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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!

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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!

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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!

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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!

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Drinks Occasional Treats Real Food 101 Real Food Tips

Fermented Strawberry Soda

July 11, 2015

The perfect summer drink for those fresh, ripe strawberries! This fermented strawberry soda is crisp & bubbly, strawberry sweet, and filled with nourishing, gut friendly probiotics!

Fermented Strawberry SodaA few weeks ago we visited our local strawberry U-Pick and loaded up 30 pounds of beautiful, bright red juicy strawberries!

It is always a bit of work tending to all those strawberries, but every year I never regret it. The girls always have a ball, and I can really tell they are starting to understand where their food is coming from.

Fermented Strawberry SodaPutting away about half of what we pick to the freezer to enjoy throughout the year is a big reward…and so is this amazing strawberry soda. It took about a week to ferment fully this year since it has been so cool, but it is always worth the wait.

Fermented Strawberry SodaThis is a great recipe to use up strawberries that are starting to get too mushy to eat. You can also pull out strawberries that you have already frozen to make the soda. The hands on time is super minimal, and there is no need to have water kefir grains if you don’t have them. Just some simple whey dripped from some yogurt to culture it is all I use.

Fermented Strawberry SodaWe don’t have “regular” soda around the house, so this is a big time treat for my girls – and I hope you can give it a try this summer. It sure puts a smile on the faces around here!

Fermented Strawberry SodaProduct 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 2 reviews
Fermented Strawberry Soda
Author: 
 
Ingredients
  • 5 cups strawberries
  • 1 cup organic pure cane sugar
  • 7 cups of water
  • ½ cup whey ((Just scoop a container of plain whole yogurt into a dishtowel, tie it up onto a cupboard door and let it drip into a jar - the liquid dripped off is probiotic rich whey! The leftover yogurt in the towel is like Greek yogurt or cream cheese - yum! If you are dairy free you can use water kefir grains or a ginger bug.)
Instructions
  1. Put the strawberries, sugar, and water in a large pot and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer about 15-20 minutes.
  2. Squish the strawberries in the pot (I use a potato masher), and pour the strawberry sugar water through a fine mesh strainer into a large bowl.
  3. Add the whey to the strawberry sugar water in the bowl and stir. Pour the soda mixture into flip top bottles and set in a warm area of your home.
  4. After a couple days you can open a bottle to check for taste and let the fermented gasses out so it doesn't build up too much. Fermentation can take anywhere from 3 days to a week. Our home has been quite unseasonably cool this month so it took mine more like a week. Move the bottles to the fridge once they are ready.

For more nourishing drink ideas you can follow my Drinks board on Pintrest!

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Occasional Treats Real Food Tips

Caramel Swirl Ice Cream

June 10, 2015

Caramel Swirl Ice CreamSo I have this sweet little girl that just turned 6. The kid has been reading since the first month of kindergarten…and I mean reading *everything*. I can’t open an email next to her without hearing the whole thing in audio, or walk through a store without *every* sign being read.

And that includes the walk down the frozen isle that we take every so often to grab frozen veggies. They (ever so conveniently) have the ice cream in that isle as well, so every time we take that trip I get to hear every ice cream imaginable read to me.

She knows why we make our own ice cream. She knows where to find the ingredients on the label, and even knows that many of the ingredients on those labels are chemicals. But let’s be real. She’s a kid! Swirl ice cream anything will sound so amazing to any kid her age.

Caramel Swirl Ice CreamSo one day she read “caramel swirl” ice cream, and I said yes.

Let’s make it. Let me show you how to make real caramel instead of fake. Let’s use our real cream at home and use real ingredients so not only will it be skipping out on the chemicals, but it will taste…amazing.

Caramel Swirl Ice CreamCreamy, salty, sweet…it doesn’t get much better than real, homemade caramel!

And swirl it into fresh spring and summer churned cream? Well I’ll leave it at that because I know you much be drooling by this point.

We make ice cream about once a month in the summer and it’s a fun occasional treat to celebrate the warm weather and enjoy the fresh cream from our local farmer. I stress the “occasional” because this particular ice cream recipe is a bit heavier on the sugar than my other ice cream recipes because of the caramel – but we definitely don’t have it every day, and a small scoop is really all you need.

I hope this will bring a smile of *yes* to your kids faces this summer 🙂 It sure did mine!

Caramel Swirl Ice CreamProduct 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.

I just have a simple ice cream maker that I have had for literally years – it works so great and I love it! I do however have my eye on this larger ice cream maker so I can make birthday party sized volume in one shot instead of 2 batches.

5.0 from 2 reviews
Caramel Swirl Ice Cream
Author: 
 
Ingredients
  • CARAMEL SWIRL ::
  • 1 cup organic pure cane sugar (this also works with honey - I make this probably once a year so I just use sugar for this one and call it good)
  • 6 TB softened butter
  • ½ cup whole cream
  • ½ tsp sea salt (If you want a more "salted caramel" flavor double this - it is really good!)
  • ICE CREAM ::
  • 3 cups whole cream (Preferably raw. Avoid ultra-pasteurized)
  • ¼ cup pure maple syrup (raw honey works well too)
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • ½ tsp sea salt
  • 1 TB vodka (This is optional but keeps the ice cream from freezing rock hard in the freezer. If you choose to leave it out, just be sure to set your ice cream on the counter to soften a bit before scooping.)
Instructions
  1. MAKE THE CARAMEL AND COOL :: Warm the sugar in a small sauce pan until it melts - takes about 4-5 minutes. Stir continuously so it doesn't burn and it will start melting. When the sugar completely melts stir in the butter. Then drizzle in the cream a little at a time while stirring. Bring to a simmer for a few minutes while you stir. Turn the heat off, and transfer to a container into the fridge to cool while you make the ice cream.
  2. MAKE THE ICE CREAM :: Blend the ice cream ingredients in a medium mixing bowl and let it rest in the fridge for about 20 minutes. Give the ice cream a stir, and process in your ice cream maker per the manufacturer's instructions. My ice cream maker takes about 30 minutes.
  3. SWIRL THE CARAMEL INTO THE ICE CREAM :: Once the ice cream is done churning, place half of the ice cream into a container, then add ¼ t o ½ of the caramel in and swirl it through with a chop stick or the hard end of a paint brush. Put the other half of the ice cream in the container along with more caramel and swirl that in. Depending on how much caramel you like in your ice cream you can use the whole caramel batch for swirling, or save some to drizzle on top (or for your coffee in the morning!)

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

June 9, 2015

Homemade Chocolate Ice Cream :: Refined Sugar Free with Dairy Free OptionSometimes you just need a little chocolate in your life, yes?

Now if you have known me personally for any length of time, you know that I’m a vanilla girl when it comes to ice cream.

Boring?

Maybe, but *not* when you make it as insane delicious homemade vanilla!

I was never a chocolate ice cream fan but I don’t think I ever had it done the right way! Store bought chocolate ice cream doesn’t even compare to homemade when it’s done the right way. I think you can say that about most recipes – when you use real, fresh ingredients you are just going to have a more superior finish.

Homemade Chocolate Ice Cream :: Refined Sugar Free with Dairy Free OptionI’ve been working on my ingredients and ratios for this chocolate ice cream over the last few summers, and last year at my daughter’s birthday, her request for chocolate birthday cake and chocolate ice cream was my push to make it just right. When you are feeding others you want it to be perfect!

I really fell in love with this chocolate ice cream, and since my husband and I decided we needed a little chocolate in our lives a couple weeks ago, it seemed the perfect time to share this rich, creamy piece of chocolate heaven with all of you!

Homemade Chocolate Ice Cream :: Refined Sugar Free with Dairy Free OptionProduct 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.

I just have a simple ice cream maker that I have had for literally years – it works so great and I love it! I do however have my eye on this larger ice cream maker so I can make birthday party sized volume in one shot instead of 2 batches.

Homemade Chocolate Ice Cream
Author: 
 
Ingredients
  • 3 cups whole cream (Preferably raw. At least not ultra-pasteurized. If you are dairy free use coconut milk.)
  • ¾ cup raw cacao
  • ½ cup raw honey (I get mine from a local farmer, but if you don't have access THIS is a good brand)
  • ½ tsp sea salt (if you want a "salted chocolate" feel add another ¼ tsp or so!)
  • 2 tsp almond extract
  • 1 TB vodka (This is optional but keeps the ice cream from freezing rock hard. If you choose to leave it out, just put the ice cream on the counter for a while before trying to scoop and serve.)
Instructions
  1. Blend all ingredients in a medium mixing bowl, and let it rest and marry flavors in the fridge for about 30 minutes.
  2. Stir the ice cream mixture, transfer to the ice cream maker, and process according to your manufacturer's instructions. My ice cream maker churns for 30 minutes.
  3. Store your churned ice cream in the freezer.

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

June 6, 2015

Rich & Creamy Fudgsicles :: Refined Sugar Free With Dairy Free OptionMy friends it is finally here! I know that by the end of August we’ll all be ready for the kids to head back to the school routine…but this momma is *ready* for a school routine break for a couple months!

My kids had their last day of school last week, so on the last school night of the year, we celebrated the start to our summer with fudgsicles, and a late summertime bedtime of course!

Rich & Creamy Fudgsicles :: Refined Sugar Free With Dairy Free OptionWe live just a few minutes from some beautiful beaches, so my little beach babies really (really!) look forward to summertime. While they were sad to leave their friends and amazing teachers, the promise of long, warm summer days (and fudgy, rich frozen treats!) definitely made up for it.

These fudgsicles are certainly more of an “occasional treat” in our house versus our nourishing staple summer popsicles we make most weeks of the summer, but these rich and creamy fudgsicles are actually loaded with nourishing friendly fats for growing kids, and even some protein! They make for a fun alternative to an ice cream truck on hot summer days or special summer activities.

Rich & Creamy Fudgsicles :: Refined Sugar Free With Dairy Free OptionDon’t be afraid of the avocado ingredient either 🙂 I promise even those that don’t care for avos will never taste it (my husband and I are proof!), and it gives the most amazing creamy texture that you are looking for in a fudgesicle. I have tried making them with all fresh cream but it just gets whipped too light in texture and while it tastes great, it just doesn’t freeze well at all.

I can’t wait to hear about your summer plans! Let me know if you give these fun fudgesicles a try this summer!

Rich & Creamy Fudgsicles :: Refined Sugar Free With Dairy Free Option
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.

A couple of notes on popsicle molds! I am loving my 10-pop popsicle mold! With 3 kids now eating popsicles every time I make them, it is so nice to make a load of them at once! I take them out of the mold and stash them away wrapped up in the freezer so that if that ice cream truck rolls by on a whim or we just need a fudgy afternoon treat while we run through the sprinkler, we can grab them quick! We still have our star pop mold that is wonderful, and I do still make toddler pops with these smaller molds that are really nice for my littlest to hold!

5.0 from 1 reviews
Rich & Creamy Fudgsicles :: Refined Sugar Free With Dairy Free Option
Author: 
 
Ingredients
  • 2 cups whole milk (Grass-fed raw preferable. Recommended avoid ultra-pasteurized. If you are dairy free use coconut milk!)
  • 1 small/medium avocado, pitted (If you avo is very large just use half.)
  • ½ cup unsweetened raw cacao (if you want a darker chocolate flavor use ¾ cup)
  • ⅓ cup grassfed collagen
  • ¼ - ⅓ cup raw honey (Start with ¼ cup and taste test it for sweet to your taste. I get mine from a local farmer - you can ask around at your markets for local! If you don't have access this raw honey is a good brand.)
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • ½ tsp sea salt
Instructions
  1. Everything into a blender to combine until smooth.
  2. Pour into your popsicle molds and freeze. Makes 8-10 popsicles in my 10-pop popsicle mold (it is dependent on how big the avocado was.)

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

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Strawberry Rhubarb Creamsicles

May 25, 2015

Strawberry Rhubarb CreamsiclesWe picked rhubarb out of the garden last week and that means only one thing around our home…

Strawberry Rhubarb Creamsicles…Summer is just around the corner!

Strawberry Rhubarb Creamsicles

Rhubarb is such a trusty garden perennial that we really look forward to every May. The bright green and red stalks bring such joy to my girls because they are the first thing out of the garden – and they *love* them. So much that they eat them right out of the garden – makes my lips pucker just thinking about it!

Strawberry Rhubarb CreamsiclesLuckily these hardy plants produce quite an abundance so I’m usually able to sneak a handful of stalks for a once a year treat that is so amazing!

Strawberry Rhubarb CreamsiclesStrawberries and rhubarb are a match made in heaven. We won’t be able to pick strawberries for another few weeks, but every year I keep a couple cups from our freezer stash from the previous year just to make these creamsicles during the first long weekend of the season – strawberries picked at the height of the season are so sweet and you can’t beat the strawberry flavor!

Strawberry Rhubarb CreamsiclesMy strawberry to rhubarb ratio cuts some of the tart of the rhubarb but there is still a bite to them 😉 Which is perfect when you swirl in fluffy fresh whipped cream – every bite has the perfect amount of sweet and tart and all 3 of my girls now inhaled theirs this weekend!

Strawberry Rhubarb CreamsiclesProduct 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 newest purchase this year has been this 10 popsicle mold! I am in heaven! With 3 kids now eating popsicles everytime I make them, it is so nice to make a load of them at once! We still have our star pop mold that is wonderful, and I do still make toddler pops with these smaller molds that are really nice for my littlest to hold!

Happy summer to you!

5.0 from 9 reviews
Strawberry Rhubarb Creamsicles
Author: 
 
Ingredients
  • 2½ cups rhubarb, coarsely chopped
  • 2 cups strawberries (fresh or frozen, no need to chop)
  • 3 TB water
  • Optional 2-3 TB raw honey for the rhubarb/strawberry mixture if you don't like a real tart bite (I don't usually add this in but if your kids might be sensitive to tart go for it!)
  • ½ cup whole cream (Raw preferable, and preferable not ultra pasteurized, or if you are dairy free use coconut cream, or coconut milk.)
  • 2 tsp pure maple syrup
  • ½ tsp vanilla extract
Instructions
  1. Put the rhubarb, strawberries, and water in a small sauce pan and bring the heat up to medium/high. Use a potato masher to squish the strawberries and their juices out. Keep the mixture at a low simmer until the rhubarb is softened - shouldn't be any more than 5 minutes.
  2. Pour the cooked strawberry rhubarb mixture into a blender and puree – taste test and if it is too tart you can add a couple TB of raw honey. Transfer the puree to the freezer to chill for a quick half hour.
  3. Once the strawberry rhubarb mixture is cooled, whip the cream, maple syrup, and vanilla extract for about 2 minutes to make whipped cream.
  4. Fold the whipped cream gently into the strawberry rhubarb mixture, and pour into popsicle molds to freeze. I like to use a spoon to scoop the popsicle mixture into the molds since it is on the thicker side from the whipped cream.
  5. This recipe makes about 10 popsicles for my 10-pop mold

More real food recipes you might like:
5 Nourishing Summertime Popsicles

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Antioxidant Rich Berry Gummies
Strawberry & Cream Muffins

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Carrot Cake :: Gluten, Egg, Nut, & Dye Free!

May 23, 2015

Carrot Cake :: Gluten, Egg, Nut, & Dye Free!That moment you became a momma…

Do you remember it?

For me it started even before she was born. After the first few weeks of letting it sink in that I was pregnant with her, my heart truly became a momma.

Carrot Cake :: Gluten, Egg, Nut, & Dye Free!

Six years ago this week Chloe was born and my life forever changed. She has made me a better person. She makes me think. She reminds me of true unconditional love. I think I mess up something just about every day, and she wakes up every morning with a hug only she can give and says “I love you momma”.

She is the reason for this spark of passion that grew in my momma bear heart to see the kids of this generation grow up without the junk food that mine did. This little love shares my foodie passion and she asked for a carrot cake this year for her birthday! She saw some brightly colored carrot cakes at the grocery store one day, pointed at one and said “I want THAT for my birthday cake!”

Carrot Cake :: Gluten, Egg, Nut, & Dye Free!My heart actually leaped for joy because carrot cake and cream cheese frosting just happen to be my favorite cake combos. I was pretty excited for her party!

Carrot Cake :: Gluten, Egg, Nut, & Dye Free!

I wasn’t, however, excited about using orange food dye to make carrots on her cake. And with our busy schedules lately I just didn’t think I would have the time to make orange food dye *and* have the creative steady hand to pipe them on the cake. I decided on some simple cake toppers, and boy where these a hit! She planted her very own “carrot patch garden” on her cake!

Carrot Cake :: Gluten, Egg, Nut, & Dye Free!We also threw some carrot shreds on the dehydrator for the sides.

Carrot Cake :: Gluten, Egg, Nut, & Dye Free!One of Chloe’s cousins has a severe egg allergy, so our parties have to be completely egg free – and while the first couple years of figuring this out had me totally nervous, I have learned that baking egg free really isn’t that tough! I used 4 “flax eggs” in this cake recipe, and the flax seeds went well with this kind of cake. If you prefer to use another egg replacement like gelatin eggs or egg replacer go for it! And if you can tolerate eggs 3-4 large eggs should do the trick!

Carrot Cake :: Gluten, Egg, Nut, & Dye Free!So how did it turn out? SO moist without being dense – and the flavor was way better than I was thinking it would be! Very warm and lightly sweet, and while I really enjoy those warm spices, they were so overpowering that it threw kids’ palates off. I think you can definitely get away with less “sweet” in the cake and the frosting if your kids aren’t used to sweets – I know my girls would have still loved it since they aren’t used to sweet things.

Make sure you check out the cream cheese ice cream we had with our cake! It is so good!

Carrot Cake :: Gluten, Egg, Nut, & Dye Free!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.

Carrot Cake :: Gluten, Egg, Nut, & Dye Free!
Author: 
 
Ingredients
  • CARROT CAKE ::
  • 1 cup brown rice flour
  • 1 cup tapioca flour
  • ½ cup white rice flour
  • 2 tsp aluminum free baking powder
  • 1¼ tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1 TB ground cinnamon
  • ½ tsp ground nutmeg
  • ⅛ tsp ground cloves
  • 1 lb carrots, shredded (I used the shred disk on my food processor, but a hand shredder works too!)
  • 4 flax eggs (Or other egg replacement. To make 4 flax eggs whisk ¼ cup flaxseed mealwith ¾ cup water and put in the fridge for about 10 minutes or so - I make the flax eggs before I start anything so that by the time I am done putting the dry ingredients together etc, they are ready to use! If you can tolerate eggs 3-4 eggs should work instead!)
  • 1 cup organic cane sugar
  • ½ cup pure maple syrup
  • ½ cup avocado oil (Olive oil would work if that is what you have. Coconut oil might give too much coconut flavor to the cake just fyi.)
  • 2 TB apple cider vinegar (don't leave this out! It reacts with the baking powder and soda to help with the rise since there are no eggs! You won't taste it - I promise!)
  • CREAM CHEESE FROSTING ::
  • 1 cup softened butter
  • 1 cup softened cream cheese
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 ½ cups organic cane POWDERED sugar (I did end up making another half batch of the frosting so that I could make the decorations on top - you can get away with the one batch if you don't like a lot of frosting on your cake.)
Instructions
  1. In a large mixing bowl, whisk the flours, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and spices together.
  2. In a separate bowl (or in your food processor like I did!) blend together the flax eggs, sugar, maple syrup, avocado oil, and apple cider vinegar for about 30 seconds to a minute until frothy.
  3. Add the wet ingredients and carrot shreds to the bowl of dry ingredients and fold together to combine.
  4. Bake in 9 inch cake pans at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes, transfer to a cooling rack for about 10 minutes, and then remove from the pans to completely cool before frosting.
  5. To make the cream cheese frosting, put all of the frosting ingredients in a medium mixing bowl, and beat with hand beaters until smooth.

More real food treats you might like ::
Strawberry Birthday Cake

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The Perfect 1st Birthday Cupcake

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Cream Cheese Ice Cream

May 23, 2015

Cream Cheese Ice CreamWhy yes I’m posting *another* ice cream recipe!

First of all it’s raw dairy season for us around here! We have a fresh, abundant supply every week during the spring & summer months and we enjoy making ice cream with some of it once or twice a month!

Cream Cheese Ice CreamAnd second! We are celebrating my other spring baby this week! Her party was this weekend, and I can’t think of a better ice cream to go with her carrot cake request than cream cheese ice cream.

This is actually my all time favorite ice cream that I make, and I think you are going to just about fall over at how creamy and wonderful it is. Simply swapping out some of the cream for cream cheese gives that amazing tang to the rest of the cream, and it really feels like you are eating frozen cheesecake, which I big fluffy heart love 🙂

Cream Cheese Ice CreamIf you have access to a quality organic cream cheese at a store near you go for it! I do that on occasion, but I really love dripping off my own “cream cheese” using whole plain yogurt.

Cream Cheese Ice CreamJust dump the yogurt in a cheesecloth or tea towel and let the whey drip into a jar for about 12-18 hours. You can use the whey in the jar for soaking oatmeal, or any other flour for your baking. You can also add it to a smoothie for a real whey protein boost. The cream cheese left in the cheesecloth or tea towel is so delicious and is perfect in this ice cream, to spread on a cucumber slice, or eat by the spoonful…ahem… 🙂

Cream Cheese Ice CreamBack to the ice cream! While I think the ice cream is simply amazing on it’s own, you can bump up the cheesecake feeling with macerated strawberries drizzled over top, or a sprinkle of cinnamon! Keep me posted if you end up giving it a try this summer – it really is one of my most favorite things!

A quick note to my dairy free friends! I have not tried it before, but I think dripping off some coconut yogurt to make cream cheese from your coconut yogurt might work to swap for the regular cream cheese in the recipe. And you can use coconut milk instead of the regular cream just like any ice cream swap for making it dairy free – let me know if you try it out!

Cream Cheese Ice CreamProduct 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.

I just have a simple ice cream maker that I have had for literally years – it works so great and I love it! I do however have my eye on this larger ice cream maker so I can make birthday party sized volume in one shot instead of 2 batches.

Cream Cheese Ice Cream
Author: 
 
Ingredients
  • 1 cup (8 oz) cream cheese, softened (You can either drip off some yogurt for leftover cream cheese or use an organic store bought)
  • 2 cups organic whole cream (Raw preferable. Or preferably not ultra-pasteurized. We get ours locally.)
  • 2 TB of tapioca flour OR 2-3 pastured egg yolks if you can handle eggs.
  • 3 TB pure maple syrup (I get mine locally - Costco carries some as well)
  • 2 TB organic pure cane sugar (You could sub more maple syrup or even raw honey for this if you want unrefined sugar. I get my organic cane sugar from Costco.)
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • ¼ tsp sea salt
  • 1 TB organic vodka (this is optional but keeps the ice cream from getting rock hard in the freezer. If you choose to leave it out, just leave the ice cream at room temp for a bit before trying to scoop and serve.)
Instructions
  1. Put the softened cream cheese in a medium mixing bowl and beat with hand beaters until smooth.
  2. Add the rest of the ingredients to the bowl, combine with the hand beaters, and place the bowl in the fridge for 30 minutes to chill and marry the flavors together.
  3. After chilling for 30 minutes, add the ice cream mixture to your ice cream maker and process according to the manufacturer's instructions. My ice cream maker takes about 30 minutes.
  4. Transfer your ice cream to a container and into the freezer to store!

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Blueberry Swirl Ice Cream :: Dairy Free Option

May 3, 2015

Blueberry Swirl Ice Cream :: Dairy Free OptionI have one of those kids that has her mind made up.

You know the type. She decides she wants something and she won’t let you forget about it until it happens. I have *no* idea who she gets this from…ahem…but each of my 3 kids is so different from the other, and this kid just has this driven focus on her ideas that you just can’t change!

Soooo…last year after we went blueberry picking, she decided that for her birthday next year she wanted a blueberry cake with blueberry ice cream. And she has reminded me of this desire every week since last summer 🙂

Blueberry Swirl Ice Cream :: Dairy Free OptionSince we live in blueberry country, I literally have a shelf full of 60-70 pounds of frozen blueberries to play with all year, so I was excited to pull out the last bag from our picking last summer to make her birthday wishes come true.

Blueberry Swirl Ice Cream :: Dairy Free OptionI decided I didn’t want a full on blueberry ice cream since we were also having blueberry cupcakes at her party, and thought adding a “pie filling” type swirl would do the trick. She was thrilled – and it turned out really delicious!

You can’t go wrong with fresh, whole cream and real blueberries swirled together! It was pretty amazing!

Blueberry Swirl Ice Cream :: Dairy Free OptionProduct 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.

A quick note on ice cream makers! I have a super simple ice cream maker that works so well. You really don’t have to overspend on one unless you want to. It is a nice investment for your kitchen, and I have had mine for over 6 years now and it still runs perfect (and it gets a work out in the summer!). I do have this larger ice cream maker on my wish list so I can make birthday party amounts of ice cream without doing it in batches/shifts though 😉

5.0 from 2 reviews
Blueberry Swirl Ice Cream :: Dairy Free Option
Author: 
 
Ingredients
  • BLUEBERRY SWIRL:
  • 1 ½ cups frozen blueberries
  • 2 TB water
  • 2 TB tapioca flour
  • ¼ cup raw honey or pure cane sugar (if your blueberries are on the sour side you may want to add more – ours were from our summer picking picked at the peak of the season so they were very sweet!)
  • ICE CREAM:
  • 2 cups organic whole cream (Preferably raw. Or preferably not ultra pasteurized. If you are dairy free you can use whole coconut milk.)
  • 1 cup organic whole milk (Preferably raw. Or preferably not ultra pasteurized. If you are dairy free you can use whole coconut milk.)
  • ⅓ cup organic pure cane sugar (Raw honey or pure maple syrup works too)
  • 1 TB vanilla extract
  • 3 TB tapioca flour (If you tolerate eggs, you could use a few egg yolks instead for creaminess!)
  • ¼ tsp sea salt
  • 1 TB organic vodka (This is optional and the ice cream will be fine without it – but it does keep the ice cream from getting rock hard in the freezer. If you choose to leave it out you can just leave the ice cream on the counter for a bit before scooping.)
Instructions
  1. Make the swirl. Put the blueberries, water, and tapioca in a small sauce pan and bring to a simmer. Once everything is warmed through and thickened, turn the heat off and add the raw honey. If you are using pure cane sugar you can put it in right along with the berries so it can cook/dissolve. Set the berry mixture aside.
  2. Make the ice cream. Put all the ice cream ingredients in a medium mixing bowl and blend with hand beaters to combine. Put the ice cream mixture in the fridge for 30 minutes, stir through, and then process in your ice cream maker according to your manufacturer’s instructions. Mine goes for 30 minutes. I have a very simple ice cream maker and it works great - no need for fancy equipment if you can't do it!
  3. Transfer the processed ice cream to a container with a lid, and fold in the blueberry mixture.
  4. Freeze the ice cream

Looking for more frozen treat ideas? Check out my Treat Ideas board on Pinterest!

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Tropical Blender Sorbet :: Refined Sugar Free & Dairy Free

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

May 3, 2015

Blueberry Birthday Cupcakes! :: Gluten, Egg, & Nut Free w/ Dairy Free OptionsFour years ago last week our house lit up with the most joyful baby you will ever meet. I have videos of Claire smiling with her whole body from as early as 4 weeks and she can put a smile on just about anyone’s face. She is smart as a whip…and definitely has her own mind 😉

Blueberry Birthday Cupcakes! :: Gluten, Egg, & Nut Free w/ Dairy Free OptionsLast year after we did our summer blueberry picking, she decided she wanted a blueberry birthday party – and she has reminded me of this *every* week since then. Since there is rarely a time that she changes her mind on anything, I have been thinking about how I was going to pull off a blueberry birthday party since about August!Blueberry Birthday Cupcakes! :: Gluten, Egg, & Nut Free w/ Dairy Free OptionsWe made a strawberry birthday cake for one of my daughters last year, so I dressed that recipe up with blueberries instead, and thought cream cheese frosting would be perfect. These cupcakes turned out really moist and had a fun deep blue color to them!

Blueberry Birthday Cupcakes! :: Gluten, Egg, & Nut Free w/ Dairy Free OptionsAnd since it’s not a birthday party without homemade ice cream in our house, we made blueberry swirl ice cream to go with our blueberry cupcakes, and I had one very happy 4 year old on my hands!

Blueberry Birthday Cupcakes! :: Gluten, Egg, & Nut Free w/ Dairy Free OptionsA quick note for all my allergen alert friends! This recipe is gluten, egg, and nut free and can be made dairy free very easily! I have a nephew with severe egg allergy so that is why all of our birthday items have to be completely egg free – I want everyone at the part to have fun! If you are dairy free, the cake part is completely dairy free as is, and instead of cream cheese frosting you can make either buttercream frosting following the frosting in THIS recipe and swap coconut cream for the butter. OR you can make whipped cream using coconut cream using THIS recipe!

Blueberry Birthday Cupcakes! :: Gluten, Egg, & Nut Free w/ Dairy Free OptionsProduct 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 1 reviews
Blueberry Birthday Cupcakes!
Author: 
 
Ingredients
  • BLUEBERRY CUPCAKES ::
  • 2 cups white rice flour
  • 1 cup tapioca flour
  • ½ cup brown rice flour
  • 1¾ cups of organic pure cane sugar (this is the one I use and I get mine at Costco)
  • 2 tsp of baking soda
  • 2 tsp of xanthan gum
  • 1 tsp of salt
  • 1 cup whole milk or coconut milk
  • 1 cup pureed blueberries
  • ½ cup of avocado oil or olive oil
  • 2 TB of apple cider vinegar
  • 1 TB of vanilla
  • CREAM CHEESE FROSTING ::
  • 1 cup softened butter
  • 1 cup softened cream cheese
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 ½ cups organic powdered pure cane sugar
Instructions
  1. In a large bowl, whisk the flours, sugar, baking soda, xanthan gum, salt.
  2. In a medium bowl, blend the milk, blueberry puree, oil, vanilla, and vinegar with hand beaters. Do not leave out the vinegar – I know it is a weird ingredient but it reacts with the baking soda to help with the rise since we aren’t using eggs!
  3. Pour the wet ingredients into dry ingredients and combine.
  4. Scoop the batter into silicone muffin cups lined muffin tins (should make 2 dozen). You can use buttered muffin tins or paper muffin liners if you wish. I will be honest in saying that my experience has been that I get a better rise and finished product using silicone muffin cups with gluten free baking - they are so inexpensive and a great investment for your kitchen baking!
  5. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. Check them around the 20 minute mark in case our ovens run differently.
  6. Remove from oven and let cool for about 10 minutes. Then take the cupcakes out of the silicone liners and let them cool completely before frosting.
  7. Once the cupcakes are completely cooled you can make your frosting. Just put all the ingredients into a medium mixing bowl and beat with hand beaters until smooth. Top each frosted cupcake with a blueberry!
  8. And since I usually get the question - this is the cupcake stand I use that you see in the pictures 😉

For more birthday treat fun you can check out my Treat Ideas board on Pintrest!

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Tropical Blender Sorbet :: Refined Sugar Free & Dairy Free

April 19, 2015

Tropical Blender Sorbet :: Refined Sugar Free & Dairy FreeMan is this a fun time of year or what!

We really do go through just about the craziest winter of snow to live on one of the most beautiful places on the planet during spring and summer. We play outside daily – and kids play hard!

Tropical Blender Sorbet :: Refined Sugar Free & Dairy Free

It can be really easy to get caught up in quick frozen summer treats – especially if that ice cream truck frequents your neighborhood. The kids are playing hard, sweating, hot, and you figure since they burn so much energy what can some ice cream hurt, right?

I’m all for an occasional treat, but not every day – or every week for that matter. The problem with processed sugar when these kids have been sweating and playing so hard, is that it really does nothing for them. In fact sugar weakens the immune system.

Tropical Blender Sorbet :: Refined Sugar Free & Dairy Free

We make homemade popsicles in the summer, and I love having those on hand, but last summer I found that those go FAST in my house! With 3 kids eating them now, I just don’t always keep up. I decided I was only going to make popsicles once a week, and once they are gone for the week, they are gone!

I keep bags of chopped up frozen fruit in the freezer from our summer fruit picking, along with the big cost saving frozen fruit bags from Costco, and these blender sorbets can be made up fast.

Tropical Blender Sorbet :: Refined Sugar Free & Dairy FreeMy girls are young enough that they don’t really know any different and call this ice cream – it is so sweet from the fruit you really don’t need any other sweetener! This amount makes enough for about 5-6 small servings for my little ones – if you have big kids you can always double up!

Tropical Blender Sorbet :: Refined Sugar Free & Dairy Free

5.0 from 2 reviews
Tropical Blender Sorbet :: Refined Sugar Free & Dairy Free
Author: 
 
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. Freeze the cut up fruit on a plate for an hour. (To save this step, make a few freezer bags of this portion of cut up fruit so you can just grab a bag and drop them in the blender when the kids want a frozen treat!)
  2. Process the fruit in your food processor or blender until smooth. Scrape the edges down if you have to. The sorbet will be soft serve in texture right out of the blender, or you can firm it up in the freezer for an hour if you want!

Let me know what the kids think!

You can find more occasional treat ideas on my Treat Ideas board on Pintrest!

Occasional Treats

Homemade Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream

March 15, 2015

Homemade Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream
So it isn’t quite ice cream season around here yet, but when your husband scores a very rare quart of quality farm cream unexpectedly one weekend…you dig into the back of your tallest cupboard for your ice cream maker that you haven’t used since August!

Homemade Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream
From about the holidays through the first part of spring, our raw milk share is about half, and good cream is quite scarce. I am literally giddy if I happen to be the one to get the couple of quarts available on any given week.

And since my husband knew me *so* well to pick up that cream he found even though it wasn’t on his list, because he just knew I would be ecstatic over it…I made his favorite ice cream.

Homemade Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream
It is actually one of my favorites too and before kids we would make it with big, rough chunks of dark chocolate. The allergen friendly chocolate chips are a little more kid friendly to handle so we use that a lot now though. Either way, you are in for a really special treat as the refreshing and sweet peppermint cream swirls with that chocolate.

Homemade Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream
 
5.0 from 1 reviews
Homemade Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream :: Dairy Free Option
Author: 
 
Ingredients
  • 3 cups quality cream (Preferably raw or low pasteurized. Not ultrapasturized if possible. You can do a combo raw milk and cream to equal 3 cups. If you are dairy free you can use whole coconut milk.)
  • 3 TB tapioca flour (If you tolerate eggs you could use a few pastured egg yolks instead of this)
  • 2 tsp peppermint extract
  • ¼ cup pure maple syrup (Or coconut sugar or organic pure cane sugar)
  • ½ tsp sea salt
  • 1 TB organic vodka (This is optional but helps the ice cream not freeze to rock hard)
  • ½ - ¾ cup quality chocolate chips or chunked up dark chocolate
Instructions
  1. Using hand beaters, blend everything EXCEPT the chocolate chips in a medium mixing bowl and then set in your fridge to chill for an hour.
  2. After the ice cream chills, give it a quick blend through again and then put in your ice cream maker to process according to your manufacturer’s instructions. Add the chocolate chips during the last 5 minutes of processing to mix in. I have a very simple ice cream maker - there are some fancier/bigger ones on the market that I drool over, but honestly this one works so good - I have no complaints!
  3. Transfer to a container and into the freezer. If you choose not to use the vodka you will have to bring the ice cream out to room temp for a little bit so it is scoopable.

Occasional Treats school lunches Snack Ideas

Tahini Molasses Cookies :: Grain, Nut, & Refined Sugar Free

January 24, 2015

Tahini Molasses Cookies :: Grain, Nut, & Refined Sugar Free

(Affilate links included at no extra cost to you – thank you for your support!)

One of my biggest goals as of late when people ask me how to get their family transitioned over to real food is…enjoy it. Make it fun. Get the kids involved. Make it a positive experience.

I think we underestimate how much kids can do in the kitchen. I know I have and still do at times. I am constantly reminding myself to slow down and let them help. This weekend my big girls and I got a chance to try out a new recipe from the book “And Here We Are At The Table“, and my 5 year old pretty much did it all on her own (including reading the recipe!).

Tahini Molasses Cookies :: Grain, Nut, & Refined Sugar Free
Ariana is one of my favorite people. An American living expat, she has a huge appreciation for all cultures – and the cuisine that goes along with them. We share a similar view toward exposing children to a wide variety of food to build healthy taste palates, and I just love following her expat adventures with her sweet family.

Tahini Molasses Cookies :: Grain, Nut, & Refined Sugar Free
Her new book “And Here We Are At The Table” is more than just a cookbook. Part memoir, part travelog, along with 80 recipes from all over the world, this book really pulled me in. The recipes are warm and inviting, and her stories charming and fascinating.

Tahini Molasses Cookies :: Grain, Nut, & Refined Sugar Free
There almost 200 pages full of gorgeous photos of food and scenery from Ariana’s travels. The instructions are very easy to follow and the recipes are nourishing and all grain free! There are also 3 cooking tutorial videos, and exclusive sections on food adventures like foraging and visiting various global markets around the world included in the digital version of this book.

Tahini Molasses Cookies :: Grain, Nut, & Refined Sugar Free
I am more than honored that Ariana was gracious enough to let me share one of the recipes from her new book here with you today! These tahini molasses cookies were a big hit here! They are warm and slightly sweet, and I will be honest it was not what I was expecting from tahini!

Tahini Molasses Cookies :: Grain, Nut, & Refined Sugar Free
One of the things I loved about this book was learning more about ingredients that I maybe don’t use enough of in my kitchen. I have only used tahini to make hummus, but they made a great cookie – and will be perfect to pack up for children in schools that are nut free zones!

I can’t wait for you guys to enjoy your copy of And Here We Are At The Tableit is 30% off right now through February 11! Use the code ATTHETABLE at checkout!

The book is also available through Amazon if you prefer to shop through there!

Tahini Molasses Cookies :: Grain, Nut, & Refined Sugar Free

Tahini Molasses Cookies :: Grain, Nut, & Refined Sugar Free
Author: 
 
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Combine everything but the sesame seeds in a mixing bowl.
  3. Spoon tablespoonfuls onto your cookie sheet, about 2 inches apart. We rolled the dough into balls and then flattened with our hands a little. They will spread a little bit once cooked.
  4. Sprinkle the tops of the cookies with sesame seeds.
  5. Bake for 10-15 minutes until the edges a little crispy.

Be sure to hop over and grab your copy of And Here We Are At The Tableit is 30% off right now through February 11! Use the code ATTHETABLE at checkout!

The book is also available through Amazon if you prefer to shop through there!

This post was shared at Real Food Wednesday

Holiday Recipes Occasional Treats

Simple & Quick Gluten Free Thumbprint Cookies

December 21, 2014

Simple & Quick Gluten Free Thumbprint Cookies
We live in the coolest neighborhood. It used to be a huge, thick, wooded area, and many of our neighbors are the original owners of the homes that were built there decades ago. There are trees everywhere, which means fantastic scenery and privacy, but we still have neighbors, and I love that.

I try to check in on a few of our elderly neighbors throughout the cold, winter months. They love to see the girls, and I love to bring a jar of soup to warm them up. Toward the end of December I have the girls bring some simple thumbprint cookies to them to wish them merry Christmas, and for a couple of them that don’t have family near, I think it really makes their holiday.

Simple & Quick Gluten Free Thumbprint Cookies
This is a great, quick dough to make up for these fun cookies.

Simple & Quick Gluten Free Thumbprint Cookies
It’ simplicity is perfect for older kids interested in doing kitchen tasks by themselves, as well as toddler attention spans eager to poke their thumb in the dough. Their little thumbs make the perfect little indent to hold the jam too!

Simple & Quick Gluten Free Thumbprint Cookies
I usually pull jam from the freezer for the middle of the cookies. We made blueberry jam last summer, so that is what we used this year, and that one always turns out really pretty. Strawberry or raspberry jams make a very festive red – but use whatever kind you have on hand! They all work nice!

Simple & Quick Gluten Free Thumbprint Cookies
I think it took my 5 year old and I 15 minutes start to finish to get the dough made, onto the tray, and into the oven – they make the perfect, quick addition to a cookie platter to pass at a party!

Simple & Quick Gluten Free Thumbprint Cookies
Or! A great Christmas Eve night project to leave out for Santa!

Simple & Quick Gluten Free Thumbprint Cookies

4.0 from 2 reviews
Simple & Quick Gluten Free Thumbprint Cookies
Author: 
 
Ingredients
  • 7 TB cold butter
  • 3 – 4 TB organic pure cane sugar or coconut sugar
  • 1 cup blanched almond flour
  • ½ cup white rice flour
  • ½ cup brown rice flour
  • ¼ cup tapioca flour
  • ¼ tsp baking soda
  • ¼ tsp sea salt
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp almond extract (vanilla extract works if you don’t have almond extract on hand – if you can grab the almond extract I highly recommend it though! It really makes the flavor pop!)
  • Jam of your choosing for the middle of the cookie – you won’t need more than a couple tablespoons.
Instructions
  1. Put everything but the egg and almond extract in the food processor and blend to combine.
  2. Add the egg and almond extract and blend though until the dough forms a ball.
  3. Roll balls of dough, place them on a silpat lined baking sheet, press an indent in the middle, and scoop a little jam in the center of each cookie.
  4. Bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes. Check them around the 10 minute mark in case our ovens run differently.

Product links in this section are affiliate links. It does not cost you anything and helps maintain the free information on this site! Please know I would never personally recommend any product I wouldn’t use on my own family.

Tips:

  • This batch makes 18 small cookies. You can double or triple up if you are feeding a crowd!
  • You can make the dough up ahead of time and store it in the fridge until you are ready to use it.
  • Use multiple different jams so each one has a different color! I use whatever we have in the freezer from the previous summer jam making – we made blueberry jam last summer so that is what we used!
  • If you are not using homemade jam, just be sure to check the ingredients – just avoid the corn syrup based ones, and any that have added food colorings.
  • I have a Silpat liner for each of my baking sheets – they make clean up so much easier.
  • If you want to take a look at more holiday baking try these great gluten free gingerbread cookies! They are too easy!
Holiday Recipes Occasional Treats

Gluten Free Gingerbread Cookies

December 14, 2014

Gluten Free Gingerbread Cookies
Ok! It’s crunch time!

Just a little over a week until Christmas, and this weekend was cookie weekend!

Gluten Free Gingerbread Cookies
To be honest I try making the whole holiday experience pretty low stress. I pick one craft to work on with the girls along with school gifts for teachers, and then one holiday treat. It gives us one or two things each weekend to work on and keeps me sane and able to enjoy the season with my family. This year we decided on gingerbread cookies!

Gluten Free Gingerbread Cookies
As the girls get older, this Christmas baking thing gets so much more fun. My 3 year old was much more into it this year, although had some good patience training waiting for them to cook, cool, and frost!

Gluten Free Gingerbread Cookies
The gingerbread dough itself is super easy to work with, and very forgiving. If you served these at a party or gathering I don’t think people would even know they were gluten free!

Gluten Free Gingerbread Cookies
We frost our cookies with buttercream frosting…because that’s just how we roll! You can frost however you wish – I was pretty impressed with my 5 year old’s frosting skills this year! You could also bake in nuts or dried fruit if you want to go without the frosting.

Gluten Free Gingerbread Cookies
The girls are pretty excited about leaving that big glass of milk and a gingerbread cookie for Santa next week!

Gluten Free Gingerbread Cookies

5.0 from 4 reviews
Gluten Free Gingerbread Cookies
Author: 
 
Ingredients
  • COOKIES
  • 1 cup softened butter
  • ¼ cup molasses
  • ¾ cup organic pure cane sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 ½ cups tapioca flour
  • 1 cup white rice flour
  • 1 cup brown rice flour
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 ½ tsp ground ginger
  • ½ tsp ground cloves
  • ½ tsp ground nutmeg
  • ½ tsp sea salt
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 2 tsp xanthan gum
  • FROSTING::
  • ½ cup softened butter
  • 1 ½ cups organic pure cane POWDERED sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1-2 TB whole milk or cream
Instructions
  1. Cream the butter, molasses, and sugar with hand beaters.
  2. Add the egg and beat through.
  3. Add the rest of the ingredients and combine – I start out with a spatula and finish it off with hand beaters to really get it all combined well.
  4. Let the dough chill for an hour in the fridge – I split the dough up into 2 disks so it chills faster.
  5. Knead the dough with your warm hands to make it pliable, roll out onto a rice floured surface, cut out your shapes, and place the shapes onto a silpat lined or parchment paper lined baking sheet.
  6. Bake at 375 degrees for 10 minutes.
  7. FOR THE FROSTING :: Cream all of the frosting ingredients together until well combined. You can frost your cookies once they have cooled!

Product links in this section are affiliate links. It does not cost you anything and helps maintain the free information on this site! Please know I would never personally recommend any product I wouldn’t use on my own family.

Tips:

  • This batch makes 18 large gingerbread cookies. We will enjoy them with family at our family Christmas party next weekend, and leave one or two for “Santa” and “Mrs. Clause” on Christmas Eve 😉 The girls enjoyed one today while we decorated too. I’m a big believer in not going overboard on the sweets around the holidays so the girls’ immune systems stay as healthy as possible.
  • You can make the dough up ahead of time if it helps with working this all in with the kids. Sometimes it is hard for them to wait for the chilling part! I did have my 5 year old help me make the dough this year though.
  • Play around with the spices to your taste! These are pretty mild in my opinion but we love them and they aren’t too overpowering on the ginger.
  • Here is a great sturdy gingerbread cookie cutter if you are looking for nice one that will last and be able to use with grandchildren in the years to come!
  • Baking on Silpat is so nice! No sticking, and much easier clean up – I have a couple sheets so I can get two pans going!
  • Here are some great gluten free thumbprint cookies if you are shorter on time – they are so simple and quick!

This post was shared at Real Food Wednesday & Allergy Free Wednesday!

Drinks Holiday Recipes Occasional Treats

Winter Wassail

December 14, 2014

Wassail :: A warm celebration of winter
The Winter Solstice is next weekend, and I can hardly wait!

The darkest day of the year?!

Yep. I love it. For years this beach-bum dreaded the shortest day of the year…until I realized that really all it means is that it can’t get any darker! In other words…longer days, signs of spring, and warmer weather are on their way!

Wassail :: A warm celebration of winter
We still have a good 3 months of snowy winter left where I live. But every fall when our huge magnolia tree in the front sheds its leaves everywhere, it leaves behind its reminder that spring will come again. When we first moved here I remember wondering what those large, fuzzy buds were on this beautiful bare tree. Come May those buds are one of the first things to bloom in our yard like a big, warm hug for making it through our harsh winter. During blizzards of snow and frigid temps I often look to those buds to cheer me up!

Wassail :: A warm celebration of winter
So for the last handful of years, we celebrate the darkest day of the year instead of dreading it! Because we do need winter. A time to rest, rejuvenate…and pull out big warm blankets, fuzzy wool socks, and enjoy the silence of the snow.

Wassail :: A warm celebration of winter
Wassail is a simple mulled cider and wine, and now that we have a house full of little ones that like to celebrate the seasons with us, I keep the drink spiking to just the mugs for my husband and I. It is such a simple way to make the house smell amazing and give your family or guests coming in and out a warming drink to celebrate the winter season.

Wassail :: A warm celebration of winter
So cozy up to the fire, and say cheers to the darkest day of the year!
5.0 from 10 reviews
Traditional Winter Wassail
Author: 
 
Ingredients
  • 7 – 8 cups organic apple cider
  • 2 cups organic cranberry juice
  • 10 whole cloves
  • 10 allspice berries
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 1 organic orange, sliced into rounds (if organic is unavailable, just use a conventional one BUT you will want to peel it first.)
  • *Optional: 1 cup dark ale or wine of your choosing, OR ½ cup rum or brandy in the pot. If you don’t want the whole pot spiked, you can do splashes of the alcohol in each mug. Since I serve this to my girls too I just add wine to the mug that my husband and I drink from.
  • *Optional: organic honey to sweeten if you desire – I usually don’t, but it is good!
Instructions
  1. Tie up the cloves and allspice in a cheesecloth or small piece of tea towel using kitchen twine.
  2. Put everything into a large soup or stock pot and bring to a low simmer.
  3. Lower the heat and very low simmer the mixture for 2 hours before serving. Keep it on low or use a crockpot on low if serving over hours.

Product links in this section are affiliate links. It does not cost you anything and helps maintain the free information on this site! Please know I would never personally recommend any product I wouldn’t use on my own family.

Tips:

  • You could use a slow cooker instead of stovetop to make this too. I would go on low for a good 4 hours or so, and then you can just keep it on low or warm for serving.
  • This is a great drink to double up and keep on the stovetop while guests arrive for holiday gatherings. Not only does it make the house smell amazing, but it is a pretty allergen friendly, crowd pleasing drink to serve.
  • These are the glass mugs I love to serve our wassail in! I also found these pretty smaller glass mugs that would be nice to have a couple sets of to use for serving at a family gathering or party.
  • For tying up the spices I just use an old kitchen tea towel that I have cut up for this sort of thing – they wash out nice and I can re-use them. Cheesecloth works really nice too!

This post was shared at Fat Tuesday, Real Food Wednesday & Allergy Free Wednesday!

Drinks Holiday Recipes Occasional Treats

Simple & Quick Eggnog

November 30, 2014

Simple & Quick Eggnog
We got cozy next to our freshly decorated Christmas tree over the weekend with our first batch of eggnog.

It is something that usually just my husband and I enjoy together. I first met my husband during a fall semester at college, and that December I remember walking into a room to him chugging down a carton of eggnog from the fridge.

For real.

I had never had eggnog at that point, but years later as I learned about real food, I decided I better figure out how to make real eggnog instead of stand by and watch him down loads of pasteurized toxic milk, fillers, gums, and preservatives.

But it’s just once a year, right?

Well yes. But not only is homemade eggnog super simple, it tastes amazing! It is really just an ice cream base with cinnamon or nutmeg without putting it into an ice cream maker!

Simple & Quick Eggnog
And with nourishing ingredients like real and raw milk and cream, and yolks from pastured chickens, this is really a holiday drink you can feel good about.

You can leave the splash of bourbon out and make some for the kiddos too! It’s like a nutmeg ice cream milkshake!

Simple & Quick Eggnog

5.0 from 1 reviews
Simple & Quick Eggnog
Author: 
 
Ingredients
  • 1 ½ cups organic cream (Preferably grassfed and raw)
  • ½ cup organic whole milk (Preferably grassfed and raw)
  • 3-4 pastured egg yolks (If you don’t have access to pastured eggs just leave this out)
  • 2 TB raw honey
  • 2 TB pure maple syrup
  • ⅛ tsp grated nutmeg or cinnamon
  • ⅛ tsp cloves
  • Optional splashes of organic bourbon if you wish
Instructions
  1. Everything into a small mixing bowl and blend to combine. Sprinkle the top with nutmeg if you wish!

Tips:

  • This batch makes enough for my husband and I each to have a good sized glass. You can certainly double/triple up for a holiday party or gathering.
  • Traditionally, eggnog is made with the whole egg, not just the yolk. Raw egg whites are a bit rough on the gut to digest, so I leave them out. Raw yolks from a trusted farmer that keep their chickens on pasture is safe. If you are uncomfortable with this you can leave them out or soft cook the yolks like a custard before you put them in.
  • Play around with the sweet to your taste – sometimes I like the richness of all maple syrup.
  • Quality cream gets really hard to find around here this time of year, and our milk supply gets shorter for skimming off cream, so if we don’t have access to the cream I just make it with all milk and add a couple more egg yolks.
  • Get your eggnog into an ice cream maker for eggnog ice cream! It is so good!
  • Are you dairy and egg free? No problem! Here is a great recipe for you to try!

This post was shared at Fat Tuesday, Real Food Wednesday, & Allergy Free Wednesday!

Holiday Recipes Occasional Treats

Simple & Quick Whipped Cream

November 26, 2014

Simple & Quick Whipped Cream
There is nothing quite like topping your favorite pie with fluffy, rich whipped cream.

When I made the real food switch a number of years ago, one of the simplest pleasures I found was learning how just a handful of ingredients could make the food that I was used to in a real food way.

Simple & Quick Whipped Cream
You see, I grew up with the little blue frozen container of whipped cream. I didn’t realize that it’s mile long list of ingredients including toxic hydrogenated oils and high fructose corn syrup could be simply narrowed down to a little cream and maple syrup whipped up to make the richest whipped cream you’ve ever had.

Simple & Quick Whipped Cream
If you grew up on the red whipped cream can, or the frozen blue tub of whipped cream, I promise you will not be disappointed. This takes only a few minutes to whip up and keeps in the fridge just like the others.

Simple & Quick Whipped Cream

Simple & Quick Whipped Cream
Author: 
 
Ingredients
  • 1 pint organic whole cream (Raw and grassfed preferable. Try avoiding ultra pasteurized)
  • 2-3 TB pure maple syrup
  • 1 tsp vanilla or almond extract
Instructions
  1. Everything into a medium mixing bowl and beat with hand beaters with a whisk attachment for a 2-3 minutes until fluffy.

Tips:

  • This recipe will make a good 3-4 cups of whipped cream. Just half it if you don’t want that much. (Leftovers sure are good in a cup of coffee though! Ahem…moving on…)
  • You can freeze a sheet tray of the whipped cream and cut out shapes for your hot cocoa!
  • Play with the sweet and extracts to your family’s taste. You can add a tsp or 2 of cocoa if you want a chocolate whipped cream. Peppermint extract if you are adding it to your hot cocoa!
  • If you are looking for a great crust to make your favorite pie in try this one!

This post was shared at Real Food Wednesday, and Allergy Free Wednesday!

Occasional Treats

Simple & Quick Gluten Free Crust For Any Pie

November 23, 2014

Simple & Quick Gluten Free Crust For Any Pie
Ok! So Thanksgiving week, right?!

It is truly one of my favorite holidays…I mean the turkey, the sides, *all. the. butter.*, family time…and the pie! Oh the pie!

I grew up with pie from a box. Sigh.

When my first born started reaching out for food at the family Thanksgiving table I knew I needed to start working on making our traditional dinner in a more real food way, and I really wanted her to enjoy a piece of pumpkin pie once a year!

It was more than just the desire to have her eating less processed food. I truly wanted her to see the process of making super delicious food, and enjoy it! I want her to grow up with memories of watching her momma roll out a real pie crust and make something from scratch that she will remember into her adulthood.

Simple & Quick Gluten Free Crust For Any Pie
So this is my kind of pie crust! To be honest baking is really not my deal. I don’t do a lot of it so I don’t always feel that I am “good” at it – but I do have a really simple and quick pie crust that you can use for just about anything. From fruit pies to savory pot pies – this will work for all.

Simple & Quick Gluten Free Crust For Any Pie
It is pretty much everything into the food processor to pulse and then add the water and blend until it forms into a ball – it takes maybe 5 minutes!

Simple & Quick Gluten Free Crust For Any Pie
I remember being so nervous the first time I made a pie from scratch, put I promise you will be so proud of yourself once you do – and this pie crust is very forgiving. I like having a lot of dough so I don’t have to stretch stuff out and worry about it breaking off – this stuff feels like playdoh – you can mold it however you want and re-do parts that you want!

Simple & Quick Gluten Free Crust For Any Pie

4.0 from 3 reviews
Simple & Quick Gluten Free Crust For Any Pie
Author: 
 
Ingredients
  • ½ lb cold butter (1 cup), cubed
  • 1 cup tapioca flour
  • 1 cup brown rice flour
  • ½ cup white rice flour
  • 1 tsp xanthan gum
  • 1 TB organic pure cane sugar or coconut sugar (could leave this out for savory pies)
  • about ¼ cup water
Instructions
  1. Put the cold butter, flours, xanthan gum, and sugar in the food processor and pulse to combine.
  2. Add the water and blend to combine until the dough gathers and forms a ball.
  3. Gather the ball of dough together, wrap it up, and set it in the refrigerator to chill for at least 30 minutes.
  4. Before rolling the dough out, bring it out to warm up on the counter for about 5-10 minutes then warm it up with your hands while you knead it a little.
  5. Form the dough into a disk and roll it out on a floured surface.
  6. Roll the dough up onto your rolling pin and gently lift it up into the pie plate.
  7. Fold under the edges and smooth them out. Then crimp off the edges how you wish.
  8. From here, you can pour in your pie filling and bake according to your recipe, or you can poke a fork in the bottom and bake it off according to your pie recipe instructions if that is how your recipe goes.

Product links in this section are affiliate links. It does not cost you anything and helps maintain the free information on this site! Please know I would never personally recommend any product I wouldn’t use on my own family.

Tips:

  • This recipe makes one pie crust. If you are making a pie that needs a full top or lattice top, or say a savory pot pie you will want to double the recipe.
  • Here is where I get tapioca flour, brown rice flour, white rice flour, and xanthan gum.
  • I have about 3 or 4 pie plates 🙂 I don’t do a lot of baking but I do adore a pretty pie plate! I found this one, this one, and this one in case you need to add to your collection!
  • If you are wanting to do some pumpkin pie this week you can follow your traditional pumpkin pie recipe and just swap sour cream for the condensed milk – taste the batter for sweetness since the condensed milk is sweeter and add more to your taste – done! Real food pumpkin pie!
  • Pies are perfect make ahead dishes to pass. They have to cook and cool completely before cutting anyway so might as well make it up a day or so in advance and cross that off your list!
  • I didn’t get a chance to photograph my pumpkin pie this year, but if you follow me on Instagram, I did snap a sneak peak of our pumpkin pie yesterday!
  • Don’t forget the whipped cream for your pie! It is too easy!

This post was shared at Real Food Wednesday and Allergy Free Wednesday!

Holiday Recipes Occasional Treats Real Food 101 Real Food Tips

Real Food Baking Made Easy

October 19, 2014

Real Food Baking Made Easy
Product links in this post are affiliate links. It does not cost you anything and helps maintain the free information on this site! Please know I would never personally recommend any product I wouldn’t use on my own family.

When people make the jump to more of a “real food” way of eating, I think baking is on of those things that some get intimidated by.

Some because many of us just plain didn’t grow up cooking in the kitchen, short of mixing up a boxed cake mix. And some because we maybe don’t think we can have the same kind of baked goods we are used to still taste good in a real food way!

I can promise you one thing for sure. Whether you have kitchen know-how or not, you can do this. I had practically zero kitchen experience. My husband cooked a majority of our meals when we were first married, let alone bake a biscuit. I am completely self taught and I really think with some guidance anyone can do it.

My goal in this post is to meet everyone where they are. If you are new to real food or a seasoned real foodie, I hope this can be a resource for you to hang onto for reference.

And since many people come to real food after finding out about food intolerances or health issues, I have included many allergen notes.

For people with food allergies or sensitivities, this time of year starts getting tricky. Some will compromise thinking, “Oh it’s only one cookie.”, but in reality for those with gut conditions or who are trying to heal, that one cookie can mean that the months of avoiding that certain trigger have gone down the drain. It can take months for the gut to re-coup from that “one cookie” – even if you don’t necessarily feel the effects.

Coming from someone that spent a year exclusively off grain, egg, dairy, and nut…the holidays can be a major bummer. BUT – sticking to your guns and not giving in is SO worth it. You will be rewarded with a gut that will heal.

So over the years I have gotten a handful of tips and tricks under my belt that have made real food and allergen free baking much easier – and enjoyable. Here is some of my best advice!

Real Food Baking Made Easy
REAL FOOD SWAPS FOR JUNKY BAKING INGREDIENTS

  • CRISCO: While butter or coconut oil works, things like pastured lard or palm shortening mimic Crisco the best. I buy coconut oil at Costco. I get leaf lard from our pasturing pig farmer and render it myself for lard. And I get the palm shortening on Amazon.
  • VEGETABLE OIL: Use melted butter or coconut oil, avocado oil, or olive oil. Olive oil has a low smoke point though so use it sparingly in heated recipes. I get all 3 of these liquid oils at Costco.
  • MARGARINE: Use softened butter or coconut oil. Pastured lard or palm shortening works too.
  • LOW FAT MILK/SOUR CREAM/YOGURT/CHEESE: Use full fat (always!) milk, sour cream, yogurt, or cheese. Always raw when you can. If you are dairy free use full fat coconut milk
    or coconut yogurt.
  • WHITE SUGAR OR CORN SYRUP: coconut sugar, sucanat, organic pure cane sugar all work. If your recipe needs a certain color though the sucanat will give a brown color so keep that in mind. If you need to be refined sugar free try pure maple syrup, raw honey, or blackstrap molasses. If you need to make it powdered sugar, you can either buy organic pure cane sugar in powdered sugar form, or you can make your own. Just use a high powered blender or coffee grinder and blend your pure cane sugar really fine with some tapioca flour. I get all of these sugars at Costco. I purchase raw honey and pure maple syrup here locally.
  • CANDY/CHOCOLATE CHIPS/SPRINKLES/FOOD DYES: Food dyes in particular are extremely linked to behavior issues in children, so it is important to steer clear of them. For most “candy” or chocolate chip swapping I like using these allergen friendly chocolate chips and chocolate chunks. I like these naturally dyed sprinkles too and use them for Christmas cookie decorating. They last forever since we only use them around the holidays and maybe a birthday. And then as far as dyes go, I have not had the greatest of luck with the liquid dyes you find in the store or online – I think they make the frosting or batter runny because you have to use a lot. I prefer powdered dye and you can either make your own by dehydrating fruits or veggies in the color you want (ie beets for red, squash for orange, spinach for green) and then grind up, or you can sometimes find powdered dye in your health food stores.

FLOUR TIPS:

If you are one of the blessed ones that don’t have gut issues going on and can handle digesting wheat, I encourage you to use wheat from traditional species like Einkorn for your baking needs. It is exactly the type of wheat your ancestors would have eaten – not a crazy hybrid that your body won’t know what to do with like the all purpose flours you will find at the store.

I will be honest in saying I do not have a lot of experience baking with wheat since we are a gluten free home. I have a myriad of reasons why, and while I am not against wheat in the least, I am opposed to the growing and manufacturing process of the wheat on most store shelves today. If you are new to using einkorn for your baking I found this article VERY informative on how to get started! I also thought this article was very informative about the different types of ancient wheats to use versus the modern hybrids.

If you in any way have health issues that have roots in gut health (could be anything from autoimmune issues to bowel disturbances, to reccurent illness…), then I can’t encourage you enough to give gluten free a try 🙂 I know it sounds impossible to some, but it really can be done – and you will feel so much better!

IF YOU ARE GLUTEN FREE, I have found the best way to mimic the all purpose flour we are so used to baking with is to blend at least 3 gluten free flours. It will help with the taste AND texture immensely. My favorite blend is a 1:1:1 ratio of white rice flour, tapioca flour, and either brown rice flour or sorghum flour. So if your recipe calls for 3 cups of all purpose flour you can sub 1 cup of each of those gluten free flours and you should be good!

IF YOU NEED TO BE GRAIN FREE, a blend of blanched almond flour, coconut flour, and tapioca flour is a good idea. Coconut flour is very absorbent, so if you use an equal swap you will have to make up for it with more liquid somewhere, or half your amount used. If your recipe calls for 3 cups of all purpose flour start out with 1 cup almond flour, 1 ½ cups tapioca flour, and ½ cup coconut flour and see how your batter feels.

IF YOU NEED TO BE GRAIN & NUT FREE sub more tapioca or potato flour and coconut flour for that almond flour. The texture will be different/denser – but it does work and you will have something you can have! I purchase my grain free flours on Amazon – and the brands I linked are important because some brands will clump and don’t measure well – these work great.

BINDER TIPS:
Eggs are the most common binder in most recipes, but with egg allergies on the rise many cannot even have them in baked goods anymore.

¼ cup of fruit or squash puree makes a good “egg” to bind – banana, applesauce, squash, and even sweet potato make for good binders. It can also help add some non sugar sweet to your recipe if that is what you are going for.

I have recently been using gelatin eggs and have really liked the bind they give. There is zero flavor so it works well when you don’t want to flavor of the fruit to what you are baking.

While flax eggs do work, some find flax to be hard on digestion so it isn’t always an option for some.

RISE TIPS:

Eggs give fantastic rise to baked goods. If you are completely grain free and can handle eggs, adding more egg will give you a better rise. And since the coconut flour is so absorbent, adding an extra egg helps with the moisture.

If you are egg free, there are a couple tricks you can use that really work! The acid in apple cider vinegar or lemon juice reacting with baking soda and baking powder makes great rise! Generally a tablespoon or 2 of the acid is all you need in a recipe. You can take a TB or so of the liquid out of the recipe to compensate for the extra moisture – the taste of the ACV completely bakes out. I do find you will taste a hint of lemon so if you don’t want that then use the ACV. Check out the rise on these cupcakes without any eggs! It works well!

A note on xanthan gum…the jury is still out for me on whether xanthan gum is safe or not. It really helps gluten free baked goods rise and gives a great gluten-y texture though! For my day to day baked goods like muffins and biscuits we’ll be having week in and week out, I choose to skip the xanthan. For items like birthday cakes and pies that we have once or twice a year, I use it.

MOISTURE TIPS:
Gluten and grain free flours tend to give a drier finish if you aren’t careful. Making sure there is plenty of fat in the recipe is key. Sometimes taking out some of the water or milk and subbing for sour cream, butter, or coconut oil is all you need. My grain free friends need to be careful with the coconut flour as that can really make things dry up. Get a good amount of fats in there – especially if you can’t have egg in the recipe. Applesauce and banana seem to really help with moisture in that case too.

EQUIPMENT TIPS:

There are some must have kitchen items I wanted to share with you. I definitely am a minimalist on kitchen equipment, and am certainly not made of money, but I do have some favorites that have made allergen friendly baking much easier.

  • SILICONE BAKING CUPS: I have mentioned these on every muffin or cupcake post of mine because they are SO helpful. And not just for clean up. And they do clean up SO easy. For some reason my baked goods rise SO much better in them. I have taken the same batter and baked off half in the muffin cups and half in a buttered tin and the rise is completely different. You’ll get a beautiful dome everytime in the muffin cups. They also save on waste if you are a paper cup user. And, to be honest, it saves me on butter. It takes more butter than I want to use for greasing to get all those little cups!
  • SILPAT AND JELLY ROLL PANS: Silpat will make your clean up life so much easier. I bake everything from simple dinner biscuits to large roasted squashes on them on an almost weekly basis, and I can get these tasks done start to finish, into the oven, and clean up done fast because clean up is so easy. Get some nice big jelly roll pans and a silpat for each one. Then you can make large batches of granola bars, biscuits, pizza dough, etc much easier.
  • GLASS LOAF PAN: I feel like glass loaf pans bake more evenly and for some reason give great rise compared to the other loaf pans I have. We make a lot of quick breads on the weekend because we don’t keep pricey GF breads around the house – banana bread and apple bread are our favorites!
  • FOOD PROCESSOR: While I would just love to have a KitchenAid someday (!), my food processor does so many things. The size I have is perfect for blending entire batters for breads like banana bread – dump it all in, blend and pour into the loaf pan. And it makes great pie crust because it pulses the lard or butter in perfectly.
  • DEHYDRATOR: Dehydrated fruit makes great muffin, granola, and cookie additions, It doesn’t get any easier than just getting them out on your tray and drying them out! I also use my dehydrator for making candied nuts for gifts, or drying out salted nuts for baked goods. The dehydrator I have is in the middle of the road in price and it works fantastic.

Ok! So shoot me some questions I might not have covered and tell me your favorite real food baking tips!

This post was shared at Fat Tuesday, Real Food Wednesday, & Allergy Free Wednesday!

 

Occasional Treats

Apple Pie :: Gluten, Egg, & Nut Free

October 12, 2014

Apple Pie
Last weekend we headed out to the apple orchard by our home and brought home a couple bushels of beautiful Michigan apples.

Apple Pie
The girls had a ball, and while they absolutely inhale fresh apples right out of the basket, I decided we could all use a little pie in our lives that weekend after all the hard work we put into batching up applesauce and apple breakfast bars for the freezer.

Apple Pie :: Gluten, Egg, & Nut Free
If you happen to have a source for pastured lard, I would highly recommend trying it in the next pie crust you make. Butter works fantastic on it’s own, but there is just something about that crust with some lard in there – even do a combo of both – you won’t be disappointed!

Apple Pie
It is worth the apple peeling and coring time for such a special fall treat with your family. Get the kids in on it – or let them sit up at the counter and eat the peels falling off all the apples 😉 That memory will never leave them – nor will the apple pie they remember making with their family!

Apple Pie

Apple Pie :: Gluten, Egg, & Nut Free
Author: 
 
Ingredients
  • PIE CRUST ::
  • ½ cup tapioca flour
  • ½ cup white rice flour
  • 1 cup brown rice flour
  • ½ cup sorghum flour
  • ½ tsp xanthan gum
  • 1 ½ sticks cold butter or pastured lard
  • about ¼ cup cold water
  • PIE FILLING ::
  • 3 lbs apples, peeled, cored, and sliced
  • 1 TB cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp ground all spice or cloves
  • ½ - ¾ cup organic pure cane sugar or coconut sugar
  • ¼ cup organic corn starch or arrowroot
  • Juice of 1 lemon (about 2 TB)
Instructions
  1. Combine all the flours and xanthan gum in your food processor, or whisk in a large bowl.
  2. Pulse or cut in the chilled butter until it is pea sized, and slowly add the water until you can pinch it together and feels plyable.
  3. Roll the dough into a ball, cover with plastic wrap, and let the dough chill in the refrigerator for an hour or 2.
  4. Meanwhile, you can make the apple filling. Combine the apples, spices, lemon juice, and sugar in a sauce pan and start to bring to a simmer.
  5. Simmer until the apples have cooked down but still have a bite to them – about 10-15 minutes, then stir in the corn starch to thicken.
  6. When your dough has chilled, take it out, knead it for a minute to make it plyable to your warm hands, divide it in half (one for the bottom and one for the top of the pie), and then roll out the bottom pie crust on a floured surface (I use rice flour).
  7. Put the rolled out crust in the bottom of your pie plate, crimp the sides, and use a fork to poke holes in the bottom of the crust.
  8. Pour the apple filling into the pie crust.
  9. Roll out the second ball of dough and either cover completely, or make a lattice top.
  10. Brush the top crust with butter and sprinkle pure cane sugar.
  11. Bake the pie on a cookie sheet at 425 degrees for 15 minutes, then reduce the heat to 350 degrees for 25 min. Let cool completely before cutting so it can “set”.

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Tips:

  • I like to let the pie cool in the fridge so it goes faster to “set” 😉 When that thing comes out of the oven everyone wants it right away!
  • You can make the pie filling, and/or the dough ahead of time if you want!
  • The dough gets pretty hard after a couple hours in the fridge so if you make the dough way ahead of time you will want to pull it out onto the counter to warm up and get plyable before you roll it out.
  • Here is the kind of cinnamon I like to use in my kitchen.
  • If you have never treated yourself to a simple pie plate for your home – go for it! I know we only make pies a few times per year, but it is worth having something nice to present them in!
  • Looking for more ways to use up your apples? Try this simple baked applesauce (no peeling!), and these apple harvest breakfast bars!

This post was shared at The Homestead Barnhop, Real Food Wednesday, & Allergy Free Wednesday!