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Classic Vegetable Soup

February 17, 2017

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

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

A trip back in time!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Easy peasy lunch packing!

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

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

Toddler tips!

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

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

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

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

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

More real food recipes you might like:

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

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

February 17, 2017

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

Nourishing Breakfast Ideas For Busy Moms :: My Morning Routine

Good morning, dear momma…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

My sleep, and my breakfast.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Hard boiled eggs go with just about anything!

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

Egg free friends!

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

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

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

Soup goes with just about anything!

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

Some tips for making soup an easy breakfast

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

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

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

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

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

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

Freezer baked goods go with just about anything!

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

Freezer and thawing tips

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

Don’t forget about granola in the pantry!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

With my breakfast I always take:

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

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

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

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

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

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

Breakfast Ideas Nourishing Staples Real Food 101 Real Food Tips

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

February 10, 2017

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

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

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

A short cut for busy mommas!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Oven Safe Skillet Options:

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

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

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

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

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

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

So here is some inspiration for you!

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

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

 

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

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

Directions:

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

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

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

Directions:

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

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

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

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

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

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Simple Gluten Free Crackers :: 5 Ingredient Blender Batter & Easy to Roll Out!

February 4, 2017

Cleaner oil, quick blender batter, 5 easy ingredients…what’s not to love in these simple gluten free crackers?!

Simple Gluten Free Crackers :: 5 Ingredient Blender Batter & Easy to Roll Out!Product links in this post are affiliate links. It does not cost you anything and helps maintain the free information on this site, as well as answer the questions of “what brand do you use?” Please know I never personally recommend any product I wouldn’t use on my own family.

When the sun shines up north in January….

You drop everything and get outside! Literally!

A couple weekends ago, it felt like mid-spring around here and we ditched our winter coats and snow boots for hoodies and rainboots! (Unheard of for January in Michigan!!) I quickly dropped all of my kitchen plans that weekend, and I was so glad I had these gluten free crackers to fall back on for quick, warm bowls of soup and crackers after our outside excursions!

Simple Gluten Free Crackers :: 5 Ingredient Blender Batter & Easy to Roll Out!Modern convenience…

Store bought crackers have really upped their game in the last handful of years, boasting organic labels and safer ingredients. And while many of them still use iffy oils, I have found myself leaning on them here and there in a pinch when life gets busy.

There is nothing wrong with that in my opinion!

Simple Gluten Free Crackers :: 5 Ingredient Blender Batter & Easy to Roll Out!Cheaper and cleaner.

But what if I showed you how to make a load of crackers for the pantry using a healthier oil in very little time, and for a fraction of the cost?! It is possible!

Simple Gluten Free Crackers :: 5 Ingredient Blender Batter & Easy to Roll Out!#MomGoals

My biggest goal with this cracker project was to create something using as little ingredients as I could so it would be something I would actually want to do. When there is a counter full of ingredients, it just makes a project like making crackers every week less appealing. I wanted it to be something I could take 5-10 minutes on a food prep day to throw in the oven easily.

Simple Gluten Free Crackers :: 5 Ingredient Blender Batter & Easy to Roll Out!Fuss Free!

I also didn’t want it to be fussy. I have just about been there and done that with every cracker recipe on the planet. I have said before that I am not a baker…like not even close. I get zero joy out of figuring out batters and dough and trial and error-ing {usually lots of error-ing!}. I wanted a fuss free dough that rolled out easy so that, again, I would actually want to make these crackers!

Simple Gluten Free Crackers :: 5 Ingredient Blender Batter & Easy to Roll Out!The perfect cracker texture

Crispy, light, and salty!

The texture and taste actually reminds me of Oyster crackers (that will take you back!)! They keep in a airtight container in the pantry for weeks without spoiling, and keep their crispy texture for whatever you are going to use them for.

Simple Gluten Free Crackers :: 5 Ingredient Blender Batter & Easy to Roll Out!Our favorite cracker uses!

Oh the possibilities!

  • Soup toppers and dunkers
  • Hummus or guacamole dippers (I don’t always have time to make my own hummus, and love the organic hummus at Costco if you are looking for one! I also like their organic guacamole in a pinch or if avocados are not available at a decent price – which definitely happens where I live! When looking at store bought, be sure you are looking at oils used as well as other added ingredients.)
  • Cheese and crackers
  • Nut butter, coconut butter, or cream cheese dippers

Simple Gluten Free Crackers :: 5 Ingredient Blender Batter & Easy to Roll Out!Soup ideas for your crackers!

Because I had to share with you my obsession over bone broth based soups! There are so many ways to make getting bone broth into the kids – especially when they get to stir in some yummy crackers to their soup!

Simple Gluten Free Crackers :: 5 Ingredient Blender Batter & Easy to Roll Out!I truly hope these crackers are able to become an easy part of your prep day!

Simple Gluten Free Crackers :: 5 Ingredient Blender Batter & Easy to Roll Out!

5.0 from 1 reviews
Simple Gluten Free Crackers :: 5 Ingredient Blender Batter & Easy to Roll Out!
Author: 
 
Ingredients
  • 2 cups Namaste Gluten Free Flour Blend (I pick mine up at Costco. I think other GF flour blends will work but you might have to play around with water amounts - start with less water and you can always add more if you need. I hear the Trader Joe GF flour blend is similar to the Namaste, but I don't have a TJ's near me to look - if someone wants to comment below if they try it, that would be helpful!)
  • ¼ cup avocado oil (I pick mine up at Costco. I think melted butter or coconut oil would work too)
  • ½ - 1 tsp sea salt (depending on how salty you like your crackers)
  • 1 tsp raw honey
  • 1 cup water (again, if you are using a different GF flour blend I would start out with less and add more if it needs it just in case absorbency is different)
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Put all of the ingredients into your food processor and blend to combine until the dough comes together in a ball.
  3. Divide the dough between 2 Silpats (or 2 pieces of parchment paper). Lay plastic wrap over the top of the dough and, using a rolling pin, roll the dough out as thin as you can make it fit the Silpat. Get a butter knife wet with water and make the crackers the size you want. A pizza cutter would work well here too.
  4. Sprinkle sea salt to the top of the crackers if you want, and bake at 400 degrees for 15 minutes (I like to rotate the pans about halfway through). You can check them around the 10 minute mark in case our ovens run differently. After 15 minutes, turn the oven off BUT keep the crackers inside the oven for another 10 minutes or so to crisp up/dehydrate all the way. They will continue to crisp up as they cool.
  5. Store your crackers in an airtight container in the pantry.

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30 Minute Gluten Free Meatball Skillet in a Curry Peanut Sauce :: Nut Free Options Included!

February 3, 2017

Change up your meal plan with this quick, weeknight gluten free curry meatball skillet the whole family will love!

30 Minute Meatball Skillet in a Curry Peanut Sauce :: Nut Free Options Included!

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

This has nothing to do with curry…

…but I wanted to break up your winter reading with these cutie smiles and the scarce snow we are experiencing this winter! What a mild one for us so far!

30 Minute Meatball Skillet in a Curry Peanut Sauce :: Nut Free Options Included!Meal change up time!

It is so easy to get stuck in a meal rotation rut, isn’t it!? If you haven’t noticed by following my Instagram meal posts, soups tend to be what I fall back on a lot when we have had a busy day and I don’t want to think. I’m not a great meal planner, despite what some may think, and most weeks I’m flying by the seat of my pants (and what’s on sale at the market!) for my dinner menu.

 30 Minute Meatball Skillet in a Curry Peanut Sauce :: Nut Free Options Included!Skillet quick prep!

I can tell when I’ve been serving soups too often when my soup loving, any food loving oldest starts giving me that face like “umm soup again?!” Skillet dinners are just as fast, and a couple weeks ago I perfected a curry skillet that we have grown to really love. The meatballs bake while you make the skillet and just get added it at the end – I timed myself quite a few times and it really does just take 30 minutes for everything.

30 Minute Meatball Skillet in a Curry Peanut Sauce :: Nut Free Options Included!Curry love…

It’s one of my favorite flavors, and you know what? I didn’t grow up eating it! So there is hope for those older kids!

Curry is a season blend originating from south Asia/India, primarily composed of turmeric combined with other warming Indian spices. You can find curry blends just about anywhere in the spice section of your grocer these days. Our local grocer even carries their own label of an organic curry blend. (If you are Midwest local, I’m talking about the Meijer Organics curry blend – it is so good!), but this brand of curry should be available just about everywhere.

30 Minute Meatball Skillet in a Curry Peanut Sauce :: Nut Free Options Included!The turmeric train!

The benefits of turmeric are all over the blogosphere these days. There is no denying the powerful anti-inflammatory properties of this root, and I can’t think of a tastier way to get this healing root into your diet than a skillet filled with mineral rich veggies and kid friendly, fun meatballs!

30 Minute Meatball Skillet in a Curry Peanut Sauce :: Nut Free Options Included!How to serve curry to little kids

My kids….LOVE curry. I have one in particular that seriously wants curry seasoning everything she eats! I don’t even serve curry on a regular basis and my kids have developed a palate for it. It can have a bit of heat to it, so my recommendation is to season your curry meal lightly to start, and you can always add more to your dish if you want it stronger. As this recipe stands, this is a pretty typically seasoned curry, so I would back it off if your kids are not used to curry. My kids gobble this up – even the toddler.

If you have the little guys under 2 years old, serve it right off your plate as is on the amount of curry season (sans the noodles for babies under 1 to avoid the grain). You might be surprised at how they take to the delicious flavor! Turmeric is fantastic for kids!

30 Minute Meatball Skillet in a Curry Peanut Sauce :: Nut Free Options Included!Noodle swaps!

We love using rice noodles for this meal. I think it makes the kids come to the table more eagerly, and cooking them in the broth of the skillet gives the sauce it’s thickening starch so easily! If you can’t handle the rice noodles, or are on a special diet, you can swap the noodles for more veggies or veggie noodles using a spirilizer. If you do happen to do this, just be sure to make a slurry out of your broth so you get some thickening. You can whisk tapioca starch into the broth before you pour it in, and the sauce will thicken right up.

I also think the curry seasoned veggies and meatballs are great over rice (or cauli-rice!) if you don’t have access to a quality noodle and can tolerate rice.

30 Minute Meatball Skillet in a Curry Peanut Sauce :: Nut Free Options Included!For my peanut free friends!

Whether you are Paleo or have a peanut allergy, here are your swaps!

I have made this with almond butter (we get ours at Costco, but here is a good brand you might find at your local grocer), and it is amazing (this works for Paleo friends but NOT for nut allergy friends!). For nut allergy friends that can have seeds, sunflower seed butter tastes so much like peanut butter. I have not tried it in this meal, but when I have swapped sunbutter for peanut butter it always works well.

If you can’t tolerate nuts or seeds at all, I would simply leave it out – it still tastes really good, and I make curry all the time without nut butters. It takes this dish to a whole other level, but it is still tasty without it.

30 Minute Meatball Skillet in a Curry Peanut Sauce :: Nut Free Options Included!

30 Minute Meatball Skillet in a Curry Peanut Sauce :: Nut Free Options Included!
Author: 
 
Ingredients
  • FOR THE MEATBALLS:
  • 1 lb grassfed ground beef
  • 1 egg (a flax egg will work if you are egg free)
  • 2 TB flour of choice (I like to use white rice flour, but tapioca works if you are grain free)
  • 2 tsp curry powder
  • ¼ - ½ tsp sea salt
  • FOR THE SKILLET:
  • 3 TB friendly fat to cook in such as butter, tallow, lard, coconut oil, or avocado oil
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 2-3 carrots, peeled and diced
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 TB curry powder
  • 1½ quarts bone broth (water would be fine here)
  • 3 cups broccoli florets
  • ½ - 12oz bag rice noodles
  • ½ pound baby kale or baby spinach (or other green! Pictured in this post was brussel sprouts because that is what I had! You can pop the Brussels in with the broccoli section to cook!)
  • 3 TB natural peanut butter (I think almond butter would work if you are Paleo. If you can't have nuts, I think sesame seed butter or sunflower seed butter would be fantastic!)
  • 1 TB raw honey
  • Sea salt/pepper to taste
Instructions
  1. Make the meatballs. Preheat the oven to 375 while you roll the meatballs. Mix all of the meatball ingredients in a small bowl, roll up the meatballs, and set them on a Silpat or parchment paper lined baking sheet. Bake at 375 degrees for 20 minutes while you make the rest of the meal.
  2. Melt the butter in a large, deep skillet (use a skillet that has a lid as you will need it later on), and add the onion and carrot. Stir in a pinch of sea salt and saute on medium heat for 5 or so minutes until the veggies soften.
  3. Add the garlic and curry powder and cook for a minute.
  4. Add the bone broth, broccoli, and noodles and put the lid on your pan. Bring the pan to a simmer, and keep simmering over medium/medium-high heat until the noodles are cooked to your liking - about 7 minutes.
  5. Turn the heat to medium low and stir in the baby kale, peanut butter, and honey and cook a few minutes until the kale wilts and the sauce thickens. Sea salt and pepper to your taste.

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

January 27, 2017

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

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

The status of your gut determines just about everything…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tips on recipe size

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

A quick note for those with histamine sensitivities!

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

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

January 20, 2017

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

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

Snow day!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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10 Minute Homemade Alfredo Sauce :: Dairy and Dairy Free Options!

January 20, 2017

Classic garlic filled creaminess and everyone’s favorite pasta sauce! Velvety homemade Alfredo is real food at its best!

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

Winter comfort…

January seems to be flying by! That is definitely not something I am used to saying as this beach bum really {really!} enjoys her barefoot summer days.

It’s been a mild winter so far however (in Michigan standards!), and we are finding ourselves enjoying the winter fun that surrounds us, especially now that I don’t have really small babies in tow anymore. My kids are true winter lovers!

15803678_248299058937998_3462896345373736960_n(1)And I have to admit, winter comfort food definitely makes the cold more tolerable!

Creamy Alfredo meals are a cold weather favorite in our house. I used to think that Alfredo had to mean really heavy, unhealthy food. As it turns out, when you make it yourself it can truly be a nutrient dense, nourishing meal that tastes so good!

10 Minute Homemade Alfredo Sauce :: Dairy and Dairy Free Options!The simplest of ingredients seriously make the most amazing food!

Amazingly enough, you really don’t need that mile long list of ingredients that the store bought Alfredo sauce has! Next time you are at the store, take a look! You will be floored! A little butter and garlic, something to thicken up the milk a bit and you are in Alfredo heaven.

Traditional Alfredo sauce is made with milk or cream, butter, and garlic. We tolerate raw dairy in our house well, however I find myself making Alfredo sauce with coconut milk more than our raw milk. Our raw milk share is lower during the winter months when the cows don’t make as much milk. We don’t have as much on hand, and I like to save the raw milk for drinking instead of cooking off all of the raw properties. If you have access to a lot of quality milk and cream in the winter, or it is spring and summer for you and the milk is abundantly flowing, definitely give the milk a try! It is simply amazing!

10 Minute Homemade Alfredo Sauce :: Dairy and Dairy Free Options!A note for hesitant coconut flavor friends

I am not a huge fan of the taste of coconut. {I know it. Send in the real food police, right!?} I am just not. I didn’t grow up with a lot of coconut flavored anything, and no matter how hard I try, I just can’t get used to it. I can’t drink it on it’s own, and I rarely cook with coconut oil other than baking because I don’t like the finished taste!

I promise the coconut flavor is completely masked by *all* that butter and garlic. When you get that garlic super fragrant and use amazing butter, the alfredo sauce simply tastes like…creamy, garlicy, amazing alfredo sauce!

10 Minute Homemade Alfredo Sauce :: Dairy and Dairy Free Options!Coconut milk options

I do tend to use homemade coconut milk more than buy it to save money. Especially in the winter when our raw milk share is low, I am in the habit of making it every weekend anyway, so I just double it if I know we’ll be having alfredo. It is so easy to make, and you can avoid the cans and fillers from the canned coconut milk.

If making it isn’t an option, you are in a pinch, or you are just in a season of life where you just can’t make one more thing (yes, I have been there dear momma with that newborn on your hip!), there are a couple of brand options for you. You may find these in your health food store to price compare here!

  • Aroy-D Coconut Milk: This is a gum free coconut milk – just 100% coconut milk for those who can’t tolerate the guar gum added to many coconut milks.
  • Native Forest Coconut Milk: This is a good, inexpensive coconut milk. It does have guar gum added for thickening which does not bother us, but for those with sensitive tummies it might be something to avoid.

10 Minute Homemade Alfredo Sauce :: Dairy and Dairy Free Options!Noodle options

We definitely enjoy a good rice pasta on occasion! (We like this brand of rice noodles) There is nothing wrong with that if you tolerate it ok! Sometimes I don’t have it on hand, or we have already had pasta that week, so changing it up is always a great idea. If you have hesitant veggie noodle eaters, mix in some veggie noodles with regular noodles for a while to get them used to the idea 😉

Veggie “Noodle” Ideas:

Healthier Pasta Ideas:

10 Minute Homemade Alfredo Sauce :: Dairy and Dairy Free Options!Meal ideas for your alfredo sauce! {Psst! It can be more than just pasta!}

Alfredo sauce makes a kid friendly vehicle to get a load of veggies in. Steam a mix of vegetables to pile up on your pasta and drown it all in alfredo! The meal pictured in this post literally took about 20 minutes to make. I pressure cooked frozen organic broccoli in 2 minutes in my Instant Pot while I made the alfredo, and the chicken was leftover from our roasted chicken the night before. It doesn’t get much faster than that! (If you don’t have an Instant Pot, simply steam that broccoli – it doesn’t take long at all!)

We also like alfredo poured over baked potatoes. It feels a lot like drippy cheese for loaded baked potatoes! You can do veggie sides or salads in that case to get the veggies in and even crumble bacon over your loaded baked potato.

This alfredo sauce is also great with just a simple stir fry. If you have to be grain free while you are healing your gut, this is a great option for you to dress up your daily healing veggies!

10 Minute Homemade Alfredo Sauce :: Dairy and Dairy Free Options!

10 Minute Homemade Alfredo Sauce :: Dairy and Dairy Free Options!
Author: 
 
Ingredients
  • ¼ cup butter
  • 6 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 2 TB flour of choice to thicken (I like to use white rice flour. Tapioca or Cassava works if you are grain free)
  • 1 quart coconut milk (Or raw milk. For safe store bought coconut milk options, see the notes in the post above.)
  • ¼ cup grated Parmesan (optional - I don't have access to quality parm all the time, so it is left out frequently and it is still very good - a little extra sea salt takes care of adding the salty bite.)
  • Sea salt and pepper to taste
Instructions
  1. Melt the butter in a sauce pan and add the minced garlic. Saute the garlic on medium heat for few minutes until fragrant.
  2. Whisk in the flour well, and then add the coconut milk.
  3. Bring the sauce to a simmer whisking occasionally, until it thickens, about 3-5 minutes.
  4. Whisk in the Parmesan if you are using it and then sea salt and pepper to taste.

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Grain Free Herb Butter Biscuit :: 5 Minute Blender Prep!

January 12, 2017

Soft and buttery biscuits to go with everything from soup to a plate of breakfast eggs!

Grain Free Herb Butter Biscuit :: 5 Minute Blender Prep!

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

So I’m thinking we could all use a little biscuit love to get us through mid January?!

We eat a lot of bone broth based soups all year round, but in the winter we have it daily here in our frozen tundra we call home! Somehow we make it outdoors every day despite the snows and wind chills least momma, ahem, I mean the kids go completely stir crazy. That means warming soups are on the menu most days of the week to take off the chill.

Grain Free Herb Butter Biscuit :: 5 Minute Blender Prep!And every bowl of soup deserves a piece of bread to go with it!

Even better, every bowl of soup deserves a butter biscuit to go along with it. These savory butter biscuits are the perfect match for a warm bowl of soup packed with so much buttery flavor. The kids will be all over these, and I’m willing to bet even the most skeptical gluten lover will too!

Grain Free Herb Butter Biscuit :: 5 Minute Blender Prep!Lighting fast, 5 minute blender dough is my answer to a busy day!

I have been using my Instant Pot weekly to make one huge pot of veggie soup for the whole family to eat from throughout the week – what good is a super fast prep soup if the biscuits are going to take forever to make?

I can get these biscuits onto the tray faster than it takes my oven to preheat! I’ve been testing these out for the last month with my weekly pot of soup. Once I get my soup in the pot and pressure cooking, I can have the biscuits done by the time the soup is done!

Grain Free Herb Butter Biscuit :: 5 Minute Blender Prep!The perfect weekend project, and some freezer pro tips!

Weekends are perfect for making a huge pot of soup for the family. You can double or triple up some biscuits into the freezer to save for your busiest weeknight. My biggest suggestion if you plan to freeze them is to wrap them up individually as soon as they cool off and get them right into the freezer. This locks in the moisture that can sometimes end up ruining gluten and grain free baked goods after they have been baked.

On your busiest weeknight, all you have to do is pull the biscuits from the freezer, pop them on a tray and into your oven to thaw and warm through. With my oven, all I have to do is set the tray in and preheat to 350. I turn it off from there and they are perfectly thawed and warmed through. Every oven runs differently so play around with yours. You can have the perfect, hot out of the oven bread to go with dinner every time!

Grain Free Herb Butter Biscuit :: 5 Minute Blender Prep!Don’t forget about breakfast!

These are my go-to right out of the freezer for fast morning momma fuel with a cup of leftover soup and some fried eggs. So fast! The kids will love a side of cheesy scrambled eggs and some fruit with their biscuit and you can feel good about starting their day off with stable blood sugars.

Grain Free Herb Butter Biscuit :: 5 Minute Blender Prep!Flour swapping answers!

I chose coconut flour for these biscuits for a few different reasons. First, I already have a staple biscuit in our house with some grain. I am not against grain in the least for those who can digest it! (By the way the squash drop biscuits I’m speaking of freeze just as great as these to keep on hand!) We handle gluten free grains in our house just fine, and I think they definitely have a time and a place. I don’t, however think, at least in my family, that we need to have grains at every single meal. It is nice to have a grain free biscuit option if we have already had enough grain for the day.

I also love using coconut flour because it is a great source of fiber, protein, and fat. It really makes every bite count for those little guys with little stomachs, and it makes a really great start to the day instead of shooting blood sugars up only to crash an hour later.

Grain Free Herb Butter Biscuit :: 5 Minute Blender Prep!Nourishing soup recipes to enjoy with your biscuits

All of these soups pack well and freeze well! Use your school thermos for the kids and a travel crockpot for yourself if you are away from home during the day! You can have a warm meal on the go!

Pre-heat your oven to 375 degrees. Put everything except the egg into your food processor, and pulse/blend until the butter is smaller than pea sized pieces. Add the egg and blend until the dough forms a ball. Pinch off your biscuits, gently roll them, and flatten a bit onto a Silpat or parchment paper lined baking tray. I always make 5 biscuits with this recipe. Bake at 375 degrees for 14 minutes. Let the biscuits cool a good 5-10 minutes before handling so they can set up.

5.0 from 3 reviews
Grain Free Herb Butter Biscuit :: 5 Minute Blender Prep!
Author: 
 
Ingredients
  • ½ cup cold butter, cubed
  • ⅓ cup coconut flour
  • ¼ cup grassfed cold soluble collagen
  • 1 tsp aluminum free baking powder
  • ½ tsp dried thyme (dried rosemary, oregano, or and basil work too depending on what you are serving the biscuits with!)
  • ¼ tsp onion powder
  • ¼ tsp garlic powder
  • 2 eggs (if you are egg free I do think 2 flax eggs would work here - they might not puff up as much but it would still work - perhaps add a bit of baking powder for the rise? Let us know in the comments if you try something!)
Instructions
  1. Pre-heat your oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Put everything except the egg into your food processor, and pulse/blend until the butter is smaller than pea sized pieces.
  3. Add the eggs and blend until the dough is combined well.
  4. Scoop some of the dough with a spoon, gently roll them, and flatten a bit onto a Silpat or parchment paper lined baking tray. I make 5-6 biscuits with this recipe.
  5. Bake at 375 degrees for 14 minutes. Let the biscuits cool a good 5-10 minutes before handling so they can set up.

 

 

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

January 12, 2017

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

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

I really should have known better…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Stovetop soup instructions

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

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

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

Biscuit and cracker ideas to go with your soup!

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

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

January 6, 2017

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

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

Simplicity.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Infiltrate and populate!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Dips!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tips on recipe size

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

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

December 30, 2016

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

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

He always picks out the biggest one!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

spaghetti-and-meatballs-banner

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

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

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

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

Directions:

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

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

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

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

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

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

Directions:

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

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

December 17, 2016

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

Fermented Cranberry Soda :: A naturally probiotic rich, kid friendly, real food soda!Product links in this post are affiliate links. It does not cost you anything and helps maintain the free information on this site, as well as answer the questions of “what brand do you use?” Please know I never personally recommend any product I wouldn’t use on my own family.

I remember the year like it was yesterday…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A note on the sugar

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

5.0 from 6 reviews
Fermented Cranberry Soda :: A naturally probiotic rich, kid friendly, real food soda!
Author: 
 
Ingredients
  • 8 cups fresh cranberries
  • 2 quarts of water
  • 2½ - 3 cups organic pure cane sugar
  • 1 cup whey, OR 1 cup ginger bug, OR 1-2 quarts brewed water kefir or kombucha
Instructions
  1. Put the cranberries, water, and sugar into a large soup pot and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer until the cranberries soften and burst. You can use the back of your wooden spoon or a potato masher to squish them up.
  2. Pour the cranberry sugar mixture through a strainer over a gallon jar to strain the cranberry pulp from the sugary cranberry syrup using a fine mesh strainer. Use the back of your wooden spoon to push the liquid through the strainer, spreading the pulp around. The leftover pulp can be blended into a smoothie or stirred into yogurt or soaked oats.
  3. Let the cranberry syrup cool to lukewarm/room temp and then stir in your fermenting medium (The whey, ginger bug, or brewed water kefir or kombucha). If using the whey or ginger bug, you'll have to add water to top off the gallon jar leaving a couple inches of head space
  4. At this point, you can either put a tight lid on your jar to ferment, or transfer to swing top/grolsch style bottles to ferment. Leave the soda at room temp for a few days to a week, checking for taste daily. The rate of fermenting greatly depends on the environment in which you live. This time of year where I live the fermenting takes 7-10 days since it is so cold here (we do have heat but it is still quite cool - this week we were in the single digits for wind chills!). I leave the flip top bottles up in a high cupboard where the heat rises in the kitchen near my stove. I do find that my ferments finish up faster using the flip top bottles versus a jar with lid. A Pickle Pipe on your jars work just as good as flip top bottles in my experience too. (I love my Pickle Pipes!)
  5. Once your cranberry soda is the taste and amount of natural carbonation you like, transfer your jar or bottles to the fridge to slow down the fermenting. They will keep in the fridge 3-4 weeks.

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

December 9, 2016

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Blender Batter Fresh Cranberry Breakfast Cookies :: Gluten Free, Refined Sugar Free, Paleo Friendly

December 2, 2016

The kids will enjoy the flavors of the holiday season with these fresh cranberry breakfast cookies, and mom will love that they are gluten and refined sugar free!

Blender Batter Fresh Cranberry Breakfast Cookies :: Gluten Free, Refined Sugar Free, Paleo FriendlyProduct links in this post are affiliate links. It does not cost you anything and helps maintain the free information on this site, as well as answer the questions of “what brand do you use?” Please know I never personally recommend any product I wouldn’t use on my own family.

The week before Thanksgiving, my husband came home with 2 of the biggest bags of cranberries I had ever seen!

“They were on sale” he says, “Have fun with them!”

He knows me too well – challenge accepted!

I used one of the bags for fresh cranberry sauce for all of the Thanksgiving gatherings we had in the following week, and then I set to work figuring out what to do with the rest.

Blender Batter Fresh Cranberry Breakfast Cookies :: Gluten Free, Refined Sugar Free, Paleo Friendly

The last thing we needed in our house was another dessert after a week of pumpkin pie slices and Thanksgiving indulging, so I knew I wanted to make something practical.

Something that I could actually use (that was also quick prep!), and that I could feel good about giving the girls to eat. The holidays can be a tough time to keep things healthy. I want my kids to enjoy the holiday season, but I also want to keep them healthy and robust so they can enjoy it all too!

Blender Batter Fresh Cranberry Breakfast Cookies :: Gluten Free, Refined Sugar Free, Paleo Friendly

Sugar has a huge impact on the immune system.

It feeds the viruses and bacteria in the body, and causes inflammation which makes the body have to work harder while it’s trying to “put the flames out”. Keeping the sugar down gives your kids the upper hand at staying well – especially this time of year when we are more cooped up inside and the bugs are passed easily.

Blender Batter Fresh Cranberry Breakfast Cookies :: Gluten Free, Refined Sugar Free, Paleo Friendly

Keeping the sugar down doesn’t have to be a drag though!

Blending dates into the batter gives the cookies a natural fruit sweetness, while adding a vitamin and mineral punch to the cookie. 5 dates spread amongst almost 2 dozen cookies is pretty low sugar – and they are mildly sweet for young palates (you can add an extra date or 2 if you have older kids used to sweeter food to ease them in). And I cannot tell you how amazing these fresh cranberry breakfast cookies make the house smell!

Blender Batter Fresh Cranberry Breakfast Cookies :: Gluten Free, Refined Sugar Free, Paleo Friendly

Pack a nourishing punch in a fun, holiday season breakfast!

We still have a pretty long month of school this December, and I want my kids full and focused for their morning of school work. We do breakfast cookies on Fridays, and while they are always super fun mornings, I have big goals for my breakfast cookies. I want them packed with fat and protein to fill them up!

These breakfast cookies are loaded with fat and protein from 2 different kinds of nuts, coconut shreds, grassfed collagen, and butter. We usually have a side of hard boiled eggs and glasses of raw milk to go with our Friday breakfast cookies! So YES, dear friends, there is a “method to my madness” when choosing a variety of ingredients for my breakfast cookies. These aren’t just a treat – this is part of a meal!

Blender Batter Fresh Cranberry Breakfast Cookies :: Gluten Free, Refined Sugar Free, Paleo FriendlyEat some, freeze some!

These fresh cranberry breakfast cookies freeze up fantastic! I am planning on having them out on Christmas morning! While I love to make a big fancy breakfast on Christmas morning, my kids are just at an age where presents are more important than food! Having a plate of breakfast cookies out while they are opening gifts will keep the “hangries” away, and then you can have a nice brunch later in the morning.

Blender Batter Fresh Cranberry Breakfast Cookies :: Gluten Free, Refined Sugar Free, Paleo Friendly

Blender Batter Fresh Cranberry Breakfast Cookies :: Gluten Free, Refined Sugar Free, Paleo Friendly
Author: 
 
Ingredients
  • 1 cup pecans
  • 1 cup walnuts (I like to use soaked/dehydrated walnuts and pecans for best digestion)
  • 1½ cups tapioca flour
  • ⅓ cup grassfed collagen
  • ¼ cup coconut shreds
  • 3 eggs (If you are egg free, 3 flax eggs plus 1 TB apple cider vinegar will work as a replacement here for the binding and rising - they won't puff up quite as much as the eggs but they still work well!)
  • ¼ cup softened butter (If you are dairy free, use softened coconut oil
  • 2 tsp aluminum free baking powder
  • 1 tsp almond extract (vanilla extract works too)
  • 5 dates, pitted (I get medjool dates from Costco)
  • 1 cup fresh cranberries (I get mine at Costco)
Instructions
  1. Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Put the pecans and walnuts in your food processor and blend until made into a fine meal.
  3. Add the rest of the ingredients except the cranberries and blend to combine. It gets sticky, and you may have to scrape down the sides a couple times.
  4. Add the fresh cranberries and pulse/blend until the cranberries are the size pieces you want. You can alternatively chop them separately if you wish and fold them in, but I have found the food processor to do a fine job and it's quick!
  5. Scoop the batter onto silpat or parchment paper lined baking sheets, flattening them out a bit to the size cookie you want - the cookies will puff up but don't spread out much as they bake. Bake the cookies at 350 degrees for 16 minutes. Let the cookies cool 5 minutes before handling.

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Paleo Butternut Squash Pancakes

November 5, 2016

Make the perfect stack of soft and sweet butternut squash pancakes, with safe ingredients and toddler approved taste!

Paleo Butternut Squash Pancakes :: Gluten, Dairy, & Grain Free :: Make the perfect stack of soft and sweet butternut squash pancakes, with safe ingredients and toddler approved taste!Product links in this post are affiliate links. It does not cost you anything and helps maintain the free information on this site, as well as answer the questions of “what brand do you use?” Please know I never personally recommend any product I wouldn’t use on my own family.

Ever have one of those panic moments when you realize you forgot to take the chicken out to thaw for dinner…at 3pm?

Despite the real food blogger status, the chaos that go along with 3 little ones in the house still leaves me with the title “busy mom” at the end of the day! And with that includes forgetting about dinner occasionally!

Paleo Butternut Squash Pancakes :: Gluten, Dairy, & Grain Free :: Make the perfect stack of soft and sweet butternut squash pancakes, with safe ingredients and toddler approved taste!

These little pancakes were born on one such occasion and, much to my delight, have become one of our family favorite pancake recipes!

If you happen to have a bit of leftover squash from dinner, or from that can of pumpkin you were using for your pie or latte, you can whip these quick little pancakes up for breakfast…or breakfast for dinner! The batter takes just minutes to blend, and they cook super fast alongside a pan of fried eggs.

Paleo Butternut Squash Pancakes :: Gluten, Dairy, & Grain Free :: Make the perfect stack of soft and sweet butternut squash pancakes, with safe ingredients and toddler approved taste!

These butternut squash pancakes are super soft and light in texture, feeling just like a “typical” pancake!

But with powerhouse ingredients like mineral rich squash, and coconut flour loaded with fiber and fat, you can feel good about serving these even to the littlest of kids around the table. Perfectly safe for babies over the age of 1, these grain free pancakes are a fun way to included everyone at the table in a nutrient dense, nourishing breakfast.

(For more real food meal ideas for babies, you can check out my newest cookbook, Nourished Beginnings Baby Food!)

Paleo Butternut Squash Pancakes :: Gluten, Dairy, & Grain Free :: Make the perfect stack of soft and sweet butternut squash pancakes, with safe ingredients and toddler approved taste!

Real Food Pancake Topping Suggestions!

  • For my babies over 1 and toddlers, I tend to serve a pancake with coconut butter and leave it at that. The mild sweetness of the coconut is practically like frosting to such young taste palates, and I like to keep it that way as long as I can! In fact, my 7 year old still eats her pancakes this way most of the time.
  • Butter and a drizzle of pure maple syrup or raw honey
  • Coconut butter and jam
  • Nut or seed butter and raw honey

Paleo Butternut Squash Pancakes :: Gluten, Dairy, & Grain Free :: Make the perfect stack of soft and sweet butternut squash pancakes, with safe ingredients and toddler approved taste!

Pancake Serving Suggestions and Freezing Methods

  • I tend to serve our pancakes with fried eggs on the side and raw milk or coconut milk to drink to round it all out.
  • Pastured bacon or sausage works great too!
  • For on the go, or packing a “breakfast for lunch” in the lunchbox, you can pack the pancakes sandwiched together with the topping suggestions above, along with hard boiled eggs!
  • These pancakes freeze so nice and thaw out just as soft. I freeze pancakes flat in freezer bags and pull them out as needed. I use a toaster or warm pan to thaw them out and warm them up.

Paleo Butternut Squash Pancakes :: Gluten, Dairy, & Grain Free :: Make the perfect stack of soft and sweet butternut squash pancakes, with safe ingredients and toddler approved taste!

5.0 from 2 reviews
Paleo Butternut Squash Pancakes
Author: 
 
Ingredients
  • 1 cup cooked & pureed butternut squash
  • 4 eggs
  • 3 TB pure maple syrup or raw honey
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup tapioca flour
  • ¼ cup coconut flour
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • ½ tsp cinnamon
Instructions
  1. In a medium sized mixing bowl, blend the squash, eggs, syrup, and vanilla for 1 minute.
  2. Add the rest of the ingredients and blend for another minute or two.
  3. Scoop the batter onto a very hot griddle that has been greased with avocado oil, cococut oi, or butter (I use a ¼ cup measuring cup filled about ¾ of the way to scoop the batter), and cook for 1-2 minutes, or until the batter starts to bubble. Flip the pancake and cook for another minute on the other side.

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Versatile Cabbage and Beef Skillet

October 27, 2016

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Ways to change it up!


Egg Roll In a Bowl!

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

Curry Me!

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

Deconstructed Cabbage Roll Style!

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

Italian Style!

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

Taco Tuesday!

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

Smoky and Sweet Chicken and Pumpkin Corn Chowder

October 21, 2016

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Cinnamon Pumpkin Granola :: Gluten Free with Grain Free Options

October 15, 2016

Mineral rich cinnamon pumpkin granola is busy school day ready, and on the go for a fun filled autumn weekends!

Cinnamon Pumpkin Granola :: Gluten Free with Grain Free Options :: Mineral rich cinnamon pumpkin granola is busy school day ready, and on the go for a fun filled autumn weekends!

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

Before we go into hibernation mode for the winter, we have a pretty amazing fall to enjoy around here!

Cinnamon Pumpkin Granola :: Gluten Free with Grain Free Options :: Mineral rich cinnamon pumpkin granola is busy school day ready, and on the go for a fun filled autumn weekends!The air is finally turning, and the leaves around here are warming up the sky with beautiful autumn colors!

Surrounded by some of the most beautiful hiking paths in the country, we soak in every hiking path we can observing the falling leaves and active wildlife…and dodging autumn rain showers!

Cinnamon Pumpkin Granola :: Gluten Free with Grain Free Options :: Mineral rich cinnamon pumpkin granola is busy school day ready, and on the go for a fun filled autumn weekends!Because we are outside almost as much as during the summer, I need some quicker snacks during the autumn too.

I love having my oven running during the fall to keep the chill out of the house, but I also have days were we just aren’t home at all, and I need quicker, grab and go things!

Cinnamon Pumpkin Granola :: Gluten Free with Grain Free Options :: Mineral rich cinnamon pumpkin granola is busy school day ready, and on the go for a fun filled autumn weekends!

Have the kids pack this cinnamon pumpkin granola up in snack containers themselves for a hike or soccer game on the weekend, and you can also pack it up quick for their yogurt at school. It also makes for a great breakfast with a splash of raw milk or coconut milk on a Friday morning when we just feel like sleeping in a little longer!

Cinnamon Pumpkin Granola :: Gluten Free with Grain Free Options :: Mineral rich cinnamon pumpkin granola is busy school day ready, and on the go for a fun filled autumn weekends!The girls have been devouring this cinnamon pumpkin granola, and I love that it is packed with a different variety of nourishment I can feel good about.

Lightly crispy with a variety of nuts and seeds, and sweetened only with raw honey and blackstrap molasses, this granola is a big mineral rich boost for busy kids that will stick with them. Both buckwheat and pumpkin seeds are mineral boosting powerhouses packed with manganese, magnesium, zinc, and folate to keep our organs functioning properly. Buckwheat is is also rich in B vitamins for energy, and pumpkin seeds are loaded with antioxidants.

Cinnamon Pumpkin Granola :: Gluten Free with Grain Free Options :: Mineral rich cinnamon pumpkin granola is busy school day ready, and on the go for a fun filled autumn weekends!There are some grain free swaps in the recipe ingredients! Even if you aren’t grain free, it is nice to mix things up a bit!

If you are nut free, try swapping the pecans and walnuts for more seeds or even more oats or a different grain! Feel free to use the comments and I would be happy to walk you through any of that! Granola is very hard to mess up – very forgiving!

Cinnamon Pumpkin Granola :: Gluten Free with Grain Free Options :: Mineral rich cinnamon pumpkin granola is busy school day ready, and on the go for a fun filled autumn weekends!

Cinnamon Pumpkin Granola :: Gluten Free with Grain Free Options
Author: 
 
Ingredients
  • 6 cups oats (Not quick oats. If you are gluten free, be sure your bag says gluten free. If you are grain free, simply replace the 6 cups of oats with any combination of coconut shreds and/or coconut flour, and different variety of finely chopped nuts and seeds (brazil nuts, sunflower seeds, walnuts, pecans, pumpkin seeds, etc.) I would NOT do all coconut flour or shreds however - it will be too dry. The coconut flour/shreds do not need to be soaked in the first step but any nuts or seeds do.)
  • 2 cups buckwheat flour
  • 2 cups raw pumpkin seeds, finely chopped (I get mine at Costco. I buzz all of the nuts and seeds in my food processor pretty fine)
  • 2 cups raw pecans, finely chopped (I get mine at Costco. I buzz all of the nuts and seeds in my food processor pretty fine)
  • 2 cups raw walnuts, finely chopped (I get mine at Costco. I buzz all of the nuts and seeds in my food processor pretty fine)
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 TB sea salt
  • 2 - 15oz cans of pumpkin (any homemade squash puree will work here if you have it!)
  • 1 cup coconut oil, melted stove top (II get the linked large container at our Costco)
  • ½ - ¾ cup raw honey (you can taste your granola mixture for sweetness - I can get away with less but if you have older kids used to sweeter things you can bump it up a bit if you need!)
  • ¼ cup organic molasses (I get mine at Costco)
  • 1-2 TB cinnamon
  • 1 TB vanilla extract
Instructions
  1. Put the oats, buckwheat, pumpkin seeds, pecans, and walnuts in a large mixing bowl along with the lemon juice and sea salt. Fill the bowl with water just enough to be able to stir it all together in a sticky mixture. Do not over water because we won't be straining this mixture after it soaks - the more water you put in the more that has to dehydrate out! Cover your bowl with a towel, and leave your mixture to soak on the counter overnight or 8-10 hours. This soaking process decreases the phytic acid in the oats, nuts, and seeds making them digest the best, as well as making more of their nutrients available to absorb.
  2. After the soaking is done, put the rest of the ingredients in the mixing bowl and stir well to combine. You can taste your mixture for sweetness at this point too. I actually use my big stock pot for making the granola mixture as it is easier for stirring!
  3. Spread the granola mixture onto your dehydrator trays (this is the dehydrator I have!) and dehydrate at 125 degrees until the granola is dried out - this can take up to a day depending on how much water you used in the soaking process. You can dehydrate at a higher temp like 150 or 165 degrees which is what I choose to do often and that will take 8 hours or so - many dehydrator brands run differently on those temps so just keep an eye on them! Once the granola is dried out, you can crumble it into an airtight container and store in the pantry.

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Roasted Pumpkin and Garlic Pasta With Sage and Thyme Meatballs

October 5, 2016

Grab the wool socks and put a log on the fireplace! It’s time to cozy up to some cool weather comfort food like roasted pumpkin and garlic pasta and enjoy the season!

Roasted Pumpkin & Garlic Pasta with Sage & Thyme Meatballs ::Grab the wool socks and put a log on the fireplace! It's time to cozy up to some cool weather comfort food like roasted pumpkin and garlic pasta and enjoy the season! Product links in this post are affiliate links. It does not cost you anything and helps maintain the free information on this site, as well as answer the questions of “what brand do you use?” Please know I never personally recommend any product I wouldn’t use on my own family.

Autumn has really allowed us to ease into cooler weather this year with unseasonably warm temperatures (for Michigan!), and I think I am ready for a little fall!

I won’t spend a much time taunting you with explaining much about this drool worthy dinner, but I did want to give you a few swaps and examples for how to use the roasted garlic pumpkin cream sauce, as well as some swaps for the pasta if you are a home that can’t do that! I want everyone to be able to enjoy this dish!

Roasted Pumpkin & Garlic Pasta with Sage & Thyme Meatballs ::Grab the wool socks and put a log on the fireplace! It's time to cozy up to some cool weather comfort food like roasted pumpkin and garlic pasta and enjoy the season! Roasted pumpkin and garlic sauce

This sauce….oh the creaminess and flavor! You can’t get the depth of roasted flavor from canned pumpkin or a powdered garlic…I promise you will be blown away if you just use the good stuff!

It will quickly become a family favorite which is why I want to offer a few swaps for those that need it! First, if you are a dairy free home, I have made this with all coconut milk and it is so amazing. I am not a huge fan of things tasting like coconut, and I think the roasted pumpkin and garlic take over the flavor of the dish very well. I also have done half coconut milk and half water and it is still really amazing.

Roasted Pumpkin & Garlic Pasta with Sage & Thyme Meatballs ::Grab the wool socks and put a log on the fireplace! It's time to cozy up to some cool weather comfort food like roasted pumpkin and garlic pasta and enjoy the season!

Pumpkin Pasta!

I use the Tinkyada brand rice noodles pretty exclusively for pasta needs in our house, but use whatever you have on hand or like to use. If you are a grain free home, or pasta isn’t in the house, this cream sauce is good on….just about everything! You can make veggie noodles with your spirilizer such as sweet potato noodles or “zoodles” with zucchini. Or you can make a big veggie stir fry and mix the meatballs in along with the cream sauce. Whatever you can swing…try it! This sauce is just decadent!

Roasted Pumpkin & Garlic Pasta with Sage & Thyme Meatballs ::Grab the wool socks and put a log on the fireplace! It's time to cozy up to some cool weather comfort food like roasted pumpkin and garlic pasta and enjoy the season! A note on the meatballs!

The egg in the meatballs is for binding, so if you are an egg free home simply use a gelatin or flax egg and you should be just fine. I think tapioca flour would be a good swap if you are grain free.

Roasted Pumpkin & Garlic Pasta with Sage & Thyme Meatballs ::Grab the wool socks and put a log on the fireplace! It's time to cozy up to some cool weather comfort food like roasted pumpkin and garlic pasta and enjoy the season! Dear friends, this is how we welcome in fall around here! Happy autumn season to you!

5.0 from 2 reviews
Roasted Pumpkin and Garlic Pasta With Sage and Thyme Meatballs
 
Ingredients
  • For The Roasted Pumpkin & Garlic Pasta ::
  • 1 pie pumpkin
  • 4 TB butter, divided
  • 4 garlic cloves, leave them whole and unpeeled to roast
  • ¾ cup whole milk or coconut milk (you can adjust this depending on how thick or thin you want your sauce)
  • ¼ cup whole sour cream (or more coconut milk)
  • Sea salt & pepper to taste
  • ½ - ¾ lb cooked pasta of choice (I use the Tinkyada GF rice noodles)
  • For The Sage & Thyme Meatballs ::
  • 1 lb grassfed ground beef
  • 3 TB white rice flour
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tsp dried sage
  • 2 tsp dried thyme
  • 1-2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1-2 tsp onion powder
  • 2 tsp sea salt
  • 1 tsp pepper
Instructions
  1. Start with roasting the pumpkin and garlic. Halve the pumpkin and scoop out the seeds. Place the pumpkin halves flesh side up on a baking sheet, and spread 2 TB of butter over the flesh of the pumpkins, then sprinkle sea salt and pepper. Roast at 425 degrees for 45-50 minutes until the flesh is soft. Put the garlic cloves on the baking sheet for the last 15-20 minutes to roast as well.
  2. While the pumpkins are roasting, you can make the meatballs. Put all of the meatball ingredients in a small mixing bowl and combine. Roll the meatball mixture into small, 2 inch meatballs and place on a Silpat or parchment paper lined baking sheet. You can bake the meatballs along with the pumpkin at 425 degrees for about 15-20 minutes (I like to put them in the same time as I put the garlic in).
  3. Once the pumpkins and garlic are done roasting and cool enough to touch, scoop the flesh of the pumpkin into a food processor or blender and squeeze the roasted garlic in. Blend the pumpkin and garlic until smooth.
  4. Put the pumpkin and garlic puree into a sauce pan along with 2 TB of butter and the milk and warm to a low simmer. Whisk until smooth (you can add more liquid here if you wish for a thinner sauce). Turn off the heat and whisk in the sour cream, and then sea salt and pepper to taste.
  5. Toss the cooked pasta with the roasted pumpkin and garlic cream sauce and top with your sage & thyme meatballs. Garnish with sage and parsley.

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3 Tips For Encouraging Adventurous Eaters

October 1, 2016

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

Tips with toddlers

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

An anecdote about keeping it positive…

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


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

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

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

Keep the portions small.

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

Use appropriately sized, simple feeding gear.

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

You can find Nourished Beginnings Baby Food here!

Barnes & Noble | Amazon | Indibound

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

 

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Pumpkin Spice Baked Oatmeal Cups :: Baked Oatmeal On The Go!

September 24, 2016

Baked oatmeal to go! Pumpkin spice style and kid approved for a busy fall day!

Pumpkin Spice Baked Oatmeal Cups :: Baked oatmeal to go! Pumpkin spice style and kid approved for a busy fall day!Product links in this post are affiliate links. It does not cost you anything and helps maintain the free information on this site, as well as answer the questions of “what brand do you use?” Please know I never personally recommend any product I wouldn’t use on my own family.

Whew has this first month of school flown by!

We are definitely in the school swing and the big girls are loving being back in the classroom. My 3 year old has surprisingly adjusted to solo mornings with momma too! (Though perhaps not surprisingly since she is that go with the flow 3rd born!)

Pumpkin Spice Baked Oatmeal Cups :: Baked oatmeal to go! Pumpkin spice style and kid approved for a busy fall day!Since our mornings are quite early, sometimes my toddler isn’t quite out of bed before it is to head out the door for school drop off.

And sometimes toys are way more interesting than breakfast right when she gets up! Having a portable breakfast has been important for some of our school days. We have been keeping protein banana muffins, healthy apple breakfast cookies, and baked oatmeal cups on hand in the freezer for those slower toddler mornings, and they have been working out great, both for my busy toddler, and for my growing school aged girls.

Pumpkin Spice Baked Oatmeal Cups :: Baked oatmeal to go! Pumpkin spice style and kid approved for a busy fall day!

These pumpkin spice baked oatmeal cups have also been a fun seasonal breakfast for my older girls getting excited for all things pumpkin, Halloween, and Thanksgiving!

The baked oatmeal cups freeze up great and make 2 dozen at a time. We made some for breakfast this week, and I’m freezing half of them to save for a nourishing, but fun pumpkin breakfast on Halloween morning.

Pumpkin Spice Baked Oatmeal Cups :: Baked oatmeal to go! Pumpkin spice style and kid approved for a busy fall day!Start their day out nutrient dense so they are ready for a full morning of playing and learning!

Round out your baked oatmeal cup breakfast with fried eggs (or hard boiled eggs if you are needing portable and on the go!), and raw milk or coconut milk. You could have a baked oatmeal cup with a cup of whole yogurt or some sausage if you can’t have eggs.

Pumpkin Spice Baked Oatmeal Cups :: Baked oatmeal to go! Pumpkin spice style and kid approved for a busy fall day!

5.0 from 1 reviews
Pumpkin Spice Baked Oatmeal Cups :: Baked Oatmeal On The Go!
Author: 
 
Makes 2 dozen Pumpkin Spice Baked Oatmeal Cups
Ingredients
  • 5 cups oats (Not quick oats! If you are gluten free be sure your oats say gluten free or there might be trace amounts of gluten there)
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 2 cups walnuts & pecans, chopped fine (I use the food processor to chop them fast! I use soaked/dehydrated "crispy" nuts for best digestion. IF YOU ARE NUT FREE you can use pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, or even shredded coconut.)
  • 1 - 15oz can pumpkin
  • 2 eggs (I think flax eggs will work here if you are egg free)
  • ⅓ cup avocado oil (or melted butter or coconut oil)
  • ⅔ cup pure maple syrup (This sounds like a lot but remember this makes 2 dozen - I think they are on the mildly sweet side so if you have kids used to sweeter things you could add a bit more - taste the mixture for yourself!)
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 tsp ground ginger
  • ¼ tsp cloves
  • ¼ tsp nutmeg
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • (alternative to the individual cinnamon, ginger, cloves, and nutmeg, you could use your favorite pumpkin pie spice bend - say maybe 1-2 TB of pumpkin pie spice)
Instructions
  1. The night before you want to make the baked oatmeal cups, put the oats and lemon juice in a medium mixing bowl and cover with water. Cover the bowl with a towel and let it soak overnight 8-10 hours. This soaking process breaks down the phytic acid in the oats making the grain more digestible.
  2. After the oats are done soaking, pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees, and put the oats in a strainer to drain off any excess water while you prepare the rest of the ingredients.
  3. Put the remainder of the ingredients into the medium mixing bowl, add the drained oats, and combine with a wooden spoon.
  4. Scoop the oat batter into a muffin tin (I line mine with silicone muffin cups but I think greasing them with butter would be fine), and bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes. The recipe makes 24 baked oatmeal cups.

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

September 17, 2016

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A note on packing time

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

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

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


The Pizza Day Lunch!

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

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

Lunchbox Contents:


The Comforting Chicken Noodle Soup Lunch!

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

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

Lunchbox Contents:

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

The Hummus Dipper Lunch!

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

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

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

Lunchbox Contents:

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

The Classic Tomato Soup & Grilled Cheese Lunch!

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

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

Lunchbox Contents:


The Loaded Salad Lunch!

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

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

Lunchbox Contents:


The Fiesta Lunch!

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

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

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

Lunchbox Contents:

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

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Fast Prep Instant Pot Vegetable Lo Mein

September 10, 2016

All of the Asian flavors you love, in less than 10 minutes of time! This healthy Asian Lo Mein is weeknight fast and nourishing at the same time!

Fast Prep Instant Pot Vegetable Lo Mein :: All of the Asian flavors you love, in less than 10 minutes of time! This healthy Asian Lo Mein is weeknight fast and nourishing at the same time!Product links in this post are affiliate links. It does not cost you anything and helps maintain the free information on this site, as well as answer the questions of “what brand do you use?” Please know I never personally recommend any product I wouldn’t use on my own family.

Our school year is off and running, and I feel like we did just that for the first week…Run!

Whew!

Fast Prep Instant Pot Vegetable Lo Mein :: All of the Asian flavors you love, in less than 10 minutes of time! This healthy Asian Lo Mein is weeknight fast and nourishing at the same time!

We are still getting our feet wet back into the groove of early mornings and school after a laid back summer break, so I have been perfecting some of my quicker weeknight meals.

While we don’t have a lot of extra-curricular activities after school yet with such little ones, I *do* have a brand new kindergartener getting used to full days of school (read – tired!), a toddler that has to get woken up on occasion from naps for school pick up (read – crabby!), and a 2nd grader that wants to get her project done *right now* (read – busy!). It just helps to have a dinner that doesn’t require a lot of hands on time.

Fast Prep Instant Pot Vegetable Lo Mein :: All of the Asian flavors you love, in less than 10 minutes of time! This healthy Asian Lo Mein is weeknight fast and nourishing at the same time!

I am coming up on my 1 year anniversary of having my Instant Pot and I feel like this summer we really got to know each other!

I had been using it mainly to make whole chickens and bone broth up until this summer, and boy I am really loving figuring out how to use it for more than just that. As much as I love cooking, there really are more days in the week that I need fast meals than ones that I don’t. If there is room on the birthday or Christmas list this year, an Instant Pot is definitely one I would try to fit in!

Fast Prep Instant Pot Vegetable Lo Mein :: All of the Asian flavors you love, in less than 10 minutes of time! This healthy Asian Lo Mein is weeknight fast and nourishing at the same time!

This quick Lo Mein has every flavor burst you love about Asian food in a “dump it all in” style of cooking!

I have even done the 5 minutes of veggie chopping the night before and set it in the fridge until dinner the next day so it literally can just be a “dump it all in” meal! Salty, sweet, and savory all in one bite, the kids will not only be in love with *all* the noodles, but it just plain tastes amazing! And you can feel good about getting the veggies in!

Fast Prep Instant Pot Vegetable Lo Mein :: All of the Asian flavors you love, in less than 10 minutes of time! This healthy Asian Lo Mein is weeknight fast and nourishing at the same time!

A quick note on how you can change it up and add variety!

While this is definitely a filling meal for how my family eats as it is, you can certainly add some chopped beef, chicken, or fish. I usually have leftovers topped with a fried egg the next morning and it is pretty much amazing (scrambling an egg into it would work fine too)! The veggies are pretty interchangeable as well – use whatever you have on hand. I have swapped the spinach for chopped kale if that is what I have, or used fresh broccoli instead of peas.

You can also add more bone broth and make it more of a Lo Mein soup. I have found a rich beef broth tastes so good! Also, don’t forget to pack the leftovers up in the school lunch thermos! Just add a splash of water or broth to warm it up in the morning and put it in a thermos to go! There are more details on how to temper your thermos and keep food warm for school in this post.

Fast Prep Instant Pot Vegetable Lo Mein :: All of the Asian flavors you love, in less than 10 minutes of time! This healthy Asian Lo Mein is weeknight fast and nourishing at the same time!

4.5 from 4 reviews
Fast Prep Instant Pot Vegetable Lo Mein
Author: 
 
Ingredients
  • 2 cups bone broth (a rich beef broth works best. You can do bone broth in the Instant Pot too !)
  • ¼ cup Coconut Aminos
  • 4-5 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 2 inch knob ginger, peeled and grated (or 1 tsp ground ginger)
  • ¼ tsp red pepper flakes (this leaves a kid friendly, mild heat - if you like more kick add more!)
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • ¼ tsp pepper
  • 1 bunch green onions, sliced on a bias
  • 2 large carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 8 ounces of mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 cup frozen peas
  • ½ lb gluten free pasta of choice (I used the Tinkyada brand of rice noodles that our local grocer carries)
  • 2 cups baby spinach, chopped finely
Instructions
  1. Everything *except the spinach* into the Instant Pot, stir to combine, and seal the lid. Be sure the valve is closed.
  2. Turn your IP on, press manual, and then use the (+/-) button to press the time down to 2 minutes. The Instant Pot will turn "ON" and come to pressure before it counts down the 2 minutes.
  3. When the 2 minutes is done, turn the Instant Pot "OFF", and set a timer for 4 minutes to let the pot naturally release some of the pressure and finish cooking the noodles through.
  4. After the 4 minutes, release the rest of the pressure, take the lid off, and stir in the fresh spinach to combine. There will be a little bit of liquid in the bottom that will continue to soak up into the noodles and the starch from the noodles will make it "saucy". Serve topped with sliced green onion or chopped nuts.

A note on Instant Pot cook times

This recipe gives the noodle a good, “al dente” texture in cook time for me. Not too mushy and not hard! It is just perfect! I have, however, found that sometimes when I have tried other people’s Instant Pot recipes that cook times for noodles, rice, even hard boiled eggs can vary. For instance the “6-6-6” method for hard boiled eggs leaves my eggs really overdone – I have to cook at 5 minutes on low pressure!  I’m actually not sure why this is (please chime in if you know!), but keep that in mind. If you open the lid and your noodles need a bit more cook time, simply turn the saute button on and let them cook a little longer. I will try to answer your IP questions as best as I can, but please remember I am fairly new to using it myself – thank you for understanding!

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