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Classic Vegetable Soup

February 17, 2017

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

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

A trip back in time!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Easy peasy lunch packing!

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

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

Toddler tips!

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

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

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

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

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

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

January 27, 2017

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

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

The status of your gut determines just about everything…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tips on recipe size

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

A quick note for those with histamine sensitivities!

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

More real food recipes you might like ::

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

January 12, 2017

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

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

I really should have known better…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Stovetop soup instructions

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

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

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

Biscuit and cracker ideas to go with your soup!

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

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

January 6, 2017

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

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

Simplicity.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Infiltrate and populate!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Dips!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tips on recipe size

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

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

December 30, 2016

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

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

He always picks out the biggest one!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

spaghetti-and-meatballs-banner

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

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

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

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

Directions:

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

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

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

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

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

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

Directions:

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

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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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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 2 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.

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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

 

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:

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

Kid Friendly Veggie Spaghetti Sauce

July 22, 2016

This kid friendly veggie spaghetti sauce is loaded with brilliant color, amazing taste, and is super fun to eat piled on top of your favorite noodles or veggie noodles!

Kid Friendly Veggie Spaghetti Sauce! :: This kid friendly veggie spaghetti sauce is loaded with brilliant color, amazing taste, and is super fun to eat piled on top of your favorite noodles or veggie noodles!

“How do you get your kids to eat their veggies?”

I get that inbox question weekly, and some of my staple responses are…

Make it taste good!

Make it fun!

Make it familiar!

Kid Friendly Veggie Spaghetti Sauce! :: This kid friendly veggie spaghetti sauce is loaded with brilliant color, amazing taste, and is super fun to eat piled on top of your favorite noodles or veggie noodles!

Before I expand on those responses, let me back up a minute and talk about the babies and toddlers.

If you fall in the category of having a baby between the ages of 6 months to 2 years old let me fill you in a little secret…baby taste palates are a blank slate! You absolutely can train those young palates to enjoy vegetables of every kind by introducing them before they hit those “NO” and testing 3 and 4 year old ages.

Make it fun and relaxed. Let them take bites off your plate. Don’t force it and keep it positive even if they don’t accept it right away. First foods is one of my very favorite things – enjoy introducing those fun veggies! (For more in depth first foods and feeding babies discussion, keep your eyes peeled this fall for my new book publishing titled Nourished Beginnings!)

Kid Friendly Veggie Spaghetti Sauce! :: This kid friendly veggie spaghetti sauce is loaded with brilliant color, amazing taste, and is super fun to eat piled on top of your favorite noodles or veggie noodles!

Ok, so let’s talk about making vegetables enjoyable for big kids that are maybe newer to real food.

Taking an old staple that most kids love and enjoy like spaghetti and giving it a veggie make-over will be less intimidating then tossing a plate of new foreign vegetables in front of them. Keep it fun and tasting amazing. This veggie spaghetti sauce is rich, and sweet, and tomato-y just like kids like it. Kids also love noodles! Anything with noodles! And I say if it gets them eating a pile of mineral rich, power packed vegetables, a scoop of noodles it is then.

If you have a little one that is funny about texture or seeing “pieces” in their food, simply puree the sauce through and it will feel a lot like jarred spaghetti sauce – you can add a splash of bone broth or water and just blend it up. Sometimes all you need to do to mold a more adventurous eater in those big kids is give their bodies some time to adjust off the junk food. Their cravings will change, and their body will function better if you can just do what you gotta do to get their fuel more nourishing.

Kid Friendly Veggie Spaghetti Sauce! :: This kid friendly veggie spaghetti sauce is loaded with brilliant color, amazing taste, and is super fun to eat piled on top of your favorite noodles or veggie noodles!

Serving options

We love using gluten free rice noodles in our house. Using spaghetti squash or veggie “noodles” such as zucchini or sweet potato noodles works so well too if you can’t tolerate grains, or if you have a baby in the house that can’t have grains yet. Our spirilizer for making veggie noodles was such a great investment for our kitchen.

We like to add grassfed beef or meatballs to our spaghetti too. Use your favorite meatball recipe – one of my favorites are these kale stuffed meatballs. Our staple spaghetti meatballs will be published in my Nourished Beginnings book publishing this fall!

Kid Friendly Veggie Spaghetti Sauce! :: This kid friendly veggie spaghetti sauce is loaded with brilliant color, amazing taste, and is super fun to eat piled on top of your favorite noodles or veggie noodles!

Oh! And don’t forget the leftovers!

My kids LOVE spaghetti for lunch, and this packs up so well in a thermos for school. I like to add a splash of water while warming it up when using leftover noodles just to soften everything up. There are more instructions on how to keep food warm in thermoses for school in this post in the thermos section.

Kid Friendly Veggie Spaghetti Sauce! :: This kid friendly veggie spaghetti sauce is loaded with brilliant color, amazing taste, and is super fun to eat piled on top of your favorite noodles or veggie noodles!

5.0 from 1 reviews
Kid Friendly Veggie Spaghetti Sauce
Author: 
 
Ingredients
  • 2 TB olive oil
  • 2 TB butter
  • ½ medium onion, diced
  • 1 red pepper, large dice
  • 1 yellow pepper, large dice
  • 1 medium eggplant, large dice (sliced mushrooms work here if eggplant isn't in season/available)
  • 1 medium zucchini, large dice
  • 1 medium summer squash, large dice
  • 6 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 2-3 cups chopped baby spinach (baby kale works too)
  • 2 cups cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
  • 4 TB organic tomato paste
  • ⅓ cup bone broth (or water)
  • ⅓ cup white wine (or more bone broth or water)
  • Sea salt and pepper to taste
  • Fresh basil to garnish the top, sliced in a chiffonade (roll the leaves up and slice thin)
Instructions
  1. Warm a large skillet to medium heat and melt the butter and olive oil.
  2. Add the onion, red and yellow peppers, eggplant, zucchini, and summer squash with a large pinch of sea salt, combine, and cook over medium/medium high heat stirring occasionally for about 7-10 minutes until the veggies soften and sweeten.
  3. Add the garlic, baby spinach, cherry tomatoes, and tomato paste, stir to combine, and cook over medium/medium high heat about 5 minutes until the tomatoes soften and wilt and the spinach wilts.
  4. Pour in the bone broth and wine, and bring to a simmer about 5 minutes over medium heat until the liquid reduces a bit and everything softens.
  5. Turn off the heat and season with salt and pepper to your taste and serve over noodles of choice, or serve over veggie noodles like spaghetti squash, zoodles, or sweet potato noodles. Garnish with fresh basil and grated parmesan cheese if you wish.

Here are some more kid friendly vegetable ideas to try!

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

Roasted Eggplant and Tomato Soup

July 16, 2016

Summer’s prettiest heirloom tomatoes and deep purple eggplants roasted and turned sweet and creamy soup!

Roasted Eggplant & Tomato Soup :: Summer's prettiest heirloom tomatoes and deep purple eggplants roasted and turned sweet and creamy soup!

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.

Summer is the perfect time of year to enjoy fresh picked and abundant tomatoes in a new way!

Last weekend I was enticed by some brightly colored heirloom tomatoes I just knew I had to have! My girls and I could eat them sliced plain for days, but I just couldn’t help turning that beautiful color into some soup that I could store away for a cool day this fall.

Roasted Eggplant & Tomato Soup :: Summer's prettiest heirloom tomatoes and deep purple eggplants roasted and turned sweet and creamy soup!

Simple soup purees are great way to get nourishing, mineral rich bone broth in the kids multiple times per week.

They pack up so easy in school lunch thermoses! Not only are soup purees great for giving the school aged kids a veggie boost, my babies and toddlers always had an affinity toward these easy to eat, mildly sweet to the palate veggie soup purees. Pour some in a small tea cup and watch them slurp it down. You can use straws for the toddlers to keep the mess down – and they think that is pretty fun too!

Roasted Eggplant & Tomato Soup :: Summer's prettiest heirloom tomatoes and deep purple eggplants roasted and turned sweet and creamy soup!

There are so many summer vegetable combos that make delicious, kid friendly soups.

For this soup recipe, I dressed up our favorite fresh tomato soup by roasting some colorful heirloom tomatoes with creamy eggplant which grows abundantly this time of year. Roasting gives the veggies a sweet depth of flavor that makes the soup taste really good. Of course a handful of garlic and an onion always help that out too!

Roasted Eggplant & Tomato Soup :: Summer's prettiest heirloom tomatoes and deep purple eggplants roasted and turned sweet and creamy soup!

Take a family trip to the farmer’s market this week!

You can have the kids search out their favorite color tomatoes and a beautiful deep purple eggplant to make their soup with. It is a fun afternoon project that the kids will eagerly eat with a grilled cheese sandwich and look forward to having packed in their school lunches this fall!

Roasted Eggplant & Tomato Soup :: Summer's prettiest heirloom tomatoes and deep purple eggplants roasted and turned sweet and creamy soup!

5.0 from 1 reviews
Roasted Eggplant and Tomato Soup
Author: 
 
Ingredients
  • 1 medium eggplant, coarsely cubed
  • 4 large tomatoes and/or heirloom tomatoes of any color, seeded and sliced coarsely
  • 1 yellow onion, coarsely chopped
  • 6 cloves of garlic, smashed to remove the peel (no need to chop)
  • 4 TB friendly fat to cook in such as olive oil, melted butter, coconut oil, or avocado oil
  • 4 tsp sea salt
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • 1 quart bone broth
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 1 tsp basil
  • Optional raw milk, sour cream, or coconut cream to stir in each bowl.
Instructions
  1. Pre-heat the oven to 425 degrees.
  2. Divide the eggplant, tomatoes, onion, and garlic between 2 Silpat lined or parchment paper lined baking sheets. Toss the veggies with the olive oil, sea salt, and pepper. Roast the veggies at 425 degrees for 25 minutes.
  3. When the veggies are done roasting, bring 1 quart of bone broth with the oregano and basil to a simmer. Add the roasted veggies and puree the soup until smooth. Taste for sea salt and pepper to your liking.
  4. You can garnish with a dollop of sour cream, or stir in some raw milk or coconut cream if you wish. It is just as creamy and delicious without if you can't have dairy or don't have access to coconut milk. I love the richness the raw milk or sour cream gives - I have also found that a drizzle of olive oil gives that same rich, buttery feel.

For more nourishing meals you can follow my Nourishing Staples board on Pinterest!

More real food recipes you might like:
Instant Pot Summer Veggie Soup

Instant Pot Summer Vegetable Soup :: Vibrant color and full of fresh, in season summer flavor in just 10 minutes for an Instant Pot kid friendly summer soup!
Fresh Tomato Soup

Fresh Tomato Soup :: Preserve and enjoy summer's freshest tomatoes with nourishing fresh tomato soup!
How to Make Bone Broth

Instant Pot Bone Broth :: Learn how to use *any* bones to make fast, nourishing bone broth with your Instant Pot!
Cream of Zucchini Soup

Cream of Zucchini Soup

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

Instant Pot Summer Vegetable Soup

July 15, 2016

Vibrant color and full of fresh, in season summer flavor in just 10 minutes for an Instant Pot kid friendly summer soup!

Instant Pot Summer Vegetable Soup :: Vibrant color and full of fresh, in season summer flavor in just 10 minutes for an Instant Pot kid friendly summer soup!

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.

Some say summer isn’t really soup season and I totally beg to differ!

I make the same if not more soup in the summer because, oh! The variety of veggies available! I live in the equivalent of a frozen tundra during the winter months, and while our local grocer has a variety of veggies from around the country, I can’t always afford the out of season pricing.

Instant Pot Summer Vegetable Soup :: Vibrant color and full of fresh, in season summer flavor in just 10 minutes for an Instant Pot kid friendly summer soup!

But summer! Oh how I love our farmer’s markets and grocers in the summer!

Instant Pot Summer Vegetable Soup :: Vibrant color and full of fresh, in season summer flavor in just 10 minutes for an Instant Pot kid friendly summer soup!

Pennies on the dollar you can create the most amazing flavor profiles on super nourishing soups for the whole family.

This is the time of year not only to train your little one’s taste palates to seasonal produce, it is also the time of year to take advantage of seasonal pricing and stock up your freezer. Come January it is so nice to pull out a jar of summer vegetable soup to warm up to.

Instant Pot Summer Vegetable Soup :: Vibrant color and full of fresh, in season summer flavor in just 10 minutes for an Instant Pot kid friendly summer soup!

This summer I have been playing around with my Instant Pot for our summer soups, and let me tell you – this has been such a game changer for me.

Not only does it save me heating up the house with a pot of soup, it also saves me time. Contrary to what most may think of me, I don’t, in fact, love being around my kitchen all day. Especially when it comes summer. I have to soak in all that precious daylight and warmth that I can before our snow season comes back!

Instant Pot Summer Vegetable Soup :: Vibrant color and full of fresh, in season summer flavor in just 10 minutes for an Instant Pot kid friendly summer soup!

Super rough chop and blend it all down is the name of my game for these seasonal veggie soup.

Not only is this method very time saving, it makes for a delicious, sweet blended flavor as well as making it very kid friendly to serve. Pour a little in a small tea cup with a small straw and serve it to those first foods babies and toddlers – they will slurp up every last drop! Pack it up in the school lunch thermoses to give those growing kids a yummy mineral boost to finish off their school afternoon.

Instant Pot Summer Vegetable Soup :: Vibrant color and full of fresh, in season summer flavor in just 10 minutes for an Instant Pot kid friendly summer soup!

This recipe is super forgiving – I haven’t made it the same way twice because there are so many great summer veggies to try!

Instant Pot Summer Vegetable Soup :: Vibrant color and full of fresh, in season summer flavor in just 10 minutes for an Instant Pot kid friendly summer soup!

Here is a list of great in season summer veggies to use in your summer veggie soup!

  • Zucchini
  • Summer Squash
  • Green Beans
  • Eggplant
  • Bell peppers of all colors
  • Hot peppers (you can scoop the ribs/seeds out to eliminate the heat – jalapenos are actually nice and sweet!)
  • Carrots
  • Chard
  • Tomatoes & Heirloom Tomatoes
  • Tomatillos
  • Shelling peas/beans
  • New potatoes
  • Summer herbs such as basil, dill, and parsley
  • Corn (this is a grain, so if you are grain free just leave this out!)

Instant Pot Summer Vegetable Soup :: Vibrant color and full of fresh, in season summer flavor in just 10 minutes for an Instant Pot kid friendly summer soup!

Instant Pot Summer Vegetable Soup
Author: 
 
Ingredients
  • 2 quarts bone broth
  • 1 medium onion, peeled and quartered
  • 6 cloves of garlic, peeled and smashed
  • 1 small/medium eggplant, coarsely sliced into rounds
  • 2 large tomatoes, seeded and coarsely sliced
  • 1 medium zucchini, coarsely sliced into rounds (green beans work well here too)
  • 1 medium summer squash, coarsely sliced into rounds
  • 1 cup corn (We have a non-GMO organic farmer we buy from or use Costco's organic frozen corn. If you cannot have corn or grain, you can swap this for a couple of sweet carrots or potatoes!)
  • ½-1 cup green beans (I just grabbed a quick handful from the garden - no chopping just threw them in!)
  • 1 small orange bell pepper, seeded and coarsely sliced
  • 1 small red bell pepper, seeded and coarsely sliced
  • ½ cup fresh basil, chopped, or 2-3 tsp dried basil
  • Sea salt/pepper to taste
Instructions
  1. Everything into the Instant Pot, put the lid on, and close the valve.
  2. Push the "Soup" setting and bring the time down manually to 10 minutes. It will turn on automatically and take about 15 minutes to come to pressure before the 10 minutes counts down.
  3. When the soup Instant Pot is done cooking, release the valve to let the pressure out, remove the lid, and use an immersion blender to puree the soup until smooth. Add sea salt and pepper to your taste.

For more Instant Pot recipes, you can follow my Instant Pot board on Pinterest!

More real food recipes you might like:
Instant Pot Spring Vegetable Soup

Instant Pot Spring Vegetable Soup :: No chopping prep! Everything into the pot and set for 10 minutes! Enjoy those seasonal spring veggies in a delicious fresh soup perfect for lunch or sipping on in a mug on a cool spring morning!
How To Make Instant Pot Bone Broth

Instant Pot Bone Broth :: Learn how to use *any* bones to make fast, nourishing bone broth with your Instant Pot!
Crispy Plantain Crackers

Crispy Plantain Crackers :: Great for toddlers, kids, and adults! Gluten, Egg, Nut, & Dairy Free!

Fresh Summer Tomato Soup

Fresh Tomato Soup :: Preserve and enjoy summer's freshest tomatoes with nourishing fresh tomato soup!

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

Summer Fruit Snacks With Protein Rich Grassfed Gelatin!

July 9, 2016

Freshly picked and full of flavor! Summer’s best fruit turned kid favorite fruit snacks loaded with protein!

Freshly picked and full of flavor! Summer's best fruit turned kid favorite fruit snacks loaded with protein!

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.

Sooo…toddlers.

Summer Fruit Snacks With Protein Rich Grassfed Gelatin! :: Freshly picked and full of flavor! Summer's best fruit turned kid favorite fruit snacks loaded with protein!

Here’s mine. She will be 3 at the end of August, and the last year has been a whirlwind of this little firecracker keeping me on my toes! There’s no telling this kid she is too little for this or that…she does it all!

She is also…busy.

While the food she does eat is pretty darn healthy compared to many 2 year olds, some days sitting for a whole meal just doesn’t happen. I like to keep snacking as nutrient dense as possible – kind of like spreading her meals out throughout the day is how it usually shakes out.

Summer Fruit Snacks With Protein Rich Grassfed Gelatin! :: Freshly picked and full of flavor! Summer's best fruit turned kid favorite fruit snacks loaded with protein!

When we are having a busy, on the go day, homemade fruit snacks are a really nice, non-messy snack that travels well and is packed with protein to fill her up. This summer has been so nice to have fresh, in season fruit to make these yummy fruit snacks and she has been loving all the fun colors and flavors.

Summer Fruit Snacks With Protein Rich Grassfed Gelatin! :: Freshly picked and full of flavor! Summer's best fruit turned kid favorite fruit snacks loaded with protein!

So, what is gelatin, really?

If you are thinking about those brightly colored packages of “Jell-O” in the store, you are right…sort of!

Gelatin is cooked collagen from the bones/connective tissues of animals. However, just like with all food, sourcing is important. While the sourcing of that store bought brand of gelatin is pretty sketchy, you can find sources of protein packed gelatin from grassfed animal sources.

I have been using Perfect Supplements brand of collagen for a year now, and am super excited that they came out with a gelatin supplement too! While we use collagen for many thing like adding protein and gut nourishment to green smoothies and soaked oats, grassfed gelatin (which is the cooked form of collagen) is useful for making puddings, custards, “jello”, and gummies because it gels so well.

Summer Fruit Snacks With Protein Rich Grassfed Gelatin! :: Freshly picked and full of flavor! Summer's best fruit turned kid favorite fruit snacks loaded with protein!

What are the benefits of grassfed collagen/gelatin?

Collagen is the most abundant protein in the human body, and plays a key role in numerous bodily functions!

  • Improve Skin Health
  • Promote Younger, Firmer Skin
  • Support Joint Health
  • Improve Gut Function and Digestion
  • Keep Excess Inflammation in Check
  • Build and Restore Muscle
  • Support a Healthy Metabolism
  • Keep Appetite In Check
  • Promote Healthy Brain Function
  • Promote Deeper Sleep

Why Perfect Supplements Gelatin?

Sourcing does in fact matter, and while I don’t promote a lot of products on my blog, I do feel confident promoting Perfect Supplements!

  • 100% Beef Gelatin (Collagen Protein)
  • Sourced exclusively From Brazilian Pasture Raised (Grass Fed) Cows
  • 100% Natural and Pesticide and Hormone Free
  • Non-GMO
  • Lactose & Dairy Free
  • 98% Protein and 0 Carbs and 0 Fat Per Serving
  • Lab Tested With Proof of Purity
  • Backed By 100% Money Back Guarantee
  • Silver Level Green America Certified Business
  • No Fillers of Flow Agents – Just Pure Collagen Protein

Not only does Perfect Supplements meet all of my health, safety, and sourcing standards…they meet my budget and that is huge in being able to get this supplement into my family regularly. You can’t find a price like this anywhere else (figure the price per gram if you want to compare apples to apples).

PLUS! I want to share my RGN Perfect Supplements savings code with you too! Just enter GENERATION10 in at check-out and receive an extra 10% off your order!

Summer Fruit Snacks With Protein Rich Grassfed Gelatin! :: Freshly picked and full of flavor! Summer's best fruit turned kid favorite fruit snacks loaded with protein!

I hope you get a chance to try out your new gelatin on some fresh summer fruit this season!

Summer Fruit Snacks With Protein Rich Grassfed Gelatin! :: Freshly picked and full of flavor! Summer's best fruit turned kid favorite fruit snacks loaded with protein!

5.0 from 2 reviews
Summer Fruit Snacks With Protein Rich Grassfed Gelatin!
Author: 
 
Ingredients
  • Cherry Fruit Snacks ::
  • 1½ cups cherries, pitted
  • 2 TB water
  • 2 TB grassfed gelatin
  • (warm soluble)
  • Optional 1-2 TB raw honey if needed - ours were fresh picked in season and so sweet - no need for extra!
  • Peach Fruit Snacks ::
  • 1½ cups peaches, pitted and coarsely sliced
  • 2 TB water
  • 2 TB grassfed gelatin
  • Optional 1-2 TB raw honey if needed - ours were not quite in season yet and did need a little extra.
Instructions
  1. Put the cherries in a small sauce pan with the water and bring to a simmer for 3-4 minutes.
  2. Put the warm cherries and juices into a blender, add the gelatin and blend to combine until smooth. Taste the mixture for honey if needed.
  3. Pour the cherry gelatin mixture into your mold and place in the freezer for 15-30 minutes. I find they pop out of silicone molds easiest when they are slightly frozen. You can let them gel on the counter (depending on the size of your mold it will take about an hour, or in the fridge it takes about 30 minutes or so.
  4. Repeat steps 1-3 for the peaches.

More Collagen/Gelatin Rich Recipes You Might Like!

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

Instant Pot Spring Vegetable Soup

June 3, 2016

No chopping prep! Everything into the pot and set for 10 minutes! Enjoy those seasonal spring veggies in a delicious fresh soup perfect for lunch or sipping on in a mug on a cool spring morning!

Instant Pot Spring Vegetable Soup :: No chopping prep! Everything into the pot and set for 10 minutes! Enjoy those seasonal spring veggies in a delicious fresh soup perfect for lunch or sipping on in a mug on a cool spring morning!

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…

Other than bone broth and an occasional whole chicken on a busy week, my Instant Pot has gathered some dust over the winter…

Cooking is a relaxing, stress reliever of mine. So cooking stovetop is a labor of love to me, and I really don’t mind it!

But as our schedules started getting more packed this spring, and the weather begged us to be outside more and more, my focus turned to figuring out this convenient Instant Pot cooking so we could still eat nourishing meals without so much kitchen time.

Instant Pot Spring Vegetable Soup :: No chopping prep! Everything into the pot and set for 10 minutes! Enjoy those seasonal spring veggies in a delicious fresh soup perfect for lunch or sipping on in a mug on a cool spring morning!

My toddler especially has become fond of my Instant Pot veggie soups. She has been teething 2 year molars this spring and raw veggies are tough to get her to enjoy. It is pretty typical at this age (from my experience at least), so I don’t sweat it, and get the veggies down in more cooked form until my toddlers can manage chewing raw veg better.

Instant Pot Spring Vegetable Soup :: No chopping prep! Everything into the pot and set for 10 minutes! Enjoy those seasonal spring veggies in a delicious fresh soup perfect for lunch or sipping on in a mug on a cool spring morning!

It makes for a great way to getting nourishing bone broth in (which, by the way, you can make quick in the Instant Pot 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.

Spring is a time for fresh, detoxing greens and mineral rich roots. Our spring tends to linger around where I live so gathering fresh local spring veggies is pretty easy even into June. It is nice to use the entire vegetable – including the green tops that so often people toss away!

Instant Pot Spring Vegetable Soup :: No chopping prep! Everything into the pot and set for 10 minutes! Enjoy those seasonal spring veggies in a delicious fresh soup perfect for lunch or sipping on in a mug on a cool spring morning!

The veggies I used in the recipe here only scratch the surface of the possibilities! Change things up as much as you want. I always try to be sure to have some “sweeter” veggies such as carrots, golden beets, peas, potatoes, and even radishes (they are spicy when raw but when they are cooked they are soft and sweet like a potato) to offset any bitter greens.

Instant Pot Spring Vegetable Soup :: No chopping prep! Everything into the pot and set for 10 minutes! Enjoy those seasonal spring veggies in a delicious fresh soup perfect for lunch or sipping on in a mug on a cool spring morning!

The best part just might be how “one pot” this whole soup is. Toss all the veggies in and after it pressure cooks, just puree right in the Instant Pot with an immersion blender!

Instant Pot Spring Vegetable Soup :: No chopping prep! Everything into the pot and set for 10 minutes! Enjoy those seasonal spring veggies in a delicious fresh soup perfect for lunch or sipping on in a mug on a cool spring morning!

This recipe is super forgiving – I haven’t made it the same way twice because there are so many great spring veggies to try! Here is a list of great in season spring veggies to use in your spring soup!

  • Beets or golden beets (I have used golden beets and the color is beautiful!)
  • Spring greens such as nettles, baby spinach, chard, and green tops from radishes and/or beets
  • Peas
  • Leeks
  • Cabbage
  • Asparagus
  • Garlic Scapes
  • Green Onions
  • Celeriac
  • Carrots
  • New potatoes

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.

Don’t forget this soup is great for all ages!

Soup purees are a great way to introduce veggies to babies ready for solids. Just serve on a spoon, in a mug with a small straw, or let them drink it right out of an open cup! And since this soup freezes so great, it makes the perfect pull out thermos soup for 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.

5.0 from 1 reviews
Instant Pot Spring Vegetable Soup
Author: 
 
Ingredients
  • 2 quarts bone broth
  • 1 medium onion, peeled and quartered
  • 1 head of garlic (peel the cloves but you can leave them whole!)
  • ½ lb spring greens such as nettles, baby spinach, radish greens, beet greens (about 5ish cups)
  • 5-6 small/medium carrots, tops removed
  • 1 bunch radishes (about 10 or so radishes. If your radishes are small you can use more. You can leave the tops right on!)
  • 1 bunch asparagus, tough ends discarded
  • 1 medium leek (Discard the green top and slice length-wise to wash out the sand from the insides - no need to chop further!)
  • Sea salt/pepper to taste
  • Optional raw cream or whole sour cream, and fresh chopped chives to garnish
Instructions
  1. Everything but the salt, pepper, and garnishes into the Instant Pot, put the lid on, and close the valve.
  2. Push the "Soup" setting and bring the time down manually to 10 minutes. It will turn on automatically and take about 15 minutes to come to pressure before the 10 minutes counts down.
  3. When the Instant Pot is done cooking the soup, release the valve to let the pressure out, remove the lid, and use an immersion blender (or pour the cooked soup into a regular blender) to puree the soup until smooth. Add sea salt and pepper to your taste.
  4. Garnish each bowl with raw cream or sour cream, and freshly chopped chives.

For more Instant Pot recipes, you can follow my Instant Pot board on Pinterest!

More real food recipes you might like:

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20 Minute Spring Stir Fry with Garlic Butter Sauce :: Weeknight dinner friendly, this 20 minute spring stir fry with a garlic butter sauce will satisfy on the busiest of spring evenings!
Spring Roasted Asparagus and Garlic Stinging Nettles Soup

Roasted Asparagus & Garlic Stinging Nettle Soup :: Enjoy the freshest tastes of spring with roasted garlic and asparagus soup filled with nourishing, mineral rich stinging nettles!
How To Make Instant Pot Bone Broth

Instant Pot Bone Broth :: Learn how to use *any* bones to make fast, nourishing bone broth with your Instant Pot!
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Crispy Plantain Crackers :: Great for toddlers, kids, and adults! Gluten, Egg, Nut, & Dairy Free!

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Post Tummy Bug Recovery Smoothie

March 25, 2016

You’ve made it through a tummy bug, and are ready to eat – but what do you eat on a sensitive empty tummy? This smoothie is not only gentle, but is loaded with minerals and nutrients to nourish your family back to eating again!

Post Tummy Bug Recovery Smoothie :: You've made it through a tummy bug, and are ready to eat - but what do you eat on a sensitive empty tummy? This smoothie is not only gentle, but is loaded with minerals and nutrients to nourish your family back to eating again!

We made it through the whole winter with no more than a little cold bug…until last week.

The weekend spring began to be exact! How ironic!

I went on a field trip with my preschooler on a Friday morning and listened to the teacher’s warnings to the mothers there that 6 or 7 kids plus 1 teacher were out with the flu that week…

Post Tummy Bug Recovery Smoothie :: You've made it through a tummy bug, and are ready to eat - but what do you eat on a sensitive empty tummy? This smoothie is not only gentle, but is loaded with minerals and nutrients to nourish your family back to eating again!

And my 6 and 4 year olds ended up with buckets at the bedside by Saturday morning.

What a drag!

It’s bound to happen – our kids don’t live in bubbles right?!

We do what we can to keep their immune systems boosted during the winter with quality cod liver oil, whole food sourced quality vitamin C, eating nourishing food and getting quality sleep, and here and there do rounds of daily elderberry syrup when there are viruses going around in herds in the classroom.

But sooner or later the body does a little house cleaning and a bug takes over.

We spent the greater part of the next 24 hours nursing the 2 girls’ high fevers with yarrow baths and cool washcloths, hourly elderberry syrup doses, sips of homemade electrolyte drinks and nettle tea, and lots and lots of sleep and rest.

By Sunday morning the girls perked up a bit, fevers had been broken, and {most importantly!} there had been no throwing up since late Saturday morning.

We were in the clear to try a little bland food at the girls’ request, and I typically start with sea salted bone broth. They both had a tea cup full that morning which stayed down well, and they were ready to try more.

Post Tummy Bug Recovery Smoothie :: You've made it through a tummy bug, and are ready to eat - but what do you eat on a sensitive empty tummy? This smoothie is not only gentle, but is loaded with minerals and nutrients to nourish your family back to eating again!

I decided to try a gentle smoothie to start while I worked on getting more bone broth made to make some soup for later that afternoon.

Here are the components and purposes of the ingredients:


Mineral Boosting Liquid Base

The purpose here is getting the liquid part of the smoothie to do some work for you in replenishing the little ones electrolytes without being too heavy. While raw milk and coconut milk are great in smoothies, when you are just coming off a tummy bug you want to ease into those heavier fluids. Coconut water or nettle tea work well. Or even just water with a big pinch of mineral rich sea salt, Celtic salt, or pink salt works great.


Gentle Mineral Rich Veggie

While we love green smoothies, the focus here is getting the digestion up and running again. Gentle veggies like sweet potatoes or any of the squashes (yes even zucchini) are loaded with minerals and (in their cooked form) are very easy to digest as well as provide a slow burning carbohydrate to the mix. Just use whatever you have on hand. I had mashed sweet potatoes leftover from dinner earlier in the week so I used that. You can steam up a little sweet potato or squash in just 20 minutes time.


Easy To Digest Fruit

Fruit makes the smoothie palatable for little ones without adding any extra sugar. Because we are talking gentle ingredients while recovering from a tummy bug, I chose to use mango and banana. Both are low in pectin which can irritate sensitive tummies. Banana also contains amylase which is helpful in carbohydrate digestion. All in all it is just a great choice to not only make the smoothie taste good after coming off a nauseating tummy bug, it is nice and easy to digest. Papaya is another low pectin fruit if that is more readily available to you. Most of the time I purchase frozen mango in bulk at Costco, though sometimes I catch a sale in the fresh produce department.


Grassfed Collagen

Not only does a quality grassfed collagen add an easy to digest, natural protein source, it is also fantastic for repairing stomach lining and just over all digestive support. I have been using Perfect Supplements grassfed collagen since early fall last year and I couldn’t be more pleased. Zero taste, blends in perfectly, and great price point.


Gentle Fat Source

This boosts the satiating part of the smoothie balancing out the fruit sugars and protein to make it well rounded. Just a small splash to start digestion running is all you need and really you could choose whatever you wish. I typically add egg yolks to the girls’ smoothies but I ended up using avocado oil this time just to keep it simple and smaller in portion size. Melted coconut oil works well too and is extremely nourishing.


Optional Add-Ins

If you have kids that are tough to get probiotics or vitamin C into, this is where you can get a dose of those in easy. My 4 and 6 year olds swallow probiotics and C’s without issue but I know there are some that don’t! You can add a quality probiotic and vitamin C to the smoothie and they’ll never know 😉


 

Post Tummy Bug Recovery Smoothie :: You've made it through a tummy bug, and are ready to eat - but what do you eat on a sensitive empty tummy? This smoothie is not only gentle, but is loaded with minerals and nutrients to nourish your family back to eating again!

5.0 from 5 reviews
Post Flu Recovery Smoothie
Author: 
 
Ingredients
  • 1½ cups coconut water (Other options for mineral boosting fluid would be plain water with a big pinch of sea salt, or brewed nettle tea. The fruit will mask any flavor.)
  • 3-4 TB sweet potato mash (or about ¼ cup cubed and cooked sweet potato - I just used leftover mashed sweet potato from dinner earlier in the week. Squash is gentle and would work too)
  • 1 banana, fresh or frozen
  • 1 cup mango or papaya, fresh or frozen
  • 2-3 TB grassfed cold soluble collagen
  • 2 tsp avocado oil or melted coconut oil
Instructions
  1. Everything into the blender and blend until smooth. Serves 3 small child sized servings. Can also be poured into ice pop molds for popsicles.

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Nettle Infusions For Kids!

January 9, 2016

A kid friendly, hydrating & mineral rich herbal infusion made with busy kids in mind!

Nettle Infusions For Kids!

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.

An almost daily staple in our home, I can’t believe I haven’t posted this nettle infusion recipe before today!

This nourishing nettle infusion stands right alongside bone broth in our home as mineral rich boost for busy bee kids and is one of the first teas I like to introduce to their palates to develop a love for herbal tea.

As little ones, I like to give sips right off my tea cup or glass around 6 to 9 months old. Obviously not a replacement for breastmilk, letting baby take tastes of an infusion like this helps create a taste palate for tea for later in childhood. I can’t tell you how nice it is to have a toddlers that willingly drink a cup of mineral rich tea with their lunch, or sip on a healing herbal tea when ill.

Nettle Infusions For Kids!

But wait!

If you have big kids this is for you too!

Even if you have a big kid or teen that has never had a cup of tea before today, I left instructions on how to slightly tweak the recipe to make it palatable for them. Nettle infusions are a fantastic way to hydrate and boost minerals for kids that are busy with school all day, in sports, or are just busy outdoors playing! It is a great replacement for working on getting juice out of the routine in the house, and a little lemon and raw honey make it taste really good.

Nettle Infusions For Kids!

Those who follow my Instagram account know that I often pack nettle infusions in my first grader’s lunch for school. While the students take a mid morning break for a quick snack that includes water, as I have volunteered in the room I notice just how little the children drink during the morning! You can physically watch some of them start puttering out by lunchtime…including my daughter who gets a very nourishing breakfast every morning. They need a big re-fuel at lunchtime and that includes hydrating.

Nettle Infusions For Kids!

Giving them an extra mineral boost with an herbal infusion works great – and I have seen my own daughter perk right up for the rest of the day after her meal and infusion. (To follow our lunch ideas and routine, you can search the hashtag #rgnschoollunch on Instagram to follow her lunches!)

You don’t need fancy equipment to get started – just the loose herb and a quart mason jar is all I used for years. I have a dedicated French Press that I have been using just for infusions for a couple years now, and I love how convenient they make tea making. No straining or fuss. Just push down and pour. I even have a smaller French Press so that my 2 and 4 year olds can do it themselves!

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.

5.0 from 2 reviews
Nettle Infusions For Kids!
Author: 
 
Ingredients
  • 3 tsp nettles
  • 2 tsp hibiscus
  • 1 quart of hot water
  • Juice of ½ lemon (Optional - leave this out for babies as the acid can be irritating for sensitive digestion)
  • 2 tsp raw honey (This is optional for using for those bigger kids that might need a little sweet to make it more palatable. Leave this out for the babies and toddlers to work at developing their palate for tea without honey. We use a local raw honey - the linked brand is a good one if you don't have access.)
Instructions
  1. Put the loose herbs at the bottom of your mason jar, French Press, or other glass container or teapot.
  2. Pour the hot water over the herbs and let them steep anywhere from a couple hours to overnight. You can steep up to 24 hours if you wish. My routine is to make the infusion at night before I go to bed and then I strain it off in the morning for school lunches and myself so that I can make another infusion for the afternoon that steeps all morning. Do what works for you!
  3. After the infusion has steeped, strain off the herbs and enjoy. You can add a squeeze of lemon (my favorite!) and for the kids new to herbal tea you can drizzle in the raw honey. Just shake up the infusion and honey in a jar and it will dissolve. The hibiscus herb gives a slightly sweet and tart flavor to the bitter nettles so you actually might be surprised at how much they like it without the honey. It is certainly enough with just the hibiscus herb for young palates in babies and toddlers.

For more nourishing staples in our home, you can follow my Nourishing Staples board on Pinterest!

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Nutrient Dense Green Smoothies For Kids!

November 13, 2015

Your one stop tutorial for all things green smoothies for kids! Any flavor and nutrient packed for growing brains and bodies!

Nutrient Dense Green Smoothies For Kids!

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 compensated products for my time and Perfect Supplements is providing the giveaway prize. Please know I never personally recommend any product or service I wouldn’t use on my own family.

Simplicity.

I literally thrive off of it these days. As my kids get bigger the “busy” has changed from the survival mode of the newborn season of life to the “busy” that comes along with one set of kids in school and preschool, and still another in the (very) busy toddler season.

In an effort to streamline healthy, real food meals in my house, I have been working on making sure I’m not, in fact, in the kitchen all day.

I have one kid in school all day that needs certain things packed, another kid in preschool half time that needs snacks packed and quicker morning breakfasts (*not* a morning person that one!), and still another in toddler season that needs all of her meals at home – but gets to tag along on all of the “taxi” driving I do all day.

Especially for my younger two girls, green smoothies have become my staple on certain busier days of the week, as well as my back up when my planned cooking doesn’t happen. Smoothies used to completely intimidate me because of all the various different recipes.

Have you ever been in the presence of a hungry 2 year old?!

“Just a minute” doesn’t work with them. They want something to eat *now*.

Nutrient Dense Green Smoothies For Kids!

I needed a smoothie framework to pull from when it came to smoothies.

I didn’t have time to pull up this flavor or that. I knew the nutrient dense components I always wanted to have included, so I figured out how to make *any* flavor green smoothie with all the same base and use whatever fruit or flavor I have in house or whatever is in season. Simple, right?

So what are my nutrient dense components and why?

Rapidly growing children require nutrient dense food at every meal. Period.

Empty calories or “filler” snacks to “hold them over” until the next meal don’t fly in my book. Even if this smoothie is to be a small snack, my motto of “make every bite count” still is in the back of my mind.


FRIENDLY FAT

Anything from raw milk, kefir, coconut milk, or yogurt for the liquid base of the smoothie along with an additional fatty add-in such as raw pastured egg yolk, coconut oil, or avocado oil. Coconut oil will change the flavor, though my kids like coconut and don’t mind it. Avocado oil is tasteless!


VITAMINS & MINERALS

All of the components from the “friendly fat” category provide vitamins and minerals, but children do benefit from vegetable mineral sources. Lightly steamed greens such as spinach or kale provide a gentle vegetable mineral source. (Lightly cooking the greens takes the oxalate level down. Greens should be eaten with friendly fat for better digestion and vitamin absorption which is covered in the friendly fat portion of the smoothie). You can keep a container of steamed greens in the fridge, or use blanched/frozen greens to make smoothie prep run quick.


QUALITY PROTEIN

Anything from a scoop of nut butter to a pastured egg yolk counts, though I am a huge fan of using grassfed collagen in my smoothies. It is a simple, real food protein source that I can get into my kids that doesn’t make the taste change, and it doesn’t compromise my real food standards like other protein powders would. I love and use Perfect Supplements grassfed collagen in my house. It provides a great protein source, is tasteless, and collagen is also great for gut lining integrity just like bone broth! Win win!


From there you can flavor your smoothie however you want!

We U-Pick seasonal fruit every summer from berries to peaches that I keep in the freezer, and when that runs out I rely on the organic frozen fruit at Costco. We also love to occasionally make vanilla or raw cacao smoothies like a milk shake! I also keep a bag of frozen bananas – you know the ones that start going too ripe before you can eat them off the counter? Yep! Just peel them, toss them into a freezer bag, and use them when you want!

Nutrient Dense Green Smoothies For Kids!

This is the serving that I make for my 3 girls, ages 6, 4, and 2 to split. You can half if making for less servings, or double if you are making it for older kids with bigger appetites.

5.0 from 6 reviews
Nutrient Dense Green Smoothies For Kids!
Author: 
 
Ingredients
  • 2 cups whole raw milk, kefir, yogurt, or coconut milk
  • 2 cups frozen fruit (If the kids will need it on the sweeter side, be sure part of this is a frozen banana)
  • ⅓ cup or so steamed spinach or kale
  • 2 TB grassfed cold soluble collagen
  • 3 pastured egg yolks OR 1½ TB avocado oil or melted coconut oil
  • 1-2 tbsp raw honey (If you have a baby under age 1 that will be sipping on this, use pure maple syrup or just leave it out - trust me, their young palates won't miss it!)
Instructions
  1. Everything in your blender, puree until smooth, and serve. After using a regular blender for years, I do want to mention that there is a huge difference in smoothness using a high powered blender like a BlendTec or Vitamix - they are a great investment to put on your birthday or holiday wishlist!

A couple of tips!

  • Try a straw with the little ones like baby and toddler, and if they aren’t quite catching on yet, you can serve it with a spoon or medicine syringe – our local pharmacy gives out nice big medicine syringes for free! I love our shorter, stainless steel straws that are perfect for smaller cups, and these re-useable straws have fun patterns.
  • I tend to keep any smoothies for my babies from 6-18 months mostly mango/papaya and banana. Raw berries, apples, cherries, and peaches that are typical fruit for smoothies have high pectin which can be tough on young digestive systems (which is why these fruits are recommended to be cooked for babies). Mango, papaya, and bananas don’t have the high pectin so they work well. I get organic frozen mango at Costco.
  • Serving cup suggestions. I have just plain not gotten into plastic cups. It might be the Montessori momma in me but you would be surprised at how a young baby/toddler can use a regular/glass open cup. I adore my small, small, 8oz jelly jars from Ball to use for all drinking – they are for canning jelly but they are the perfect size for little hands and great serving size for small smoothies. My big girls drink from pint mason jars.
  • To make a raw cacao milkshake smoothie, instead of the 2 cups of fruit, use 1 or 2 whole frozen banana (or more if they are small) along with a 2-3 tablespoons of raw cacao – which is loaded with antioxidants and minerals by the way!
  • To make a vanilla milkshake smoothie, instead of the 2 cups of fruit, use 1 or 2 whole frozen banana (or more if they are small) along with 1 1/2  tablespoons of vanilla extract.
  • Freeze leftovers in small popsicle molds or little paper cups with a straw or popsicle stick for a great snack or teething aide.

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Nutrient Dense Green Smoothies For Kids!


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Crispy Plantain Crackers :: Great for toddlers, kids, and adults! Gluten, Egg, Nut, & Dairy Free!

September 26, 2015

The perfect crispy bite sized crackers for little hands! Perfect for crumbling in a bowl of soup, or stacking with some cheese for snacktime!

Crispy Plantain Crackers :: Great for toddlers, kids, and adults! Gluten, Egg, Nut, & Dairy Free!Two year olds.

Need I say more?

Well I probably should because mentioning the world of a 2 year old can mean so many different things. Random household objects scattered in the strangest places of the home. Meltdowns over “broken” bananas. Complete and utter joy over noticing a butterfly…

But today we are going to talk about 2 year olds and eating. Age 2 can be a tough age in the meal world. Some because I think our expectations for what a meal should be at this age are unrealistic. While 2 year olds still need nutrient dense food choices, their appetites do drop off a little at this age. They just plain don’t need as much as what you probably would expect they would – at least not every day. Two year olds will eat like a teenage boy one day and the next have no more than a cup of milk and a banana and be perfectly fine.

Crispy Plantain Crackers :: Great for toddlers, kids, and adults! Gluten, Egg, Nut, & Dairy Free!Two year olds are also B.U.S.Y. 🙂 Expecting a 2 year old to sit for a full meal to your standards just might not be realistic until they are closer to age 3 or 4 in my experience. So my experience has been smaller, more frequent meals just work better at this busy age.

My goal is always – make every bite count.

If my two year olds are going to eat 5-6 times per day, I’m going to make sure most of those are “mini meals”. Instead of snacking toddlers on empty calories of fishy crackers and the little O’s cereal, you are going to find these little guys will do better eating some friendly fats with a little bit of carbohydrate. Their blood sugars will be more stable making less volatile little people, they will be satiated longer, and their brain and growing bodies will be nourished to grow.

One of my go-to on the go “mini meals” for my 2 year old who has to sit in the car for a loooong time during drop offs for my elementary school kiddo and my preschooler, are these plantain crackers with some sort of fat – sometimes raw cheese or butter, sometimes chunks of avocado, other times some olives. The point is, it is a quick “mini meal” that I can throw in a little cup or bowl that my 2 year old can handle herself while in the car for these taxi driving trips to drop off or pick up her sisters.

Crispy Plantain Crackers :: Great for toddlers, kids, and adults! Gluten, Egg, Nut, & Dairy Free!And bonus! The big kids love them too.

A quick handful into my 1st grader’s lunchbox (See my Instagram hashtagging #rgnschoollunches to see how I pack them!), or into a little container with a hard boiled egg for my 4 year old’s preschool snack, and that is as quick as it gets!

I have been working on these plantain crackers for… a while. My problem was always an end result that was soggy or chewy instead of crispy like a cracker. How did I master the cooking method? Go figure…by accident!

Crispy Plantain Crackers :: Great for toddlers, kids, and adults! Gluten, Egg, Nut, & Dairy Free!One day, my 2 year old was having a particularly “2 year old day” and getting her ready to leave for school pick up took longer than expected. I had some plantain crackers in the oven for a while, and before we left for school pick up I turned off the oven, and just left the crackers in there because I knew they didn’t look “done” yet. When we got home a half hour later, they were perfectly crisp and NOT over cooked! It was like that extra time in the oven with the heat turned off almost dehydrated them the rest of the way. I have been making them this way over the last month to test my theory out and they have come out perfect every time!

Crispy Plantain Crackers :: Great for toddlers, kids, and adults! Gluten, Egg, Nut, & Dairy Free!I am so excited to share this recipe with you! I hope your little 2 year old treasures enjoy them 😉

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.

5.0 from 1 reviews
Crispy Plantain Crackers :: Great for toddlers, kids, and adults! Gluten, Egg, Nut, & Dairy Free!
Author: 
 
Ingredients
  • 3 large plantains (If your plantains are smaller use 4. My plantains have been yellow using this recipe - I think if you use green plantains you will need more moisture somewhere in the recipe - either some water or more plantain.)
  • 1 cup potato starch
  • ½ cup avocado oil
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1 tsp each of onion and garlic powders (Optional)
  • Sea salt to sprinkle the top of the crackers
Instructions
  1. Everything into your food processor and blend until smooth. You will have to scrape down the sides once or twice.
  2. Spread the batter onto 2 large jellyroll pans that are lined with Silpat or parchment paper (I have tested both liners and both work). Spread it as thin as you can - this is really important so that they cook even and don't come out soft/chewy. Pay attention to the middle making sure there isn't too much there - push the batter all the way to the edges. It spreads easily with a spatula. Sometimes if my bananas are on the bigger side and I have too much batter I will get a third sheet out - you just want to make the batter on the sheets thin. You can see the thickness in the crackers on my images in this post.
  3. Bake in a 300 degree oven for 10 minutes and then use a pizza roller or a butter knife to score the sheets into cracker shapes.
  4. Put the sheets back in the oven and bake another 30-40 minutes at 300 degrees. If you see any browning around the edges move to the next step.
  5. Turn the oven OFF while keeping the sheets of crackers IN the oven to dehydrate the rest of the way about 20-30 minutes minimum. I have left them in there for an hour or so if I am out and about running errands without any issues or burning because the oven is off.
  6. Let the crackers cool a few minutes before handling - they crisp up even more after they cool. Store the crackers in an airtight container and eat within 2 weeks.

For more real food snack ideas, you can check out my Snack Ideas board on Pinterest!

More real food recipes you might like:

Tuna Salad For All Ages

Energy Bars

Guacamole

Fresh Tomato Soup

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Antioxidant Rich Berry Gummies

Antioxidant Rich Berry Gummies

 

Feeding Babies Lunch Ideas Real Food 101 Real Food Tips School Holidays school lunches Snack Ideas Summer Picnic Series

Antioxidant Rich Berry Gummies

May 9, 2015

Antioxidant Rich Berry GummiesI cannot even wait for warmer weather to *finally* be (consistently) here! My goodness do we have a long winter – but, you guys…we have the best summer. I’m talking warm but not too warm, and on the hot days the amazing waters of Lake Michigan are right down the road to you cool you off with the world’s best kept secret in beautiful beach sand to relax in. Antioxidant Rich Berry GummiesAs much as I like to keep summer popsicles in the freezer for lazy summer days at home, we are actually on the go to the beach or park quite a bit during the summer. These berry gummies come in handy for a quick pick me up for the girls and an extra protein boost. They make for a pretty special treat in their eyes as well! One of my feeding mottos for kids is to make every bite count. I’m not a huge fan of empty calories, or just giving kids something to “hold them over” until lunch. They are on the grow all the time even through the teenage years, so I want every bite they take to count toward that. And especially in the little ones like toddlers, who don’t take in a whole lot of food volume in the first place – I am not about to snack them on a bag of fruit snacks with zero nutrient value. Antioxidant Rich Berry GummiesThese gummies are not only packed with protein rich grassfed gelatin, but my choice of fruit has a purpose too. Berries are loaded with antioxidants to protect and repair in the body. And since they have amazing flavor they is really no need for extra sweetening. Many days grabbing a hand full of berries and a slice of raw cheese or crispy nuts to bring to the park for a snack is my choice, but as my kids get older and see their peers with fun snacks in colorful bags, its been nice to have something like this to bring a smile to their face. They also make for great classroom birthday treats. We definitely do up fun birthday ice cream and special birthday cakes at home to celebrate, but I don’t think cupcakes need to be consumed both at their party and in the classroom (that usually happen within the same week!). These have been popular with my little girls’ classes so far (yes I realize they are young yet – we will take one year at a time to see if it goes over as well as they get older!) Antioxidant Rich Berry GummiesProduct 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.

A couple notes on the molds for the gummies! I really like the silicone molds that are firm to give a good hold, but also flexible enough that I can push out the gummies easily without them sticking, by popping the mold “inside out”. I have been using mine for years now and they have held up very well! I obviously have a house full of girls so I have a couple sheets of these flower molds and these bunny molds (which are great for celebrating Easter too!). But I am actually thinking about getting some of these plain circle molds, and these square molds since I’m thinking my nephews might prefer those to eat when they come visit! I thought these lego molds were pretty cool too! And I’m pretty sure even my girls would love these dinosaur molds and robot molds! The molds are a fun investment that you can use for everything from these gummies, to ice cube trays!

5.0 from 10 reviews
Antioxidant Rich Berry Gummies
Author: 
 
Ingredients
  • 3 cups frozen organic mixed berries (I get the big bags of frozen organic at Costco. Since berries are a heavily pesticided crop I would opt for organic.)
  • ¼ cup water
  • Optional ¼ cup raw honey (My kids are used to just the fruit, but if I am making these for other kids that might be used to sweeter food then I add it. If you have little ones I would leave it out and keep their palates used to just the fruit)
  • ¼ cup warm soluable grassfed gelatin
Instructions
  1. Put the berries and mwater in a small sauce pan and bring to a simmer. Stir for a few minutes while everything melts and warms.
  2. Turn off the heat and add the raw honey. Stir to combine/melt.
  3. Put the warmed berry mixture in a food processor or blender, add the gelatin, and blend completely.
  4. Pour into your silicone molds (this amount fills about 48 slots in my molds) and refrigerate. I like to stick them in the freezer to make this part go faster – only takes about 15 minutes or so! The firmer, almost frozen gummies pop out of the molds nicer/easier too!
  5. After the mixture gels up, you can pop out the gummies – I just push the silicone mold “inside-out” – works great!
  6. Store your gummies in the fridge. They keep fine in the lunchbox without an ice pack though!

For more nourishing snack ideas check out my Snacks board on Pintrest!

More real food you might like:

5 Nourishing Summertime Popsicles

COVER Granola Bars

landscape bars Tropical Blender Sorbet

Tropical Blender Sorbet :: Refined Sugar Free & Dairy Free Energy Bars

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Dinner Ideas Feeding Babies Lunch Ideas Nourishing Staples Real Food Tips

The Best Way To Spirilize & Cook Sweet Potatoes!

April 19, 2015

The Best Way To Spirilize & Cook Sweet Potatoes!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! Has the spirilizer craze hit your house yet??

When my oldest was a toddler about 4 years ago, I started using a julienne peeler to make veggies smaller and easier for her to chew and handle. I quickly learned how easy it was to make “noodles” out of just about any vegetable, and through the years my kids have really loved them!

Last year I saved for a spirilizer to make the veggie noodle thing a little more stream lined…and last summer my new spirilizer was on my counter in almost daily use!

Spirilized potatoes make great curly fries (you can use my homemade potato chips method to make them so yummy!), and getting zucchini and summer squash in there makes for great pasta salad or spaghetti night!

Since I spirilize and cook sweet potatoes a little differently than all the rest, I figured it deserved a post all on its own!

The Best Way To Spirilize & Cook Sweet Potatoes!When spirilizing sweet potatoes, I don’t use the lever arm to push it through – sweet potatoes are too hard and it just doesn’t work well. I just hook it onto the blade and turn the sweet potato with my hand like turning a door knob.

I have also found that sweet potatoes get to mushy and fall apart when you cook them in the pan – especially if you are cooking them with a bunch of other veggies, seasonings, and oil/butter. One day I decided to try a quick roast on them to see if they would come out less soggy, and it really worked great!

The Best Way To Spirilize & Cook Sweet Potatoes!Sweet potato noodles work great at lunch or dinner! I pile up stir fried veggies up on top – you can add some meat or a fried egg too! Don’t forget about the little ones! Sweet potato noodles were my kiddo’s first “spaghetti” tossed with butter and sea salt! It makes a great first food finger food!

5.0 from 2 reviews
The Best Way To Spirilize & Cook Sweet Potatoes!
Author: 
 
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. Put your spirilized sweet potatoes on a large baking sheet , and toss with the oil and sea salt. If you are making more you can split them up between 2 baking sheets.
  2. Roast at 400 degrees for 10 minutes. This will leave them with a little “bite” like a noodle – if you want them softer you can go longer. If you want to crisp them up you can set them under the broiler on high for a few minutes.

Let me know how the sweet potato spirilizing goes!
For more household nourishing staple ideas you can check out my Nourishing Staples board on Pintrest!

Dinner Ideas Feeding Babies Lunch Ideas Real Food Tips school lunches

Tuna Salad For All Ages!

March 29, 2015

Tuna Salad For All Ages!
Tuna salad is on my lunch or dinner menu at least once a week. It’s a great way to get fatty fish into the girls’ diet without a lot of fuss – and they love it! (Read this post and this post about how tuna is a nourishing food to consume, and as long as the tuna is wild caught it is a safe food to consume too!)

I’ll be honest…this last year of balancing my first kindergartener, plus a preschooler and a baby has thrown my game off a little! Playing taxi driver, maid, cook, and playmate is a lot of work!

Don’t get me wrong, I don’t take it for granted, and I love every minute! But a lot of times 11:00am rolls around and I haven’t even cleaned up from breakfast, let alone thought of what’s for lunch for these bottomless pits!

Tuna Salad For All Ages!
I’ve learned how to plan ahead a little bit more, and it helps that typically whatever I make my little girls for lunch ends up in my kindergartener’s lunchbox for the next day. It makes life run smoother with less thought 😉

I can get this tuna salad put together in less than 10 minutes – which is priceless on a day of endless diaper changes, cups of spilled milk, and kindergarten stories to listen to.

Tuna Salad For All Ages!
Serving possibilities are endless! Pile it on top of tomato and cucumber rounds, scoop it into bell pepper boats, dip crackers in it, or wrap it up in a rice wrap! It also mixes up into a big bowl of lettuce for a salad nice! If you have littler ones, you can just feed it off a spoon or put chunks of it on their plate to finger food. My girls enjoyed this tuna salad from about 9 months old (sans the nuts before they were 1 year).

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.

Just a quick note on the tuna! Just be sure you are sourcing well! We like to use Wild Planet Tunathat we can get from Costco – if you don’t have access there, you can get it HERE!

5.0 from 1 reviews
Tuna Salad For All Ages!
Author: 
 
Ingredients
  • 3 cans wild caught tuna, drained
  • ½ small/medium apple, quartered
  • 2 stalks celery, quartered
  • 2 medium carrots, quartered
  • ½ cup crispy nuts (almonds, pecans – whatever you have! If you are nut free you can use any seed of your choice or just leave them out!)
  • ½ cup – 1 cup mayonnaise (Amount depending on how you like the consistency of your tuna salad. Homemade preferable to avoid toxic oils/preservatives in store bought – my 5 minute mayo is SO yummy!)
  • Sea salt/pepper to taste
Instructions
  1. Put the apple, celery, carrot, and almonds into your food processor and pulse into a medium chop. (If you don't have a food processor just chop the veggies and crush the nuts.)
  2. Add the tuna and mayo and blend to combine – if you want a full puree go for it! (That works well if you are feeding smaller toddlers). If you are looking for a chunkier consistency just pulse to combine. Add more mayo if you wish. (If you don't have a food processor, just use a fork to mash in the tuna and mayo to mix and combine.)
  3. Sea salt/pepper to taste, and serve in lettuce cups, tomato or cucumber rounds, as a dip for crackers, or in a rice wrap!

This batch makes quite a bit – usually a couple lunches or dinners worth for my family of 5. Go ahead and half it if you need less!

You can follow my Lunches board on Pintrest for more lunch ideas!

Keep me posted how the kids like the tuna salad!

Dinner Ideas Feeding Babies Lunch Ideas Real Food Tips Snack Ideas

Parmesan Baked Zucchini Spears

March 29, 2015

Parmesan Baked Zucchini Spears
A couple weeks ago, one of the #toddlerlunches on my Instagram showed some baked zucchini spears that the girls were having with lunch…and I think just about everyone commented or inboxed me how to make them…ask and you shall receive 🙂

I never thought to post them before because they seem so simple – but isn’t that what this is all about? I really want to show you that you really *can* feed real food to kids in the “real world”. As in…simple. As in…busy schedules and not a lot of time to prep lunch.

Parmesan Baked Zucchini Spears
I’m not a fancy chef. I have zero culinary background! But I have figured out some ways to not only make real food just as fun as the processed stuff some kids are used to…but also make it taste amazing!

These literally take about 5 minutes to prep and a little over 15 minutes in the oven – just as fast as making a box of mac n cheese for lunch! It’s a great way to get some extra veg in the kids for lunchtime, and it makes a great side to grassfed burgers for dinner!

Parmesan Baked Zucchini Spears

5.0 from 1 reviews
Parmesan Baked Zucchini Spears
Author: 
 
Ingredients
  • 5 small zucchini, sliced long into spears (smaller ones work better for this way of cooking than the big fat ones)
  • 2 TB avocado oil (or melted butter or coconut oil)
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • ½ tsp pepper
  • ¼ cup or so grated parmesan cheese for the top (you can leave this out if you are dairy free!)
Instructions
  1. Put the zucchini on a baking sheet and toss them with everything but the cheese to coat them well.
  2. Line up the zucchini so the flesh is facing up, and sprinkle with the parmesan cheese.
  3. Bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes, and then under the broiler on high for another 3-5 minutes. Just watch them under the broiler after a few minutes so they don’t get too brown.

See! I told you! Simple!

Don’t forget the babes too! My 9 month old was grabbing away at these last summer and inhales them at almost 19 months now!

You can follow my Lunches board on Pintrest for more Lunch inspiration!

Keep me posted how the kiddos like them!

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

Asparagus Soup

March 22, 2015

Asparagus Soup
Happy first week of spring!

I can hardly wait to get my hands on some fresh Michigan asparagus! It will be another month yet until we see local asparagus, but it is popping up at our markets from warmer locations, and after a long season of squash and winter greens…we are longing for some fresh spring produce!

Asparagus Soup
Slightly sweet from the natural slow cooking, the smooth, creamy texture is perfect for little ones! My girls all enjoyed asparagus soup around 6-9 months or so! It’s a great way to get bone broth in, and start forming that taste palate to accept a great variety of veggies!

Asparagus Soup
Toward the end of asparagus season when you can get great farmer’s market deals on bundles of 10 pounds, you can triple up this soup and store it away in the freezer. It is so fun to pull out a quart of asparagus soup around November to remind you of spring.

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.

5.0 from 3 reviews
Asparagus Soup
Author: 
 
Ingredients
  • ¼ cup friendly fat to cook in (butter, coconut oil, lard)
  • 2 onions, coarsely chopped
  • 3 cloves of garlic, coarsely chopped
  • 1 ½ - 2 quarts chicken bone broth (depending on how you want your soup consistency to be)
  • 4-5 small/medium potatoes, coarsely chopped
  • 2 bunches asparagus, hard ends discarded, coarsely chopped
  • ⅛ tsp cayenne pepper (optional but a little heat is so good!)
  • Sea salt/pepper to taste
  • Garnish with sour cream or a splash of coconut milk (optional)
Instructions
  1. Saute the onions in the friendly fat over medium high heat for about 5-10 minutes with a couple pinches of salt to bring out their juices and sweeten.
  2. Add the garlic and cook for a minute.
  3. Add the broth, potatoes, and asparagus and bring to a boil.
  4. Reduce to a simmer for 10-15 minutes or until the asparagus and potatoes are cooked through.
  5. Use an immersion blender or regular blender to puree the soup smooth. Add the cayenne and salt/pepper to taste.
  6. Garnish with sour cream or coconut milk if you wish.
  7. This makes about 3 quarts of soup - Packs up great in the school lunch thermos or travel CrockPot too!

 

Breakfast Ideas Feeding Babies Lunch Ideas Real Food 101 Real Food Tips school lunches Snack Ideas

Homemade DIY Coconut Yogurt :: 3 Ingredients, No Cooking, & A Great Probiotic Rich Dairy Free Alternative!

February 22, 2015

Coconut Yogurt :: 3 Ingredients, No Cooking, & A Great Probiotic Rich Dairy Free Alternative!
Coconut yogurt?!

Why, when I have access to beautiful raw milk weekly, do I still make coconut yogurt??

We love (love!) our raw milk share, but from the months of January until May our milk supply is lower so there just isn’t enough to go around. It is a great time to give our guts a little bit of a dairy break (although we still enjoy the gallon that we do get every week!), and rotate some food around.

I have made many (many!) coconut yogurt attempts. I say attempts because many of them were fails that landed themselves in the next morning’s smoothie mix up. There is just no way I can afford to buy the coconut milk yogurt on store shelves, so if we wanted to have that tangy, creamy goodness with our breakfast granola, or lunch smoothie, I was going to have to figure out how to make it myself.

Coconut Yogurt :: 3 Ingredients, No Cooking, & A Great Probiotic Rich Dairy Free Alternative!
Not only are the store bought coconut yogurts super pricey, but they all have added sugar – a LOT of added sugar. They also have some questionable gums/fillers that I don’t want to be giving my family over and over again on a weekly basis.

This coconut yogurt has a nice, tang and a great creamy consistency. You can play around with the amount of time the yogurt cultures for more or less “tang”, and you can play around with the gelatin amount to make it the consistency you like! It is pretty forgiving, and super fast to put together.

Coconut Yogurt :: 3 Ingredients, No Cooking, & A Great Probiotic Rich Dairy Free Alternative!
While the yogurt does end up tasting like coconut (which doesn’t bother my girls, but I don’t really care for), you can dress up your yogurt to taste how you want! Get some raw honey or pure maple syrup in there especially if your children are used to sweetened yogurts. Get some fruit puree down at the bottom of their cup of yogurt for them to stir in like fruit on the bottom yogurt. Use some granola to give it some crunch!

Coconut Yogurt :: 3 Ingredients, No Cooking, & A Great Probiotic Rich Dairy Free Alternative!
Also! Don’t forget the babes! This is a great first food yogurt for baby to try if you don’t have access to raw dairy and/or your baby doesn’t tolerate dairy. Even though my girls tolerate raw dairy just fine, I do introduce the coconut milk and coconut yogurt as babies so they get used to the taste. And as the kids get older they will love having it packed in their lunchboxes with fruit on the bottom or granola to add in!

One quick note before we get to the recipe! If you choose to use canned coconut milk, you probably won’t need/won’t want to use the same amount of gelatin as the thickener since canned coconut milk has added gum to thicken it already. Also – I have only done the coconut yogurt with the probiotic powder that I will link in the recipe – I’m sure other powders would work, but be mindful I’m not sure how the amounts will compare. The one I choose to use is a quality, pharmaceutical grade powder that my chiropractor recommends.

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.

5.0 from 7 reviews
Homemade DIY Coconut Yogurt :: 3 Ingredients, No Cooking, & A Great Probiotic Rich Dairy Free Alternative!
Author: 
 
Ingredients
  • 1 ½ cups full fat coconut milk
  • ½ tsp quality probiotic powder
  • 1 tsp grassfed gelatin (If you want it more like a “kefir” consistency (thinner), than you can use half the amount. You could also make the consistency a thicker/pudding/custard like consistency with more gelatin. Do NOT use the cold soluble gelatin – it will not work for this project!)
Instructions
  1. Stir the probiotic powder and gelatin into the coconut milk and put a lid on the container (I use a pint mason jar which fits this amount perfectly.
  2. Place the jar under the light in your oven (withOUT the stove on) overnight or 8-12 hours. You can taste for "tang" and if you want more you can go up to 24 hours under the light.
  3. Shake up the jar and place it in the fridge for 2 hours to finish the culturing and thicken the yogurt.