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

January 12, 2017

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

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

I really should have known better…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Stovetop soup instructions

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

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

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

Biscuit and cracker ideas to go with your soup!

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

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

January 6, 2017

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

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

Simplicity.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Infiltrate and populate!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Dips!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tips on recipe size

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

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

December 30, 2016

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

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

He always picks out the biggest one!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

spaghetti-and-meatballs-banner

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

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

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

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

Directions:

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

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

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

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

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

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

Directions:

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

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How To Make Elderberry Tincture

November 11, 2016

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

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

Preface: I am not a medical doctor. Use your own discretion, momma gut instinct, and research to make a decision if the natural remedies discussed in this post are for you. Obviously if you or your child is not responding to natural remedies well, or symptoms become worse, seek medical attention. Product links in this post are affiliate links. It does not cost you anything and helps maintain the free information on this site, as well as answer the questions of “what brand do you use?” Please know I never personally recommend any product I wouldn’t use on my own family.

I will never forget the year I was sold on using elderberries during the fall and winter seasons.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Is it safe for children?

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

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

Extend the shelf life of your elderberries!

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

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

What you will need to make elderberry tincture

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

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

Instructions for making elderberry tincture

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

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

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

Adults (considered over age 12) ::

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

Children (ages 5-12) ::

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

Children (ages 2-4) ::

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

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

Tips for taking elderberry tincture

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

More natural remedy posts you might like ::

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

Dinner Ideas Lunch Ideas Nourishing Staples Real Food 101 Real Food Tips

Versatile Cabbage and Beef Skillet

October 27, 2016

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Ways to change it up!


Egg Roll In a Bowl!

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

Curry Me!

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

Deconstructed Cabbage Roll Style!

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

Italian Style!

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

Taco Tuesday!

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

Smoky and Sweet Chicken and Pumpkin Corn Chowder

October 21, 2016

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

Smoky & Sweet Chicken & Pumpkin Corn Chowder :: Creamy and comforting meets the savory heat of chipotle in this sweet and smoky chicken and pumpkin corn chowder!Product links in this post are affiliate links. It does not cost you anything and helps maintain the free information on this site, as well as answer the questions of “what brand do you use?” Please know I never personally recommend any product I wouldn’t use on my own family.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

More real food recipes you might like ::

Feeding Babies Nourishing Staples Real Food 101 Real Food Tips

3 Tips For Encouraging Adventurous Eaters

October 1, 2016

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

Tips with toddlers

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

An anecdote about keeping it positive…

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


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

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

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

Keep the portions small.

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

Use appropriately sized, simple feeding gear.

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

You can find Nourished Beginnings Baby Food here!

Barnes & Noble | Amazon | Indibound

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

 

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

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

September 17, 2016

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A note on packing time

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

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

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


The Pizza Day Lunch!

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

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

Lunchbox Contents:


The Comforting Chicken Noodle Soup Lunch!

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

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

Lunchbox Contents:

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

The Hummus Dipper Lunch!

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

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

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

Lunchbox Contents:

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

The Classic Tomato Soup & Grilled Cheese Lunch!

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

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

Lunchbox Contents:


The Loaded Salad Lunch!

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

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

Lunchbox Contents:


The Fiesta Lunch!

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

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

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

Lunchbox Contents:

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

More school lunch posts you might like:

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

5 Minute Mexican Chicken Salad

August 25, 2016

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

Pinterest

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

Sometimes it is simplicity that everyone craves.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

More *quick* real food dinners you might like:

Batch Up Meals Breakfast Ideas Lunch Ideas Nourishing Staples Real Food 101 Real Food Tips school lunches Snack Ideas

Nutrient Dense Protein Banana Breakfast Muffins

August 11, 2016

Protein and friendly fat packed, this isn’t just any banana bread! Perfect for a full and focused school morning!

Nutrient Dense Protein Banana Breakfast Muffins :: Protein and friendly fat packed, this isn't just any banana bread! Perfect for a full and focused school morning!Product links in this post are affiliate links. It does not cost you anything and helps maintain the free information on this site, as well as answer the questions of “what brand do you use?” Please know I never personally recommend any product I wouldn’t use on my own family.

Is it just me or has this summer completely and utterly flown by?!

About mid-August I start getting antsy for school routines to start back up, and so I’ve been in my kitchen a little bit creating some recipes for you guys that will make those early school mornings run a little smoother.

Groan.

I know it, right?! I have really (really!) been enjoying my slower paced mornings the last couple months! We have still been eating nourishing, real food breakfasts, though I have to admit much later into the morning that we will be able to do come this fall.

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.While I have 2 elementary school aged kids in the house, I actually created this recipe with my toddler in mind.

We have to be on the road early to get to school on time, and there are plenty of mornings my toddler is just waking up as we are needing to head out the door. A portable, handheld breakfast she can munch on while we drop the big girls off is so nice to have around.

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.Protein and friendly fat loaded, these banana muffins aren’t just any banana bread.

I had some big ingredient goals with this banana muffin recipe to “make it count” for my toddler’s appetite, as well as satisfying my school aged kids to last for a full morning of concentrating at school.

  • Grassfed collagen not only gives the muffins a soft, bread like texture, it adds protein from a grassfed source. (Don’t forget to use your RGN reader discount GENERATION10 at checkout for 10% off!)
  • Almond flour is fat and protein loaded and makes baked goods soft and sweet.
  • Sorghum flour surprisingly has a nice protein count as well as giving a whole grain softness to the muffins.
  • Coconut flour is loaded with digestion friendly fiber as well as protein and fat.
  • And adding in coconut oil and pastured eggs for moisture and binding, these banana muffins are power packed for a busy morning at school and play!

Nutrient Dense Protein Banana Breakfast Muffins :: Protein and friendly fat packed, this isn't just any banana bread! Perfect for a full and focused school morning!Keeping kids focused for the morning is much easier when blood sugar is balanced as well.

In addition to a decent protein and fat content, I didn’t want to have to add anything extra to sweeten the muffins besides the fruit itself. My girls will eat their muffins with raw milk and hard boiled eggs, or with a green smoothie. It makes for a slow burning, long lasting breakfast that will hold them over until their next meal.

Nutrient Dense Protein Banana Breakfast Muffins :: Protein and friendly fat packed, this isn't just any banana bread! Perfect for a full and focused school morning!Tips & Tricks For Use!

  • Store leftovers in a freezer bag in the freezer. I find gluten and grain free items just stay more moist in when you freeze them right away. They will stay soft and moist for a day or so on the counter in an air tight container.
  • You can pull frozen muffins out to thaw counter top or pop them back in the oven (or a toaster oven) to thaw. I like to pull a bag of them out of the freezer before I go to bed at night so they are ready when we get up in the morning.
  • You can put a frozen muffin in the lunchbox in the morning and it will thaw by lunchtime! I have even put a frozen muffin in a snack container for morning snacktime and they are ready.
  • Spread butter or coconut butter on your muffins to bump up the nourishment even more. I serve these with a green smoothie or hard boiled eggs for a breakfast meal. They go well with a bowl of soup for lunch!

Nutrient Dense Protein Banana Breakfast Muffins :: Protein and friendly fat packed, this isn't just any banana bread! Perfect for a full and focused school morning!

Nutrient Dense Protein Banana Breakfast Muffins
Author: 
 
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees, and line a 12 cup muffin tin with silicone muffin liners, or grease them with butter or coconut oil.
  2. Put the bananas and coconut oil into your food processor or blender and blend to combine.
  3. Add the eggs and blend for 30 seconds.
  4. Add the rest of the ingredients and blend to combine. You may have to scrape down the sides a bit. You can taste the batter here and add a splash or 2 of honey or maple syrup if your kids are used to sweeter things. I find the ripe bananas give them enough sweet for my crew.
  5. Pour the batter into a silicone lined muffin tin and bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes until the tops are golden brown. Let the muffins cool 5-10 minutes before handling them.

More real food school breakfasts posts you might like:

Cold & Flu Season Herbal Recipes Natural Remedies Nourishing Staples Real Food 101 Real Food Tips

Tips For Keeping Kids Healthy All School Year

August 5, 2016

Simple, natural tips for keeping kids healthy and giving them the advantage in fighting the every day school germs!

Tips For Keeping Kids Healthy All School Year
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.

Every momma’s goal come the start of the school year…

Escape the back to school bugs!

I admit, it creeps in the back of my head as well. Within those first few weeks of school the emails start rolling out warnings of this bug and that being passed around the classroom, and it’s enough to make you want to send your kid to school in a bubble!

Of course our kids do not live in bubbles, and in fact, an occasional cold bug is a great thing to let their bodies “clean house” and build immunity.

There are definitely some things we can do however, to give our kids the “upper hand.” We can help their bodies fight off bugs more efficiently so that the bugs either don’t even show up as a full on cold, or so that they don’t last as long.

Tips For Keeping Kids Healthy All School YearHere are our household secrets in keeping our houseful of kiddos healthy *all* school year long!


Tips For Keeping Kids Healthy All School YearFirst and foremost, it is important to remember that school aged kids are kids. Not adults. School days are long at every school age. In addition to school schedule, packing in a bunch of extra activities at the end of the day can really drain their bodies. If activities after school are a “must”, then it really ought to be made up for on the weekend with naps and early bedtimes. Period.

Growing kids need downtime and play to recoup. Taxed adrenals from lack of sleep and stimulating days don’t allow the immune system to do its job effectively. Plan in what is absolutely necessary, and literally schedule in bedtimes and playtime if after school activities are a part of their week.


Tips For Keeping Kids Healthy All School YearBack to school bugs are pretty much a given to be passed around within the first few weeks of school. We have escaped the throws of those first few weeks of the back to school cold being passed around by boosting our systems a good month before school starts and continuing through the fall.

Get the kids outside for fresh air after school and open the windows at home to air everything out! YES in the middle of winter too! The kids breathe stale, inside shared air all day at school and need to play outside and breathe some fresh air. You would be surprised at what even the winter sunshine can do for their demeanor and health – outside light and fresh air is important!

Keep in mind that bugs are going to happen!

It’s inevitable and sometimes a good thing for their body to do some housecleaning with a bug. If the illness is a recurrent thing, it’s time to stop and take a look at what might be a root cause keeping their body run down, but a few bugs in the course of a school year isn’t the end of the world.

So here is our immune system booster line-up!


DAILY


1. Cod Liver Oil

Well sourced cod liver oil is a fantastic source of the right ratios of vitamins A and D which nourish the immune system. High doses of vitamin D by itself is not recommended as it is balanced best in the presence of vitamin A. This is why cod liver oil is a great source of getting your vitamin D during the cold, dark fall and winter months.

Cod liver oil is also a good source of omega 3. Omega 3’s fight inflammation in the body from stress and stressors (like being sick!) and help the body heal. I have doubled up on cod liver oil during the first day or 2 of the onset of a cold and really felt like it helped knock the virus and inflammation out faster.

How we take cod liver oil in our house

You can find our favorite quality sourced cod liver oil here (Use the code GENERATION 10 checkout and get my RGN reader 10% discount!). We follow the WAPF dosage recommendations. 1/2 – 1 teaspoon 3 months old to 12 years old, and 1-2 tsp 12 years old and up. I do double up the cod liver oil for a day or 2 during illness.

2. Whole Food Sourced Vitamin C

Vitamin C can do some pretty amazing things to aide our immune systems in fighting bugs. It reduces inflammation and boosts the fighting power of our immune system to make the bugs have a shorter duration.

The sourcing on the C truly does matter, and if the back of your bottle says that the C is “ascorbic acid” as its source, you will want to take a peek at this article about why a whole food sourced C works better and is safer.

How we take vitamin C in our house

My favorite source for a whole food based vitamin C is this brand. I also use THIS whole food vitamin C spray for my toddler who can’t swallow capsules yet, and I LOVE the convenience of it! My girls take 250-500mg of vitamin C every day, though keep in mind every child is different and has different needs. Start out small and be sure they are doing well on it. I do double their C during illness.

3. Quality, Whole Food Sourced Multivitamin

Since our soils are so depleted of minerals and vitamins, which in turn make our food supply less than robust, a multivitamin is a good idea. A quality whole food sourced multi-vitamin is hard to come by though! I don’t want the synthetics, and a bunch of other junk like dyes added either! Kids need a chewable or powder until they can swallow capsules, and I have used THIS brand for years. We follow the dosing directions on the back of the box. (Don’t forget you can use your RGN reader code at check-out for 10% off! GENERATION10)

4. Quality Probiotic Rotation & Fermented Foods

By now I think everyone has heard the phrase “all disease begins in the gut,” and it couldn’t be more true. The beneficial bacteria in our guts are the immune system’s first line of defense. Probiotics keep the intestinal lining strong and secure, providing a barrier to fight against pathogen attacks. Keeping the flora in the gut balanced means having more good bacteria present than bad.

We love probiotic rich fermented foods such as sauerkraut, yogurt, kimchi, and pickles in our house. Sometimes they just aren’t at every meal we are eating, however! I have found it best to keep up on our gut flora by using quality supplements which also present our guts with different varieties of bacteria to keep everything happy.

How we use probiotics in our home

My girls take 1 dose (depending on the brand we are rotating) of probiotics every day, and I rotate the brand to give them a variety of bacteria strains. We use Just Thrive, PrescriptAssist, and Garden of Life for Kids. (Don’t forget if you click through those links and purchase through Perfect Supplements to use my code GENERATION10 at check-out to get your RGN reader 10% discount!).

A quick baby and toddler note! When I had babies in the house, I just poured the powder in the cap right on my baby’s or toddler’s tongue. You can stir the powder into food like yogurt, smoothies, or even a spoonful of cod liver oil if you wish!


AT ONSET OF ILLNESS OR IF THERE IS SOMETHING “GOING AROUND” THE CLASSROOM


1. Elderberry Syrup

Elderberries are powerful virus killers and immune system boosters! When I get teacher email warnings of flu spreading, hand foot and mouth outbreaks, or other viruses, you better believe that elderberry syrup is coming out! You can bottle up elderberry goodness in elderberry syrup or tincture form and it is super easy to take because it tastes really good!

How we take elderberry syrup in our home

2 weeks before school starts I like to give the girls 1 tsp of elderberry syrup per day through the first week or two of school starting. If I get warning emails of flu or other viruses, I will do the 1 tsp per day for a good week or 2. When my kids are coming down with something or are home ill, we do 1 tsp of elderberry syrup every waking hour until they perk back up.

2. Boosted Vitamin C

You can pop up to the Vitamin C section in the preventatives section of this post to read about why the Vitamin C is so crucial in fighting illness, but just wanted to review here that during the onset of illness or illness, I double their vitamin C dose until they perk up from being sick.

3. Chiropractic

Years ago, I had a chiropractor friend where we were living at the time explain the benefits of having kids adjusted at the onset of illness to help them recover faster, and I have been amazed at how true this is. I have gone through a couple colds with the girls where we haven’t gotten to the chiropractor, and they just seem to linger longer.

I asked our family chiropractor if he could explain why chiropractic is good for the immune system, and his response made so much sense I asked if I could quote him!

Proper alignment enhances circulation and drainage of fluids. It also optimizes nerve function to help calm the body’s stress response (sympathetic nervous system), and enhance the body’s healing response (parasympathetic nervous system). This has been shown to not only reduce illness, but help children recover from illness quicker.
Dr. Levi Pulver, DC

I also want to mention that I have noticed regular, “well visit” adjustments seem to keep my kids on top of things especially during the school year. I take them for an adjustment monthly whether they are sick or not. It is a simple, non invasive step to keep the connections at the spine firing where they should be to keep every organ system operating well. (If you are looking for a chiropractor in your area that works with kids well, I love using this site to search.)

4. Germ Targeted Essential Oils

Essential oils were fairly new to me when my daughter started school a number of years ago, but I have come to realize just how effective they are! I have been without them during illness and really could feel how much faster my kids got better when germ targeted oils were diffusing during illness.

How we use germ targeted essential oils in our home

We do not diffuse germ targeted essential oils all year every day. That is not how they were intended to use. I diffuse germ targeted essential oils during the first week or 2 of school starting, during school bug outbreaks, and when my kids are ill. I have found them super effective especially diffusing them in their room overnight – when they wake up acting like a whole fresh new kid you know something is working! I love that!

Our favorite germ targeted essential oil blend is THIS kid safe blend. I am a huge fan of using oils that are safe for kids – many germ targeted blends are great for adults but not intended safe for kids. This Kid Safe blend was created to be safe for kids and it really works!


nourishing mealsI decided not to put the nourishing menu in the “preventatives” section, even though that is exactly what it is, because I didn’t want it to get skipped by. Children’s fuel makes a difference in their body operating correctly, including the immune system…period.

But wait! Before you write this section off because your kiddo might not be the best eater, hear me out!

Eating well for their immune system doesn’t have to mean boring veggies they might turn their nose up to. I think the biggest thing we can do is get the sugar and processed food out, and get the nutrient dense items in.

Ensuring they are getting adequate amounts of friendly fats will help their hormones and sugars stabilize, which will keep their immune system functioning.

  • Lots of pastured butter, lard/tallow, coconut oil, used in your cooking and serving of food.
  • Bone broth is a daily goal of mine to get into my kids during the school year. Whether in a tea cup with butter at breakfast, or in their school thermos in the form of a kid friendly soup like tomato soup, broccoli soup, chicken noodle soup, or butternut squash soup, daily bone broth replaces missing minerals in the diet, nourishes the gut lining with collagen, and is an overall comforting addition to their day.
  • Nettle Infusions are another great way to replace missing minerals in children’s diets which will help organs and systems in their bodies operate more efficiently. The infusions are also hydrating and kid friendly in taste. It packs up in the water bottle for school to drink easily. It is a great mineral rich boost at lunchtime!
  • You can use immune booster smoothies once or twice a week for breakfast. If your kids really love smoothies you can try these green smoothies for kids as well to change things up.
  • You can browse the meals in the Recipes tab at the top of the blog, and you can also get a collection of my family’s favorite staple meals in my new book Nourished Beginnings . The recipes in the book are meals my girls have grown up on, and are on our table weekly!Tips For Keeping Kids Healthy All School Year

More cold & flu season posts you might like:

Post Tummy Bug Recovery Smoothie

Naturally Healing Ear Infections In Kids

Natural Tummy Bug Remedies For Kids

Vitamin C Gummies

Elderberry Syrup

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

Kid Friendly Veggie Spaghetti Sauce

July 22, 2016

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

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

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

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

Make it taste good!

Make it fun!

Make it familiar!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Serving options

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

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

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

Oh! And don’t forget the leftovers!

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

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

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

Here are some more kid friendly vegetable ideas to try!

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

Roasted Eggplant and Tomato Soup

July 16, 2016

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Cream of Zucchini Soup

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

Instant Pot Summer Vegetable Soup

July 15, 2016

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Fresh Summer Tomato Soup

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

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

Summer Fruit Snacks With Protein Rich Grassfed Gelatin!

July 9, 2016

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

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

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

Sooo…toddlers.

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

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

She is also…busy.

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

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

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

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

So, what is gelatin, really?

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

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

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

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

What are the benefits of grassfed collagen/gelatin?

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

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

Why Perfect Supplements Gelatin?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

More Collagen/Gelatin Rich Recipes You Might Like!

Batch Up Meals Breakfast Ideas Lunch Ideas Nourishing Staples Real Food 101 Real Food Tips school lunches Snack Ideas

Nourishing Cherry Granola :: Gluten & Refined Sugar Free With Grain Free Option

July 8, 2016

Cherry granola makes the perfect hot summer morning breakfast to cool down with, and a delicious nourishing snack for on the go!

Cherry granola makes the perfect hot summer morning breakfast to cool down with, and a delicious nourishing snack for on the go!

Cherry season in Michigan snuck up on us this year!

Nourishing Cherry Granola :: Gluten & Refined Sugar Free With Grain Free Option :: Cherry granola makes the perfect hot summer morning breakfast to cool down with, and a delicious nourishing snack for on the go!

Typically right around the 4th of July holiday or shortly after for our area, the milder winter and, according to the cherry farmer, less heavy spring rains and no frost damage brought a huge summer bounty about a week early this year.

Nourishing Cherry Granola :: Gluten & Refined Sugar Free With Grain Free Option :: Cherry granola makes the perfect hot summer morning breakfast to cool down with, and a delicious nourishing snack for on the go!

I couldn’t be more happy for our local farmers who will be enjoying a very good harvest this year, and it really makes my heart happy to support our farm families around here. Last year, my youngest was still just along for the ride in my back carrier, but this year she had zero hesitation scaling those cherry ladders to fill up her bucket!

Nourishing Cherry Granola :: Gluten & Refined Sugar Free With Grain Free Option :: Cherry granola makes the perfect hot summer morning breakfast to cool down with, and a delicious nourishing snack for on the go!

Of course my big girls, now seasoned cherry pickers, enjoyed every minute too!

Nourishing Cherry Granola :: Gluten & Refined Sugar Free With Grain Free Option :: Cherry granola makes the perfect hot summer morning breakfast to cool down with, and a delicious nourishing snack for on the go!

It was such a good cherry season this year, so we brought home quite a haul to preserve.

Nourishing Cherry Granola :: Gluten & Refined Sugar Free With Grain Free Option :: Cherry granola makes the perfect hot summer morning breakfast to cool down with, and a delicious nourishing snack for on the go!

Sixty pounds is more than we usually pick, though it will definitely go to good use for the year. I froze more than half of it for using in green smoothies, soaked oats, and fruit on the bottom yogurt packed up for school. We have my biggest bowl filled to the brim to eat fresh for the next week, and we made a few treats like cherry popsicles (literally just blended up cherries frozen into my favorite 10-pop mold!), and cherry pie.

I wanted to dehydrate to preserve some of it though because 60 pounds is a lot of cherries to use up!

Nourishing Cherry Granola :: Gluten & Refined Sugar Free With Grain Free Option :: Cherry granola makes the perfect hot summer morning breakfast to cool down with, and a delicious nourishing snack for on the go!

I decided to see how fresh cherries would do drying out with some granola, and not only am I completely in love with how the color turned out (!!), it is so delicious. Sweet dried cherries and crispy, nutty clusters make the perfect muggy morning breakfast with a cold splash of raw milk.

Nourishing Cherry Granola :: Gluten & Refined Sugar Free With Grain Free Option :: Cherry granola makes the perfect hot summer morning breakfast to cool down with, and a delicious nourishing snack for on the go!

A few ideas to for your yummy granola!

  • In a bowl like cereal with a splash of raw milk or coconut milk and a hard boiled egg
  • Used as a yogurt or coconut milk yogurt topper
  • Trail mix addition
  • Dry granola clusters packed as a quick on the go snack

Nourishing Cherry Granola :: Gluten & Refined Sugar Free With Grain Free Option :: Cherry granola makes the perfect hot summer morning breakfast to cool down with, and a delicious nourishing snack for on the go!

This turned out to be such a great way for me to preserve all those cherries that I plan on making another batch changing up the kinds of nuts this time for variety.

Nourishing Cherry Granola :: Gluten & Refined Sugar Free With Grain Free Option :: Cherry granola makes the perfect hot summer morning breakfast to cool down with, and a delicious nourishing snack for on the go!

5.0 from 1 reviews
Nourishing Cherry Granola
Author: 
 
Ingredients
  • 4 cups rolled oats (if you are grain free use a combo of any finely chopped raw nuts or seeds you wish to make the 4 cups)
  • 2 cups raw walnuts, finely chopped (I buzzed them up in the food processor)
  • 2 cups raw pecans, finely chopped (I buzzed them up in the food processor)
  • 1 TB sea salt for soaking
  • Juice of 1 lemon for soaking (leave this out if you are not using the oats
  • 2 cups shredded coconut
  • 2 cups coconut flour
  • 1 cup melted coconut oil
  • 2 TB almond extract (vanilla extract would work too)
  • ½ cup raw honey (pure maple syrup would work too)
  • 6 cups fresh cherries, pitted and coarsely chopped (I did a quick few pulses in the food processor. If you don't have access to fresh cherries you could use about 2 cups or so of dried cherries - they just won't be as mixed up with the juices into the granola.)
Instructions
  1. Place the oats, walnuts, pecans, sea salt, and lemon juice in a large mixing bowl and fill with water to cover. Set the mixture on the counter 8-10 hours to soak. This soaking process breaks down the phytic acid in the grain and nuts making them easier on the gut for digestion and making more of their nutrients available to absorb. If you are omitting the oats, simply replace with different finely chopped seeds or nuts and soak in the salt water.
  2. After the oats and nuts have soaked, set them in a colander in the sink to drain while you prepare the rest of the granola mixture. Put the rest of the ingredients into a large mixing bowl (I actually use my stock pot to make mixing easiest!), along with the drained oat/nut mixture and stir to combine well.
  3. Scoop and spread the granola mixture onto your dehydrator traysand dehydrate at 135 degrees for 8-12 hours or 160 degrees for about 6 hours. You can check the granola periodically because every dehydrator brand can run temps differently. Also keep in mind the thicker you spread the granola the longer it will take to dehydrate.
  4. When the granola is done drying out, let it cool about 30 minutes and then break it up into the size pieces you want into airtight storage. I store my granola in the pantry. We like to serve granola with raw milk or coconut milk and hard boiled eggs on the side. It also makes a great yogurt or coconut yogurt topper or trail mix addition!

More real food granola recipes you might like!
Simple Cinnamon Granola

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Strawberry Quinoa Granola

Strawberry Quinoa Granola
Grain Free Apple Cinnamon Granola

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Honey Rhubarb Granola

Honey Rhubarb Granola :: Gluten, Egg, & Refined Sugar Free
Cranberry Orange Granola

Cranberry Orange Granola

Drinks Nourishing Staples Real Food 101 Real Food Tips

Water Kefir Basics

June 27, 2016

Water kefir is an easy to make, naturally fermented drink that is allergen friendly and loaded with probiotics, B vitamins, and food enzymes.

Water Kefir Basics :: Water kefir is an easy to make, naturally fermented drink that is allergen friendly and loaded with probiotics, B vitamins, and food enzymes.

Water kefir is one of our favorite household ferments!

This mild, lemony, kid friendly drink is not quite as strong as other popular fermented tonics like beet kvass or kombucha so it tends to be a nice way for newbie real foodies to introduce probiotic-rich food into their home.

How does water kefir work?

Water kefir grains are small, gelatin-like structures made up of various beneficial bacteria. These grains will thrive and even multiple indefinitely when kept properly, living in fresh mineral rich sugar water. The bacteria and yeasts in the water kefir grains feed off of the sugar and minerals in the water, infusing the water with loads of probiotics essential for gut health along with an array of B vitamins and enzymes.

Water Kefir Basics :: Water kefir is an easy to make, naturally fermented drink that is allergen friendly and loaded with probiotics, B vitamins, and food enzymes.

Ok super cool! What’s the commitment here?!

Every 2-3 days your water kefir grains will need fresh sugar water since the bacteria eat it all up! It takes me 5 minutes of time to switch out the water every few days. It is a fantastic project or chore chart item for appropriately aged kids – my 2 older girls (aged 5 and 7) help me still – I would imagine slightly older children could do it themselves. It is a bit like having a “pet” and it is a fantastic, on-going science project to explore!

I’m ready to get started! Where do I get my water kefir grains?

If you hop on any “crunchy” Facebook group in your local area and ask for kefir grains, I have found many to be very willing to share! Especially in the warm summer months, those grains multiply like crazy when fed well, and people are more than willing to split theirs.

I have been using Cultures for Health water kefir grains for years, and they have always been so plump and healthy – very easy to work with!

How to make water kefir

Equipment

The first step is to find a jar for your water kefir grains to live in. You’ll want a to use a quart or half gallon mason jar, and an air-lock lid or Pickle Pipe (I use a Pickle Pipe). A traditional style fermentation crock or even a Fido jar works well too. A fine mesh strainer for straining out the grains after brewing will be needed too.

While you can get a decent ferment with a mason jar and regular lid or cheesecloth, after reading this article from my friend Jessica a number of years ago, and doing some research, it seems these type of ferments do best in an “anaerobic” (no oxygen) type environment. I was shocked at how bubbly my first ferments were after making the switch to using an anaerobic seal. The Pickle Pipe is so easy to use, and really easy (read: quick!) to clean. It automatically “burps” your ferment so the gasses don’t build up too much, and I love not having to think about that! Your Pickle Pipes can be used for fermenting other things like sauerkraut, kimchi, pickles, etc too. They are one of my favorite real foodie tools!

Water Kefir Basics :: Water kefir is an easy to make, naturally fermented drink that is allergen friendly and loaded with probiotics, B vitamins, and food enzymes.

Brewing the water kefir

Water kefir thrives best with mineral rich water and sugar. Since most of us do not have water that is rich with minerals, it is a good idea to supplement your water with a little sea salt and ConcenTrace. Both are teaming with minerals that will give your kefir grains what they need to grow and thrive.

Water Kefir Basics :: Water kefir is an easy to make, naturally fermented drink that is allergen friendly and loaded with probiotics, B vitamins, and food enzymes.

Water Kefir Basics
Author: 
 
½ cup water ¼ cup organic pure cane sugar ⅛ tsp sea salt ⅛ - ¼ tsp ConcenTrace ¼ cup water kefir grains
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. Heat the ½ cup of water stovetop and while that is warming put the sugar, sea salt, and ConcenTrace into a quart mason jar. (If you have more than ¼ cup of water kefir grains, simply double this recipe into a half gallon jar).
  2. Pour the heated water into the jar with the sugar mixture and stir with a wooden spoon to dissolve. (Note that when working with ferments it is advised not to use metal utensils as it can disrupt the environment. I always use wooden tools)
  3. Fill the jar the rest of the way with fresh water, leaving a couple inches of headspace at the top. This is your sugar water! Add your kefir grains to the sugar water and put your lid on.
  4. Let the water kefir ferment at room temperature for 2-3 days. This ferment prefers to be in the dark so I place mine in a kitchen cupboard. A closet works too. The warmer the air temp, the faster your ferment will go so keep the weather in mind especially in the summer. If you live somewhere cold, it may take longer.
  5. After your kefir has fermented to your taste, make another batch of sugar water, strain out the grains and place the grains into the fresh sugar water to ferment again. The fermented water kefir left behind can be consumed right away (I like it with a squeeze of lime or lemon!), or chilled in the fridge to drink later. You can also do a "second ferment" on your finished water kefir to flavor it, creating a bubbly, "soda-like" drink.

“Second Ferment” tips

Doing a second ferment on your finished water kefir creates a bubbly, soda-like drink that you can flavor any way you like! Whatever fruit is in season makes for a fun, flavored drink that really feels like a soda pop.

Tools for creating a second ferment

Your second ferment will become bubbly with a tight fitting lid – I prefer to use grolsch style (flip-top) bottles as I have gotten the best result with them. A narrow funnel is also a good tool to have on hand to pour the water kefir into the bottles.

Water Kefir Basics :: Water kefir is an easy to make, naturally fermented drink that is allergen friendly and loaded with probiotics, B vitamins, and food enzymes.

Brewing a second ferment

You’ll need:

  • 1/2 cup of chopped fruit or fruit juice (do 1/4 cup if using lemon or lime juice)
  • 1 quart brewed water kefir

Instructions:

  1. Put the chopped fruit or juice into your flip-top bottles and use a funnel to pour the brewed water kefir into the bottles. Close the lids.
  2. Place the bottles in a dark cupboard or closet for 1-2 days. You may want to “burp” your bottles once a day to let some of the air out or your ferment will overflow upon opening! I tend to forget this part and just open my bottles slowly because they do get very, very bubbly!
  3. After 1-2 days of fermenting, move your bottles to the fridge to chill.

Water Kefir Basics :: Water kefir is an easy to make, naturally fermented drink that is allergen friendly and loaded with probiotics, B vitamins, and food enzymes.

How to introduce water kefir into your diet

Water kefir is really considered more of a health tonic. While it makes for a really fun drink especially for kids to drink, making it a soda replacement isn’t advised. Starting out with 2-3 ounces for kids, and 4-6 ounces for adults is a good starting point. I tend to start toddlers/kids out with a couple ounces watered down a bit. Some to be sure they stomach the new bacteria ok, and some to tame the sweetness for young palates. Adults and big kids ought also heed starting out small to introduce the new bacteria to the gut. Once you know your body is tolerating the new bacteria well, enjoy a cup or so everyday – your gut will thank you!

A note about the sugar and alcohol content

Since the bacteria in the grains consume the sugar in the sugar water, the sugar content is actually quite low. Undoubtedly there will be questions about whether raw honey, coconut sugar, or other sweetener might work for the sugar and it really just doesn’t work. The beneficial bacteria feed best off cane sugar.

As with all fermented drinks, there is a small amount of alcohol produced when brewing water kefir. I have read anywhere from 0.5% to 0.75%. The longer the kefir is brewed, the higher the alcohol content.

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

Mix & Match Real Food Packable Bento Box Lunch Ideas :: PLUS! A free mix & match printable for you!

June 24, 2016

A simple “mix and match” lunch plan to help you and the kids pack fun and healthy, real food lunches!

Mix & Match Real Food Packable Bento Box Lunch Ideas :: PLUS! A free mix & match printable for you!

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

I originally planned on this post for the middle of August to get everyone’s wheels turning toward back to school, but get this….

Kids totally need to eat in the summer too 🙂

Right?!

And I don’t know about you, but I spend almost as much time packing up lunches in the summer as I do during the school year for everything from park picnics and beach days, to zoo trips and friend visits.

Mix & Match Real Food Packable Bento Box Lunch Ideas :: PLUS! A free mix & match printable for you!

So one of my goals for this post is for it to be universal.

An all year plan for lunch packing that is evergreen from the first day of school through the last day of summer – without getting boring.

Mix & Match Real Food Packable Bento Box Lunch Ideas :: PLUS! A free mix & match printable for you!

And as always, my number 1 goal in lunch packing is to make every bite count. Nutrient dense and nourishing to fill up busy, on the grow bodies and brains.

So let’s make this fun! Sit down with the kids and let them do some mixing and matching for their lunch! I’ve left an outline here so you can have some links to recipe ideas, and here is a printable PDF for you to print out and use together as a family. You can laminate it and use dry erase markers for the kids to mark off what they like, or you can mark off the choices they have to pick from for the week based on what is in season right now and what you have grocery shopped for.Mix & Match Real Food Packable Bento Box Lunch Ideas :: PLUS! A free mix & match printable for you!

main meal

Pick ONE of these:

  • Coconut butter and jam or raw honey sandwich, roll ups using wraps, or leftover waffles
  • Nut butter or seed butter and jam or raw honey sandwich, roll ups using wraps, or leftover waffles
  • Tuna salad (or could use canned salmon) – can serve this as a sandwich, wrap, pita, in a bell pepper cup, or as a dip with crackers or veggie sticks.
  • Egg salad – can serve this as a sandwich, wrap, pita, in a bell pepper cup, or as a dip with crackers or veggie sticks.
  • Chicken salad – can serve this as a sandwich, wrap, in a bell pepper cup, or as a dip with crackers or veggie sticks.
  • Hummus and veggies wrapped in a pita, wrap, or with crackers.

OR Pick TWO of these:

  • Hard boiled eggs
  • Breakfast cookies (Here are a few to stash away in the freezer! Lemon Breakfast Cookie, Molasses Protein
  • Breakfast Cookie, The Ultimate Breakfast Cookie)
  • Guacamole & crackers or tortilla chips
  • Yogurt with granola (Here are some easy homemade granola that stashes away in the pantry well: Grain Free Apple Cinnamon Granola, Simple Cinnamon Granola, Strawberry Quinoa Granola)
  • Granola chunks or easy trail mix with raw cheese or coconut flakes or coconut butter. For trail mix I just take a handful of whatever nuts/seeds I have on hand and mix it up with raisins or other dried fruit. You can add a TB of Enjoy Life chocolate chips if you have older kids that are used to “typical” trailmixes.
  • Olives (not a “main meal” but goes well with any of the options in this section as an added real food fat)
  • Avocado (not a “main meal” but goes well with any of the options in this section as an added real food fat)

veggie

Pick as many as you like to fill the veggie section of your lunch container!

  • Carrot sticks or rounds (rainbow carrots are fun too!)
  • Celery sticks
  • Broccoli florets
  • Cauliflower florets
  • Cucumber rounds or sticks
  • Radish slices
  • Cherry tomatoes
  • Zucchini sticks
  • Sugar peas
  • Bell peppers of all colors

Dip Options to add real fats for nourishment and digestive aide for the veggies

  • 5 Minute Ranch
  • Cream Cheese
  • Hummus
  • Sour Cream
  • Herbed Olive Oil (just whisk sea salt and herbs into the oil)
  • Coconut butter
  • Olives (not a dip but a great fat that goes well with veggies)
  • Raw Cheese (not a dip but a great fat that goes well with veggies)

Other veggie sides to try!

  • Salads with quick homemade dressings (try some of these!) Can add hard boiled egg or nuts/seeds to the salad too!
  • Ferments such as pickles, sauerkraut, dilly beans, or fermented carrots. Either homemade or check out Bubbies brand at your health food store if you are just getting started!
  • Beet Slaw
  • Coleslaw
  • Summer cucumber chunks with cherry tomatoes and olive oil with sea salt
  • Peas from the freezer thaw out by lunch time – drizzle olive oil and sea salt
  • Cucumber “Sandwiches” using cream cheese in between rounds
  • “Ants On A Log” (celery sticks with nut, seed, or coconut butter down the middle and dried fruit sticking to the butter!)

fruit

  • Berries (strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, etc)
  • Grapes
  • Apples (if cutting them, put cinnamon on the flesh to keep them from browning)
  • Pears (use the same cinnamon trick as the apples!)
  • Orange slices
  • Cherries
  • Peaches/Nectarines
  • Melon/watermelon slices or chunks
  • Mango chunks
  • Pineapple chunks
  • Banana (best kept in the peel so they don’t brown)
  • Dates, Larabars, or homemade Larabars (I count larabars as more of a fruit even though there are nuts mixed in as they are mostly composed of the dates)

Planetbox 5

A few of my favorite Bento Box style lunch gear!

Our school lunch staple has been the PlanetBox. We are going on our 3rd year of this box and it still looks brand new. Occasionally I will get inquiries about what I think of the cost, and, in my book, buying one lunchbox that lasts for years on end when being used day after day, is a huge budget saver! We use the “Launch” style, though they have a few different layouts depending on how you like to pack up!

I really love our LunchBots containers as well. The Uno, Duo, & Trio are a great sizes for toddlers and little kids, and we are going on our 3rd year of them holding up just like brand new. During the fall and winter months of school, my daughter takes along soup or dinner leftovers 2-3 times per week requiring the use of a thermos. On those days a thermos of soup and a LunchBots container of the extras makes for perfect packing. The also have larger sizes for the bigger kids and teens too!

Mix & Match Real Food Packable Bento Box Lunch Ideas :: PLUS! A free mix & match printable for you!

A quick note on packable drinks!

Water is our staple, though we do drink a lot of kid friendly nettle infusions as well all year long. Herbal tea infusions can be a great way for kids to hydrate and load up on missing minerals from a busy morning. Adding a squeeze of lemon is always a nice idea if your kids like that!

We have used these Kid Basix Safe Sporter cups for the last 5 years – including the last 2 years of daily school. The spouts are finally starting to look a little worn after 5 years of daily use so I think they have been a good buy especially for toddlers and little kids in early elementary who maybe won’t handle an open water cup as well for on the go situations. This year I decided to invest in an “older kid” water bottle and we went with these Eco Vessessl for Kids for both my 2nd grader and I think my new Kindergartener will do fine with these without spilling. My toddler (2 years old) drinks out of open cups perfectly, but doesn’t manage a bigger, open bottle like this without help.

Ok! Keep me posted on those lunches! You can follow my Instagram hashtag #rgnschoollunches for more packable lunch ideas too!

Oh! And don’t forget your free mix and match printable!

Mix & Match Real Food Packable Bento Box Lunch Ideas :: PLUS! A free mix & match printable for you!

 

 

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

Instant Pot Spring Vegetable Soup

June 3, 2016

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

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

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

Confession…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

More real food recipes you might like:

20 Minute Spring Stir Fry with Garlic Butter Sauce

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

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

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

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

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

Quick & Easy Gluten Free Fish Sticks with Kid Friendly French Dipping Sauce

May 29, 2016

The ultimate kid friendly fish prep! Crispy, flavorful and gluten free!

Quick & Easy Gluten Free Fish Sticks with Kid Friendly French Dipping Sauce :: The ultimate kid friendly fish prep! Crispy, flavorful, and 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.

Puddles and fish sticks.

No seriously. My kids are drawn to both like moths to a flame. It never fails – the instant it rains my bigger girls are at the window waiting for their favorite puddle spots to fill up! And while I love my sunshine time, my garden could use the extra water, and I know that those puddles make for happy, occupied, and engaged kiddos once they fill up!

Quick & Easy Gluten Free Fish Sticks with Kid Friendly French Dipping Sauce :: The ultimate kid friendly fish prep! Crispy, flavorful, and gluten free!

Just like my girls are glued to the window waiting for their puddles to fill up, they have this sense for fish stick action in the kitchen! Fish stick night is always easy prep and makes for an easy but nourishing dinner for a busy weeknight.

Quick & Easy Gluten Free Fish Sticks with Kid Friendly French Dipping Sauce :: The ultimate kid friendly fish prep! Crispy, flavorful, and gluten free!

I like to set up a quick batter station so the dredging and breading is quick and easy. My 7 year old can do this herself now which is really nice. You can also bread the strips of fish and freeze them on the tray, then pop them into a freezer bag for an even faster dinner in the future too.

Quick & Easy Gluten Free Fish Sticks with Kid Friendly French Dipping Sauce :: The ultimate kid friendly fish prep! Crispy, flavorful, and gluten free!

The simple French dipping sauce is so fun too. Mildly sweet and kid friendly in taste, it makes for a nice change up to tarter sauce if you like to make fish often and want something different. (I like to make tarter sauce as well and my recipe will be published in my new book coming out this fall!)

Quick & Easy Gluten Free Fish Sticks with Kid Friendly French Dipping Sauce :: The ultimate kid friendly fish prep! Crispy, flavorful, and gluten free!

There are rarely leftovers around these days when I make these, but sometimes I’ll double batch so I can pack them up in the lunchboxes the next day – the dip packs up into a condiment container, and my girls love the fish sticks just as good cold as they do out of the oven.

Quick & Easy Gluten Free Fish Sticks with Kid Friendly French Dipping Sauce :: The ultimate kid friendly fish prep! Crispy, flavorful, and gluten free!

Don’t forget that you can dredge and bread the fish and then freeze them flat on the trays for later use. I pop them off the trays into a freezer bag once they freeze and it makes for a nice, quick dinner on a busy night

5.0 from 1 reviews
Quick & Easy Gluten Free Fish Sticks with Kid Friendly French Dipping Sauce
Author: 
 
Ingredients
  • FISH STICKS:
  • 3 wild caught cod fillets, sliced into strips (I use Costco's wild caught cod)
  • ¼ cup potato starch and ¼ cup white rice flour (coconut flour if you are grain free) whisked in a small bowl for the dredge
  • 1 egg whisked in a small bowl for the egg wash
  • ¼ cup potato starch, ¼ cup white rice flour (coconut flour if you are grain free), and ¼ cup blanched almond flour whisked in a bowl for the breading
  • 2 tsp sea salt
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • CREAMY FRENCH DIPPING SAUCE:
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 2 TB white wine vinegar
  • 3 TB organic ketchup
  • 2 TB whole sour cream or yogurt (if you are dairy free just leave this out and it is still really good! Coconut yogurt would work too)
  • 1 TB raw honey
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • ½ tsp paprika
  • ¼ tsp sea salt
Instructions
  1. Pre-heat the oven to 450 degrees.
  2. Place the bowls to prep the fish sticks in a row. Put the dredge first, then the egg wash, and then the breading bowl. Add the seasonings to the breading bowl and whisk in.
  3. Dip a fish strip in the dredge, coating it on all sides with the flour, then into the egg wash, and then into the breading mixture. Place the fish strip on a Silpat or parchment paper lined baking sheet. Do this with all of the fish strips.
  4. Bake the coated fish sticks in a 450 degree oven for 10 minutes. Then take them out, flip them over, and bake another 12 minutes until they are golden and the fish is cooked/flaky on the inside.
  5. While the fish is baking, you can make the dipping sauce. Simply put all the ingredients for the sauce in a pint jar and use an immersion blender to emulsify the oil into the dip - it will get nice and creamy. If you don't have an immersion blender you can whisk the oil in to emulsify, or use the drip spout on your food processor to slowly add the oil in.

For more real food dinner ideas, you can follow my Dinner Ideas Board on Pinterest!

More real food recipes you might like:
15 Minute Chicken Tortilla Soup with Kid Friendly Guacamole

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

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DIY Taco Seasoning

Sweet & Sour Sauce for Chinese Night!

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

Roasted Asparagus and Garlic Stinging Nettle Soup

May 21, 2016

Enjoy the freshest tastes of spring with roasted garlic and asparagus soup filled with nourishing, mineral rich stinging nettles!

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

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.

This spring seems to be flying by and we are enjoying all of the activities that it brings!

My spring weekend goals always included meals that are simply as hands free as possible. After months in the cold weather, we just want to be outside.

Last weekend was on the chilly side, though we still had some yard and garden work to finish up, and I noticed my stinging nettles were ready to harvest. Those fresh spring rains we had the weekend before really kicked their growing into gear and the tender, young greens at the tops of those plants are perfect for a spring soup on a chilly day.

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

Stinging nettles are a vitamin and mineral rich powerhouse that can add into just about any recipe so long as the “sting” is cooked out of them. Give them a quick steam and add them to a green smoothie, wilt them into your favorite stew or stir fry, or blend them up with a fresh green soup like this roasted garlic and asparagus soup, and you can add an abundance of nutrients to your bowl.

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

Many people have stinging nettles growing in their backyard and, as long as you haven’t sprayed chemicals or fertilizers, those stinging nettles are free backyard greens to use in your meal planning – and boy do they grow and multiply! I like to harvest the tender young leaves from the top and they will just keep re-growing throughout the season. Be sure to wear gloves to protect your hands from the sting – one nice thing about this soup is that since the soup is pureed, I just pick the leaves with my gloves on, give them a good wash and dump them right into the soup pot without touching them! No chopping needed! (This is a great post about the “how-to” for stinging nettle harvesting if you have never done it before. I also like this post about how to harvest and cook with stinging nettles.)

But wait! If you don’t have access to fresh stinging nettles, you can buy dried nettles and use that!

Of course this time of year is just brimming with asparagus as well and together with drool worthy roasted garlic this green soup is not only loaded with nutrients, it also tastes amazing!

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

It made a great, quick weekend lunch and the leftovers packed up in the school thermos for an easy to pack school lunch.

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

Roasted Asparagus and Garlic Stinging Nettle Soup
Author: 
 
Ingredients
  • 5 TB butter, divided
  • 1 bunch of asparagus, tough ends discarded
  • 9-10 cloves of garlic (about 1 head of garlic)
  • ½ large onion, sliced
  • 2 cups fresh stinging nettles (Be sure to use gloves while handling so you don't get stung. If you don't have access to fresh nettles, you can use about ¾-1 cup of dried nettles.)
  • 1½ quarts bone broth
  • Sea salt and pepper to taste
  • Optional whole yogurt or sour cream to top each bowl of soup, fresh raw cream or coconut milk to stir in
  • Optional freshly chopped chives to garnish
Instructions
  1. Pre-heat the oven to 425 degrees.
  2. Toss the asparagus and garlic cloves with 2 TB of butter and sprinkle with sea salt and pepper. Roast in at 425 degree oven for 25 minutes.
  3. While the veggies are roasting, melt 3 TB of butter in a soup pot and add the onions with a big pinch of sea salt. Cook over medium heat for about 7 minutes to soften and sweeten the onion.
  4. Add the fresh stinging nettles to the pot, stir and cook for a couple minutes to wilt.
  5. Add the bone broth and roasted asparagus and garlic, and bring to a simmer for a few minutes.
  6. Use an immersion blender or regular blender to puree the soup. Add sea salt and pepper to taste.
  7. Garnish your bowl of soup with a dollop of whole yogurt or sour cream, or stir in some fresh raw cream or coconut milk. Fresh chopped chives are great too!

For more nourishing food ideas, you can follow my Nourishing Staples board on Pinterest!

More real food ideas you might like:
Spring Coleslaw

Spring Inspired Coleslaw
Dandelion Spring Salad with simple Garlic Oil Dressing

Dandelion Spring Salad With Simple Garlic Oil Dressing
20 Minute Spring Stir Fry with Garlic Butter Sauce

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

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

Paleo Avocado & Bacon Salad Dressing

May 7, 2016

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

For more salad dressing ideas, you can try these!

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

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DIY Olive Garden Copycat

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Caesar Salad Dressing

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Asian Salad Dressing

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Dinner Ideas Lunch Ideas Nourishing Staples Real Food 101 Real Food Tips

20 Minute Spring Stir Fry With Garlic Butter Sauce

April 22, 2016

Weeknight dinner friendly, this 20 minute spring stir fry with a garlic butter sauce will satisfy on the busiest of spring evenings!

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

Spring rolls around these parts rather slow (in my impatient opinion it does anyways!).

We have a week of snow, then a week of summer-like weather, all swapping back and forth for about 2 months. It’s all just a great big tease sometimes! But I can always count on the last week of April and into the first part of May to really feel like spring around here.

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

We have a gorgeous hedge of forsythia that blooms right around then, and our magnolia tree buds start to wake up. Our local farmer’s markets start opening every Saturday with fresh Michigan asparagus and other greens and roots, and our raw milk share has more milk available to offer.

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

We can always count on Earth Day week being a fun time at my daughter’s school. Last week they cleaned up the gardens by their playground and planted flowers.

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

Our evenings are filled with so much more light and warmth and outside time which can take its toll on any kitchen time for making dinner. I love taking advantage of fresh spring veggies though, so my compromise is a handful of quick, nourishing dinners packed with seasonal produce that can be made in 20 minutes or less.

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

This fresh stir fry has a delicious garlic butter sauce that is light enough for spring but tastes amazing rich and decadent. You really could add anything you wish for the veggies. I love to use chopped radishes as well as golden beets – use whatever you have access to. You can also swap the noodles for rice or leave the grain out all together if you can’t tolerate grain. Sweet potatoes or other root veggies would make a nice starch for my grain free friends.

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

5.0 from 1 reviews
20 Minute Spring Stir Fry With Garlic Butter Sauce
Author: 
 
Ingredients
  • 2 TB avocado or olive oil
  • 4 TB butter, divided
  • ½ medium onion, diced
  • 1 lb asparagus sliced on the bias into 1 inch/bite sized pieces
  • 5 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1½ cups fresh or frozen peas
  • 1 medium tomato, seeds and juices scooped out and diced
  • 1-2 cups cooked chicken, chopped (I use leftovers from a roasted chicken dinner or Instant Pot chicken)
  • ⅓ cup white wine (or chicken bone broth)
  • Pinch of cayenne (optional but the slight heat is so good! If you prefer more heat you can add more - I tend to keep it pretty kid friendly for the little ones in my house but add a little more to my plate)
  • 8oz pasta of choice, cooked (I use the these gluten free rice noodles. You could use rice if you wish, or if you are grain free just leave this part out or possibly add some potatoes to the veggies cooking or other root veggie for a little starch)
  • Sea salt and pepper to taste
  • Optional freshly grated parmesan to garnish
Instructions
  1. You can start boiling your water for your noodles when you start the stir fry and they should be done around the same time.
  2. Melt 2 TB avocado oil and 2 TB butter in a large skillet and add the onion and asparagus. Put a generous pinch of sea salt over the veggies and cook over medium heat for about 7 minutes until the veggies soften and sweeten and the asparagus is bright green.
  3. Add the garlic, peas, tomatoes, chicken, and cayenne, combine, and cook over medium heat for 5 minutes.
  4. Pour in the white wine and the other 2 TB of butter, combine and cook about 5 minutes until the liquid cooks into the veggies and reduces down and the alcohol in the wine simmers off. You can add some splashes of the starchy pasta water or bone broth if you need more liquid.
  5. Add the cooked and drained pasta to the veggies and chicken, combine, and sea salt and pepper to your taste. You can garnish each dish with freshly grated parmesan if you wish.

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

More real food ideas you might like:
Golden Beet Slaw

Golden beets have a slightly sweeter taste than red beets and I find that the milder earthy flavor works really good for kids. Getting those veggies into a smaller, easier to chew form (shredded or spirilized) and tossed with a super yummy dressing helps too!
15 Minute Ginger Chicken Stir Fry

15 Minute Ginger Chicken Stir Fry

15 Minute Asian Lo Mein Copycat

15 Minute Asian Noodles :: Lo Mein Copycat!

Batch Up Meals Dinner Ideas Lunch Ideas Nourishing Staples Real Food 101 Real Food Tips Summer Picnic Series

Golden Beet Slaw

April 15, 2016

Fresh and mildly sweet golden beets tossed in a delicious creamy dressing make for a cool, crisp kid pleasing side!

Golden Beet Slaw :: Fresh and mildly sweet golden beets tossed in a delicious creamy dressing make for a cool, crisp kid pleasing side!

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

It was 60 glorious degrees this past week. 60!

Do you know how long it has been since I could send children outside to run energy off barefoot in the sun?! SO many months!

Golden Beet Slaw :: Fresh and mildly sweet golden beets tossed in a delicious creamy dressing make for a cool, crisp kid pleasing side!

Last weekend when I saw that the coming week was going to be our first actual warm spell of the spring, I went into summer food planning mode…which means prep a bunch of food that can be eaten throughout the week at multiple meals, giving us more time to *play* outside!

Golden Beet Slaw :: Fresh and mildly sweet golden beets tossed in a delicious creamy dressing make for a cool, crisp kid pleasing side!

My usual meal plans include veggies at every meal. In the fall and winter I tend to do a lot of roasting. It is quick, easy, and really tasty. But when the weather gets warm, I like to have veggies handy in a cooler option. I keep a variety of veggies cut up for easy grabbing to serve on a platter with 5 minute Ranch dip, and my other summer veggie secret is slaws!

Golden beets have a slightly sweeter taste than red beets and I find that the milder earthy flavor works really good for kids. Getting those veggies into a smaller, easier to chew form (shredded or spirilized) and tossed with a super yummy dressing helps too!

Fresh veggie slaws are so nice to make a big batch of and use throughout the week as a quick, cool veggie side to lunch, or a fresh, crunchy burger topper or chicken wrap addition for dinner. Since we have slaws often throughout the warmer months, it’s nice to change up the veggies for some variety.

Golden beets have a slightly sweeter taste than red beets and I find that the milder earthy flavor works really good for kids. Getting those veggies into a smaller, easier to chew form (shredded or spirilized) and tossed with a super yummy dressing helps too!

Golden beets have a slightly sweeter taste than red beets and I find that the milder earthy flavor works really good for kids. Getting those veggies into a smaller, easier to chew form (shredded or spirilized) and tossed with a super yummy dressing helps too!

Golden beets have a slightly sweeter taste than red beets and I find that the milder earthy flavor works really good for kids. Getting those veggies into a smaller, easier to chew form (shredded or spirilized) and tossed with a super yummy dressing helps too!

This golden beet slaw is actually my favorite recipe for beets. I love roasted veggies, especially beets that get super sweet, but for some reason I really enjoy beets in raw slaw form. And golden beets just like all beet varieties are a powerhouse of vitamins and minerals. They are great body cleansers so they make a really great “spring clean” salad to give you a kick start this season.

Golden beets have a slightly sweeter taste than red beets and I find that the milder earthy flavor works really good for kids. Getting those veggies into a smaller, easier to chew form (shredded or spirilized) and tossed with a super yummy dressing helps too!

5.0 from 1 reviews
Golden Beet Slaw
Author: 
 
Ingredients
  • 3 small/medium golden beets, peeled and spirilized (you could use a grater to shred if you don't have a spirilizer)
  • ½ small head of cabbage, sliced thin
  • 1 bunch green onions, chopped
  • ½ lb (10 oz) cherry tomatoes, halved
  • ½ cup avocado oil or olive oil
  • ½ cup whole sour cream, yogurt, or coconut milk yogurt (I think coconut cream would work too)
  • Juice from ½ lemon
  • 1-2 TB raw honey
  • 1 TB garlic powder
  • 1 tsp mild paprika
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • ¼ tsp pepper
  • ⅛ tsp cayenne pepper (more if you like a little more heat - this leaves it pretty kid friendly mild)
Instructions
  1. Put all of the veggies in a large mixing bowl. You may want to cut the spirilized beets a little so they aren't so long - it makes them easier for kids to handle that way.
  2. Put the rest of the ingredients into a pint mason jar and use an immersion blender to make the dressing. The immersion blender emulsifies the oil so if you do not have an immersion blender, you can use a food processor and add the oil into the other ingredients slowly using the oil drip top on your food processor to emulsify. You could also use a whisk and bowl and drizzle the oil in slowly so it emulsifies. The dressing should be nice and creamy.
  3. Add the dressing to the veggies and combine. You can eat the slaw right away or store it in the fridge up to 5 days. The salt in the dressing will pull some water out of the veggies and it will get a little liquidy at the bottom - simply toss the slaw to mix it all in - it is even more delicious after marrying all those flavors over a day or 2!