest away in the thermos for a school day during the week! My kids will eat the grilled cheese cold and I think if you get that bread done up right with a generous helping of butter and cheese, just about any kid would happily gobble it up! It takes just minutes to cook in the pan the night before or that morning too. Fresh veggies and dip with a sweet potassium rich date on the side too!

Lunchbox Contents:


The Loaded Salad Lunch!

6 {More!} School Lunches Besides Peanut Butter & Jelly! :: Change up your lunchbox routine with these nourishing, easy to prep school lunches!

Think of your favorite cobb salad or salad bar pile-ons! Sure fresh chopped veggies are nice too, but add in some chopped nuts, eggs, seeds, and raisins too! A kid friendly dressing like homemade Ranch, Thousand Island, or French is not only loaded with brain nourishing fat, it makes it taste even better! Make some breakfast cookies, granola bars, or energy bars on the weekend in a doubled up fashion so you can keep them in the freezer for quick lunch additions too! This lunch truly takes just minutes to make!

Lunchbox Contents:


The Fiesta Lunch!

6 {More!} School Lunches Besides Peanut Butter & Jelly! :: Change up your lunchbox routine with these nourishing, easy to prep school lunches!

Who doesn’t love a good Taco Tuesday?! In my house any day of the week is good enough for a fiesta, so this is a popular lunchbox with my kids! Have a taco night and make a load of guacamole so there is enough to pack up in the condiment containers for the next day! Pictured here I crisped up some rice tortillas to make chips for the guac, but you could use tortilla chips or crackers too! Guacamole is a great brain nourishing fat as is the olives!  15 minute Chicken Tortilla soup goes well with this lunch (really any soup for that matter is fine!).

And again, there are some great store bought guacs out there if you just don’t have the time for making it. Avocados are extremely expensive at times where I live, so I do rely on certain guacamoles at Costco here and there – take a look around and please be sure you are checking ingredient labels – some of those brands get sneaky with their preservatives, junky oils, or other additions!

Lunchbox Contents:

  • Rice “tortilla chips” with guacamole (crackers or tortilla chips work too! Just watch the ingredient labels!)
  • Olives
  • 15 minute chicken tortilla soup (picture here is this thermos)
  • Pear (or other seasonal fresh fruit!)

More school lunch posts you might like:

Dinner Ideas Instant Pot Lunch Ideas Real Food 101 Real Food Tips school lunches

Fast Prep Instant Pot Vegetable Lo Mein

September 10, 2016

All of the Asian flavors you love, in less than 10 minutes of time! This healthy Asian Lo Mein is weeknight fast and nourishing at the same time!

Fast Prep Instant Pot Vegetable Lo Mein :: All of the Asian flavors you love, in less than 10 minutes of time! This healthy Asian Lo Mein is weeknight fast and nourishing at the same time!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.

Our school year is off and running, and I feel like we did just that for the first week…Run!

Whew!

Fast Prep Instant Pot Vegetable Lo Mein :: All of the Asian flavors you love, in less than 10 minutes of time! This healthy Asian Lo Mein is weeknight fast and nourishing at the same time!

We are still getting our feet wet back into the groove of early mornings and school after a laid back summer break, so I have been perfecting some of my quicker weeknight meals.

While we don’t have a lot of extra-curricular activities after school yet with such little ones, I *do* have a brand new kindergartener getting used to full days of school (read – tired!), a toddler that has to get woken up on occasion from naps for school pick up (read – crabby!), and a 2nd grader that wants to get her project done *right now* (read – busy!). It just helps to have a dinner that doesn’t require a lot of hands on time.

Fast Prep Instant Pot Vegetable Lo Mein :: All of the Asian flavors you love, in less than 10 minutes of time! This healthy Asian Lo Mein is weeknight fast and nourishing at the same time!

I am coming up on my 1 year anniversary of having my Instant Pot and I feel like this summer we really got to know each other!

I had been using it mainly to make whole chickens and bone broth up until this summer, and boy I am really loving figuring out how to use it for more than just that. As much as I love cooking, there really are more days in the week that I need fast meals than ones that I don’t. If there is room on the birthday or Christmas list this year, an Instant Pot is definitely one I would try to fit in!

Fast Prep Instant Pot Vegetable Lo Mein :: All of the Asian flavors you love, in less than 10 minutes of time! This healthy Asian Lo Mein is weeknight fast and nourishing at the same time!

This quick Lo Mein has every flavor burst you love about Asian food in a “dump it all in” style of cooking!

I have even done the 5 minutes of veggie chopping the night before and set it in the fridge until dinner the next day so it literally can just be a “dump it all in” meal! Salty, sweet, and savory all in one bite, the kids will not only be in love with *all* the noodles, but it just plain tastes amazing! And you can feel good about getting the veggies in!

Fast Prep Instant Pot Vegetable Lo Mein :: All of the Asian flavors you love, in less than 10 minutes of time! This healthy Asian Lo Mein is weeknight fast and nourishing at the same time!

A quick note on how you can change it up and add variety!

While this is definitely a filling meal for how my family eats as it is, you can certainly add some chopped beef, chicken, or fish. I usually have leftovers topped with a fried egg the next morning and it is pretty much amazing (scrambling an egg into it would work fine too)! The veggies are pretty interchangeable as well – use whatever you have on hand. I have swapped the spinach for chopped kale if that is what I have, or used fresh broccoli instead of peas.

You can also add more bone broth and make it more of a Lo Mein soup. I have found a rich beef broth tastes so good! Also, don’t forget to pack the leftovers up in the school lunch thermos! Just add a splash of water or broth to warm it up in the morning and put it in a thermos to go! There are more details on how to temper your thermos and keep food warm for school in this post.

Fast Prep Instant Pot Vegetable Lo Mein :: All of the Asian flavors you love, in less than 10 minutes of time! This healthy Asian Lo Mein is weeknight fast and nourishing at the same time!

4.3 from 3 reviews
Fast Prep Instant Pot Vegetable Lo Mein
Author: 
 
Ingredients
  • 2 cups bone broth (a rich beef broth works best. You can do bone broth in the Instant Pot too !)
  • ¼ cup Coconut Aminos
  • 4-5 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 2 inch knob ginger, peeled and grated (or 1 tsp ground ginger)
  • ¼ tsp red pepper flakes (this leaves a kid friendly, mild heat - if you like more kick add more!)
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • ¼ tsp pepper
  • 1 bunch green onions, sliced on a bias
  • 2 large carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 8 ounces of mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 cup frozen peas
  • ½ lb gluten free pasta of choice (I used the Tinkyada brand of rice noodles that our local grocer carries)
  • 2 cups baby spinach, chopped finely
Instructions
  1. Everything *except the spinach* into the Instant Pot, stir to combine, and seal the lid. Be sure the valve is closed.
  2. Turn your IP on, press manual, and then use the (+/-) button to press the time down to 2 minutes. The Instant Pot will turn "ON" and come to pressure before it counts down the 2 minutes.
  3. When the 2 minutes is done, turn the Instant Pot "OFF", and set a timer for 4 minutes to let the pot naturally release some of the pressure and finish cooking the noodles through.
  4. After the 4 minutes, release the rest of the pressure, take the lid off, and stir in the fresh spinach to combine. There will be a little bit of liquid in the bottom that will continue to soak up into the noodles and the starch from the noodles will make it "saucy". Serve topped with sliced green onion or chopped nuts.

A note on Instant Pot cook times

This recipe gives the noodle a good, “al dente” texture in cook time for me. Not too mushy and not hard! It is just perfect! I have, however, found that sometimes when I have tried other people’s Instant Pot recipes that cook times for noodles, rice, even hard boiled eggs can vary. For instance the “6-6-6” method for hard boiled eggs leaves my eggs really overdone – I have to cook at 5 minutes on low pressure!  I’m actually not sure why this is (please chime in if you know!), but keep that in mind. If you open the lid and your noodles need a bit more cook time, simply turn the saute button on and let them cook a little longer. I will try to answer your IP questions as best as I can, but please remember I am fairly new to using it myself – thank you for understanding!

More quick “week-night fast” dinners you might like ::

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Healthy Apple Cinnamon Breakfast Cookies :: Gluten Free, Refined Sugar Free, & Paleo Friendly!

September 1, 2016

Friendly fat and protein packed without refined sugar! Soft and sweet healthy apple cinnamon breakfast cookies are the perfect on the go breakfast or snack!

Healthy Apple Cinnamon Breakfast Cookies :: Refined Sugar Free & Gluten Free!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.

We are sending off summer with a bang this year!

The baby of the house just turned 3 (and, well, everything that goes along with being *3*!), my 5 year old ditched the training wheels on her bike like a pro, and my 7 year old is clearing out the garden and helping out a lot with harvest kitchen goals!

Healthy Apple Cinnamon Breakfast Cookies :: Refined Sugar Free & Gluten Free!

I absolutely love summer where we live, but if I’m being honest I’m ready for a little fall!

We have heard news from local farmers that the apple harvest is very, very abundant this year, and that, dear friends makes us super happy! I am more than thrilled to take my crew to pick from their haul this year. We’ll be making baked applesauce for sure, but I also wanted a healthy breakfast I could add to our busy school mornings using the in season, budget friendly fruit!

Healthy Apple Cinnamon Breakfast Cookies :: Refined Sugar Free & Gluten Free!

As my kids are getting bigger, it has become more of a priority in the house to have a breakfast rotation.

It helps school mornings run smoother and less rushed, and makes for less thinking that mom has to do so early in the morning. I think everyone agrees by now that a solid, nutrient dense breakfast gives kids the edge they need to stay focused in school – and it really can be done in a kid friendly tasting way!

Healthy Apple Cinnamon Breakfast Cookies :: Refined Sugar Free & Gluten Free!

These apple cinnamon breakfast cookies are definitely going to be in the line up for rotating on Fridays – which is breakfast cookie day here!

By Friday I don’t usually want to think about anything! I love pulling breakfast cookies from the freezer Thursday night, cooking up some hard boiled eggs, and just setting up a self serve breakfast for Friday morning. These apple cinnamon breakfast cookies are soft and sweet without using any refined sugar. The warm cinnamon and sweet apples make the perfect breakfast, and the protein and fat will keep blood sugars stable until snack or lunchtime.

Healthy Apple Cinnamon Breakfast Cookies :: Refined Sugar Free & Gluten Free!

Happy start to the school year to you my friends!

Healthy Apple Cinnamon Breakfast Cookies :: Refined Sugar Free & Gluten Free!

5.0 from 2 reviews
Healthy Apple Cinnamon Breakfast Cookies :: Refined Sugar Free & Gluten Free!
Author: 
 
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. Pre-heat the oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Put the softened coconut oil and raw honey in a small mixing bowl and blend to combine until smooth.
  3. Add the eggs and blend for a minute.
  4. Add the rest of the ingredients except the apples and blend to combine, and then stir the chopped apples in with a wooden spoon.
  5. Form the size cookies you want into balls in then flatten onto a Silpat or parchment paper lined baking sheet. Bake at 375 degrees for 13-14 minutes. Let the cookies cool at least 10 minutes before handling.

More real food school morning breakfasts you might like:

Dinner Ideas Feeding Babies Lunch Ideas Nourishing Staples Real Food 101 Real Food Tips school lunches

5 Minute Mexican Chicken Salad

August 25, 2016

Mexican chicken salad is abundant with bright, bold flavor, and just 5 minutes of prep time!

Pinterest

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.

Sometimes it is simplicity that everyone craves.

A few weeks ago I casually posted a “last minute” dinner I made to my Instagram and Facebook page. It was a simple Mexican chicken salad with some crackers and guacamole. It was a super hot, muggy day, and I had zero cooking desire.

5 Minute Mexican Chicken Salad :: Mexican chicken salad is abundant with bright, bold flavor, and just 5 minutes of prep time!

I posted the picture, and I remember being surprised at how much reaction this simple dinner received.

Because honestly and truly, we all crave simplicity I think. I had never thought to post a recipe like this chicken salad that I make so often because it is embarrassingly simple in ingredients! What I learned that day is that you all are just like me. You made me feel human! We all have days we just. can’t. do. one. more. thing.

5 Minute Mexican Chicken Salad :: Mexican chicken salad is abundant with bright, bold flavor, and just 5 minutes of prep time!

We all have days where we need a simple, easy prep dinner that tastes amazing.

Is that so much to ask?! It really isn’t! I think you will really enjoy putting this Mexican chicken salad into your meal rotation for lunch or dinner!

5 Minute Mexican Chicken Salad :: Mexican chicken salad is abundant with bright, bold flavor, and just 5 minutes of prep time!

Here are some ideas for how you can serve your Mexican chicken salad!

  • Scooped into avocado halves (our favorite!)
  • Rolled up into a wrap or a lettuce leaf wrap
  • Scooped into bell pepper halves
  • Used as a dip for veggie sticks or crackers
  • On a sandwich with lots of veggies
  • Mixed into a green salad
  • Toddlers can eat it right off the spoon – and little ones love to dip! Try some crackers or veggie sticks!

5 Minute Mexican Chicken Salad :: Mexican chicken salad is abundant with bright, bold flavor, and just 5 minutes of prep time!

5.0 from 1 reviews
5 Minute Mexican Chicken Salad
Author: 
 
Ingredients
  • 2 cups cooked chicken
  • 1 cup chopped green onion (Red or Spanish onions work well too)
  • ½ small/medium tomato, coarsely chopped
  • ⅓ - ½ cup mayonnaise (I like to use my 5 minute, egg free mayonnaise , but an egg based homemade mayo works well too, or a quality store avocado or olive oil based mayo would be fine!)
  • 2-4 tsp taco seasoning (I use my quick, DIY taco seasoning- if using store bought just watch those ingredients for hidden MSG or other preservatives/starches. Start out with the 2 tsp especially if little kids will be eating it - you can always add more if you need but you can't take it away! My DIY spice blend is on the mild side since I have little kids in the house. My husband likes to add some cayenne, chipotle, or hot sauce to his to kick it up a bit.)
Instructions
  1. Everything into your food processor and pulse to combine to a texture you like. You can puree it all the way through for those that might have texture issues with chunks or who might not like seeing "pieces" in their food.
  2. Serve Mexican chicken salad on avocado halves, bell pepper halves, as a dip for veggie sticks or crackers, in a wrap or as a sandwich, or mixed into a green salad! Store in the fridge up to 5 days in an airtight container.

More *quick* real food dinners you might like:

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Dairy Free Peaches and Cream Sherbet :: No Ice Cream Maker Needed!

August 19, 2016

Fresh summer peaches meet rich coconut cream for the sweetest end to the summer fruit season!

Peaches & Cream Sherbet :: Fresh summer peaches meet rich and creamy coconut cream for the sweetest end to the summer fruit season!

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 saved the best for last!

I am actually totally and completely in back to school mode, but when my husband brought home a bushel of peaches from our favorite stone fruit farmer last week…well I just had to celebrate a little more summer!

Peaches & Cream Sherbet :: Fresh summer peaches meet rich and creamy coconut cream for the sweetest end to the summer fruit season!

There isn’t quite anything like peaches that have had a chance to ripen right on the tree.

They are so sweet and juicy, my older girls can down 2 or 3 of them without so much as a thought. And how could I say no to that knowing we won’t see fresh peaches again until next summer?! I have been able to snag enough to make some peach popsicles and smoothies, as well as peach coffee cake and blueberry peach crisp for a weekend treat.

Peaches & Cream Sherbet :: Fresh summer peaches meet rich and creamy coconut cream for the sweetest end to the summer fruit season!

But this! This peaches and cream sherbet has been the highlight of our peach season this year!

Peaches & Cream Sherbet :: Fresh summer peaches meet rich and creamy coconut cream for the sweetest end to the summer fruit season!

A frozen bowl of peaches and cream sherbet has been the perfect answer to our blazing humid hot August this year!

Peaches & Cream Sherbet :: Fresh summer peaches meet rich and creamy coconut cream for the sweetest end to the summer fruit season!

5.0 from 2 reviews
Dairy Free Peaches and Cream Sherbet
Author: 
 
Ingredients
  • 1 - 1½ cups coconut cream (I used my coconut milk and set it in the fridge to separate the cream. You can use the leftover coconut milk liquid in a smoothie or popsicle. Whole yogurt would work well if you want more of a frozen yogurt taste!)
  • 8 small/medium peaches, halved and pitted
  • 2-4 TB raw honey
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • ¼ tsp sea salt
Instructions
  1. Everything into your high powered blender and blend until smooth. I used the ice cream blend function on my Blendtec.
  2. Pour the sherbet mixture into a container or a loaf pan and freeze over night. Alternatively, if you have an ice cream maker, you can churn it to freeze it faster - after churning in my ice cream maker for 30 minutes it was a bit like soft serve, and then it just needed a couple hours in the freezer. The sherbet does get hard when frozen completely. Simply set it out on the counter for about 30 minutes or so to soften it before serving.

More real food summer fruit recipes you might like!

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Frozen Blueberry Yogurt Bites

August 13, 2016

Quick, sweet little yogurt covered blueberry bites perfect for little hands!

Frozen Blueberry Yogurt Bites :: Quick, sweet little yogurt covered blueberry bites perfect for little hands!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 just couldn’t let a summer season go by without a blueberry post!

Frozen Blueberry Yogurt Bites :: Quick, sweet little yogurt covered blueberry bites perfect for little hands!Blueberry season is such an abundant time of year where we live and the picking is always so good!

Frozen Blueberry Yogurt Bites :: Quick, sweet little yogurt covered blueberry bites perfect for little hands!With the baby of the family now at picking age instead of just along for the ride, her sisters were quick to show her the ropes by pointing out the biggest blue ones, promising her that those were the juiciest and sweetest!

Frozen Blueberry Yogurt Bites :: Quick, sweet little yogurt covered blueberry bites perfect for little hands!And boy did she learn quickly how to navigate those bushes!

Frozen Blueberry Yogurt Bites :: Quick, sweet little yogurt covered blueberry bites perfect for little hands!My oldest has really been a big help this season, and between 2 trips to the U-Pick field we brought home 60 pounds of blueberries to enjoy fresh and also store away for smoothies for the winter.

Frozen Blueberry Yogurt Bites :: Quick, sweet little yogurt covered blueberry bites perfect for little hands!I had a big bowl of fresh blueberries in the fridge for weeks, and with peach season just beginning my girls were starting to lose their interest in those fresh berries for their fruit! I used a few cups of them for blueberry peach crisp, and then made these fun yogurt covered treats.

Frozen Blueberry Yogurt Bites :: Quick, sweet little yogurt covered blueberry bites perfect for little hands!It was such a quick prep but it really made the girls smile and that is always worth it. An easy and fun hot summer afternoon treat that I could feel good about too!

Frozen Blueberry Yogurt Bites :: Quick, sweet little yogurt covered blueberry bites perfect for little hands!I am pretty sure these would work with just about any berry you are picking this season! It was a fun project for my big girls to help with on a rainy afternoon – kept their hands busy and occupied which is always a plus during the summer break!

Frozen Blueberry Yogurt Bites :: Quick, sweet little yogurt covered blueberry bites perfect for little hands!

Frozen Blueberry Yogurt Bites
Author: 
 
Ingredients
  • 1 cup Greek style plain whole milk yogurt or coconut yogurt (if you have plain whole milk yogurt you can make it Greek style by straining it in a thin cloth for a few hours - the liquid strained off is whey you can use for soaking grains or adding to smoothies, and the thick yogurt behind is "Greek yogurt")
  • 3-4 TB grassfed collagen (optional)
  • 2 TB raw honey or pure maple syrup (optional - if you are trying this with toddlers I would definitely leave this out - the blueberries are sweet enough for those young taste palates!)
  • 1 - 1½ cups fresh blueberries
Instructions
  1. Mix the Greek yogurt, collagen, and honey in a bowl and fold in the blueberries.
  2. Scoop the yogurt covered blueberries out individually onto a silpat or parchment paper lined baking sheet.
  3. Transfer the sheet of yogurt covered blueberries to the freezer for at least an hour to freeze and then transfer the frozen yogurt covered blueberries to a freezer bag to store in the freezer.

More real food snacks you might like: