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Paleo Ranch Dressing and Dip :: Dairy Free, Egg Free, and Filled With Healthy Fats!

June 23, 2017

From salad dressing to dip and everything in between, Paleo Ranch dressing is everything you love about Ranch, without the dairy!

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.

Little kids and Ranch dressing…

It’s a bit like my 6 year old and toads…they just go hand in hand! We’ve been enjoying all the creatures that summertime brings…especially this little one who I am pretty sure is destined to be some sort of animal scientist!

But back to the kids and Ranch!

I don’t remember using many other dressings as a kid, and I don’t know too many kids who don’t love Ranch dressing! As the commercials usually show, most kids will gobble up just about any vegetable if there’s Ranch involved!

So what’s the problem with commercial Ranch dressings?

Store bought Ranch dressings (yes, even many with “healthy” claimed on the bottle), are filled with rancid vegetable oils, soy, preservatives, sugar, and other additives. Kinda ruins the idea of the kids loading up on mineral rich, healthy veggies when they are drowning in it all that doesn’t it?!

It’s truly just not worth it. We have generations of kids (including my generation) that grew up on these toxic, rancid fats that did our bodies zero favors. Everything from our brains, to organ function, and even hormone regulation relies on real, healthy fats to work right.

All the flavor, using real ingredients!

Real food is so delicious dear friends! Big box companies just have to bottle up that flavor somehow faster and cheaper, as well as make it last long on the shelf. Which is why they have to add so much junk to it!

The good news, is that when you stick to the basics, and make it yourself, not only does it take just minutes to make, the real flavor from everything from the onion-y scallions to the herb-y dill and parsley give that dressing the Ranch flavor without even having to work hard!

Lightning fast prep!

I’m talking literally 5 minutes to dump it all in a jar and blend it up. It is easy and fast enough to prep on your prep day every week – if it will last that long. This dip/dressing goes really fast in my house – I swear the girls would drink it out of the jar if they could, and they definitely lick the bowl clean!

Why dairy free?

I’ll be the first one in the room to raise my hand when asked if raw dairy is a good food source. I am a huge believer in the power of raw dairy – and I love our local raw dairy farmers! Sadly, I just don’t tolerate it. So while it is a very healthy food, it just doesn’t work for some people, and that’s where I come in! You can swap the coconut milk for raw milk or cream easy peasy if you tolerate dairy and wish to!

And my dear dairy free friends, I hope you enjoy this creamy dreamy Ranch – I promise you won’t taste the coconut! Pinky swear!

A note on the fresh herbs versus dried

This time of year, my herb garden is loaded to the brim with herbs to make Ranch. In the winter we swap to dried herbs a lot (simply figure cutting the amounts of the fresh herbs down to a couple teaspoons of dried to make the swap). I do think that fresh herbs just make the Ranch that much sweeter…it really just takes the flavor up a few notches. If you have access to fresh, do it!

Different ways to flavor your Ranch!

Change things up a little big with these really fun ways to flavor your Ranch for a fun dip or dressing. My kids to tend to prefer just the plain Ranch, but 2 of them really love the Asian dressing mixed with a slaw salad – don’t knock it til you try it!

  • Chipotle Ranch :: Add 1 tsp chipotle powder (start with this and add more if you like more heat)
  • Bacon Ranch :: Swap the avocado oil for 2-4 tablespoons of bacon grease. You can also fold in chopped crispy bacon after blending
  • BBQ Ranch :: Add 3 tbps of your favorite BBQ sauce (we like this safe ingredient 5 minute homemade BBQ sauce)
  • Asian Style Ranch (so good on a cabbage slaw salad!) :: Swap the avocado oil for sesame oil. Swap the parsley for 1/2 tsp or more of ground ginger to your taste. Swap the white wine vinegar for 2 tbsp coconut aminos (tastes like soy sauce without the soy).

A note on tools…

It is easiest to make this dressing in a quart sized jar. The recipe makes a little over a pint of dressing. The quart jar just gives you more room to get all the fresh herbs in there, as well as use the blender. And speaking of the blender…the immersion blender will become your most beloved kitchen tool if you have never tried one before! Put it on your wishlist – you won’t be sorry. It gets daily use in my kitchen from dressings to soups!

Paleo Ranch Dressing and Dip :: Dairy Free, Egg Free, & Filled With Healthy Fats!
Author: 
 
Ingredients
  • 1 cup whole coconut milk (I like this gum free coconut milk. If you tolerate dairy, raw milk would work)
  • ¼ cup avocado oil (Olive oil would work too.)
  • 1 tbsp white wine vinegar
  • 3 large green onions, chopped (use the green and white part!)
  • ¼ cup fresh dill (no need to chop)
  • ¼ cup fresh chives (no need to chop)
  • 2-3 tbsp fresh parsley (no need to chop)
  • 3-4 basil leaves (no need to chop)
  • 1 tsp garlic powder (1 garlic clove would be fine but might adds a bit of heat to the dressing)
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • ½ tsp pepper
Instructions
  1. Everything into a quart mason jar (I just measure the liquids using the measurements right on the jar instead of dirtying measuring cups!).
  2. Use an immersion blender to blend until smooth. Taste for salt/pepper to your taste.

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Instant Pot Tomato Soup Tutorial :: Picture Tutorial and Lunch Packing Tips Included!

June 16, 2017

Kid favorite tomato soup made with nourishing bone broth and fresh tomatoes in a fraction of the time!

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

Wait, 92 degrees in June? {In Michigan?!}

I can’t even begin to describe how excited about this I am! I am a hardcore beach bum, and this weather totally suits my style!

Instant Pot Tomato Soup Tutorial :: Picture Tutorial and Lunch Packing Tips Included!It does not, however, jive with some of the cooking projects I had planned this month!

I wasn’t anticipating this weather when I picked up some fresh tomatoes destined for soup. It is just too hot to have that stovetop heating my house up. My kids were really looking forward to that soup, so I decided it was time to get the pressure cooking method  perfected on this family favorite soup recipe.

Instant Pot Tomato Soup Tutorial :: Picture Tutorial and Lunch Packing Tips Included!A family favorite staple soup

My original tomato soup recipe is a family favorite – one we have almost weekly all year round! During the summer I use as many tomatoes from our small family garden, along with a good bushel full from a local farmer, and stash it away for cooler months. I happened to see these greenhouse grown tomatoes at the farmer’s market this week, and just had to get started on my stash!

Instant Pot Tomato Soup Tutorial :: Picture Tutorial and Lunch Packing Tips Included!Same soup…WAY quicker cook time!

I’ll be honest, the first time I pressure cooked tomato soup, I wasn’t planning on it taking on the same slow cooked taste as my original. I was curious, however, and boy was I wrong. It literally tasted the exact same! The key is that buttery sauté in the first step before you pressure cook the rest!

And the quicker cook time {plus not heating up my house!} thanks to the Instant Pot has basically sold me on making all of my summer tomato soup this way.

Instant Pot Tomato Soup Tutorial :: Picture Tutorial and Lunch Packing Tips Included!Step 1 – Flavor Infusion

Turn the Instant Pot  to “Saute,” melt the friendly fat, and sauté the onion and carrot with a big pinch of sea salt for about 7 minutes until the veggies soften and sweeten. Add the garlic and tomato paste, combine and cook for 1 minute. Turn the Instant Pot to off (“cancel”).

Instant Pot Tomato Soup Tutorial :: Picture Tutorial and Lunch Packing Tips Included!Step 2 – Set It and Forget It!

Add the bone broth, tomatoes, and basil. Put the Instant Pot lid on, and make sure the vent is closed. Turn the Instant Pot to the “Soup” setting. Bring the time down to 10 minutes. The Instant Pot will take around 10 minutes to come to pressure before counting down the 10 minutes.

Instant Pot Tomato Soup Tutorial :: Picture Tutorial and Lunch Packing Tips Included!Step 3 – Blend, Season, and EAT!

Once the 10 minutes of pressure cooking is complete, turn the Instant Pot off, release the valve, and take the lid off. Add the honey, and use an immersion blender to puree the soup. You can sea salt and pepper the soup to your taste once pureed. (If you don’t have an immersion blender, you can pour the soup into a high powered blender to puree)

Instant Pot Tomato Soup Tutorial :: Picture Tutorial and Lunch Packing Tips Included!School {Or Work!} Packing Tips

I mentioned above how nice this soup is to bulk up on, and use for school lunches. Here is how I make that work without being in the kitchen all the time.

  • Whenever I make the soup, we eat it for a meal, and there is usually enough to fill 1 quart of soup for the freezer. That way, every time I make it, I’m building my stash. You cannot double this recipe in the Instant Pot (although I think  you could in the newer 8 quart Instant Pots!), but you can double or triple in a stockpot if you wish to cook stovetop. That is typically how I do things at the end of the summer when I purchase a bushel of tomatoes from a local farmer, to get a bunch done in one shot. I may do both stovetop and Instant Pot this summer!
  • I freeze soup in these BPA free freezer containers. When my family was small, I froze in pint containers. At this point, I generally freeze in quart, though sometimes in half gallon. I like to thaw on the counter overnight, but in the fridge for a day is fine too. If I’m in a real pinch and forgot, just a sink full of hot water will thaw it out in a half hour 😉
  • We have had these fantastic soup thermoses since my oldest was in Kindergarten – going on their 4th year of use multiple times per week all school year long, and they still look AND keep food warm just like new. They are a great investment.
  • These stainless steel, shorter straws are fantastic for babies and toddlers to drink their soup. In fact my youngest 2 (age 3 and 6) still prefer to have soups like this with a straw. My 6 year old especially for school so it is easier to eat and doesn’t make a mess. My oldest is too cool for a straw anymore as I was promptly told not to pack one earlier this year 🙂
  • My husband takes soup to work in a Travel Crockpot – the base stays at work and he brings the liner home for me to fill up. That way, he can warm it up right at this desk.  We’ve had this for years – longer than the thermoses – and it still works like new!
  • Re-heat your soup stovetop so you keep all the bone broth benefits!

Instant Pot Tomato Soup Tutorial :: Picture Tutorial and Lunch Packing Tips Included!

5.0 from 7 reviews
Instant Pot Tomato Soup
Author: 
 
Ingredients
  • 3 tbsp friendly fat to cook in such as butter, avocado oil, tallow, lard, or coconut oil
  • 2 medium onions, coarsely sliced
  • 2 medium carrots, peeled and coarsely chopped
  • 3-4 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 quart bone broth
  • 5 large tomatoes, seeds scooped out (no need to chop finely – I just halve them)
  • ½ cup fresh basil (or a tbsp or 2 of dried basil)
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • Sea salt and pepper to taste
Instructions
  1. Turn the Instant Pot to “Saute,” melt the friendly fat, and sauté the onion and carrot with a big pinch of sea salt for about 7 minutes until the veggies soften and sweeten.
  2. Add the garlic and tomato paste, combine and cook for 1 minute. Turn the Instant Pot to off (“cancel”).
  3. Add the bone broth, tomatoes, and basil. Put the Instant Pot lid on, and make sure the vent is closed. Turn the Instant Pot to the “Soup” setting. Bring the time down to 10 minutes. The Instant Pot will take around 10 minutes to come to pressure before counting down the 10 minutes.
  4. Once the 10 minutes of pressure cooking is complete, turn the Instant Pot off, release the valve, and take the lid off. Add the honey, and use an immersion blender to puree the soup. You can sea salt and pepper the soup to your taste once pureed. (If you don’t have an immersion blender, you can pour the soup into a high powered blender to puree)

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Honey Rhubarb Water Kefir Soda :: A naturally probiotic rich fizzy, fun drink for the whole family!

June 8, 2017

Honey rhubarb water kefir soda is a naturally probiotic rich fizzy, fun drink for the whole family!

Honey Rhubarb Water Kefir Soda :: A naturally probiotic rich fizzy, fun drink for the whole family!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 rhubarb, spring temperatures…and spring birthday babies!

Well she isn’t really a “baby” anymore, but my oldest turned 8 years old a couple weekends ago, and I’m declaring I’m still allowed to call her my baby!

Honey Rhubarb Water Kefir Soda :: A naturally probiotic rich fizzy, fun drink for the whole family!We celebrated her birthday with canvas painting, blowing out candles, and enjoying her friends!

This sweet baby has the kindest heart and more compassion for people than anyone I have ever met. She is so special, and I am truly blessed to call her mine.

Honey Rhubarb Water Kefir Soda :: A naturally probiotic rich fizzy, fun drink for the whole family!My late spring birthday baby also just happens to *big puffy heart love* rhubarb!

Rhubarb is always in full swing around her birthday, and making her a special bubbly birthday drink with rhubarb for her special day has become tradition! I can’t wait to share this recipe with you!

Honey Rhubarb Water Kefir Soda :: A naturally probiotic rich fizzy, fun drink for the whole family!Water Kefir Basics…

Water kefir is a mild, kid friendly fermented drink. The gelatinous water kefir “grains” (not a grain at all by the way!) are little colonies of beneficial bacteria that infuse the water it breeds in with numerous cultures and food enzymes. It has a mild lemony flavor upon fermenting, and you can flavor this finished kefir however you wish. In today’s recipe, we are flavoring our finished kefir with raw honey and rhubarb.

For more in depth information on the who, what, when, where, and why of water kefir, see this post, Water Kefir Basics, to learn more, and then hop back over to make your honey rhubarb soda.

Honey Rhubarb Water Kefir Soda :: A naturally probiotic rich fizzy, fun drink for the whole family!It’s all about that flavor!

If I’m gonna take the time to do a second ferment on my water kefir, I want it to have a super fun, bold flavor. Usually loading up the bottle with whatever chopped sweet fruit is in season does the trick. Rhubarb is a bit tricky because it is so tart. The flavor is so amazing, however, so infusing some water with that big flavor and then sweetening the deal with our favorite local raw honey makes the most amazing, bright pink “rhubarb syrup” to flavor our water kefir with!

Honey Rhubarb Water Kefir Soda :: A naturally probiotic rich fizzy, fun drink for the whole family!Ingredient notes, and tools of the trade

  • Honey Notes :: I know so many love rhubarb and strawberry, but let me tell you…rhubarb and raw honey are a match made in heaven. It is my favorite way to sweeten up rhubarb, and if you have a fantastic local raw honey source that you just love the taste of, you will not be disappointed! If you don’t have a local raw honey source, this is a good raw honey to use, or you can swap it for organic cane sugar.
  • Fermenting Tools :: You will read in my Water Kefir Basics post that I love fermenting my water kefir using Pickle Pipes, and then finishing off those flavored second ferments in air tight, grolsch type (swing top) bottles. It makes the fermentation more efficient, giving way to a super effervescent fizz you will love.
  • Recipe Size :: Also keep in mind that if you are only brewing a quart of water kefir at a time, you will want to half this recipe. I ferment a half gallon at a time so this recipe represents what I always make.

Rhubarb and raw honey are a match made in heaven.

5.0 from 5 reviews
Honey Rhubarb Water Kefir Soda :: A naturally probiotic rich fizzy, fun drink for the whole family!
Author: 
 
Ingredients
  • 7-8 stalks of rhubarb, sliced (Since rhubarb sizes can vary, you will need about 5 cups of sliced rhubarb)
  • 2 ½ cups of water
  • ½ cup raw honey
  • 1 ½ tbsp vanilla extract
  • ½ gallon (2 quarts) finished water kefir
Instructions
  1. Bring the sliced rhubarb and water to a simmer for about 10 minutes until the rhubarb is disintegrated. Strain out the rhubarb fibers, leaving behind the pink, rhubarb infused water.
  2. Leave the rhubarb infused water to cool a bit before stirring in the raw honey to dissolve. Add the vanilla extract at this point too.
  3. When the rhubarb syrup has cooled to room temperature, add the finished water kefir to the bowl (if you add the finished kefir to the rhubarb syrup when it is still hot, it will kill off the bacteria, so be sure it has cooled off). Stir the rhubarb syrup and kefir together, and pour the rhubarb kefir into swing top bottles using a funnel (Leave a few inches of headspace at the top to account for gas build up. This batch will fill up 4-5 of these sized swing top bottles.).
  4. Seal the tops and ferment the drink for 1-3 days to your taste. You can open the bottles daily to release the built up gasses and taste if it is done to your liking. Fermentation rates are variable upon temperature of the room as well as the strength of the culture. When it is above 70 degrees, I have found water kefir doesn’t need more than a good 24 hours.

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How To Make Balsamic Reduction Sauce :: Plus! A 30 Minute Sheet Pan Dinner!

June 2, 2017

Sweet and sticky, this balsamic reduction sauce is the perfect, kid friendly compliment to any meal!

How To Make Balsamic Reduction Sauce :: Plus! A 30 Minute Sheet Pan Dinner!

Ladies and gentlemen, we made it to the beach last weekend!

I’m not real sure what is going on with the cooler late spring temps around here, but we just couldn’t help it! Because I have 3 big time water bugs, I decided to go with the bathing suits despite the 60 degree weather, and 54 degree water temps (!!), because inevitably they are like a moth to a flame when it comes to the big lake.

I bundled them up in sweatshirts on top of their suits and off we went…my oldest and youngest flung their sweatshirts off the second their feet hit the sand…and yes my dear friends they did the polar plunge and totally swam in the icy water!

How To Make Balsamic Reduction Sauce :: Plus! A 30 Minute Sheet Pan Dinner!Three extremely busy kiddos, means 3 extremely hungry kiddos!

Summer time beach days sometimes call for light, snacky suppers, but more often than not, that doesn’t fly with my kids! They burn through everything so fast – they really need meals that count when they are so active. And I’ve got a super quick one for you today that will still give you enough time to spend the whole day at the beach if you want!

How To Make Balsamic Reduction Sauce :: Plus! A 30 Minute Sheet Pan Dinner!One sauce, multiple possibilities!

I am not sure that balsamic reductions are the first sauce that comes to mind when it comes to kid friendly meals, but I’m telling you – my kids ask for this over ketchup any day of the week! Sweet and sticky, it makes any dinner meal that I drizzle it over completely disappear.

Balsamic reduction sauces are so versatile, tasting amazing over everything from chicken and fish, to steak or even salads and roasted veggies. It’s a great sauce to keep in your back pocket when you want to dress something up a little bit and need a little change up.

How To Make Balsamic Reduction Sauce :: Plus! A 30 Minute Sheet Pan Dinner!So here’s the balsamic reduction sauce recipe!

Use your sauce however you like! If you are stuck on a whole meal idea, keep scrolling for the sheet pan dinner idea to use your sauce with!

How To Make Balsamic Reduction Sauce :: Plus! A 30 Minute Sheet Pan Dinner!

5.0 from 5 reviews
How To Make Balsamic Reduction Sauce :: Plus! A 30 Minute Sheet Pan Dinner!
Author: 
 
Ingredients
  • 1 cup balsamic vinegar
  • ½ cup white wine
  • ¼ cup honey
  • 2 Tbsp mustard
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
Instructions
  1. Put everything into a small sauce pan and bring to a low boil.
  2. Reduce the heat to medium/medium-low and simmer until the sauce has reduced by half, stirring occasionally along the way. This will take about 15 minutes. It will be viscous and sticky when finished. You can fix the rest of your meal or bake/roast a sheet pan meal while the balsamic sauce is simmering.

So what about that “quick” meal you were talking about?!

I promise I’m not going to leave you hanging. This sauce sounds amazing, but how do we make it work into a meal idea that is not only kid friendly, but do-able on a time crunch?

I’m so glad you asked!

How To Make Balsamic Reduction Sauce :: Plus! A 30 Minute Sheet Pan Dinner!Sheet pan dinners to the rescue!

I’m all about these hands free cook methods, dear friends! Pile up that sheet pan with whatever veggies are in season and let the oven do the rest. While your veggies and meat are roasting, you can simmer your balsamic sauce up on the stovetop (recipe above!). Start to finish the sauce just takes 15ish minutes so it is perfect timing for a sheet pan meal!

How To Make Balsamic Reduction Sauce :: Plus! A 30 Minute Sheet Pan Dinner!

Balsamic Glazed Salmon & Roasted Veggies:

Ingredients:

  • ½ large onion, sliced
  • 2-3 medium carrots, peeled and sliced on the bias
  • 1 bunch of asparagus, woody ends trimmed off
  • 3 medium red potatoes, cubed
  • 4 oz mushrooms, sliced
  • 3 tbsp avocado oil (or other friendly fat to roast with)
  • 1 tsp sea salt (to taste)
  • ¼ tsp pepper
  • 1 tsp dried parsley
  • 1 tsp dried dill
  • 3-4 salmon filets (If you have little ones like I do, you can cut the filets in half for smaller portions – I use 3 filets and half them to make 6 total servings.)
  • Avocado oil to brush over the salmon
  • Sea salt/pepper to taste to sprinkle over the salmon
  • 1 recipe of the balsamic reduction sauce from above

Instructions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Toss all of the veggies with the avocado oil, sea salt, pepper, parsley, and dill on a large sheet pan. Spread them out evenly and roast for 10 minutes while you get the balsamic sauce going and prepare the salmon.
  3. While the veggies are roasting you can get your balsamic sauce simmering on the stove (see recipe above). You can also brush each salmon filet with avocado oil and sprinkle sea salt and pepper to your taste on both sides of each filet.
  4. After the veggies have roasted 10 minutes, take them out and stir the veggies around. Place the salmon fillets on top of the veggies and roast another 20 minutes until the veggies are bite tender and the salmon is cooked through to your liking. If you like your veggies softer, you can cook them longer than that first 10 minutes. The salmon will only need the last 20 minutes of cook time.
  5. Spoon the balsamic reduction sauce over each salmon filet and drizzle over the veggies as well before serving.

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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.

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Paleo Chia Honey Power Bars :: Gluten, Egg, and Dairy Free

May 12, 2017

Portable, pack-able, and power packed! Paleo chia honey power bars are a busy family game changer!

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

When the magnolia tree blooms…

I always feel like spring has finally sprung! It bloomed on the early side this year, and the girls always feel like they have their own personal flower palace to play in for the week or so that the magnificent blooms stick around.

Paleo Chia Honey Power Bars :: Gluten, Egg, and Dairy FreeSpring also brings busier schedules for us…

…and less kitchen time for me! This is always the time of year that I have to take a step back and really prioritize so I’m not saying “yes” to all the things, and forgetting to enjoy the season. One of the ways that I can say yes to more outside-the-home-activities, is to be sure I optimize any kitchen time I have.

Here are some tips for doing that:

  • Plan 1-2 hours (or a morning/evening) for a prep day. During this prep time, get ahead on whatever you can to make your meals run smoother for the week. I have one prep day (about 2 hours) every week. My prep time almost always includes, making bone broth for the week, salad dressings/mayo for the week, a dozen hard boiled eggs for the week, and veggie soup for the week to use. Bone broth and eggs are pretty hands free, but it is cooking along while I take a few minutes to stir up dressings, and get a pot of soup going. Once you get in a “mode” it’s easy to move from one thing to another in one shot.
  • Prep odds and ends to make meal prep flow faster during the week. On your prep day add whatever else might be needed for that particular week such as veggie chopping to make dinners run smoother, making crackers or granola (which I usually replenish once a month or so), or getting breakfast cookies, pancakes, or bars like these chia honey bars into the freezer so breakfasts and snacks run quick.
  • When making dinners, double up to optimize your time. It’s always nice to take a couple nights per week off from making dinner! Warming up dinner leftovers really helps on busier nights. Also, consider taking a longer prep dinner such as roasted chicken, to have on a less busy day like the weekend. Then, as you are de-boning the chicken pop the bones into your crockpot or Instant pot to make bone broth right off the bat. The leftover meat can be used Monday night when everyone is busy from their day back to school or work for a quick stir fry or salad, and the bone broth can be used for a dinner meal of soup later that week.
  • Allow yourself a non cook night 😉 Or two! It is totally acceptable to have a family style platter dinner night! Load up a big tray of veggies and dip, fruit, cheese, nuts, olives, and hard boiled eggs. Or have a salad bar night using veggies, nuts/seeds, dried fruit, leftover meat, or avocados.
  • Ask. for. help. 🙂 You are allowed! If those kiddos are old enough to feed themselves off a plate, they are old enough to peel carrots, chop fruit, stir a pot of soup, and wash the dishes. It’s ok to teach the kids that many hands make light work 😉 The more you can get done with your crew of hands, the more park time, beach time, zoo time, play time!

Paleo Chia Honey Power Bars :: Gluten, Egg, and Dairy FreeSo let’s talk about these chia honey power bars!

I love hand held snacks just as much as everyone. I put so much thought into every single ingredient in these bars, so that with even the littlest of kiddos in the house, “every bite counts!”

Here’s a little break down!

  • Chia Seeds :: The tiniest of superfoods, chia seeds are not only loaded with fiber, protein, antioxidants, and omega 3 fatty acids, they are a mineral powerhouses of calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, selenium, and manganese.
  • Friendly Fat Focus :: Filled to the brim with long chain fatty acids, the shredded coconut and avocado oil feed growing brains and satiate the hungriest of appetites (because “I’m hungry” every hour doesn’t jive in this house!)
  • Protein Balance :: The chia provides some protein and there is also a nut sourced protein as well as grassfed collagen sourced protein. It’s a great balance and helps keeps the kids fuller longer as well as help feed their muscle growth.
  • Non Refined Energy Source :: These are power bars for active kids after all! Listen, kids expend a LOT of energy. The raw honey and banana not only make the taste more palatable for kids, it also provides a great energy from a safe source to keep kids going. The fat and protein will keep blood sugars balanced so they aren’t crashing on you within an hour.

Paleo Chia Honey Power Bars :: Gluten, Egg, and Dairy FreeTips for freezing

These bars freeze up fantastic. If you have those bananas starting to turn too ripe on the counter, grab them up and double batch into honey chia power bars for later. I can’t tell you how nice it is to be able to say “yes!” to an impromptu park picnic or beach day and pull a nourishing snack or meal addition out of the freezer. Not having to worry about what the kids are going to eat when they {inevitably} get hungry, is a game changer, dear momma!

You can pop your honey chia power bars right into a freezer bag. For lunch packing, just put them right in the lunchbox from the freezer – they will thaw by lunchtime. If you are serving them for breakfast, you can either set them on the counter the night before to thaw overnight, or you can pull them out of the freezer and warm them up in the oven.

Paleo Chia Honey Power Bars :: Gluten, Egg, and Dairy Free

5.0 from 6 reviews
Paleo Chia Honey Power Bars :: Gluten, Egg, and Dairy Free
Author: 
 
Ingredients
  • ¼ cup chia seeds (flax seeds should work here too)
  • ½ cup water
  • 2 small ripe bananas (I think 1 cup of applesauce would work here)
  • ¼ cup avocado oil (or melted coconut oil or butter)
  • 1 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
  • 1 cup blanched almond flour (If you are nut free, I think ground sunflower seeds will work, or swap for cassava flour or sorghum flour. You may want to back off the amount to ¾ cup with the sorghum.)
  • ½ cup coconut flour
  • ¼ cup grassfed collagen
  • ¼ cup honey (you can taste the mixture and add more if you need. If you have really little guys in the house I’d stick to this or even just a few tablespoons. For the little ones, go with less sweet than your preference as they really don’t know any different!)
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
Instructions
  1. Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Blend the chia seeds and water so the chia seeds are more of a “meal” versus seed texture. Set aside to thicken while you make the rest of the batter (It will get goopy, almost pudding like. It will act like “glue” to bind the bar.).
  3. Put the bananas in a medium mixing bowl and mash with the back of a fork. Add the rest of the ingredients to the bowl, along with the chia/water mixture, and mix everything to combine.
  4. Press the batter into a small baking dish and bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. Let the bars cool 10 minutes before cutting.

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Gluten Free Morning Glory Granola :: Paleo Friendly & Refined Sugar Free!

May 5, 2017

Start your day off quick and nourished with crispy, crunchy, and honey sweetened morning glory granola!

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

We celebrated a brand new 6 year old in the house last week!

Claire is my mid spring babe! She is chock full of ideas and opinions, and you’ve never met a 6 year old so full of interest for birds and bugs of all kinds. The kid overflows with joy describing birds to you, taking her Michigan bird guide with her wherever she goes! In fact, bird guides quite literally taught her how to read this year! She was so bored with typical beginner reader books, but would sit for hours with a bird guide!

Gluten Free Morning Glory Granola :: Paleo Friendly & Refined Sugar Free!We celebrated with her friends at a local canvas painting studio painting…birds of course!

I can’t take credit for any new cake ideas (she asked for this strawberry birthday cake, which was totally fine with me!), but I do have a new recipe based on the busy week that leads up to a birthday! Granola is a pantry staple in the house, not only because it is an easy grab and go snack or meal, but also because it is not fussy to make.

Gluten Free Morning Glory Granola :: Paleo Friendly & Refined Sugar Free!Real food and busy schedules

With a little planning ahead, you really can still keep the food real on a busier than usual week. Dinners can be fast and easy skillet dinners or sheet pan dinners, and breakfast a quick smoothie or egg muffins. For me, though, it’s those packable school snacks (that they have to have for a morning snack *every* day!), or mornings that the kids just want something different that can throw me off!

Gluten Free Morning Glory Granola :: Paleo Friendly & Refined Sugar Free!A new granola idea!

There are so many granola recipes on the blog here – usually I just make granola based on what I have in the kitchen at the moment. Which is why I love granola making so much – it is SO forgiving! I just loved how this granola turned out, and I decided to call it morning glory granola because of all the goods that got dumped in!

Gluten Free Morning Glory Granola :: Paleo Friendly & Refined Sugar Free!Lemons into lemonade…or something like that!

I had a bag of carrots that had been forgotten about, and while they certainly weren’t rotten, they would need to be cooked into soup or something to get any use. I decided to see what they would do drying out in the granola – and it made the prettiest orange flecks in each cluster! Add a little cinnamon, honey, vanilla, and raisins, and it tastes just like a morning glory muffin – with a crisp!

Gluten Free Morning Glory Granola :: Paleo Friendly & Refined Sugar Free!Notes on recipe size and dehydrators!

This recipe makes…a lot! Which is how I like it because I don’t like to make granola all the time. It filled up 4 gallon freezer bags for me. You can half the recipe if you don’t want as much in the end.

I have had this dehydrator for about 4 years now, and it’s still kickin’! You can bake the granola off in the oven if you want to – I would set it for something like 300 degrees and just be sure you are stirring it around frequently so the bottom gets dried out. Because this granola is soaked, it is wet, and takes a while to dry out. If you have already soaked/sprouted nuts, you can skip the soaking part and the mixture won’t take as long to dry out.

Gluten Free Morning Glory Granola :: Paleo Friendly & Refined Sugar Free!Nut free friends!

Remember that thing above where I said that granola making is super forgiving? Well this is where that all comes in! You really can swap the nuts in this recipe for whatever you CAN have! Seeds of any kind will work (sunflower, pumpkin, flax, etc). You can also use more of one of the flours such as coconut flour. If you are able to tolerate oats you could swap some of the nuts for oats – I really wasn’t kidding when I said how flexible granola can be!

5.0 from 8 reviews
Gluten Free Morning Glory Granola :: Paleo Friendly & Refined Sugar Free!
Author: 
 
Ingredients
  • 3 cups raw walnuts, chopped (I buzz mine up quick in the food processor)
  • 3 cups raw pecans (I buzz mine up quick in the food processor)
  • 1 cup raw sunflower seeds (I buzz mine up quick in the food processor)
  • 2 TB sea salt
  • 6 cups unsweetened shredded coconut
  • 1 cup chia seed, ground into meal
  • 1 cup coconut flour
  • 1 cup blanched almond flour
  • 1 cup sorghum flour (if you are grain free, you can use buckwheat flour, or more almond/coconut flours)
  • 1 cup melted coconut oil
  • 5-6 large carrots, shredded
  • 2 cups raisins
  • ½ -1 cup raw honey (start with the ½ cup and taste the mixture – you can always add more if you need. You can do the ½ cup if you have really little ones, and add more honey to your bowl of cereal if you want it sweeter)
  • 2 TB cinnamon
  • 2 TB almond extract (vanilla would work too)
Instructions
  1. Put the chopped walnuts, pecans, sunflower seeds, and sea salt in a large mixing bowl. Fill the bowl with water just until the nuts and seeds are covered. Let the nuts and seeds soak 7-12 hours. This soaking process breaks down the phytic acid in the nuts/seeds and makes them easier on digestion. I like to get everything soaking first thing in the morning and then before I go to bed at night I'll put everything onto the dehydrator to dry out over night. You could soak overnight and dry out all day if you wish.
  2. After the nuts/seeds have soaked, add the rest of the ingredients to the bowl and stir to combine.
  3. Put the granola mixture onto your dehydrator trays, and dry out the granola according to your manufacturer"s instructions. Since this is a soaked granola, the time may take a bit longer since it is wetter, a little over 12 hours if drying out under 150 degrees.
  4. Once the granola is dried out, you can crumble it into storage bags or containers and store in the pantry.

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Sheet Pan Honey Mustard Crusted Salmon with Restaurant Style French Fries and Roasted Veggies :: Gluten, Grain, Nut, Egg, Soy, and Refined Sugar Free!

April 21, 2017

It doesn’t get any better than a whole meal made on 2 sheet pans with this Paleo friendly honey mustard crusted salmon and veggies!

Sheet Pan Honey Mustard Crusted Salmon with Restaurant Style French Fries and Roasted Veggies :: Gluten, Grain, Nut, Egg, Soy, and Refined Sugar Free!

Spring has definitely sprung!

We are jumping in puddles, running barefoot, planting seeds, enjoying the extra sunshine…

Sheet Pan Honey Mustard Crusted Salmon with Restaurant Style French Fries and Roasted Veggies :: Gluten, Grain, Nut, Egg, Soy, and Refined Sugar Free!…and new bird and bug friends!

Sheet Pan Honey Mustard Crusted Salmon with Restaurant Style French Fries and Roasted Veggies :: Gluten, Grain, Nut, Egg, Soy, and Refined Sugar Free!Spring also means busy, *hungry* kids!

Did I say hungry? I meant ravenous! I watch these little people go non stop at a park visit from the time they set their foot off their bikes, to the minute they are back at home. No seriously, it is any wonder they are so hungry when it comes to meal time!

Sheet Pan Honey Mustard Crusted Salmon with Restaurant Style French Fries and Roasted Veggies :: Gluten, Grain, Nut, Egg, Soy, and Refined Sugar Free!Smart refuel

So what is a budget and time crunch conscious mom to do? Fuel the kids with something that is going to sustain their needs – their growing bodies and exponentially growing brains. And pile all that goodness up onto a couple sheet pans so you can still have time to play outside, get the dishes done, change that diaper, and rock the baby!

Sheet Pan Honey Mustard Crusted Salmon with Restaurant Style French Fries and Roasted Veggies :: Gluten, Grain, Nut, Egg, Soy, and Refined Sugar Free!YES I’m calling a meal with wild caught salmon affordable!

Wild caught salmon really can be a budget friendly meal. Meat portions don’t need to be much more than the size of your palm (and for the kids the size of their palm!) – I think especially many Americans  “over meat” their plates. Even a small, palm sized portion of wild caught salmon is packed with brain building essentials and fat that will satiate even the busiest of kids. The slightly sweet and savory coating on the outside of this fish is so good too!

And veggie sides are huge budget savers!

Sheet Pan Honey Mustard Crusted Salmon with Restaurant Style French Fries and Roasted Veggies :: Gluten, Grain, Nut, Egg, Soy, and Refined Sugar Free!Pile on the energy fueling veggies!

Even the youngest of kids in my house knows that half of our plates every night is saved for veggies. They are filling, satiating, and nourishing. And when you cook them just right…oh! They are so tasty! You can pick whatever veggies you have in house for the roasted veggie part of this meal. Carrots and potatoes are so cheap – they are true budget savers in my house!

Sheet Pan Honey Mustard Crusted Salmon with Restaurant Style French Fries and Roasted Veggies :: Gluten, Grain, Nut, Egg, Soy, and Refined Sugar Free!And I don’t know of really any kid that doesn’t like french fries!

Sides of potatoes are great, but what is it about making that french fry shape that is like a moth to a flame to kids?! These french fries are no fuss and zero special prep. The come out crispy and tasty too! Potatoes provide a fantastic energy replenishing source for active kids. I literally can watch my worn out, hungry little ones go from zero to full speed again with a meal like this.

Sheet Pan Honey Mustard Crusted Salmon with Restaurant Style French Fries and Roasted Veggies :: Gluten, Grain, Nut, Egg, Soy, and Refined Sugar Free!So there you have it!

A little real life from my home! This is where the nitty gritty of the day in and day out of a real food kitchen starts. Yes, fancy treats, and fun baked goods are great. But what’s for dinner on Tuesday night? What are we going to feed a growth spurting child that needs fuel that will help him grow without us going broke? That is where my commitment to you lies. The every day life. Because I want you to see how this thing can work for you with all of my being.

Happy dinner success to you!

Sheet Pan Honey Mustard Crusted Salmon with Restaurant Style French Fries and Roasted Veggies :: Gluten, Grain, Nut, Egg, Soy, and Refined Sugar Free!

5.0 from 5 reviews
Sheet Pan Honey Mustard Crusted Salmon with Restaurant Style French Fries and Roasted Veggies :: Gluten, Grain, Nut, Egg, Soy, and Refined Sugar Free!
Author: 
 
Ingredients
  • 3 large russet potatoes, sliced into fries (cubes work too)
  • 6 tbsp avocado oil, divided (other high heat friendly fats would work – butter, coconut oil, tallow, or lard)
  • 3 tbsp organic all season salt, divided
  • 4 tbsp dried parsley, divided
  • 1 head of broccoli, cut into florets
  • 5 medium carrots, peeled and cut on a bias into coins (I used rainbow carrots for more color!)
  • Sea salt/pepper to taste
  • ⅓ cup unsweetened coconut shreds
  • ⅓ cup blanched almond flour (if nut free use coconut flour)
  • 2 tbsp organic mustard
  • 1 tbsp raw honey
  • 1 tbsp mustard powder
  • 4 wild caught salmon fillets, skinned (If you have little guys in the house like I do, you can slice the fillets in half making 8 servings)
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
  2. Toss the potatoes, 3 tablespoons of avocado oil, 1 ½ tablespoons of all season salt, and 2 tablespoons of parsley on a Silpat lined baking sheet so everything is coated evenly. Put the seasoned potatoes in the 425 degree oven for 30 minutes, STIRRING AROUND AT THE 15 MINUTE MARK, while you prep the other veggies and salmon.
  3. While the fries get started cooking prepare the veggie and salmon sheet. Toss the broccoli and carrots with 3 tablespoons of avocado oil, 2 tablespoons of parsley, and sea salt/pepper to taste on a Silpat lined baking sheet so everything is coated evenly. Spread the veggies to cover about ½ to ¾ of the baking sheet, leaving room to put the salmon on the same sheet.
  4. Combine the coconut shreds, almond flour, and 1 ½ tablespoons of all season salt in a small bowl. In a separate small bowl, whisk the mustard, raw honey, and mustard powder.
  5. Pat your salmon fillets dry, then brush the honey mustard mixture over the top of each salmon fillet. Sprinkle the coconut shred/almond flour mixture over the top of the mustard coated salmon, giving it a generous coating. Place the coated salmon fillets on the same baking sheet as the veggies. (You could do this on a third tray if you have a bigger crew and need to do a full sheet pan of veg and salmon!)
  6. After the fries have cooked for 30 minutes, stir them around again and place back in the oven along with the veggie/salmon sheet pan. I like to put the veggie/salmon sheet pan on the middle rack with the fries on the rack just below. Cook everything another 15 minutes, until the fish is golden brown on the top and the veggies are bite tender. (This 15 minute cook time leaves the veggies with a little “bite”, which is how I prefer them. If you like your veggies softer, you can put them in the oven for 15 minutes before putting the salmon on the tray, so they will get a total of 30 minutes. Be sure to stir them around at the 15 minute mark when you add the salmon to the tray. The salmon doesn’t need any more than the 15 minutes.)

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“Everything But The Kitchen Sink” Paleo Breakfast Cookies! :: Dairy, Gluten, Grain, and Refined Sugar Free with Egg & Nut Free Options!

April 13, 2017

“Everything but the kitchen sink” paleo breakfast cookies are filled with power packed protein, and satiating friendly fats, making it a great on the go, portable breakfast for anytime of the year!

"Everything But The Kitchen Sink" Paleo Breakfast Cookies! :: Dairy, Gluten, Grain, and Refined Sugar Free with Egg & Nut Free Options!Product links in this post are affiliate links. It does not cost you anything and helps maintain the free information on this site, as well as answer the questions of “what brand do you use?” Please know I never personally recommend any product I wouldn’t use on my own family.

Did you know that the Easter bunny cooks at our house???

Yep! Every Easter since this momma had a gaggle of little ones racing around for Easter eggs every Easter morning! I remember the first Easter I realized that my plans for a beautiful, elaborate Easter morning breakfast were dashed with toddlers that cared more about Easter eggs and new crayons than eating…

"Everything But The Kitchen Sink" Paleo Breakfast Cookies! :: Dairy, Gluten, Grain, and Refined Sugar Free with Egg & Nut Free Options!A new tradition!

The following year I decided that I needed to have something similar to the quick, handheld breakfast I started doing on Christmas morning (something similar to these festive Christmas cranberry breakfast cookies!). A portable, quick breakfast that the girls could eat while hunting for eggs and reading their new books.

The night before Easter I was about to “nibble” on the carrots the girls left out for the Easter bunny when it hit me!

"Everything But The Kitchen Sink" Paleo Breakfast Cookies! :: Dairy, Gluten, Grain, and Refined Sugar Free with Egg & Nut Free Options!That silly ‘ol Easter bunny made the girls a fun breakfast cookie out of some of the carrots the girls left out for him!

That’s one talented bunny! But my kiddos thought it was the coolest thing in the world! And they got a nourishing breakfast starter to eat that kept blood sugars in check and made for happy moods.

Now that my oldest 2 have caught on to who the Easter bunny really is this year (whaaa!!!!), they still asked for their Easter bunny carrot cookies this year, and wanted to play along with their littlest sister who still thinks there’s a bunny baking in the kitchen!

"Everything But The Kitchen Sink" Paleo Breakfast Cookies! :: Dairy, Gluten, Grain, and Refined Sugar Free with Egg & Nut Free Options!Everything but the kitchen sink!

These breakfast cookies are loaded with so many fun surprises! Bits of walnut and chunks of sweet apple, tiny shreds of bright orange carrot, and raisins dotted throughout! There is a good mixture of a variety of flours so there is a good balance of protein, fat, and of course fantastic texture.

"Everything But The Kitchen Sink" Paleo Breakfast Cookies! :: Dairy, Gluten, Grain, and Refined Sugar Free with Egg & Nut Free Options!Streamlined cookie prep!

While the list of ingredients may look like a lot, remember this momma isn’t a huge fan of baking – I made the process super simple. And big time bonus! These cookies freeze up GREAT. Double up and into the freezer so you don’t even have to make them in the morning! In fact I love them right out of the freezer.

"Everything But The Kitchen Sink" Paleo Breakfast Cookies! :: Dairy, Gluten, Grain, and Refined Sugar Free with Egg & Nut Free Options!Ingredient notes and swaps

  • Egg free swaps like chia or flax eggs work great in this recipe! In fact, what is pictured in this post is using 2 chia eggs. It adds some extra omega 3’s and fiber to the cookie too! To make 1 chia or flax egg, blend 1 tablespoon of chia seed or flax seed into a “meal” and mix it with 3 tablespoons of water (so double this for the 2 “eggs” you need in the recipe). Let the seed/water mixture sit for 5 minutes to gel and then use your “eggs” in the recipe. I like to make my egg replacements before I even start the recipe so it is ready to go by the time I need them.
  • Nut free friends, I would sub sorghum flour, cassava flour, or other GF flour you like for the almond flour. I wouldn’t use the same amount – more like ¾ cup-ish since those flours are drier than almond flour. For the chopped walnuts, I would use ground up seeds that you can tolerate, or more coconut shreds.
  • Softened butter should swap for the coconut oil fine.
  • Maple syrup should swap for the honey fine if you have little guys that can’t have raw honey yet.
  • I think the recipe will work fine without the collagen. I used to make them without it a handful of years ago before I used to have it around, though the collagen sure does make the texture super soft. Maybe add a bit more tapioca if omitting the collagen. I love the added protein the collagen gives to the cookie as well.

"Everything But The Kitchen Sink" Paleo Breakfast Cookies! :: Dairy, Gluten, Grain, and Refined Sugar Free with Egg & Nut Free Options!

5.0 from 8 reviews
"Everything But The Kitchen Sink" Paleo Breakfast Cookies! :: Dairy, Gluten, Grain, and Refined Sugar Free with Egg & Nut Free Options!
Author: 
 
Ingredients
  • ⅓ cup softened coconut oil (I get that brand at Costco)
  • 3-4 TB raw honey (We get our raw honey from a local farmer, but this is a good brand too)
  • 2 eggs (Or 2 “chia eggs.” Plus 1 TB apple cider vinegar to puff the cookies up like eggs would do. Pictured in this post is the cookies made with chia eggs! It works great!)
  • 1 cup blanched almond flour (I get that brand at Costco)
  • ½ cup tapioca flour
  • ½ cup coconut flour
  • ½ cup unsweetened shredded coconut
  • ¼ cup grassfed collagen
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 tsp almond extract (vanilla would work)
  • 1 tsp aluminum free baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • ¼ tsp sea salt
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts (I pulse them up in the food processor, but hand chopping would work too. I buy ours at Costco.)
  • ½ cup finely shredded carrots
  • ½ medium apple, coarsely chopped
  • ½ cup raisins
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Blend the softened coconut oil and honey until smooth.
  3. Add the eggs or chia eggs and blend until smooth.
  4. Add the rest of the ingredients and mix with a wooden spoon to combine. I start with a spoon and then finish it with my hands. The dough will feel dry at first, but I promise the moisture from the apples and carrots will make the cookies moist. You should be able to form cookie dough balls with the mixture.
  5. Line a baking sheet with Silpat or parchment paper and put form your cookies on the baking sheet. I form a ball and then carefully flatten them on the baking sheet.
  6. Bake at 375 degrees for 10-12 minutes. Let the cookies cool a good 10 minutes before handling so they set up. This batch makes about 1 dozen medium sized cookies.

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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 11 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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Gluten Free Protein Waffles :: Gluten, Soy, and Refined Sugar Free!

April 7, 2017

Light and crispy outside, fluffy and chewy inside! You’ll never know these gluten free waffles are packed with protein and nourishing fat!

Gluten Free Protein Waffles :: Gluten, Soy, and Refined Sugar 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.

You guys have been so patient!

Thank you for that! I have been posting about these waffles for the last couple months as leftovers in my girls’ school lunches, and my poor Instagram followers are about ready to throw rotten tomatoes at me if we don’t get these bad boys up pronto!

afe waffle iron recommendations!All the texture and flavor you want in a waffle…without the sugar crash!

Because who needs a carb overloaded toddler anyway?! {No thank you!} I’m so proud of the breakdown of ingredients in these waffles. I’m even more proud that they don’t feel like a brick, they don’t crumble in your mouth, and they keep a fantastic texture for leftovers. Which means momma can do double time and save kitchen time! Yeah!

Gluten Free Protein Waffles :: Gluten, Soy, and Refined Sugar Free!If you want the right waffle texture, you gotta play the waffle game…

Which means those darn separated eggs and whipped egg whites. Friends, there is just no doubt about it. If you want super fluffy batter, crispy but soft and airy waffles…you can’t skip this step! Believe me – I have made plenty of brick texture waffles in my day!

I promise it doesn’t take much more than an extra few minutes, and your family is going to rave over these airy, light, and crispy waffles!

Gluten Free Protein Waffles :: Gluten, Soy, and Refined Sugar Free!All star player ingredients!

Ok, so we want that great flavor and texture, but we also want those stable blood sugars, and even a nutrient component to these, right? So here’s what I came up with! Instead of a waffle with all grain flour, I mixed a great gluten free flour blend with some protein and fat rich almond flour. The grassfed collagen keeps the texture soft as well as bumps up the protein even more.

Gluten Free Protein Waffles :: Gluten, Soy, and Refined Sugar Free!Filling and satisfying

Because these waffles are so satisfying, I actually found that my kids are eating less waffles than when I used to make an all grain based waffle. Sure, I always paired their waffles with eggs, raw milk, and even bacon sometimes, but carb-filled waffles are easy to down one after the next. These waffles are light and airy, but they are also very protein and friendly fat rich – which makes them satiating! Next to a side of eggs or sausage, the kids will be full in one serving!

Gluten Free Protein Waffles :: Gluten, Soy, and Refined Sugar Free!Which means leftovers for school!

***Big time round of applause from the busy mommas!***

Because if I can pack Monday’s school lunch right after Sunday morning breakfast…#winning! I slather almond butter and jam, or coconut butter and raw honey in the middle, and then look at all the possibilities!

Gluten Free Protein Waffles :: Gluten, Soy, and Refined Sugar Free!Ingredient notes

  • My sweet egg free friends! Give me a few more weeks – I am on the verge of a waffle that I have been working on for myself since I cannot have eggs right now. This recipe just doesn’t work the same without the eggs. If you are an egg free pro and end up with a swap, leave us some of your wise notes in the comments section!
  • If you are nut free, swap out the almond flour for more of the GF flour blend. I actually think that buckwheat would be a nice swap here too. Buckwheat is a seed, so make sure it doesn’t fall into the family of nuts or seeds you can’t have. It is high in protein and minerals to boot too!
  • I’ve been using coconut milk instead of raw milk for our waffles lately since our milk share is low until late spring. Coconut milk works great!

Gluten Free Protein Waffles :: Gluten, Soy, and Refined Sugar Free!Safe waffle iron recommendations

I have had my ceramic coated, safe waffle iron for a couple years now and it still works like new! I love it! Here are some safe waffle iron options ::

3

5.0 from 1 reviews
Gluten Free Protein Waffles :: Gluten, Soy, and Refined Sugar Free!
Author: 
 
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. Whisk the flours, collagen, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a medium mixing bowl.
  2. Separate the egg whites into a small mixing bowl. Put the egg yolks in a different small mixing bowl along with the milk, oil, syrup, and vanilla extract
  3. Blend the egg whites for a couple minutes on high speed until they are fluffy like whipped cream. Set aside.
  4. Blend the yolks and wet ingredients to combine for 1 minute.
  5. Pour the egg yolk wet ingredient mixture into the dry ingredients, and blend to combine.
  6. Gently fold the whipped egg whites into the batter. Pour the batter onto a hot waffle iron and cook according to your waffle iron directions. Mine takes about 2 minutes.

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Earth Mama Angel Baby Earth Day Giveaway! :: PLUS! An Earth Day Giveaway Blog Hop!

April 7, 2017

Earth Mama Angel Baby is a brand you can trust with the most sensitive of skin – and we have a great Earth Day giveaway too!

Earth Mama Angel Baby Earth Day Giveaway! :: PLUS! An Earth Day Giveaway Blog Hop!

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


Earth-Day-GiveawayWelcome to the Earth Day Giveaway Hop, hosted by The Pistachio Project and Green Moms Network!

Each of the participating blogs will be giving away a prize to help you go green and celebrate Earth Day! Earth Day is just one day out of the year but we want to give you ways to go eco-friendly all year long. After entering my giveaway, be sure to hop around and enter all of the other giveaways listed on the link at the bottom of this post! 


Earth Mama Angel Baby Earth Day Giveaway! :: PLUS! An Earth Day Giveaway Blog Hop!There was something about becoming a momma for the first time…

…that completely awakened the momma bear inside of me toward *anything* my baby came in contact with. From clothing and toys, to food and soap, something in me started to question just about every label and every ingredient that my baby was going to touch, ingest, or be slathered in!

I became a label reader…

I remember the very first “bath” I gave my first born. I had received oodles of a certain “popular” tear free baby wash at all the baby showers, and I figured, “Well…it has a baby on it right? It must be safe?!” As I was watching her wiggle in the little baby hamock I flipped that bottle over to see just how baby friendly the ingredients looked – I mean what ingredients made it a baby wash really?

Immediately my heart sunk. I couldn’t even read half the label, and my red flag, red light, momma alerts were going off in my head.

Earth Mama Angel Baby Earth Day Giveaway! :: PLUS! An Earth Day Giveaway Blog Hop!A brand you can trust

My research into a better baby wash continually brought me back to Earth Mama Angel Baby . I loved that I could understand the ingredients and I loved the mission of the company. Now that my babies are older, we still love the gentle soaps and lotions when we need them, and there are even more product options and scents…and in a house full of little girls…well, that is extremely important!

Spring lavender is in the air!

To celebrate Earth Day, Earth Mama Angel Baby is helping us step into the fresh air with this amazing package of their most popular naturally scented lavender products and a great tote to carry all of your farmer’s market finds this spring and summer! Total retail of the package is $65 plus shipping! Yeah!

Earth Mama Angel Baby Earth Day Giveaway! :: PLUS! An Earth Day Giveaway Blog Hop!

Enter via Rafflecopter below (Open to US residents only. Giveaway ends April 22, 2017) ::
a Rafflecopter giveaway


But wait! There’s More Earth Day Giveaway Fun!

I’ve teamed up with my fellow Green Moms Network blogging friends to bring you all of their Earth Day giveaways, in one big massive Earth Day Giveaway Blog Hop! Follow the links below to enter more Earth Day giveaways!



This contest will run thorough April 22, 2017 at 11:59 EST. No purchase necessary. US entries only. Must be 18 years or older to win. Sponsors may have provided free samples of products to the bloggers. This promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed, or administered by or associated with, Facebook. You understand that you are providing your information to Raising Generation Nourished and not to Facebook. Please not that Raising Generation Nourished, The Pistachio Project, Green Moms Network and the Earth Day Giveaway Hop bloggers are not responsible for sponsors that do n to fulfill their prizes. We have represented each sponsor with the expectation they will fulfill their prize in a timely manner. We will contact the sponsor regarding your prize(s). The sponsors, in most cases, are shipping their items to you directly. I will make every effort to assist you obtaining your prize. If there is an issue with a sponsor, please notify the blog you won a prize from within 4-6 weeks for assistance, after that we may be unable to assist you.

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

March 17, 2017

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Gluten Free Options ::

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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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!

More real food recipes you might like ::

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

February 24, 2017

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

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

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

A Note From Renee ::

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

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

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


Anytime is the right time to start researching!

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

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

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

Lighter Periods and Less Cramps

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

Saves Money

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

Reduces Waste

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

Much More Fun

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

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

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

Pros:

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

Cons:

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

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

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

Menstrual Cups

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

Pros:

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

Cons:

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

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

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

Period Panties

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

Pros:

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

Cons:

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

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

Sea Sponges

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

Pros:

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

Cons:

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

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

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

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

Red Raspberry Leaf Tea

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

Magnesium

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

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

Gentle Movement & Rest

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

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

Rice Bags

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

Menstrual Cramp Relief Salve

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

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

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