Browsing Category

School Holidays

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

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

November 25, 2017

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

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

The first snow…

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

Bringing a little snowfall to our kitchen!

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

Ownership…

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

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

The holiday sugar trap…

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

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

A game changing combo!

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

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

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

Kid friendly serving sizes

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

A note on the powdered sugar…

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

Ingredient notes

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

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

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

More real food Christmas ideas you might like!

 

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

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

October 28, 2017

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

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

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

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

An “evergreen” holiday treat for everyone!

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

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

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

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

Special hints of flavor options

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

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

Notes for nut free friends or party guests

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

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

Notes for egg free friends or party guests

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

A quick note about dehydrating/cook methods

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

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

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

More real food recipes you might like ::

 

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

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

September 23, 2017

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

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

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

It’s not my favorite holiday.

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

And yet…

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

My middle kiddo making pumpkin pasta before trick or treating!

Did you hear that key phrase?

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

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

The fun, right!?

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

It’s called balance…

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

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

Our family Halloween traditions!

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

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

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

A quick note on my thoughts about babies & toddlers…

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

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

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

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

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

Onto the ideas!

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

Trick-Or-Treat Hand-Out Treats:

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

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

Treat Alternatives:

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

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

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

Homemade Treats The Family Can Make Together:

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

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

Honey Sweetened Caramel Corn

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

Homemade Tootsie Rolls

Spider Cupcakes

Candy Corn Panna Cotta

Chocolate Dipped Mandarin Oranges

Paleo Ghost Truffles

Sweet, Spicy, & Salty Pumpkin Seeds

Dark Chocolate Nut Butter Cups

Fresh Figs With Cheese & Walnuts

Chocolate Covered Apples

Salted Caramel Apple Parfaits

Pumpkin Gummies

Cinnamon Maple Nut Butter Apples

Honey Nut Popcorn

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

Traditions That Will Make Halloween Super Special!

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

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

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

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

Halloween Monster Mouths

Fruit Bat Snack Bags

Monster Fruit Cups

Pumpkin Spice Fruit Dip

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

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

Healthy Halloween Orange Pumpkins

 

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

Orange Jack-O-Lantern Fruit Cups

Candy Corn Fruit Pops

Spiders On A Log

Fruit Gummy Worms

Treat Alternatives For Classroom Parties

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

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

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

Halloween Spider Craft

Halloween Rock Monsters

Monster Corner Bookmarks

Pine Cone Spiders

Yarn Pumpkins

Pumpkin Apple Stamps

Paper Plate Mummy Lacing Craft

Craft Stick Spider Webs

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

Paper Plate Black Cat

GAMES & ACTIVITIES FOR THE CLASSROOM:

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

SO! We want to hear from YOU!

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

 

Feeding Babies Healthy Kids and Teens Holiday Recipes Occasional Treats Products & Books We Love! Real Food 101 Real Food Tips School Holidays

Paleo Plátanos Calados :: Stewed Spiced Ripe Plantains

August 23, 2017

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

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

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

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

A little taste of Latin American culture

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

A whole new cookbook experience!

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

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

Latin American Paleo Cooking Features and Stats!

Here’s the low down on this amazing book!

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

Fall spices meet tropical fruit!

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

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

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

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

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

A quick note on some additions I made!

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

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

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

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

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

June 16, 2017

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

Real Food Copycat Nestle® Toll House® Cookies :: Gluten and Dairy Free Too!Product links in this post are affiliate links. It does not cost you anything and helps maintain the free information on this site, as well as answer the questions of “what brand do you use?” Please know I never personally recommend any product I wouldn’t use on my own family.

We were known for them…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

More real food recipes you might like ::

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

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

January 20, 2017

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

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

Snow day!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

More real food recipes you might like:

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

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.

More real food recipes you might like ::

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

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.

More real food recipes you might like ::

Holiday Recipes Occasional Treats School Holidays

“Busy Momma” Simple Gluten Free Pumpkin Pie

November 18, 2016

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

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

The “icing on the cake”.

The “cherry on top”.

The pie!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

"Busy Momma" Simple Gluten Free Pumpkin Pie

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

More Thanksgiving posts you might like ::

Simple & Quick DIY Whipped Cream

Homemade GF Stuffing

Quick Cranberry Sauce

5 Minute GF Bone Broth Gravy

GF Cornbread

"Busy Momma" Simple Gluten Free Pumpkin Pie

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

Make Your Own REAL FOOD Ice Cream Sundae Party!

June 1, 2016

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

cake
Homemade Chocolate Ice Cream

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

Gluten Free Vanilla Bean Cake
Caramel Swirl Ice Cream

Caramel Swirl Ice Cream

Holiday Recipes Occasional Treats Real Food Tips School Holidays

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

February 6, 2016

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

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

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

Happy Valentine’s week to you!

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

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

Little kids and cookie decorating!

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

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

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

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

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

Natural *beautiful* color!

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

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

The frosting is just delicious!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

COVER
Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream

overhead
DIY Whipped Cream

15262741314_779bb04eae_z

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

Egg Salad Pinwheels :: Perfect For Little Hands & An Easy Lunchbox Addition!

December 15, 2015

Simple and quick egg salad pinwheels perfect for little hands and easy lunchtime!

Egg Salad Pinwheels :: Perfect For Little Hands & An Easy Lunchbox Addition!Product links in this section are affiliate links. It does not cost you anything and helps maintain the free information on this site, as well as answer the questions of “what brand do you use?” Please know I never personally recommend any product I wouldn’t use on my own family.

“Gah! It’s 11:00 a.m. already?!”

I think I say that just about every day. I can aspire to have the most organized day, but there is absolutely nothing predictable about a morning with a 2 and 4 year old by my side, as well as getting a first grader off to school in the morning!

I rely on my freezer stash of simple soups like broccoli soup and tomato soup most days. It is a great way to get nourishing bone broth into the kids without having to think about what vegetable to make. Add a simple egg or tuna salad wrap and lunch is done…for my older kids.

Egg Salad Pinwheels :: Perfect For Little Hands & An Easy Lunchbox Addition!Wraps are tough for toddler hands!

I started making little Mexican pinwheel wraps for her when she turned 2 this year, and I noticed how easy they made lunchbox packing too, so they are becoming quite popular here with my older kids too!

Egg Salad Pinwheels :: Perfect For Little Hands & An Easy Lunchbox Addition!My first grader handles a wrap pretty good – but the days I have made it more of a pinwheel style she is quick to mention how much she loves her wraps that way and how much easier it is to eat too.

This is a pretty flexible recipe – if you have a favorite way of making egg salad go for it!

Egg Salad Pinwheels :: Perfect For Little Hands & An Easy Lunchbox Addition!

5.0 from 1 reviews
Egg Salad Pinwheels :: Perfect For Little Hands & An Easy Lunchbox Addition!
Author: 
 
Ingredients
  • 6 pastured eggs, hard boiled and peeled
  • ⅓ to ½ cup mayonnaise (Homemade preferable to avoid rancid oils. This homemade, egg free mayo recipe blends up in less than 5 minutes! Super quick!)
  • 2 tsp mustard
  • 5 stalks of green onion, sliced
  • ¼ red bell pepper, diced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • Sea salt and pepper to taste
  • 3-4 tortillas of choice (I like to use the Food For Life Rice Wraps and the Sami's Bakery Millet Lavish. They should be in the freezer section of most health food stores - sometimes our regular grocery store even carries the rice wraps.)
Instructions
  1. Put the hard boiled eggs in a small mixing bowl, and using the back of a fork smash the eggs into small pieces.
  2. Add the rest of the ingredients except the tortillas and use the fork to combine well until smooth. Make sure to taste it for salt and pepper.
  3. Spread some of the egg salad mixture onto the entire surface of one tortilla, roll up *tightly* and then cut into 1 inch sections. Continue with the rest of the egg salad onto the other tortillas - I usually get about 3 or 4 out of this amount of egg salad.
  4. **Gluten Free tortilla rolling tip! Yes I will be the first to admit gluten free tortillas can be...dry! My solution to getting the perfect roll on a GF tortilla is to get it a bit wet and then warm them up to steam them - they get soft and pliable and then you can put your egg salad on and roll them right up. Just do one at a time and you'll be fine!

For more lunch ideas you can follow my Lunch Ideas board on Pinterest!

More real food recipes you might like:
Tuna Salad For All Ages!

plate
Fresh Tomato Soup

14343512918_9451ba85c1_z
Nourishing Broccoli Soup


6 School Lunch Ideas Besides PB & J

6 School Lunch Ideas *Besides* Peanut Butter & Jelly :: Plus a PlanetBox Review!

Holiday Recipes Occasional Treats Real Food Tips School Holidays

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

December 11, 2015

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

More real food recipes you might like:
GF Gingerbread Cookies

16021352542_143d16d6bc_b
GF Thumbprint Cookies

16062988741_b9d9c0b98d_b
Simple & Quick Eggnog

15722389498_35237928d9_b
Winter Wassail

15820664020_37d1e32411_b

Batch Up Meals Breakfast Ideas Holiday Recipes Real Food Tips School Holidays Snack Ideas

Cranberry Orange Granola

November 4, 2015

Sweet orange vanilla infused granola decorated with festive cranberries makes a fun breakfast cereal bowl, or topping for a yogurt snack!

Cranberry Orange Granola

We have the most beautiful fall so far! We were spoiled with unseasonably warm 70 degree temperatures this week, and I couldn’t help but open the windows and soak in as much sun warmth as I could, knowing that in just a few short weeks we will be shoveling snow instead of raking up leaves!

Cranberry Orange Granola

With the holidays around the corner, my husband brought home this huge bag of fresh cranberries from Costco one day thinking we could get a head start on shopping for Thanksgiving. I don’t think we could ever eat a Costco sized bag portion of cranberry sauce, so I was excited to play with some new recipes to use up those pretty cranberries.

Cranberry Orange Granola

Since we have had a fairly busy fall so far, I thought we could use some quick morning breakfasts with some granola that also doubles as a great yogurt topper for school snacktime or toddler snacks.

Cranberry Orange Granola

This granola turned out so pretty and festive I’m actually storing it away to pack into some mason jars for teacher gifts!

Cranberry Orange Granola

5.0 from 4 reviews
Cranberry Orange Granola
Author: 
 
Ingredients
  • 10 cups oats
  • 4 cups raw pumpkin seeds, (raw sunflower seeds would work too)
  • 4 cups raw pecans (raw walnuts or raw almonds
  • would work too. I get all of these nuts in the linked Kirkland brand at Costco)
  • Juice of 2 lemons
  • 2 TB sea salt
  • 4 cups unsweetened shredded coconut
  • ½ cup avocado oil (melted butter or coconut oil would work too)
  • Juice and zest of 5 oranges
  • ½ cup raw honey (pure maple syrup or organic pure cane sugar or coconut sugar would work too)
  • 1 TB vanilla extract
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1½ cups dried cranberries (I get fresh and dried cranberries at Costco - the linked dried brand is what I get at Costco)
Instructions
  1. Pulse the pumpkin seeds and pecans in a food processor to the sized bits you want in your granola (you could chop with a knife too). I keep mine on the smaller side since I have little ones eating it - you can leave bigger chunks if you prefer.
  2. Put the oats, chopped nuts and seeds, the lemon juice, and sea salt in a large mixing bowl and fill with water until it just covers the mixture. Set the bowl in a warm spot in your kitchen to soak for 8 hours. This soaking process breaks down the phytic acid in the grain, nut, and seeds for better digestion. It also makes their nutrients more available to absorb.
  3. After soaking, put the oat, nut, and seed mixture in a strainer to drain while you put the rest of the ingredients into a large bowl or stockpot to mix. Add the drained oat/nut/seed mixture and combine the entire granola mixture well.
  4. Spread the granola mixture over your dehydrator trays (I use this one) and dehydrate at 135 degrees 8-12 hours until dry. You could bake this in the oven at 250 degrees for an hour or so just stir the mixture every half hour to ensure it gets completely dried out.

For more real food breakfast ideas, you can follow my Breakfast Ideas board on Pinterest!

More real food recipes you might like:

Grain Free Apple Cinnamon Granola

16506590686_35070ceaf9_z

Strawberry Quinoa Granola

Strawberry Quinoa Granola

School Morning Breakfast Menu Routines

Our School Morning Breakfast Menu & A *FREE* Printable Menu For YOU!

Simple Cinnamon Granola

16191599854_87f2a07e67_z

Feeding Babies Lunch Ideas Real Food 101 Real Food Tips School Holidays school lunches Snack Ideas Summer Picnic Series

Antioxidant Rich Berry Gummies

May 9, 2015

Antioxidant Rich Berry GummiesI cannot even wait for warmer weather to *finally* be (consistently) here! My goodness do we have a long winter – but, you guys…we have the best summer. I’m talking warm but not too warm, and on the hot days the amazing waters of Lake Michigan are right down the road to you cool you off with the world’s best kept secret in beautiful beach sand to relax in. Antioxidant Rich Berry GummiesAs much as I like to keep summer popsicles in the freezer for lazy summer days at home, we are actually on the go to the beach or park quite a bit during the summer. These berry gummies come in handy for a quick pick me up for the girls and an extra protein boost. They make for a pretty special treat in their eyes as well! One of my feeding mottos for kids is to make every bite count. I’m not a huge fan of empty calories, or just giving kids something to “hold them over” until lunch. They are on the grow all the time even through the teenage years, so I want every bite they take to count toward that. And especially in the little ones like toddlers, who don’t take in a whole lot of food volume in the first place – I am not about to snack them on a bag of fruit snacks with zero nutrient value. Antioxidant Rich Berry GummiesThese gummies are not only packed with protein rich grassfed gelatin, but my choice of fruit has a purpose too. Berries are loaded with antioxidants to protect and repair in the body. And since they have amazing flavor they is really no need for extra sweetening. Many days grabbing a hand full of berries and a slice of raw cheese or crispy nuts to bring to the park for a snack is my choice, but as my kids get older and see their peers with fun snacks in colorful bags, its been nice to have something like this to bring a smile to their face. They also make for great classroom birthday treats. We definitely do up fun birthday ice cream and special birthday cakes at home to celebrate, but I don’t think cupcakes need to be consumed both at their party and in the classroom (that usually happen within the same week!). These have been popular with my little girls’ classes so far (yes I realize they are young yet – we will take one year at a time to see if it goes over as well as they get older!) Antioxidant Rich Berry GummiesProduct links in this section are affiliate links. It does not cost you anything and helps maintain the free information on this site, as well as answer the questions of “what brand do you use?” Please know I never personally recommend any product I wouldn’t use on my own family.

A couple notes on the molds for the gummies! I really like the silicone molds that are firm to give a good hold, but also flexible enough that I can push out the gummies easily without them sticking, by popping the mold “inside out”. I have been using mine for years now and they have held up very well! I obviously have a house full of girls so I have a couple sheets of these flower molds and these bunny molds (which are great for celebrating Easter too!). But I am actually thinking about getting some of these plain circle molds, and these square molds since I’m thinking my nephews might prefer those to eat when they come visit! I thought these lego molds were pretty cool too! And I’m pretty sure even my girls would love these dinosaur molds and robot molds! The molds are a fun investment that you can use for everything from these gummies, to ice cube trays!

5.0 from 10 reviews
Antioxidant Rich Berry Gummies
Author: 
 
Ingredients
  • 3 cups frozen organic mixed berries (I get the big bags of frozen organic at Costco. Since berries are a heavily pesticided crop I would opt for organic.)
  • ¼ cup water
  • Optional ¼ cup raw honey (My kids are used to just the fruit, but if I am making these for other kids that might be used to sweeter food then I add it. If you have little ones I would leave it out and keep their palates used to just the fruit)
  • ¼ cup grassfed gelatin
Instructions
  1. Put the berries and mwater in a small sauce pan and bring to a simmer. Stir for a few minutes while everything melts and warms.
  2. Turn off the heat and add the raw honey. Stir to combine/melt.
  3. Put the warmed berry mixture in a food processor or blender, add the gelatin, and blend completely.
  4. Pour into your silicone molds (this amount fills about 48 slots in my molds) and refrigerate. I like to stick them in the freezer to make this part go faster – only takes about 15 minutes or so! The firmer, almost frozen gummies pop out of the molds nicer/easier too!
  5. After the mixture gels up, you can pop out the gummies – I just push the silicone mold “inside-out” – works great!
  6. Store your gummies in the fridge. They keep fine in the lunchbox without an ice pack though!

For more nourishing snack ideas check out my Snacks board on Pintrest!

More real food you might like:

5 Nourishing Summertime Popsicles

COVER Granola Bars

landscape bars Tropical Blender Sorbet

Tropical Blender Sorbet :: Refined Sugar Free & Dairy Free Energy Bars

13630292634_4d6bb268d5_z

School Holidays

20 Non Candy Valentine Gift Ideas For The Classroom

January 18, 2015

20 Non Candy Valentine Gift Ideas For The Classroom
Ok, so I think by this point in the school year, they have had enough.

You know…the candy thing.

Between birthday celebrations (times 20+ kids in a room), to Halloween, Thanksgiving parties, Holiday celebrations, and 100 days of school awards, I think it is safe to say they don’t really need any more candy.

And it isn’t to take away all of their fun. I actually love Valentine’s Day – I remember being excited about it in school, and I think it is a fun day to break up the winter blah’s that February can bring!

But to be honest, this is the time of year to be building their immune system, not tearing it down with more sugar.

I am in no way a certified teacher, but if it were up to me, I would not choose to have a room full of children hopped up on sugar and spinning around the classroom on red 40 dyes. (And as a parent, I do not care to come pick up my child from school only to have the sugar crash at home and deal with the behavior issues that ensue from the dyes).

So here are some non candy ideas to get your wheels turning. I say get your wheels turning, because let me tell you…I have the ideas for the non candy items, but I am not, I repeat, I am *not*, a crafty DIY’er. I will probably be having Chloe slide a sticker or 2 in her store bought Valentine’s cards. If you are the crafty type, I encourage you to hop on pintrest and see how really fun you can dress up these ideas – I was perusing just the other day to try to be inspired to craft and I saw some really cute ideas!

Most of these ideas you can find at dollar stores, party stores, or party sections in your local store. To be honest (and this probably ages me), I came from the time when you just gave the store bought Rainbow Bright valentine card and called it good. I would totally still be up for that, but alas…kids these days expect “something” with the card…that is a whole other post though 😉

20 Non Candy Valentine Gift Ideas For The Classroom

stickers
small tubs of play-doh or silly putty
pencils
pencil toppers
crayon shapes
kazoo
lip balm
small word search puzzles or mazes
small pack of crayons with small scratch pad
bookmark
temporary tattoos
seed packets (wild flower mixes, forget me nots, etc)
magnets
bubbles
friendship bracelets
bouncy balls
stamps
crazy straws
eraser toppers or shapes
chalk or sidewalk chalk
balloon (not inflated)

Tell me if I left anything out! What have you sent along as a non candy Valentine’s gift for the classroom?

This post was shared at Fat Tuesday and Real Food Wednesday!