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Healthy Kids and Teens Holiday Recipes Occasional Treats Real Food 101 Real Food Tips School Holidays

Paleo Cinnamon Snowflake Christmas Cookies Using Coconut Sugar :: Grain, Gluten, Dairy, & Egg Free

November 25, 2017

Celebrate the season without the sugar overload and make these festive and fun Paleo cinnamon snowflake cookies!

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 first snow…

My little winter babes are still anticipating the first measurable snow approaching the first week of December, peeking their little nose at the windows each morning to see if today is the day! I seriously have no idea where they get it from {self proclaimed beach bum here…}, but growing up here my whole life, I do have to say that there is just something magical about that first snowfall!

Bringing a little snowfall to our kitchen!

So while we await fresh powder to play in outside, I decided to bring a little snowfall to the inside! These sweet little powdery snowflake cookies made the girls completely giddy, and I loved that my oldest could make the entire recipe on her own. Sure the littles in the house loved helping here and there. But there is just something about this age 8…bam! She is not one of the “littles” anymore…she is genuinely a huge help in the kitchen, and so mature it blows me away!

Ownership…

And while we are on that note…man, oh man. Do I ever get it. It takes a little extra time to let them help in the kitchen, doesn’t it? This “Type A” and “go go go” personality momma has really had to learn how to step back and let my kids do their thing. Especially this age. Ownership means the world to them. Being able to edify them in front of their family or peers that *they* made the cookies does amazing things for their confidence.

And that whole “life skills” thing is pretty important too. Believe me. Growing up in a microwave generation and having to teach myself to cook in my 20’s has given me a new appreciation for making sure this generation knows how to make themselves some food. Get your kiddos into the kitchen this holiday season and help them start mastering those kitchen skills – start somewhere!

The holiday sugar trap…

It’s a tough one, isn’t it? I have worked on this balance for years now, and feel like I’ve come up with some happy mediums so that we can both enjoy the fun of the holiday, but also stay healthy and well so that we can actually attend all of the parties and have some fun. Sugar does, after all, feed those sick bugs in our bodies, so party after party, and holiday event after event can really wreck havoc on little ones especially.

{You can read more tips on keeping kids healthy during the holiday season in this super important post!}

A game changing combo!

These cinnamon snowflake cookies are not only super adorable, but they make a much healthier choice for a sweet treat when your kiddos have been “sugar-ed out” and you still have some holiday parties to attend! The nut flour keeping the starches down, coupled with the lower glycemic coconut sugar, make for a winning combination to keep blood sugars at bay.

Ok, fine…coconut sugar…so, how does it taste???

So good! There is a warm, almost light molasses flavor to coconut sugar, so it really gives these cookies in particular a gingerbread cookie flavor with the added cinnamon. It is so festive! I’ve switched to coconut sugar almost exclusively in some of my baking and my family really enjoys the flavor.

Kid friendly serving sizes

Make ‘em small and super cute, dear momma! They won’t know any differently! Here are some super cute mini cookie cutters you can use to make at least 2 dozen cookies (I made over 30 with mine). So instead of having to break apart a huge cookie for your 4 year old, and they feel slighted for only getting half a cookie, they get to have a whole one! Or even 2!

A note on the powdered sugar…

If you have super little ones at home and no bigs…I’d just leave it off 😉 They really don’t know any differently, and the cookies taste amazing without it! If you have some older kiddos at home like I do…I’m telling ya…the illusion of these looking snow dusted with the powdered sugar is SO worth the look on their faces! Do it up! Grab an organic/non-GMO sourced powdered cane sugar, and let them shake it on. Just watch those sweet faces light up!

Ingredient notes

Five batches in, and I was able to at least narrow this one down to gluten, dairy, and egg free! I know, I know, my dear nut free friends! Sigh. I didn’t get to trying these with a seed meal – I really think a sunflower seed type deal just might work. Blend it up into a “flour” and give it a go! And please comment below if you tried it so others who need to be nut free may try. I feel like I worked out the rest of the common allergens like dairy, gluten, and egg though!

If you don’t have access to coconut sugar, then organic cane sugar will work fine. I also think that soaked, blended dates might work. I think honey or maple syrup will be too runny/sticky, but you could give it a try.

5.0 from 14 reviews
Paleo Cinnamon Snowflake Christmas Cookies Using Coconut Sugar :: Grain, Gluten, Dairy, & Egg Free
Author: 
 
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. Pre-heat the oven to 300 degrees.
  2. Put all of the ingredients into a medium mixing bowl, and blend to combine. The dough should press together well. It shouldn’t be tacky or wet though. From here, you can either roll them right out, or refrigerate the dough until you are ready to roll it out. I have done both, and rolling out is easy both ways – I feel like the cut-outs came out of the cookie cutter a little easier when the dough was chilled.
  3. To roll the dough out, you can either use parchment paper, or dust the counter with Cassava Flour. I have done both and they both work well. Roll out the dough, cut the snowflakes out, and place them on a Silpat or parchment paper lined baking sheet. I found that dipping my little cookie cutter into a bowl of olive oil made the cookies slide off the cutter easiest. Or dip in some cassava flour to flour it before cutting.
  4. Bake the snowflakes at 300 degrees for 15 minutes. You can dust the cookies with the organic powdered cane sugar at this point. After they cool a couple minutes on the baking sheet, move them to a cooling rack to cool completely.

More real food Christmas ideas you might like!

 

Batch Up Meals Holiday Recipes Occasional Treats Real Food 101 Real Food Tips School Holidays Snack Ideas

How To Make Sprouted Candied Nuts & Seeds :: Sprouted For Better Digestion & Nourishment :: Made With Real Food Sweeteners & No Junk!

October 28, 2017

Learn how to make candied nuts and seeds for the holidays the real food way! Sprouted for better digestion and using better sweeteners without the junk!

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. 

Harvest parties, Thanksgiving, & Holidays….oh my!

The next few months are sure to bring on party after party and gatherings almost weekly! I wanted to share with you a staple party snack I keep in my back pocket (technically just stashed away in my cupboard!) all holiday season, to make the holidays a bit less stressful, and still yummy real food. Keeping a stash of candied crispy nuts in my pantry ensures that I always have something to pass around when invited to last minute events that don’t leave me with enough time to cook, or where I’m not expected to bring a large dish to pass.

An “evergreen” holiday treat for everyone!

Whether its a snack bowl out on trick-or-treat night, the appetizer table at Thanksgiving, or the big holiday party at home or the office, candied pecans, walnuts, almonds, or any type of mixed nuts or seeds are always a hit. And there are always those present at these events that will be thankful to have a healthier, more protein rich treat to snack on versus the starchy cookies and candies hanging around.

My special real food ingredients, and some notes on sprouting!

Because you really can make a few little swaps and techniques to make these holiday nuts easier on digestion, more nutritious, less processed – and still taste amazing!

  • Soaking/Sprouting :: I leave directions for both in the instructions. Soaking takes the phytic acid levels down so the nuts and seeds are easier on digestion. It takes just 7 hours of hands free time to soak (think over-night while you are sleeping!), so it really isn’t an inconvenience. If you have the time to take an extra day or 2, I recommend sprouting your nuts and seeds! It sounds intimidating, but it is really so simple. After soaking, you simply drain the water and let the nuts and seeds sit in the bowl until they start to sprout a little “tail” over the next 24-36 hours. It is a little extra time, yes, but super hands free, and so special! If you make big double and triple batches of these candied sprouted nuts, you can keep them stashed away for quick grab and go party snacks.
  • Dehydrating under 150 degrees :: Dehydrating versus baking or roasting maintains the integrity of the nut and seed oils. It is just a healthier way to consume them!
  • Coconut Sugar :: Instead of corn syrup or even “regular” white sugar, I always swap for coconut sugar. The glycemic index is lower which keeps blood sugars happier. It is an easy swap, and since coconut sugar has become more mainstream, you can find it even in regular grocery stores.
  • Molasses :: I once tried a candied almond recipe at a party that just really “wow-ed” me. I remembered thinking there was just something different about this recipe and ended up tracking down the guest that made them to ask what their secret was. It was brown sugar! Technically, brown sugar is just sugar mixed with a bit of molasses, so I’ve got the ratios down in my recipe to make a sort of “coconut sugar brown sugar,” and the warmth of the flavor will blow you away!

Special hints of flavor options

Don’t be afraid to mix things up a bit! Most people are pretty used to the typical sweet, candied nuts, but adding special aromas or spicy hits will make your recipe really special.

  • Pumpkin Pie Spice :: Not just for that latte or pie! This makes Halloween trick-or-treating parties so fun for snacking with your pumpkin spice lattes for the adults and warm apple cider for the kids!
  • Cayenne :: This is certainly optional when serving to little kids, but if you are attending an adult party, go for this one! Just a small pinch gives a flavorful heat that goes so well with the sweet and salty flecked candy shell.
  • Orange Zest :: My personal favorite! I think it just brings a happy, bright aroma to the bowl, and it leaves people asking “what is that in there?” – in a really good way! Serve with warm mugs of Winter Wassail – it compliments it so well!
  • Vanilla :: I have mixed vanilla bean to the coconut sugar mixture once before to serve with chilled mugs of real food eggnog, and it was SO good! Very special!
  • Cacao :: Dust in a few teaspoons of raw cacao for a chocolate flavor! So good! Serve with warm mugs of hot buttered raw cacao hot cocoa (recipe is in my cookbook, Nourished Beginnings!) – it compliments it so well!
  • Honey or Maple flavor :: You can swap out the coconut sugar for raw honey or pure maple syrup for a different sweet flavor too!
  • Cinnamon :: Swap the pumpkin pie spice for cinnamon if that is more your flavor preference!

Notes for nut free friends or party guests

My kiddos actually prefer candied seeds to nuts, so don’t be afraid to try out a seed mix even if you aren’t nut free! If you have party guests that have true nut allergies, just be sure you don’t dehydrate the seeds and nuts together in the same batch – do everything separate, and make sure the tools are all washed up real good in between. In fact some can’t even be in the same room as the nuts, so if you know this ahead of time, just stick to a seed mix and leave any nuts out. The seeds are just as festive and taste amazing.

I prefer a mix of sunflower and pumpkin seeds but there are so many things you can do. Adding chia seeds will make more “clusters” – almost like a candied seed “bark” and those just feel so special!

Notes for egg free friends or party guests

I would love to hear from my egg free readers how this works out, but I would imagine that a flax egg – or really just half of a flax egg – would work out just fine here. The egg white combines with the coconut sugar to create the candied coating. I have seen recipes where you combine water and the sugar and bring to a boil until a thick candy coating is made. Let us know in the comments if you have tried this – I would love to make this post a great resource for friends that need to make these allergy swaps.

A quick note about dehydrating/cook methods

Do not. I repeat do NOT, not make these just because you don’t have a dehydrator 🙂 YES dehydrating nuts and seeds below 150 degrees maintains the integrity of the nut oils and nutrients, but I would rather you make these in your oven than not make them at all, and buy crummy ingredient holiday nuts at the store. If you make them in the oven, just be sure to stir them around so they dry out evenly – it is more hands on than using a dehydrator, but it works.

If it happens to fit on your birthday or holiday wishlist, I get SO much use out of my dehydrator, and have had it for years. It is a great investment. If you want to make homemade granola for breakfast and snacks much easier with less hands on time, homemade jerky, and other dehydrated goods, you will not regret it. I have this “middle of the road” dehydrator, though I will definitely be spending the money when mine finally gives out to get a more quality dehydrator. Mine is 6 years old now and does not maintain the heated temperature as evenly (it’s tuckering out!), so I’ll be investing in a more quality dehydrator soon.

5.0 from 15 reviews
How To Make Sprouted Candied Nuts & Seeds :: Sprouted For Better Digestion & Nourishment :: Made With Real Food Sweeteners & No Junk!
Author: 
 
Ingredients
  • 2 cups raw nuts and/or seeds of choice
  • 2 tsp sea salt for soaking
  • 1 egg white
  • ¼ – ⅓ cup coconut sugar
  • 1 tsp blackstrap molasses
  • 2 tsp pumpkin pie spice (See above section for different flavoring options to swap here from vanilla and cacao to cinnamon!)
  • Zest of 1 orange (Optional if you enjoy the citrus aroma and a hint of citrus to the nuts/seeds)
  • Up to ¼ tsp cayenne pepper (Optional only if you want some heat to your mixture – I’d leave this out if serving to kids – I make a separate batch with some heat just for the adults because it’s so yummy!)
  • Sea salt to sprinkle over top to your preference
Instructions
  1. Put the raw nuts/seeds into a medium mixing bowl with 2 tsp sea salt and fill the bowl with water to cover the nuts/seeds. Stir the mixture around to dissolve the sea salt, and then cover with a towel. Let the soaking nuts/seeds sit on the counter 7-12 hours to soak. This soaking process breaks down the phytic acid in the nuts/seeds making them easier on digestion. You could also sprout your nuts/seeds if you have the time to take that process further for more nutrient availability. After 12 hours of soaking, drain the water, cover with a towel, and let the nuts/seeds sit on the counter for 24-36 hours until you see a little sprout of a tail. Rinse and drain the nuts/seeds a couple times a day during this sprouting time.
  2. After soaking (or sprouting) your nuts/seeds, drain the water. Whisk the egg white, coconut sugar, and pumpkin pie spice (and cayenne if using it) in a small mixing bowl, and then put the drained nuts/seeds in. Stir the nuts/seeds with the coconut sugar mixture to coat evenly.
  3. Spread your coconut sugar coated nuts/seeds over a dehydrator tray (or baking sheet if using an oven). If you are dehydrating the nuts/seeds, you can dehydrate under 150 degrees to keep the nutrients and oils stable in the nuts/seeds. This will take around 12-24 hours depending how high you set your temp – I do about 135 degrees and it takes about 12 or so hours (this is the dehydrator I use.). If you are using an oven, you can bake at 250 degrees for about 30 minutes to an hour. Stir them around once or twice while baking to make sure they dry out all the way.
  4. Store your crispy candied nuts and seeds in an airtight container in the pantry.

More real food recipes you might like ::

 

Holiday Recipes Occasional Treats Real Food 101 Real Food Tips School Holidays

Healthy Halloween Tips and Ideas :: Healthier trick-or-treating ideas {that won’t get you tee-peed!}, family Halloween traditions, & healthy classroom party ideas!

September 23, 2017

Celebrate Halloween and keep your “crunchy momma” status with these super fun, {not lame} healthy Halloween tips and ideas for home and school!

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’m going to just cut to the chase, let the cat out of the bag…you get the idea…

It’s not my favorite holiday.

You know…Halloween. Sure, it’s super fun to dress up little kids like fuzzy ducks, silly clowns, and glittery butterflies, but really, I’m in this whole autumn thing for that Thanksgiving turkey!

And yet…

…the kids nearly jump out of their skin for this holiday, and so we roll with it. I’ve spent the greater part of the last 8 ½ years of this motherhood journey navigating just how to approach the sugar crazed holiday, and I feel like I’ve come up with a happy medium that works for our family.

My middle kiddo making pumpkin pasta before trick or treating!

Did you hear that key phrase?

I’ve found what works for *our* family. It won’t be the same for every family, but I’m hoping my list is super comprehensive and will at least give you a bit of empowerment to start making your *own* family traditions to make the holiday special for your kids, without compromising your real food standards.

Because that’s really what it’s all about, right?

The fun, right!?

Listen, I may be one of those ____(insert your choice of terms to describe health conscience moms…crunchy, holistic, green…) mommas, but I don’t want my kids to feel like the odd duck. Sure they may pack bone broth loaded soup for school lunches, but I also pack an occasional PBJ. And yes, for the most part treats are just saved for birthdays and holidays, but we have the occasional Friday night pizza or weekend celebratory cookies.

It’s called balance…

And that balance is crucial to making sure your kiddos don’t buck back against you when it comes to fun things like Halloween. Trust me…I’ve done the whole skipping trick or treating to avoid the candy thing. I thought since I would be having them dump the candy anyway, why bother!

Instead, what I had was a disappointed 6 year old who knew about trick or treating from her friends at school, and all she wanted to do was dress up and have some fun. Not every kid will come to this conclusion, but she would have been just as happy to dump the candy just for the chance to dress up and have some fun! Don’t take that away from them!

Our family Halloween traditions!

Again, every family is different, and there is no one right way to do this Halloween thing. I hope everyone reads that part carefully – my way isn’t the highway, but I’m hoping you can get a few ideas to help, and learn from my mistakes!

  1. We carve pumpkins, dress up, and do the trick-or-treating thing. My kids are still at the ages where this is super cool to them, and they don’t even care that the rule is dumping the candy in the trash afterward. They seriously just want to dress up and have fun!
  2. We swap their trick-or-treat candy for a special treat that they get to make with momma. We do something different every year, and the kids get to pick. We’ve made caramel corn, candy apples, tootsie rolls, and sugar cookies made into pumpkins (I use this recipe using a pumpkin cutter and then use naturally dyed orange sprinkles over white frosting!). They get to enjoy their special treat after trick-or-treating – period. Not the next day or the weekend after. Even if it’s a school night, they are staying up and having fun. Don’t be the party pooper mom. Yep I said it – and I get to say it cuz I’ve been there and it isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. Live a little 😉
  3. I hand out candy. Well, honey sticks to be exact. I went years without handing out candy because I just couldn’t stand the thought of handing out GMO filled candy to innocent little kids. I couldn’t afford the expensive organic chocolate candy for everyone, so I just didn’t hand anything out. I can’t remember where I got the honey stick idea, but we are going on our 3rd year of handing them out, and it is a compromise I feel good about. Kids get something sweet, and I feel good about the quality.
  4. As far as school Halloween parties go, our school doesn’t celebrate Halloween in the traditional way, so I have zero experience there. They do some crafts, and make applesauce! (The kids love this by the way – let them peel and chop, and then slow cooker or Instant pot the applesauce!) If you have kiddos at a school that does the whole Halloween party fiasco, please leave us some comments below on how you handle the school parties so we may learn from you!

I absolutely cherish this picture of my oldest making the caramel for caramel apples and her sisters watching! That is what this is all about! (Recipe for the caramel apples from Nourished Kitchen is below!)

A quick note on my thoughts about babies & toddlers…

Take those babies and toddlers to the pumpkin patch! Do fun arts and crafts with pumpkin seeds, orange paint, and pumpkin cutters in play-doh!

My philosophy on the babies and toddlers with candy is…do *you* want to explain to a 1 or 2 year old why we don’t have candy every day of the year? They just don’t have the capacity to reason why this isn’t a good idea like a 4 year old on up would. I kept my babies and toddlers with a fun snack of fruit salad with simple whipped cream, or simple fruit leathers (I love the idea of this winter squash fruit leather – perfect for toddlers!), or cut up fruit in a fun mini cookie cutter for Halloween shapes.

They don’t know any better, dear momma. You’ll be so glad you did the next day when you don’t have to explain why we don’t have chocolate everyday to a 2 year old who doesn’t know how to understand that. It just isn’t fair to them.

That said…when it comes to older siblings in the house, let them have some fun. I admit my third born had her first piece of candy much younger than my oldest who was at least 4 before she had hers. However,  I definitely didn’t feel like going through the meltdown process at ages 1 or 2 when she wanted *more*, so she was just in bed when my oldest kiddos had their special treat.

Again, this philosophy isn’t set in stone. It is my opinion, and my thought process. You do you dear momma, but at least this gives you some food for thought! 

Onto the ideas!

SO! I wanted to comprise a list of ideas that will help you through Halloween with your {ahem} crunchy momma label 🙂 Pick and choose what works for you, and pass by what doesn’t. Read through it with your older kids and make some new family traditions together!

Trick-Or-Treat Hand-Out Treats:

Let’s face it…an apple or box of raisins is just not something special to a kid over the age of 3! Lighten up and try some of these fun, safer ideas that will make the kids smile! Please note the prices per candy, and maybe you could do the more cost effective ones for the masses of trick-or-treaters, and save the pricier ones for those smaller, at home parties or classroom parties if candy is allowed.

{PLEASE keep in mind that Amazon prices can fluctuate. I broke the price down per candy for your convenience, and the price here reflects what Amazon had the price at during the time of this post publishing.}

Treat Alternatives:

Let’s face it…kids probably have enough pencils, and the gross plastic fake Halloween teeth will just get tossed in the garbage. Here are some fun, non candy ideas for the kids that stop by that can’t have candy!

{These aren’t really my thing, but I do think that for the little guys that come around, some parents might be thankful to get something like a sticker that isn’t full of sugar. I’m pretty sure you will want to have the candy from above on hand for older kids. PLEASE keep in mind that Amazon prices can fluctuate. I broke the price down per toy for your convenience, and the price here reflects what Amazon had the price at during the time of this post publishing}

  • Stickers (2 cents per sticker. Obviously, you can find stickers just about anywhere! Shop around! I thought these were cute for the Halloween holiday!)
  • Temporary Tattoos (6 cents per tattoo. Obviously, you can find temporary tattoos just about anywhere! Shop around! I thought these were cute for the Halloween holiday!)
  • Stampers (18 cents per stamper. Obviously, you can find stampers just about anywhere! Shop around! I thought these were cute for the Halloween holiday!)
  • Glow Sticks (6 cents per glow stick.)
  • Bouncy Balls (13 cents per bouncy ball)

Homemade Treats The Family Can Make Together:

Make sure you use the comments to tell us your family Halloween treat traditions! I would love to add to this list!

Honey Caramel Apples (This is the recipe we use every year!)

Honey Sweetened Caramel Corn

Pumpkin Spice Latte {Because Mom & Dad need it! Leave the coffee out for the kiddie cups!}

Homemade Tootsie Rolls

Spider Cupcakes

Candy Corn Panna Cotta

Chocolate Dipped Mandarin Oranges

Paleo Ghost Truffles

Sweet, Spicy, & Salty Pumpkin Seeds

Dark Chocolate Nut Butter Cups

Fresh Figs With Cheese & Walnuts

Chocolate Covered Apples

Salted Caramel Apple Parfaits

Pumpkin Gummies

Cinnamon Maple Nut Butter Apples

Honey Nut Popcorn

Healthy Family Halloween Dinner Ideas {Kids will actually eat before trick-or-treating!}

Traditions That Will Make Halloween Super Special!

Make sure you use the comments to tell us your family traditions! I would love to add to this list!

  • Pumpkin carving contest
  • Play Halloween themed Pictionary
  • Pumpkin seed counting contest
  • Make your own personal pizzas (2 recipes above in the Halloween Dinner section!)
  • Watch a movie
  • Play board games
  • Play Halloween themed Charades
  • Have a scavenger hunt
  • Have a spa night

Fruit Based Treats For Classroom Parties (Or at home for those toddler treats!)

Applesauce Making (Have the kids peel & chop, then slow cooker or Instant pot it in class!)

Halloween Monster Mouths

Fruit Bat Snack Bags

Monster Fruit Cups

Pumpkin Spice Fruit Dip

Frozen Boo-Nana Pops (I’d use greek yogurt!)

Halloween Green Yogurt Fruit Dip & Spooky Fruit Snacks (I’d skip the nutella or make your own)

Healthy Halloween Orange Pumpkins

 

Ghost Berries (I’d use organic white chocolate or even dip in Greek yogurt and freeze.)

Orange Jack-O-Lantern Fruit Cups

Candy Corn Fruit Pops

Spiders On A Log

Fruit Gummy Worms

Treat Alternatives For Classroom Parties

Think games and crafts! The focus at classroom parties doesn’t always have to be on the food. If they kids are having fun, and get a break from normal classroom routine, that is all they care about.

Please note there are probably a zillion Halloween crafts and games! I tried searching for things that could be done in the classroom easily and affordably. If you are a teacher or parent that have some fun classroom craft ideas, please drop them in the comments below and I’ll add to the list as we need!

CRAFTS FOR THE CLASSROOM {OR LITTLE ONES AT HOME!}:

Halloween Spider Craft

Halloween Rock Monsters

Monster Corner Bookmarks

Pine Cone Spiders

Yarn Pumpkins

Pumpkin Apple Stamps

Paper Plate Mummy Lacing Craft

Craft Stick Spider Webs

Build A Monster (This link has a free printable!)

Paper Plate Black Cat

GAMES & ACTIVITIES FOR THE CLASSROOM:

  • Carve a pumpkin and have a estimating contest on the amount of pumpkin seeds
  • Roast the pumpkin seeds!
  • Peel & chop apples and slow cooker or Instant Pot applesauce right in class! If you have access to an oven at school like our school does, you can have older kids do a baked applesauce which will make the whole school smell amazing!
  • Make play-doh with a fun fall scent or slime in class
  • Scavenger Hunts
  • Science experiments
  • Bingo (this link has a free Bingo printable!)
  • (I had a harder time finding games! If you are a teacher with some fun Halloween games, please comment!)

SO! We want to hear from YOU!

Let’s make this the most comprehensive, “crunchy momma” guide to a {not lame} FUN Halloween! List out what you do in the comments! If you are a Switch Witch family, a big party family, or you do something totally different, we want to hear it!

 

Holiday Recipes Occasional Treats Real Food 101 Real Food Tips

Gluten Free Rustic Skillet Peach Pie

August 26, 2017

An easy prep gluten free skillet peach pie with buttery, flaky crust and sweet juicy peach filling!

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

This little sweat pea…can I tell you about her?!

My baby turned 4 this week, and while I’m happily waving good-bye to the *unique* toddler years in my house for good (whoop!), I’m still kinda like…whaaaaa! My baby is not a baby anymore!

Caitlyn teaches me peace. She teaches me trust. And she teaches me how to unconditionally love anyone. In perfect third kid style, this sweet baby goes with the flow, no matter what that flow may be. Schedule changes? No problem! New experiences? Awesome! She plans on everyone being her friend the minute she walks into a room, and is the coolest kid to play with. She makes everyone feel special.

When you have *2* August birthdays in the house…

You have peach pie!

My husband just so happens to have a birthday just 2 days before Cait (I was miserably 42 weeks pregnant, and while I said my entire pregnancy I didn’t want them having the same birthday, I would have given just about anything to have her that day! Ha!). I have always wanted to do something summer fruity for Cait’s birthday since there is such an abundance of summer goodies during her birthday month, and this year, I got my wish!

That whole busy schedule thing…

Having a birthday at the end of August also means things are really busy doing all the back to school preparations. So we made lots of special time last weekend with family to celebrate Cait’s birthday early while everyone was still in summer mode. That way everyone could enjoy and celebrate her!

I also wanted to celebrate on her actual birthday though, and decided to have her pick a summer fruit to make something special with…

Summer peaches meet easy peasy skillet crust!

Peaches are totally her jam this summer, so I had a feeling that is what she would pick. I was perfectly giddy that she did, and before I started in making this super easy peach crisp, I had a second thought and really wanted to make peach pie.

The time to fuss with a fancy pie crust just wasn’t going to work with the weekend ahead, and I was just thrilled with how this more rustic (read…less fussy!) crust worked.

Buttery, flaky, no-fuss crust!

I played around with my “perfect gluten free pie crust” recipe a bit, trying to make it work for the skillet. I didn’t want to wait around for dough chilling, and just by chance I happened to change the ratios of the flour, butter, and water to get a dough that rolled out easily right out of the food processor.

This momma is definitely a “non” baker – not my favorite thing to do in the kitchen, and this crust was super easy to work with. I think you will be pleasantly surprised at how well it rolls out. And because we are talking “rustic” – it doesn’t have to have perfectly neat little edges! Yeah!

A note on peach types

Different peaches have different levels of juiciness and acid which affects sweetness. There are dozens of peach varieties – our local peach farmer carries at least 6 or so. That said, you can fuss around with the sweetness to your taste. I picked up the very last of a white flesh variety called blushing star – they have a really pretty white flesh with streaks of almost pink. They are super sweet and quite juicy.

Our peaches were very ripe – almost too ripe. Because of that, I used a good ½ cup of flour to make sure it didn’t get too runny in the middle – if I were to make it again, I would use a bit less – 1/3 cup, or maybe even ¼ cup. I like to have a little bit more messy juiciness to my pie! The “sweet” was right on to our palates for the peaches we had. If your kids are used to sweeter pies, I would go for more like ½ cup of the sugar.

Topping options!

While the peach skillet pie certainly shines on it’s own, everything is better with a little topping, right?! Here are some great, easy, real food ideas!

New to skillet cooking?

For years I was pretty petrified of screwing up a skillet – so I never used one. In the last few years I have been almost exclusively using my cast iron skillet because it is so easy to use! Go figure! I follow these instructions from The Kitchn for seasoning my cast iron and keeping it super non slip. The pie slices slid right out. If you are in the market for a cast iron skillet (what a great gift idea for this year!), this is the one I use. They are so affordable, and last forever!

5.0 from 6 reviews
Gluten Free Rustic Skillet Peach Pie
Author: 
 
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. Pre-heat the oven to 450 degrees.
  2. Make the filling :: Put the filling ingredients into a medium mixing bowl, gently mix, and set aside.
  3. Make the crust :: Put the flour, sugar, and salt into a food processor and pulse 5 times to mix. Add the palm shortening (or butter), and blend until the palm shortening (or butter) is incorporated making little bits in the flour. Add the water to the drip cup on the lid of the food processor, and press blend until the dough comes together. This takes about a minute.
  4. Get the crust into the skillet :: Flour a counter surface with the Namaste flour or rice flour and roll out your dough. You’ll want to leave it wider than your skillet so you have enough to fold over the top. Gently set the crust into the skillet, and softly press it down the sides. Brush the bottom and sides of the crust with the beaten egg. This keeps the crust from getting soggy.
  5. Assemble the pie :: Pour the prepared peach filling into the crust, and fold the edges of the pie over the filling. Brush the top of the crust with the beaten egg, and sprinkle with sugar. You can put a few pats of butter over the top of peach filling too.
  6. Bake the pie at 450 degrees for 10 minutes. Then turn the temperature down to 350 degrees for 40 minutes, until the crust is golden brown. Let the pie cool at least 15 minutes before cutting.

More real food peach recipes you might like!

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Paleo Plátanos Calados :: Stewed Spiced Ripe Plantains

August 23, 2017

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

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

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

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

A little taste of Latin American culture

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

A whole new cookbook experience!

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

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

Latin American Paleo Cooking Features and Stats!

Here’s the low down on this amazing book!

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

Fall spices meet tropical fruit!

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

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

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

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

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

A quick note on some additions I made!

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

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

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

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Pectin Free Cherry Jam :: Honey Sweetened Too!

July 7, 2017

Preserve the best of cherry season with delicious cherry jam, perfect for all of your jam topping dreams!

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’s no secret…

We love cherry season! Cherry picking has become one of the summer activities my older girls look forward to all year, and my youngest is really starting to get the hang of this whole cherry picking thing too 😉

A short but sweet season!

Only about a week or so long, we try to get right in there as soon as we hear word of those cherries being ready to pick, because before you know it – they are gone! This year, we had a late spring frost that damaged a lot of the cherry blossoms, but thankfully some were salvaged and we have been enjoying every juicy {messy!} bite of the 60 pounds we picked.

Novice cherry jam maker…

As many years as we have been picking cherries, I have never made cherry jam! I usually pick one fruit from the summer to make jam with, and this year I decided cherries were the lucky ones! I was so thankful that despite the frost this spring we were still able to pick, and I really wanted to do something special with them.

Since our cherry picking was literally the day before the 4th of July holiday, I didn’t have time to get to the store to buy the pectin for jam making I like…(If you are really loving jam making season, THIS is the safe, preservative free pectin I like to use!)

…So a pectin free trial run happened…

…and while my first batch was a bit runny (made a great syrup for pancakes!), we loved the result once I got it right! Since making the first trial, I have made 3 batches of this jam, and really nailed a great consistency for all your jam topping dreams, as well as the perfect amount of sweet and cherry flavor.

A note on the “sweet” and types of cherries

I have made a couple batches of this jam with our favorite local raw honey, and 1 batch with organic cane sugar to be sure it worked, and to get the amount right. For those of you who don’t have access to a good raw honey that tastes really light and delicious, the organic cane sugar is your best bet at a good jam. If your raw honey is too floral, dark, and rich, it will overpower the cherry flavor, and you don’t want that in this kind of recipe – the cherries are SO good!

Be sure to taste your jam before jarring it up. We all have different sweet palates, and your cherries might have a different level of sweetness. If you are using sour cherries you will probably have to double the sweet. Ours were sweet cherries that were perfectly ripe – almost over ripe and were very sweet.

Storage!

In my house, homemade jam is a treat, so I just don’t make a ton of it anymore. Jam for run of the mill use like PBJ’s for school are reserved for a cost effective organic brand from Costco – 3 mouths to feed, times 3 sandwiches, a few times per week equals a lot of jam! I reserve our homemade jam for a treat to top weekend pancakes, or to stir into yogurt, or to swirl into homemade ice cream!

That said, you can batch up and store this jam however you wish. I am just keeping mine in the fridge – it will go that fast!  Since I made some extra batches to prepare for this post, I’ll be giving some away as gifts, and I stored the extra in the freezer as freezer jam. If you like to can, you can water bath can the jars and just be sure to check the seal the next day to make sure it took. If they are good to go, you can pantry store them, and if you get one that doesn’t seal right just freeze it.

Recipe size and jar storeage

This recipe makes enough jam for four 8oz jelly jars. I happen to think this style is much cuter for gift giving by the way! You could also use eight 4oz jelly jars which also make wonderful gifts, or are great for storage when you don’t want to pull out a larger jar of jam. I freeze my jam for 24 hours, and then put the lids on to prevent the jars from breaking.

5.0 from 5 reviews
Pectin Free Cherry Jam :: Honey Sweetened Too!
Author: 
 
Ingredients
  • 8 cups sweet cherries, pitted (you can use sour cherries, but will have to adjust the honey/sweet to your taste)
  • ¼ cup water
  • Juice of 1 large lemon (about ¼ cup juice)
  • ¾ cup raw honey (organic pure cane sugar will work too. Be sure you enjoy the taste of your honey – pick a light color honey – if it is very floral in taste it will cover up the cherry flavor. If you can’t find one you love, I’d suggest using organic cane sugar!)
  • 2 tsp almond extract (optional but so good!)
Instructions
  1. Put the cherries and water in a pot and bring to a simmer. Use a potato masher or spoon to squish the cherries while it simmers for about 15 minutes.
  2. Add the lemon, honey, and almond extract and bring to a constant, rolling boil until it thickens, and you can feel it thicker to stir, about 20-25 minutes. Stir often to prevent sticking and scorching. You will see the jam thicken up toward the 20 minute mark, looking more viscous. You can jar it up and put it in the fridge or freezer, or water bath can it at this point! Recipe makes 4 of these 8oz jelly jars.

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Real Food Copycat Nestle® Toll House® Cookies :: Gluten and Dairy Free Too!

June 16, 2017

Remember Nestle® Toll House® Chocolate Chip Cookies from your childhood, but want to make them with better ingredient choices? I’ve got the answer!

Real Food Copycat Nestle® Toll House® Cookies :: Gluten and Dairy Free 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.

We were known for them…

Growing up, our house was *known* for bringing the best chocolate chip cookies *ever* to whatever gathering we went to. I’m talking people were NOT happy if they were not brought. They were soft and sweet, and whether it was right out of the oven, out of her old Tupperware, or if we were sneaking them out of the freezer {ahem…}, they were seriously nothing short of amazing.

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.My mom’s secret?

The recipe on the back of the Nestlé® Tollhouse® chocolate chips bag, with a couple tweaks that literally make them melt in your mouth.

Her secrets to making them soft and chewy instead of crispy were:

  • Swap the butter for vegetable shortening – in other words…Crisco® (I know, I know. Just hang tight with me real food police…I’ve got your back in a few paragraphs here…)
  • Half the salt. I’m not sure why this is – I didn’t half the salt in the recipe I made just out of curiosity and I still liked them. Could have been her preference!
  • Back off the cook time to about 8 minutes. Meaning leave them just slightly under-cooked. They finish cooking a couple minutes on the hot sheet pan and then on to the cooling rack to cool. The result is a middle that is soft and literally melts in your mouth!

Real Food Copycat Nestle® Toll House® Cookies :: Gluten and Dairy Free Too!The challenge…

Well her tweaks, along with most of the rest of the ingredients in the recipe have made it pretty hard to enjoy knowing what I know now. Know better, do better, right? I’ve tried literally dozens of “healthier” cookie versions but nothing reminded me of my childhood…until these!

Real Food Copycat Nestle® Toll House® Cookies :: Gluten and Dairy Free Too!What’s so bad about vegetable shortening?

Dear friends, something happened during my grandparent’s generation. Fat got a super bad rap. Everyone started swapping their butter for this new fangled cooking fat medium called vegetable shortening. It is usually made up of hydrogenated soy. It was easy to cook with, gave amazing results, and {the real kicker for this particular generation}…it was cheap.

In short, we have not only come to learn the damage that hydrogenated oils such as vegetable shortening does to our bodies causing free radicals (think cancer feeders), but that it also doesn’t do the body systems that actually need real fat any good. Everything from our brains, to our digestion, to our hormones, rely on real, unprocessed fat. These hydrogenated vegetable oils were also made cheap and fast using GMO crops which is leading to a host of digestive/genetic issues in the last couple generations of kids.

In the end, we have a couple generations in counting of kiddos that grew up without well fed hormones, brains, etc and we are still recovering from the mess. (Hence my mission at Raising Generation Nourished! To read more about healthy fats, how to make the switch to the good ones, and how to use them, you can pick up my cookbook, Nourished Beginnings! There is a whole section on fats, their use, which ones to avoid, and almost 100 recipes using real, healthy fats to cook with!)

Real Food Copycat Nestle® Toll House® Cookies :: Gluten and Dairy Free Too!Still a cookie…but with real ingredients.

Yes, dear friends these cookies still have sugar (albeit the non GMO variety!). And whether you want to admit it or not, sugar is still sugar. I‘m not glorifying these cookies by even letting them be called healthy. Because if you ate them everyday, you’d be overloading your body with sugar.

But for a weekend family reunion treat? A birthday sleepover midnight indulgence with friends? Absolutely!

Real Food Copycat Nestle® Toll House® Cookies :: Gluten and Dairy Free Too!Here are my Nestle® Tollhouse® Real Food Copycat Swaps!

  • Swap the vegetable shortening my mom used for Nutvia Organic palm shortening, which is coconut/palm oil based (No it doesn’t make it taste like coconut! And yes, please be careful on brands – this brand is sustainable, fair trade, etc). You could use butter if you want, which is what is on the original Nestle recipe. Your cookies will be crispier – and some people like that! Awesome! I was really going for the soft and chewy cookies my mom made when I was a kid, and palm shortening is the ticket!
  • Use an organic, non-GMO sugar, and back off the amount a bit. Honestly, when I make these again for just my kids, I will be backing off the sugar amounts even more. These were so sweet for my kids’ and my palates because we just don’t eat sugar anymore. They taste JUST like I remember them as a kid (even with the amount backed off a bit!), and I cringe that I thought that was ok! So I backed off the {organic/non GMO} sugar from ¾ cup to ½ cup and then made my own brown sugar. You can get organic brown sugar and use ½ – ¾ cup brown sugar. I never use brown sugar and it always ends up getting hard in the back of my pantry. Brown sugar is just sugar mixed with molasses (1 cup to 1 tablespoon ratio.). So instead of ¾ cup brown sugar, I used another ¾ cup sugar and around 1 tablespoon of molasses (This is why the sugar is 1 ¼ cup. ½ cup regular sugar plus the ¾ cup used for the brown sugar. Again, I think we could pop that sugar down to 1 cup total or even ¾ cup and my kids would still be very happy).
  • Because we are a gluten free home, I used the Namaste Gluten Free Flour Blend. It swapped for all purpose flour perfectly. (If you can tolerate gluten, I would try some Einkorn All Purpose Flour. I am not an experienced baker with it, but if there are friends here reading this that are, please let us know your experiences. I hear it leaves things “wetter”, or the flour isn’t as absorbent, so the amount may need to be adjusted up a bit?)
  • Swap the Nestle® chips for an organic brand. This is another one of those, “Well if sugar is still sugar, then why fuss about this ingredient? Well to be honest I don’t want to support companies that are still making products with GMO filled cane sugar and/or corn syrup, soy, and fillers. If you are dairy free, the Enjoy Life chocolate chips or Enjoy Life chocolate chunks are a good choice. I like using the Organic Meijer brand that our local Meijer grocer carries. If you are going to shop around, just really watch the ingredients (even in “health food” stores!). You can find them without the GMO’s, fillers, and corn syrup!

Real Food Copycat Nestle® Toll House® Cookies :: Gluten and Dairy Free Too!

5.0 from 4 reviews
Real Food Copycat Nestle® Toll House® Cookies :: Gluten and Dairy Free Too!
Author: 
 
Ingredients
  • 1 cup organic & sustainable palm shortening
  • 1 ¼ cup organic pure cane sugar (I will be trying 1 cup next batch - the 1¼ is still less than the original Nestle recipe, but quite sweet for our taste as we don't eat sugar much)
  • 3-4 tsp molasses (If going lower on the cane sugar, use more lik 2-3 tsp molasses)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 ¼ cup Namaste Gluten Free Flour Blend (I hear the Trader Joe’s GF flour blend is similar if you have that. I am not sure how other GF blends will behave, but it is worth trying! There are many great ones out there!)
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1 10-12oz package chocolate chips of choice (If you are dairy free, the Enjoy Life Chocolate Chips or Enjoy Life Chocolate Chunks are a good choice. I like using the Organic Meijer brand that our local Miejer grocer carries. Just really watch the ingredients if you want to shop around. You can find them without the fillers and corn syrup!)
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Use a hand blender to cream the palm shortening, sugar, molasses, and vanilla. Add the eggs and blend until creamy and smooth.
  3. Add the flour, baking soda, sea salt, and chocolate chips, and stir with a spatula until mixed evenly.
  4. Drop spoonfuls of batter on a Silpat or parchment paper lined baking sheet. You don’t need to roll these unless you want perfect circles – this is one thing I remember as a kid loving – my mom always let us drop the dough on the sheet and imperfectly shaped cookies feel the most homemade to me! Bake at 375 degrees for 8 minutes. Cool on the tray for 2 minutes and then transfer to a cooling rack to cool off the rest of the way (if they last that long!)

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No Churn Honey Rhubarb Ice Cream

May 19, 2017

Sweet local honey, fresh tart rhubarb, and fluffy whipped coconut cream swirl into the most decadent spring ice cream treat!

No Churn Honey Rhubarb Ice CreamProduct 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.

80 degrees!

We hit 80 degrees this week! Can’t you even believe it?! After spending most of the winter buried in snow, we practically float out of our houses in wonder at the return of the sunshine!

We are also pretty giddy to get our hands in the garden. Michigan takes its good ‘ol time warming up in the spring however, and we typically have to wait until closer to June to plant much outside!

No Churn Honey Rhubarb Ice CreamWhich is why we are so thankful for rhubarb!

Every March, it faithfully peeks its leaves from the just thawed ground, and by the first of May it is ready for little hands to tug and harvest! It gives my kids something to tend to until the ground warms up a bit more for the rest of the garden, and you can do so many fun things with it!

No Churn Honey Rhubarb Ice CreamFrom the everyday practical, to sweet treats!

While I keep things pretty practical around here, using the majority of our rhubarb for making honey rhubarb granola, we make room for an occasional treat sometimes too! I use the honey rhubarb granola for end of the school year teacher gifts, and then stash at least 2-3 batches away for hot summer mornings when I don’t want to heat the house up with cooking breakfast.

We had already made a batch of strawberry rhubarb creamsicles, and my kiddos were asking for ice cream with the unseasonably warm weather we had this week!

No Churn Honey Rhubarb Ice CreamNo ice cream maker, no problem!

The only set back in my head was that my ice cream maker puttered out at the end of last summer. I had thought of replacing it by this summer, and it just hasn’t made it into the budget yet! I decided that I would try it with whipping the cream part nice and light to see how the texture came out – I figured if it wasn’t super light and fluffy, that I would just tell the girls it was rhubarb sorbet and call it good 😉

No Churn Honey Rhubarb Ice CreamBeyond my expectations!

I really thought the ice cream would turn out denser, like a fruit sorbet. But it was almost as fluffy as freshly churned ice cream! Whipping the cream to stiffness did the trick, and the kids were so happy to enjoy the rhubarb they picked in frozen form!

No Churn Honey Rhubarb Ice CreamCream options, and how to easily scoop coconut cream!

We used coconut cream for our ice cream this time, but if you have access to raw milk, you can skim the cream off that to use!

For this recipe, I put a 33oz container of coconut milk into the fridge. This makes the cream separate and solidify at the top of the container. Then I just use scissors to cut the top of the carton open, and scoop the cream out. There will be about a cup of liquid left behind that you can put into a smoothie later.

No Churn Honey Rhubarb Ice CreamNotes on the honey, and how much to use

This is a great time of year to meet your local farmers that are keeping bees! They love to tell you about their hives and how they care for their honey. Just ask! We have a fantastic local farmer we buy from in 5 pound containers. Choose a honey that you LOVE the taste of. If you don’t prefer a “flowery” honey taste, don’t use it in this ice cream – they honey flavor really shines with the tart rhubarb.

The amount of honey to use in this recipe is personal preference, and depends on your kids’ palates. If you have really little guys in the house, I would use anywhere from ¼ cup to ½ cup. If you have older kids used to sweeter, store bought ice cream, you may want to do the ¾ cup. I find ¾ of a cup really sweet – I love feeling the tartness of the rhubarb so I tend to use ½ cup or less. Remember that honey is actually sweeter on the palate compared to sugar, so really a little goes a long way!

No Churn Honey Rhubarb Ice Cream

5.0 from 5 reviews
No Churn Honey Rhubarb Ice Cream
Author: 
 
Ingredients
  • 3 cups rhubarb, sliced
  • Juice of ½ lemon
  • ½ tsp sea salt
  • ¼ cup – ¾ cup raw honey (See notes above when considering how much honey to use. If you don't have access to local raw honey, this is a good brand that has a mild, non flowery taste good for this recipe.)
  • 2 ½ cups coconut cream (Or raw cream if you have access. See above notes for how to scoop the coconut cream. This amount was the amount of cream skimmed from one 33 oz carton of coconut milk)
Instructions
  1. Cook the sliced rhubarb, lemon juice, and sea salt in a sauce pan over medium heat, for about 5-7 minutes, until the rhubarb is softened.
  2. Put the cooked rhubarb mixture into a blender along with the honey, and puree. Set the rhubarb/honey puree aside in the refrigerator to cool completely.
  3. When the rhubarb mixture is completely cooled, you can make your ice cream. Pour the coconut cream in a small mixing bowl, and use a blender to whip it into whipped cream. Fold the rhubarb/honey puree into the whipped cream, and then pour the ice cream mixture into your freezer safe container to set up. (I used a small glass loaf pan for easy scooping)
  4. Before serving, set the ice cream on the counter to soften a bit so you can scoop it easier.

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Grain Free Chocolate Chip Cookies :: Date Sweetened & Paleo Friendly!

January 20, 2017

Lightening fast blender prep and the perfectly balanced chocolate chip cookie sweet treat for little ones!

Grain Free Chocolate Chip Cookies :: Date Sweetened & Paleo Friendly!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.

Snow day!

We have had a bit of an up and down winter so far as huge snow blizzards followed by melting 40 degree rains sure have us confused about whether it is winter or spring! We’ll take all the snow days we can get off school though as we enjoy the beauty of the snow and where we live!

15538319_1297656526971874_8433198165783478272_n(1)Snowmen, blanket tents, movies…and *naturally sweetened* chocolate chip cookies!

Snow days call for these chocolate chip cookies every time! But I also don’t need 3 kiddos bouncing off my walls all afternoon. This cookie base is sweetened with dates instead of processed sugar, and it is loaded with friendly fats and protein to keep blood sugars stable. The kids are happy because they get a special treat, and momma is happy because the possibility of a nap still exists 😉

Grain Free Chocolate Chip Cookies :: Date Sweetened & Paleo Friendly!Spur of the moment fast prep!

Because the kids get a snow day, but momma probably still has work from home to get done! These cookies have a super quick blender dough, and they can be on the tray ready to bake before the oven preheats. And because the kiddos are home from school on that snow day anyway, it makes a great project for even the littlest of hands to make.

Grain Free Chocolate Chip Cookies :: Date Sweetened & Paleo Friendly!Some notes for my nut and egg free friends!

I have been making these cookies for years but have not tried subbing the eggs and nuts since we tolerate them fine and they provide great nutrition – I do think it can be done though if you have allergies and need to!

  • Nut free friends, I think you can sub another flour of your choosing. I would not use the full 2 cups called for with walnuts however as other flours are going to be dryer than oily nuts. Start with 1 cup of a flour of your choice and see how the dough feels.
  • Egg free friends, I am pretty sure 2 flax or chia eggs will work in this recipe. They might not puff up as much but it will provide a great bind and that baking powder will give a little rise to them.

{If you happen to try these cookies nut and/or egg free, please share with us in the comments what worked for you so that others that stop by and need an egg or nut free option may try!}

Grain Free Chocolate Chip Cookies :: Date Sweetened & Paleo Friendly!Freezer friendly tips

The grain free chocolate chip cookies as well as the uncooked dough freezes well too. They are perfect for last minute play dates, keeping at Grandma’s house so she can spoil the grandkids, or that pile of friends that end up at your house after school!

  • To freeze the dough, simply make up the dough, and roll it up into a log on some plastic wrap. Wrap the log of dough in the plastic wrap, and freeze. Then take the log of dough out, cut into cookie circles and pop them into the freezer bags. You can pull out however many cookies you want to bake when you want!
  • To freeze already baked cookies, bake off a batch or 2 of the cookies, let them cool, and then wrap them in plastic wrap. Put the wrapped cookies in a freezer bag. You can thaw at room temp or put frozen cookies onto a baking sheet into the oven – by the time the oven preheats to 350 the cookies should be thawed and warm.

Grain Free Chocolate Chip Cookies :: Date Sweetened & Paleo Friendly!Healthier chocolate chip ideas…and some chocolate chip swaps!

Our local grocer carries a great local brand organic chocolate chip we like to use for these (If you are Mid-West local with a Meijer near you, the Meijer True Goodness Organic Chocolate Chips in the baking isle is what I am talking about!). The Enjoy Life brand of chocolate chips or chocolate chunks {my fav!} is more widely available however, and is great, “healthier than Nestle” option too! I would also imagine that if you have a Whole Foods or Trader Joes near you (lucky you!) there is probably something available there. Just really watch the ingredient list on the back!

If you have really little guys in the house, or your kids don’t tolerate chocolate, you can use dried cranberries, raisins, chopped dried apricots, or dried blueberries.

Grain Free Chocolate Chip Cookies :: Date Sweetened & Paleo Friendly!

5.0 from 2 reviews
Grain Free Chocolate Chip Cookies :: Date Sweetened & Paleo Friendly!
Author: 
 
Ingredients
  • 2 cups raw walnuts (I think almonds or pecans would work here too. I like to use soaked/dehydrated walnuts for best digestion)
  • 1½ cups tapioca flour
  • ¼ cup softened butter (I think softened coconut oil would work)
  • 2 eggs (If you are egg free I do think 2 flax or chia eggs would work - the cookies might not puff up as much but they will have the bind)
  • 5 dates, pitted (If your kids are used to things sweeter I would add an extra 1-2 dates as these are on the mildly sweet side which my kids are used to)
  • 2 tsp aluminum free baking powder
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • ½ cup chocolate chips (I like to use the local organic brand our grocer carries or the Enjoy Life brand is great too)
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Put the walnuts into a food processor and blend into a fine meal.
  3. Add everything else EXCEPT the chocolate chips and blend until the dough is well combined.
  4. Take the blade out and stir in the chocolate chips with a spatula.
  5. Roll your cookies and flatten them on a Silpat or parchment paper lined baking sheet (Makes about 1½ dozen large or 2 dozen small cookies) and bake at 350 degrees for 12-13 minutes. Cool a few minutes before handling.

More real food recipes you might like:

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Fermented Cranberry Soda :: A naturally probiotic rich, kid friendly, real food soda!

December 17, 2016

Kids and adults alike can celebrate the holiday season with this bubbly, naturally probiotic rich fermented cranberry soda!

Fermented Cranberry Soda :: A naturally probiotic rich, kid friendly, real food soda!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 remember the year like it was yesterday…

My oldest was 2 1/2 and we were enjoying a delicious New Year’s dinner platter of raw cheeses, crackers, fruit, olives – the works! My husband and I had glasses of wine to ring in the new year and my toddler was all of a sudden not as excited about her glass of milk!

Fermented Cranberry Soda :: A naturally probiotic rich, kid friendly, real food soda!Listen…kids love to celebrate just as much as we do!

Creating amazing memories for them while they are little so that the smells, the people, the traditions, and the food have a warm, nostalgic feeling every time the holidays come around builds family pride and appreciation.

After that year we started making sure that the girls had something special to drink with us as we rang in the new year as a family! (They also love having these fun swing top bottles to make them feel like they have their own special drink!)

Fermented Cranberry Soda :: A naturally probiotic rich, kid friendly, real food soda!

Naturally fermented, bubbly cranberry soda became our New Year celebration tradition!

While some years I chose the easier route and served store bought Kombucha as I sleepily nursed newborns, or tended to crabby witching hour toddlers, we are now in a really cool season of kids that actually sleep through the night (most of the time!), and a couple of older kids that really love to help in the kitchen and truly appreciate real food.

Fermented Cranberry Soda :: A naturally probiotic rich, kid friendly, real food soda!Use real food to make real, bubbly soda!

All you need to make a traditionally fermented soda is a fermenting medium such as whey, a ginger bug, or brewed water kefir or kombucha, a little sugar for them to feed on to grow, and a really fun seasonal fruit to flavor it! You can choose whatever fermenting medium you wish, and the cranberries give this soda the most vibrant, beautiful red color you have ever seen! It is also helpful to have these grolsch/swing top type bottles to make your fermenting happen easily!

Fermented Cranberry Soda :: A naturally probiotic rich, kid friendly, real food soda!

A note on the sugar

The sugar in the recipe is for the probiotic bugs, not for you! While there is some sugar left behind, the amount is completely up to you! The longer you let the drink ferment, the less sugar there will be, as the bugs in the fermenting medium (the whey, ginger bug, or brewed water kefir or kombucha) eat up the sugar.

The beauty is in being able to taste it along the way. I check the bottles every couple days and decide when it’s done. It’s pretty cold up here so fermenting happens slow in the winter – if you are in a warmer climate I would recommend checking for taste daily.

Fermented Cranberry Soda :: A naturally probiotic rich, kid friendly, real food soda!Fermented drink newbies, this part is for you!

If you are new to fermenting drinks, don’t be intimidated! It is so easy!

If you are just starting out and don’t have a fermenting medium such as a ginger bug, water kefir grains, or a SCOBY for kombucha, simply strain off some whey from a container of quality yogurt and you’ll be good to go! Put a thin towel over a bowl, scoop a 32oz container of plain, whole milk yogurt into the towel, and then tie the towel up to a cupboard door handle. The whey will drip out into the bowl – you’ll need about 1 cup to make this drink recipe and that should take about an hour-ish to drip if you squeeze it a little. The leftover yogurt in the towel is essentially “Greek yogurt”, or, if you strain it completely, it is like cream cheese!

(If you are interested in getting into more fermenting, here is my full tutorial about getting into water kefir brewing, and I love these tutorials from The Nourished Kitchen on making and using a ginger bug, as well as how to brew kombucha.)

Fermented Cranberry Soda :: A naturally probiotic rich, kid friendly, real food soda!Happy New Year from my family to yours!

Have the kids help you bottle up something special to ring in the new year! The hands on time is pretty minimal – once it’s bottled it just needs some time to sit and work it’s bubble magic!

Fermented Cranberry Soda :: A naturally probiotic rich, kid friendly, real food soda!

5.0 from 14 reviews
Fermented Cranberry Soda :: A naturally probiotic rich, kid friendly, real food soda!
Author: 
 
Ingredients
  • 8 cups fresh cranberries
  • 2 quarts of water
  • 2½ - 3 cups organic pure cane sugar
  • 1 cup whey, OR 1 cup ginger bug, OR 1-2 quarts brewed water kefir or kombucha
Instructions
  1. Put the cranberries, water, and sugar into a large soup pot and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer until the cranberries soften and burst. You can use the back of your wooden spoon or a potato masher to squish them up.
  2. Pour the cranberry sugar mixture through a strainer over a gallon jar to strain the cranberry pulp from the sugary cranberry syrup using a fine mesh strainer. Use the back of your wooden spoon to push the liquid through the strainer, spreading the pulp around. The leftover pulp can be blended into a smoothie or stirred into yogurt or soaked oats.
  3. Let the cranberry syrup cool to lukewarm/room temp and then stir in your fermenting medium (The whey, ginger bug, or brewed water kefir or kombucha). If using the whey or ginger bug, you'll have to add water to top off the gallon jar leaving a couple inches of head space
  4. At this point, you can either put a tight lid on your jar to ferment, or transfer to swing top/grolsch style bottles to ferment. Leave the soda at room temp for a few days to a week, checking for taste daily. The rate of fermenting greatly depends on the environment in which you live. This time of year where I live the fermenting takes 7-10 days since it is so cold here (we do have heat but it is still quite cool - this week we were in the single digits for wind chills!). I leave the flip top bottles up in a high cupboard where the heat rises in the kitchen near my stove. I do find that my ferments finish up faster using the flip top bottles versus a jar with lid. A Pickle Pipe on your jars work just as good as flip top bottles in my experience too. (I love my Pickle Pipes!)
  5. Once your cranberry soda is the taste and amount of natural carbonation you like, transfer your jar or bottles to the fridge to slow down the fermenting. They will keep in the fridge 3-4 weeks.

More real food recipes you might like ::

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Cranberry Baked Pears :: Paleo, Refined Sugar Free, and Gluten Free!

December 9, 2016

Festive cranberry baked pears are the perfect kid pleasing yet healthy treat for the holidays!

Cranberry Baked Pears :: Paleo, Refined Sugar Free, and Gluten Free!It just keeps getting better and better.

I have always enjoyed the holiday season, but every December that has rolled around since having kids in the house, things just feel a little more magical.

The first snowfall, Christmas jammies, the childlike awe over lighting up a tree, and the anticipation of Christmas Day….it’s enough to make you feel like a kid again yourself, and it has been so good for me to see Christmas through the eyes of little kids again!

Cranberry Baked Pears :: Paleo, Refined Sugar Free, and Gluten Free!Cranberry baked pears have become one of those Christmas traditions that our kids have grown to excitedly anticipate each year!

When it’s hard to settle in on Christmas Eve in anticipation for the next day’s events, making baked pears has become something to give the girls something hands on to do to “hold them over” while they wait for the fun day to come!

Cranberry Baked Pears :: Paleo, Refined Sugar Free, and Gluten Free!The beauty is in the simple prep!

One of the biggest reasons I started making baked pears on Christmas Eve was because it was something the kids could do almost 100% on their own! When you have so many other things going on such as family gatherings, or Christmas Eve services, or your own family traditions, it is nice to have a simple kitchen project that won’t make a huge mess, and that won’t take up a lot of time.

Line the kids up assembly line style and let them do it all themselves! Serve them up on special plates, flip that Christmas movie on, and let them enjoy a special tradition they will look forward to every year.

Cranberry Baked Pears :: Paleo, Refined Sugar Free, and Gluten Free!Simple and delicious, cranberry baked pears are also healthy!

Because who wants their kids hopped up on a bunch of sugar before bed anyway?! My husband and I love spending the evening on Christmas Eve wrapping presents together with glasses of wine and a movie! Baking the pears brings out an amazing burst of sweetness to the fruit, and pairing it with a fat like butter coated nuts keeps blood sugars happy. So while it feels like an indulgent treat, it won’t send blood sugars out of control right before bed.

Cranberry Baked Pears :: Paleo, Refined Sugar Free, and Gluten Free!A quick note for my nut free friends and those with older babies!

If you are nut free, you can use crushed seeds, or a mix of seeds and coconut shreds, or simply leave that part out! A seed based granola would work well here too. You can still drizzle some melted butter over the pears for a little fat.

One Christmas I had a 9 month old in the house that wasn’t consuming nuts yet and she gobbled hers right up without the nuts. If you have babies you can leave the cranberries and honey out and just serve them a baked pear drizzled in butter – they’ll be in heaven!

Cranberry Baked Pears :: Paleo, Refined Sugar Free, and Gluten Free!I hope to hear from you if you give this tradition a try with your little ones!

You can tag me on Instagram or Facebook – I’d love to see those sweet faces with their special pretty treats!

Cranberry Baked Pears :: Paleo, Refined Sugar Free, and Gluten Free!

5.0 from 2 reviews
Cranberry Baked Pears
Author: 
 
Ingredients
  • 4 pears
  • ½ cup fresh cranberries
  • 2 TB raw honey
  • ⅓ cup butter, melted (If you are dairy free, I have used avocado oil which works well too! Coconut oil will work but will leave a coconut flavor behind if you don't mind that!)
  • ⅓ - ½ cup nuts of choice, chopped (I used walnuts and pecans. I like to chop them by hand versus a food processor so they don't get too fine. If you are nut free you can use seeds, seeds and coconut shreds, or simply leave this part out!)
  • Cinnamon for sprinkling to taste
Instructions
  1. Preheat your oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Halve your pears and scoop the core out with a spoon leaving a little "bowl" for the cranberries. Arrange your pear halves on a baking sheet, flesh side up. (I like to slice the back of the pear on the rounded part of the skin so that the pear sits level and doesn't roll around on the pan.)
  3. Fill the middle of each pear half with cranberries (you'll get 3 or 4 in there depending on the size of the cranberries and the "bowl" you shaped). Drizzle raw honey over the cranberries to fill the bowl in. You can fit about a teaspoon in each half for older kids and back off on the amount if you have really little ones with sensitive taste palates yet. The cranberries are really tart so the honey is needed - you can leave the cranberries out for the really little ones around 1 year old and just do the baked pears without any honey! My babies loved it!
  4. Mix the melted butter and chopped nuts together in a small bowl, and the sprinkle over the tops of the pears. Finish with a sprinkling of cinnamon to your taste.
  5. Bake the pears at 375 degrees for 20-25 minutes until the pears and cranberries are soft and the nuts are crispy.

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“Busy Momma” Simple Gluten Free Pumpkin Pie

November 18, 2016

This gluten free, real food, easy pumpkin pie is something every busy momma will feel proud of!

"Busy Momma" Simple Gluten Free Pumpkin PieProduct 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 “icing on the cake”.

The “cherry on top”.

The pie!

"Busy Momma" Simple Gluten Free Pumpkin PieThanksgiving is truly one of my favorite holidays of the year because it just doesn’t get any better than juicy turkey, buttery potatoes, amazing veggie sides…and the most delicious finish! Pie!

I call this my “busy momma pumpkin pie” because for the last few years that is exactly been my title – Busy Momma!

"Busy Momma" Simple Gluten Free Pumpkin PieWith 3 little ones hanging around, my kitchen is already pretty busy, and I want to be able to enjoy my Thanksgiving.

For me, that means less time in the kitchen, and more time enjoying my family! So the name of my game is easy peasy pie crust that is no fuss and easily rolled out, because I am *not* a baker – it is just not my favorite thing to do!

"Busy Momma" Simple Gluten Free Pumpkin PieI also want a pie filling that takes minutes to make. YES I am totally giving you permission to use that can of pumpkin if you are in a season of “busy.” While I have definitely made my share of pies with homemade baked pumpkin, I have found the canned pumpkin tastes just as good and saves some time.

"Busy Momma" Simple Gluten Free Pumpkin PieThe best of both worlds, this easy pumpkin pie is fast but will help you create nostalgic memories of amazing real food on Thanksgiving Day for your kids.

I remember feeling lost when I had my first baby and the holidays rolled around. I knew I wanted to feed her differently than from a box, but had no idea where to start. Luckily she was just an infant that first holiday season, and I made a decision to figure it all out by the next year!

It has been so worth it. It has been a labor of love to learn how to cook from scratch. The look on my kids’ faces when I tell them Thanksgiving is next week…well that is just the icing on the cake…or the whipped cream on the pumpkin pie!

"Busy Momma" Simple Gluten Free Pumpkin PieThis easy pumpkin pie is everything you love about your favorite Thanksgiving dessert, without the junk!

No sweetened condensed milk here – and no fussing around with a homemade, DIY version of condensed milk (although those work wonderfully and are great! We are shooting for fast here though!). And I don’t know if you have ever looked at the ingredient list on those boxed pies from the freezer section at the grocery store, but a mile long list of preservatives, and fillers is not what I’m going for!

"Busy Momma" Simple Gluten Free Pumpkin PieHappy Thanksgiving to you, dear readers! I am truly thankful for you this season! Your community, questions, and conversation are a joy to me every day!

"Busy Momma" Simple Gluten Free Pumpkin Pie

5.0 from 1 reviews
"Busy Momma" Easy Peasy Gluten Free Pumpkin Pie
Author: 
 
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. Make the pie dough first. Put the flour, 2 TB of sugar, and butter into your food processor and pulse to combine evenly. Pour the water into the oil stream cup on the top of the food processor, and turn the processor on to blend in the slow stream of water. Keep the processor on until the dough gathers into a ball. It will take a good minute or 2. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
  2. Take the dough out of the fridge to warm up a bit while you make the pumpkin pie filling. Simply put the rest of the ingredients into a medium mixing bowl and blend to combine.
  3. Use your warm hands to knead the dough a bit on a rice floured surface - the dough will become nice and soft as your hands warm it up. Using rice flour on your surface and rolling pin, roll the dough out to fit your pie plate, and fix the edges how you like.
  4. Pour the pie filling into the uncooked pie crust, and bake at 350 degrees for 60 minutes. The middle of the pie should not stick to an inserted butter knife although a little bit is ok - it will finish cooking while it cools on the counter.
  5. Let the pie cool to room temp on the counter and then refrigerate (this is a good one to make couple days in advance!). Serve slices of pie with homemade whipped cream.

More Thanksgiving posts you might like ::

Simple & Quick DIY Whipped Cream

Homemade GF Stuffing

Quick Cranberry Sauce

5 Minute GF Bone Broth Gravy

GF Cornbread

"Busy Momma" Simple Gluten Free Pumpkin Pie

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Dairy Free Peaches and Cream Sherbet :: No Ice Cream Maker Needed!

August 19, 2016

Fresh summer peaches meet rich coconut cream for the sweetest end to the summer fruit season!

Peaches & Cream Sherbet :: Fresh summer peaches meet rich and creamy coconut cream for the sweetest end to the summer fruit season!

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 saved the best for last!

I am actually totally and completely in back to school mode, but when my husband brought home a bushel of peaches from our favorite stone fruit farmer last week…well I just had to celebrate a little more summer!

Peaches & Cream Sherbet :: Fresh summer peaches meet rich and creamy coconut cream for the sweetest end to the summer fruit season!

There isn’t quite anything like peaches that have had a chance to ripen right on the tree.

They are so sweet and juicy, my older girls can down 2 or 3 of them without so much as a thought. And how could I say no to that knowing we won’t see fresh peaches again until next summer?! I have been able to snag enough to make some peach popsicles and smoothies, as well as peach coffee cake and blueberry peach crisp for a weekend treat.

Peaches & Cream Sherbet :: Fresh summer peaches meet rich and creamy coconut cream for the sweetest end to the summer fruit season!

But this! This peaches and cream sherbet has been the highlight of our peach season this year!

Peaches & Cream Sherbet :: Fresh summer peaches meet rich and creamy coconut cream for the sweetest end to the summer fruit season!

A frozen bowl of peaches and cream sherbet has been the perfect answer to our blazing humid hot August this year!

Peaches & Cream Sherbet :: Fresh summer peaches meet rich and creamy coconut cream for the sweetest end to the summer fruit season!

5.0 from 2 reviews
Dairy Free Peaches and Cream Sherbet
Author: 
 
Ingredients
  • 1 - 1½ cups coconut cream (I used my coconut milk and set it in the fridge to separate the cream. You can use the leftover coconut milk liquid in a smoothie or popsicle. Whole yogurt would work well if you want more of a frozen yogurt taste!)
  • 8 small/medium peaches, halved and pitted
  • 2-4 TB raw honey
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • ¼ tsp sea salt
Instructions
  1. Everything into your high powered blender and blend until smooth. I used the ice cream blend function on my Blendtec.
  2. Pour the sherbet mixture into a container or a loaf pan and freeze over night. Alternatively, if you have an ice cream maker, you can churn it to freeze it faster - after churning in my ice cream maker for 30 minutes it was a bit like soft serve, and then it just needed a couple hours in the freezer. The sherbet does get hard when frozen completely. Simply set it out on the counter for about 30 minutes or so to soften it before serving.

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Strawberry Rhubarb Mini Galettes :: Simple Prep, Gluten Free, & Honey Sweetened!

June 16, 2016

Simple prep and beautiful presentation! Strawberry rhubarb galettes are busy momma friendly and definitely kid approved!

Strawberry Rhubarb Mini Galettes :: Simple Prep, Gluten Free, & Honey Sweetened!

It’s strawberry season in Michigan!

Strawberry Rhubarb Mini Galettes :: Simple Prep, Gluten Free, & Honey Sweetened!

And early at that! We aren’t used to picking until the end of June, but with our mild winter they made an early arrival, and we couldn’t be more pleased.

Strawberry Rhubarb Mini Galettes :: Simple Prep, Gluten Free, & Honey Sweetened!

We love the little farm family we pick from each year, and bring home about 30 pounds each year. It just doesn’t get any sweeter and juicier than right off the vine! I spent the day freezing the majority of the strawberries, we made some strawberry water kefir (here is a lacto-fermented version), and we have my biggest bowl filled to the brim to enjoy eating fresh through the next week or so!

Strawberry Rhubarb Mini Galettes :: Simple Prep, Gluten Free, & Honey Sweetened!

I usually try to do one “sweet treat” with the strawberries, and my girls really (really!) wanted strawberry pie this year. It was such a hot, muggy morning of picking strawberries that I just didn’t have it in me to fuss with a fancy pie crust topper, and I really didn’t want to heat up the house for an hour while baking a pie…

Strawberry Rhubarb Mini Galettes :: Simple Prep, Gluten Free, & Honey Sweetened!

Mini pies it is! This is not as fancy as they turned out looking – I promise! I am NOT…I repeat…I am NOT a baker. I simply don’t like all the fussiness of it and I don’t have the patience for it! I used my simple, no fail, pie crust and just folded up the sides.

Strawberry Rhubarb Mini Galettes :: Simple Prep, Gluten Free, & Honey Sweetened!

Imagine the look on the girls’ faces when they got to have a “whole” (mini) pie to themselves! And since it was so blazing hot that day – ice cold creamy raw ice cream was the perfect topper to these little pies.

Strawberry Rhubarb Mini Galettes :: Simple Prep, Gluten Free, & Honey Sweetened!

A quick note on the galette filling! There ended up being a little more leftover than what I needed to fill my crusts. I possibly could have added more and risked some of it bubbling out (yum!), or you can use the leftover filling like I did – I poured extra over my ice cream 😉 We also used some of it for our breakfast oats the next day.

Strawberry Rhubarb Mini Galettes :: Simple Prep, Gluten Free, & Honey Sweetened!
 
Ingredients
  • 1 recipe pie dough of choice (I use my gluten free pie dough recipe - 1 recipe. I add an extra TB or 2 of honey or sugar to the pie crust since this is a sweet recipe - that dough can be used for savory items so it is pretty neutral.)
  • 1¼ cups rhubarb, sliced
  • 1 TB water
  • 2 TB honey (we use a local raw source)
  • 2½ cups strawberries, sliced
  • 3 TB water
  • 3 TB honey
  • 4 TB GMO free cornstarch or arrowroot
  • 1 egg plus 1 TB of water for the egg wash
  • A brush of honey or a sprinkling of organic pure cane sugar for the outside of the crust if you wish.
Instructions
  1. Prepare the pie crust dough and place in the refrigerator to chill while you make the filling.
  2. Put the rhubarb, 1TB water, and 2 TB honey into a small sauce pan and bring to a simmer. Lightly simmer the rhubarb mixture about 4 minutes, and set aside.
  3. Put the strawberries, 3 TB of water, 3TB honey, and cornstarch into the sauce pan and bring to a simmer, stirring to combine just until the sauce thickens a bit - should take a couple minutes. Then turn off the heat and add in the rhubarb mixture and combine.
  4. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees and take out the chilled pie dough (should chill for about 30 minutes.)
  5. Roll out your dough on a floured surface (I use white rice flour), and use a large circle cutter to make your mini pie crust (I used the large circle lid from my collagen container). Put each pie crust onto a Silpat or parchment paper lined baking sheet.
  6. Spoon some of the strawberry rhubarb filling into the middle of one of the pie crusts (not too much or you won't be able to fold in the sides - about a heaping TB). Fold the edges of the crust in however you wish - doesn't have to be fancy! Do this step with the rest of the mini pie crusts.
  7. Whisk the egg with a TB or so of water to make an egg wash. Brush this egg wash on the pie dough and then brush with honey, or sprinkle with pure cane sugar.
  8. After you have finished preparing the mini galettes, bake in a 400 degree oven for 20 minutes. Cool at least 10 minutes before handling.

For more real food treat ideas, you can follow my Treat Ideas Board on Pinterest!

More real food recipes you might like:
Fresh Strawberry Ice Cream
Fermented Strawberry Soda
Strawberry Quinoa Granola
Honey Rhubarb Granola
Refined Sugar Free Maple Vanilla Ice Cream

Holiday Recipes Occasional Treats Real Food 101 Real Food Tips School Holidays

Make Your Own REAL FOOD Ice Cream Sundae Party!

June 1, 2016

A fun make your own ice cream sundae party without the artificial dyes and using all real food ingredients!

Make Your Own REAL FOOD Ice Cream Sundae Party! :: A fun make your own ice cream sundae party without the artificial dyes and using all real food ingredients!

My sweet side kick little momma turned 7 last week! Seven feels so much older to me for some reason! Chloe has the biggest, most caring heart of anyone I have ever met. Anyone that has crossed her path has experienced her kindness, and I am so proud to call her mine. Chloe is pretty much my right hand around here, taking on kitchen help when I need it, and tending to her sisters when my hands are busy – including the best diaper changer in town – she gets my 2 year old to lay still better than I do!

Make Your Own REAL FOOD Ice Cream Sundae Party! :: A fun make your own ice cream sundae party without the artificial dyes and using all real food ingredients!

This year Chloe asked for an ice cream sundae party! She wanted her and her friends to be able to make their own sundaes themselves, and I couldn’t have thought of a better idea.

Make Your Own REAL FOOD Ice Cream Sundae Party! :: A fun make your own ice cream sundae party without the artificial dyes and using all real food ingredients!

This was, honestly, hands down the easiest “prep ahead party” I have ever thrown.

I made the vanilla ice cream the week before the party and it hung out in the freezer until party day. I made the sauce toppings the night before in less than an hour including clean up, storing the sauce in the fridge over night.

Make Your Own REAL FOOD Ice Cream Sundae Party! :: A fun make your own ice cream sundae party without the artificial dyes and using all real food ingredients!

The only thing I had to do the day of the party was whip the whipped cream in just minutes, and open the dye free sprinkles we used! I had so many other topping ideas you could add in as well – chopped nuts and berries would be fun! I wanted cherries for the top but they just aren’t in season here yet!

Make Your Own REAL FOOD Ice Cream Sundae Party! :: A fun make your own ice cream sundae party without the artificial dyes and using all real food ingredients!

I scooped the ice cream into these adorable polka dot ice cream cups about an hour before the party and stored them on trays in the freezer. It was SO nice to just pull the trays out at the party and not have to spend time scooping for everyone. The girls all got to decorate their ice cream at the same time and it was a riot to see what they picked!

Make Your Own REAL FOOD Ice Cream Sundae Party! :: A fun make your own ice cream sundae party without the artificial dyes and using all real food ingredients!

Here are the recipes for the sauces we used. We had some leftovers which I used for various things. We used the leftover strawberry sauce for waffles the next day as well as leftover ice cream the next day. I froze the leftover chocolate sauce and caramel to use for sundaes later this summer – what a fun hot day treat!

Make Your Own REAL FOOD Ice Cream Sundae Party! :: A fun make your own ice cream sundae party without the artificial dyes and using all real food ingredients!

(Makes about 1 quart)
1 1/2 cups water
1 1/2 cups organic pure cane sugar
1 cup raw cacao
2 tsp vanilla extract
1/8 tsp sea salt
2 TB butter

Everything into a sauce pan and using a whisk stir over medium heat until everything melts and combines.
Bring to a simmer for 2 minutes and then take the sauce off the heat. Store in an airtight jar or container in the fridge until use. You can re-heat if you like your sauce warm. This also freezes well.

Make Your Own REAL FOOD Ice Cream Sundae Party! :: A fun make your own ice cream sundae party without the artificial dyes and using all real food ingredients!

(Makes about 1 quart)
2 cups organic cane sugar
3/4 cup softened butter
1 cup whole cream (I think coconut cream would work here)
1 tsp sea salt

Warm the sugar in a sauce pan until it melts – takes about 5 minutes. Stir off and on so it doesn’t burn.
When the sugar completely melts, stir in the butter to melt, and then slowly add in the cream stirring continuously.
Add the sea salt and bring the sauce to a simmer for a couple minutes while stirring. Take the sauce off the heat and store in an airtight jar or container until use – you can warm the sauce through again if you like it warm. The caramel is pretty thick when cold so you will at least want to bring it to room temp or somewhat warm before serving. This also freezes well for long term storage.

Make Your Own REAL FOOD Ice Cream Sundae Party! :: A fun make your own ice cream sundae party without the artificial dyes and using all real food ingredients!

(makes a little over a quart of sauce)
3 lbs fresh or frozen strawberries
1/3-1/2 cup organic pure cane sugar
1 TB arrowroot, GMO free cornstarch, or tapioca for thickening (you can leave this out if you wish)

Everything into a sauce pan and warm over medium heat squishing the strawberries with a potato masher or fork along the way.
Bring to a simmer and if you are using fresh fruit you may need to add a few splashes of water (frozen strawberries have enough moisture). Simmer about 5 minutes until the fruit breaks down.
Add the arrowroot to whisk in. Simmer another few minutes.
Take the sauce off the heat – at this point you can leave it as is, or puree through if you like a smooth sauce. Store the sauce in an airtight jar or container in the fridge until use. This also freezes well.

Make Your Own REAL FOOD Ice Cream Sundae Party! :: A fun make your own ice cream sundae party without the artificial dyes and using all real food ingredients!

Here is a handy list of items and recipes used for our ice cream sundae party!

Make Your Own REAL FOOD Ice Cream Sundae Party! :: A fun make your own ice cream sundae party without the artificial dyes and using all real food ingredients!

For more real food treat ideas, you can follow my Treat Ideas board on Pinterest!

More real food recipes you might like:
Strawberry Butterfly Birthday Cake

cake
Homemade Chocolate Ice Cream

Homemade Chocolate Ice Cream :: Refined Sugar Free with Dairy Free Option
Vanilla Bean Birthday Cake

Gluten Free Vanilla Bean Cake
Caramel Swirl Ice Cream

Caramel Swirl Ice Cream

Holiday Recipes Occasional Treats Real Food Tips

Gluten Free Chocolate Chip Birthday Cake

May 5, 2016

Celebrate the happiest of birthdays with gluten free, allergen friendly chocolate chip cake!

Gluten Free Chocolate Chip Birthday Cake! :: Celebrate the happiest of birthdays with gluten free, allergen friendly chocolate chip cake!

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

We celebrated a brand new *5* year old in the house last week!

Gluten Free Chocolate Chip Birthday Cake! :: Celebrate the happiest of birthdays with gluten free, allergen friendly chocolate chip cake!

Our spunky little Claire Joy was born 5 years ago and I don’t think my house has stopped moving since 🙂 This kid is constantly on the go, thinking all the time, has the most inquisitive questions, and really keeps me on my toes. My extremely laid back husband somehow thinks I may be getting a dose of my own medicine most days 🙂

Gluten Free Chocolate Chip Birthday Cake! :: Celebrate the happiest of birthdays with gluten free, allergen friendly chocolate chip cake!

We were so excited to celebrate Claire with family, and this year she asked for chocolate chip cake!

Gluten Free Chocolate Chip Birthday Cake! :: Celebrate the happiest of birthdays with gluten free, allergen friendly chocolate chip cake!

Over the last handful of years having multiple birthdays in the house, I have really gotten used to gluten free cake making and this cake is nice and moist, really flavorful, and very easy to make…if you have been following me for very long you know that my least favorite kitchen tasks revolve around baking so I tend to lean toward the no fuss route when it comes to cakes.

Gluten Free Chocolate Chip Birthday Cake! :: Celebrate the happiest of birthdays with gluten free, allergen friendly chocolate chip cake!This was a really fun cake to make and it really made Claire smile – we started with a cup of chocolate chips for the batter and she ended up wanting to dump the whole bag in! I rolled with it and it really was yummy! We served the cake with homemade maple vanilla ice cream with homemade chocolate sauce and it was just perfect!

Gluten Free Chocolate Chip Birthday Cake! :: Celebrate the happiest of birthdays with gluten free, allergen friendly chocolate chip cake!

Gluten Free Chocolate Chip Birthday Cake
Author: 
 
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. Butter two 8 inch cake pan rounds, and fit parchment paper to the bottom of each pan sticking to the butter.
  2. Blend the wet ingredients (milk, eggs, sugar, butter, vinegar, vanilla extract, and almond extract) in a large mixing bowl for a couple minutes until well combined.
  3. Add the rest of the ingredients (the dry ingredients) EXCEPT the chocolate chips right into the bowl, and blend to combine until creamy. Fold the chocolate chips into the batter with a spoon.
  4. Divide the batter between the 2 cake pans evenly and bake in a 350 degree oven for 40 minutes. Let the cakes cool about 20 minutes before taking them out to cool the rest of the way on a cooling rack.
  5. Once the cakes are cooled completely, you can frost them. Just blend the vanilla bean frosting ingredients together in a medium mixing bowl until well combined and frost your cake how you want, and then decorate with chocolate chips.

For more real food treat ideas, you can follow my Treat Ideas board on Pinterest!

More real food ideas you might like:

Chocolate Birthday Cake

COVER

Strawberry Butterfly Birthday Cake

cake

Homemade Chocolate Ice Cream

Homemade Chocolate Ice Cream :: Refined Sugar Free with Dairy Free Option

Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream

overhead

Holiday Recipes Occasional Treats Real Food Tips School Holidays

Gluten Free Valentine’s Day Sugar Cookies With Naturally Dyed Frosting

February 6, 2016

Celebrate Valentine’s Day with these special sugar cookie hearts with naturally dyed frosting!

Gluten Free Valentine's Day Sugar Cookies With Naturally Dyed Frosting

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

Happy Valentine’s week to you!

I did the volunteer thing for the classroom Valentine’s Day treat this year, so I figured what better way to get *all* these cookies done…than with a couple sweet little 6 year olds?!

Gluten Free Valentine's Day Sugar Cookies With Naturally Dyed Frosting

Little kids and cookie decorating!

Chloe got to invite a friend over to decorate these cute little hearts and these girls are just too fun. The giggles were endless, and the cookies turned out so great.

Gluten Free Valentine's Day Sugar Cookies With Naturally Dyed Frosting

This is my go-to gluten free sugar cookie cut out recipe – it is so easy to work with!

I am not much of a baker and don’t really like to mess around with fussy recipes. This dough is very forgiving and very nice to work with – especially for a gluten free dough. I found this little heart cookie cutter that is perfect for a class treat – not oversized and not too tiny.

Gluten Free Valentine's Day Sugar Cookies With Naturally Dyed Frosting

Natural *beautiful* color!

We used freeze dried raspberries for the great Valentine’s Day frosting color, and left a handful of them frosted white in case any of the little guys in class were afraid of pink 😉 Freeze dried strawberries would work for that pretty color if you want too!

Gluten Free Valentine's Day Sugar Cookies With Naturally Dyed Frosting

The frosting is just delicious!

Soft and sweet with amazing raspberry flavor – and that color! So pretty! Completely free of artificial dyes – because I don’t know about you, but if I were a school teacher I don’t think I would want my classroom all hopped up on Red 40 for the afternoon! I also think swapping the butter for cream cheese would make a delicious, tangy raspberry cream cheese frosting.

Gluten Free Valentine's Day Sugar Cookies With Naturally Dyed Frosting

And since my kitchen was full of little girls for the afternoon, we of course had to break out the sparkly sprinkles!

You can get naturally dyed sugar sprinkles and they are so fun to keep on hand for holidays! There are so many to choose from!

Gluten Free Valentine's Day Sugar Cookies With Naturally Dyed Frosting

5.0 from 3 reviews
Gluten Free Valentine's Day Sugar Cookie Hearts With Naturally Dyed Frosting
Author: 
 
Ingredients
  • FOR THE COOKIES:
  • 1 cup softened butter (if you are dairy free, you can use palm shortening)
  • 1 cup organic pure cane sugar (could use sucanat but the color will come out darker)
  • 1 egg (if you are egg free you can use a http://www.perfectsupplements.com/ProductDetails.asp?ProductCode=PS-Gelatin&Click=71301 egg or flax egg or 2)
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • ¼ tsp sea salt
  • 1 cup tapioca flour
  • ½ cup white rice flour
  • ½ cup sorghum flour
  • 1 tsp xanthan gum (Do NOT leave this out – it helps the cookies rise. You will have a melted mess without it...I have the mess to prove it! It also makes rolling out the dough so much easier.)
  • FOR THE RASPBERRY FROSTING
  • 3 TB blended freeze dried raspberries (Just put them into a blender and blend into powder. I used about ¾ of a 1.2oz bag of freeze dried raspberries. You can add the rest if you want a deeper color. I blended the whole bag and am keeping the leftover powder in an airtight container for another time.)
  • 2 cups organic powdered cane sugar
  • ¼ cup softened butter
  • 3-4 TB milk or coconut milk
Instructions
  1. In a large mixing bowl, cream butter and sugar.
  2. Add the egg, vanilla, and salt and blend.
  3. Add the flours and xanthan gum. Mix until well combined.
  4. Cover and refrigerate for 1 hour.
  5. Take the dough out of the fridge, and let it come to room temp for about 30 minutes.
  6. Lay out some parchment paper on the counter and flour it with white rice flour. Flour your hands and use the warmth of your hands to gently knead the dough, and then roll out the dough. (Use white rice flour on the rolling pin and parchment paper to keep the dough from sticking)
  7. Cut out your hearts and bake on a silpat (or parchment paper) lined baking sheet at 350 degrees for 11 minutes.
  8. Let the cookies cool completely before decorating. To make the frosting, just blend the frosting ingredients until smooth. You can add more milk if you wish for a thinner, more royal icing type of frosting.

For more real food treat ideas you can follow my Treat Ideas Board on Pinterest!

More real food recipes you might like:
Gluten Free Chocolate Chunk Blender Cookies

Gluten Free Chocolate Chunk Blender Cookies
Chocolate Cake (Can be made cupcakes too!)

COVER
Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream

overhead
DIY Whipped Cream

15262741314_779bb04eae_z

Holiday Recipes Occasional Treats Real Food Tips School Holidays

Gluten Free Sugar Cookie Cut-Outs :: Plus Natural Decorating Ideas and Tips On Making Cookies With Kids!

December 11, 2015

Easy to work with gluten free cut out cookie dough will have soft and sweet sugar cookies ready in no time perfect for decorating!

Gluten Free Sugar Cookie Cut-Outs :: Plus Natural Decorating Ideas and Tips On Making Cookies With Kids!Links in this post are affiliate links. It does not cost you anything and helps maintain the free information on this site, as well as answer the questions of “what brand do you use?” Please know I never personally recommend any product or service I wouldn’t use on my own family.

What a fun time of the year to get in the kitchen and do something fun with the kids!

I have such fond memories of decorating sugar cookies as a family when I grew up, and years ago when I had my first toddler in the house just learning about the wonder of the season, I just knew I wanted to give her those same memories.

Gluten Free Sugar Cookie Cut-Outs :: Plus Natural Decorating Ideas and Tips On Making Cookies With Kids!This is the cut out cookie recipe I have been making for the last few holiday seasons. I really love how easy the dough is to work with – remember I am *not* a baker and it is not my favorite kitchen thing to do (well other than the memories!). The hint of vanilla with just a slight warm cinnamon really makes these cookies so special.

Gluten Free Sugar Cookie Cut-Outs :: Plus Natural Decorating Ideas and Tips On Making Cookies With Kids!Tips For Making & Decorating Cut Out Cookies With Kids

1. Take it one step at a time. In fact I highly recommend with really little ones not to do everything all in one day. Since the dough has to chill, and cookies have to cool before decorating, there is a lot of nice time to break up so the kids don’t feel like they are waiting “forever”. This year I made the dough with all 3 girls, and then at my 2 year old’s nap time we rolled out the chilled dough to bake with my 4 and 6 year olds. I then put the cookies into the freezer until the following weekend when we had enough time to frost them. They definitely can be done all in one day – just have some other things planned during the dough chilling and cookie cooling wait times such as decorating Christmas cards for grandparents, watching a holiday movie, or other holiday kitchen recipes!

Gluten Free Sugar Cookie Cut-Outs :: Plus Natural Decorating Ideas and Tips On Making Cookies With Kids!2. Show them how to do the task first. Whether pouring flour, cracking an egg, using a cookie cutter, or frosting a cookie, show them an example first. This is specifically helpful with the decorating. While I want them to decorate them how they wish, I like to show them how much frosting is appropriate for spreading 😉

Gluten Free Sugar Cookie Cut-Outs :: Plus Natural Decorating Ideas and Tips On Making Cookies With Kids!3. Use small amounts of dough for the ones that want to try rolling it out. Listen, I am just as much of a perfectionist as anyone else – it can be hard for me to stay back and let them learn how to roll dough out nicely! I have learned that letting the dough warm up so it feels a little more pliable like a play-doh but not so warm that it squishes, and using smaller amounts makes it easier for them to roll it out neatly. This is the first year that I didn’t have to help my oldest at all – and she is 6 and works in the kitchen a lot with me. Be patient but it does come – and they will forever remember you trusting them enough to let them do it.

Gluten Free Sugar Cookie Cut-Outs :: Plus Natural Decorating Ideas and Tips On Making Cookies With Kids!4. Set out easy to manage decorating ingredients. If the sprinkles, for instance, come in a big bottle with no shaker top, either put them in a old shaker container, or put a small amount on a plate or bowl that they can pinch and sprinkle onto the cookies. If using dried fruit or chopped nuts use little bowls that they can scoop from. My 4 and 6 year olds manage a regular butter knife for spreading just fine, but as toddlers we used these smaller spreading knives.

Gluten Free Sugar Cookie Cut-Outs :: Plus Natural Decorating Ideas and Tips On Making Cookies With Kids!5. Realize attention span grows with age 🙂 This is the first year my girls did all the decorating themselves. As toddlers the attention lasts about 1 or 2 cookies in before they want to eat one and are done. Embrace that age and just roll with it! Eventually they will turn 6 and you will have no cookies to decorate for yourself! Even at age 2 or 3 those memories are beginning to build and they will cherish that you spent time with them to do something so fun.

Gluten Free Sugar Cookie Cut-Outs :: Plus Natural Decorating Ideas and Tips On Making Cookies With Kids!Ok! So onto the cookies! Be sure to scroll through the natural decorating ideas at the bottom of the recipe!

Gluten Free Sugar Cookie Cut-Outs :: Plus Natural Decorating Ideas and Tips On Making Cookies With Kids!

5.0 from 1 reviews
Gluten Free Sugar Cookie Cut-Outs :: Plus Natural Decorating Ideas and Tips On Making Cookies With Kids!
Author: 
 
Ingredients
  • FOR THE COOKIES:
  • 1 cup softened butter (if you are dairy free, you can use palm shortening)
  • 1 cup organic pure cane sugar (could use sucanat but the color will come out darker)
  • 1 egg (if you are egg free you can use a gelatin egg or flax egg)
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • ¼ tsp cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp sea salt
  • 1 cup tapioca flour
  • ½ cup white rice flour
  • ½ cup sorghum flour
  • 1 tsp xanthan gum (Do not leave this out – it helps the cookies rise. You will have a melted mess without it...I have the mess to prove it! It also makes rolling out the dough so much easier.)
  • FOR THE FROSTING
  • 1 cup organic powdered cane sugar
  • 2 TB softened butter
  • 1-2 TB milk or coconut milk
Instructions
  1. In a large mixing bowl, cream butter and sugar.
  2. Add the egg, vanilla, cinnamon, and salt, and blend.
  3. Add the flours and xanthan gum. Mix until well combined.
  4. Cover and refrigerate for 1 hour.
  5. Take the dough out of the fridge, and let it come to room temp for about 30 minutes.
  6. Lay out some parchment paper on the counter and flour it with white rice flour. Flour your hands and use the warmth of your hands to gently knead the dough, and then roll out the dough. (Use white rice flour on the rolling pin and parchment paper to keep the dough from sticking)
  7. Cut out your shapes and bake on a silpat (or parchment paper) lined baking sheet at 350 degrees for 13-15 minutes.
  8. Let the cookies cool completely before decorating. To make the frosting, just blend the frosting ingredients until smooth. You can add more milk if you wish for a thinner, more royal icing type of frosting.

And then of course there is the decorating! Here are some ideas and tips!

Gluten Free Sugar Cookie Cut-Outs :: Plus Natural Decorating Ideas and Tips On Making Cookies With Kids!

  • I’ve been using these naturally dyed sugar sprinkles for the last few years and I just love how easy they are. We make a the simple white frosting and the sprinkles brighten them right up!
  • That same brand has not only the naturally dyed sugar sprinkles, but snowflakes, “jimmies” shapes, and I also found this brand of natural colored confetti sprinkles!
  • When I had really little ones – as in I only had toddlers in the house, we used dried fruit and/or crumbled nuts for decorating. You can even just bake raisins, apricots, or cranberries right into the cookie and skip the frosting all together if you want – which is what I often did for my toddlers. They are just happy to get a cookie – they won’t even miss the frosting 🙂
  • I like these naturally colored, organic candy canes – you can crush them up and sprinkle on top!
  • Shave some fair trade dark chocolate to sprinkle on top, or use these allergen friendly mini chocolate chips.
  • This is a great DIY natural food dye you can make up ahead of time if you have the time – I have tried all the colors and they really work well!

Gluten Free Sugar Cookie Cut-Outs :: Plus Natural Decorating Ideas and Tips On Making Cookies With Kids!If you tolerate gluten, you must check out these great sugar cookies from my friend Kristin at Live Simply  using Einkorn wheat flour!

To find more real food treat ideas, you can follow my Treat Ideas Board on Pintrest!

More real food recipes you might like:
GF Gingerbread Cookies

16021352542_143d16d6bc_b
GF Thumbprint Cookies

16062988741_b9d9c0b98d_b
Simple & Quick Eggnog

15722389498_35237928d9_b
Winter Wassail

15820664020_37d1e32411_b

Holiday Recipes Occasional Treats Real Food Tips

Homemade Honey Sweetened Caramel Corn

October 24, 2015

All the sweet and salty taste you love about caramel corn using real ingredients and zero refined sugar!

Homemade Honey Sweetened Caramel CornIt’s about that time of year again isn’t it?!

We get through those first couple of months of school and then bam!

Everything from halloween or harvest parties, to Thanksgiving and holiday parties have our kids in a frenzy of festivities…and all the sugar to go along with it.

Unfortunately this is also about the time of year we get less fresh air and less circulating of fresh air indoors, and that coupled with more sugar in our bodies can make for weakened immune systems. I love to celebrate all of the fun fall and winter holidays that come with the end of a calendar year, but I also understand that even with a pretty clean diet and great supplements, even the healthiest kid can become run down when cold bugs have sugar to feast on more frequently.

I don’t, however, want to take the fun out of every holiday!

Homemade Honey Sweetened Caramel CornFood was most definitely made to be enjoyed – and I absolutely believe that. While I still have very little ones at home, I feel pretty responsible for what goes into their bodies at this crucial growing age, so when the holidays come around, we do the fun food in a real food way. This halloween we decided on caramel corn for our special treat! We played around with the ingredients this weekend, and boy was it delicious!

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

5.0 from 3 reviews
Homemade Honey Sweetened Caramel Corn
Author: 
 
Ingredients
  • ¼ cup butter
  • ¼ cup raw honey
  • ½ cup non-GMO popping corn (Our local grocer sells non-GMO popping corn which is where I got ours)
  • ¼-1/2 tsp sea salt to your taste
Instructions
  1. Melt the butter in a small sauce pan, turn off the heat, and then add the raw honey to melt in. Set aside while you make the popcorn.
  2. Pop your popcorn in a simple air popper or stovetop, and put into a large mixing bowl.
  3. Pour half the melted butter and honey into the popped popcorn, toss to coat, and then pour the last half of the butter/honey mixture to toss and coat.
  4. Sea salt your caramel corn to your taste and toss to coat. You can serve this warm right away, or you can put the caramel corn in the fridge or freezer to harden up a little to feel like the crispier candy shell that caramel corn usually has!

For more real food treat ideas you can follow my Treat Ideas board on Pintrest!

More real food recipes you might like:
Gluten Free Chocolate Chunk Blender Cookies

Gluten Free Chocolate Chunk Blender Cookies
Maple Vanilla Ice Cream

ice cream landscape

Gluten Free Thumbprint Cookies

Tropical Blender Sorbet

Tropical Blender Sorbet :: Refined Sugar Free & Dairy Free

Holiday Recipes Occasional Treats Real Food Tips

Simple, Quick & Gluten Free Apple Crisp

October 8, 2015

Enjoy a fresh apple treat with no more than 10 minutes of hands on time!

Simple, Quick & Gluten Free Apple CrispI almost completely forgot to write about apple season this fall! I blogged so many of our favorite apple recipes last year, that I sort of thought I had all of my bases covered, but the Michigander in me just couldn’t go through an apple season without a least one apple post!

Simple, Quick & Gluten Free Apple CrispWe headed out to pick apples a few weeks ago and it was like summer! The weather has definitely turned more like fall in the last couple weeks, so looking through these pictures of the girls in their short sleeves seems so crazy to me!

Simple, Quick & Gluten Free Apple CrispMy youngest just turned 2 and there is just something about this age that makes these trips so fun. To see their eyes light up at all the apples on the trees – it’s like they finally “get it”! Caitlyn two fisted her apples the entire trip and enjoyed running up and down the rows of trees.

Simple, Quick & Gluten Free Apple Crisp

Simple, Quick & Gluten Free Apple CrispThis is a particularly busy fall for me as I navigate a busy school and preschool schedule with lots of driving. I don’t have a lot of time for fun kitchen projects like making apple pie, so this year when the girls asked me if we could make a treat with the apples, we decided on making apple crisp to save on the time thing!

Simple, Quick & Gluten Free Apple CrispNo more than 10 minutes to get everything into this pie plate and you are hands-free from there! No peeling necessary – and this apple crisp not only is as beautiful as an apple pie…it tastes just as amazing.

Simple, Quick & Gluten Free Apple Crisp

You can use whatever apples you have around  – let the kids help too! My toddler loved putting the apple slices in the pie plate, my 4 year old mixed up the crumble topping, and my 6 year old pretty much ran the show reading my recipe, measuring, and even doing some slicing!

Simple, Quick & Gluten Free Apple Crisp

5.0 from 2 reviews
Simple, Quick & Gluten Free Apple Crisp
Author: 
 
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. Toss together the apple slices, lemon juice, vanilla extract, 3-4 TB sugar, and tapioca starch right in your 9 inch pie plate.
  2. In a small mixing bowl combine the white rice flour, almond flour, butter, maple syrup, and ¼ cup sugar using a spatula - don't combine until super smooth - the point is for it to be a bit crumbly. Sprinkle this crumble mixture over the top of the fruit mixture in the pie plate, and then sprinkle the top with cinnamon.
  3. Bake at 350 degrees for 35 minutes. Cool for a bit before handling.

For more real food desserts, you can follow my Treat Ideas board on Pinterest!

More real food recipes you might like:
Maple Vanilla Ice Cream

ice cream landscapeSimple Baked Applesauce


Grain Free Apple Cinnamon Granola

16506590686_35070ceaf9_z
GF Apple Pie

15484017906_ee81147e4e_c
Cinnamon Apple Baked Oatmeal

Holiday Recipes Occasional Treats Real Food Tips

Gluten Free Chocolate Chunk Blender Cookies

August 29, 2015

Rich chocolate cookie loaded up with sweet chocolate chunks!

Gluten Free Chocolate Chunk Blender CookiesI just really needed to sneak this post in here this week!

Ever have one of those weeks where seriously…everything does *not* go as planned? Like every single thing on my list to do last week got changed, altered, or completely canned.

So it also just happened to be the week my dear husband *and* the baby of the family have birthdays. We already had celebrated with a party for the baby a couple weeks back, but I had planned on making a small batch of cupcakes to celebrate the 2 birthdays that are only 2 days apart.

I cannot think of a more chaotic day I have had all summer than that day that I planned to make those cupcakes, and long story short I found myself at 4:00pm feeling pretty crummy that my birthday hubby and baby weren’t going to have much more than a happy birthday squash for their dinner that night!

Wait! Cookies!

I can do cookies right?! Those are fast!

But a recipe! I need a recipe!

I don’t ever make cookies…I needed something to follow!

No time!

Just throw in what you have to go from there!

What can go wrong with chocolate, right?!

Gluten Free Chocolate Chunk Blender Cookies

It just happens to be that anything chocolate my husband will pretty much be head over heels for so I figured how bad could they turn out!

They were SO good! I literally threw everything into my food processor, blended it up, scooped it out and 10 minutes later we had super chocolate-y cookies to celebrate with that night!

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

Gluten Free Chocolate Chunk Blender Cookies
Author: 
 
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. Put the eggs, sugar, and vanilla extract into your food processor and blend for 1-2 minutes until fluffy.
  2. Put the rest of the ingredients except the chocolate chunks into the food processor and blend to combine completely.
  3. Add the chocolate chunks and pulse to combine.
  4. Scoop the dough onto a Silpat or parchment paper lined baking sheet. Push the dough down into about the shape you want as these won't spread out much - they will puff up a bit. Bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes. Cool a few minutes before handling.

For more real food treat ideas check out my Treat Ideas board on Pinterest!

More real food recipes you might like ::
Chocolate Birthday Cake

COVER
Vanilla Bean Birthday Cake

Gluten Free Vanilla Bean Cake
Strawberry Birthday Cake

cake
Maple Vanilla Ice Cream

ice cream landscape

Holiday Recipes Occasional Treats Real Food Tips

Gluten Free Vanilla Bean Cake

August 15, 2015

Have the happiest birthday with soft and moist vanilla bean flecked cake with vanilla bean buttercream frosting!

Gluten Free Vanilla Bean CakeSweet baby Caitlyn turns 2 years old this month! In fact this weekend was my actual due date with her, and of course all 3 of my kids taught me the philosophy of a “due month” to the max and this little one arrived 2 weeks later 😉 Caitlyn is my sweet rainbow baby, surprising us with joy in a season of life that I could barely pick myself up to go on. Her name, Caitlyn Faith means pure, trusting faith, and every day that I was pregnant with her, her name gave me confidence things would be ok.

Gluten Free Vanilla Bean CakeCaitlyn is a third baby to the core, super laid back, goes with the flow in our big kid schedules, and always has a smile on her face. I kind of feel like I blinked and she turned two, and I find myself staring at her sweet baby curls savoring every moment of her ending babyhood.

Gluten Free Vanilla Bean CakeWe celebrated Caitlyn’s birthday this weekend since her actual birthday falls just before school starts. I found some beautiful vanilla beans at a local shop and decided they were perfect for cake! There’s really nothing like using real vanilla bean in your baking. Those little flecks of vanilla bean pack an amazing vanilla flavor profile!

Gluten Free Vanilla Bean CakeI kept things super simple since I am not even close to a baker – and even further away from a cake decorator! I think the elegant simplicity of vanilla beans worked well with my keep it simple theme. This cake really would be perfect for an occasion and any age big or small.

Gluten Free Vanilla Bean Cake And, oh the flavor! And the texture! Super soft and moist with a real vanilla flavor!

So here’s to the “terrific two’s!” I’m in for a *busy* year so I might just go celebrate making it this far with an extra slice of cake tonight 😉

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

Gluten Free Vanilla Bean Cake
Author: 
 
Ingredients
  • VANILLA BEAN CAKE ::
  • ¾ cup whole milk (or coconut milk)
  • 4 pastured eggs
  • 1½ cups organic pure cane sugar
  • 1 cup softened butter
  • 2 TB apple cider vinegar (I know this is a strange ingredient - but it helps with the rise - don't leave it out! I promise it won't make it taste bad!)
  • 1 vanilla bean, scraped
  • ½ tsp vanilla extract (If you do not use the vanilla bean, use 2 tsp vanilla extract)
  • ½ tsp almond extract
  • 1½ cups brown rice flour
  • ⅔ cup potato starch
  • ⅓ cup tapioca starch
  • ½ tsp sea salt
  • 1 TB aluminum free baking powder
  • 1 tsp xanthan gum
  • VANILLA BEAN BUTTERCREAM FROSTING::
  • 2 cups softened butter
  • 3½ cups organic powdered sugar
  • 1 vanilla bean, scraped
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1-2 TB whole milk or coconut milk
Instructions
  1. Butter two 8 inch cake pan rounds, and fit parchment paper to the bottom of each pan sticking to the butter.
  2. Blend the wet ingredients (milk, eggs, sugar, butter, vinegar, vanilla bean, vanilla extract, and almond extract) in a large mixing bowl for a couple minutes until well combined.
  3. Add the rest of the ingredients (the dry ingredients) right into the bowl, and blend to combine until creamy.
  4. Divide the batter between the 2 cake pans evenly and bake in a 350 degree oven for 40 minutes. Let the cakes cool about 20 minutes before taking them out to cool the rest of the way on a cooling rack.
  5. Once the cakes are cooled completely, you can frost them. Just blend the vanilla bean frosting ingredients together in a medium mixing bowl until well combined and frost your cake how you want.

For more real food treat ideas you can follow my Treat Ideas board on Pintrest!

More real food recipes you might like ::

Maple Vanilla Ice Cream

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Chocolate Birthday Cake

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Strawberry Birthday Cake

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The Perfect 1st Birthday Cupcake!

Blueberry Birthday Cupcakes! :: Gluten, Egg, & Nut Free w/ Dairy Free Options

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Homemade Chocolate Ice Cream :: Refined Sugar Free with Dairy Free Option

 

Occasional Treats Real Food Tips Summer Picnic Series

Blueberry Peach Crisp :: Gluten Free

August 8, 2015

Fresh, juicy peaches meet sweet plump blueberries and buttery, crispy topping for an end of summer treat that is *quick* to make and full of summer flavor!

Blueberry Peach Crisp :: Gluten FreeBefore we switch gears to back to school recipes I just had to share one more quick summer treat that is a must have to celebrate the end of summer with the kids this month!

Blueberry Peach Crisp :: Gluten FreeWhere I live, blueberries and peaches ripen for harvest within a week or two of each other. In fact this year, we picked blueberries on a Saturday and picked up our couple bushels of peaches that Monday!

Blueberry Peach Crisp :: Gluten FreeTalk about a load of fruit to work with! I love every minute. While I freeze a majority of all the fruit to use for yogurt, oatmeal, and smoothies during the rest of the year (big money saver!), I do try to make a few special recipes using these fun summer fruits that we won’t see again until next year!

Blueberry Peach Crisp :: Gluten FreeBlueberries and peaches really taste amazing together and this simple crisp is my kind of summer treat because it is simple and *quick*. It is a great way to use up the last few peaches and last bowl of blueberries going too ripe!

Blueberry Peach Crisp :: Gluten Free

Blueberry Peach Crisp :: Gluten Free
Author: 
 
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. Toss together the blueberries, peach slices, lemon juice, vanilla extract, ¼ cup sugar, and corn starch right in your 9 inch pie plate.
  2. In a small mixing bowl combine the white rice flour, butter, maple syrup, and ¼ cup sugar using a spatula - don't combine until super smooth - the point is for it to be a bit crumbly. Sprinkle this crumble mixture over the top of the fruit mixture in the pie plate.
  3. Bake at 350 degrees for 35 minutes. Cool for a bit before serving.

 For more real food desserts, you can follow my Treat Ideas board on Pinterest!

More real food recipes you might like:
Maple Vanilla Ice Cream

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GF Cherry Pie

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GF Apple Pie

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Fresh Strawberry Ice Cream

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Occasional Treats Real Food Tips Snack Ideas

Real Food *All Fruit* Grapesicles!

July 11, 2015

That favorite summertime popsicle flavor with a real food (all fruit!) makeover! No corn syrup or dyes here! And the flavor is amazing!

Real Food *All Fruit* Grapesicles!I distinctly remember it. The box of popsicles would come out and I would somehow manage to talk my little sister into any other color besides the purple ones.

The grapesicles were my all time favorite…and like any kid in a family of 5, I had to make sure there was enough me! I definitely had the art of manipulation mastered at a young age.

Sigh.

Fast forward to a couple weeks ago. We had just spent the last week or so munching on a load of strawberries from our summer picking, and as I was cleaning out the fridge there it sat. That lonely little bag of grapes was totally forgotten about that week because we had so many in season strawberries to eat!

Real Food *All Fruit* Grapesicles!These grapes were getting just soft enough that they wouldn’t be great to eat on their own, but I hate waste – especially these grapes that I just love!

Real Food *All Fruit* Grapesicles!My first thought was smoothie, but I had a flashback to when I was a kid…could it really be as simple as blending up a bunch of grapes and I could have my favorite popsicle again?!

Real Food *All Fruit* Grapesicles!Turns out it really was that easy! And these were SO good! And this is as easy as it gets friends. No crazy corn syrups or dyes – this is the real deal. And look at the color!

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

My top popsicle mold picks! If you have tiny hands around the house, I highly recommend these smaller popsicle molds with easy grip handles. My toddler loves them, they are the perfect sized portions, and the handles are easy to hold for little hands. I also love my 10-pop popsicle mold. No plastic sticks to keep track of and wash, and I can stash away a load of them at a time so I don’t have to make popsicles every week.

5.0 from 5 reviews
Real Food *All Fruit* Grapesicles!
Author: 
 
Ingredients
  • 4 cups grapes (or more - 4 cups made 6 popsicles for my popsicle mold)
  • Optional water to thin (I didn't use water but wish I had - they were almost too sweet for me being so concentrated. Taste the grape puree and see what you think - if your kids are used to popsicles from a store you might just leave them be!)
Instructions
  1. Puree the grapes in your blender. My high powered blender took care of the skins, but if you are using something other than a high powered blender you can either leave the bits of skin or strain them out.
  2. Freeze in your popsicle molds. I love my 10-pop popsicle mold for making a load at a time. I take them out after they freeze, wrap them up, and tuck them away in the freezer so the girls can self serve.

For more real food treat ideas, check out my Treat Ideas board on Pintrest!

More real food recipes you might like:
Fudgsicles

Rich & Creamy Fudgsicles :: Refined Sugar Free With Dairy Free Option
Electrolyte Popsicles

Rehydrating Eletrolyte Popsicles
Strawberry Rhubarb Creamsicles

Strawberry Rhubarb Creamsicles
Antioxidant Rich Berry Gummies

Antioxidant Rich Berry Gummies