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30 Minute Gluten Free Kale Stuffed Grassfed Mini Meatloaf with Sheet Pan Roasted Veggies :: Kid Friendly Taste, Paleo

November 17, 2017

A nourishing, nutrient dense meatloaf dinner in weeknight fast prep time!

I see you, dear momma…

I see your endless nights with newborns and toddlers…

I see your taxi driver miles put on the van carting kids to school, events, activities, and friends…

I see that work you are doing both inside and outside the home while the kids are in school, or that on the side work you are doing while your kids sleep at night…

I see you taking the time to navigate teen friendships, homework, and activities.

And I see your heart to want to nourish your family with healthy meals while still keep up a schedule like this…

Because we all can’t do it all

YES balance is good. Yes sometimes things need to be trimmed to make priorities happen.

But I also get that we all can’t stay at home all day and be in the kitchen. We all can’t quit a job that is paying our bills to make sure healthy dinners are on the table every night. And I’ll be the first one to stand up for the stay at home mom to say that it isn’t just playing dress up with babies all day and dollies with toddlers. No one can do it all. No one.

You can still do this

So even if you never try the recipe in this post today (I hope you do!), please walk away from reading this post feeling a sense of hope. You CAN do the real food thing not only on a budget, but on a time crunch. And it is so worth being able to get through your day with that much greater ease because your body is nourished with food that fuels.

Did you hear that part? I didn’t even mention your kids…yes nourishing the kids is great (and so important so they can get through their day too!), but YOU dear momma. YOU need to be fueled because this ship sinks without you being well.

The ultimate nutrient dense dinner…meatloaf!

It is no secret, my family is obsessed with my meatloaf recipe. My husband, in particular, favors it over most any dinner I make. This momma loves that it is packed out with nutrient loaded grass-fed beef AND liver and that it is happily gobbled over and over.

But I don’t, however, always love that it is not very weeknight friendly to prep, and an hour and half cook time just doesn’t work on a Tuesday night…

A weekend dinner made for the weekday!

My meatloaf recipe is so good, but I’ll be the first to admit, that it is more of a weekend meal. Especially when you want to go the extra mile and make special sides like really amazing mashed potatoes. On weekdays, I need quicker prep time, quicker cook time, and just over all less fuss

Quicker prep time, cook time, and less fuss? How can that be for a meatloaf dinner?! I’m so glad you asked!

  • Less fuss with prepping the meat. While I love the flavor that the cooked mirepoix gives in my original meatloaf, it does take some extra time and steps that a weeknight just doesn’t call for. Instead, I packed these little guys out with amazing flavor using seasoning you probably already have in your pantry, and it makes the meatloaf taste really yummy.
  • Less cook time. One-third of the cook time to be exact! Pop everything into the oven for 30 minutes while you help the kids with homework, play a game, give the baby a bath, or read books to the toddler and dinner  is done! Super hands free!
  • Quicker veggie sides – but still kid friendly! I think it’s pretty safe to say most kids will accept sweet potatoes on their plate – especially when they are roasted sweet, and have tasty seasoning. But you can change up the veg to what your kiddos love too! Sheet pan veggies are super fast and kids love the taste.

Tips for making this work on a weeknight

Ok, so I get it. 30 minutes is still 30 minutes, right? So this meal probably doesn’t work on that 2 hour gymnastics practice night, or the night you work late and the kiddos are one their own, or the day you have a fussy, teething baby or sick, needy toddler. But this definitely works for most run of the mill weeknights, *especially* if you do just a little prep work the night before!

  • Get the meat into the pan the night before. Mix it up, divide it up, cover it up, and stick it in the fridge til it’s time to cook!
  • Or, prep the meat into servings and freeze big portions. Put this on your prepday and triple batch! That will make 3 dinners for the next month! Simply freeze the mini loaves and pop them into a freezer bag. You can pull out however many minis you need for dinner that night, thaw them, and cook.
  • Chop the veg the night before. It’s one of the reasons we eat sweet potatoes over white potatoes more often – they don’t brown, so I can prep them ahead! Chopping the sweet potatoes and broccoli the night before will save you at least 5 to 10 minutes of prep time. On dinner night, just dump them onto your trays, oil & season them, and they are ready to go!
  • Use leftover roasted veg from the weekend or night before! Seriously, I do this all the time. When I’m cooking one meal, I might as well double it up I figure. I can use the leftover veggies for my breakfast or dinner the next day.

5.0 from 12 reviews
30 Minute Gluten Free Grassfed Mini Meatloaf with Sheet Pan Roasted Veggies :: Kid Friendly Taste, Paleo
Author: 
 
Ingredients
  • FOR THE ROASTED SWEET POTATOES & BROCCOLI ::
  • 3 medium sweet potatoes, cubed
  • 2 heads of broccoli, cut into florets (save the stems for broccoli soup!)
  • ¼ cup avocado oil, butter, ghee, or coconut oil
  • 1 tbsp all season salt
  • 2 tsp parsley
  • ¼ - ½ tsp pepper to the kid’s taste
  • FOR THE MINI MEATLOAF ::
  • 1 lb grass-fed ground beef
  • 1 heaping cup of baby kale, chopped finely
  • 1 egg
  • ¼ cup gluten or grain free flour of choice (I’ve used tapioca, cassava flour, and white rice flour. Nut flours and coconut flour do NOT work in my experience)
  • 3 tbsp full fat coconut milk or raw milk/cream
  • 1 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 tbsp onion powder
  • 3 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • ¼ - ½ tsp pepper to the kid’s taste
  • Ketchup to top the mini meatloaf (optional)
Instructions
  1. Pre-heat the oven to 425 degrees.
  2. Prepare the veggie trays. Toss the sweet potatoes and broccoli florets in a large mixing bowl with the oil and seasonings, and divide between 2 sheet pans.
  3. Prepare the mini meatloaves. Mix all the meatloaf ingredients together by hand in a small mixing bowl. Divide the mixture into 6, and distribute the meat into a half dozen muffin tin. Spread ketchup on the top of each mini meatloaf if you wish.
  4. Roast everything together at 425 degrees for 30 minutes, stirring the veggies around at the halfway point.

More real food recipes you might like ::

 

 

Healthy Kids and Teens Nourishing Staples Real Food 101 Real Food Tips

4 Steps To Mastering Safe Kitchen Skills With Kids PLUS! A Break Down Of Appropriate Kitchen Tasks By Age

November 11, 2017

“Raising a real food generation in the real world” starts with getting little ones in the kitchen! Learn the 4 steps to mastering safe kitchen skills with kids age by age!

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. 

Where it all begins…

This post is so full circle for me. I literally have chills as I write these first few sentences, because other than writing about nourishing babies with real food and stopping the cycle of processed food, this topic is what I had envisioned writing about more as my kids get older.

Because this is where it all begins, yes? If we want to see the next generation of kids know where their food comes from, and “raise a real food generation in the real world,” it must start with the littles in the kitchen.

…We must stop the cycle of disconnect with our food, and be ok with messy hands, spilled milk, and egg shells in the batter.

…We have to be ok with dinner prep taking a few minutes longer so the toddler can be the one to wash up the potatoes, and 9 year old can be the one to do the chopping.

Maybe not every night, but making a commitment to include our kids in the kitchen will save them the years and years of relationship issues with food that the last few generations are still digging out from. 

Where to start!

So here I am, 8 1/2 years after having my first baby, and having ZERO culinary background or schooling, to tell you that kids really can learn how to master kitchen skills. I’ve found that even with my 3 very different personality kids that there is a really concrete flow for teaching them how to master these skills without tears or frustration. Here is my method!


4 Steps To Mastering Kitchen Skills With Kids


These steps are evergreen for any kitchen skill at any age. The process will look a little different between showing a 3 year old a new skill versus a 10 year old, but the concept is the same. The goal is to set the kids up to succeed and not fail.

  1. Show Them. YOU do the task and explain what you are doing along the way. SLOW DOWN, so they can see what you are doing and process it. You may stay at this step for 1 run through, or for ages. For instance, washing up produce really just takes showing your 2 year old how you want the apples washed, how to do it with care so they don’t bruise, and where to set them when they are done washing. How to clean up their splashes and how to dry the apples. Easy peasy. But my toddlers watched me most of their toddler-hood before they used a sharp knife. Anytime they were up in their little helper stander watching me chop, I was telling them what I was doing. It all starts there.
  2. Hand Over Hand. Get right up over their shoulders and help. Even with the washing example, a 2 year old will still need help along the way until they have done it a few times and know what to expect. You can hand over hand peeling carrots, chopping fruit, stirring a pot of soup or muffin batter, etc. This is really key to helping kids feel confident – because you can keep them safe at the same time. Slip ups and mistakes will still happen, but you are still there.
  3. Supervised Independence. This is where the setting them up to to succeed comes in. Stick around until they feel confident on their own. Letting a 2 year old go to town on a sink full of produce will only end in a mess to clean up and an irritated mom if you are not right there next to them in the beginning to let them know it is not ok to pour a cup of water on the floor. When expectations are clear, they are set up to succeed. This step also is important with older children as well. My 8 1/2 year old is still not out of this step for chopping with a sharp chef’s knife. She mastered using a kid safe kitchen knife years ago, but last year we introduced a kid hand sized, regular sharp knife, and I’m still watching over her shoulder here and there as she goes along. It gives me a chance to correct a posture or holding technique so she doesn’t get hurt.
  4. Mastery. When the child has demonstrated independence over a period of time, you can confidently let the know they have mastered that skill. Kids love this – they literally eat this kind of challenge up. I learned this terminology from watching my girls in their Montessori school – mastering certain skills or work stations gave them such pride.

So let’s talk about age appropriate tasks!

Here me on this first, and repeat after me…every kid is different. EVERY kid is different! This is not concrete, rather a general guideline. I remember thinking sometimes, there is no way my kid could do this or that, and then got gutsy and tried it, and they blew me away at their ability. Other times I would try something that one of the other children was responsible to do at a certain age, or caught onto fast, and was quickly reminded that not every kid is ready for everything at the same time!

Let this be your inspiration! 


Best Kitchen Tasks Ages 6 months 2 years old


  • Mixing Practice :: As soon as those little guys can sit up on the floor, grab those empty mixing bowls and spatulas and let them have at it! Empty bowls of course at first, but you can even toss some blocks or pretend food in. As the little ones are able to stand safely in a little helper stander, you can stand them right up next to you and they can pretend at the counter while you work. A 2 or 3 year old might also do well stirring a small bowl of water to start learning the cause and effect of spilling and splashing. I’d rather have them learn this consequence with a bowl of cool water than a pot of hot soup – 3 kiddos into this thing and we’ve never had a burn from splashed soup because they learned very young that you need to stir gently or it makes a mess that you have to help clean up. (In the image below, you’ll see my then 4 1/2 year old stirring a small pot of soup independently, while my then 2 year old stirs a bowl of water that she is totally pretending is soup 🙂 )

  • Scooping Seeds Out :: Squash clean up is such a fun task for little ones! The sensory play is fantastic, and it is great activity for toddlers

  • “I Chop, You Dump!” :: Toddlers love putting things in and out of bowls, filling up cups, and just feeling like they are helping momma. Tell them you need some help getting those chopped veggies in a bowl and they will proudly puff their chests out to be the big helper. I’m telling you, give a toddler a board full of chopped carrot coins and they’ll put them from bowl to bowl or cup to cup for a good half hour of focused play! I used to start dinner early just for this great occupying play!

  • Washing Produce :: Hop those toddlers up on a Little Helper Stander and let them help scrub the potatoes up, wash up the apples, and rinse of whatever produce you are preparing. A bowl full of water and chopped leeks are great sensory play to get the sand out (and they will inhale this creamy potato leek soup after they rinse the leeks!).

  • Pre-Chopping Skills :: We purchased this toddler chopping toy for my oldest’s 1st birthday, and it has been passed down to each of the other girls – it is a GREAT way to introduce the process of chopping to little ones in a safe way and start building and coordinating their hand muscles for this task.

  • Other odds and ends :: Toddlers big puffy heart love buttons! Let them push the blender, mixer, or food processor on! They also just love being a part of whatever you are doing. Take the time to let them take a turn to stir the muffin batter, put the muffin cups in the muffin tin, put the veggie peel scraps in the garbage, hand over hand scoop the biscuits off the baking sheet, and butter the pan for the bread. You’ll be surprised not only at how much they really can do, but what this does to puff up their confidence in other life tasks.


Best Kitchen Tasks Ages 3-5 years old


Not only will these little guys transitioning into more preschool ages still thoroughly enjoy the tasks from their babyhood, ages 3-5 is a fun age because they are gaining more fine motor control and can reason about hot/cold, cause and effect of splashing, and some are even trustworthy to start some simple knife skills.

  • Same Kitchen Tasks from the Above Babyhood Section :: Just take it up a notch. Give them more responsibility such as counting out how many potatoes need to be washed and dried – and clean up the splashes that happen. Let them mix a bit more when you are making muffin batter.

  • Peeling :: One of my girls was peeling with a Y-Peeler by the age of 2, but she was extremely trustworthy and followed directions well. I usually like to start peelers around age 3, but again, follow your child’s lead. Follow the “4 Steps to Mastering a Kitchen Skill” from above, and you’ll probably never have to peel a carrot as long as they are around! Your older 4 and 5 year olds will also enjoy the Julienne Peeler to make strips of veggie “noodles” for stir frys – they are always a big hit here!

  • Cracking Eggs :: This is a good age to start this skill, though my experience has shown me every kid picks it up differently – one of mine took a good year to master this skill while another just a few tries. Just follow the “4 Steps To Mastering A Kitchen Skill” from above and they’ll catch on!

 

  • Measuring :: I typically start introducing this skill around this age by measuring it myself and letting them dump into the bowl. As they get closer to age 4 and 5, you can start with some independent measuring using smaller measuring spoons and work up to the bigger cups and liquids.
  • Pouring :: Don’t start with something you need poured precisely right away. Start with just a couple of simple tea cups or small pitchers with water only a quart of the way filled up and let them practice pouring from one pitcher to another. Back and forth. You can even start with something dry like rice or beans, and when they master pouring that, use a little bit of water.

  • Special Tools This Age Can Manipulate :: This age does well peelers, Julienne peelers, spirilizers, and little choppers for dicing onion or chopping nuts. Apple cutters work well if you get them started. Don’t try a full apple until they are a bit older – cut some rings of apple and let them do the rounds versus a full apple – full soft pears work well though! They also still love pushing buttons, so let them make the hummus in the food processor, or blend up the smoothie.

  • Messy Sensory Tasks! :: Let them butter up the pan for the muffins or bread, scoop out the seed for the squash (let them put the seeds in a bowl and have at it – they will play with it for hours!), and wash up the dishes. This is big time prime age for helping with cleaning up. They have a deep need for order (this is not just a personality thing – ages 2-4  years old is a Montessori Sensitive Period for “order” where they are seeking out where things should be and how things should be – it is why they melt down when things aren’t just so!). Show them how to wash up the dishes (I keep the sharps out of the dishwater), and how to stack them up on the drying rack neatly – they LOVE this! It is one of the biggest reasons I can’t do without my Little Helper Stander! When they are done with the dishes, let them play in the water a bit 😉

  • Pre-Chopping Skills :: At this preschooler age, I like to introduce a these kid safe knives and start hand over hand chopping practice with soft things like steamed veggies, bananas, strawberries, or soft pears. You will definitely find that chopping responsibility age varies from kid to kid. My first born was trustworthy with a small, paring knife (paring knifes are sharp) for strawberries and other soft veg around the age of 4, while my other 2 were not. My 6 ½ year old is just now starting to use a sharp knife (this chef’s knife is my favorite knife for older kids as they start needing sharper knives for real chopping) safely and I think this is probably more the norm.

  • Hot Food Prep :: Just like knife skills, trustworthy-ness for hot food prep will vary in age from kid to kid. My first born was standing next to me in her Little Helper Stander at the age of 2 and 3 helping me stir a pot of soup. Never leaving her side, but she was very trustworthy. I learned real quick that my second born was not the same way from the second I set her up there and she was going to test my warnings of “hot” herself. Simply let them know you are going to scoot their stander over to the other side of the counter where they can stir a bowl of pretend soup (water) until they are ready to be safe with hot food. It isn’t a big deal! They’ll catch on! She was safely stirring a pot of soup closer to 4 ½ and this is the same for my third born.


Best Kitchen Tasks Ages 6-9 years old


  • Refinement of Toddler Section Skills :: Now is when I’m going to start telling you to let go a little 🙂 Let them make a mess a bit while they learn how to measure flour precisely, let them get  a little egg shell in the batter as they refine their egg cracking skills (just scoop it out before you mix!), and let them have a salad with roughly chopped versus neatly diced carrots. Their confidence and skill mastery will only sharpen with letting go!

  • Follow a Recipe :: While my toddlers and preschoolers watch me refer to my recipes while cooking all the time, when my Kinder age kiddos start reading, I start pointing out what I’m reading and why. Let the 8 and 9 year olds follow a simple recipe for making hummus, a salad dressing, or simple soup.

  • Measuring and Pouring :: Let it go momma, and let them try 🙂 Put the flour in an easy to scoop container (I actually find freezer bags are just as good for the little bags of gluten free flour). Instead of pouring milk from a large jug, let them measure it out from a smaller pitcher. Yes, more dishes to clean and a little extra time, but it is worth it every so often to let them practice this skill.

  • Blending, Mixing, Whisking, Folding :: Follow the “4 Steps to Mastering a Kitchen Skills” and show them the difference between stirring and folding. Show them the different tools and the why behind wanting to fold something versus blend it up with a mixer.

  • Special Tools This Age Can Manipulate :: This age should be pretty independent with peelers and soft veggies like zucchini for the spirilizer. If you get the child up high on a step stool, up and over the apples, an apple cutter works well too – I still find that halving the apple at least so there is a flat, even side to rest on the table so it doesn’t roll around is best. Rolling pins, cookie cutters, and piping bags can all be introduced by age 5 or 6 and refined as they get older. My 8 1/2 year old understands how to independently use the blender for a smoothie, food processor buttons, and the Instant Pot! I’ll be out of a job soon 😉

  • Slicing and Chopping :: This age will still most likely need a step stool for safest chopping. Getting them up and over the work area gives them better control and leverage (try chopping something sitting at the table even level with what you are cutting – it is much easier to be up and over what you are slicing). I like starting with these kid safe knives at first, and then move to these kid hand sized sharp chef knives that are nice and sharp. Remember, the duller the knife the harder they will have to press and that will cause slips and accidents. When the knife is nice and sharp, they won’t have to work as hard and accidents won’t happen. Start using a sharp knife with softer veggies like zucchini, cucumbers, and green beans, and fruit like strawberries. You can core an apple and have them slice those too. When they master being able to handle these softer items, move to carrot sticks and potato cubes, again following the “4 Steps To Mastering Kitchen Skills.”

  • Hot Food Prep :: This age should be pretty good to go on helping stir a pot of soup, but this is also a great age to start teaching how to make a simple egg in a pan, flip a pancake, and sear some meat. It takes some time to supervise and help them learn the coordination of it all, but it is worth it when they can fix themselves an egg in the morning without your help! Again, I think it is best to keep them up and over the work area, so even my 8 year old still uses a step stool at the stove for safe hot food prep.

  • Pre-Meal Planning :: This is a good age to start testing all that you have taught them as little ones with regards to eating in a balanced way! Start having them help you plan out the breakfast menu, pack a balanced lunchbox, and prepare dinner. Every family’s eating style will be different even within this RGN real food community, so I won’t tell you what that should look like. As an example in our home, there is always a healthy fat, veggie, and protein at each meal. It will look differently from household to household, but my kiddos by this age know how to plan a meal and what might be missing.


Best Kitchen Tasks for Older Children (Tweens/Teens)


So here’s were I’m going to make this post an ongoing work in progress! My oldest is 8 1/2! I don’t have older children yet, so I’m not going to pretend that I know what I’m doing here. I do have a few thoughts that I will share, but as my kids reach through these ages, I’m hopeful to update this section as we go!

I think these older kiddos, just like our little guys, are capable of much more than we think. I’m just now starting to work with my 8 1/2 year old on more refined cubing of potatoes and dicing of veg for soups. Following bigger recipes and taking things in and out of the oven. I think tweens and teens ought probably be helping plan and make most of one meal once or twice a week, and packing most or all of their lunchboxes. I would really love to hear what your tweens and teens are doing in the kitchen at home! Inspire us with little ones by using the comment section below to tell us all that your teens can do!


My favorite kitchen tools for kids


Here is a comprehensive list of the tools I love using with my kids – I have tried and tested SO many different kitchen tools with them. Some have been disasters, and so this list is truly all of my favorite tools to make working with my kids in the kitchen safe, easy, and fun!

One of the tricks I used to adding to my kitchen tool collection for the girls, was getting these tools on their gift lists for holidays, birthdays, etc. Wrap them up in a fun apron, or slide a great recipe in with the gift with the promise of some kitchen time together!

 

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Instant Pot Chipotle Chili :: Stove Top & Slow Cooker Directions Included! Bean free & Paleo friendly too!

November 4, 2017

Slow cooked chili flavor with a special smoked twist, all in record time! 

Snow dusted roof-tops…

…the last week of October. Yup. We woke up to our first light covering of snow this week, as if October just wanted to nudge us a little reminder of what’s to come in the next month. We already had the heavier coats, hats, and mittens dug out of the basement in preparation, and I can’t tell you how my little Michiganders are excitedly anticipating measurable snow in the coming weeks!

So I’m rolling with it…

Chilly fall evenings definitely call for chili! My slow cooker sprouted chili is a family favorite, but this week set ahead of me just happened to be a bit more packed in schedule than my usual, and I just didn’t have time to get beans sprouting. In fact, I decided one morning that chili just had to be on the menu that night, and that figuring out Instant Pot chili was going to happen! I am so glad I pushed myself to figure it out, because this chili is probably going to take over the family favorite status!

Instant Pot versus Slow Cooker versus Stovetop

It’s a hot debate. And I get it. I’m coming from more of an old school, “love my stove-top cooking” type feeling, and I did have a really hard time adjusting to my Instant Pot. I love the flavor that comes from getting veggie down in fat to sweeten and soften, and the slow simmered flavor that comes from the time and patience that stove-top cooking brings. And slow cookers and chili just go hand in hand because that all day low bubble just makes for amazing flavor.

But man, I’m here as a stove-top cooking lover to admit to you that using the pressure cooker Instant Pot the right way gave JUST as amazing depth of flavor as a slow stove top simmer – and gets it done in record time for the busy family.

Weeknight dinner game changer!

Typically chili is something I save for weekend meals since the prep and cook time take a bit longer, but with the Instant Pot, I was able to have this meal done in record time, and it was so satisfying to serve on a Tuesday night!

One of my favorite features of the Instant Pot pressure cooker is the Saute setting. It allows me to get the caramelized flavor out of the veggies that stove-top cooking gives before pressure cooking. While you definitely could just dump all the veggies in and pressure cook it, trust me, the extra 10 minutes of cooking that veg down in some fat makes the flavor SO worthwhile.

Tips for making this chili all YOUR own, and on a weeknight in record time!

I know many people are very passionate about what makes a good chili. I have my list, and yours may look different! If you love a thicker chili, leave out the bone broth. I like a bit more liquid to mine so I can dunk my cornbread or crackers. If you have a certain spice blend that is all yours, do it up! If you prefer beans in your chili, add more liquid/broth and add those beans in there! I don’t tolerate even sprouted beans like I wish I did, and so I’ve learned over the last few years how to enjoy chili without the beans.

While this chili dinner is not a quite 15 minute meal, it definitely is do-able in 30 minutes with an Instant Pot, or right around an hour-ish stove-top so long as you do a few things in prep the night before or on a prep day!

  • Chop the veggies the night before or on your prep day – this saves you a good 10 minutes between all the veg washing and chopping.
  • Cook the squash for dinner the night before and save the cup you need for the chili so you just have to dump it in. Or save some extra time and use canned pumpkin/squash.
  • Cook the beef and bacon the night before or on your prep day. Just be sure to save the fat to cook the veggies in – that flavor is unmatched!
  • Always have bone broth on your prep day plans. I never let my freezer bone broth stash get below 2 quarts so I’m always ready for making dinners like this.
  • You can also always make the chili on your prep day and then warm it through in a slow cooker or stove-top during the week. If you are serving to a crowd at a gathering, a slow cooker will keep the chili warm all day on the warm/low setting. The chili freezes up great too. My kiddos LOVED taking this chili to school in their school lunch thermos, and my husband took leftovers in his travel crockpot he warms at his desk at work!

Toppers and Sides!

Here are some weeknight fast toppers and sides for your chili meal!

  • Avocado slices with chives and parsley
  • Sour cream or raw cheese and chives
  • Crackers (I grew up with “oyster” crackers in my chili, and these GF blender batter crackers taste and feel JUST like those! If you are grain free, try these easy blender batter plantain crackers, or we like the Simple Mills grain free crackers – even Costco carries them now!)
  • Cornbread (This version is gluten free – if you want to make it dairy free too, swap the butter for ghee or palm shortening, and swap coconut milk for the milk and sour cream. The corn bread pictured in this post is done with ghee and coconut milk! If you do not tolerate corn,  you could try swapping the cornmeal for almond flour – I actually think this would work ok!)
  • Grain Free Herb Butter Biscuits (This is a super fast blender batter and they are so good! If you do not tolerate butter, you can use palm shortening or ghee.)
  • Squash Drop Biscuits (This is another good one to swap if you can’t have corn and need dairy and gluten free too.)
  • Salads with any of these popular kid friendly dressings, or my personal favorite with this chili is the Olive Garden Copycat dressing.
  • Big veggie platters with clean ingredient Ranch to dip. It doesn’t get any easier than just making a family style platter of veggie sticks to share around, and you can make either this egg free Ranch or my Paleo egg free Ranch dip if you are dairy free. If you can tolerate eggs, we also love this squeaky clean ingredient store bought Ranch from Primal Kitchen.

Notes for my Slow Cooker & Stove-Top friends!

Unless it’s worked into your budget, or coming on a birthday or holiday wishlist, there is no need to rush out and grab and Instant Pot just for this recipe. One of my mantras has always been…don’t go broke trying to eat healthy! I spent quite literally the first 9 years of my real food journey with just a stock pot and soup pot at my stove while I learned how to cook, and you can definitely do this thing without an Instant Pot. If it fits in the budget and you are a super busy family that would benefit from the ease and fast cook times, I think you will be so happy with your purchase!

I left both stove-top and slow cooker directions in the Instructions, and you can comment below if you have further questions – I am happy to help! 

5.0 from 14 reviews
Instant Pot Chipotle Chili :: Stove Top & Slow Cooker Directions Included! Bean free & Paleo friendly too!
Author: 
 
Ingredients
  • 3 tbsp friendly fat to cook in, divided (Ghee, butter, tallow, lard, coconut oil, or avocado oil)
  • 1 lb grass-fed ground beef
  • 4 strips of bacon, diced (you can use more if you wish but we found this to be plenty of flavor and texture!)
  • 2 medium onions, diced
  • 1 large green bell pepper, diced
  • 1 large red bell pepper, diced
  • 8 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 3 small zucchini cubed or diced depending on your size preference
  • 3 jalapeños, de-ribbed/seeds & ribs scraped out, diced
  • 1 cup cooked & pureed squash (acorn, butternut, or koboucha work well. I think canned pumpkin would be fine too.)
  • 1 – 15oz can organic diced tomatos
  • 1 – 15oz can organic tomato sauce
  • 1-2 cups beef bone broth depending on how thick/thin you like your chili (chicken bone broth would be fine too)
  • 3-4 tsp sea salt (start out small and you can always add more when it’s done to your taste)
  • 1 tbsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • ¼ tsp chipotle powder
Instructions
  1. Brown the beef and cook the bacon in 1 tablespoon of ghee or other friendly cooking fat. If you are using an Instant Pot using the “Saute” feature to do this. If you are using your soup pot, cook over medium heat until cooked through. Scoop the meat out with a slotted spoon so the fat stays behind for cooking in.
  2. Add the rest of the cooking fat to your IP or soup pot and sauté the onion and peppers with a pinch of sea salt for about 10 minutes until soft and sweet.
  3. Add the garlic and cook for one minute.
  4. Return the meat to your IP or soup pot along with the rest of the ingredients. Give the chili a stir to combine. IF YOU ARE USING THE INSTANT POT, put the lid on, close the valve, press “Manual,” and bring the time to 15 minutes. The IP will take about 5 minutes to come to pressure, and then will pressure cook for 15 minutes. When the pressure cooker beeps that it is done, turn it off and let the pressure release naturally about 5 minutes before opening the lid. IF YOU ARE USING THE SOUP POT, put the lid on and bring to a low simmer for about 1 hour. You could alternatively use a slow cooker from this step cooking on low for 6-8 hours.

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Savory Steak and Mushroom Soup :: Dairy Free, Gluten Free, & Grain Free

October 21, 2017

Savory steak & mushroom soup will become your staple comforting bowl of warmth this fall and winter!

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. 

Comforting bowls of warmth

That’s what fall and winter are all about right?! We’ve been enjoying an unseasonably warm fall so far, which make for really fun fall hiking, or pumpkin patch days! But with the sun going down a bit earlier each day, the cool air settles in by dinnertime, and that, dear friends calls for warm bowls of soup to end the day!

A new nourishing staple in my home

Last week I introduced you all to Nourished Kitchen’s Roasted Mushroom Broth that I have completely and utterly fallen in love with this fall. I’m so thankful to have discovered this broth at the beginning of “soup season” so that I can enjoy trying it out in new meals all fall and winter!

I have been making some creamed mushroom soups with this warm and earthy roasted mushroom broth, but one night decided I needed to use it for more of a full dinner meal – one that my husband would actually consider a “dinner”…and that means it needs to have some sort of meat involved 🙂

Steak & Mushrooms…like a match made in heaven!

I don’t know of anyone that wouldn’t take a steak and mushroom dinner every day of the week. Getting those mushrooms down into a golden braise with warm ghee or butter sends this bowl of soup over the top. The extra nourishment from the roasted mushroom broth or using a collagen loaded beef bone broth boosts the nutrient level of this meal, making it something I’m definitely putting on my monthly meal menu this fall!

Rich and savory without the heaviness

I know the idea of steak and mushrooms can feel kind of “heavy” but this brothy soup will feel comforting without the heaviness you would get from a big steak meal. Roasting the mushrooms for the broth makes this soup base feel so rich. It was such a satisfying and satiating dinner for a weeknight!

Tips for serving baby and little kids

I can tell you right now that my older babies would literally inhaled this soup! I very often made beef stew (in my cookbook Nourished Beginnings Baby Food), and chicken stew for my babies and blended it up for them – they were perfectly giddy with these meals! Those tougher cuts of beef like the steak in this soup are tough for little ones to chew though. Even my 4 year old needed her steak chunks cut a bit smaller to handle.

Here are some tips for serving this nourishing soup to little ones:

  • This would be a safe soup to start in pureed form for babies over the age of 6-9 months that have already tried tastes of beef and some veggies so you know they don’t have any reactions to the individual ingredients. You can pour mostly the broth base into a blender, Magic Bullet, or food processor along with a few of the veggies and a cube of the beef and blend it up.
  • For toddlers that like to “do it myself,” puree half of his bowl of soup including the beef to make it a thicker soup. He can fist-full it, or use a spoon. You could also just put little pieces from the soup onto his tray to finger food and see if he will sip the broth from a cup. My little ones loved having little tea cups of broth!
  • For older toddlers and preschoolers (even into those little guys in the Kindergarten and 1st grade ages), just make the beef chunks smaller. Even though the beef is really tender in this soup, it is just easier to chew that way for little mouths. To be honest, I made the steak cuts larger than I would have for photographing purposes for this post. When I make it again, I’ll be making the cubes smaller so my preschooler and 1st grader can handle them without needing take the beef out and cut it up more.
  • Remember that little kids don’t like temperature extremes for their food. Their senses are so much more heightened than adults. Instead of serving piping hot soup to your little one, serve it lukewarm or even room temp. I have found my babies to go from completely refusing a food, to gobbling it down without hesitation simply by letting the food cool off to what I would consider cold!

The perfect steak and mushroom soup accompaniments!

Here are some simple sides to serve with your soup – easy enough even for a weeknight

5.0 from 7 reviews
Savory Steak and Mushroom Soup :: Dairy Free, Gluten Free, & Grain Free
Author: 
 
Ingredients
  • ¼ cup friendly fat to cook in such as butter, ghee, avocado oil, coconut oil, olive oil, or tallow (I like using a combination of ghee and olive oil)
  • 1 – 1 ½ lbs grass-fed round steak, cubed (Sometimes this is called swiss steak. Our beef processor tenderizes this cut as well, so if your is not, I would pound it out a little. Stew beef, chuck, or any steak cut you wish should work fine. I do think ground beef would be fine if that is what you have, and what fits in the budget.)
  • 4 tbsp arrowroot or tapioca flour, divided (You can increase this if you want a thicker "stew." If you tolerate grain, white rice flour will work nicely here if that is what you have)
  • 1 ½ tsp sea salt
  • ½ tsp pepper
  • 2 small onions, diced (or 1 large onion)
  • ¾ - 1lb mushrooms of choice (I used a combination of cremini and shitake)
  • 4-5 cloves of garlic, minced
  • ¼ cup full fat coconut milk (If you tolerate dairy, you could use raw milk/cream if that is what you have)
  • 1 ½ quarts roasted mushroom broth, or beef bone broth
  • ½ tsp oregano
  • ½ tsp thyme
  • ½ tsp parsley
  • 2-3 cups baby spinach or baby kale, chopped
  • Sea salt/pepper to taste
Instructions
  1. Heat the friendly fat in the bottom of your soup pot over medium/high heat while you toss the beef, 2 tablespoons of the arrowroot, salt, and pepper in a bowl to coat. When the oil is hot, carefully set the coated beef cubes in, searing the meat on all sides. Set the beef aside leaving the juices/oil behind in the pot.
  2. Over medium heat, add another tablespoon of oil along with the onions and mushrooms. Sprinkle with a big pinch of sea salt and cook over medium/medium-high heat for about 7 minutes, until the mushrooms and onions are softened and caramel in color.
  3. Add the garlic and cook for a minute, then add the coconut milk. Bring the coconut milk to a simmer for a minute or 2, and then add the last 2 tablespoons of arrowroot. Stir until everything thickens.
  4. Add the broth, seasonings, and seared beef to the pot and bring to a simmer. Keep the soup at a low simmer over low-medium heat for 10-15 minutes.
  5. Turn the heat off, and add the chopped spinach in to wilt, then and sea salt and pepper the soup to your taste.

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Roasted Mushroom Broth

October 13, 2017

Use this warm, earthy, and savory roasted mushroom broth for your favorite mushroom soups, stews, risottos, and pilafs!

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

Healing, comforting, warming broth

Years ago it was one of the first things I learned how to cook. I was 23 and barely knew my way around the kitchen. That’s how most in my convenience food generation grew up, after all. But a health crisis in my early 20’s catapulted this kitchen novice into figuring out how to cook food that wasn’t from a box, and it changed my life forever.

Everything I was reading about healing using “real food” pointed toward broth. I tend to be one of those “jump in with both feet” kind of people, and within a week I purchased my first stock pot and began teaching myself how to cook.

Broth is so much more than food

What I ended up learning during those years of teaching myself how to cook was that cooking was so much more than just making food. Something about it made my heart more full. It didn’t just satisfy my stomach, it satisfied my soul.

Deep? Maybe. But I allowed the art of cooking engross me, and I fell in love with making myself food that had love and thought put into it. At the age of 23, I was learning where my food actually came from and that connection to the food we eat is so powerful.

Broth & Stock

I share my story because simple broth making was what made me fall in love with cooking. It opened my eyes to the importance of feeding myself well, and knowing where my food came from – something that I literally did not know, or give any thought to until I was 23.

And that is why I’m not sure that I have been more excited to share a cookbook with you than Broth & Stock by Jenny McGruther from the Nourished Kitchen! I know what learning how to make beautiful stocks and broths did for me, and it is literally the driving force behind the passion and purpose of this blog.

A whole cookbook about…broth?!

Yessss! Because broth is so much more than you think! In only the way Jenny does best, you will learn the differences between various broths and stocks, and how to use them best to make their flavors shine. From a variety of land and sea animal stocks and broths, to different vegetable broths, Broth & Stock has opened my horizons from using the same broth for every recipe I make.

Broth & Stock is also so much more than learning how to make beautiful, healing broth – the recipes in the second half of the book using those healing broths have been such a joy to bring to my kitchen. Being the novice, untrained cook that I am, I have learned so much from Jenny over the years how to bring out depths of flavor in meals using various herbs, spices, broths, wines, and seasonings. Or just leaving simplicity alone, and savoring the true flavor of something by not complicating it. The recipe for pho in the book is the best I have ever made, and the family favorite so far has been the Cream of Chicken Soup with Parsley & Chives. Everyone around the table had 2nd and 3rd bowl-fulls!

Roasted Mushroom Broth

I’ve been adding certain healing mushrooms to my bone broth making for extra medicinal benefits for the last few years, but I had never thought to make a broth with mushrooms alone – and boy have I been missing out! The earthy, savory flavor from the roasted mushroom infused broth is like nothing I have ever tasted before.

Here is an excerpt from Broth & Stock about the Roasted Mushroom Broth:

Roasting strengthens the flavor of mushrooms, amplifying the savory and almost meaty base notes that can give soups a unique foundational richness. Those savory flavors serve as a good match for meat and whole grains. Use this broth as a base for mushroom soups and stews or in risottos and pilafs. Using a wide variety of mushrooms will improve this broth’s flavor and complexity. I often use the stems and trimmings of wild mushrooms left over from foraging, as they give the broth a remarkable depth of flavor; however, using the button or cremini mushrooms easily available year-round in most grocery stores also yields a lovely broth, as roasting improves their flavor. You don’t need to take the peel off the onion, as it produces a lovely color, just split the onion in half and drop it in the pot. –“Broth and Stock”

Reprinted with permission from Broth & Stock from the Nourished Kitchen, written and photographed by Jennifer McGruther, 2016. Published by Ten Speed Press, an imprint of Penguin Random House LLC.

5.0 from 16 reviews
Roasted Mushroom Broth
Author: 
 
Ingredients
  • 3⁄4 pound mixed mushrooms or mushroom stems, chopped into 1⁄2-inch pieces
  • 1 yellow onion, skin on and halved crosswise
  • 3 cloves garlic, smashed
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 quarts cold water or Chicken Bone Broth
  • 1⁄4 cup dry white wine
  • 6 sprigs thyme
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 425°F.
  2. Arrange the mushrooms in a single layer on a baking sheet. Nestle the onion halves into the mushrooms, sprinkle the smashed garlic over, and drizzle with the olive oil. Roast for 20 minutes in the heated oven.
  3. Remove the sheet from the oven and drop the roasted mushrooms and onions into a heavy stockpot. Pour in the broth and wine. Slip the sprigs of thyme into the pot and then bring it all to a simmer over medium-high heat. Continue simmering, covered, for about 30 minutes.
  4. Strain the broth through a fine-mesh sieve, then use a wide-mouthed funnel to pour it into two 1-quart jars, sealing the lids tightly. Cook with the broth right away or store it in the refrigerator for no more than 5 days. Alternatively, you can freeze the broth for upto 6 months, making sure to allow plenty of headspace if you're using glass jars.

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Paleo Wild Caught Salmon Burgers With Dairy Free Garlic Aioli

September 30, 2017

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

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

Salmon…a household baby favorite!

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

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

A much needed trip, and a fresh idea!

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

It’s all about the texture

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

Salmon worthy of the name…burger!

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

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

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

My first try…

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

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

Because a burger this special deserves a special sauce!

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

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

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

Supporting local…and some thoughts on fish quality

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

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

Onto the salmon burgers!

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

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

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20 Minute Ginger Almond Crispy Chicken Stir Fry With Bone Broth Rice :: Nut Free Options and Rice Alternatives Included!

August 18, 2017

Bone broth packed rice, and crispy chicken in a veggie packed stir fry with a kid friendly flavor! All in 20 minutes!

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.

It doesn’t seem to matter what time of year it is…

…I think pretty much everyone would admit that most of the week, most families need under 30 minutes of meal prep for dinner time. I thought as my babies got older (read, less needy!), that I would have more time for all sorts of things. As it turns out, these older kids are pretty fun to do stuff with!

We’ve had the most freedom-filled summer I’ve had in years without babies in diapers, or nursing, nap schedules, and fussy teethers! I’ve been nailing down some of my less than 30 minute dinner ideas for you all, and I hope it helps you as much as it has helped me this summer.

Fast prep but power packed

Busy families need filling meals that actually count. Not just fillers. My kids are growing like crazy right now, and meals with balanced macros make all the difference not only in their mood, but their sleep and stamina.

This dinner is packed with mineral rich vegetables (that actually taste good!), and energy packed carbohydrates to fuel busy kids. The protein is sourced not only from the chicken, but by infusing the rice with amino acid rich bone broth. This packs a big nutrient dense punch to this meal. Don’t skip out on adding a pat or 2 of butter or ghee to the rice servings – the extra fat will satiate growing appetites, as well as nourish their ever growing brains.

My secret to fast, crispy chicken!

It looks so fancy doesn’t it?! I’m telling you, dear momma, cooking a whole chicken or two every week and keeping the meat for quick meals like this is my best kept (or not so best kept!) secret.

I use my Instant Pot to cook one or two chickens most weeks (if you have a slow cooker, that works just as good and is how I did my chickens for years and years!). Slice up the meat, and stash it away for quick salads, wraps…and meals like this! It just needs a quick dusting of seasoning and starch and it will crisp up in a pan of friendly fat and have the taste and feel of crispy chicken from a restaurant.

Rice swap ideas

If you don’t tolerate rice, here are some other ideas to serve your stir fry over:

  • Cauli-Rice (I hear some health food stores carry cauli-rice now so look for that if you have one to save time!)
  • Zoodles (spirilized zucchini!)
  • Peeled carrot “linguine” (use a Y-peeler like this and get fun, wide “noodles”)

Veggie options!

Definitely get creative and swap out the veggies for what is in season and budget friendly near you. That is one way that you can keep this kind of dinner on your menu rotation every other week and still keep it interesting! Swap the broccoli and peppers for sugar peas, zucchini, cauliflower, or carrots. You can also add a huge handful of spinach or kale at the end to wilt in for extra veggie power! I do this more often than not and it’s a good way to get a load of green into your family.

Tips for busy families to make this kind of meal happen

While this meal literally does just take me 20 minutes to make, I wanted to leave a few tips that will help you make things run super smooth (because dinner prep time of the day can be crazy, right?!), and shave off even more time. I know some of you have busier schedules than I do, or maybe are a new momma and can’t even imagine taking 20 minutes to do anything but nurse right now 🙂 I get it!

  • Have a prep day. If you have even an hour or 2 each week that you can devote to getting food prepped for the week, you can side step quite a few instructions on any recipe. Your prep day can include making the rice ahead of time – and maybe doubling or tripling it so you have servings of rice for other meals. Chopping vegetables and portioning them off into containers for certain meals. The sauce for this stir fry can even be made up ahead of time so you just have to dump it in. Just whisk it all up and pop it in the fridge til you are ready to use it. And of course, cooking off a chicken or 2 for your meals during the week will help meals go faster.
  • Have the kids help. Good lawd does it feel like prep goes slower with those little guys around – at first! But let me tell you, when I can had my 4 year old the veggies to wash up, and my 8 year old is doing the chopping, that leaves my hands free to get the other stuff ready. It’s worth the training – put ’em to work dear momma!
  • Double up. You can easily double this recipe to feed your family twice in one week. The recipe on it’s own feeds my family of 5 for one dinner, so doubling up will give you a night off cooking if you need it for those days where cooking just isn’t going to happen.

5.0 from 9 reviews
20 Minute Ginger Almond Crispy Chicken Stir Fry With Bone Broth Rice :: Nut Free Options and Rice Alternatives Included!
Author: 
 
Ingredients
  • FOR THE BONE BROTH RICE (See above section for Cauli Rice or veggie noodle options if you are grain free!) ::
  • 2 cups bone broth
  • 1 cup organic long grain white rice
  • 2 tbsp ghee (or butter, olive oil, or avocado oil)
  • Sea salt/pepper to taste
  • FOR THE CHICKEN ::
  • ¼ cup potato starch (or arrowroot, or tapioca flour)
  • 1 tsp ground ginger, divided
  • ½ tsp sea salt
  • 3-4 cups cooked chicken, sliced into strips or cubes (You could use raw chicken – the cook time will be a bit longer however. I used leftover chicken from my Instant Potted chicken from the weekend – slow cooker chicken works too!)
  • 3 tbsp friendly fat to cook in, divided (Avocado oil, ghee, butter, tallow, lard, or coconut oil are good choices)
  • FOR THE SAUCE ::
  • ¼ cup coconut aminos
  • 4 large cloves of garlic, minced
  • 2 tbsp white wine vinegar
  • 2 tbsp almond butter (Or cashew butter. If you are nut free use sunflower seed butter. If you can’t have seeds or nuts, I would use a tablespoon or so of ghee for the nutty richness)
  • 2 tsp raw honey
  • ½ - 1 tsp ground ginger
  • FOR THE STIR FRY ::
  • ½ large onion, sliced into strips
  • 8 oz mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 small red pepper, sliced into strips
  • 1lb frozen broccoli (Or 1 head of fresh broccoli florets. I get the big bag of frozen organic broccoli at Costco)
  • Sea salt/pepper to taste
  • Green onions to garnish (optional)
Instructions
  1. GET THE RICE GOING :: Put the bone broth, rice, and ghee in a pot with the lid on. Bring to a low simmer for 15 minutes while you prepare the rest of the meal. When the rice has simmered for 15 minutes and all the bone broth is absorbed, turn the heat off, keep the lid on, and let it rest about 5 minutes, or until you are ready to serve your meal.
  2. PREPARE THE CHICKEN :: Put the potato starch, ginger, and salt in a dish and whisk to combine. Toss the chicken in the starch mixture to coat. Heat a large skillet to medium-high heat, melt the ghee, and toss the chicken in. Cook the chicken until golden brown and crispy, stirring occasionally – about 5 minutes. You can prepare the sauce while the chicken cooks. When the chicken is done cooking, set it aside until the stir fry is done.
  3. PREPARE THE SAUCE :: While the chicken crisps up, put the sauce ingredients into a bowl and whisk to combine. Set aside until it is time to pour into the stir fry.
  4. MAKE THE STIR FRY :: Melt the ghee in the large skillet over medium-high heat. Toss all the veggies into the pan with a big pinch of sea salt and cook for 5 minutes until the onions are translucent and the veggies are tender/crisp. Add the crispy chicken and the sauce, stir to combine, and cook about 3 minutes until the sauce thickens (the starch on the chicken will thicken the sauce!). Sea salt and pepper the stir fry to your taste, and serve the stir fry over the bone broth rice. Garnish with green onions if you wish!

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

June 23, 2017

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

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

Little kids and Ranch dressing…

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

But back to the kids and Ranch!

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

So what’s the problem with commercial Ranch dressings?

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

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

All the flavor, using real ingredients!

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

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

Lightning fast prep!

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

Why dairy free?

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

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

A note on the fresh herbs versus dried

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

Different ways to flavor your Ranch!

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

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

A note on tools…

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

5.0 from 8 reviews
Paleo Ranch Dressing and Dip :: Dairy Free, Egg Free, & Filled With Healthy Fats!
Author: 
 
Ingredients
  • 1 cup whole coconut milk (I like this gum free coconut milk. If you tolerate dairy, raw milk would work)
  • ¼ cup avocado oil (Olive oil would work too.)
  • 1 small avocado, pitted
  • 1 tbsp white wine vinegar
  • 3 large green onions, chopped (use the green and white part!)
  • ¼ cup fresh dill (no need to chop)
  • ¼ cup fresh chives (no need to chop)
  • 2-3 tbsp fresh parsley (no need to chop)
  • 3-4 basil leaves (no need to chop)
  • 1 tsp garlic powder (1 garlic clove would be fine but might adds a bit of heat to the dressing)
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • ½ tsp pepper
Instructions
  1. Everything into a quart mason jar (I just measure the liquids using the measurements right on the jar instead of dirtying measuring cups!).
  2. Use an immersion blender to blend until smooth. Taste for salt/pepper to your taste.

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

June 16, 2017

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

5.0 from 9 reviews
Instant Pot Tomato Soup
Author: 
 
Ingredients
  • 3 tbsp friendly fat to cook in such as butter, avocado oil, tallow, lard, or coconut oil
  • 2 medium onions, coarsely sliced
  • 2 medium carrots, peeled and coarsely chopped
  • 3-4 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 quart bone broth
  • 5 large tomatoes, seeds scooped out (no need to chop finely – I just halve them)
  • ½ cup fresh basil (or a tbsp or 2 of dried basil)
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • Sea salt and pepper to taste
Instructions
  1. Turn the Instant Pot to “Saute,” melt the friendly fat, and sauté the onion and carrot with a big pinch of sea salt for about 7 minutes until the veggies soften and sweeten.
  2. Add the garlic and tomato paste, combine and cook for 1 minute. Turn the Instant Pot to off (“cancel”).
  3. Add the bone broth, tomatoes, and basil. Put the Instant Pot lid on, and make sure the vent is closed. Turn the Instant Pot to the “Soup” setting. Bring the time down to 10 minutes. The Instant Pot will take around 10 minutes to come to pressure before counting down the 10 minutes.
  4. Once the 10 minutes of pressure cooking is complete, turn the Instant Pot off, release the valve, and take the lid off. Add the honey, and use an immersion blender to puree the soup. You can sea salt and pepper the soup to your taste once pureed. (If you don’t have an immersion blender, you can pour the soup into a high powered blender to puree)

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Probiotic Rich Asparagus Pickles (Fermented Asparagus!)

May 26, 2017

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Probiotic Rich Asparagus Pickles (Fermented Asparagus!)Fermenting tools

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

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

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

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

Probiotic Rich Asparagus Pickles (Fermented Asparagus!)

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

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

April 21, 2017

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

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

Spring has definitely sprung!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And veggie sides are huge budget savers!

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

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

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

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

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

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

Happy dinner success to you!

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

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

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

April 9, 2017

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

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

When life hands you a lemon…

…you make lemonade, of course!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Real Food For Real Families :: How to make real food happen with a busy schedule and on a budget!

March 21, 2017

How do you make real food happen with a busy schedule and on a budget? Let this veteran real food momma show you how!

Real Food For Real Families :: How to make real food happen with a busy schedule and on a budget!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.

Early mornings. Clingy toddlers. School work. Never ending bills. Babies that just…won’t…nap.

Dear momma, I am right there in the trenches with you. I get it. I get the time crunch. I get the budget. I get your desperate desire to feed your family well and just not knowing where to start, or where to put your priorities into what part of it is the most important.

Real Food For Real Families :: How to make real food happen with a busy schedule and on a budget!Baby steps.

Here is some veteran momma wisdom for you. Let’s start somewhere. Instead of getting overwhelmed with fancy food prep, elaborate meals, and time consuming recipes, let’s get back to the basics. Real food at its core. Because let’s face it…our ancestors would have kept it that simple.

Real Food For Real Families :: How to make real food happen with a busy schedule and on a budget!How to save time among the chaos of mommahood

I do not, I repeat, I do NOT spend all day in my kitchen. Here are a few ideas for you to make your meals work for YOU!

  • Dear momma, make that meal work double time for you. I almost always make more of a meal than we need. Especially when it comes to soups, casseroles, and baked goods etc double up that recipe and use it later in the week when you don’t have time to cook.
  • Get the kids in on the action. I know what you are thinking…doesn’t that make it take longer?! Well, yes at first. But let me give you a little perspective. If the problem with getting the meal made is the kids being around, isn’t getting their hands busy washing, peeling, or playing with scraps at the counter keeping their hands busy so you can do your thang?! YES! Secondly, I promise you that over time, those hands that fumble over a peeler, and need constant supervision at the stove, will become your best soux chefs! My little helpers have become my right hand in the kitchen at times.
  • Prep day. Or prep afternoon or evening. Or prep hour even! Whatever you can do, have one set aside time during the week where you can have a little prep time. Wash and chop veggies (so you don’t have to buy the expensive pre prepped veg!), make salad dressings, mayo, and other simple staples you need for the next couple weeks. Make a huge pot of soup to eat from on busy days so you can avoid reaching for fast food or convenience foods when life happens.
  • Lastly, keep it simple. I love a fancy meal just as much as you. But life doesn’t always allow fancy food prep time. You can still put a delicious, satisfying meal on the table keeping things simple.

Real Food For Real Families :: How to make real food happen with a busy schedule and on a budget!A little dose of real life…

One of my goals in every post, and every book I write for you, dear readers, is to keep myself as relate-able as possible. My real life is about as real as it gets. We lived for years on one income. We’ve been the one car family, the laid off family, the food stamp family. We have been the sleepless night family, the 3 kids four years old and under family, the both momma and daddy working family.

Real Food For Real Families :: How to make real food happen with a busy schedule and on a budget!My heart is to show you that despite “life,” this real food thing really can happen.

Because of this real life that I live, I am very choosy about projects that I take on. I’m talking super picky. I only have so much time to pour into projects with my busy family, and I want to be ensured that every project I take on will have meaning for you, my readers.

Real Food For Real Families :: How to make real food happen with a busy schedule and on a budget!A new project!

Which is why I quite literally jumped at the opportunity to be a part of the 30 Minute Clean Eats On a Budget e-book project. When I read through Kelly’s vision for this E-book my heart leaped.

Her vision for this ebook project included:

  • Recipes need to be free from most common allergens and Paleo friendly. (Grain-free, gluten-free, dairy-free and soy-free.)
  • Recipes need to be 30 minutes from start to finish, and must be made in a pot or pan (No slow cooker or Instant Pot recipes because not everyone has one or can afford one).
  • Recipe cost needs to be under $20 for 4 people (the lower the better).

Doesn’t that just make you perfectly giddy?

Real Food For Real Families :: How to make real food happen with a busy schedule and on a budget!

Well, we did it!

Along with a talented group of 19 veteran real food bloggers, we have compiled an affordable E-Book cookbook of over 80 budget friendly, time crunch friendly, real food meals for the whole family! Not only is this e-book loaded with recipes you can make today, there are tried and true real food budget tips to help you baby step your way into this lifestyle.

You can snag up your copy of the 30 Minute Clean Eats On a Budget e-book here right now! Let us hold your hand through this lifestyle change – we are so excited for you!

Real Food For Real Families :: How to make real food happen with a busy schedule and on a budget!

Cold & Flu Season Dinner Ideas Healthy Kids and Teens Lunch Ideas Nourishing Staples Real Food 101 Real Food Tips school lunches Soup

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

March 17, 2017

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Gluten Free Options ::

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

March 3, 2017

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

February 24, 2017

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

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

We got hit with the crud…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Classic Vegetable Soup

February 17, 2017

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

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

A trip back in time!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Easy peasy lunch packing!

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

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

Toddler tips!

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

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

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

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

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

More real food recipes you might like:

Batch Up Meals Breakfast Ideas Nourishing Staples Real Food 101 Real Food Tips Taking Care of Momma

Healthy, Nourishing Breakfast Ideas For Busy Moms :: My Morning Routine

February 17, 2017

Practical tips for getting a nourishing breakfast in among the chaos of motherhood!

Nourishing Breakfast Ideas For Busy Moms :: My Morning Routine

Good morning, dear momma…

Motherhood is one of the most amazing experiences I have ever lived. I am writing this special post about you. For you. While I am usually focused on the kids and feeding families on this blog, today, I want you to set all of that aside for a bit and to talk about you.

Nourishing Breakfast Ideas For Busy Moms :: My Morning RoutineYou are worth taking care of…

I think it is pretty safe to say that in most households, mom probably last on the list. Especially if you have newborns or needy toddlers in the house, it goes without saying that your hands are tied.

Nourishing Breakfast Ideas For Busy Moms :: My Morning RoutineBut can I ask you something?

When a firefighter goes into a burning house, who does he put the oxygen mask to first?

That firefighter is not very helpful if he is on the floor of the burning house not able to breathe because he was more concerned about getting the oxygen to the person inside. The firefighter first puts the oxygen mask to himself, so he is able to help those he is there to save.

Momma, yes tending to newborn cries is important, but if you are not taking care of yourself somewhere in there, you will crash and burn at some point. 

Nourishing Breakfast Ideas For Busy Moms :: My Morning RoutineFill your cup so you can fill the rest of your family

Over the last 8 years of motherhood, I have grown to become incredibly protective over 2 things.

My sleep, and my breakfast.

Sleep is tough when you have babies in the house, but it can be done. I will save that topic for another day, because today we are going to talk about breakfast! Somewhere near that stack of books you know you’ll be reading to little ones all day needs to be a plate or bowl of nourishment for you.

Nourishing Breakfast Ideas For Busy Moms :: My Morning RoutineMomma’s breakfast = not negotiable

A surefire way to get the day started off on the wrong foot is to make sure you don’t eat something. A few years ago I started a post series on my Instagram (hashtag #RGNMorningMommaFuel) as a way to remind moms to eat something, and to keep myself accountable for getting breakfast in. At the time I had a newborn, a toddler, and a school aged kid, and I found that the days I got breakfast in ran much smoother than the days where I just grabbed a quick banana.

Breakfast became a non negotiable for me. While my breakfast routine has changed over the last 3 years as my dietary needs have changed (for example, I’m not nursing babies or pregnant right now), all in all the theme has always been the same (focused on real, nutrient dense food), and it makes all the difference in the world in how my day runs.

Nourishing Breakfast Ideas For Busy Moms :: My Morning RoutineMy routine

I’m going to share some of my weekday, school morning, quick breakfast routines in hopes that it will spark some inspiration with you, my readers.

Here are a few things to keep in mind while you read!

  • I get up before my kids. Period. I know that stinks. But for me, it is crucial to my sanity to have at least 15-20 minutes of quiet before the chaos begins. If you have babies, I realize this is somewhat of a wild card. I also realize however, if you have babies, they gotta nap at some point that morning, so if they are up early to nurse, simply get them in a sling or carrier, or down on the floor with something interesting to look at after they feed, and fix yourself some food. If you have an early rising toddler, give them a quick banana and raw cheese or cup of milk and set them up with some floor puzzles or their favorite book to look at while you get some food. It’s ok for a toddler to learn about someone other than themselves – awareness of others needs is a great social skill for them to learn.
  • Most of these meals come together in 10 minutes or less! I found my day ran smoother eating first versus waiting until the kids got up to eat, or eating after they ate – because by that point I was so far gone on hunger. It is also inevitable that someone will always need you once the kids are up!
  • The food portions and ratios of macros is what works for ME. This is meant to be inspiration. Not set in stone. Figure out what type of fuel your body works best on, and go from there. I am a recovering adrenal exhaustion and Hashimoto’s fighter, and so my food is based on what works for my body where I am at – which is waaaay better off than where I used to be even just a few years ago. While I was a nursing momma, my plate had more carbohydrates because I needed it to function and keep up. While I am certainly not on the low carb train, I do tend to eat breakfast lighter on the carb side as I follow more of an Adrenal Reset type plan, eating more of my carbs later in the day.
  • You will notice I don’t have smoothies on my breakfast plan. If you love smoothies, they make a great quick breakfast, so go for it as long as they are packed with nutrients! I like to chew my breakfast, and enjoy a hot breakfast versus super cold and that is just personal preference. You can see a great green smoothie recipe here – my kids love it for breakfast! I used smoothies when I was  nursing as a mid morning snack a lot.
  • You will notice I side my breakfast with a bit of kimchi or sauerkraut every morning! It is an easy way to add a vegetable to breakfast, help your food digest, and infiltrate your gut with nourishing bacteria for the day!

To see my weekday “Morning Momma Fuel” posts, you can follow the hashtag #RGNMorningMommaFuel on my Instagram!

Nourishing Breakfast Ideas For Busy Moms :: My Morning RoutineEvery Monday, I hard boil 1 to 1 1/2 dozen eggs for the week.

I peel them and get them into a container and they make for fast breakfast additions for myself, as well as the kids’ breakfasts and lunchbox/snack packing for school. I use my Instant Pot which makes this process super fast, but for years (including all of my newborn years!) I steamed them in my steamer or boiled them the old fashioned way!

Hard boiled eggs go with just about anything!

From freezer breakfast cookies (which is our Friday staple!) to veggie wraps, freezer muffins, healthier pancakes, or a bowl of granola with raw milk. One of my favorite uses for hard boiled eggs is with dinner stir fry leftovers! Just top those stir frys with an egg – it is so fast and so good! (See Tip #4 for lists of breakfast cookie and granola options!)

Egg free friends!

We had to be an egg free house for a while back when one of my girls couldn’t tolerate them. It is do-able! Instead of hard boiled eggs,  keep a freezer bag of these great sausage patties in the freezer – you can thaw it out in the pan in minutes.

Nourishing Breakfast Ideas For Busy Moms :: My Morning RoutineVeggie minerals have made ALL the difference in how I feel every morning.

It seems almost too simple! After I had my second baby, I started eating lunch and dinner leftovers for breakfast sometimes when my hands were too full to cook, and I feel in love with eating soup for breakfast. Give it a try for a week or 2 before you write me off!

Soup goes with just about anything!

Eggs, bacon, freezer biscuits or muffins, breakfast cookies, veggie scrambles or hashes, avocados. The soup takes just minutes to warm through and all of those sides are easily prepped in minutes as well.

Some tips for making soup an easy breakfast

  • Make one large pot of soup every week to eat off from all week long. If you search “soup” on my search bar at the top of this screen, there is literally over a dozen different soups to try! Make soup a part of your prep day, or serve a doubled portion for a meal on the weekends so you have some left for during the week.
  • When you make soup for dinner, double the recipe and fill the freezer. A lot of my soup recipes are already large portions for my family of 5, so if you are a smaller family, these will feel like big recipes – use the leftovers for your breakfast!
  • Freeze in convenient portions for your family. When it was just my husband and I and a baby or 2, I used to freeze in these little pint freezer containers so I could just pull one portion out for my husband and I. These days with 5 mouths to feed, I tend to freeze in quart and half gallon portions so that when I pull soup out of the freezer it can feed me for breakfast and/or lunch as well as my family for a meal.

Nourishing Breakfast Ideas For Busy Moms :: My Morning RoutineI mentioned in the soup section how much of a difference I noticed that veggie minerals made in my morning, so veggies are a part of my breakfast most days of the week in some form.

Veggie and egg quick prep tips (or bacon/sausage/avocado if you are egg free)

  • Chop the night before. Since the chopping can be what hangs most people up on the time to get this done, take 5 minutes and prep your veggies the night before. You can just dump them into a hot skillet the next morning and your breakfast can be done in less than 10 minutes.
  • Keep it simple. Two veggies with some onion and garlic make the most amazing skillet veggie hash! Use what is in season so it doesn’t get boring. There are great veggie hash and potato hash recipes in my cookbook Nourished Beginnings – my kids crave it! It is a great one to make large portions of so the kids are eating the same thing as you.

Nourishing Breakfast Ideas For Busy Moms :: My Morning RoutineThis concept is similar to the soup section.

Plan to double your recipe every time you bake, and your freezer will always have something to pull from. Before “Breakfast Cookie Fridays” ever became a thing in our house, it was “nursing momma needs food all the time”! Now that I have school aged kids, it is fun to celebrate Friday with breakfast cookies, but all of those recipes were born out of my hungry nursing days!

Freezer baked goods go with just about anything!

From soup to fried eggs, bacon, and smoothies! You will notice that all of my recipes for these items are a mixed bag of different gluten free flours. My purpose in this is to balance the muffins or breakfast cookies so that it isn’t just a bunch of grain or starch to shoot blood sugars up. There is definitely a method to the madness!

Freezer and thawing tips

  • Lock in moisture by wrapping and freezing leftovers as soon as they are cooled. I don’t always wrap in plastic wrap, but everything does go into a freezer bag and into the freezer by the time they are cooled all the way.
  • I warm freezer baked goods up right from the freezer most of the time. Put them on a baking sheet and into the oven. Turn the oven to 350, and by the time it pre-heats the cookies/biscuits/muffins are thawed and warm, ready to eat. You can alternatively set them out overnight to thaw.

Don’t forget about granola in the pantry!

Granola was always my fall back on unpredictable newborn days (which is most days with a newborn!). It is the reason I have so many recipes on the blog! Pour raw milk or coconut milk over your  bowl, or sprinkle it over yogurt!

Nourishing Breakfast Ideas For Busy Moms :: My Morning RoutineFrittatas are the rushed moms breakfast bake!

Looks fancy, but honestly frittatas are actually one of my fall back breakfasts on mornings I have lost track of time or have early risers.  It looks and feels like a weekend breakfast casserole, but really takes just 15 minutes to make a skillet full that feeds the whole crew.

Egg scrambles are just as fast – simply cook your veg for a few minutes and then scramble the eggs in – you can be done in less than 10 minutes.

Egg cups/muffins are a fun, portable breakfast for kids, but also make a great side to a bowl of soup! There is a recipe here and one in my book Nourished Beginnings. They freeze up great too! You can use the tips for reheating in the muffin/breakfast cookie section to see how I heat them from the freezer.

Nourishing Breakfast Ideas For Busy Moms :: My Morning RoutineListen, I physically lived on dinner leftovers for breakfast for a full on year after I had my 3rd baby.

I would make a huge skillet stir fry for dinner and eat off the leftovers the next morning as I sleepily nursed the newborn. Then I would do it all over again for the next day! Change it up by topping your dinner leftover with a dreamy yolky egg or wrap it all  up it all up as a breakfast wrap, and you can transform dinner into a savory breakfast that will fuel you all morning!

Nourishing Breakfast Ideas For Busy Moms :: My Morning RoutineWhat about the kids?

I totally realize the kids need to eat too, and these meals are great for kids! My kids eat the same as me about half the week I would say. They tolerate things like soaked oatmeal well that I do not, and love smoothies in the morning (which I do not!), so there is usually a few days where I use that as a quick breakfast for them. For more details on my breakfast rotation for the girls, you can read this post.

Nourishing Breakfast Ideas For Busy Moms :: My Morning RoutineMy coffee routine

Because I know it will be asked about in the pictures, I’ll let you know how I take my coffee! Please know that I am absolutely aware that coffee isn’t for everyone. This is simply for those that are interested. If you are not, go ahead and hop down to the next section!

I tolerate coffee just fine – and yes I go days without it sometimes and don’t have a headache or symptoms. I truly enjoy the taste, the experience, the process of making it with love…and, let’s face it…in a crazy day filled with diapers, owies, piles of laundry, and cleaning up spills, sometimes starting your day with a little something that makes you happy and brings you joy is definitely a good thing!

I make 8oz (1 cup) of coffee (This is my favorite coffee brand – it is mold free and very clean sustainable source. Once you taste it, you’ll never be able to buy another brand – it is so delicious!), and then blend it for 30 seconds with 1 tablespoon of Bulletproof MCT oil, 1-2 teaspoons of butter, and half a scoop of grassfed collagen. It is a lovely, frothy, creamy delight that also keeps my blood sugar in check with all of the satiating fat and zero sugar. It is so good!

I also wanted to mention that I French Press my coffee to keep it clean and non toxic. I store my coffee in this airtight sealed container to keep it fresh and moisture free so it doesn’t mold.

http://amzn.to/2kUlxvyMy supplement routine

In a world where our soils are majorly depleted and not given proper resting periods to replenish, I have found I really do feel my best when supplementing. I know this can be a touchy subject in some circles, so if you feel strongly that supplements are not needed, you can absolutely skip by this section and just enjoy all of the real food breakfast ideas that I provided in this post! (Make sure you hop down and catch my final thoughts though!)

First and foremost, I want to clarify that this is what works for me. I have had some branding questions on what I use, so that is what this section is for. If you are unsure of how to supplement with what is best for YOUR current body needs, I recommend working with my friend Lydia, NTP who can look at your unique biochemistry and make suggestions based on what your body is in need of. She does HTMA testing via mail (no doctor’s note needed!) and will work directly with you, no matter where you live!

With my breakfast I always take:

(Remember that I am not a physician/practitioner. I cannot make recommendations for what you should take or dosages that are right for you – this is what works for me, and meant to give you an idea of what my routine looks like as well as answer the brand questions.)

Nourishing Breakfast Ideas For Busy Moms :: My Morning RoutineDear momma, you are so important.

It took me until I was 3 kids into this thing to realize that how I took care of myself mattered. You are the heartbeat of the home and if you are not well, the whole ship sinks. When I have taken the time to take care of myself I always take care of my family better.

You are allowed to take 15 minutes to have a meal.

Did you hear that? Set that baby down with something interesting to look at while you fix some food (you will be glad you start these little increments of learning how to play on their own early so that as they get older they will do it with ease! YES looking at an interesting toy, or out the window is play for an infant! That is a whole different topic for another time!), get those toddlers a stack paper and crayons and let them have at it, and get those big kids either helping in the kitchen, helping with the little guys, or send them off to play for 15 minutes. Your kids deserve a mom that is nourished and can be what they need for the day.

You are worth it, and you are loved!
xo Renee

Breakfast Ideas Nourishing Staples Real Food 101 Real Food Tips

How To Make Any Frittata :: Plus 4 Different Frittata Recipes! :: Paleo Friendly Real Food

February 10, 2017

Easy instructions for how to make a frittata with any veggies you have on hand!

How To Make Any Frittata :: Plus 4 Different Frittata Recipes! :: Paleo Friendly Real Food

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

A short cut for busy mommas!

Fake out. Short cut. Whatever you wanna call it, frittatas are the busy momma’s breakfast bake fake out! We adore breakfast bakes (in fact, there is the most drool worthy breakfast bake in my cookbook Nourished Beginnings that all of my little ones love!).

But let’s face it…breakfasts bakes are best saved for special weekend brunches when you have a little extra time to fuss a bit, right?!

How To Make Any Frittata :: Plus 4 Different Frittata Recipes! :: Paleo Friendly Real FoodFritattas look and feel fancy and fussy like a breakfast bake, but I can get you in and out of the kitchen in 15 minutes flat!

In fact, these easy frittatas are so fast, that they are frequently on my breakfast rotation on school mornings. You can even do the veggie chopping the night before to shave off another 5 minutes of that time. My kids like to eat frittatas with a side of fresh fruit, or a banana muffin from the freezer, and a glass of raw milk. Little dishes of yogurt work well too. I like to eat mine with a bowl of leftover vegetable soup.

How To Make Any Frittata :: Plus 4 Different Frittata Recipes! :: Paleo Friendly Real FoodWeekday breakfast fast!

I promise you just about anyone can do this. I was petrified of my cast iron skillet until I really gave it a chance a number of years ago. And a frittata? Well, let’s just say it looked fancy, so I wasn’t so sure I could really pull it off!

As it turns out, frittatas are really nothing more than a few handfuls of cooked veggies baked into eggs. Truly whatever veggies you have on hand should work, so it is an evergreen breakfast that can change flavors with the seasons.

How To Make Any Frittata :: Plus 4 Different Frittata Recipes! :: Paleo Friendly Real FoodFrittatas 101…

A frittata begins with some aromatics (ie onion, peppers, mushrooms, etc) and the “harder” veggies that need extra time to get soft (ie potatoes, carrots, etc) cooked down to soften in some butter. You can throw in the more fragile vegetables that don’t need more than a minute of cook time right in after that (ie spinach, tomatoes, etc). Pour over your whisked eggs and herbs and then watch the magic happen!

I like to cook my frittata half on the stovetop, until the edges of the egg are set, and then finish it off on the middle rack of the oven, under the broiler. It really takes the guess work out of whether the middle of the egg is done, and it also gives a beautiful golden top to the frittata.

How To Make Any Frittata :: Plus 4 Different Frittata Recipes! :: Paleo Friendly Real FoodA note on skillets

You will need an oven safe skillet for making a frittata. I have this Lodge cast iron skillet, that was once my mom’s – they really last forever. They are quite inexpensive, and make a great investment since they actually flavor your food better with age!

If you season it just right, they actually have a better non stick surface than any skillet or pan you own! You can check out this tutorial for seasoning your cast iron – it is worth having it done right because my frittatas literally slide right out of the pan because my pan is so slick!

Oven Safe Skillet Options:

{Side note! The handle of these oven safe skillets get very hot! Don’t burn your hand! I wrap a thin kitchen towel around the handle of mine. I did find these really neat cast iron skillet “mitts” that slide right over the handle though!}

How To Make Any Frittata :: Plus 4 Different Frittata Recipes! :: Paleo Friendly Real FoodFavorite veggie and herb combos

I decided to break up 4 different frittata recipes for you to see how you can veggie combo, but you truly can use whatever you have on hand! Think of these recipes as mix and match – make them how you wish. In the spring and summer, fresh herbs are available more readily where I live, so I used fresh herbs for those. Dried herbs work just as well – use what your family enjoys!

How To Make Any Frittata :: Plus 4 Different Frittata Recipes! :: Paleo Friendly Real FoodA note about meat and cheese

If you plan to add some bacon or sausage to your frittata, cook the meat first before getting the veggies in. You can add the meat back into the skillet when you add the eggs. Cheese is also fun to add to a frittata, and you can do that by whisking it in with the eggs.

How To Make Any Frittata :: Plus 4 Different Frittata Recipes! :: Paleo Friendly Real Food

So here is some inspiration for you!

And it is exactly that – inspiration! I can’t wait to hear about the creations you come up with! Keep me posted!

How To Make Any Frittata :: Plus 4 Different Frittata Recipes! :: Paleo Friendly Real Food

 

How To Make Any Frittata :: Plus 4 Different Frittata Recipes! :: Paleo Friendly Real FoodIngredients:

  • 2-3 TB friendly fat to cook in such as butter, coconut oil, tallow, lard, or avocado oil
  • 1/2 medium onion, diced
  • 4 oz mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 small/medium yellow potato (or 1/2 russet), diced
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1 clove of garlic, finely chopped
  • 1-2 handfuls of chopped kale
  • 8 eggs
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 1/4 tsp pepper

Directions:

  1. Set the broiler to high in your oven with the rack in the middle.
  2. At the stovetop, melt the butter in an oven safe skillet over medium heat. Add the onion, mushroom, potato, and sea salt and cook over medium/medium-high heat until the veggies are soft and fragrant, about 3-4 minutes.
  3. Add the garlic and kale and cook for 2-3 minutes.
  4. Whisk the eggs, oregano, and pepper and then pour the egg mixture over the cooked veggies in the skillet. You can move the veggies around so everything is evenly distributed.
  5. Keep the skillet on the stovetop over medium heat for about 3 minutes, until the edges look set. Move the skillet to the oven on the middle rack under the broiler on high heat, and cook another 3-4 minutes until the rest of the frittata sets, and the top is slightly golden.
  6. Let the frittata cool in the skillet about 3-4 minutes before serving. You should be able to slide your spatula right underneath the frittata to slide it onto a cutting board for serving if you wish. (See above for tips on seasoning your cast iron skillet so it is super slick!)

How To Make Any Frittata :: Plus 4 Different Frittata Recipes! :: Paleo Friendly Real FoodDirections:

  • 2-3 TB friendly fat to cook in such as butter, coconut oil, tallow, lard, or avocado oil
  • 1/2 leek, sliced and rinsed of sand
  • 4 radishes, sliced or cubed depending on your preference
  • 1/2 – 1 cup chopped asparagus
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1 clove of garlic, finely chopped
  • 8 eggs
  • 1/4 cup fresh raw cheese (optional, if available)
  • 3 TB chopped chives
  • 1/4 tsp pepper

Directions:

  1. Set the broiler to high in your oven with the rack in the middle.
  2. At the stovetop, melt the butter in an oven safe skillet over medium heat. Add the leeks, radishes, asparagus, and sea salt and cook over medium/medium-high heat until the veggies are soft and fragrant, about 3-4 minutes.
  3. Add the garlic and cook for a minute.
  4. Whisk the eggs, cheese (if using it), chives, and pepper, and then pour the egg mixture over the cooked veggies in the skillet. You can move the veggies around so everything is evenly distributed.
  5. Keep the skillet on the stovetop over medium heat for about 3 minutes, until the edges look set. Move the skillet to the oven on the middle rack under the broiler on high heat, and cook another 3-4 minutes until the rest of the frittata sets, and the top is slightly golden.
  6. Let the frittata cool in the skillet about 3-4 minutes before serving. You should be able to slide your spatula right underneath the frittata to slide it onto a cutting board for serving if you wish. (See above for tips on seasoning your cast iron skillet so it is super slick!)

How To Make Any Frittata :: Plus 4 Different Frittata Recipes! :: Paleo Friendly Real FoodIngredients:

  • 2-3 TB friendly fat to cook in such as butter, coconut oil, tallow, lard, or avocado oil
  • 1/2 medium onion, diced
  • 1/4 medium green pepper
  • 1/4 medium yellow or orange pepper
  • 1/2 – 1 cup chopped broccoli florets
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1 clove of garlic, finely chopped
  • 6 cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 8 eggs
  • 3 TB chopped fresh basil, dill, or parsley
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  1. Set the broiler to high in your oven with the rack in the middle.
  2. At the stovetop, melt the butter in an oven safe skillet over medium heat. Add the onion, peppers, broccoli, and sea salt and cook over medium/medium-high heat until the veggies are soft and fragrant, about 3-4 minutes.
  3. Add the garlic and cherry tomatoes, and cook for 2-3 minutes.
  4. Whisk the eggs, basil, and pepper and then pour the egg mixture over the cooked veggies in the skillet. You can move the veggies around so everything is evenly distributed.
  5. Keep the skillet on the stovetop over medium heat for about 3 minutes, until the edges look set. Move the skillet to the oven on the middle rack under the broiler on high heat, and cook another 3-4 minutes until the rest of the frittata sets, and the top is slightly golden.
  6. Let the frittata cool in the skillet about 3-4 minutes before serving. You should be able to slide your spatula right underneath the frittata to slide it onto a cutting board for serving if you wish. (See above for tips on seasoning your cast iron skillet so it is super slick!)

How To Make Any Frittata :: Plus 4 Different Frittata Recipes! :: Paleo Friendly Real Food

  • 1 TB friendly fat to cook in such as butter, coconut oil, tallow, lard, or avocado oil
  • 3-4 strips of bacon, chopped
  • 1/2 medium onion
  • 1/4 medium sweet potato, cubed
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1 clove of garlic, finely chopped
  • 1-2 handfuls baby spinach
  • 8 eggs
  • 1 tsp parsley
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  1. Set the broiler to high in your oven with the rack in the middle.
  2. At the stovetop, melt the butter in an oven safe skillet over medium heat, and cook the bacon until crisp. Remove the bacon, leaving the bacon grease behind to cook in.
  3. Add the onion, sweet potato, and sea salt to the bacon grease, and cook over medium/medium-high heat until the veggies are soft and fragrant, about 3-4 minutes.
  4. Add the garlic and spinach and cook for 1-2 minutes to slightly wilt the spinach. Add the cooked bacon back in.
  5. Whisk the eggs, parsley, and pepper and then pour the egg mixture over the cooked veggies and bacon in the skillet. You can move the veggies and bacon around so everything is evenly distributed.
  6. Keep the skillet on the stovetop over medium heat for about 3 minutes, until the edges look set. Move the skillet to the oven on the middle rack under the broiler on high heat, and cook another 3-4 minutes until the rest of the frittata sets, and the top is slightly golden.
  7. Let the frittata cool in the skillet about 3-4 minutes before serving. You should be able to slide your spatula right underneath the frittata to slide it onto a cutting board for serving if you wish. (See above for tips on seasoning your cast iron skillet so it is super slick!)

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

January 27, 2017

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

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

The status of your gut determines just about everything…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tips on recipe size

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

A quick note for those with histamine sensitivities!

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

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

January 12, 2017

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

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

I really should have known better…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Stovetop soup instructions

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

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

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

Biscuit and cracker ideas to go with your soup!

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

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

January 6, 2017

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

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

Simplicity.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Infiltrate and populate!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Dips!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

5.0 from 7 reviews
Fermented Carrots {that kids will actually eat!} & The Benefits of Fermented Vegetables
Author: 
 
Ingredients
  • 1 pint warm water
  • 3-4 tsp sea salt
  • 4 medium/large carrots, peeled, and sliced into sticks, or into "coins," or strips/shredded (see notes above for help choosing the size that will work best for you)
  • 1 clove of garlic, smashed (Optional. If you have other household favorite herbs go for it! Many people like to use dill for fermented carrots - I love those too. Garlic happens to be our favorite!)
Instructions
  1. Make the brine. Stir the sea salt into the warm water until it dissolves. You will need most of this brine but will have a little bit left over - you can store the remaining brine in the fridge, or use it for another batch.
  2. Put the carrots into a clean pint jar, packing them in as tight as you can, leaving about 1 inch of head-space at the top.
  3. Pour the warm salt water brine over the carrots to cover them completely. Put your fermenting weight on top of the carrots/brine if you are using one, and wipe the rim of the jar clean.
  4. Close up your jar (Put on your Pickle Pipe, or close the lid of your Fido Jar, or lid and use your Air-Lock. A simple plastic lid can work for your first time until you get the hang of things and want to invest in something to make your fermenting process easier.).
  5. Set the jar at room temperature for 1-4 days depending on the taste you are going for. The longer it sits, the more flavor will develop. You can open and taste along the way until you are satisfied. I ferment mine for about 2 days, and that is the taste my kids enjoy best. Sometimes I make a jar just for me that I let ferment up to 5 days but I enjoy that funkier sour taste! One of my older girls does now too! Keep in mind that if you live in a warmer climate, you may not need as much time to ferment. In the summer sometimes ours are done in just 24 hours.

Tips on recipe size

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

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

December 30, 2016

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

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

He always picks out the biggest one!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

spaghetti-and-meatballs-banner

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

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

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

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

Directions:

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

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

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

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

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

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

Directions:

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

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

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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.

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