Browsing Category

Condiments

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

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.

More real food recipes you might like ::

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

Paleo Avocado & Bacon Salad Dressing

May 7, 2016

Nourishing friendly fats, a big amazing flavor, and prepped in just 5 minutes! Your lunchtime salad has never been faster, healthier, or tastier!

Paleo Avocado & Bacon Salad Dressing :: Nourishing friendly fats, a big amazing flavor, and prepped in just 5 minutes! Your lunchtime salad has never been faster, healthier, or tastier!

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 or service I wouldn’t use on my own family.

Ohhh man are we getting the end of the school year jitters over here!

Spring is in full swing with absolutely gorgeous weather, and it takes all we can not to stop at a park or the beach on the way home from school. And, after 6 months of cold, I have been doing just that! I can tell the girls are just itching to climb, slide, swing, and get their feet in the beach sand!

Paleo Avocado & Bacon Salad Dressing :: Nourishing friendly fats, a big amazing flavor, and prepped in just 5 minutes! Your lunchtime salad has never been faster, healthier, or tastier!

Spending a little more time outdoors means I have been pulling out a lot more of my quicker prep summer time dinner meals.

We make “BLT” salads about once a week or so during the warm summer months, and they are definitely a family favorite.

Paleo Avocado & Bacon Salad Dressing :: Nourishing friendly fats, a big amazing flavor, and prepped in just 5 minutes! Your lunchtime salad has never been faster, healthier, or tastier!
We had a surplus of ripe avocados one time, and since there was some fresh bacon grease sitting in the pan from making bacon for our BLT salads, I decided to combine them for the base of a dressing, and boy was it a hit!
Paleo Avocado & Bacon Salad Dressing :: Nourishing friendly fats, a big amazing flavor, and prepped in just 5 minutes! Your lunchtime salad has never been faster, healthier, or tastier!
Avocado and bacon dressing has become our staple dressing for our BLT salads now because I almost always have the ingredients on hand, and it goes with it so well.

Paleo Avocado & Bacon Salad Dressing :: Nourishing friendly fats, a big amazing flavor, and prepped in just 5 minutes! Your lunchtime salad has never been faster, healthier, or tastier!
The dressing is creamy and feels rich because of the hint of bacon flavor, but it is super fresh and light. It makes a great veggie dip for the school lunchboxes the next day too.

It doesn’t get any better than a 5 minute dressing prep too!

Paleo Avocado & Bacon Salad Dressing :: Nourishing friendly fats, a big amazing flavor, and prepped in just 5 minutes! Your lunchtime salad has never been faster, healthier, or tastier!

Paleo Avocado & Bacon Salad Dressing
Author: 
 
Ingredients
  • ⅓ cup avocado oil or olive oil
  • Juice of ½ lemon
  • 3 TB white wine vinegar
  • 2 TB bacon grease
  • 1 TB raw honey
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 small avocado or ½ large avocado, pit removed and flesh scooped out
Instructions
  1. Everything into a pint mason jar and use an immersion blender to blend until smooth and creamy. If you don't have an immersion blender, you can add everything but the oil to a food processor and turn it on. Slowly pour the oil into the drip cup on top to drizzle it in slowly so the oil emulsifies.

For more salad dressing ideas, you can try these!

5 Popular Store Bought Dressings Made Real Food Style (Ranch, Thousand Island, French, etc!)

16786684395_22a3842d16_z
DIY Olive Garden Copycat

16054500053_7d1d6a2e4d_z
Caesar Salad Dressing

14722471049_707574c45c_z
Asian Salad Dressing

COVER

Breakfast Ideas Condiments Dinner Ideas Nourishing Staples Real Food 101 Real Food Tips

Spanish Chorizo Season Blend

February 27, 2016

Traditionally flavored Spanish chorizo makes the perfect addition to any breakfast!

Spanish Chorizo Season Blend

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 or service I wouldn’t use on my own family.

The very first time I tried chorizo was sometime during my childhood – probably early elementary, and I remember really loving it.

I’m not sure if it was because I loved the flavor, or if it was because I got to watch my Grandma make it, or maybe it was because I got to sit on the porch with my Grandpa tearing bread for the migas that were served with it.

It was always a special meal shared with extended family, and when I started having my own kids I wanted to share it with them too. I remember being surprised at how much my little ones loved such a flavorful sausage, but it is truly delicious. My 2 year old eats this sausage by the fist-full!

Spanish Chorizo Season Blend

A mixture of pimenton and garlic, traditional Spanish chorizo highlights very simple ingredients with big flavor.

Over the years I have noted there is a bit of a difference in American pimenton, called paprika, and pimenton that is from Spain. Possibly how they handle the Nora peppers and how they blend it with other pimentos but I’m not sure.  You really can use whatever you have on hand, though if it becomes a family favorite I would definitely try a good imported pimenton.

Spanish Chorizo Season Blend

I would consider this mixture on the mild side as far as heat goes. I have little ones in the house and while I actually have 2 kids that really love heat, I have one that does not, so we keep the heat mild. If you love flavorful heat, I would definitely play with the ratios of the sweet pimenton to the hot. If you can find a smoky pimenton/paprika it really gives more depth of flavor and it is so good. (You can find the blends I use here.)

Spanish Chorizo Season Blend

We usually serve chorizo as a breakfast side with browned potato hash cooked in pastured lard and a fried egg. You have never tasted anything like a bite of chorizo and hash dipped in a yolky egg! Pure bliss! If you have some sourdough around the house, you can make migas which is served with chorizo a lot. Just toast cubed bread in a pan with pastured lard or butter and garlic.

Spanish Chorizo Season Blend

5.0 from 3 reviews
Spanish Chorizo Season Blend
Author: 
 
Ingredients
  • ½ lb unseasoned pastured ground pork
  • 2 large cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1½ tsp sweet pimenton (sweet paprika)
  • 1 tsp smoked pimenton (smoked paprika)
  • ½ tsp hot pimenton (hot/spicy paprika) (or ¼ tsp cayenne)
  • 1 tsp oregano
Instructions
  1. Put everything into a small mixing bowl and combine well.
  2. Cook the chorizo how you wish - either browned in skillet over medium high heat, or you can make little sausage patty rounds and brown in a skillet over medium high heat.
  3. Serve with a fried eggs and browned potato hash or migas (a traditional garlic cooked bread - sourdough is fantastic)

For more real food breakfast ideas you can follow my breakfast ideas board on Pinterest!

 

Condiments Dinner Ideas Lunch Ideas Nourishing Staples Real Food 101 Real Food Tips school lunches Soup

15 Minute Chicken Tortilla Soup PLUS! How To Make Chips Out Of Any Tortilla & A Kid Friendly {Mild} Guacamole!

January 1, 2016

Keep *Taco Tuesday* quick and delicious with this light & flavorful chicken tortilla soup loaded with bone broth in just 15 minutes of time!

15 Minute Chicken Tortilla Soup PLUS! How To Make Chips Out Of Any Tortilla & A Kid Friendly {Mild} Guacamole!

There’s a reason Taco Tuesday is on Tuesdays…

Tuesdays… Weekday dinners need to be efficient, right? There’s homework to be done, sports practices to attend, lunches to be packed for the next day, etc , etc.

Taco nights are so fast, and they make for a great weeknight meal. This chicken tortilla soup is just as fast as doing a taco bar, and changes up the routine for a little something different. It is also loaded with bone broth to pack a nourishing punch for your family.

15 Minute Chicken Tortilla Soup PLUS! How To Make Chips Out Of Any Tortilla & A Kid Friendly {Mild} Guacamole!

This tortilla soup has a mild to medium heat to it that I find very kid friendly in my house. One out of my 3 girls is more sensitive to heat and she likes this soup, often having 2 bowls. You can pull the heat down to your preference, or you can kick it up a notch and add a small can of green chilis (which I happen to love in here!), or a little extra taco season.

So how do we make it a complete Taco Tuesday meal?

15 Minute Chicken Tortilla Soup PLUS! How To Make Chips Out Of Any Tortilla & A Kid Friendly {Mild} Guacamole!

While that soup is simmering, slice up a little guacamole into a bowl for community dipping! I like to do a quick cook on some rice or millet tortillas in a pan to make crispy chips too.

Again, I have found that for the kids that are more sensitive to heat, keeping the guac on the mild side is helpful. Since raw garlic has a heat kick to it, powdered garlic works well. You can always add a pinch of chipotle or raw garlic to your serving if you like the heat. When I make this milder guacamole it gets consumed really (really!) fast, as in by the spoonful!

15 Minute Chicken Tortilla Soup PLUS! How To Make Chips Out Of Any Tortilla & A Kid Friendly {Mild} Guacamole!

5.0 from 1 reviews
15 Minute Chicken Tortilla Soup PLUS! How To Make Chips Out Of Any Tortilla & A Kid Friendly {Mild} Guacamole!
Author: 
 
Ingredients
  • CHICKEN TORTILLA SOUP
  • 3 TB friendly fat to cook in such as butter, coconut oil, tallow, lard, or avocado oil. I like to use a couple TB of butter and a TB of avocado oil)
  • ½ medium onion, diced
  • ½ medium green bell pepper, diced
  • ½ medium red bell pepper, diced
  • 4 large cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 TB organic tomato paste (I usually have Costco's organic tomato paste around.)
  • 1 quart bone broth
  • 1 cup cubed or shredded cooked chicken leftovers
  • ½ cup organic frozen corn (Optional if you are grain free. I get organic non-GMO frozen corn at Costco.)
  • 2 TB organic chunky salsa (I usually have Costco's organic salsa around)
  • 1 tsp taco season (I keep a small 8oz Ball jar of my DIY taco season doubled up in my cupboard so it is easy and quick to scoop from)
  • 1 heaping handful of fresh spinach
  • Sea salt and pepper to taste
  • Garnish with green onions, and if you tolerate dairy you can do whole sour cream or freshly grated raw cheese
  • SIMPLE KID FRIENDLY GUACAMOLE
  • ½ medium onion, diced
  • 1 medium tomato, diced
  • Juice of ½ lemon
  • 2 avocados, pitted and scored into cubes
  • 1 clove of garlic, minced OR 2 tsp garlic powder if you don't want the raw garlic heat
  • Sea salt to taste
Instructions
  1. Melt the friendly fat in a medium soup pot and add the onion and green & red peppers. Add a big pinch of sea salt to bring out their juices and sweeten them and cook them on medium heat for about 5 or so minutes.
  2. Add the garlic and tomato paste, stir, and cook for a minute or two.
  3. Add the bone broth, chicken, corn if using it, salsa, and seasoning and bring to a low simmer for a few minutes and then add in the spinach to wilt. Salt and pepper to taste.
  4. Garnish each bowl with green onions if you wish and if you tolerate dairy you can use whole sour cream or freshly grated raw cheese.
  5. To make the guacamole, just put all the guac ingredients in a bowl and combine. Serve the soup guacamole and tortillas pan-cooked in butter or avocado oil to crisp and then cut into triangles. I like to sea salt the tops of the chips too.

For more real food dinner ideas check out my Dinner Ideas board on Pinterest!

More real food recipes you might like:
Simple & Quick Enchilada Sauce

10 Minute Enchilada Sauce :: Plus a delicious enchilada recipe!
Fiesta Soup

14100206265_7784683865_z
DIY Taco Seasoning

16223589878_3baed82ac0_z
Delicious Sprouted Refried Beans

13048304535_92908653d8_z

Batch Up Meals Condiments Dinner Ideas Real Food 101 Real Food Tips

10 Minute Enchilada Sauce :: Plus a delicious enchilada recipe!

November 28, 2015

Enjoy enchilada night – real food style! Smokey, spicy, sweet and tangy this enchilada sauce has nothing on canned, and only 10 minutes to simmer stovetop!

10 Minute Enchilada Sauce :: Plus a delicious enchilada recipe!

Let’s do the taco Tuesday thing this week!

Enchiladas are one of my favorite make ahead meals for a busy weeknight that everyone loves to eat. The sauce can be made way ahead of time and only takes 10 minutes to simmer stovetop. It can even be frozen – I love making double or triple batches to stash in my freezer for a quick weeknight dinner anytime.

10 Minute Enchilada Sauce :: Plus a delicious enchilada recipe!

Smokey, flavorful heat is the name of my game – I love this sauce.

You can play around with the heat how you wish. This is really kid friendly heat – you can add more smoky heat with more chipotle powder, or more heat in general with a pinch or two of cayenne.

10 Minute Enchilada Sauce :: Plus a delicious enchilada recipe!

Once the sauce is made the enchilada filling is super quick to make. Whether choosing chicken, beef, pork, or sprouted beans, I take the opportunity to stuff my enchiladas with a big handful or two of greens. Once everything is cooked and drowning in that yummy sauce no one will even notice there is spinach or kale in there!

10 Minute Enchilada Sauce :: Plus a delicious enchilada recipe!I’ll share my 10 minute enchilada sauce here and you can make your enchiladas how you like to in your house, or you can follow my favorite way to make them just below this recipe!

10 Minute Enchilada Sauce :: Plus a delicious enchilada recipe!

5.0 from 3 reviews
10 Minute Enchilada Sauce :: Plus a delicious enchilada recipe!
Author: 
 
Ingredients
  • 2 TB friendly fat to cook in (butter, lard, avocado oil etc)
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 TB chili powder
  • 1 TB cumin
  • ⅛ tsp chipotle pepper powder (or more if you want more heat)
  • 3 tsp honey
  • 1 – 15oz can organic tomato sauce (I get mine at Costco)
  • 1 cup bone broth or water
  • Sea salt /pepper to taste)
Instructions
  1. Melt a couple of TB of friendly fat in a sauce pan and cook the onion with a pinch of salt for about 5 minutes.
  2. Add the garlic and cook for a minute.
  3. Add the rest of the ingredients and low simmer the sauce for about 10 minutes stirring occasionally.
  4. Puree the sauce with handheld blender or in a blender until smooth and then sea salt and pepper to taste.

Ok! So here is how I like to make the enchiladas at my house – I left plenty of play so you can use whatever veggies you have around or like to use.

10 Minute Enchilada Sauce :: Plus a delicious enchilada recipe!I like to use the Sami’s Bakery “Lavish” for my enchilada tortilla wrapping. Sprouted rice or corn tortillas work fine too. If you can handle the gluten go for a sprouted wheat tortilla. You can find all of these in the freezer section of most health food stores. If you want to make your own, you can use this GF pita recipe and just thin out the batter to make a tortilla texture. If you are grain free you can Google grain free wraps – there are so many to try! Or just use the sauce in a great stir fry sans the wraps.

  • 2-3 cups ground or shredded beef, pork, or chicken or sprouted beans of choice
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1/8 tsp or more chipotle powder depending on the heat you like
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 3 cups vegetables of choice (zucchini, spinach, kale, peppers, etc)
  • 1-2 cups organic corn (I get frozen organic/non-GMO at Costco)
  • 1 recipe of my enchilada sauce (a little over 2 cups)
  • 1 ½ cups cheese, freshly grated
  • Sea salt/pepper to taste
  • Tortillas of choice
  1. Melt a tablespoon of butter in a large skillet, and add the meat and seasonings. If your meat was already cooked you can just heat through and go onto the next step. If your meat was not cooked just cook it all the way through and go onto the next step.
  2. Add the onions, vegetables, and corn and cook over medium heat until the vegetables are cooked through.
  3. Turn the heat off the skillet and stir in ½ cup of the enchilada sauce, and 1 cup of the cheese and combine.
  4. Put  ½ cup of the enchilada sauce at the bottom of a 9×13 baking dish and tip the dish around so the sauce covers the bottom of the dish.
  5. Scoop the meat/veggie mixture into tortillas and roll. Place them seam side down into the baking dish. My trick for rolling gluten free wraps that can be “dry” and hard to fold is to run them under a little water and then steam them in a pan quick – they soften and roll right up.
  6. Pour the rest of the enchilada sauce over the rolled up tortillas, sprinkle with about ½ cup cheese, cover the baking dish with foil, and bake in a 400 degree oven for 20 minutes.

10 Minute Enchilada Sauce :: Plus a delicious enchilada recipe!For more real food dinner ideas you can follow my Dinner ideas board on Pinterest!

More real food recipes you might like:

Real Food Sloppy Joes

15628011423_fa5c538e92_z

DIY Taco Season Mix

scoop spill

Gaucamole

13157971603_430a5f64bc_z

Slow Cooker Fiesta Soup

14100206265_7784683865_z

How to Make Refried Beans

13048304535_92908653d8_z

 

Condiments Dinner Ideas Holiday Recipes Real Food Tips

Homemade Cranberry Sauce

November 2, 2015

The perfect sweet and tart side to compliment that Thanksgiving day turkey – in about 10 minutes of cook time!

Homemade Cranberry SauceBesides the gravy…cranberry sauce is just about the perfect complement to that Thanksgiving turkey!

Even as a kid I used to take a little bit of the cranberry sauce with a bit of turkey and it was just heaven together! Sweet, salty, tart, and delicious all in one bite!

Homemade Cranberry SauceI did grow up on the canned cranberries, and a number of years ago I decided I wanted to learn how to make “real” cranberry sauce. Because let’s face it…our ancestors would not have been busting out the can of cranberry sauce at their big meal!

I thought I would miss the “jello” texture of the canned cranberries, but…oh! Was I wrong! This was even better! Fresh cranberries are so delicious – not a fake, high fructose corn syrup jello, but there is a depth of flavor to using real cranberries.

Homemade Cranberry SauceMaking homemade cranberry sauce doesn’t get any easier. Just a quick cook on the stovetop and this Thanksgiving side dish can be prepped days ahead of the big meal. This is the batch I make for our large family Thanksgiving gathering – it makes a lot. If you have a smaller gathering definitely half this.

Homemade Cranberry SauceProduct links in this section 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.

Homemade Cranberry Sauce
Author: 
 
Ingredients
  • 8 cups fresh cranberries (I get the large bags at Costco - if you are using the smaller 12oz bags from a grocer you will need 2 bags)
  • 2 cups water
  • ¾ cup organic pure cane sugar or coconut sugar (I get our organic sugar in bulk at Costco.)
  • ¾ cup raw honey (You can swap more sugar for this if you want to leave it out. I get my raw honey from a local farmer in bulk but this is a good brand too.)
Instructions
  1. Put the cranberries, water, and sugar into a large, high walled skillet, or soup pot and bring to a simmer.
  2. Low simmer the cranberry mixture, stirring occasionally for about 10 minutes. You will hear the cranberries start to pop and you can squish some of them with the back of your wooden spoon if you like. The mixture will start to thicken after about 10 minutes.
  3. Add the honey to the cranberry sauce, combine, and turn the heat off. The cranberry sauce will continue to thicken as it cools.

For more real food dinner ideas you can check out my Dinner Ideas board on Pinterest!

More real food recipes you might like:
Homemade Gluten Free Stuffing

Thanksgiving Stuffing
Bone Broth Gravy

5 Minute Bone Broth Gravy :: Gluten & Grain Free Options!
Slow Roasted Pastured Chicken


Gluten Free Pie Crust For ANY Pie!


Gluten Free Cornbread

Batch Up Meals Condiments Real Food 101 Real Food Tips

Real Food Summer Picnic Series :: Barbeque Sauce

May 30, 2015

Real Food Summer Picnic Series :: Barbeque Sauce
Everyone needs a good barbeque sauce to use all summer!

A few years ago I began working on my own BBQ sauce recipe because I had gone without store bought for so long – and I missed it!

Real Food Summer Picnic Series :: Barbeque Sauce
Store bought barbeque sauce is not only full of high fructose corn syrup in most cases, but also MSG and other preservatives that are completely unnecessary. MSG is an exitotoxin, and is linked to migraines and mood changes among other things, and in a lot of kids it can cause behavior problems. It’s just not worth it.

Real Food Summer Picnic Series :: Barbeque Sauce
This barbeque sauce comes together in 5 minutes! That’s it! No cooking, no chopping, no simmering, no fuss! It is perfect for brushing on your grilled chicken, dipping your chicken nuggets, and spreading on a wrap!

Play around with the seasonings to your taste and fire up the grill!

5.0 from 2 reviews
Real Food Summer Picnic Series :: Barbeque Sauce
Author: 
 
Ingredients
  • ¾ cup organic ketchup (Watch ingredients! Our local grocer has an organic store brand with very minimal ingredients, zero preservatives, and is lower in sugar. I do opt for organic since tomatoes are on the dirty dozen and heavily pesticided.)
  • ⅓ cup blackstrap molasses
  • ¼ cup organic mustard (Watch ingredients! Our local grocer has a great organic store brand with zero preservatives. I do opt for organic to avoid GMO'd vinegar.)
  • ½ tsp sea salt
  • 2 tsp onion powder
  • 2 tsp garlic powder
  • ¼ tsp chipotle powder
Instructions
  1. All ingredients into a container with a lid, combine and store in the fridge! That’s it!

Product links in this section are from affiliate partners. There is no extra cost to you, and it helps maintain the site and provide free content to you! Know that I would never recommend a product that I wouldn’t use or feed my family!

Tips:

  • The recipe makes up a pint container and keeps very well in the fridge for weeks to use! Half it if you don’t want as much though!
  • THIS is the chipotle powder I use although I find it is best priced at my local grocer.
  • Let me know if you give it a shot at your next barbeque!
Condiments Dinner Ideas Lunch Ideas Real Food Tips school lunches

DIY Homemade Olive Garden Salad Dressing

March 1, 2015

DIY Homemade Olive Garden Salad Dressing
I thought I would bring you a little restaurant indulgence this week and I am really excited to finally share this recipe with you! It is one that I have been tweaking and working on over the last couple years and this fall I finally got it.

Olive Garden probably isn’t the fanciest restaurant in the world, but I think everyone would agree they totally nailed it when they created their house salad dressing. It is so addicting! And conveniently too, considering they do that whole all you can eat salad thing before your dinner comes!

DIY Homemade Olive Garden Salad Dressing
When they started selling their famous salad dressing by the bottle I used to save up to buy it (think college years…). But really that bottle that I thought I was being so healthy pouring over a nice salad for lunch, was full of blood sugar spiking high fructose corn syrup, and toxic, rancid soybean oil, among other additives.

DIY Homemade Olive Garden Salad Dressing
I started making my own salad dressings when I started my real food journey years ago, and as it turns out, many popular dressings at the store like Ranch, French, and Thousand Island are so fast to make at home with safer, more nourishing ingredients. This dressing comes together super quick and truly tastes just like the one from the restaurant! Don’t be afraid to serve it to the kids too – I pack it in my kindergartener’s lunch and my 3 year old devours it and likes to use it for dip with veggie sticks.

Get a pot of spaghetti going on the stove and let me show you how to make your own Olive Garden dressing for the salads and you can have an Italian night out at home!

DIY Homemade Olive Garden Salad Dressing
Product links in this section 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.
4.5 from 2 reviews
DIY Homemade Olive Garden Salad Dressing
Author: 
 
Ingredients
  • 1 cup avocado oil (Or combo avocado oil & olive oil. I get my avocado oil at Costco.)
  • ¼ cup white wine vinegar
  • ¼ cup water
  • 2 TB mayonnaise (homemade preferable to avoid toxic oils)
  • 1 TB Italian dressing mix (this is not Italian seasoning – use salad dressing mix – my recipe is super quick to mix up! Go to the Italian dressing in THIS post and use the mix.)
  • ½ tsp garlic powder
  • Optional ¼ cup Parmesan cheese (I often make it without and it is just as delicious without if you can’t do the dairy! This batch did not have the cheese so you can see it is still creamy and delicious.)
Instructions
  1. Everything into a jar and use an immersion blender to mix. If you don’t have an immersion blender, you can put all of the ingredients into a food processor except the oil. Then use the oil drip spout on your food processor to add the oil in to emulsify in the dressing slowly.
  2. This recipe makes a good pint of dressing. Store the dressing in the refrigerator up to 2 weeks.

If you are looking for more restaurant inspired dressings, try this Caesar dressing, and this Asian dressing!

Also check out my DIY condiments pintrest board for more inspiration!

Batch Up Meals Condiments Dinner Ideas Real Food Tips

Simple & Quick Sweet & Sour Sauce

February 8, 2015

Simple & Quick Sweet & Sour Sauce
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.

Confession.

One of the things I miss the most about not eating a typical convenience diet anymore is Chinese restaurants. Back when my husband and I were dating and even into our first couple years of being newlyweds, we had Chinese all the time. Asian flavors and cuisine is just something we really enjoy, and the feel of a Chinese meal brings back a lot of precious dating memories to me.

Simple & Quick Sweet & Sour Sauce
Most of the Chinese take-out or food served in Chinese restaurants (at least here in America) are riddled with MSG and other preservatives, along with questionable meat sourcing. The use of soy products that are not prepared properly in a fermented state as their Chinese great grand parents would have used back in China is also common practice. The soy you find in these restaurants along with most store shelves are products of gut stripping GMO crops and is just a bad idea over all. This is a great read on the dangers of modern soy.

So! I have spent hours in the kitchen recreating the classic Chinese meals we adored years ago. I feel like I have nailed a few of them. My husband’s favorite is this General Tso’s. I was always a fan of sweet and sour dishes so I have been using this sweet and sour sauce for years. It keeps so great in the freezer so it can pull out just as convenient as store bought.

Simple & Quick Sweet & Sour Sauce
It whisks up in the pan in 10 minutes and you are done. The soy replacement of coconut aminos, along with wine vinegar give a salty sour bite to to the fresh squeezed bright and sweet orange juice. No need for fancy equipment! I just use this simple orange juicer and it really gets all of the juice out!

Simple & Quick Sweet & Sour Sauce
Pour it over your favorite Chinese stir fry or use it for dipping sauce! It is also so good drizzled over shredded chicken in a sandwich wrap!

Simple & Quick Sweet & Sour Sauce

5.0 from 6 reviews
Simple & Quick Sweet & Sour Sauce
Author: 
 
Ingredients
  • 1 cup juice from oranges (you will need about 4-5 oranges)
  • ¼ cup organic ketchup (watch ingredients!)
  • ¼ cup organic white wine vinegar
  • 2 TB coconut aminos
  • 1 TB honey
  • ¼ tsp red pepper flakes (more if you want more heat)
  • 1 TB arrowroot mixed in a couple TB water to thicken
Instructions
  1. Everything but the arrowroot into a small sauce pan and bring to a slow simmer for about 10 minutes stirring occasionally.
  2. Whisk in the arrowroot/water mixture until it thickens and turn off the heat. You can serve with your dinner right away or store in the fridge for a week or freezer for months.

What are your favorite Chinese meals?? Let me know if you try out the sauce!

This post was shared at Fat Tuesday!

Batch Up Meals Condiments Dinner Ideas Lunch Ideas Real Food Tips

Asian Salad Dressing :: MSG , Gluten, & Soy Free

February 6, 2015

Asian Salad Dressing :: MSG , Gluten, & Soy Free
There is just nothing like the anticipation of spring and fresh raw veggies to go with it! I am getting rather ansty to see our snow go away although we have a good month left.

If you follow my dinner plans on Facebook, or my girls’ lunch posts on Instagram, you probably have seen I’ve been on a salad kick lately. That is some because I truly am craving them – I think my body is ready for a spring cleanse. And it is some because in the winter there isn’t a lot of other produce options around here!

Asian Salad Dressing :: MSG , Gluten, & Soy Free
I usually make a container of salad dressing for the fridge every Sunday to last us the week. My husband takes his staple Caesar dressing to work every week (don’t ask him to veer from this comfort zone either!) and I have quite a few other popular store bought brands converted into real food salad dressings that we make often.

This one…is momma’s dressing though.

Asian Salad Dressing :: MSG , Gluten, & Soy Free
My girls will eat it although it is probably not as exciting to them as Ranch or the bright red French dressing I make.

I know you know by know my love affair with all things Asian cuisine so this dressing has my favorite flavors all whisked together in 2 minutes flat (because I still have a teething baby at my hip – I don’t have time for long drawn out recipes all the time!).

Asian Salad Dressing :: MSG , Gluten, & Soy Free
I created it as a spin off from my Thai peanut sauce, and it is dresses up salad greens or any other veggie in such a flavorful way. It is also SO good drizzled over shredded beef in a sandwich wrap!

Product links in this section 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 should I use?” Please know I never personally recommend any product I wouldn’t use on my own family.

5.0 from 1 reviews
Asian Salad Dressing :: MSG , Gluten, & Soy Free
Author: 
 
Ingredients
  • ½ cup expeller pressed sesame oil (avocado oil works well too)
  • ½ cup coconut aminos (this replaces soy sauce - it tastes just like it!)
  • 2 TB natural peanut butter (Watch the ingredients! Just peanuts and maybe salt! There shouldn’t be other added oils or sugar. If you want a thicker consistency use 3 TB)
  • 2 tsp red pepper flakes (more if you like more heat)
  • 1 ½ tsp ground ginger
  • ½ tsp garlic powder
  • ½ tsp onion powder
  • Sea salt/pepper to taste (The coconut aminos are naturally salty just like soy sauce – so just be mindful of that – you won’t need much salt!)
Instructions
  1. Everything into a small mixing bowl and wisk together!
  2. Makes about 1 ½ cups of dressing – store in the fridge for weeks. Double up if you want!

Want more Asian cuisine? Try my sweet and sour sauce and Thai peanut sauce!

This post was shared at Fat Tuesday!

Batch Up Meals Breakfast Ideas Condiments Drinks Real Food 101 Real Food Tips school lunches

DIY Coconut Milk :: No Gums, Fillers, Or Sweeteners

February 3, 2015

DIY Coconut Milk :: No Gums, Fillers, Or Sweeteners
I started making coconut milk years ago during our first year of having a raw milk share. Our milk share decreases in supply from January until May during the winter months. At first I was disappointed as we were really enjoying our raw milk. However, if there is one thing I learned from having and healing gut disorder, it would be that it is wise to take a break from certain foods during their “off season”. The practice of eating with the seasons gives the gut a break and allows for different foods to be used for nourishment.

DIY Coconut Milk :: No Gums, Fillers, Or Sweeteners
We ended up really becoming accustomed to the coconut milk in the winter months, and it makes enjoying our fresh raw milk in the spring just that much sweeter! My girls have quite an affinity toward coconut milk and will gladly drink glass after glass just plain, in smoothies, or poured over oatmeal. It is very creamy and indulgent!

There are only 1 or 2 brands of canned coconut milk without BPA packaging, and without questionable gums and fillers. And those 1 or 2 brands are so pricy for my budget. Especially when making your own coconut milk is just so simple and cost effective!

DIY Coconut Milk :: No Gums, Fillers, Or Sweeteners
Coconut milk subs equally for whole milk in most recipes, and I use it in my cooking in the winter when our meager raw milk supply dwindles at the end of the week. I also prefer to use coconut milk when cooking certain cuisines like Thai or if I need to give a soup a creamy texture with a slightly sweet taste.

This recipe makes a quart and a half of coconut milk. I purchase coconut shreds from the bulk refrigerated section at our local health food store and they come in bags that equal about 7 cups – where ever you end up getting your shreds from just use a 1:1 ratio of shreds to water and you will be good to go!  Also! I don’t have a high powered blender so don’t worry if you don’t have one. The only blender I have is a Magic Bullet and it works just fine for the blending part! I have to do the blending in batches but it works just as well!

Product links in this section 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 should I use?” Please know I never personally recommend any product I wouldn’t use on my own family.

DIY Coconut Milk :: No Gums, Fillers, Or Sweeteners
Author: 
 
Ingredients
  • 7 cups unsweetened coconut shreds (shreds work better than flakes in my experience)
  • 7 cups water, brought to a boil
  • Optional splashes of vanilla or almond extract to flavor
Instructions
  1. Put the coconut in a large mixing bowl, and pour the boiling water over the coconut shreds.
  2. Cover the bowl with a towel and let it steep 2-3 hours.
  3. Pour the water/coconut shred mixture into a blender and blend about a minute.
  4. Pour the blended coconut/water mixture into a cheesecloth or tea towel over a bowl and squeeze out the milk.
  5. Store the milk in the fridge for a week, or in the freezer for months. Shake the coconut milk before serving –the cream will separate.
  6. Save the leftover coconut shreds to use in your baking (granola bars, energy bars, etc), your smoothies, your oatmeal, or dehydrate and grind into coconut flour.

Let me know how the coconut milk making goes!

This post was shared at Fat Tuesday!

Condiments Dinner Ideas Real Food Tips

Thai Peanut Sauce :: MSG, Starch, Filler, & Sugar Free

February 3, 2015

Thai Peanut Sauce :: MSG, Starch, Filler, & Sugar Free
It all started about 12 years ago.

Bear with me for a minute while I take a trip down memory lane – you’ll see why in a minute 🙂

It was our second date. A double date to be exact – with my best friend and her now husband and myself with my now husband. We went rock climbing…I had never rock climbed a day in my life, but you better believe I wasn’t gonna tell him that.

My friend and I mostly hung out on the floor watching our guys show off scaling the walls, and to be honest the rest is history for me. We had the best day – that ended at this little place in the city for Thai food. I had never experienced Thai food before, and not only did I completely fall for my now husband that day, I also fell completely in love with Thai cuisine.

Thai Peanut Sauce :: MSG, Starch, Filler, & Sugar Free
I loved the flavorful heat. The color! The texture! All of it!

I have “real foodified”, if you will, some of our favorite Thai dishes at home, and I think you will be surprised at how authentic you can make it taste with, go figure…real ingredients. And with minimal effort – everything into the sauce pan to simmer – 10 minutes and done!

Thai Peanut Sauce :: MSG, Starch, Filler, & Sugar Free
Spicy Thai peanut noodles was the very first Thai meal I ever had, and it is still one of my favorites – I hope you enjoy it as much as we do!

This recipe makes enough sauce to get us through a couple dinners for my family of 5. I usually stir it into a big stir fry. You can use it for dipping sauce as well. Make it as thick or thin as you like! And adjust the heat to your preference. This is pretty mild since I have little ones eating it – I want them to enjoy it too! My husband and I add more heat to our dish separately.

Thai Peanut Sauce :: MSG, Starch, Filler, & Sugar Free
Product links in this section 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.
Thai Peanut Sauce :: MSG, Starch, Filler, & Sugar Free
Author: 
 
Ingredients
  • ¾ cup organic natural peanut butter (Just peanuts and salt! No other oils or sugar added! I get mine at Costco – or if you have a high powered blender (lucky you!) you can make your own.)
  • 1 cup coconut milk (Either homemade or THIS is a safe brand in a BPA free can)
  • ½ cup coconut aminos
  • 2 tsp ground ginger
  • 2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp red pepper flakes (more if you want more heat)
  • Sea salt/pepper to taste
  • Water to desired consistency – I like it thicker and use about ¼ - ½ cup
Instructions
  1. Everything into a small sauce pan and bring to a simmer for about 10 minutes to incorporate. You can add the water or even more coconut milk as you go to get the consistency you want for your stir fry or dipping.

What is your favorite Thai meal? Let me know how you like the peanut sauce if you give a try!

This post was shared at Fat Tuesday!

Batch Up Meals Condiments Dinner Ideas Real Food Tips

DIY Taco Season Mix :: No MSG, Starches, Or Artificial Flavoring

January 31, 2015

DIY Taco Season Mix :: No MSG, Starches, Or Artificial Flavoring
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.

Taco night is a staple meal night in our house and I am pretty sure it is a popular cuisine to serve in most homes. Taco salads are our household favorite!

I remember when I first started reading labels for ingredients instead of just fat and calories, and those little packets of taco seasoning really threw me off. What were all of those long named preservatives and starches? Unfortunately many of those store bought packets (yes even some of the organic ones) are filled with questionable starches/fillers and “natural flavorings” which scream hidden MSG. At the time I was on a pretty limited diet while healing gut disorder so taco season mix was one of the first “from scratch” DIY’s I ever tried.

DIY Taco Season Mix :: No MSG, Starches, Or Artificial Flavoring
My favorite part of this recipe is that it is so fast and convenient. I have this perfect sized spice jar that the whole recipe fits in. The seasonings can just be layered in, then shaken up, and I can just scoop out what I need on taco night.

DIY Taco Season Mix :: No MSG, Starches, Or Artificial Flavoring
This seasoning mix can be used for so much more than beef for taco night too! It mixes into fiesta/taco style soups, this fiesta dressing for salads or sandwich spreads, and I use it to season my slow cooker white chicken chili – it is so good!

If you want to make your taco meat have more of a “sauce” you can add a tablespoon of water mixed with a tablespoon of arrowroot to the meat to make a thickened sauce. I particularly like to do this when I make taco meat for taco salads – the “sauce” acts as a nice dressing mixed with guacamole, sour cream, and salsa in the salad!

DIY Taco Season Mix :: No MSG, Starches, Or Artificial Flavoring
Another one of my taco night tricks is to stretch the meat with sprouted beans or sprouted refried beans that I have stashed away in my freezer. My family of 5 could easily put away a pound of ground beef on taco night in one sitting, but when I mix a few cups of beans with the pound of beef, that one dinner just became 2 dinners.
DIY Taco Season Mix :: No MSG, Starches, Or Artificial Flavoring
Author: 
 
3 TB chili powder 1 tsp garlic powder 1 tsp onion powder ½ tsp red pepper flakes (more if you want more heat) ⅛ tsp chipotle powder (more if you want a smokier heat) 1 tsp oregano 2 tsp paprika 1 TB cumin 2 tsp sea salt 1 tsp pepper
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. Everything into an air tight container/spice jar and shake it up to mix.
  2. Use about 1 ½ to 2 TB of seasoning per 1lb of meat or 2-3 cups of beans.

 

This post was shared at Fat Tuesday and Real Food Wednesday

Batch Up Meals Condiments Lunch Ideas school lunches Snack Ideas

Simple Baked Applesauce

September 28, 2014

Simple Baked Applesauce
There aren’t too many things as predictable as beautiful apples popping up at farmer’s markets right around the end of September.

And living in Michigan, having a couple of those warm “Indian summer” weekends in this early part of fall is just as predictable, and always a welcomed event for apple picking.

Simple Baked Applesauce
We are incredibly fortunate to live in an area literally surrounded by gorgeous apple orchards to pick from every fall. Our first apple picking adventure of the season was actually at Grandpa’s house right off his tree. The girls got to spend some after school time cleaning off his tree and they had a ball.

Simple Baked Applesauce
Completely untouched, unsprayed, and no fuss, these apples are just about as good as it gets for applesauce. The uneven bumps and color give character to these perfectly imperfect apples – and the flavor is always amazing.

Simple Baked Applesauce
I dress my applesauce up with the spices of the season, but it is certainly delicious on its own. You can traditionally can it or freeze, and enjoy your own applesauce year round.

Simple Baked Applesauce
Simple is the name of my game – everyone into the oven roaster, and after they bake, it gets blended right down in the pan.Whether you can walk right outside and pick them from your own tree, or are able to get them in season at a market near you, this applesauce recipe is for everyone.
5.0 from 1 reviews
Applesauce
Author: 
 
Ingredients
  • ½ bushel apples (about 20-ish pounds)
  • Juice of 2 lemons
  • 8-10 cups of water (comes up about halfway up the apples in the pan)
  • 1-2 TB cinnamon (optional)
  • 15-20 allspice berries (optional)
Instructions
  1. Wash and core the apples (I don’t even skin them!) and toss into your oven roaster, or roasting pan. As you are tossing into the pan, squeeze your lemon over top and toss to ensure the apples don’t brown as you go.
  2. Add your water and spices to the cut apples in the pan, and toss.
  3. Cook at 350 degrees for 1 ½ hours.
  4. Use an immersion blender right in the pan to puree your applesauce. You could use a blender or food processor as well. If you want it super smooth a high powered blender would be best – I do enjoy some texture to my applesauce though!

Product links in this post are affiliate links. It does not cost you anything and helps maintain the free information on this site! Please know I would never personally recommend any product I wouldn’t use on my own family.

Tips:

  • This batch makes quarts of applesauce.
  • I honestly have used just about every different kind of apple imaginable for applesauce and it is always delicious. Other than sour apples, you really just can’t go wrong.
  • I do have a couple of reasons for leaving the skins on. You could possibly call it lazy, but it really does take more time to skin them, and I just don’t have it! I think the applesauce taste and color is wonderful with the skins on. The other reason I like to leave the skin on is because the fiber in the skin balances the sugars in the flesh of the apple, making blood sugars keep a bit more stable. Go ahead and skin them though if you wish!
  • I bake my apples in my oven roaster, but using a simple large roasting pan in the oven works just as well, and I did it that way for years.
  • Ok so the immersion blender! OH how easy this makes the clean up part! No transferring to a blender and having more appliances to clean! It goes super fast, and all I have to do is rinse off my blender stick! I do believe a more high powered blender is going to give you a much smoother finish and texture, however, if that is your thing!
  • I have become a bit more aware of the differences in cinnamon in the last couple years and prefer to stick with the ceylon cinnamon. And while you can definitely use ground allspice, I just love popping the allspice berries into something like this because the flavor is fresher and more intense.

This post was shared at Fat Tuesday, Real Food Wednesday, & Allergy Free Wednesday!

Condiments

Simple Egg Free Mayonnaise

September 15, 2014

Product links in this post are affiliate links. It does not cost you anything and helps maintain the free information on this site! Please know I would never personally recommend any product I wouldn’t use on my own family.

Simple Egg Free Mayonnaise
Ok! Raise your hand if you grew up with Miracle Whip or Hellman’s spread all over your white bread sandwich with electric yellow cheese and bologna?!

*Raising both hands*

I seriously love mayo. While we don’t typically have bread in the house anymore (unless I want to shell out for gluten free bread), I really love the taste and “zip” it brings to chicken salad, wraps, and even salads.

Simple Egg Free Mayonnaise
Store bought mayo has not been in my fridge in many years. The rancid oils, and mile long list of other additives is just unnecessary. Even “healthy” versions in your health food store are usually not what they claim to be. I just picked up one the other day that boasted it was olive oil mayo – it wasn’t even the first oil listed! Of course soy oil was, and soy is definitely not a health food.

I made up this recipe a little over a year ago when I discovered one of my girls just wasn’t handling eggs great. Many homemade mayos have an egg or yolk base, and we were bummed to have to take homemade mayo out of our menu. She loved chicken salad and liked it spread on lettuce leaves.

Simple Egg Free Mayonnaise
I love the texture and “spread-ability” of this mayo – and if you are used to the store bought stuff you are going to be amazed at how much this tastes just like Miracle Whip. You can taylor the tang and/or the sweet to your taste.

Simple Egg Free Mayonnaise

5.0 from 5 reviews
Mayonnaise :: Egg Free
Author: 
 
Ingredients
  • 1 cup avocado oil (olive oil works too or a combo of the 2)
  • 1 cup sour cream (if you are dairy free use coconut yogurt)
  • Juice of ½ lemon (start with this and if you want more tang add the other ½)
  • 2 tsp organic mustard (watch those ingredients!)
  • 1-2 TB organic pure cane sugar or coconut sugar (raw honey would work too)
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • ½ tsp pepper
Instructions
  1. Everything into a quart jar or similar sized jar and pulse with an immersion blender until well combined and thick. Alternately, you could put everything into the food processor EXCEPT the oil, start the blend and slowly add the oil through the drip top to emulsify.

Tips:

  • I love the avocado oil because it has a neutral taste. It is a beautiful friendly fat for our bodies too!
  • Here is the immersion blender I use – it is one of the most used kitchen tools in my house! Less than 30 seconds and your mayo is nice and thick!
  • This batch makes a little over a pint of mayo.

This post was shared at The Homestead Barnhop, Fat Tuesday, Real Food Wednesday, & Allergy Free Wednesday!

Condiments Dinner Ideas Lunch Ideas

Caesar Dressing

August 14, 2014

Product links in this post are affiliate links. It does not cost you anything and helps maintain the free information on this site! Please know I would never personally recommend any product I wouldn’t use on my own family.

Caesar Dressing
Still plenty of summer greens left, right?

Well romaine lettuce happens to be, by far, my most favorite salad green. And my husband and I just adore Caesar salad.

Caesar Dressing
When I first met him, it was the only “vegetable” he would eat. A Caesar salad. Slowly (slowly…) over the years I have been able to help his little taste buds along to *tolerate* other veggies, but he definitely will eat a large plate of Caesar salad without hesitation, and I will take that any day!

Caesar Dressing
I have been working on this Caesar dressing for quite a while to get it just right. To taste just like what he loves to order at a restaurant or buy in the store. What’s the point of eating something “healthy” like a salad when you drown in it soybean oil, corn syrup, and MSG?!

Caesar Dressing
My secret weapon to the dressing is avocado oil. Super mild smell, and not as powerful in taste as olive oil. Sometimes when you are used to store bought or restaurant dressings, olive oil based homemade dressings can be a little overwhelming.

Caesar Dressing
I have worked on making my Caesar dressing have the same salty bite as regular Caesar without the fish. I don’t have access to quality sourced anchovies, nor to is it in our budget to order the ones that you can find online. Parmesan definitely does the trick!

Caesar Dressing
This dressing is loaded with beautiful friendly fats to nourish your family.  And especially knowing how hard my husband works all day, it is so important to replenish him with real food. Be sure to check out the tips section if you have special food allergies – I left some great swaps for you!
5.0 from 2 reviews
Caesar Dressing
Author: 
 
Ingredients
  • 1 pastured egg yolk (See tips section if you are egg free!)
  • 1-2 tsp organic mustard (watch those ingredients!)
  • Juice of ½ a lemon (about 1 TB)
  • ½ cup avocado oil (Could also do ¼ cup avocado oil and ¼ cup olive oil)
  • ¼ cup whole sour cream (see tips section if you are dairy free!)
  • ¼ cup grated organic parmesan (Raw if available. See tips section if you are dairy free!)
  • ¼ tsp garlic powder
  • ¼ tsp onion powder
  • ⅛ tsp cayenne pepper (Or more if you want more heat!)
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • ¼ tsp pepper
Instructions
  1. Everything into a pint jar and use an immersion blender to emulsify!
  2. If you don’t have an immersion blender you could add everything but the oil to a food processor and add the oil in slowly through the top drip opening to emulsify.

Tips:

  • This makes a little over half pint of dressing which is perfect for sending with my husband to work to keep in the fridge there for his salads for a week. Just double up if you want more! If I know all of us will be eating it I will double up into a quart jar and send half along with my husband to work.
  • If you are egg free, it should work to just keep the yolk out and maybe use an extra scoop of sour cream.
  • If you are dairy free, you can use coconut yogurt or coconut milk instead of the sour cream. And for the parm you have a couple options. Many people who can’t have cow dairy can have sheep or goat milk – so you could use Pecorino Romano which is a sheep milk cheese. Look in the gourmet cheese section at your grocer if you don’t have a cheesemaker near you. Feta could work although is a softer cheese. If you can’t have that then I would just leave out the cheese. You may have to add more sea salt to create the taste of the cheese.
  • An immersion blender really does work best for the dressing if you are wanting to go fast! Just emulsify it right up in the jar! No mess! My food processor works as well, you just have to drizzle the oil in slowly with the drip top.
  • Don’t forget the kids! The girls *love* Caeaser salad – and I ordered these stainless steel condiment containers for my oldest’s lunchbox this fall. I can pack her a salad
    and she can pour on the dressing herself!

Tell me how the family likes the dressing when you try it!

This post was shared at Fat Tuesday!

Condiments Lunch Ideas

Blueberry Jam

July 28, 2014

Simple and sweet blueberry jam! The perfect summer project for the kids and so delicious!

Blueberry Jam
Product links in this post are affiliate links. It does not cost you anything and helps maintain the free information on this site! Please know I would never personally recommend any product I wouldn’t use on my own family.

Right about mid-summer the most beautiful blueberries you have ever seen start popping up everywhere around here.

Just a 10 minute drive down the road from our house is a wonderful family blueberry farm where we pick plump, sweet blueberries every year.

Blueberry Jam
Blueberry picking is a fun one to bring the little ones to because the bushes are just their size, the picking is super easy, and kids love blueberries! This was baby Caitlyn’s first blueberry trip, and while she was strapped to momma’s back most of the time, she did stretch her legs a little toward the end and definitely caught on to how fun the blueberries tasted!

Blueberry Jam
We brought home 40 pounds of blueberries this year. I froze about half, dehydrated some, and we’ll eat a lot of the fresh this week. I also triple batched blueberry muffins, and the rest went into jam.

Blueberry Jam
Blueberry is my absolute favorite jam! I think most people think of strawberry jam when it comes to favorites, but if you have never had blueberry jam before you really have to try it! I rarely make any other jam anymore. The flavor and texture is similar to grape jam, and it is just amazing on pancakes, or stirred into oatmeal or yogurt!

Blueberry Jam
I use the Pomona’s 100% citrus pectin and have always had very good outcomes on my jams with it. You don’t need a load of sugar to make it work, and you should be able to find it in your health food store. If you can’t, Amazon does carry it.

Blueberry Jam

5.0 from 2 reviews
Blueberry Jam
Author: 
 
Ingredients
  • 16 cups whole blueberries
  • ½ cup juice from a lemon
  • 1 TB calcium water (comes in the Pomona pectin pack)
  • 1 TB pectin powder (comes in the Pomona pectin pack)
  • 2 cups organic pure cane sugar (If you want to use raw honey, back it off to about 1 ½ cups)
Instructions
  1. Put the whole berries, lemon juice, and calcium water in a large stock pot and bring to a boil. Use a potato masher to squish up the berries as they warm and get soft.
  2. While the berries are warming, whisk the pectin with the sugar.
  3. Once the berries are mashed up to your liking, and has come to a boil, pour in the sugar/pectin mixture and stir constantly for a couple minutes so everything dissolves.
  4. Bring the jam up to a boil again, and then turn off the heat.
  5. Ladle the jam into your jars or containers, let them come to room temp, and then put them in the freezer WITHOUT the lids on. Let them freeze for a day before you lid them. You could alternatively follow hot water bath canning instructions instead of the freezing.

Tips:

  • Here is where you can get the Pomona’s 100% citrus pectin if you can’t find it in your health food store – I have been using it for years and it always works very well – very forgiving.
  • This recipe makes about 2 dozen 4oz jars (about 12 cups) – just half the recipe if you don’t think you want that many. This jam will last me until next summer!
  • You can alternatively blend your blueberries to a puree before you cook them if you like a super smooth jam. They really cook down well anyway, and it really has a pretty smooth texture even without blending. I just use a simple potato masher to squish up the berries while they cook!
  • Have you seen these Ball Freezer Containers?! They are my absolute favorite. I do about half of my jam in the pretty little Ball glass jam jars so I can give them away for gifts, but the other half I put in the simple (cheap!) BPA free Ball freezer containers. You can put the lids right on and stick them in the freezer– they won’t crack like glass would with a lid on while they freeze! I usually give a few containers to my mom for the year so she can have them in her freezer when the girls spend the night at Gramma’s and might need a PB&J!
  • The freezer jam will last a couple weeks in the fridge once thawed.
  • We like to use our jam on pancakes! We don’t eat a ton of PB&J’s around here because we are gluten free and GF bread is expensive. But I do make large batches of pancakes to keep in the freezer, and the girls will have PB&J sandwiches using pancakes for the bread. You can also stir your jam into soaked oatmeal or whole plain yogurt!

This post was shared at Fat Tuesday, and Real Food Wednesday!

Condiments Nourishing Staples school lunches Snack Ideas

DIY Salad Dressings :: 5 Quick, Popular Dressings The Whole Family Will Love!

April 14, 2014

DIY Salad Dressings :: 5 Quick, Popular Dressings The Whole Family Will Love!
Happy salad season to you!

While I can hardly wait to get some lettuce greens into my ground (Come on ground! Thaw out already!), we are already craving crisp, fresh salads this early spring!

During the spring and summer, salads are on our table almost daily – especially once they start overtaking my garden! I make a different salad dressing every week, and that keeps taste buds happy and salads fun and interesting all season.

DIY Salad Dressings :: 5 Recipes The Whole Family Will Love!
Why not just grab a bottle of dressing at the grocery store? Or better yet – an organic one at the health food store?

So glad you asked! Store bought salad dressings are one of the most “green washed” products on the market if you ask me. Just because a label says organic or “lite”, or seems “healthy” – sometimes it isn’t.

One way I keep myself with getting frustrated over what products are safe and which are not is by reading ingredient lists. Not the calories, grams, or the percentages of fat. I’m talking the little list of what is actually *in* that darn bottle you will be putting in your body! And for dressings, it’s pretty easy in my book. Toxic, rancid, hydrogenated, GMO and PUFA filled oils like soybean oil, vegetable oil, and canola oil should never be on the ingredient list. Peroid. It just isn’t worth it. And it is incredibly hard to come by salad dressings in the store that don’t have at least one of those oils. THIS is a great resource to learn about the difference between the different oils.

DIY Salad Dressings :: 5 Recipes The Whole Family Will Love!
So here are some dressing options! I’m all about simple, FAST, and flavor! I’m talking throw everything into a jar and shake it up. Each one of these won’t take you more than 5 minutes to make up and it will last a week or 2 in your fridge. And the flavor will blow you away!


“RANCH” DRESSING:


    1. Everything into a pint jar and stir up. If you want a thicker, “dip” sort of Ranch for carrot sticks, etc, you can leave out the milk or only add a few splashes. If you rather it runnier then you can add more milk.

DIY Salad Dressings :: 5 Quick, Popular Dressings The Whole Family Will Love!


“FRENCH” DRESSING:


  1. Everything into a pint jar with a tight lid and shake well to combine. Shake before each use as well. This dressing is also a great one to use on taco salad night – it is very similar to the “catelina” type dressings some restaurants use on taco salads.

DIY Salad Dressings :: 5 Recipes The Whole Family Will Love!


“ITALIAN” MIX AND DRESSING


ITALIAN SEASON MIX:

  1. Add everything together in a small container with a lid (empty spice jars work great), put the lid on and shake it up to combine. Also tastes great to sprinkle on stir fry or to a roasted chicken!

ITALIAN DRESSING:

  1. Everything into a pint jar with a tight lid and shake well to combine. Shake well before each use. Store in the fridge.

DIY Salad Dressings :: 5 Recipes The Whole Family Will Love!


“THOUSAND ISLAND” DRESSING


                      • 1 cup whole sour cream
                      • ¼ cup organic ketchup
                      • Juice of 1 lemon (about 2-3 TB)
                      • 1- 1 ½ TB raw honey (local if possible!)
                      • ¼ cup finely chopped pickles (I like using Bubbies so we get the natural fermented probiotics!)
                      • 1 tsp onion powder
                      • ¼ tsp sea salt
                      • black pepper
  1. Everything into a pint jar and stir together. Store in the fridge. If you want a thicker Thousand Island for spreading on a sandwich or wrap add more sour cream.

DIY Salad Dressings :: 5 Quick, Popular Dressings The Whole Family Will Love!


FIESTA SALAD DRESSING


  • 1 cup organic salsa
  • ½ avocado
  • Juice of ½ lemon
  • ⅓ cup whole sour cream (If you are dairy free you can leave this out and it will still be good – OR you could add more avocado for more creaminess)
  • 2 tsp taco season (I use my homemade blend)
    1. Everything into a processor or blender to blend together. Store in a pint jar in the fridge. If you want it thicker for spreading on sandwiches or wraps add more avocado or sour cream.

DIY Salad Dressings :: 5 Quick, Popular Dressings The Whole Family Will Love!
Ok! So keep me posted on which dressings you are loving! And by the way! Treat yourself to a salad spinner if you don’t already have one! You can wash up and have ready to go salad everyday of the week in your fridge! My routine is pick from the garden and wash up right away, into the salad spinner, and into the crisper in the fridge! It keeps much longer!

This post was shared at Fat Tuesday, Real Food Wednesday, and Allergy Free Wednesday!

Batch Up Meals Condiments Dinner Ideas Lunch Ideas

Guacamole :: Making Large Batch Quatities for Freezer Storage

March 18, 2014

Guacamole :: Making Large Batch Quatities for Freezer Storage
I first started making guacamole when my first born was a toddler. She *loved* avocado as a first food, and as she was getting older I was trying to find ways of serving it to her other than just plain. I played around with recipes for a while until I got just the right flavor to our family’s taste, and I would make it every so often for us to share.

Guacamole :: Making Large Batch Quatities for Freezer Storage
Years later…and 2 more babies later…well one batch of guacamole doesn’t last real long around here!

I started taking advantage of when our local grocer puts avocados on sale 10 for $10 with the 11th free every few months, adjusted my recipe to create a larger quantity of avocados, and this has become my method for guacamole over the last year.

Guacamole :: Making Large Batch Quatities for Freezer Storage
The recipe uses 5 out of the 6 avocados I get during those quarterly sales. The other 6 get plenty of attention from my little avocado monsters straight from the shell, get mushed up for baby, or get made in to a great salad dressing, smoothie, or sandwich spread.

Guacamole :: Making Large Batch Quatities for Freezer Storage
Give it a try – let me know how it goes!
5.0 from 1 reviews
Guacamole :: Large Batch Recipe For the Freezer
Author: 
 
Ingredients
  • 5 ripe avocados
  • 2 jalapenos, seeded and de-ribbed
  • 2 tomatoes, seeded and juices scooped out
  • ½ onion, coarsely chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • Juice of 1-2 lemons (use at least one and to taste you can add more depending on the juiciness of your lemons)
  • 2 tsp sea salt
Instructions
  1. Everything into the food processor and blend/pulse to desired consistency.
  2. Store in the fridge up to a week or in the freezer for months.

Tips:

    • This makes 4 pints of guacamole. I usually keep one pint out for lunch and freeze the rest. I have certainly doubled even this recipe and used 10 avocados. Especially if we haven’t seen that 10 for 10 sale in a while and we are a little avocado deprived!
    • This recipe is quite kid friendly in taste – as in not a ton of heat. If you prefer more kick to your guac I recommend adding another jalapeno or 2, or adding come chipotle or cayenne!
    • Freeze up in one serving portions to pop in the lunchboxes easy. Take them out of the freezer the night before and it will be thawed by their lunchtime!
    • Other than using guacamole on taco salad night or taco night, I like doing guac at lunchtime. I fry up rice tortillas in butter and quarter into “chips” for dipping in the guac. Very easily can be done in batches and the chips can be stored in a container for the week to pack in lunchboxes.

Guacamole :: Making Large Batch Quatities for Freezer Storage
Does your family love guacamole as much as mine???

This post was shared at Allergy Free Wednesdays and Real Food Wednesdays!