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Paleo Wild Caught Salmon Burgers With Dairy Free Garlic Aioli

September 30, 2017

Enjoy these light and flaky, Paleo wild caught salmon burgers with creamy dairy free garlic aioli for a fuss free dinner prep perfect for any weeknight!

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. 

Salmon…a household baby favorite!

Years ago, when my older girls were really little, I started making little salmon “cakes” or “patties” – whatever you like to call them! It mostly started because I did not grow up eating fish, and I needed a way that I could…get it down! My babies were completely obsessed with fish, and making salmon cakes was one of the ways I was able to mold my adult palate toward the fish.

You can see my special, nutrient filled ways to introduce baby to wild caught fish in my cookbook, Nourished Beginnings! I truly believe that starting my little ones out with little bits of wild caught salmon while they were young paved the way for their love of fish!

A much needed trip, and a fresh idea!

This summer, my husband and I got away one day {without kids!}, and enjoyed some time to savor each other’s company, shopping…and good food! The trip itself was refreshing, but one particular meal at Fish Lad’s, a fish monger dedicated to wild caught, sustainable fishing methods, had me absolutely over the moon with joy. With each amazing, dilly, juicy bite of their delicious wild caught salmon burger, a new idea on how to make salmon “patties” was realized!

It’s all about the texture

I was never really able to nail down what was missing from every other salmon “cake” or “patty” recipe I tried, until that day. With every bite I remember thinking “this is so light and airy, and yet so hearty, and meaty…and satisfying. It didn’t feel like a dense, egg-y, fish patty. It also didn’t taste like a salmon meatloaf stuffed with breadcrumbs.

Salmon worthy of the name…burger!

Not that there is anything wrong with those typical salmon patty textures, but this salmon…THIS felt like the texture of a burger. I could see tiny flakes of salmon with each airy, juicy bite, and it hit me.

They hand chopped this fish. And it was fresh fish.

You see, most salmon cake recipes used pureed fresh fish, or canned fish. Since fish is SO delicate, it turns into a paste when you puree it, so you add an egg or two to bind it all up, some breadcrumbs to soak up all the moisture, and you get a beautiful salmon “meatloaf” type texture. It works…but this salmon burger texture was nothing short of amazing. And I’m here to tell you it is absolutely worthy of the “burger” name.

My first try…

My first few attempts at my new salmon burger approach this summer had my kiddos absolutely in love, and I was completely sold on this new approach. Instead of pureeing the fish to oblivion, I hand chopped it. I bought a whole wild salmon, skinned it, cubed it…and then ran a chopping knife through it. The result was the texture of what you would be used to feeling with beef hamburger – little small bits of meat.

I was so nervous to see if it would stick together without an egg. But if we make hamburgers without a binder, shouldn’t this stick together too? This chopped salmon texture really does, and it is as fast prep as making hamburgers too, which is SO nice for a quick Friday night dinner.

Because a burger this special deserves a special sauce!

I have been able to nail down my seasoning ratios on the salmon burgers in my last few attempts, as well a brand new aioli topping that everyone will love! The aioli is a dilly, creamy, garlicky dream, and it just puts these burgers over the top – just like the aioli I had on my salmon burger at Fish Lads! It will make your Friday night in feel so special, and because it is loaded with friendly fats and healthy ingredients, you can feel free to pile it up high.

Of course, just like any burger, these salmon burgers are really a blank slate!

Change up the seasonings to your style, and enjoy! You can make them Asian style, or give it some heat with cayenne or flavorful chipotle (this is my favorite way of detailing my specific burger!), use Italian seasoning – whatever suits you! We served the burgers this night with roasted sweet potatoes, but you can change that up too! Homemade restaurant style french fries are always a hit too!

Supporting local…and some thoughts on fish quality

I can tell you that I am 100% sure that Fish Lads’ salmon burgers will be my staple order whenever I’m in Grand Rapids, but I’m so glad I can replicate their masterpiece even by a little at home! If you are newer to adding fresh fish to your household menu, know that the quality does matter. Wild caught fish is superior not only in taste, but in nutrition. If the salmon isn’t that super bright pinkish red flesh, it is farmed and not as good in quality.

Thankfully wild caught Alaskan salmon can be found so much easier these days. Even places like Costco carry fresh, wild caught salmon in the freezer section of their store! Look up your local fish mongers. The demand for quality has risen as  more and more people become aware of the importance of fish being wild caught. Ask the fish mongers questions – my findings have been that these people love what they do, and they want to tell you about their skill!

Onto the salmon burgers!

5.0 from 15 reviews
Paleo Wild Caught Salmon Burgers With Dairy Free Garlic Aioli
Author: 
 
Ingredients
  • FOR THE SALMON BURGERS ::
  • 1 - 1¼ lbs fresh wild caught salmon
  • 1 tbsp dried parsley
  • 1 tsp dried dill
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • ¼ tsp black pepper
  • ¼ cup friendly fat to cook in such as avocado oil, coconut oil, butter, tallow, etc.
  • 3-4 tbsp potato starch to dredge (optional but gives amazing aroma, flavor, and crispy seared texture. If you tolerate white rice flour, that has the same effect.)
  • FOR THE GARLIC AIOLI ::
  • 1 small avocado, pitted
  • 2 tbsp avocado oil or olive oil (I used a garlic infused olive oil which was even more amazing!)
  • Juice of ½ lemon
  • 2 cloves of garlic (if you don’t care for the “heat” of raw garlic, you can use 2 tsp of powdered garlic)
  • 1 tsp mustard
  • 1 tsp dill
  • ¼ - ½ tsp sea salt per your taste
  • ¼ tsp black pepper or more to your taste
Instructions
  1. Skin and cube up your salmon. Then run a chopping knife through the cubed salmon until the bits are small but not to a puree. The texture should resemble that of ground beef.
  2. Combine the chopped salmon and salmon burger seasonings in a medium mixing bowl. Place in the fridge while you prepare the aioli.
  3. To make the aioli, put all of the aioli ingredients into a pint mason jar, and blend with an immersion blender. If you don't have an immersion blender, you can blend everything except the oil with your food processor, and then drizzle the oil in slowly while it blends. Set the aioli aside in the fridge while you cook the salmon burgers.
  4. Heat a skillet with your friendly cooking fat of choice over medium-high heat while you form your salmon burgers.
  5. Divide the salmon mixture into the sized burgers you want, and form burger patties with your hands. This takes just a little bit of time, but it is worth working the patties gently so they come together and aren't too overworked.
  6. Dust the salmon burgers on both sides in a small bowl of potato starch. Place the potato starch dusted salmon burgers into the hot oil, and cook over medium to medium-high heat for 5 minutes. Flip the burgers and cook another 3-5 minutes, until both sides are golden brown, crispy on the outside, and cooked on the inside. If you make smaller salmon burgers your cook time will be shorter - this cook time was for 1 pound of salmon formed into 4 burgers.

Make sure to check out my cookbook, Nourished Beginnings for safe recipes to introduce your baby to wild caught fish – create that broad taste palate for enjoying fish, and they will be enjoying salmon burgers with the family as they grow toddlers!

More real food recipes you might like:

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Paleo Plátanos Calados :: Stewed Spiced Ripe Plantains

August 23, 2017

Plátanos Calados are a creamy and sweet fall spiced glazed plantain treat that everyone in the family will love!

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

September is approaching, and fall is right around the corner!

We are moving into full blown back to school mode! My older 2 girls are getting antsy to get back to their friends and the daily routine of the classroom, and my youngest is beyond ready for her preschool year! With the anticipation of getting back into the classroom, my oldest 2 were having a particularly “bored” day, and I decided to have a little “school” here at home…

A little taste of Latin American culture

My little Montessorians are used to studying world maps all the time in school, and they were thrilled at the chance to learn more about a unique part of the world we call Latin America! My dear friend, Amanda, from The Curious Coconut just happened to send us her brand new cookbook, Latin American Paleo Cooking that week, and it was the perfect opportunity for the girls to brush up on their map skills, as well as learn about a unique, and very special culture.

A whole new cookbook experience!

I was prepared for Latin American Paleo Cooking to have super fun, gorgeous recipes knowing Amanda (which it totally does!), but what I wasn’t anticipating was the added cultural learning I was going to glean from the cookbook – and that dear friends, is priceless.

My older girls poured over the delicious recipes “ooo-ing” and “ahhh-ing” over the stewed meats, pretty folded little empanadas, and of course luscious sweet treats. My oldest noticed the flags with each recipe indicating what country in Latin America the recipes were from, and was soon glued to the computer maps trying to find the countries. We talked about the people from these countries, their heritage, what the weather is like in these tropical regions, as well as what kind of food grows there. It was a great learning opportunity!

Latin American Paleo Cooking Features and Stats!

Here’s the low down on this amazing book!

  • The cookbook has over 80 traditional recipes made Paleo and as authentic as possible, with over 90% being AIP or easily adaptable
  • All recipes are gluten-free, dairy-free, nut-free; all but 1 are egg-free. 2 recipes use white rice BUT there are grain-free options for both of those.
  • The countries represented include: Puerto Rico, Cuba, Venezuela, Colombia, Peru, Argentina, El Salvador, Dominican Republic, and Brazil, each marked with that country’s flag for easy reference. Some recipes are so ubiquitous that they cannot be attributed to a single country, and are designated as pan-Latin.
  • Platos de la Familia (Family Dinners) includes recipes meant to feed a crowd, and many of these recipes are great for batch cooking.
  • Comida Fiesta! (Party Food!) includes Paleo versions of Latin recipes that people get ridiculously excited about, like pupusas, pandebono (“cheese” buns), empanadas, arepas, plantain sandwiches, and more.
  • Rapido y Facil (Quick and Easy) includes recipes that are, like the name says, quick and easy to prepare. Some are still great for batch cooking, too, extra bonus!
  • Accompañantes (Sides) includes many ways to enjoy tropical starches like yuca, malanga, boniato, and plantains PLUS both a starchy and non-starchy rice replacement AND starchy and non-starchy BEANS replacement!
  • Un Poco Dulce (A Little Sweet) is a short but delicious desserts chapter
  • Lo Esencials (The Essentials) includes cooking bases, sauces, marinades, condiments, broths, and more, which are used throughout the book and can be the launching point for readers to get creative with numerous uses! Of note is the QUESO BLANCO recipe that is unlike any other “cheese” recipe I have seen in the Paleo/AIP community. It melts and stretches like mozzarella!
  • While over 80 recipes are written, this book comes with numerous suggestions and options to create dozens of other recipes using different combinations of meats/fillings/breads/pastry shells/condiments/marinades. It is written to empower the reader to try new combinations!

Fall spices meet tropical fruit!

One of the recipes the girls kept coming back to was the stewed and spiced Plátanos Calados, meaning “drenched/soaked plantains.” This recipe originates in Colombia, and showcases sweet plantains glazed in warm and sweet spices we typically associate with the fall. Think pumpkin spice meets caramelized bananas…it is truly a match made in heaven.

A word about adventurous taste palates…and some veteran momma wisdom

Those of you who have been around here long enough know that I am a huge fan of exposing kids to the tastes of YOUR unique home. As far as our house goes at least, there is no such thing as “kid food” and “adult food” – all food is kid food. It’s family food. Starting these kiddos out young with the tastes and flavors of your home, and different cultures sets them up to be excited about trying new food. Those kids will never bat an eye at new things on their plate when they have been given the opportunity to have a wide variety of flavors and textures instead of being boxed into just “kid food.”

So while this recipe certainly is super fun (who doesn’t love sweet, creamy glazed fruit?!), there are other recipes in this book that I am absolutely planning on making that I have no idea what they will taste like! And you know what? The girls are biting at the bit for me to make something new! I promise you that getting little ones started out eating a wide variety of flavors, tastes, and textures will reward you with the same adventurous eaters I enjoy every day.

This picture right here below, is that of pure and utter foodie kid joy!

A quick note on some additions I made!

Amanda just knows me way to well! She mentioned to me that because I love “making every bite count” when it comes to feeding little kids, that possibly swapping some of the water for nutrient dense, fatty coconut milk might be a good idea to bump up the nutrition. I was all about that. So I swapped 1/3 cup of the water for coconut milk and it was delicious. I think you could even swap more, if not the whole 1 cup. We weren’t sure if the glaze would get too thick using all coconut milk but I think there is some room for more than the 1/3 cup that I did.

I also backed off the sweet a little bit. My kids’ palates aren’t real used to super sweet, and I had a feeling this would almost be more sweet than they would enjoy. They thoroughly enjoyed every bite of these Plátanos Calados with half the coconut sugar. The caramelized ripe plantains were more than enough sweet for them. If you have really little guys in the house, I would definitely recommend doing this. If you have older kiddos in the house used to sweeter desserts, the ¼ cup will definitely please them – I made a half batch just for myself with the full amount and was in absolute heaven eating it with my café con leche 😉

When you start thinking pumpkin spice this fall, put Plátanos Calados on the menu for a quick and delicious sweet treat!

5.0 from 9 reviews
Plátanos Calados :: Stewed Spiced Ripe Plantains
Author: 
Recipe type: Dessert
Cuisine: Latin American
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 2-4 servings
 
Plantains are so extremely versatile and can be appropriate for breakfast, lunch, dinner and dessert! This recipe utilizes very ripe plantains that are mostly black and soft to the touch. They are naturally very sweet on their own and pair wonderfully with the warm spices. In the fall when everyone is going crazy for “pumpkin spice” everything, make a batch of these!
Ingredients
  • 1 cup (235 ml) water
  • ¼ cup (60 g) coconut sugaror grated panela sugar
  • 1 tsp (2 g) ground cinnamon
  • ½ tsp aniseeds
  • ¼ tsp ground cloves
  • 1 tbsp (15 ml) coconut oil
  • 2 large, very ripe (mostly black) plantains, peeled and cut into 4 pieces
Instructions
  1. In a small pot, combine all the ingredients, except the plantains, and stir well.
  2. Add the plantains and bring to a boil, then lower the heat to medium, cover and cook for 15 to minutes, or until the sauce thickens and the plantains are cooked throughout and tender.
  3. Serve with a generous portion of sauce and enjoy!
  4. AIP compliant: Omit the aniseeds and optionally replace with ½ teaspoon of ground mace.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Condiments Dinner Ideas Feeding Babies Healthy Kids and Teens Lunch Ideas Nourishing Staples Real Food 101 Real Food Tips

Probiotic Rich Asparagus Pickles (Fermented Asparagus!)

May 26, 2017

A big probiotic boost and delicious salty, sour bite from your fresh spring asparagus!

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

We’ve been jarring up some yummy Michigan asparagus over the last couple weeks!

This is a fun project to get the kids in on. The steps are so easy that even a toddler can follow along! (And said toddler will probably be more willing to eat them if he gets to help!)

Probiotic Rich Asparagus Pickles (Fermented Asparagus!)Little helpers and seasonal produce!

My littlest helper in the house has been eager to hone her asparagus snapping skills, and she makes a really good jar stuffer too, packing those spears of asparagus in like a pro does!

Here are some great tips for including little ones in your kitchen tasks (without losing your ever loving mind 😉 )

  • Show them first. Literally do each step you want them to do. Break it down momma. They haven’t done this before!
  • Hand over hand next. For the really little guys, get your hands over theirs and show them how to do what you are asking them to do. Whether that is stirring, cracking an egg, or snapping some beans. They need to feel it.
  • Let them try with you narrating the steps. Slow down. Yes I know that is so hard when there is so. much. to. do., but it is worth it when they will be able to do it independently. I promise you will be more frustrated if they are doing it the “wrong way” over and over again because you didn’t show them the proper way to do something. (Please learn from my experience!)
  • Tell them the why! If you are snapping the ends off the asparagus, tell them why. If you are slicing the stems off the strawberries, let them know why! Giving them purpose and a reason will help them remember how to do what they are doing better instead of just blinding doing a task.
  • Keep it positive. Spills happen. Mistakes will happen. You’ll see that I even let an asparagus go into the jar that is right here in this post that Caitlyn forgot and snapped the wrong end so it ended up really short! Go over the steps again and show them. You’ll frustrate them and tear them down if you get angry or frustrated with them. If it turns out they can’t handle a task, simply let them know we’ll try something else, and maybe we will try this task again another time.

Probiotic Rich Asparagus Pickles (Fermented Asparagus!)Sooo…Asparagus “Pickles?!”

Yep! I brine these babies just like I would pickling cucumbers, and they disappear just as fast as regular pickles around these parts! A little sour and salty bite, I use the same dilly, mustardy, garlicy blend I do with cucumbers and add a bit of heat with red pepper flakes. It leaves a perfectly kid friendly taste, and I even make a jar just for momma with a little extra heat for my liking 😉

Probiotic Rich Asparagus Pickles (Fermented Asparagus!)2 birds…1 stone!

Not only do pickled asparagus taste amazing, they are loaded with beneficial bacteria for our guts too! The salty brine keeps the bad bacteria at bay, and allows the naturally good bacteria in the vegetable to proliferate and grow. Adding a spear or 2 of pickled asparagus to that lunchtime salad or wrap will not only get your veggie minerals in, but it will nourish the gut with the most cost effective source of probiotics around!

Probiotic Rich Asparagus Pickles (Fermented Asparagus!)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!

Probiotic Rich Asparagus Pickles (Fermented Asparagus!)

5.0 from 8 reviews
Probiotic Rich Asparagus Pickles (Fermented Asparagus!)
Author: 
 
Ingredients
  • 2 cups warm water
  • 1½ to 2 tbsp sea salt
  • 3 cloves of garlic, smashed
  • 2 tsp mustard seeds
  • 1 tbsp fresh dill OR 1 ½ tsp dried dill
  • ½ tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1 bunch of asparagus, woody ends discarded (spears should fit into a quart mason jar with a good inch of headspace at the top. Trim up the ends if you need to accommodate this)
Instructions
  1. Dissolve the sea salt into the warm water and set aside. This is your brine to pour over the asparagus later.
  2. Put the garlic, mustard seeds, dill, and red pepper flakes into a clean, 1 quart mason jar. Then the pack the asparagus spears into the jar as tightly as you can.
  3. Pour the salt water brine over the packed in asparagus and spices, leaving 1 inch of headspace at the top. Be sure the asparagus is completely submerged under the brine (I like to use a weight, like this Pickle Pebble, to keep the veggies down).
  4. Seal your jar with your fermenting seal of choice. I use these Pickle Pipes. See the above section about sealing options.
  5. Let the sealed jar sit at room temperature until the taste is to your liking, anywhere from 5-14 days. You can taste them every couple days to see where they are at. Remember that if you live in a warm climate, the fermenting will go faster. It is still quite chilly up here, and so my veggie ferments take over a week to get to where we like them.

More real food recipes you might like ::

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Homemade Paleo Mayonnaise :: Free from common allergens! {Egg, Dairy, Soy, & Gluten Free!}

April 9, 2017

Just 5 minutes and this creamy paleo mayo is ready to go for your favorite salads, slaws, wraps, and more!

Homemade Paleo Mayonnaise :: Free from common allergens! {Egg, Dairy, Soy, & Gluten Free!}Product links in this post are affiliate links. It does not cost you anything and helps maintain the free information on this site, as well as answer the questions of “what brand do you use?” Please know I never personally recommend any product I wouldn’t use on my own family.

When life hands you a lemon…

…you make lemonade, of course!

I don’t consider myself a natural optimist. I have always been quite the black and white realist when it comes to pretty much everything. But, if there is anything that I have learned in almost 15 years of autoimmune thyroid disease, it is that getting down about healing roadblocks and restrictions only makes life gloomy. And when you have a house full of kids, that just plain doesn’t work well.

Homemade Paleo Mayonnaise :: Free from common allergens! {Egg, Dairy, Soy, & Gluten Free!}Life handed me a big ‘ol bucket of lemons

Healing roadblocks and autoimmune diet restrictions have been some of my best moments – because this stubborn go-getter fights back making gallons of lemonade out of those lemons. Sometimes it takes those flare ups to get fired up. I had a few days of feeling sorry for myself, and then I got busy. Why? Because I know this isn’t a life sentence. And I know that some of my best work comes during these times.

Homemade Paleo Mayonnaise :: Free from common allergens! {Egg, Dairy, Soy, & Gluten Free!}Why no eggs?!

Pastured eggs are so healthy – I mean they are full of really good fats, vitamins, and minerals. But, my friends, just because a food is inherently “healthy” doesn’t mean that it works for every “body.” After a Hashi’s flare up that we are thinking is in part due to an EBV infection coming out of dormancy, I decided to pull eggs out of my diet to help calm the flames of inflammation. Eggs are just one of those foods that can be inflammatory for those with any autoimmune conditions.

Within a month of keeping the eggs out of my diet I had lost 10 pounds. In essence, 10 pounds of inflammation. Even though I was not experiencing digestive distress when I ate them, eggs just weren’t working for me!

(I highly recommend the book Hashimoto’s Protocol by Dr. Isabella Wentz if you have not explored root causes and effective treatments for Hashis – according to her book, the vast majority of Hashimoto’s sufferers should be off eggs {along with dairy, gluten, and soy}. I want to make sure you all know that I am NOT a doctor, and what is working for me, may not necessarily be the case for you. Especially when it comes to autoimmune/Hashis/thyroid stuff, the root cause for one is not always the same for the other. Dr. Wentz’s books have been life changing – highly recommended!)

Homemade Paleo Mayonnaise :: Free from common allergens! {Egg, Dairy, Soy, & Gluten Free!}No eggs (or dairy)?! No problem!

I’ve been there and done that – in fact I’ve already been off dairy for the last few years because I know it just doesn’t jive with thyroid conditions. I also couldn’t eat eggs with any of my newborns least they be super fussy, and one of my girls couldn’t eat eggs during her babyhood/toddlerhood. Might there be a genetic component here? Could be. I have had numerous food allergy and sensitivity tests done in the last decade, and I never have come out as allergic or sensitive to eggs. It very well just may be that my body doesn’t do well with them – especially when my thyroid is acting up.

We’ll talk about baking without eggs another day. To be honest, I’m not doing a ton of baking. I’m keeping things as simple, rustic, and gentle as possible right now while I calm my system. Back to the basics…it’s cheaper, easier to plan, tastes amazing, and you know what? It works. If you are needing to calm inflammation, keeping it simple is key.

Homemade Paleo Mayonnaise :: Free from common allergens! {Egg, Dairy, Soy, & Gluten Free!}With a good, staple mayo, you can make just about anything!

Why mayo? Because with a good mayo, you can make Ranch dressing, flavored aioli, and just about any slaw, salad, or creamy dressing you need!

I have been craving coleslaw and salads! Probably that spring fever bug that is bitten me! I have been using my Italian dressing, French dressing, and Asian dressing (subbing almond butter for peanuts right now), but I have been wanting my Olive Garden dressing and tuna salad which both need a scoop of mayonnaise to make it taste really amazing! Eggless mayo isn’t a new concept to me – I created this mayo years ago when my toddler couldn’t eat eggs. It is so amazing, and if you can tolerate dairy it is so good – you’ll love it!

Homemade Paleo Mayonnaise :: Free from common allergens! {Egg, Dairy, Soy, & Gluten Free!}The real deal…legit…whatever you wanna call it – I want it to taste GOOD!

Over the last month I have been working on this egg and dairy free mayo making sure it tastes *just* like the real thing – ie one that does NOT taste like avocado or coconut! Ha! And I want that smooth, creamy consistency – not too thick and not too thin.

Thank you for being so patient with me as I perfect these recipes – I know my Instagram followers have been asking for these egg free recipes as I post them! I want them to be the real deal before I post, and I am confident your family will love this! The taste *and* texture is just like what I grew up on – you know…that blue lidded container! Only this is made without the rancid soy oils and preservatives!

Homemade Paleo Mayonnaise :: Free from common allergens! {Egg, Dairy, Soy, & Gluten Free!}Ingredient notes and swaps!

  • Olive oil will swap for the avocado oil if that is what you have. Avoid vegetable/canola oils. I purchase avocado oil from Costco.
  • Almond or cashew milks should swap for the coconut milk if that is what you have. If you are following an anti-inflammatory (AIP) type diet, coconut milk would be the best option over a nut milk. I promise this doesn’t turn out tasting like coconut! (I love this coconut milk that doesn’t have gums or preservatives, and keep it on hand in the pantry. You can also make your own coconut milk.) If you tolerate dairy, raw milk/cream works too.
  • You can leave the raw honey out if you are sugar free. Organic pure cane sugar or coconut sugar would work too. The hint of sweet makes it really taste like Miracle Whip if that is what you are used to. Without the sweet it tastes more like a Hellmann’s type mayo and is really yummy too! I purchase raw honey from a local farmer.
  • Make sure you taste the mayo once it is blended for sea salt/pepper to your taste, as well as “tang” – you can add more mustard or lemon juice if you want more tangy bite.

I literally eyeball everything into a mason jar – mason jars have measurements on the side so I just fill the avocado oil and coconut milk to the levels on the jar and toss in the rest – it takes less than 5 minutes!

5.0 from 12 reviews
Homemade Mayonnaise :: Free from common allergens! {Egg, Dairy, Soy, & Gluten Free!}
Author: 
 
Ingredients
  • ¼ - ½ cup avocado oil (depending on how thick/thin you like your mayo)
  • ¼ cup full fat coconut milk
  • 1 small/medium avocado, pitted
  • 2 tsp mustard
  • Juice of ½ lemon
  • 2-3 tsp raw honey
  • ½ tsp sea salt
  • ¼ tsp garlic powder
Instructions
  1. Put everything into a pint mason jar, and use your immersion blender to blend until smooth and thick. (I think this would work in a food processor if you drizzle the oil into the oil drip cup to slowly be added in to emulsify.)
  2. Taste for sea salt/pepper to your taste, as well as “tang” – you can add more mustard or lemon juice if you want more tangy bite.
  3. Store your mayo in the fridge up to a week.

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

March 10, 2017

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

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

Boxed fish sticks…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

March 3, 2017

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

February 24, 2017

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

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

We got hit with the crud…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tips on recipe size

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

A quick note for those with histamine sensitivities!

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

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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 7 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.

How To Cook Spaghetti Squash in the Instant Pot or Oven PLUS 2 Different Family Friendly Dinners To Use It In!More real food recipes you might like:

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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 4 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

 

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5 Minute Mexican Chicken Salad

August 25, 2016

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

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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.

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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 2 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:

20 Minute Spring Stir Fry with Garlic Butter Sauce

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!
Crispy Plantain Crackers

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

Cold & Flu Season Drinks Feeding Babies Natural Remedies Nourishing Staples Real Food 101 Real Food Tips

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 or elderberry tincture 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 😉

Another star player that I like to add-in is slippery elm. This herb helps soothe and repair the entire digestive tract from the stomach to the rectum – so if things have been happening at both ends, this is a great remedy to have on hand. It does have a bit of a taste that my kids don’t mind. Add a bit of raw honey to the smoothie if you need to cover it up, but really just a teaspoon or so is all you need! (If you would like to try slippery elm outside of the smoothie, simply mix the powder with some raw honey and have them take it off the spoon. Sometimes my kids prefer to take it in tincture form, which is fine too!)


 

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
  • 1-2 tsp slippery elm powder (optional - see notes above)
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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