Browsing Category

Holiday Recipes

Batch Up Meals Dinner Ideas Healthy Kids and Teens Holiday Recipes Lunch Ideas Real Food 101 Real Food Tips

Butternut Squash Pasta Salad :: Gluten & Dairy Free!

September 14, 2021

Your favorite autumn flavors of butternut squash, greens, apples, and cinnamon, tossed in a gluten & dairy free pasta salad, perfect warm or cold!

Butternut Squash Pasta Salad

A slow shift to cooler weather…

Other than the *most* amazing summer on the planet, with perfect 75-80 degree days, powdery beach sand under our feet, and glorious sunshine, early to mid autumn in Michigan is truly paradise. It’s a slow, subtle shift, really. The sky gets a little more golden. The mornings a bit more crisp. But it still warms up enough to enjoy our beautiful Lake Michigan shoreline most days. We swap bathing suits for light hoodies and shorts, and still get a chance to get our feet in the sand.

Holding onto our favorite summer pasta salad!

My girls don’t mind the weather change, in fact these born and bread Michiganders can hardly wait for snow! When they asked for their favorite summer pasta salad this week, I told them I’d give it an autumn twist since squash was a heck of an in-season deal this week. I flipped the oven on for the first time in a while, and set to work on a fun fall take on a pasta salad concept they love. (You can find my classic summertime pasta salad in my cookbook, The Little Lunchbox Cookbook!)

Butternut Squash Pasta Salad

Squash Prep Tips

One of our favorite household vegetables, squashes of all kinds hit our table multiple times per week. Squashes like butternut, pumpkin, and acorn squashes are loaded with minerals and vitamins that are vital to organ function and growing kids. Squash is also so kid friendly in taste, with a mild sweetness that amplifies with roasting – it is such a great starter veggie for any older kids that are veggie hesitant. I know that he actual cutting and prep of a squash can seem daunting, but just a quick peel (I find that a sturdy Y-Peeler works best for peeling hard squashes), and a few minutes to scoop the seeds out and cube it up is so worth getting the caramelizing sweetness on all sides of those little squash cubes! The kids will love it! You can also peel and cut the squash on a prep day, or hours in advance. Cut up squash keeps in the fridge for days, and then all you have to do on your weekday dinner night is toss it on the sheet pan to roast.

Butternut Squash Pasta Salad
Butternut Squash Pasta Salad

The Method :: The Roasted Veggies

There is something magical that happens when you roast just about any vegetable. The natural sweetness in the veggie shines, making them really hard to resist! Even the sweet purple onions get even sweeter with roasting, and give the most amazing flavor to the salad. I find these sweet purple onions to work well for kids – especially after they roast. The pungency is covered up with caramelized sweetness. Just toss the squash, onions, and garlic on the roasting pan with olive oil, salt, and pepper. While the veggies roast, you can prepare the pasta and get the dressing ready. In under a half hour your pasta salad can be ready!

Butternut Squash Pasta Salad

The Method :: The Butternut Squash Salad Dressing

One taste of this creamy, comforting salad dressing, and the kids will be asking for this on every salad this fall and winter! You’ll take some of the roasted squash and onions from the sheet pan, along with the roasted clove of garlic and blend it up with honey, cider vinegar, cinnamon, and some seasoning. The result is a smooth, spoon-lickable dressing perfect for this pasta salad, or any salads you make this fall!

Butternut Squash Pasta Salad

The Method :: Assembling the Butternut Squash Pasta Salad

The first thing you will add to your mixing bowl is the chopped spinach. Once the pasta is cooked and drained, you’ll toss that hot pasta with the spinach to wilt it down. Baby spinach has a beautiful way of adding nutrients to veggie dishes without a veggie taste – it just takes on whatever flavors the dressing have. It is such an easy thing to add in! Then, toss the pasta/spinach mixture with the rest of the pan roasted veggies and the freshly blended butternut squash dressing. You can eat the pasta salad warm, or chill it for a few hours to eat cold.

Butternut Squash Pasta Salad

Work and/or School Pasta Salad Prep and Packing

This huge bowl of pasta salad would be fantastic to serve at an autumn party, gathering, or holiday! But it is even more versatile than just an occasional holiday. The pasta salad will keep in the fridge for around 5 days. That makes it a really great make-ahead meal prep for work or school. If you prefer the pasta salad warm, you can use a thermos like my kids use for school. Or, for adults, you can try this super handing mini hot plate slow cooker that I used to use when I worked full time outside of the home to warm the pasta salad up. Add some meal prep chicken, beef, or egg, for protein too if you like! Your kids might also like this pasta salad cold. That makes for even easier packing and this salad doesn’t drip, so it can go right into a container, or into a bento box slot easily.

Butternut Squash Pasta Salad
Print Recipe
5 from 1 vote

Roasted Butternut Squash Pasta Salad

Ingredients

  • 1 small butternut squash peeled, seeded, and cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 1 medium purple onion quartered, then cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1-2 cloves of garlic peeled (leave whole to roast)
  • ½ cup plus 2 tbsp olive oil divided
  • 1 tsp sea salt divided
  • ¼ tsp pepper
  • 1 – 12-ounce box GF pasta of choice I use Jovial GF Farfalle
  • 2-3 cups baby spinach finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tbsp raw honey
  • ¼ tsp cinnamon
  • Pinch of red pepper flakes this leaves a “barely there” heat to the dressing, suitable for children. If you like more heat add more!
  • 1 small apple cut into 1-inch cubes (I do not peel mine, but you can)

Instructions

  • Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees, and line a large baking sheet with Silpat or parchment paper.
  • Toss the cubed butternut squash, purple onions, and garlic clove on the sheet pan with 2 tbsp olive oil, ½ tsp sea salt, and the pepper. Roast the squash, onions, and garlic at 350 degrees for 25 minutes. While the veggies roast, you can cook the pasta and get the dressing started.
  • Get the pasta boiling, and put the chopped spinach in a large mixing bowl (you’ll be putting the hot, cooked pasta over the spinach to wilt it later)
  • To make the dressing, put ½ cup of olive oil, ¼ – ½ tsp sea salt, apple cider vinegar, raw honey, cinnamon, and red pepper flakes into a blender or Magic Bullet. When the veggies are done roasting, add the roasted clove of garlic, and 1 cup of the roasted squash/onions to the blender. Blend the dressing until smooth and taste for salt. (Set the rest of the roasted veggies aside to toss with the pasta salad later)
  • When the pasta is done boiling to al dente, drain the pasta, and give the pasta a quick rinse. Add the hot pasta to the chopped spinach in the mixing bowl, and toss to combine and wilt the spinach.
  • Add the remaining roasted squash and onion to the mixing bowl with the pasta, along with the chopped apples and the butternut squash dressing, and toss to combine. Taste for seasoning and serve warm, or chill at least 3 hours to serve cold.

Notes

  • The pasta salad can be used as a make ahead meal prep lunch or dinner, keeping in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. Warm it up with a splash of water if you prefer it warm, or eat it cold!
  • Change up the roasted veggies! You can swap some of the squash for carrots or parsnips, sweet potatoes, or another squash like acorn or pumpkin!
  • The dressing is…amazing! Make extra for your salads for the week. The dressing will keep for about 5-7 days.
Butternut Squash Pasta Salad

More real food SQUASH recipes you might like!

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

Vanilla Cake With *The* Best Strawberry Frosting! :: Gluten Free, Dairy Free, Nut Free, Naturally Flavored, & Naturally Dyed!

May 30, 2021

Celebrate a special birthday with this yummy gluten free vanilla cake with the BEST naturally flavored and naturally dyed strawberry frosting!

Vanilla Cake With *The* Best Strawberry Frosting! :: Gluten Free, Dairy Free, Nut Free, Naturally Flavored, & Naturally Dyed!

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.

She’s 12!

Ah, you guys. This kid! If you had asked me 12 years ago what age made me the most nervous about having to navigate in motherhood, I probably would have said those tween-y, teen sort of ages, ya know? Babies? I could do that. But 12 year old’s that have thoughts and opinions? I remember being in 6th grade, ya’ll. (And alllll the toddler moms remind the tween momma that toddlers have all kinds of thoughts and opinions…amiright?!) I am actually absolutely adoring this age. Chloe is thoughtful and kind. She really does make me stop and think in different ways, and she makes me a better person everyday. I think most adults would struggle with the kind of empathy and compassion she has, and I am so glad she made me a momma 12 years ago!

Vanilla Cake With *The* Best Strawberry Frosting! :: Gluten Free, Dairy Free, Nut Free, Naturally Flavored, & Naturally Dyed!

Her favorite cake…and a last minute decision to blog it!

Chloe decided she wanted strawberry frosting this year, and while I’ve made this sort of cake before using freeze dried fruit, I’ve never blogged it! After I dressed this cake up on her birthday, I decided last minute to blog it for you…hence the reason why I don’t have all of the step by step instructions here that I typically do. I really hope you get a chance to try it though – the ingredients, and the steps are quite simple! Use the comment section below if you have specific questions!

Vanilla Cake With *The* Best Strawberry Frosting! :: Gluten Free, Dairy Free, Nut Free, Naturally Flavored, & Naturally Dyed!

Beautiful presentation, simple ingredients!

Oh, it’s just so pretty! You’d think this cake was dyed with red 40, or some other sort of dye, but all I use is freeze dried strawberries! They used to be a lot harder to find, but most grocery stores and health food stores carry them now, and you can find them online too. I tend to pick them up at Trader Joe’s. It is a super fun splurge to have amazing color, and even better – the BEST flavor! This cake and the frosting are also all gluten free, dairy free, and nut free!

Vanilla Cake With *The* Best Strawberry Frosting! :: Gluten Free, Dairy Free, Nut Free, Naturally Flavored, & Naturally Dyed!

The Method :: The Vanilla Cake

This is a simple vanilla cake, with big vanilla flavor. If you have a chance to use real vanilla bean, I would absolutely do that – it is my favorite. Extracts work well too. You’ll blend the wet ingredients for this cake, add the dry, and then divide the batter between 2 cake round pans to bake. It doesn’t get any easier than that!

Vanilla Cake With *The* Best Strawberry Frosting! :: Gluten Free, Dairy Free, Nut Free, Naturally Flavored, & Naturally Dyed!

The Method :: The Strawberry Frosting

Here’s the secret to this beautiful, absolutely delicious cake! The strawberry frosting! Freeze dried fruit packs a huge punch in a small package, and it doesn’t change the texture of the frosting like fresh or dried fruit does. There is zero extra moisture. If you used the same amount of fresh strawberries in this frosting as you do freeze dried, you’d have a big soupy mess. Fresh fruit is great to decorate the top with if you wish, or as a big bowl of fresh fruit on the side at the party, but for this cake, I promise you will be so glad you grabbed that bag of freeze dried strawberries. Simply buzz them up in a grinder or blender into a powder and cream them into the frosting! Be sure to check that your freeze dried strawberries don’t have any added sugar – some of them do and you really don’t need that!

Vanilla Cake With *The* Best Strawberry Frosting! :: Gluten Free, Dairy Free, Nut Free, Naturally Flavored, & Naturally Dyed!

It was a big hit!

This was all that was left after the party! I didn’t have time to set up a big photoshoot to get a pretty inside shot – but I hope this does the trick for you to see what the inside of the cake looks like. The vanilla cake is fluffy and moist, and not overly sweet, and the star of the show is definitely that flavor packed strawberry frosting!

Vanilla Cake With *The* Best Strawberry Frosting! :: Gluten Free, Dairy Free, Nut Free, Naturally Flavored, & Naturally Dyed!
Print Recipe
5 from 2 votes

Vanilla Cake With *The* Best Strawberry Frosting! :: Gluten Free, Dairy Free, Nut Free, Naturally Flavored, & Naturally Dyed!

Ingredients

For Two 9-Inch Cake Rounds ::

For the Strawberry Frosting ::

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees and use palm shortening or butter to grease 2 – 9 inch cake rounds. Trace the bottom of your cake rounds on parchment paper, cut the rounds out, and place the fitted parchment paper rounds on the bottom of your greased cake pans.
  • In a large mixing bowl, combine oil, sugar, and eggs, and beat for 1 minute.
  • Add the rest of the ingredients for the cupcakes and mix with beaters until combined.
  • Divide the batter between the 2 cake pans, and bake for 40 minutes – the cake should “spring” back when you touch it, and a toothpick will come out clean.
  • Let the cakes cool for 10 minutes before turning out onto cooling racks to cool completely before frosting.
  • When you are ready to frost, blend about 3/4 of the bag of freeze dried strawberries in a Magic Bullet type blender or coffee grinder until it becomes a fine powder. Set the rest of the freeze dried strawberries aside to crumble on the top of the cake later.
  • Blend the palm shortening, powdered sugar, freeze dried strawberry powder, coconut milk, and extracts until smooth. You can adjust the coconut milk depending on how thick or thin you like your frosting texture. I had wished I had added a bit more coconut milk to mine this time because it was a bit thicker – the strawberry powder adds another element of dry ingredient that soaks it up.
  • Crumble the remaining freeze dried strawberries to sprinkle over the top of the cake if you want for decoration!
Vanilla Cake With *The* Best Strawberry Frosting! :: Gluten Free, Dairy Free, Nut Free, Naturally Flavored, & Naturally Dyed!

More real food birthday recipes you might like!

Breakfast Ideas Holiday Recipes Occasional Treats Real Food 101 Real Food Tips

Gluten Free Mixed Berry Scones

March 30, 2021

Pretty little bursts of berry sprinkled throughout *the best* gluten free scones, for a delicious breakfast upgrade!

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 day of spring, and a new recipe to celebrate!

We welcomed the first days of spring last weekend with all the hiking, biking, and even Lake Michigan toe dipping! All that fresh spring air got us excited about the amazing produce that will be growing here shortly, and with Easter next weekend, I decided to grab some berries and try a new breakfast treat for our Easter brunch this Sunday!

A familiar scone base, with a sweet berry change up!

If you’ve been around these parts in the last year, you know that last spring I perfected a Funfetti Birthday Scone for my middle kiddo’s birthday! That scone base then became a Thanksgiving morning treat with warm fall spices and molasses in my Pumpkin Scones. So for this spring inspired version, I used pretty berries! I cannot wait to get our hands on fresh Michigan berries this summer and make them again!

Gluten Free Mixed Berry Scones

The Method :: The Scone Dough

Scones can feel intimidating, especially with squishy berries in the mix, but I promise this is not fussy. A simple dry ingredient combination, and let the butter shine! Crumble the cold butter into your flour, and then mix in your buttermilk. (I left instructions for making your own buttermilk or coconut buttermilk, which will give these scones a fluffed up, soft texture on the inside.) Once your dough is moist with buttermilk, you’ll fold in the berries gently with a rubber scraper to start, and then I found using my hands was the easiest way to get it all to come together into a loose dough.Once you flour your counter, use your hands to gently form a disk, then use a rolling pin to gently roll the disk to about just over an inch. After cutting your disk into eighths, place the scones a baking tray to bake. You can brush the tops of your scones with more milk and sprinkle a bit of sugar to make for a crispy, top.

Gluten Free Mixed Berry Scones
Gluten Free Mixed Berry Scones
Gluten Free Mixed Berry Scones

The Method :: The Lemon Glaze

We played around with this lemon glaze a lot! My husband and I enjoyed a good tablespoon of lemon juice, while the kids were more into just a couple teaspoons. It really depends on your palate, so I recommend starting out with a teaspoon and working up from there to your taste. Remember the glaze will be drizzled over very lightly sweetened scones, so the sweet lemon flavor will blend into the scone some too. Berries and fresh lemon – what’s not to love?!

Gluten Free Mixed Berry Scones
Gluten Free Mixed Berry Scones

Freezer friendly!

I popped this whole batch of scones in the freezer for Easter this weekend! After a few days, I took them out to see how they would thaw and feel, and they are perfect. That means you can bake ahead of time if you want. Or you could even get the dough ready and cut out into triangles, and freeze the dough triangles so that you can bake them fresh on the morning you want to eat them.

Gluten Free Mixed Berry Scones

Berry Ideas

One of the things I am super pumped to hear from YOU is all of the great berry combos that you are able to make with these scones this summer! Please keep me posted on your favorites, and others will be able to try your favorite combinations. From blackberries and raspberries, to mulberries, blueberries, strawberries, and more!

Gluten Free Mixed Berry Scones

Let’s talk about swaps

I am pretty sure most Gluten Free Flour blends will swap in the recipe fine. Scones are treats in my house, so I don’t worry about the protein content, or try to get extra special “healthy” flours into the dough, because I don’t serve them daily. This is meant to go with a brunch table for Easter, or for a special breakfast in the summer served with sausage and eggs. I do think if you are not gluten free, and want to use an all purpose flour, it should work ok. I also think that if you are dairy free, you could use a good quality palm shortening instead of the butter.

Gluten Free Mixed Berry Scones

Gluten Free Mixed Berry Scones

Ingredients

  • 1 cup buttermilk or coconut buttermilk to make 1 cup of buttermilk, put 1 tbsp of apple cider vinegar in a liquid measuring cup, and fill with full fat milk or coconut milk to the 1 cup line. Stir together and let it sit while you get the rest of the ingredients together
  • 3 cups Namaste GF Flour Blend fluff the flour before measuring so it isn’t packed down
  • ¼ cup organic pure cane sugar plus a little more for sprinkling the tops of the scones if you wish
  • 2 tsp aluminum free baking powder
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1 tsp zest from a lemon this is the zest from 1 small lemon
  • 8 oz cold butter 2 sticks, cut into cubes
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups berries if using strawberries, be sure to cut them about the same size as any other berries in the scone so they mix uniformly.
  • 1/3 cup organic powdered sugar
  • 2-3 tsp juice from the lemon you zested for the scone

Instructions

  • Pre-heat the oven to 375 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  • Make your buttermilk first if you don’t have store-bought buttermilk.
  • In a large mixing bowl, whisk the flour, cane sugar, baking powder, sea salt, and lemon zest
  • Use a pastry cutter or your hands to cut the cold butter into the flour. You want to still be able to see small pieces of butter throughout. See the picture above for reference. I do not have a pastry cutter – I just use my hands!
  • Pour the buttermilk and vanilla extract into the flour/butter mixture and use a rubber scraper to mix. Add the berries to fold in gently. I use the rubber scraper to start, and finish with my hands gently.
  • Flour your counter, turn the dough out onto the floured surface, and gently make a disk with your hands. You can use a rolling pin to gently roll the dough to about 1 inch thick, and then use your hands again to shape the disk into a perfect circle.
  • Cut the disk into eighths, and place the triangles onto the parchment paper lined baking sheet. Brush the tops of the scones with a light coating of milk or coconut milk, and sprinkle with a little sugar if you wish.
  • Bake the scones at 375 degrees for 30 minutes until the edges are golden. Cool the scones completely before icing.
  • To make the icing, whisk the powdered sugar and 1 tbsp of lemon juice in a small dish and drizzle over the tops of the cooled scones. The icing will dry and harden within about 20 minutes.

Notes

  • You can swap the lemon juice in the icing for coconut milk or regular milk/cream if you don’t want the extra lemon flavor.
  • If you want a thicker glaze, add more powdered sugar, or decrease the amount of liquid in the glaze (lemon juice or coconut milk)
  • The scones freeze very well! Just cool completely, put the icing on and let it harden, and then freeze them in freezer bags.
Gluten Free Mixed Berry Scones

More real food recipes you might like!

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

Gluten Free Chocolate Cupcakes For Birthday, Valentine’s Day, or any Occasion! :: Gluten Free, Dairy Free, Nut Free!

January 20, 2021

Use these decadent gluten free chocolate cupcakes for everything from birthday, Valentine’s Day, and everything in between!

Gluten Free Chocolate Cupcakes For Birthday, Valentine's Day, or any Occasion! :: Gluten Free, Dairy Free, Nut Free!
Product links in this post are affiliate links. It does not cost you anything, and helps maintain the free information on this site, as well as answer the questions of “what brand do you use?” Please know I never personally recommend any product I wouldn’t use on my own family.

Everyone needs a staple chocolate cupcake recipe in their back pocket!

And if you have tween and teen girlies in the house, it is an absolute must! This recipe is quite truly a few years in the making, as I have tried and tested it out every so often on holidays or birthdays. I can confidently say that this will become your very favorite, fool-proof chocolate cupcake on everything from birthdays to Valentine’s Day…and everything in between!

Gluten Free Chocolate Cupcakes For Birthday, Valentine's Day, or any Occasion! :: Gluten Free, Dairy Free, Nut Free!

Let’s talk about this dairy free thing!

I’ve become such a huge fan of using palm shortening for creamy frostings since my need to be off dairy years ago. While I can tolerate butter now, I still tend to go back to the palm shortening for frostings – if you are dairy free I think you are going to be so relieved to find a replacement to still make a “buttercream!” If you tolerate butter, you can swap the palm shortening for unsalted butter, and swap the coconut milk for regular milk in the cupcake recipe.

Gluten Free Chocolate Cupcakes For Birthday, Valentine's Day, or any Occasion! :: Gluten Free, Dairy Free, Nut Free!

No gluten, nuts, or soy either!

Because I want you to be able to host a birthday party for your little one’s, dear momma! And we want safe cupcakes for those birthday treats at school – even the schools with nut free school zones, or kids that have celiac. I promise the texture of these cupcakes feel exactly like regular cake – kids that are not gluten free will never know!

Gluten Free Chocolate Cupcakes For Birthday, Valentine's Day, or any Occasion! :: Gluten Free, Dairy Free, Nut Free!

Soft, fluffy, rich, and decadent!

These sweet little handfuls are everything you want in a chocolate cupcake. A few friends that have tested them out for me cannot even tell they are gluten and dairy free. So let’s just get right down to it! I’ll show you how the cupcakes are made, and then we’ll get to the fun part – dressing them up! I have so many ideas for you!

Gluten Free Chocolate Cupcakes For Birthday, Valentine's Day, or any Occasion! :: Gluten Free, Dairy Free, Nut Free!

The Method :: The Chocolate Cupcakes

Chocolate cupcake batter is about as easy as it gets. A one-bowl wonder, chocolate cake batter is a simple mix of wet and dry that come together into a very rich, dark batter loaded with chocolatey goodness! Over the years I have become a huge fan of coffee to replace some of the liquid in chocolate cakes – you’ll never taste the coffee, but it does, in fact give the chocolate a richness and depth that you can’t achieve with plain water or milk. So a simple half and half mixture of coconut milk and brewed coffee make up my cake liquid. You can see the Notes section of the recipe card for swaps if you are sensitive to coffee. Once the chocolate cake batter is mixed, you’ll scoop the decadent mixture into your cupcake tin and bake.

Gluten Free Chocolate Cupcakes For Birthday, Valentine's Day, or any Occasion! :: Gluten Free, Dairy Free, Nut Free!
Gluten Free Chocolate Cupcakes For Birthday, Valentine's Day, or any Occasion! :: Gluten Free, Dairy Free, Nut Free!

The Method :: The Chocolate Frosting

Once you cupcakes are cooled, you can blend the frosting ingredients until smooth. Adjust the amount of coconut milk to your frosting texture preference. Around these parts, we like our frosting rich and thick, so just a few tablespoons is enough! You can spread or pipe your frosting, and if you don’t have a fancy piping bag, simply snip the corner of a zip top freezer bag, and voila! You can pipe your frosting!

Gluten Free Chocolate Cupcakes For Birthday, Valentine's Day, or any Occasion! :: Gluten Free, Dairy Free, Nut Free!
Gluten Free Chocolate Cupcakes For Birthday, Valentine's Day, or any Occasion! :: Gluten Free, Dairy Free, Nut Free!

Let’s dress them up! :: BIRTHDAYS!

There is nothing like a chocolate cupcake to celebrate your birthday! While I’m perfectly giddy about a generous swirl of chocolate frosting and chocolate sprinkles for my birthday, if you have kiddos in the house, you’re sure to want to have these rainbow sprinkles on hand! I am also a huge fan of fun cupcake toppers using the theme of the birthday for my girls. For instance, we’ve done a beach birthday bash for my summer birthday sweetpea with these beach themed toppers! {HERE are the polka dot rainbow cupcake liners in the birthday cupcake images in this post!}

Gluten Free Chocolate Cupcakes For Birthday, Valentine's Day, or any Occasion! :: Gluten Free, Dairy Free, Nut Free!

Let’s dress them up! :: VALENTINE’S DAY!

Is it even Valentine’s Day without chocolate?! I think not! We are absolutely here for it in our house, and there are some great options for naturally dyed Valentine’s Day sprinkles now.

  • I used these Valentine’s Day sprinkles in the images for this post, or there is this option too.
  • I also happen to think that poking a little hole in the top of your baked cupcake, putting some strawberry jam in the middle, covering with frosting, and topping with a strawberry is the perfect heart day chocolate strawberry treat!
  • Another idea for your chocolate cupcakes on Valentine’s Day is using some freeze dried strawberries or raspberries blended into the frosting to give it a chocolate covered fruit flavor.
  • You could also skip the chocolate in the frosting and use the freeze dried strawberries or raspberries to make pink fruit flavored frosting.
  • {HERE are the cupcake liners used in the Valentine’s Day cupcake images!}
Gluten Free Chocolate Cupcakes For Birthday, Valentine's Day, or any Occasion! :: Gluten Free, Dairy Free, Nut Free!

Let’s dress them up! :: NEW YEAR’S EVE!

We rang in 2021 with the chocolate cupcakes pictured below that I posted to IG, and I truly couldn’t have thought of a better way to say good-bye to 2020! We sprinkled sugar crystals on the top – although I think the best adult way to make them would have been with flaked sea salt on the top! YUM!

Gluten Free Chocolate Cupcakes For Birthday, Valentine's Day, or any Occasion! :: Gluten Free, Dairy Free, Nut Free!

A cupcake for every occasion!

I can’t wait to see your chocolate cupcake creations this year! Be sure to tag on Insta or the Facebook, send emails or private messages, and comment below! Happy cupcake-ing to you!

Gluten Free Chocolate Cupcakes For Birthday, Valentine's Day, or any Occasion! :: Gluten Free, Dairy Free, Nut Free!
Print Recipe
5 from 1 vote

Chocolate Cupcakes :: Gluten Free, Dairy Free, Nut Free!

Ingredients

FOR THE CHOCOLATE CUPCAKES

FOR THE CHOCOLATE CREAM FROSTING

Instructions

  • Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees and line 2 dozen cupcake tins with paper liners.
  • Brew your coffee while you prepare the batter.
  • Mix the ACV and coconut milk to make coconut “buttermilk.” Put the eggs, olive oil, sugar, vanilla extract, and coconut milk/ACV into a large mixing bowl and blend until smooth.
  • Add the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, sea salt, and brewed coffee, and blend until smooth and combined.
  • Scoop the batter into your cupcake tins (you’ll fill 24 cupcakes around ¾ full of batter). Bake the cupcakes at 350 degrees for 30-40 minutes. Bake time depends on oven variations, and cupcake tin material/color (Darker pans will bake faster than lighter pans or silicone pans.) A toothpick should come out clean from the center and the middle should spring back to touch.
  • Cool the cupcakes in the pan for a few minutes before turning them out onto a wire cooling rack to cool.
  • Let the cupcakes cool completely before frosting. Blend the frosting ingredients and frost to your liking.

Notes

  • If you tolerate dairy, you can swap the coconut milk for regular milk, and the palm shortening for unsalted butter.
  • If you are sensitive to coffee, you can swap the coffee for coconut milk or even just hot water (coffee is really just coffee infused water!). I had a friend trial the cupcakes with the coconut milk swap and the texture was great.
  • I have not tried this recipe with other GF flour blends. I think most will work, but if your blend does not have xanthan gum, you might want to add that for texture. I also have not tried the recipe with regular flour since I cannot have it. If you do try, let us know how you did in the comments!
  • This recipe only has 2 eggs, so I would imagine you could use egg replacer or flax egg if you are egg free. The cupcakes might not puff up as much, but it would bind ok with that! 
Gluten Free Chocolate Cupcakes For Birthday, Valentine's Day, or any Occasion! :: Gluten Free, Dairy Free, Nut Free!

More real food recipes you might like ::

Dinner Ideas Feeding Babies Healthy Kids and Teens Holiday Recipes Lunch Ideas Nourishing Staples Real Food 101 Real Food Tips

How To Make Kid Approved Creamed Vegetables With Any Veggie!

October 26, 2020

Veggie vitamins need healthy fat to absorb, so we might as well make them taste amazing with kid approved creamed vegetables using any veggie!

How To Make Kid Approved Creamed Vegetables With Any Veggie!

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.

Back to the basics

Last week, I happened to Instagram a quick veggie side dish that has been one of my go-to, “clear out the veggie bin at the end of the week” side dishes since my crew was very little. I was pretty blown away by the interest in the recipe specifics, but I can’t say super surprised, because it is one of the things that I adore the most about this RGN community. The following here is one of actual, real, everyday moms trying to do this real food thing with normal mom schedules and budgets…and this is as real life as it gets my friends!

A busy momma’s best friend!

This easy veggie side dish is going to become a regular on your dinner rotation – I happen to know because it most definitely was when my babies were very little, and still as as my girls have grown. An auto-pilot, nutrient-loaded way to get vegetables into my growing girls that they willingly (happily even!) inhaled each and every time when they were tiny, and ask for a lot as older kids! In right around 10 minutes, this kid approved veggie side can go alongside everything from a Sunday roasted chicken or beef roast, to a weekday pan seared fish.

One of my girls as a toddler gobbling creamy veggies!

For nutrient absorption, fat is where it’s at!

Dear momma, I hope you’ve hear the news by now that healthy fats are not the enemy. If you are anywhere near my age (I’ll be 41 next week!), I’m willing to bet that you grew up with a plethora of low fat food items in the pantry, and heaven forbid there ever be a stick of butter in the house. No, we grew up with a tub of rancid margarine in the fridge, and were told to stay as “low fat” as possible to be healthy. Thankfully the we have learned more about real, healthy fats, and their importance in our bodies. For hormones, for brain function…and for nutrient absorption! Fat soluble vitamins in many fresh foods from vegetables to pastured animal products need fat to even get into the tissues of our body. The very word “soluble,” meaning “able to be dissolved” should clue us in on how these fat soluble vitamins should be consumed. I love this article from my friend Jenny at Nourished Kitchen explaining the role that fat takes when eating fresh food.

How To Make Kid Approved Creamed Vegetables With Any Veggie!
Go on and butter up those veggies, dear momma! They help the vitamins in those veggies absorb and make them taste great for kids! Missing my babies at this age!

Ok, I get it! Fat is good to consume with veggies! Now how do we make the creamy veggies?!

I’m so glad you asked! One of the reasons I have never posted this recipe is because I kinda thought it might be too simplistic. The reality is, however, that these simple dishes happen more often in my house than fancy baking, fun treats, or elaborate dinners. This is the everyday grind, and I am committed to helping the moms of this generation learn how to cook real food everyday – not just every once and a while!

How To Make Kid Approved Creamed Vegetables With Any Veggie!

Let’s talk about what veggies to use!

The total amount of veggies including the onion is about 6-8 cups chopped. The whole point of this kind of skillet side is to use what you have, so change up the veg to what is in season in your veggie bin, and what you have leftover that needs to be used up at the end of the week. Add some frozen corn if you can have grains to add an extra pop of color! You can swap the carrot for sweet potato or bell peppers. Brussel sprouts, cauliflower, or asparagus swap well for broccoli. And zucchini swaps great for the green beans. Chopped spinach always wilts in at the end very well. Just remember 6-8 cups totally veggies – the cooking of the veg in the fat will bring out any veggies natural sweetness and make them super kid friendly in taste 😊

How To Make Kid Approved Creamed Vegetables With Any Veggie!

The cooking method

The key to making these veggies palatable to children lies in the cook method and the fat. Let the veggies get super soft and sweet, cooking in that fat for a good 5-10 minutes before making the cream sauce. You will be so glad you did. This method is the same that I use for the base of just about every veggie soup on the blog, and many dinners as well. It helps the veggie’s natural sugars shine and kids really love them!

How To Make Kid Approved Creamed Vegetables With Any Veggie!

Budget friendly

Because if we are going to do this real food thing, there are some things that are going to be spendy, such as buying quality meat and eggs. In order to balance that out in my budget, we pile high the budget friendly veg. Cabbage, green beans, carrots, spinach – we’re talking high nutrients with very little cost. The veggie fiber is priceless, and we already talked about how that little bit of fat swirled in helps all of the nutrients absorb. That is a big time budget win!

How To Make Kid Approved Creamed Vegetables With Any Veggie!

Serving suggestions

I used this creamed veggie skillet as a side to everything from a big Sunday dinner to an easy weeknight meal. Here are some ideas:

How To Make Kid Approved Creamed Vegetables With Any Veggie!
How To Make Kid Approved Creamed Vegetables With Any Veggie!
Print Recipe
5 from 1 vote

How To Make Kid Approved Creamed Vegetables With Any Veggie!

Ingredients

  • 2-3 tbsp healthy fat to cook in butter, ghee, olive oil, avocado oil, etc
  • ½ medium onion diced
  • ¼ – ½ medium cabbage sliced thin
  • 1 large carrot peeled and diced
  • 1 head broccoli florets chopped
  • 2 handfuls frozen green beans cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 3 cloves of garlic minced
  • 2 tbsp flour of choice to thicken any GF flour blend or regular flour, rice flour, or if you are grain free, you could use tapioca starch, potato starch, or arrowroot
  • 1 cup full fat coconut milk or regular milk/cream if you can have dairy
  • ½ cup cheese of choice shredded (If you cannot have dairy and tolerate goat or sheep milk cheese, that would work great. Or if you can’t have that, try adding in about 1 tbsp of nutritional yeast to add some cheesy flavor)
  • Sea salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

  • Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat and add the onion, cabbage, carrot, and broccoli with a big pinch of sea salt. Stir to combine and cook over medium high heat for about 5-7 minutes until the veggies are soft and sweet.
  • Stir in the frozen green beans and garlic and cook for 2-3 minutes.
  • Sprinkle the flour into the cooked veggies and stir to coat them well. Then, pour the coconut milk into the pan, and stir until the sauce thickens about a minute or 2. Turn off the heat, and stir in the cheese. Salt and pepper the veggies to your taste.

Notes

The total amount of veggies including the onion is about 6-8 cups chopped. The whole point of this kind of skillet side is to use what you have, so change up the veg to what is in season in your veggie bin, and what you have leftover that needs to be used up at the end of the week! Add some frozen corn if you can have grains to add an extra pop of color! You can swap the carrot for sweet potato or bell peppers. Brussel sprouts, cauliflower, or asparagus swap well for broccoli. And zucchini swaps great for the green beans. Chopped spinach always wilts in at the end very well. Just remember 6-8 cups totally veggies – the cooking of the veg in the fat will bring out any veggies natural sweetness and make them super kid friendly in taste 😊
How To Make Kid Approved Creamed Vegetables With Any Veggie!

More real food recipes you might like ::

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

Gluten Free Pumpkin Scones with Brown Sugar Glaze

October 21, 2020

The most perfect buttery scones swirled with sweet pumpkin and warm fall spices!

Gluten Free Pumpkin Scones with Brown Sugar Glaze

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.

Fall fun, and a new pumpkin breakfast treat!

We couldn’t have asked for a more perfect fall weekend for picking out pumpkins for Halloween! Pretty blue skies, and even a little warmth to the sun had my little Michigander kiddos peeling off their coats despite the crisp 50 degree air! The hayride was filled with anticipation, and when their eyes saw caught a glimpse of the pumpkin patch, you would have thought it was Christmas morning. These fields were packed! The girls will be working on carving their Halloween pumpkins this weekend, so I decided to work on a fun pumpkin scone recipe for them to savor this fun season!

Gluten Free Pumpkin Scones with Brown Sugar Glaze

A birthday treat favorite with a fall twist!

Last spring we created what has become our household birthday breakfast tradition in these Funfetti Birthday Scones. I had a feeling I could use that recipe for just about any scone flavor, so this summer I played around with various summer berries with some successes that I’ll probably share next summer! I fell in love with the warm spices of pumpkin pie in these scones, and they are going to be so perfect for Halloween morning and Thanksgiving brunch!

Gluten Free Pumpkin Scones with Brown Sugar Glaze

The Method :: The Pumpkin Scone Dough

I promise this scone batter is easy to work with and fuss free. Scones used to intimidate me because I’ve had numerous overly dry scones in my life! While the crispy, almost crunchy outside of a scone is a staple texture, one that falls apart in a crumble is not my idea of a great breakfast treat! These scones will gift you with a crispy outside and a super buttery, flaky inside – just perfect with your cup of coffee (or your favorite pumpkin spice latte!). Simply use a fork or pastry cutter to break up the butter into the dry ingredients, and then mix in the wet ingredients until a dough of cookie batter texture forms.

Gluten Free Pumpkin Scones with Brown Sugar Glaze

The Method :: Rolling & Cutting the Pumpkin Scone Dough

Once you’ve kneaded your pumpkin scone dough, you can flour your rolling surface and create a disk. Roll your disk out to about 1 inch or so, and then make sure the edges are smooth using your hands to form it into a perfect circle. I like to use my pizza wheel to cut the disk into eighths.

Gluten Free Pumpkin Scones with Brown Sugar Glaze
Gluten Free Pumpkin Scones with Brown Sugar Glaze

The Method :: Baking the Scones

Before you bake off your scones, you can sprinkle the tops with a bit of sugar if you are feeling sassy enough 🙂 You’ll want to completely cool your scones before moving on to the fun part – the brown sugar glaze!

Gluten Free Pumpkin Scones with Brown Sugar Glaze

The Method :: The Brown Sugar Glaze

Once the scones have cooled, you’ll whisk the glaze ingredients in a small dish and then let the kids have at it with the drizzle! It doesn’t have to be perfect and they will feel so proud to make their own swirly glaze designs!

Gluten Free Pumpkin Scones with Brown Sugar Glaze

How mild is the pumpkin pie spice?

Your home is going smell amazing while these scones are baking! If you love the aroma of pumpkin pie, you will be wanting to bake these off every weekend! I felt like the pumpkin pie spice flavor was very mild – in fact my non-pumpkin anything husband tried a slice of the scone and really liked it. That said you could swap the pumpkin pie spice for cinnamon if you think that might go over better.

Gluten Free Pumpkin Scones with Brown Sugar Glaze

Tips and swaps for the Brown Sugar Glaze

While we simply adore the dark brown sugar flavor that a full teaspoon of molasses gives, I understand that some may find that strong. If you prefer a milder, light brown sugar taste, just use half of a teaspoon. I also think that the glaze would be amazing as a Cinnamon Glaze! Leave the molasses out and sprinkle in some cinnamon if you think your crew would love that! The glaze drizzles so nicely and then will harden on the scone within about 20 minutes.

Gluten Free Pumpkin Scones with Brown Sugar Glaze

Freezer Friendly

Scones freeze so nicely! You can either freeze the scone dough, or you can bake the scones off and freeze them that way. I prefer to freeze them without the glaze, and then just glaze them when they thaw out, but you could glaze and freeze. This makes for a very nice make ahead breakfast or brunch idea for Thanksgiving – make the scones days in advance for your company, and you won’t have to bake them on Thanksgiving morning!

Gluten Free Pumpkin Scones with Brown Sugar Glaze
Print Recipe
5 from 1 vote

Gluten Free Pumpkin Scones with Brown Sugar Glaze

Ingredients

For the Pumpkin Scones:

For the Brown Sugar Glaze:

Instructions

  • Pre-heat the oven to 375 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  • Whisk the coconut milk, pumpkin puree, molasses, vanilla, and vinegar until smooth. I use my 2 cup Pyrex liquid measuring cup so that I can just measure the coconut milk and pumpkin right in the cup, add the molasses and vinegar, and whisk. Set this mixture aside.
  • In a large mixing bowl, whisk the flour, cane sugar, pumpkin pie spice, baking powder, and sea salt.
  • Use a pastry cutter or a fork to cut the cold butter into the flour. You want to still be able to see small pieces of butter throughout.
  • Pour the coconut milk/pumpkin mixture into the flour/butter mixture and use a rubber scraper to mix. I use the rubber scraper to start, and finish with my hands.
  • Flour your counter, and knead the dough a few times. Make a disk with your hands, roll the dough to about 1 inch thick, and then use your hands again to shape the disk into a perfect circle.
  • Cut the disk into eighths, and place the triangles onto the parchment paper lined baking sheet. (At this point, you can brush the tops of the scones with a light coating of milk or coconut milk, and sprinkle with a little sugar if you wish.)
  • Bake the scones at 375 degrees for 30 minutes until the edges are golden. Cool the scones completely before drizzling the glaze on top.
  • To make the brown sugar glaze, whisk the powdered sugar, molasses, and milk in a small dish and drizzle over the tops of the cooled scones. The glaze will dry and harden within about 20 minutes.
Gluten Free Pumpkin Scones with Brown Sugar Glaze

More real food recipes you might like ::

Dinner Ideas Healthy Kids and Teens Holiday Recipes Real Food 101 Real Food Tips

Gluten Free Pumpkin Enchiladas

October 7, 2020

Put a fall spin on your favorite Taco Tuesday enchiladas with an easy and delicious and pumpkin enchilada sauce!

Gluten Free Pumpkin Enchiladas

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.

Jackets, jeans, and fuzzy hats…

Yup, we pulled out the ‘ol fall bin of outside gear this past week, and it looks like it’s pretty much here to stay! It kinda feels like I just put all of this stuff away, but the reality is, our fall season is pretty amazing, and we’ll take all the chilly autumn hikes and pretty fall colors as we can!

Gluten Free Pumpkin Enchiladas

A new spin on a family favorite!

Enchiladas are always a very enthusiastic dinner night in our house! Maybe a once a month treat during warmer months, they become more like an every other week thing when the weather turns cold. Last fall, I played around with the idea of a pumpkin base for the enchilada sauce instead of my original tomato based enchilada sauce, because I didn’t have tomato sauce in my pantry. The result was a very rich, perfectly decadent pumpkin enchilada sauce with subtle hints of the fall season. My crew was in love!

Gluten Free Pumpkin Enchiladas

The Method :: The Pumpkin Enchilada Sauce

In under 10 minutes, your pumpkin enchilada sauce will be done, and I think you are going to be floored at the rich flavor! You can make your sauce ahead of time on a prep day too. Just cook the aromatics in some butter and then simmer with canned pumpkin, broth, and warm seasonings. You’ll then use an immersion blender to smooth it all out into a velvety sauce for the enchiladas.

Gluten Free Pumpkin Enchiladas

The Method :: The Pumpkin Enchilada Filling

You’ll have to restrain yourself from sneaking spoonful after spoonful of this enchilada filling before you stuff your tortillas! The veggies cook down super sweet, not only giving the filling amazing flavor, but also packing out the meal with mineral rich veggies for the family! You can use whatever protein you wish! We purchase a half of a grass-fed cow each year, so I usually use our ground beef, but chicken or beans work great here too. Once the filling cooks, you will stir in some of the pumpkin enchilada sauce and some cheese, making a seriously addicting enchilada filling!

Gluten Free Pumpkin Enchiladas

The search for the best gluten free tortillas

If your household has to be gluten free, it is SO worth the little bit of time it takes to make your own tortillas with my new tortilla recipe! Most gluten free wraps that you get from the store are fussy to work with, and they are so expensive! You can make a batch of these tortillas up to a day in advance, and they will roll right up for you with the greatest of ease. You could also make them on a prep day and just stash them away in the freezer so that you can use them when you are ready.

Gluten Free Pumpkin Enchiladas

Feed a crowd!

I think this fun spin on a classic would be perfect to serve on Halloween night before trick-or-treating, or at any fall parties! The recipe as written feeds my family of 2 adults and 3 older kids for one meal with some leftover for one or 2 people the next day. If you have a smaller family or younger children, this will definitely feed you for 2 meals. If you are feeding a crowd, perhaps roll the tortillas tighter with less filling, or cut the tortillas in half so that the enchiladas themselves are smaller, party sized portions.

Gluten Free Pumpkin Enchiladas
Gluten Free Pumpkin Enchiladas
Print Recipe
5 from 1 vote

Gluten Free Pumpkin Enchiladas

Ingredients

FOR THE PUMPKIN ENCHILADA SAUCE ::

FOR THE ENCHILADAS ::

  • 2 tbsp butter or olive oil for cooking in
  • ½ medium onion diced
  • 1 red bell pepper diced
  • ¼ head of cabbage sliced into strips
  • 1 lb grassfed ground beef
  • 1 cup frozen organic corn
  • 1 heaping handful of baby spinach chopped
  • 2 cups of cheese divided
  • 1 recipe of the above Pumpkin Enchilada Sauce
  • 8-10 tortillas of choice depending on the size of your tortillas (I use my own GF Tortillas, but store bought is fine too)

Instructions

Make the Pumpkin Enchilada Sauce:

  • Melt the butter in a large sauce pot over medium high heat and add the onion and pepper with 1 tsp of sea salt. Cook the veggies until soft and sweet, about 7 minutes.
  • Add the garlic, chili powder, cumin, and cinnamon and stir to combine, cooking for 1 minute.
  • Add the pumpkin, green chilis, and water, stir to combine and bring to a simmer for 3 minutes.
  • Turn the heat off and use an immersion blender or regular blender to blend the sauce until smooth. Sea salt and pepper the sauce to your taste.

Make the Enchilada Filling:

  • Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium high heat, and add the onion, pepper, and cabbage with a big pinch of sea salt. Cook over medium high heat for 10 minutes until the veggies are soft and sweet.
  • Add the ground beef and cook through until browned.
  • Add the corn and baby spinach and cook for 5 minutes over medium heat until the spinach wilts and the corn is soft.
  • Turn the heat off and stir in ½ cup or so of cheese, and 1 ½ cups of the Pumpkin Enchilada sauce.

Assemble and bake the Pumpkin Enchiladas:

  • Pre-heat the oven to 400 degrees.
  • Spread 1 cup of the Pumpkin Enchilada Sauce on the bottom of a 9×13 baking dish or casserole pan.
  • Scoop the pumpkin enchilada filling into your tortilla shells (I use my own GF Tortillas but store bought is fine too), roll them up, and line them up in the casserole pan. The amount of filling in the shells will depend on what the size of your tortillas are.
  • Once you have all of your enchilada tortillas filled and lined up, pour the remaining pumpkin enchilada sauce over the top of the rolled up tortillas and sprinkle with 1 – 1 ½ cups of cheese.
  • Cover the baking dish with foil and bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes until the sauce and cheese are bubbling. You can put the pan under the broiler for a few minutes if you would like a pretty browned top.
Gluten Free Pumpkin Enchiladas

More real food recipes you might like ::

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

Gluten Free Oatmeal Raisin Cookies :: Gluten Free, Dairy Free, and Nut Free

September 28, 2020

Chewy oatmeal raisin cookies with that perfect warm, sweet flavor and gluten, dairy, and nut free ingredients!

Gluten Free Oatmeal Raisin Cookies :: Gluten Free, Dairy Free, and Nut Free

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

Early fall colors, long hikes, and cookie treats!

This momma was born for the summer. Barefoot, sandy beach days, tan lines, and all the sunshine are totally my jam. But there is this little sweet spot when summer turns just ever so slightly into fall where we have this dance between cool, crisp mornings that quickly warm up into gorgeous 70 degree days. Add in little pops of leafy fall color, and the fact that most of the bugs are gone, and you could say early fall runs a very close second to my favorite season of the year. We take advantage of this little weather sweet spot for as many weekend hikes as we can, and sometimes packing an extra special cookie in our lunchboxes for the long hiking day is warranted!

Oatmeal raisin cookie nostalgia

Because we all grew up eating them out of Grandma’s cookie jar right?! I remember my Grandma had a little tin of cookies ranging from windmill cookies and crisp little chocolate chip cookies, to chewy oatmeal raisin. When the weather turns a bit cool, and I don’t mind having my oven on for a little bit, it’s fun to surprise the girls with a little cookie treat in our hiking day lunchboxes. These little oatmeal raisin cookies are as easy as can be to make, and they make a fun treat!

Gluten Free Oatmeal Raisin Cookies :: Gluten Free, Dairy Free, and Nut Free

Busy momma style cookie dough prep!

I made these cookies for the weekend during that little hour window of time that I usually have before picking the girls up from school on Friday. You can have the cookie dough done before the oven even pre-heats! The cookie dough is very fool-proof and easy to work with – the kids will love making these with you too! The oatmeal raisin cookie dough starts by creaming the wet ingredients before blending in the dry. It really does prep fast, and then you can stir in the raisins.

Gluten Free Oatmeal Raisin Cookies :: Gluten Free, Dairy Free, and Nut Free

To raisin or not to raisin?!

We absolutely raisin in this house – my kids adore them! But if your kids don’t love them, try swapping them out for a dried fruit that they do love. One of my girls likes these cookies the best with chopped figs! Dried apricots are lovely as well. And yes, I will totally give you permission to swap the dried fruit for chocolate chips if that’s how you like to roll!

Gluten Free Oatmeal Raisin Cookies :: Gluten Free, Dairy Free, and Nut Free

Chewy versus crunchy

I know this can be a very strong topic! People care about their cookie textures! I have the perfect texture baking time just for you! If you prefer a chewy oatmeal raisin cookie, you’ll bake your cookies around 12 minutes. For a crunchier version, simply add on a few minutes of cook time to your liking and they will crisp up!

Gluten Free Oatmeal Raisin Cookies :: Gluten Free, Dairy Free, and Nut Free

Healthier version, but still a treat!

I’m super proud to say that these cookies are safe for gluten and dairy free friends! If you are very sensitive to gluten, or have celiac, just be sure that your oats are certified gluten free. I also used half coconut sugar, and half regular organic sugar. Some of that purpose is because of the warm flavor that coconut sugar plus the touch of molasses gives to the cookie – it is like brown sugar! It also reduces the glycemic index a bit – coconut sugar is lower! That said, a cookie is still a cookie, and I’m not going to pretend that we should have one of these everyday. Just keep that in mind! They are fun, and certainly a better choice than most store bought versions.

Gluten Free Oatmeal Raisin Cookies :: Gluten Free, Dairy Free, and Nut Free

Freezer friendly

Because this recipe makes 16 large cookies, I tend to freeze what we don’t eat. That makes pulling out a fun “just because” treat on a Friday night that much easier! Or when you have “drop in” friends that visit, you can pull out a fun cookie to enjoy with them. Just cool the cookies completely, and pop them in a freezer bag. They thaw pretty quick, or you can put them in a warm oven to thaw and get warm.

Gluten Free Oatmeal Raisin Cookies :: Gluten Free, Dairy Free, and Nut Free
Gluten Free Oatmeal Raisin Cookies :: Gluten Free, Dairy Free, and Nut Free
Print Recipe
5 from 1 vote

Gluten Free Oatmeal Raisin Cookies :: Gluten Free, Dairy Free, and Nut Free

Ingredients

Instructions

  • Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees and line a baking sheet with Silpat or unbleached parchment paper.
  • Cream the palm shortening, coconut sugar, sugar, molasses, and vanilla with hand beaters, and then add the eggs and blend until creamy.
  • Add the oats, flour, baking soda, and salt and blend to combine. Add the raisins and use a spatula to combine evenly.
  • Roll 2-inch balls of cookie dough in your hand and place on the lined baking sheet. Press the dough into a disk with the palm of your hands, being sure to leave space around each cookie.
  • Bake the oatmeal raisin cookies at 350 degrees for 12 minutes until the edges are lightly golden brown for a chewy cookie. For a crunchier texture, bake an extra 2-3 minutes. Leave the cookies on the baking sheet for a few minutes before transferring to a cooling rack. They will be soft at first and firm up as they cool.
  • The oatmeal raisin cookies will keep on the counter or pantry in an airtight container for 2 days before they start drying out too much. If you have some left after a day or so, I suggest freezing them to maintain their chewy texture and moisture. They can go into a freezer bag easily, and they thaw out fast at room temp, or you can put them in a warm oven.
Gluten Free Oatmeal Raisin Cookies :: Gluten Free, Dairy Free, and Nut Free

More real food recipes you might like ::

Batch Up Meals Breakfast Ideas Healthy Kids and Teens Holiday Recipes Real Food 101 Real Food Tips

Gluten Free Fresh Apple Pancakes

September 22, 2020

Super soft and fluffy pancakes with a fresh apple twist and warm fall flavors!

Gluten Free Fresh Apple Pancakes

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

Apple abundance!

Michigan apple trees are quite literally bursting with fruit this year! We are having fun apple orchard hopping each weekend, supporting as many of our favorite farmers as we can…and having a lot of fun in the kitchen with apple recipes too!

Gluten Free Fresh Apple Pancakes

Breakfast goals

When I’m creating breakfast recipes for my kids, I usually have a few goals in mind. Sometimes I’m creating fun “every once and a while” recipes like apple coffee cake to be enjoyed on the weekend, that might be more on the “treat” side of things. Most of the time, however, when I’m recipe developing, I have school mornings and growing kids in mind. That means I don’t just want a pancake that will create a carb overload – I want every bite to count. That means a good balance of protein, fat, and carbohydrates, and that can get a bit tricky when you are picky about texture.

Gluten Free Fresh Apple Pancakes

Power packed ingredients with a super fluffy finish

The stars of the show in these pancakes are nutty, warm buckwheat and almond flours. Buckwheat is a seed that has a warm and nutty flavor that works so well with apples. There is a nice balance of protein and fiber making for a filling ingredient. It blends well with mild tasting almond flour, which also gives some healthy, filling fat and soft texture. Serve a stack of these pancakes with a side of eggs or sausage, or just have them alone with a pat of butter, nut butter, or coconut butter! Either way, the kids will be full and focused all morning!

Gluten Free Fresh Apple Pancakes

The Method :: The Egg Whites

Don’t skip this part! The key to super fluffy pancakes is just taking a minute to whip the egg whites separately. You’ll fold the egg whites into the batter at the very end, and I promise you will be glad you did when you see how light and fluffy your pancakes are.

Gluten Free Fresh Apple Pancakes

The Method :: The Apples

From apple chunks to applesauce, I’ve tried just about every kind of apple pancake almost every fall season. I have found over the years that my favorite way to make apple pancakes is with shredded apple. It doesn’t weigh down the pancake like applesauce does, and keeps them light and fluffy instead of soggy like they get when you use chunks. So grab a grater and quick give them a shred – the flavor of apple permeates every bite of light, fluffy pancake!

Gluten Free Fresh Apple Pancakes

The Method :: The Batter

Once you’ve separated your eggs, and whipped the whites, you’ll blend the wet ingredients, and then add in the dry. The batter will feel a bit thicker than usual pancake batter, but moisture will be added with the apples and egg whites, so hang tight and don’t be tempted to add more liquid! Once you stir the apple shreds in, then you can gently fold in the egg whites to make a super light and fluffy pancake batter for your griddle.

Gluten Free Fresh Apple Pancakes

Pancake finishes

Here are some ideas!

  • Traditional butter and maple syrup – you can’t go wrong with that!
  • Coconut butter! If you have little guys at home, they will think this is like frosting – super sweet and loaded with friendly fats and fiber, it is so good for them!
  • Whipped cream or coconut whipped cream – this is usually how I serve pancakes on a school morning to avoid sugary maple syrup. You don’t get as much sugar that way, and it still tastes fun! You can dust the top of the whipped cream with cinnamon too.
  • Nut or seed butter and a dusting of cinnamon!
  • Sautéed apples with cinnamon would be fun too!
Gluten Free Fresh Apple Pancakes

Gluten Free Fresh Apple Pancakes

Ingredients

Instructions

  • Separate your egg whites into a small mixing bowl, while putting the yolks into a medium mixing bowl. Beat the egg whites with an electric hand mixer until soft peaks form in the egg whites – this will take about a minute. Set the egg whites aside.
  • Add the coconut milk, ACV, coconut sugar, and molasses to the medium mixing bowl with the yolks, and blend until smooth. Add the almond flour, buckwheat flour, cinnamon, baking powder, and sea salt, and blend to combine. This will feel thick, but do NOT add more liquid – the apples and egg whites will do that!
  • Fold the shredded apple into the pancake batter using a rubber scraper, and then gently fold the whipped egg whites in until smooth and fluffy.
  • Coconut oil or butter your hot griddle or skillet over medium heat, and cook your pancakes. I use a small ladle to pour mine. A ¼ cup measuring cup works well too. Cook the pancakes until you see little bubbles on the sides, about 1 minute, and then flip, cooking another minute or so until the pancakes are cooked through and golden brown.
  • Top your warm pancakes with butter and maple syrup! My kids were totally into a topping of coconut butter on theirs one of the times I served these too.
  • To freeze the pancakes, cool them, and then put into freezer bags to freeze. To warm up leftover pancakes, put them on a baking sheet into a warm oven.
Gluten Free Fresh Apple Pancakes

More real food APPLE recipes you might like ::

Breakfast Ideas Holiday Recipes Nourishing Staples Real Food 101 Real Food Tips

Apple, Sweet Potato, and Sausage Breakfast Casserole

September 14, 2020

The best savory and sweet flavors of fall, all in one breakfast casserole the whole family will love!

Apple, Sweet Potato, and Sausage Breakfast Casserole
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.

Michigan apple season has arrived…

…and we are totally here for it! Honestly with the way 2020 has been going, I wouldn’t have been surprised if this year was one of those years where we got a late frost in the late spring to ruin apple blossoms, but as it turns out, Mother Nature wanted to gift Michigan with a bumper crop of sweet, delicious apples this year! The trees are quite literally loaded!

Apple, Sweet Potato, and Sausage Breakfast Casserole

A new, savory apple recipe

We’ll for sure be picking apples many weekends this fall, which means we’ll have plenty for those apple pies during Thanksgiving, and of course sweet breakfast muffins before school, and apple coffee cake on the weekend! I’m planning on making a freezer batch of butternut squash and apple soup, but had a craving for a warm savory breakfast using our freshly picked apples. I played around with this idea of a savory and sweet breakfast casserole last winter, and I’m ready to share it!

Apple, Sweet Potato, and Sausage Breakfast Casserole

Gorgeous presentation, fuss-free prep!

I know, I know…this probably isn’t much of a weekday breakfast. But that’s what weekends are for right? We get to look forward to warm, comforting breakfasts that take just a little longer in the oven to make. While this breakfast casserole probably isn’t school morning prep material, it is definitely really easy to get into the pan, and then you can enjoy your jammies and fuzzy slippers under the blankets while it bakes on a Saturday or Sunday morning.

Apple, Sweet Potato, and Sausage Breakfast Casserole

The Method :: The Sausage

Whether you have a local farmer that you love to get sausage from, or you make your own, you’ll start by flavoring your skillet with warm sausage flavor, browning your sausage through. We purchase a half grass-fed cow every year, so typically I just season some of our ground beef with my own sausage season blend.

Apple, Sweet Potato, and Sausage Breakfast Casserole

The Method :: The Veggies & Apples

While the star of the show for this breakfast casserole certainly is the big, chunky sweet apples, I did manage to sneak in some pretty sweet potatoes too. The sweet potatoes add some bulk to the casserole, not to mention pretty color and a little starchy veggie sweetness. You’ll start caramelizing the sweet potatoes first, since they take a bit longer to cook. Cooking the veggies in the sausage drippings adds flavor that you just can’t create any other way! The rest of the veggies and the apples will soften rather quickly and then you can stir the sausage back in with a healthy cup of cheese.

Apple, Sweet Potato, and Sausage Breakfast Casserole

The Method :: Assembling the Casserole

Once you pour your veggie, apple, sausage mixture into your casserole dish, all you have to do is pour in some whisked eggs and milk of choice, and bake it off! The prep time takes about 15 minutes and then you can be hands free. On a weekend that absolutely means you can hop back in bed, or snuggle up with your favorite blanket on the couch with the kids for cartoons!

Apple, Sweet Potato, and Sausage Breakfast Casserole

Swaps and Subs

While I absolutely recommend the exact veggie/apple/sausage combo in this recipe card (please trust me – the balance of savory/sweet will knock your socks off!), I know sometimes you just don’t have everything on hand. I do think you could swap bacon for the sausage, or just leave the meat out if you wish. If you leave the meat out, you’ll want to bulk up the casserole with more veggies. You can swap kale for the spinach. You can swap regular white potato for the sweet potato, and I think squash would be lovely here too.

Apple, Sweet Potato, and Sausage Breakfast Casserole

Does it freeze?

The jury is still out on that. I’ll update you later this week though! I froze one square of the casserole and will thaw it out next week and update here! Stay tuned! What I WOULD do though, is bake this off on a Saturday or Sunday, and refrigerate any leftovers. You can eat the leftovers on Monday or Tuesday before school by warming the squares up in the oven. If you aren’t baking for a crowd, you could halve this recipe and make a smaller portion too.

Apple, Sweet Potato, and Sausage Breakfast Casserole

Holiday morning perfect!

I was having a conversation with friends earlier this week while I was preparing to photograph this recipe and one of my friends mentioned how perfect this casserole sounded for Thanksgiving morning brunch. I couldn’t agree more! I also think it would be so great for Christmas morning as well!

Apple, Sweet Potato, and Sausage Breakfast Casserole

Apple, Sweet Potato, and Sausage Breakfast Casserole

Ingredients

  • 2 tbsp of butter or olive oil or combo of both
  • 1 lb ground sausage of choice I make my own using plain ground beef or pork with my own sausage season blend
  • 2 small sweet potatoes ½-inch cube (2 cups of ½-inch cube sweet potato. I didn’t peel but you can if you want)
  • ½ medium onion diced
  • ½ red bell pepper diced
  • 2 medium apples 1-inch cube (I didn’t peel, but you can if you want)
  • 1 – 1½ tsp sea salt
  • ½ tsp dried thyme
  • ¼ tsp pepper
  • 3 cloves of garlic fine chop
  • 1 handful of baby spinach chopped
  • 1 – 1 ½ cups cheese of choice shredded
  • 12 eggs
  • ½ cup full fat coconut milk or milk

Instructions

  • Pre-heat the oven to 400 degrees and butter a 9×13 casserole dish.
  • Warm a large skillet over medium-high heat, melt the butter, and brown the sausage. Use a slotted spoon to scoop the browned sausage out of the skillet, leaving the fat behind to cook the veggies in.
  • Add the sweet potato to the fat in the skillet over medium-high heat, and cook for a few minutes. Sweet potato takes a bit longer to cook than the other veggies, so don’t add the others just yet.
  • Once the sweet potato has cooked for a few minutes, add the onion, pepper, apples, sea salt, thyme, and pepper, and cook over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally. Cook the veggies for about 7-10 minutes until soft and sweet.
  • Add the garlic and spinach to the skillet, stir, and cook for one minute. Turn the skillet off, and stir in cooked sausage and the shredded cheese.
  • Dump the cooked veggie/sausage mixture from the skillet into the buttered casserole dish, and spread the mixture out evenly. Whisk the eggs and milk in a medium mixing bowl and pour over the veggie/sausage mixture.
  • Bake the breakfast casserole for 25-30 minutes at 400 degrees until the eggs are set, and the top is a pretty golden brown. Let the casserole rest for 5-10 minutes before cutting.
Apple, Sweet Potato, and Sausage Breakfast Casserole

More real food recipes you might like ::

Breakfast Ideas Holiday Recipes Occasional Treats Real Food 101 Real Food Tips

Gluten Free Funfetti® Birthday Scones! :: Gluten, Egg, & Nut Free

April 28, 2020

Funfetti Birthday Scones make the perfect birthday breakfast for every kid (and adult too!)

Gluten Free Funfetti® Birthday Scones! :: Gluten, Egg, & Nut Free

Birthday girl!

We have a brand new *9* year old in the house this week! Claire is my full-of-energy middle kiddo! She adores all things animals, is an avid bird watcher, and will stump you with the most inquisitive questions! She is the reason I began drinking coffee daily, and she definitely keeps me on my toes. We are so excited to celebrate her birthday this week, and we decided we needed a new birthday breakfast tradition in our house!

Gluten Free Funfetti® Birthday Scones! :: Gluten, Egg, & Nut Free
Gluten Free Funfetti® Birthday Scones! :: Gluten, Egg, & Nut Free

A love affair with tea, and a fun new recipe to go with it!

My 3 girls love having herbal teas with their breakfasts in the morning, and what better breakfast accompaniment for their cup of tea than scones! A crispy, buttery outside, with a lightly sweet, and flaky-soft inside…it is the perfect match with a hot cup of tea or coffee. I took my favorite base scone recipe, dressed it up birthday style for the birthday girl this week, and a new birthday breakfast tradition was born! All 3 girls are now looking forward to their sprinkle filled Funfetti® inspired birthday scones when their birthday rolls around!

Gluten Free Funfetti® Birthday Scones! :: Gluten, Egg, & Nut Free

The Method :: The Scone Dough & Baking The Scones

Scones can feel intimidating, but truly it doesn’t get any easier. A simple dry ingredient combination, and let the butter shine! You’ll crumble the cold butter into your flour, and then mix in your buttermilk. I left instructions for making your own buttermilk or coconut buttermilk, which will give these scones a fluffed up, soft texture on the inside. Once your dough is moist with buttermilk, you’ll fold in your naturally dyed sprinkles, and then you are ready to knead the soft dough, and form your disk.

Gluten Free Funfetti® Birthday Scones! :: Gluten, Egg, & Nut Free
Gluten Free Funfetti® Birthday Scones! :: Gluten, Egg, & Nut Free

The Method :: Forming The Scones

Once you flour your counter, you can knead your dough a few times before you form your disk. You’ll notice flecks of butter throughout the dough, and that is exactly what you want. The hot oven will hit the cold butter and make for fantastic texture and yummy buttery flavor. The pretty light golden color of the scones will give away just how much butter you’ll be using for these special scones! Once you form your disk, use a rolling pin to roll the disk to about one inch, cut your disk into eighths, and place on a baking tray to bake. You can brush the tops of your scones with more milk and sprinkle a bit of sugar to make for a crispy, top.

Gluten Free Funfetti® Birthday Scones! :: Gluten, Egg, & Nut Free
Gluten Free Funfetti® Birthday Scones! :: Gluten, Egg, & Nut Free

The Method :: The Icing & Sprinkle Topping!

Once your scones have baked and cooled completely, you can drizzle a fun and simple icing on top if you wish. Of course this is optional, but we are celebrating a once a year birthday in the house, so we are most definitely enjoying it! The icing whisks in seconds before you drizzle over the top of the scones, and of course a fun sprinkling of some extra sprinkles is necessary for a proper birthday celebration. The sprinkles will stick to the icing and the icing will harden within about 20 minutes.

Gluten Free Funfetti® Birthday Scones! :: Gluten, Egg, & Nut Free
Gluten Free Funfetti® Birthday Scones! :: Gluten, Egg, & Nut Free
Gluten Free Funfetti® Birthday Scones! :: Gluten, Egg, & Nut Free
Gluten Free Funfetti® Birthday Scones! :: Gluten, Egg, & Nut Free

Where do I find naturally dyed sprinkles?

Most grocery stores and natural health food stores carry naturally dyed sprinkles these days, which is so convenient. I did however find this source of naturally dyed sprinkles for a fantastic price compared to our grocery stores though, and I wanted to share it with you! At just $0.57 per ounce, you can have a container of sprinkles all ready for every birthday in the house, and maybe a few holiday cookies too!

Gluten Free Funfetti® Birthday Scones! :: Gluten, Egg, & Nut Free

Are these birthday scones “healthy?”

Dear friends, I’ll be the first one to let you know that I will not, in fact, be serving these scones on a daily, or even weekly basis! These will be special occasion scones in my house. Birthdays are so special! While the Funfetti® scones aren’t inherently “bad,” they are a bit more of a carb overload than I typically care to serve for the first meal of the day. We will be serving the scones with a side of eggs and/or sausage to balance things out, and my younger kiddo will probably be getting half of one. They are certainly better than many store bought pastries, with a much simpler ingredient list, but these scones will not be an everyday breakfast in my house. This will make them even more special when birthdays arrive!

Gluten Free Funfetti® Birthday Scones! :: Gluten, Egg, & Nut Free

Can I freeze the scones?

I am happy to report that the scones freeze fantastic! I tucked this batch away in the freezer until my daughter’s birthday later in the week. I took one out yesterday to check on texture and taste, and they did great! This means that you can get a jump start on birthday planning when your kids’ birthdays come around, because we all know birthday weeks can be very busy! Just freeze the baked, cooled, and iced scones flat on a tray, then pop the frozen scones into a freezer bag until you are ready to use them.

Gluten Free Funfetti® Birthday Scones! :: Gluten, Egg, & Nut Free

Ingredient swap notes

I would imagine that most gluten free flour blends that include xanthan gum will work in this recipe. If your blend doesn’t include the xanthan, simply add a good teaspoon to the flour. I typically use honey or coconut sugar for more of a “on the regular” scone, but honey can to burn in baking sometimes, and coconut sugar would have changed the color of these scones more than I wanted – we want the sprinkles to shine! If you choose to swap for a more natural/healthier sugar like turbinado or coconut sugar, just plan on the color being darker. I also wanted to address the butter. If you are truly dairy free, and cannot have butter, I am quite sure that cold, organic palm shortening would work.

Gluten Free Funfetti® Birthday Scones! :: Gluten, Egg, & Nut Free
Gluten Free Funfetti® Birthday Scones! :: Gluten, Egg, & Nut Free
Print Recipe
5 from 1 vote

Gluten Free Funfetti® Birthday Scones!

Ingredients

Instructions

  • Pre-heat the oven to 375 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  • Make your buttermilk first if you don’t have store-bought buttermilk.
  • In a large mixing bowl, whisk the flour, cane sugar, baking powder, and sea salt.
  • Use a pastry cutter or your hands to cut the cold butter into the flour. You want to still be able to see small pieces of butter throughout. See the picture above for reference. I do not have a pastry cutter – I just use my hands!
  • Pour the buttermilk and extracts into the flour/butter mixture and use a rubber scraper to mix. Add the sprinkles to fold in gently. I use the rubber scraper to start, and finish with my hands.
  • Flour your counter, and knead the dough a few times. Make a disk with your hands, roll the dough to about 1 inch thick, and then use your hands again to shape the disk into a perfect circle.
  • Cut the disk into eighths, and place the triangles onto the parchment paper lined baking sheet. Brush the tops of the scones with a light coating of milk or coconut milk, and sprinkle with a little sugar if you wish.
  • Bake the scones at 375 degrees for 30 minutes until the edges are golden. Cool the scones completely before icing.
  • To make the icing, whisk the powdered sugar and 1 tbsp of milk in a small dish and drizzle over the tops of the cooled scones. Sprinkle the scones with extra sprinkles after drizzling the icing and it will stick to the icing! The icing will dry and harden within about 20 minutes.
Gluten Free Funfetti® Birthday Scones! :: Gluten, Egg, & Nut Free

More real food recipes you might like ::

Holiday Recipes Occasional Treats Real Food 101 Real Food Tips

Gluten Free Carrot Cake Cupcakes

April 6, 2020

These are the softest, fluffiest gluten free carrot cake cupcakes, perfect for any occasion!

Gluten Free Carrot Cake Cupcakes

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.

Signs of spring!

The snow is officially gone…the grass is slowly coming back to life with hints of green, and we can finally feel the warmth from that glorious sunshine in the sky! We couldn’t be more excited, and with the promise of spring, I decided to try out a new little carrot cake cupcake in the kitchen for our spring Easter celebration this year.

Gluten Free Carrot Cake Cupcakes

The Method :: The Cupcakes

These carrot cake cupcakes will be quite possibly the lightest, fluffiest cupcakes you’ve tasted! Instead of a rich, dense batter, I wanted a light and fluffy cake, and boy this batter didn’t disappoint! You’ll cream the wet ingredients before adding the dry ingredients and carrots, and the result is a fluffy, creamy cupcake batter that rises beautifully, springs back to your touch perfectly, and is so moist and flavorful.

Gluten Free Carrot Cake Cupcakes
Gluten Free Carrot Cake Cupcakes
Gluten Free Carrot Cake Cupcakes

The Method :: The Cream Cheese Frosting

Cream cheese frosting and carrot cake…it’s like peanut butter and jelly – they just go together! This thick, rich frosting has a mild cream cheese tang that goes perfectly with the sweet warmth of the carrot cake muffin. Simply cream the cream cheese ingredients and either spread or pipe the frosting onto your cooled cupcakes!

Gluten Free Carrot Cake Cupcakes
Gluten Free Carrot Cake Cupcakes

How’s the “spice” for kid palates?

Traditional carrot cake does use those beautiful warm spices for the staple flavor you think of when you think of carrot cake. You can use just the cinnamon if you wish, but this version, as written is very mild on the nutmeg and cloves, so the kids will probably just feel like it tastes like a sweet cinnamon, or pumpkin cupcake. My 6 year old was calling these cinnamon muffins most of the day. If you like a stronger spice, start with what is here, and increase to your taste!

Gluten Free Carrot Cake Cupcakes

Make ahead, and freezer tips!

Because I wanted to get these cupcakes up for you well before Easter this weekend, I was able to test them out in the freezer for you! My cupcakes are neatly tucked away in the freezer, ready to thaw out to have after Sunday dinner. My suggestion would be to cool the cupcakes completely, and freeze them unfrosted. I did freeze a few frosted since they were ready from these photos, but you’ll have to freeze them solid before putting them in a freezer bag or container. It is much easier to just freeze the unfrosted cupcakes in a freezer bag, and then frost them quick before you serve them.

Gluten Free Carrot Cake Cupcakes

Add In Options!

From raisins to crushed walnuts, the sky is the limit, and everyone has their idea of what “makes” a carrot cake! These little cupcakes are a blank slate for you (my personal preference), so you can add all the little options you want! Crushed toasted walnuts sprinkled on the frosting makes a great addition, or you can mixed the crushed nuts into the batter with the carrots. Golden raisins would be pretty in the batter too!

Gluten Free Carrot Cake Cupcakes

Gluten Free Carrot Cake Cupcakes

Ingredients

For the GF Carrot Cake Cupcakes ::

For the Cream Cheese Frosting ::

Instructions

For the GF Carrot Cake Cupcakes ::

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and line a 12-cup muffin tin with paper cup liners or silicone muffin liners.
  • Pour 1 tablespoon of ACV into a small liquid measuring cup, and then add coconut milk until you hit the ½ cup mark. This is your buttermilk for the cupcakes. Set this a side to add later. You can also start melting your coconut oil here.
  • In a medium mixing bowl, blend the eggs and coconut sugar using hand beaters until smooth.
  • With the hand mixer still running, pour in the melted coconut oil and blend until smooth. Add the coconut milk/ACV mixture to the wet ingredients, and blend until combined.
  • Add the rest of the ingredients, including the carrots, and use your hand mixer to blend on low until the batter is combined well.
  • Scoop the cupcake batter into your muffin pan, and bake the cupcakes at 350 degrees for 22 minutes, until the tops spring back to your touch, and a toothpick comes out clean. Let the cupcakes cool in the pan for 5 minutes before transferring to a cooling rack to cool completely before frosting.

For the Cream Cheese Frosting ::

  • Blend all of the ingredients in a small mixing bowl until smooth. When the cupcakes are cooled you can frost them how you wish!
Gluten Free Carrot Cake Cupcakes

More real food recipes you might like ::

Holiday Recipes Occasional Treats Real Food 101 Real Food Tips

Gluten Free Peppermint Brownies

December 15, 2019

Give your favorite fudgey gluten free brownies a holiday make-over with a hint of peppermint, and a festive candy cane sprinkle!

Gluten Free Peppermint Brownies

The countdown is ON!

…and boy is my crew READY! Just 5 more days of school to get through, and we cannot wait to get some baking done this weekend!

Gluten Free Peppermint Brownies

A fun favorite with a holiday twist!

Everyone loves a good brownie, and I couldn’t think of anything better than adding a hint of peppermint to the batter and a fun Christmas sprinkle of candy cane to the top! These fun peppermint brownies look fancy and special, but are just as easy as any pan of brownies to make!

Gluten Free Peppermint Brownies

Peppermint Brownie Method

A pan of brownies is just about as easy as it gets. You’ll blend some melted coconut oil or butter into the wet ingredients, and then add the flours and cocoa powder. The batter is nice a shiny just like any other brownie batter. You’ll fold some chocolate chips into the fudgey stickiness and then spread it into your pan. Then the fun part! Grab the kids and let them pound on some candy canes to crush them up, and then they can sprinkle that and more chocolate chips onto the top of the brownie batter!

https://amzn.to/2POCea7

Where do I find a better ingredient choice candy cane?

Well since my kiddos were little, I’ll definitely say the market is a much friendlier for finding naturally dyed candy canes! It is so worth skipping the Red 40 dyes that can cause hyper-activity and moodiness in many kids (and adults too!). You can find naturally dyed candy canes at just about every health food store. We don’t have big box health food stores closer than a 45 minute drive away, and even our little itty bitty health food store carries them! If you can’t find them where you live, you can Prime these naturally dyed candy canes! They ship super fast!

Gluten Free Peppermint Brownies

Flour swaps

I haven’t played around with this brownie recipe too much (we ended up with 4 pans of brownies as it was to get this recipe down! Ha!), but I do want to mention that if you are nut free, you can swap the almond flour for more Namaste GF Flour. They both work well. I also think that you could swap 2 flax “eggs” for the eggs if you are an egg free house hold as those seem to work well for brownies in my experience.

Gluten Free Peppermint Brownies

Freezer friendly!

OH yes! Because I ended up with 4 pans of brownies to get this recipe right, I did in fact freeze a bunch of these, and because I needed to make sure they tasted good out of the freezer, momma enjoyed one with a cup of coffee one afternoon, and they were SO good! Just perfect out of the freezer. So make them ahead of time if you need and freeze them up!

Gluten Free Peppermint Brownies

Gluten Free Peppermint Brownies

Ingredients

Instructions

  • Pre-heat the oven to 325 degrees and grease an 8 inch square cake pan with coconut oil or palm shortening (or butter if you tolerate dairy).
  • Blend the coconut sugar, maple syrup, and eggs for 1 minute, and then blend the melted coconut oil in while the blenders are still going. I just hold the hand blender with one hand and pour with the other – you could use a stand mixer if you have one.
  • Add the peppermint extract, cocoa powder, Namaste flour, almond flour, baking soda, and salt, and blend on low until just combined. Fold in ½ cup of chocolate chips. The batter is sticky and shiny.
  • Spread the brownie batter into the greased pan, and then sprinkle the 2-3 tablespoons of chocolate chips and the crushed candy canes on top. Tap the pan on the counter so the chocolate chips and candy canes on the top set into the batter (you could gently press your hand on the top too).
  • Bake the brownies in a 325 degree oven for 28 minutes, until a toothpick to the center comes out clean.

Notes

  • If you are nut free, swap the almond flour for more Namaste.
  • If you are egg free, I think flax eggs will work nicely in this recipe. The brownies may not puff up as much but they will bind well and might even be chewier.
Gluten Free Peppermint Brownies

More real food Christmas Treats you might like!

Breakfast Ideas Healthy Kids and Teens Holiday Recipes Real Food 101 Real Food Tips

Gluten Free Cranberry Orange Bread :: Gluten, Grain, & Dairy Free

December 4, 2019

A gluten free cranberry orange bread perfect for celebrating the holiday season on any morning, from school days to Christmas morning!

Gluten Free Cranberry Orange Bread :: Gluten, Grain, & Dairy Free

The December count down!

With bated breath we have entered December after a whirlwind fall of a fresh school year and the completion of a new book project. I am determined to make the next few weeks flow as slowly as possible, savoring every second of the holiday season…and my girls, who seem to be growing up before my eyes! We started with new Christmas jammies, hot cocoa, slippers, and a movie; and I set to the kitchen for a new breakfast idea that could be used throughout this month without the sugar crash!

Gluten Free Cranberry Orange Bread :: Gluten, Grain, & Dairy Free

Those darn December school days…

It’s hard enough to get up early when the cold December air hits Michigan, and it can be even harder to head off to a day of learning when all you are thinking about is Christmas break coming up after a focused fall of school learning! I have found that having a few fun breakfasts just for this season make school mornings that much easier. The nostalgia you’ll be gifting to your kids is priceless – they will remember these little things, dear momma.

Gluten Free Cranberry Orange Bread :: Gluten, Grain, & Dairy Free

Fun Christmas breakfast without the sugar overload!

Because they still have to focus for school all morning, right? I’ve packed out this special quick-bread with ingredients that count, so let’s break it down!

  • Cassava flour is a great pre-biotic fiber rich grain free flour. It will provide kids energy without the blood sugar spike, and nourish the gut while you’re at it!
  • Buckwheat flour made from the buckwheat seed, and is a good source of protein. It is filling, yet light and bakes very well. Despite its name, buckwheat does not contain wheat. While some in the paleo community consider buckwheat a pseudo-grain, it is a seed, and if you tolerate digesting it, it is a great tool to have in your pantry to rotate flours and ensure you aren’t just using the same ones over and over again on your gut.
  • Almond flour is a good source of fat and protein as well. If you are allergic to almonds, I would suggest using some tapioca flour in this place to ensure the softness remains. Sometimes if you use too much cassava flour, the taste can be off, but you could certainly try that as well. Remember that cassava flour is more absorbent than almond flour so you may way to use less amount.
  • Healthy fats from the coconut milk, palm shortening, and eggs are also a great addition!
Gluten Free Cranberry Orange Bread :: Gluten, Grain, & Dairy Free

The method

This cranberry orange quick-bread lives up to it’s name! The prep is easy and fast. You’ll cream the wet ingredients, blend in the dry, and then fold in the cranberries. The orange infused coconut milk helps keep the quick bread nice and soft, as well as reacts with the baking powder to make it rise. The ingredients can be prepped the night before to bake off in the morning if you prefer to do things that way. I baked and served mine the next day, and the bread was still very soft and delicious!

Gluten Free Cranberry Orange Bread :: Gluten, Grain, & Dairy Free

How should I serve the cranberry orange bread on a school morning to make it balanced?

This quick-bread is actually quite balanced! You might find your little guys content with a slice of bread with a smear of butter and a cup of full fat raw milk if they do dairy, or full fat coconut milk if they are dairy free. Here are some ideas for your older children to round out the meal:

  • You can serve your bread with a smear of butter if you tolerate dairy to add a bit more nourishing fat – some dairy free children might like coconut butter!
  • A side of fried eggs
  • Sausage or bacon
  • A cup of full fat coconut yogurt or regular yogurt would be great as well.
  • If you have smoothie kids, you could do a smoothie with the slice of bread as well.
Gluten Free Cranberry Orange Bread :: Gluten, Grain, & Dairy Free

Gluten Free Cranberry Orange Bread

Ingredients

Instructions

  • Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees and grease a 9×5 inch loaf pan with palm shortening (or butter if you tolerate dairy).
  • Pour the ACV and orange juice into a 2-cup liquid measuring cup, and then pour coconut milk into the liquid measuring cup until you hit the 1 cup line. Whisk in the zest, and set aside for later. This is your orange infused buttermilk.
  • In a medium mixing bowl, cream the palm shortening, coconut sugar, and maple syrup using hand beaters. Add the eggs and blend until creamy and smooth.
  • Add the rest of the ingredients EXCEPT the cranberries, blend to combine until smooth, and then fold in the cranberries with a spatula.
  • Pour the batter into the greased 9×5 inch loaf pan (it will come almost to the top – this is ok!), smooth out the top, and bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour until the bread springs back to tough and is deeply golden brown. Let the bread cool for at least 20 minutes in the pan before turning it out onto a cooling rack to cool further.
Gluten Free Cranberry Orange Bread :: Gluten, Grain, & Dairy Free

More real food recipes you might like:

Dinner Ideas Healthy Kids and Teens Holiday Recipes Real Food 101 Real Food Tips

Butternut Squash Lasagna Casserole

September 15, 2019

Sunday dinner comfort using sweet butternut squash layered in a flavorful lasagna casserole!

Gluten Free Butternut Squash Lasagna Casserole

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.

Season changes and fresh menu plans!

Those fall schedules do something to you, don’t they? The warm air hangs on for a while around here, but we catch glimpses of cool, crisp mornings, and with new school routines speckled into our weekly rhythm, I’ve been feeling the itch to turn the oven on for slow cooked, comforting dinners on the weekends.

Gluten Free Butternut Squash Lasagna Casserole

Lasagna cravings!

Oh yes, it is absolutely a thing! And when you don’t have those special noodles in the pantry, you figure out a way to still get those flavors in the oven. One week, I thought about making lasagna soup instead, but I had squash on the counter and other various veggies that I did not want to go to waste, so we did this lasagna in a veggie casserole style, and I’m telling you, it is definitely a keeper! And listen, I love traditional lasagna – there is absolutely nothing wrong with it! This was just a fun dinner change up – and I think you will find that the kids will love this new squash prep! It is so fun!

Gluten Free Butternut Squash Lasagna Casserole

The method :: Squash

While the different components look intimidating at first, I promise you that this prep rolls fast. Especially because there are no noodles to fuss with! Use a very sharp knife to slice thin rounds of squash for the “noodle” layer in your lasagna casserole. You’ll want between 20 and 30 rounds. If you make your squash rounds any thicker than what I’m showing here, you’ll just want to adjust your cook time longer.

Gluten Free Butternut Squash Lasagna Casserole

The method :: The meat sauce

Here’s where you’ll want to spend some time. I promise that caramelizing the onions, peppers, and mushrooms is worth the 10 or so minute wait. Melt some butter into your large skillet and let the heat do some work on those veggies. Everyone will be “ooo-ing” and “ahh-ing” over the meat sauce flavor! You could make the meat sauce on your prep day if you want to pull it out easy from the fridge as you assemble your lasagna.

Gluten Free Butternut Squash Lasagna Casserole
Gluten Free Butternut Squash Lasagna Casserole

The method :: The bechemel cream sauce

It’s easier than it sounds! This cream sauce is just a seasoned, thickened milk mixture. This creamy addition feels so decadent swirled into the lasagna – like an indulgent, cheesy dream in the middle of the casserole. And the added bonus of only taking a few minutes to prep doesn’t give you any reason to leave it out!

Gluten Free Butternut Squash Lasagna Casserole

The casserole assembly

You’ll first cover the bottom of your casserole pan with that flavorful meat sauce and then start layering those squash rounds. Just like with any lasagna, imperfection is all a part of being homemade. There is no reason to make the squash fit perfectly – overlap the ends and cover every inch! You’ll spread that creamy bechemel sauce layer and then add more meat sauce – this heavenly mixture of savory meat sauce with that creamy mixture is what makes this casserole feel so comforting. You’ll do another layer or so, and then bake the casserole for a half our before topping with…cheese of course!

Gluten Free Butternut Squash Lasagna Casserole

Prep Tips

While this amazing dinner is more weekend prep in nature, I do think that with a few prep ahead tips, you could make this on a weekday.

  • Make the meat sauce and cream sauce on your prep day. You could do one or both on a Saturday or Sunday prep day, and just store it in an air tight container in the fridge until you need it.
  • Slice the squash ahead of time. I promise this does go fast once you get the hang of it! If you decide to peel and cut ahead of time, just store the rounds in an air tight container so they don’t dry out.
  • Assemble the entire casserole ahead of time and store it in the fridge covered. You can pull it out on the night you need it and just pop it in the oven. This would also be a great way to prep for a friend in need (new momma, an ill friend, or just because!) – what an easy to digest meal for just about everyone!
Gluten Free Butternut Squash Lasagna Casserole
Print Recipe
5 from 16 votes

Gluten Free Butternut Squash Lasagna Casserole

Ingredients

FOR THE MEAT SAUCE

  • 4 tbsp butter
  • 1 medium onion diced
  • 1 bell pepper diced
  • 8 oz mushrooms sliced
  • 2-3 cups chopped kale
  • 6 cloves of garlic
  • 1 lb grassfed ground beef
  • 1 tbsp Italian seasoning
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • Pepper to taste
  • 1 ½ cups of your favorite marinara sauce

FOR THE BECHEMEL CREAM SAUCE

FOR THE REST OF THE SQUASH LASAGNA

  • 1 small to medium butternut squash peeled and sliced into thin cross-section slices
  • Your favorite cheese to top the lasagna – anywhere from 1-3 cups per your preference.

Instructions

  • Pre-heat the oven to 375 degrees.

MAKE THE MEAT SAUCE

  • Melt the butter into a large skillet over medium-high heat and add the onion, pepper, mushrooms, kale, and a big pinch of sea salt. Cook over medium high heat for about 10 minutes until the veggies are soft, fragrant, and slightly caramelized.
  • Add the garlic and cook for a minute, and then add the ground beef, Italian seasoning, salt, and pepper. Break the beef up and mix it into the cooked veggies, browning the beef.
  • Add the marainara sauce and simmer for 5 minutes.

MAKE THE BECHEMEL SAUCE

  • Melt the butter in a sauce pan over medium heat, and then whisk the flour in to make a paste.
  • Slowing pour the milk into the sauce pan, whisking along the way so that the roux incorporates into the milk to thicken it. Whisk the salt in pepper in as well.
  • Simmer until the cream sauce thickens about a minute or so.

ASSEMBLE AND BAKE THE SQUASH LASAGNA

  • Spread 1/3 of the meat sauce along the bottom of a 9×13 baking dish.
  • Line up one layer of the squash rounds, overlapping them some, and then spread ½ of the cream sauce over the top of the layer of squash.
  • Spread another 1/3 of the meat sauce over the top of the cream sauce, and then add another layer of butternut squash rounds, overlapping them making sure to fit squash in every spot – you can cut the rounds a little if you wish so that they fit.
  • Spread the last 1/3 of the meat sauce over the top of the squash and bake uncovered for 35-40 minutes in a 375 degree oven. Pull the lasagna out of the oven, top with shredded cheese, and bake another 5-10 minutes until bubbly and melted.
Gluten Free Butternut Squash Lasagna Casserole

More real food recipes you might like ::

Breakfast Ideas Healthy Kids and Teens Holiday Recipes Real Food 101 Real Food Tips

Gluten Free Apple Cinnamon Coffee Cake

September 4, 2019

Fill those cool, crisp fall weekend mornings with the smell of fresh gluten free apple cinnamon coffee cake!

Gluten Free Apple Cinnamon Coffee Cake

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.

Summer good-byes

It is always so hard to pull those hoodies out for the first time after a summer filled with sandy toes, tank tops, and beachy glows, but thankfully Michigan is really good at easing us into the thought of fall. We’ll dance between 50 and 70 degrees until November, and that is perfectly fine with me. The beach will still call our name for at least the next month, and we’ll answer with more beach hikes and rock hounding in hoodies versus swimming and water play!

Gluten Free Apple Cinnamon Coffee Cake
Gluten Free Apple Cinnamon Coffee Cake

New fall beginnings

The thought of fall has me longing for apple all the things, so instead of focusing on the changing weather and fading sun, I decided to bring you a new apple recipe, in hopes of filling your fall weekends with a fun new breakfast idea for those cool crisp mornings. My kids were perfectly giddy when I brought home the first bag of apples they’d seen since late winter, and we set to work right away coming up with a fun apple themed coffee cake this year!

Gluten Free Apple Cinnamon Coffee Cake

Perfect coffee cake texture – easy peasy technique!

So I wouldn’t go as far as to say that this is an easy weekday school morning breakfast (though if you prep it into the pan the night before it could work!), but I will promise you that this recipe is not as fussy as the beautiful presentation makes it seem, and you will be blown away by the soft texture and warm sweetness, of course making it the perfect accompaniment to your Saturday coffee or Sunday brunch cup of tea.

Gluten Free Apple Cinnamon Coffee Cake
Gluten Free Apple Cinnamon Coffee Cake

The method

It is worth taking the time to make the 2 separate layers to a coffee cake if you are wanting to have the pretty swirl of cinnamon-y sweetness running here and there throughout your coffee cake. It makes a dreamy presentation when cut, and the flavor is out of this world. Start with making the cinnamon sugar pecan topping with crushed pecans. The buttery pecans balance out the warm sweetness of the coconut sugar and molasses – absolute heaven. You’ll spread a layer of the honey sweetened cake batter into your pan and then sprinkle apples and the pecan sugar topping. Layer another spread of the cake batter and sugar sprinkled apples on the top and then the magic happens! Gently swipe and swirl through the batter with a butter knife and you’ll have a coffee cake straight out of your favorite bakery!

Gluten Free Apple Cinnamon Coffee Cake
Gluten Free Apple Cinnamon Coffee Cake

Notes and swaps

  • You can swap the pecans for walnuts or almonds. If you are nut free, I think pumpkin seeds would be nice, or you can leave them out all together.
  • Not only do I love the warmth of coconut sugar, I love that it is lower on the glycemic index. If you don’t have it around, or you don’t have access to it, you could use turbinado, rapdura, or organic cane sugar. I think maple sugar would be lovely too.
  • If you can’t have eggs, I do think this recipe would work with 2 “flax eggs” – it may not puff up as much but it will still bind and taste great.
  • I think this coffee cake would also be lovely with some firm but ripe pears.
Gluten Free Apple Cinnamon Coffee Cake
Print Recipe
5 from 10 votes

Gluten Free Apple Cinnamon Coffee Cake

Ingredients

FOR THE PECAN TOPPING

FOR THE COFFEE CAKE:

Instructions

  • Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees and butter or coconut oil an 8×8 baking dish.
  • Make the pecan topping by using a fork to mix the topping ingredients in a bowl. Set this aside.
  • Blend the yogurt, coconut oil, eggs, honey, and almond extract in a medium mixing bowl until smooth and creamy.
  • Add the flours, baking powder, and salt, and blend until just combined.
  • Spread half of the coffee cake batter into your greased baking dish. Sprinkle half of the apples, gently press them down, and then sprinkle half of the pecan topping over the apples. Spread the other half of the batter over the apples, then put the other half of the apples and pecan topping on the batter. Use a butter knife to make swirls throughout the coffee cake.
  • Bake the coffee cake at 350 degrees for 40-45 minutes. Check your coffee cake around the 35 minute mark in case our ovens run differently – dark pans cook faster too. Let it cool 10 minutes before cutting and serving.
Gluten Free Apple Cinnamon Coffee Cake

More real food APPLE recipes you might like ::

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

Gluten Free Rhubarb Honey Cake

May 24, 2019

Fluffy, silky sweet honey cake with a starburst of tart rhubarb!

Gluten Free Rhubarb Honey Cake

Spring’s first garden harvest, and celebrating a decade of my first spring baby…

I almost choked on my coffee as I just typed that. A decade? How can that possibly be? Ten years ago, Chloe made me a momma, and literally nothing will change my life quite like that day did. I truly know of no other person in my life with a heart like this kid – if you’ve ever crossed her path you know that you leave a better person every time. My sweet first born just happens to adore the rhubarb in our backyard that always seems to be ready to harvest right around her birthday. Last year we made creamy rhubarb ice cream (topped with rhubarb sauce!), and the year before that rhubarb water kefir soda. This year, we decided to celebrate her 10th birthday with a special cake swirled with sweet local raw honey, and decorated with a sunburst of rhubarb at the top!

Gluten Free Rhubarb Honey Cake
Gluten Free Rhubarb Honey Cake

Fresh picked

Whether you pick the rhubarb right out of the backyard, or the local farmer’s market, be sure to snag a few stalks with a super bright pinkish red hue to make the sunburst at the top of your cake really stand out. Rhubarb color can vary even from the same plant with some stalks boasting a bright green fading into pinks and reds, and others standing out with an almost shocking red color. The rhubarb’s lip puckering tartness is tamed with baking, and when married with a sweet, raw honey, the flavor is reminiscent of sweet tarts, and almost that kettle cooked caramel flavor.

Gluten Free Rhubarb Honey Cake
Gluten Free Rhubarb Honey Cake

Some notes about the honey

If you’ve never tasted a local honey from the area where you live, I would absolutely encourage you to visit your farmer’s market and ask for some samples. I love visiting new places and getting a taste of what the honey bees in that area are picking up. This cake will take on a hint of whatever honey you choose, so be sure to use one that you enjoy the flavor of. If too many flower notes are overwhelming to you, choose something lighter. If you love that flowery essence, by all means infuse this cake with that!

Gluten Free Rhubarb Honey Cake

Achieving a fluffy honey cake

Because I wanted that gorgeous honey to really shine with the rhubarb, I knew there was potential to make this cake dense by the weight of the honey. My first few attempts were, although tasty, a bit on the dense side. Gluten free baking has a way of hefting the weight of baked goods too, so I had that going against me as well. I decided to try a trick that I use in my gluten free waffles – whipping the egg whites to a whipped cream consistency. It worked beautifully, and the result is a light and airy honey cake where you can actually taste hints of honey swirled throughout!

Gluten Free Rhubarb Honey Cake
Gluten Free Rhubarb Honey Cake

Fun garnishing ideas

We opted for the dramatic powdered sugar look for this cake, though a few of my cake attempts were drizzled with raw honey for a really pretty sheen added to the top. We chose the powdered sugar to celebrate Chloe’s birthday, and she adored dusting the top of her cake with that.

Gluten Free Rhubarb Honey Cake

Rhubarb placing tricks

I played around with multiple arrangements of the pretty rhubarb stalks on the top of my cake attempts. My biggest recommendation would be to slice the stalks for the top of the cake thin the long way. If you have thick rhubarb stalks you make even have to do more than that. Putting thick stalks up on the top makes the top a bit soggy in my opinion and those thick stalks can get a fibrous texture. Slicing the rhubarb thin allowed for easier decorating, a really sharp looking finish, and just the right tart rhubarb flavor to the top that cuts into ever sweet honey cake bite!

Gluten Free Rhubarb Honey Cake
Print Recipe
5 from 16 votes

Gluten Free Rhubarb Honey Cake

Ingredients

Instructions

  • Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees, and line a 10-inch springform pan or 10-inch cake pan with parchment paper and butter the sides.
  • Put the egg yolks into a medium mixing bowl and set aside. Put the egg whites into a small mixing bowl and beat until fluffy. Set the egg whites aside.
  • Add the olive oil, honey, coconut sugar, coconut milk, and almond extract to the egg yolks, and blend until smooth and creamy.
  • Add the flours, baking powder, baking soda, and sea salt to the wet ingredients and combine with a spatula – some lumps of flour are ok. When the batter is combined well, gently fold the whipped egg whites into the batter until just combined.
  • Smooth half of the cake batter into your springform pan, and sprinkle the cubed rhubarb over the top evenly. Smooth the other half of the cake batter over the top of the sprinkled rhubarb.
  • Arrange the stalks of rhubarb on the top of your cake how you like. I recommend halving or quartering your stalks of rhubarb length-wise, depending on the thickness of the stalks. If you leave them as is they get mushy and hard to manage/arrange in the pan. Making them thinner baked up prettier and the slices cut nicely. Bake at 350 degrees for 40-45 minutes, until the top is golden brown, and springs back to touch.
  • After the cake cools 10 minutes in the pan, you can turn it out to a cooling rack to cool completely. You can garnish the top with a drizzle of raw honey or dusting of organic powdered cane sugar when it is cooled.
Gluten Free Rhubarb Honey Cake

More real food RHUBARB recipes you might like!

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

Gluten Free Valentine’s Day Brownie Cookie Cut-Outs

February 1, 2019

The possibilities are endless with your favorite brownie flavors in an easy to work with gluten free cookie cut-out dough!

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.

Friday nights, little girls, Valentine’s Day excitement…and chocolate!

It’s just a match made in heaven right?! I decided to start working on this little brownie cookie concept the week before we had a house full of girls over to play after school, and the timing was just perfect! You just can’t do Valentine’s Day with a gaggle of girls without chocolate, and these cookies were just so fun!

A cookie dough you actually want to work with!

I’m all about fuss-free when it comes to sweet treat baking. I know it can be fun to get all fancy with 100 different steps and a really cool finish, but most of the time, I prefer an easy to deal with dessert, and this cookie dough is so lovely. You can knead it and roll it out multiple times without getting dense or crumbly, and the cut-outs don’t break. Just 8 ingredients is definitely my kind of recipe too!

The perfect texture!

Ok, so I know people can be really (really!) funny about their brownie textures! There’s those cake texture people, fudgy texture, and there’s just something about that brownie “chew!” These cookies are definitely more of a “cookie” feel, but you can tailor your finish the way you like! Less cook time and they will be nice and soft – it still feels like a cookie, but if you like a cake-like brownie, this one is for you. And if you go a bit longer on the cook time, you will get this amazing light crisp to the outside with a great “chew” to the inside. SO good!

Fun topping ideas!

Because it’s Valentine’s day right?! While the cookies are seriously amazing and perfect as is, you could certainly give the tops a sprinkle of powdered sugar. Just put some powdered sugar in a sift, and dust the tops. You could also make an icing if you prefer. Leave it plain white, or you can see how we dyed these great Valentine’s Day Sugar Cookies with naturally dyed pink frosting here.

Freezer friendly!

YES these have been freezing great, dear momma! You know what that means? Oh yes…make that second batch while you have the kitchen counter a mess, and freeze that extra set just for your afternoon coffee 😉 They are super yummy right out of the freezer. It also means you can make these up way ahead of time and be ready for that Valentine’s Day school party!

Cookie Cutter options!

We typically use a medium sized heart cut-out for my aged girls. I have this set of heart cut-outs, and you can even make the cookies “sandwich” style by cutting out smaller ones inside the bigger ones to make them like “Linzer” style cookies with frosting in the middle. When my girls were smaller, more toddler ages, I had these fantastic small cookie cutters. That way they still feel like they are getting a WHOLE cookie, or even 2, versus you cuttting a big one in half, and they are smaller so they aren’t getting a portion that isn’t appropriate for their size. The smaller cutters are also perfect for classroom parties where there are going to be multiple treats and the kids don’t need a huge cookie.

Swaps and tips

  • I am pretty sure organic palm shortening will swap for the butter if you are dairy free
  • I have a feeling coconut sugar will swap for the organic cane sugar if you want to try keeping the glycemic index lower. Coconut sugar will darken the cookie a bit more, and will change the flavor a bit – coconut sugar has a warmer, molasses flavor. I would not lower the sugar amount anymore than it is, or the texture will be off. These are cookies, after all, and it is a once a year treat. The recipe makes at least 2 dozen cookies so it’s pretty spread out – and you can always make them smaller for your little guys! See the above section for ideas on how to make that happen.
  • I’m sure other GF flour blends will swap for the Namaste. I am not sure how to swap a whole wheat or Einkorn as we cannot have gluten. If you give that a try, let us know in the comments how you swapped for it, so others who can have gluten can know how to do it!
Print Recipe
5 from 23 votes

Valentine’s Day Brownie Cookies

Ingredients

Instructions

  • Cream the butter and sugar with a hand mixer, and then add the eggs and vanilla. Blend until creamy and well combined, about 1 minute.
  • Add the rest of the ingredients, and blend to combine the dough. Scrape the bowl down, turn the dough out and form into a disk. Wrap the dough or cover it in a bowl and chill in the refrigerator for at least an hour.
  • When you are ready to cut out your cookies, pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees.
  • Toss some of the GF flour blend onto a clean surface, and roll out your dough – just like sugar cookies, only I made mine just slightly thicker – you can see in the pictures above. Put the cut-out cookies onto a Silpat or parchment paper lined baking sheet.
  • Bake the cookies for 10-12 minutes, depending on how thick you made your cookies, and how you want the texture to be. I’ve done about 6 batches with varying times – if you go lower time, they will be softer but still hold together well like a cookie, and if you go a little longer, they will be slightly crisp/firmer on the outside with some “chew” to the brownie inside – they are still soft this way, but it is a different feel. The cookies do firm up once they cool a bit. Cool on the tray for a couple minutes and then transfer to a cooling rack to completely cool. You can leave the cookies as is, dust powdered sugar over the top, or frost with icing when they are cooled completely.

More real food Valentine’s Day treats you might like!

Dinner Ideas Healthy Kids and Teens Holiday Recipes Real Food 101 Real Food Tips

Sheet Pan Spatchcock Maple Mustard Chicken and Roasted Veggies

January 10, 2019

Sheet pan spatchcock maple mustard chicken is one healthy meal all on a couple sheet pans!

January thaw…

I live for them. Well technically, I live for the opposite 5 months out of the year where we get to be at the beach every week, but in the winter months, a January thaw somewhere in the midst of our frozen tundra is pretty predictable, and it’s something I totally look forward to. We enjoyed just that this past weekend with over 40 degree temperatures! A few long hikes was exactly what our holiday dazed bodies needed, and we enjoyed watching a calmer side of Lake Michigan, trails that weren’t icy or frozen, and even a few glimpses of some sun.

A winter sheet pan dinner

While 40 degrees is quite the heatwave for Michigan in the winter, we were still chilled to the bone when we came home, and flipping the oven on to roast some dinner for an hour was just what we longed for. I live for sheet pan dinners – a whole meal on a couple of sheet pans? Sign me up. This meal is low fussy and absolutely delicious. Warm, winter comfort food that can make an appearance on your weekly dinner menu throughout the cooler months of the year!

Spatchcock, butterflied, split…

Whatever you want to call it, we just love a juicy butterflied chicken! Splitting the chicken spatchcock style is easier than it looks to do, and it cuts the cook time down by about 1/4 of the time! Instead of a whole afternoon to slow cook, in around an hour, you can have super crispy, delicious skin with juicy and flavorful meat on the inside. All you have to do is use kitchen shears to snip down the backbone of the chicken, and you’re set!

The key to super juicy meat….

That butter! You can use olive oil or ghee of course, but if you tolerate butter, you are going to want to slide that right under the skin and let it baste the meat while it cooks. You’ll be so glad you did!

The maple mustard sauce!

Of course we’ve all heard of honey mustard, but have you ever tried maple mustard?! It is just amazing, and I can almost guarantee your kids are going to be completely in love. Slightly sweet and sticky, the outside of the chicken gets basted in this super kid friendly glaze that will have everyone asking for seconds. And with just TWO ingredients to whisk up in less than a minute, this easy peasy change up to a spatchcock chicken will be something you can actually put on the dinner menu rotation that you have time to make.

Make it a whole meal on a tray momma!

I’m telling you, once you go sheet pan dinner, you’ll never look back! I use sheet pan dinners more often than my Instant Pot or slow cooker – combined! *GASP*. Yep. Toss it all on the tray and hands free? Yes please! You can change up the veggies to what you have on hand – here are some ideas!

  • Cubed butternut squash and brussel sprouts (pictured in this post)
  • Cubed sweet potatoes and broccoli
  • Carrot or rainbow carrot “coins,” cubed potatoes, and chopped kale (add the kale at the end – last 10 or so minutes since it doesn’t need as long to cook)
  • Root veggie mix up! Just toss all those glorious winter roots on the tray – parsnips, rutabaga, carrot, beet! The possibilities are endless and changing it up not only keeps the meal interesting, it gets a variety of nutrients into your family!

Alllll that veggie prep…how do I do it on a busy schedule?!

I’ve got you covered, dear momma! I certainly don’t have time to be in the kitchen all day, but it is worth taking at least some time to get some real food on the table. If you really want to make it happen, it can be done! Here are some tips!

  • Prep the veggies the night before. I timed myself prepping the squash and brussel sprouts for this recipe, and it took me under 10 minutes. That is do-able before bedtime – and you can have the kids help you! I picked veggies for this meal that wouldn’t go bad getting cut up the night before – just pop them in a container with a lid and all you have to do when you get home from school or work is dump it on the tray.
  • Train the kiddos! Yes, dear momma! Get those little sous chefs in there to help you out. Put it on the big kids’ chore list to peel the squash when they get home from school, and have the littles scoop the seeds out. Whatever works. And let this be a message to my mommas with littles that are reading this…train them NOW, so that when life gets even busier when they start school (YES you heard that right – it gets BUSIER when school starts!), you have some trained helpers to get the meal on the table.
  • You can also buy veggies like this that have been pre-cut – if that makes your life easier, it fits in your budget, and it lands this recipe on your dinner menu instead of take-out, go for it my friend!

Treat yourself to some sheet pans for your new sheet pan dinner menu!

I use sheet pans more than almost anything else in my kitchen. Having 3 or 4 large sheet pans is a must in my kitchen, and you’ll see at the bottom of this post there are SO many different ways to make a sheet pan dinner – lots of variety! ALSO! You will want to roast your veggies on just the baking sheet – do not use a Silpat mat or parchment paper. They will steam this way and not roast, and you want that roasted flavor. You can roast the chicken on a silpat for easier clean up. The Silpat mats are also great for baking on your sheet pans.

Print Recipe
5 from 18 votes

Sheet Pan Spatchcock Maple Mustard Chicken and Roasted Veggies

Ingredients

FOR THE MAPLE MUSTARD SAUCE:

FOR THE CHICKEN:

  • 1 whole chicken
  • 1 small onion, sliced into 4 rounds
  • 3 tbsp butter
  • ½ tsp sea salt
  • ¼ tsp pepper
  • 1 recipe of the Maple Mustard Sauce from above You may make more separately for dipping later if you wish

FOR THE SHEET PAN VEGGIES:

  • 1 medium/large butternut squash, peeled and cubed
  • 1 lb brussel sprouts, stems cut off and quartered (broccoli would work nice here too)
  • ½ purple onion, sliced into thick strips
  • ¼ cup melted butter or ghee
  • Sea salt/pepper to your taste

Instructions

  • Pre-heat your oven to 425 degrees and make sure you have your 3 oven racks in the middle of the oven.
  • Whisk the Maple Mustard Sauce ingredients together and set aside.
  • Split your chicken by cutting down each side of the spine to remove the backbone. (You can see how this looks in the picture above). Put the chicken breast side UP on a baking sheet, press the chest down flat, and place an onion round under each breast and leg. Put 1 cup of water on the baking sheet as well.
  • Loosen the skin of the breast using your fingers, and put about 2-3 tbsp of butter under the skin (see the above image). Brush a thin layer of the maple mustard sauce on the chicken (use about ¼ of what you made), and place in the 425 degree oven for 20 minutes.
  • While the chicken is cooking, you can get your veggies ready. Toss the veggies with the butter/salt/pepper on a large sheet pan, and then split the veggies between 2 sheet pans. If you leave them super piled up and crowded they won’t cook as fast and won’t get the yummy roasted flavor. Use 2 sheet pans. If you have a smaller crowd to feed, you can use less veggies and cover 1 sheet pan.
  • When the chicken has cooked for 20 minutes, take it out, brush on more of the maple mustard sauce, leaving about ¼ of it behind for one more coat at the end. Put the chicken back in the oven along with the veggie sheet pans, and roast everything for 30 minutes.
  • Take the chicken out, brush on the last of the Maple Mustard Sauce, give the veggies a quick stir, and roast everything for another 5 minutes.
  • Let the chicken rest for 5 minutes before cutting – you can leave the veggies in the oven to stay warm.

More real food SHEET PAN meals you might like ::

Batch Up Meals Breakfast Ideas Healthy Kids and Teens Holiday Recipes Real Food 101 Real Food Tips School Holidays Snack Ideas

Gingerbread Granola :: Gluten & Dairy Free!

December 20, 2018

Gingerbread granola is perfect for your last minute gift giving, and a healthier “all holiday season long” breakfast!

Last minute momma…

Oh man, you guys. I am usually never the person to be “last minute” on gift giving, but this whole having 3 kids in school thing has made me…not as organized, ironically! I think I figure I have all this time during the day to get stuff done, and it gets pushed off to get work done, or clean the house, or…well you get the idea! This year I really did think that I had all of my gift set, and then remembered I hadn’t covered all of the teaching staff that our family so desperately loves! Once again, that whole all 3 kids in school thing…times a teacher and assistant in each class, plus office staff and the beloved specials teachers. These people are a part of my village and I love to take care of them!

A granola tradition

We’ve been jarring up granola for teachers for years – since my 4th grader was in preschool! It is such a simple gift that everyone will love. I always picture these hard working teachers sitting back with their coffee and a big blanket enjoying their first breakfast of the well deserved 2 week holiday break on us! We usually make this cranberry orange granola for Christmas, and this honey rhubarb granola for the end of the school year. It is always so loved, and the girls like making it.

Short on time!

Because those well loved recipes require soaking (read, time), and I was short on that commodity, I decided to use sprouted oats, so we could skip the soaking step (if you have regular oats, you can still make this too!). I also didn’t have cranberries or oranges on hand for the cranberry orange granola, and with a little one that had to stay home with an upset tummy, there was no store running on this day. I scanned through my cupboards and when I got to the spices, I hit the jackpot! Gingerbread flavor. No special store runs – I bet you have all of these ingredients right in your pantry! I also decided to forgo the dehydrator and just bake this granola. It went super fast, only taking just over 20 minutes to finish! I had the entire granola mixed, onto trays, and fully baked in a half hour.

Homemade gift giving

The kids can truly help make this granola from start to finish, and then scoop it all up into mason jars with a pretty ribbon for their teachers. It is so special to be able to let them say “I made this!” when they hand over those jars! Of course, this crazy momma did wait last minute and ended up making it for the girls, but I’ll be having them jar it up and write notes on the jars which is just as special. It is such a simple gift, and so many people get sweets and treats for these kind of gifts – it’s a nice change up to give them something with holiday flavors that can be used as an actual meal!

How to use your gingerbread granola

  • Top your breakfast or snacktime yogurt or coconut yogurt with it!
  • Pour raw milk or coconut milk over a bowl of your granola!
  • Mix it with coconut, nuts, and seeds to make a trailmix for holiday road trips!
  • Pack it up in lunchboxes or morning snack boxes throughout December for a fun Christmas snack throughout the season!

Sprouted versus regular oats

If you only have regular oats on hand, I’m totally going to tell you to use them (this is the Non-GMO brand of oats that I use). I would rather you make this with regular oats, then not make it at all and have to buy something for a gift at the store. If you have time to order, we love these sprouted oats, and I keep them on hand for times that I don’t have time to soak. Once isn’t going to be the end of the world not to soak, but over time it is a good idea to eat your oats soaked or sprouted for easiest digestion.

A note on the “sweet”

This granola is a bit sweeter than I typically make our “everday” granola. When I created this, I was keeping gift giving in mind, which a lot of the times means people that are not used to mildly sweetened foods. I made a second batch for my girls and backed off on the coconut sugar and maple syrup by half and it tastes really good still. Do not back off on the molasses – this is what gives the gingerbread flavor! If you have really little guys around the house that you will be making this for, I would consider backing off the sweet by a bit. As written, this granola totally tasted like a treat to my girls – ha! It is nice a sweet, and perfect for a sour/tart bowl of yogurt. Or to give as a gift to someone who is more used to sweet breakfast cereals.

Merry Christmas to you and your family!

 

Another year has literally flown by, and I am so honored to continue to be able to write in this space, and share conversation with you all. Healthy and happy new year to you!

Print Recipe
5 from 1 vote

Gingerbread Granola :: Gluten & Dairy Free!

We've been jarring up granola for teachers for years - since my 4th grader was in preschool! It is such a simple gift that everyone will love.
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time25 mins
Total Time35 mins
Course: Breakfast
Cuisine: American
Keyword: dairy-free granola recipe, gluten-free granola, pecan granola
Servings: 20 servings

Ingredients

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 325 degrees
  • Melt the coconut oil, maple syrup, and molasses in a small sauce pan. Turn off the heat, and add the vanilla extract.
  • Combine the rest of the ingredients (the dry ingredients) into a large mixing bowl, and then stir in the melted coconut oil/syrup/molasses, until all of the dry ingredients are coated.
  • Spread the granola mixture onto 2 large baking sheets and bake at 325 for 10 minutes. Take the trays out, stir the granola, and then return to the oven. Bake for another 13 minutes. Take the trays out, stir the granola, and then let the granola cool completely. It will crisp up more as it cools. Store your granola in airtight containers up to a month in the pantry, or months in the fridge or freezer.

More real food recipes you might like ::

 

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

How To Make Gluten Free Shortbread Cookies

December 12, 2018

Learn how to make gluten free shortbread cookies, perfect for everything from your afternoon cup of tea to your holiday cookie plate!

It all began with a cup of tea and a book…

When my oldest was just a toddler, were reading a story (and in my sleepy momma stupor I cannot for the life of me remember which story, for her sister who is just 22 months younger than her was just a baby…and she gets the award for the toughest newborn sleeper in the house…). Anyway, this sweet story had a mouse or some sort of animal that was enjoying a cup of tea and cookies, and my little one thought that was just the bees knees…and from that day forward reminded me {daily} how we must try this tea and cookies deal.

My toddlers’ favorite “butter cookie”

For purposes of the SEO gods of Google, I’ve named these adorable cookies shortbread cookies because that is really what they are. But when Chloe was making them with me for the first few times and saw the big chunk of butter that was used to make them, she declared them “butter cookies” and from there forward, whenever she had a craving for tea and cookies she would ask for these amazing “butter cookies”…from the mouth of babes, right?!

Simple ingredients for busy motherhood

I couldn’t have asked for a simpler cookie to make than this cookie that my kids grew to ask for whenever they wanted a special treat to have with a cup of tea. Motherhood has a way of forcing the hand at time management, and with only 3 ingredients, shortbread cookies were able to find their way into my schedule easily – because let’s face it…momma kinda wanted a little cookie to go with her cup of coffee in the afternoon every once and a while too. 😉

Blender dough?! Yes please!

While a hand-held blender will work just fine for this recipe, I typically find myself just dumping it all into my food processor. In just a few minutes the dough is ready to roll out, and by the time the oven pre-heats the cookies are on the tray ready to go. This shortbread cookie dough is so very soft and easy to work with. You can re-roll it out easily to get every last little bit of it used up for your cookies too.

Shortbread cookie cutters

For years I just used a small mason jelly jar to make round circle shortbreads – this works just fine. While I do love the fancy scalloped edge of my cookie cutter, the mason jar is nostalgic for me because it is the way my girls ate them as little ones. If you want to get technical, and also have a better shortbread for dipping, the scalloped rectangle shortbread cookie cutter is the traditional way to shape these cookies.

Freezer friendly!

In fact, these little shortbread cookies are my favorite right out of the freezer. Which just so happens to mean that you can stash them away for those afternoons when all of the planets align making all the babes decide to take a nap at the same time…make your favorite brew and enjoy a cookie. Or for those times when you decide to take the school friends last minute and you want to win a few cool mom points for having fun cookies to enjoy after school.

 A blank slate

Shortbread cookie recipes are pretty endless as far as the possibilities to dress things up. This no-fuss momma just tends to keep them on the simple side with just a splash of almond extract or a dusting of real vanilla bean (my favorite). But you can dip them in chocolate and sprinkle with candy cane for the holidays (we LOVE these naturally dyed candy canes!), or fold in lavender or rose petals for a special valentine’s day treat. This basic shortbread recipe is fool-proof and has been a staple year after year in our oven!

Print Recipe
5 from 16 votes

How To Make Gluten Free Shortbread Cookies

Learn how to make gluten-free shortbread cookies, perfect for everything from your afternoon cup of tea to your holiday cookie plate!
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time10 mins
Total Time20 mins
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Keyword: gluten-free shortbread recipe, how to make gluten-free shortbread
Servings: 2 dozen
Author: Renee - www.raisinggenerationnourished.com

Ingredients

Instructions

  • Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees and line 2 baking sheets with Silpat.
  • Put the softened butter and powdered sugar into your food processor and blend to cream them. You could alternatively use a hand-held blender.
  • Add the flour to the food processor, and blend to combine until the dough gathers. You could use a hand mixer for this part too.
  • Turn the dough out onto a flour dusted counter top to roll out. You could use more Namaste flour blend or even just some white rice flour which is super inexpensive. You can use a generous amount of rice flour or Namaste to dust the surface and your rolling pin. Roll the dough out to your desired thickness and cut out the shapes you want. Traditional shortbreads are about ¼ inch in thickness.
  • Place the cut cookies onto a Silpat lined baking sheet and bake at 350 degrees for 10-15 minutes, until the edges are just starting to become golden brown. The time will depend on how thick you made your cookies. The cookies in the images of this post take about 15 minutes. Cool for a couple minutes on the tray, and then transfer to a cooling rack to cool completely. If you want to dust your cookies with powdered sugar, it is best to do this while the cookies are warm so it sticks best.
  • Store your cooled cookies in an airtight container, or freeze them for long term storage.

More real food recipes you might like ::

Batch Up Meals Breakfast Ideas Healthy Kids and Teens Holiday Recipes Real Food 101 Real Food Tips School Holidays school lunches Snack Ideas

Healthy Gluten Free Gingerbread Muffins :: A Perfect Christmas Morning Breakfast!

December 8, 2018

Healthy gingerbread muffins with warm gingerbread flavor and healthy ingredients, perfect for Christmas morning breakfast!

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 wonder of Christmas morning!

We take this picture every year, and I’m pretty sure I create a post surrounding this special time each year, and it just never gets old. They serious grow up before your eyes!

Let them play

I have talked about Christmas morning breakfasts often. Years back, I came to the realization that when you are in a season of these littles running around, having a quick, portable {not sugar-filled} breakfast for them to munch on while they play with a new toy is the key to happy kids with stable blood sugars. Sure, you can still make your fancy Christmas brunch later on that morning, but most kids need a little something when they wake up in the morning, and it is really hard to pull them away from the excitement surrounding the Christmas tree! We have created a number of handheld breakfast ideas for Christmas morning over the years – here are a few:

Easy pour blender batter – yes please!

Because as much as I know you want to have a special homemade breakfast out for the kids on Christmas morning, it is even more special if you get to sit in your favorite chair to watch them enjoy the special morning, or join them on the floor as they play with their new toy instead of being in the kitchen all morning. Kids spell love T-I-M-E, and you can enjoy special time making these easy muffins together, as well as enjoying the wonder of Christmas morning. In fact, my oldest (age 9 this holiday season), was able to make a batch of the muffins completely independently, so this would be a fun “night before” or morning of activity for your older kids to give them something to do too!

How to create a warm, gingerbread flavor that kids will love

Gingerbread can really be all over the board as far as “spiciness” or more of a mild, warm sweetness. I admit, that as an adult, I will totally go for a really spicy gingersnap and totally love it with my tea or coffee. Little kids might find it strong on their young palates though! I feel like I found a very happy medium between have a very apparent gingerbread flavor without being overpowering for little kids. I also love the warm sweetness that coconut sugar brings to the table pairing with the stronger molasses – these muffins are mildly sweet versus cupcake or cookie-like, which makes these gingerbread muffins perfect for a healthy breakfast.

Why soak the oats?

Soaking grains like oats in an acid medium (the yogurt in this recipe) reduces phytic acid in the grain. Over time, phytic acid can upset digestion, so it is a good idea to practice what our ancestors would have done with grains, and soak them. If you really don’t have the time, don’t sweat it. I would rather you make the recipe than not make it and buy store bough muffins instead. It only takes one minute to set up the soak the night before. If you happen to buy sprouted oats, you can skip the soaking process.

Tips for making a quick morning prep

Plan ahead just a little bit, and it can make the morning run even smoother.

  • The soaking actually helps you along! Part of the recipe is already done and in the blender!
  • Measure out all of the dry ingredients (nuts, flours, spices, etc) beforehand – the gingerbread spices are a pain, I know, but the flavor is SO worth it, so just measure them out the night before so you can just dump it all in.
  • Have your muffin pan lined and ready to go the night before too.
  • These muffins are freeze-able too! You can make them weeks ahead of time, and just pop them in the freezer until Christmas morning!

Special tip for working with molasses!

Here is my super special trick that will make your hands less of a sticky mess! You will be measuring out the oil in a ¼ cup measuring cup. This will line the measuring cup with slippery oil, and if you measure your molasses in that measuring cup, it will slide right out without having to touch it! Since you only need 2 tbsp of the molasses, you can fill the ¼ cup measure half way with the molasses which is the same as 2 tablespoons! You’re welcome!

Print Recipe
5 from 20 votes

Gluten-Free Gingerbread Muffins

Healthy gingerbread muffins with warm gingerbread flavor and healthy ingredients, perfect for Christmas morning breakfast!
Prep Time7 hrs
Cook Time20 mins
Total Time7 hrs 20 mins
Course: Breakfast
Cuisine: American
Keyword: gingerbread muffins, gluten-free gingerbread muffin recipe
Servings: 12 muffins
Author: Renee - www.raisinggenerationnourished.com

Ingredients

  • 2 cups oats
  • 2/3 cup full fat coconut milk or whole milk if you tolerate dairy
  • ¼ cup full fat coconut yogurt or regular full fat yogurt if you tolerate dairy
  • 3 large eggs
  • ¼ cup avocado oil melted butter, coconut oil, or olive oil will work here
  • ½ cup pecans walnuts or almonds should work here. If you are nut free I think pumpkin seeds would be nice – sunflower seeds would work too
  • ¼ cup tapioca flour
  • ¼ cup grass-fed collagen I think the recipe will work without this if you don't have access
  • 1 tsp aluminum free baking powder
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • ¼ cup coconut sugar Organic pure cane sugar, maple sugar, honey, or pure maple syrup should work here. This amount leaves the muffins mildly sweet – if you have older kids used to sweeter things, you may want to add more.
  • 2 tbsp blackstrap molasses older, adult palates might enjoy this bumped up by a tablespoon or 2 for a richer molasses taste - this is mild and kid friendly
  • 1 tsp almond extract if all you have is vanilla extract that is fine
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • ¼ tsp ground cloves
  • ¼ tsp ground nutmeg

Instructions

  • If you want to soak your oats for digestion, 7-10 hours before you want to make the muffins (usually the night before), put the oats, coconut milk, and coconut yogurt into your blender and do a quick stir with a spoon to combine – doesn’t have to be perfect. Put the top on the blender and let the mixture soak overnight. This soaking process breaks down the phytic acid in the oat grain making it easier on digestion over time. (If you don’t wish to soak your oats, you can just put all of the ingredients into the blender to combine.)
  • The next morning, pre-heat your oven to 375 degrees.
  • Add the rest of the ingredients to the blender, and blend to combine.
  • Pour the muffin batter into a silicone muffin cup or paper muffin cup lined muffin pan, and bake at 375 degrees for 20 minutes. Let the muffins cool in the pan 5 minutes before turning them out onto a cooling rack to cool completely.

More real food recipes you might like ::

Holiday Recipes Occasional Treats Real Food 101 Real Food Tips

Gluten Free Dutch Apple Pie :: Plus Tips For Including Your Kids While Making It!

December 1, 2018

Learn how to make a simple and delicious gluten free Dutch apple pie with the kids!

It all started with a little extra time on our hands during Thanksgiving prep day…

Extra time?! With 3 kids in the house? I know, I know, it sounds unheard of, but we started some of the Thanksgiving dishes earlier in the week, so that day before Thanksgiving was pretty flexible. We had already put the pumpkin pie into the oven, and since we were planning on Grandma and Grandpa over for this year’s meal, we decided another pie was definitely warranted (it just isn’t worth all the pie making fuss if you don’t have leftovers to go with your coffee the next day, amiright?!).

No fuss apple pie, and a little West Michigan history

It’s really no secret how deeply rooted the Dutch history is along the coast of West Michigan. We live less than an hour away from literally Holland, Michigan, most of our friends have last names that are a mile long starting with either Vander- or Van-, and we spend first week of every May enjoying Tulip Time celebrations everywhere we look! I actually have 0% Dutch blood running through my veins, but I was born and bred here and have enjoyed learning the culture and traditions. I am definitely not a Dutch history expert, but Dutch apple pie is certainly a staple here, and I absolutely love how low fuss it is to make…you all know baking is not my favorite of things to do.

Ideas for how to include your kids in the process

Because if you can swing it, making them a part of your kitchen happenings when you can is so worth it. Confidence, pride, and ownership…priceless. Truthfully I didn’t know how much of this pie I wanted to make them a part of – I am really fussy about how thin those apples are for apple pie, and we had already done quite a bit in the kitchen together. They ended up being right there from the first apple peel to the last sprinkle of the crumble topping, and I’ve got some tips for you!

  • Let them help with the crust! The dough is super forgiving from start to finish. Let the littles press the button the food processor and your bigs and measure the ingredients out. My oldest is able to roll a pie crust out, and with a little help get it into a pie plate. My older girls like crimping the crust too!
  • Let them peel! If you have a fancy apple peeler, fantastic! I have never had one, and have found that a simple Y-peeler works just fine. You’ll really only need to peel 5 or 6 apples so goes quick. You can start apple peeling as young as 2 years old. I have found Y-peelers to work the best for them. (Add one to your Christmas list for your littles! Pop it in a sweet little apron – makes a great gift!). My oldest can effectively use a regular peeler now, but Y-peelers are easier to use for littles. ALSO, don’t cut the apples right away – just let them peel all of the apples first so the insides don’t brown once cut.
  • Let them cut! Use an apple slicer to get it going, and then your older children or you can make those bigger slices thinner. My 7 and 9 year olds were able to help me with the thin slicing this year and they did better than I expected.
  • Let them measure and mix the filling! My 7 year old did this part by herself. The ingredients are so simple, and when you use a larger mixing bowl, there will be less mess. Show them first how to fold the apple slices with the sugar and cinnamon gently so they don’t get crushed, and then let them try.
  • Let them sprinkle the crumble topping! This is the fun part! They all enjoyed doing this, and the topping is one of the beauties in a Dutch Apple Pie – lattice tops can be fussy and time consuming to make with little kids let alone as an adult. The crumble topping can be done all by themselves.

What makes it a Dutch Apple Pie?

A buttery pie crust, and a sweet crumble topping instead of pie crust topping is key. Some traditional Dutch apple pies have added golden raisins.  It is usually really deep with filling as well – I love the layers and layers of thin apple slices. I have seen the crumble toppings made from anything from walnuts to flour, and we enjoy using flour the best. Usually brown sugar is mixed in with the crumble topping. Since I don’t keep brown sugar around the house (we just don’t use it that often, and it always ends up hard as a rock in my pantry), a mix of sugar and molasses do the trick for this topping – that is all brown sugar is anyway! I like the lightly warm taste of a lighter brown sugar, but you can add more molasses if you like it richer.

Let’s talk about pie plates…

My love affair with pies has more to do with getting to use pretty pie plates versus the actual making of the pie. Well, that and the delicious fillings! It is a small investment for that feeling you get when you pull them out of that very top pantry cupboard you barely use all year. I spend at least a few minutes envisioning the pie in each of my pies before choosing the lucky one. Here are some of my favoirites – treat yourself to one!

  • If you like a classic, clean line look to a pie plate, these are more your style.
  • If your style is more vintage, take a gander at these gorgeous pieces – I’m swooning!
  • I found some really pretty holiday pie plates that I definitely planning on adding to my collection!
  • I do love a good glass pie plate as well and get a lot of use out of them.

Make ahead options

Pie making always feels daunting to me, possibly because baking really isn’t my favorite. There’s so many pieces to the puzzle, but if you break it down, you can make it feel like less steps. You can make the pie crust days in advance, and even get it into the pie plate in advance. This can be a nice jump start to any holiday meal when you can’t prep anything else. You can also prep the crumble topping days in advance. Just pop the topping into an airtight container and stash it away in the fridge until you are ready to use it.

How do I serve Dutch Apple Pie?

You mean other than with a big mug of hot coffee the next morning for breakfast?! Ahem…For Thanksgiving, we used the thick and fluffy whipped cream we made for the pumpkin pie, but a big scoop of vanilla ice cream is my favorite!

Print Recipe
5 from 4 votes

Gluten Free Dutch Apple Pie

Learn how to make a simple and delicious gluten-free Dutch apple pie with the kids!
Prep Time40 mins
Cook Time45 mins
Total Time1 hr 25 mins
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Dutch apple pie recipe, gluten-free Dutch apple pie, gluten-free Dutch apple pie recipe
Servings: 8 servings
Author: Renee - www.raisinggenerationnourished.com

Ingredients

CRUST ::

CRUMBLE TOPPING ::

FILLING ::

Instructions

MAKE THE CRUST ::

  • Put the flour, sugar, and cold butter into your food processor, and pulse until the butter is pea-sized bits. Add water to the oil stream cup at the top of your food processor and blend to combine until the dough comes together – this takes about 30 seconds to a minute so be patient. Gather the dough, wrap it in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes – you can make this days ahead of time if you wish as well.

MAKE THE CRUMB TOPPING ::

  • Put all of the crumb topping ingredients into a small mixing bowl and either use your fingers or a pastry cutter to combine – there should be small bits of butter crumbs throughout. Put the crumb topping into the fridge until you are ready to use it.

ROLL OUT THE CRUST ::

  • When the crust has refrigerated long enough, roll it out and place it into your pie plate, crimping or designing the edges however you like. You can pre-heat your oven to 375 degrees at this point too.

MAKE THE FILLING ::

  • Put all of the apple filling ingredients into a medium mixing bowl, stir to combine, and pour into your uncooked pie crust.
  • Sprinkle your crumble topping over the apple pie filling, and bake at 375 for 45 minutes. Cool for an hour before slicing. Top with homemade whipped cream or vanilla ice cream!

More real food recipes you might like ::

 

 

Batch Up Meals Dinner Ideas Holiday Recipes Nourishing Staples Real Food 101 Real Food Tips Soup

Pot Pie Soup :: Use Chicken Or Turkey! Gluten and Dairy Free Friendly Too!

November 25, 2018

Use chicken or turkey to make the comforting flavors of pot pie in an easy to make pot pie soup!

Savoring the season

It really just keeps getting better and better. I have moments of missing my babies as babies, but this is such a cool season of mommahood. Sure, those squishy cheeks and snuggles are missed, but OH…the holidays have become this amazing time of making precious memories with these little people that can communicate such intelligent discussions, have such glorious fun…and HELP so much in the kitchen!

Invite them in…

Because that is truly what it is all about. We slowed Thanksgiving down, and purposely pushed the time of the dinner being served so that my girls could help the whole time. We started making dishes days in advance, and they truly had their hands in every dish we made! So when my oldest asked if she could help turn the leftovers into a delicious meal for dinner on Saturday, we chose something to make together.

All of the chicken pot pie amazing-ness without the fuss!

Because I really wanted her to be able to do it on her own, and I didn’t want it to take up the whole day. I’m pretty sure I’ve made pot pie soup versus traditional pot pie more often than not – and most certainly the soup versus the pie on the weekend after Thanksgiving. I think we are all ready for a more fuss free meal after making Thanksgiving dinner!

The secret to amazing broth…

…is making your own. Whether you are making your soup from Thanksgiving turkey leftovers, or your Sunday roasted chicken, take the time to make your bone broth from scratch. You will be so glad you did. You can either make the broth easily in your slow cooker or your Instant Pot. Fill the broth pot with your favorite herbs, garlic, onion, and carrot/celery and let it all infuse. This broth gets rich and creamy from a just a little bit of flour and milk – it is silky and smooth and just brothy enough to still feel like soup. You can, of course, add more flour if you wish for your soup to feel more like a stew.

What about the crust?!

Don’t worry, I am totally a soup dunker, so I promise I won’t leave you hanging on that part! You have a few options here. We did play around with using my pumpkin pie crust (cut in half) to make little pie crust rounds to dunk or crumble in the soup, and the girls thought that was the coolest thing. I think I am more inclined to want a soft and buttery biscuit, but it truly just depends on what you prefer. Here are some options:

  • GF Pumpkin Biscuits (This has a 5 minute blender dough and they are so soft and fluffy!)
  • Grain Free Butter Herb Biscuits (This also has a 5 minute blender dough and they are soft and fluffy too!)
  • Use your favorite pie crust to make little crust toppers or crumbles for your soup! Just make the crust and chill it while you get the soup going. Then roll the dough out, and use a mason jar or circle cutter to make rounds. Place them on a cookie sheet and bake at 425 degrees for about 10 minutes depending on how thick you made the rounds. (You can find the pie crust recipe that I used in this pumpkin pie post – I halved it and it was plenty for a dinner meal)

Veggie options

I like to stick to the traditional “pot pie” veggie fillings (carrots, peas, and corn) and I also think the little bit of potato adds some starch to the broth to help with the creaminess. But you can absolutely switch things up to what you have on hand. Sweet potatoes work really well in place of the potatoes, as do parsnips for the carrots. If you don’t tolerate peas, add something else green in there that you enjoy. Even just wilting chopped kale or spinach adds some pretty color.

How to roast chicken or turkey for your soup

Plan a pastured chicken or turkey into your Sunday dinner plan, and then use the leftover meat for this quick and simple soup on a busy weeknight. You can see how to slow roast a simple chicken in this post, and my method for dry brined pastured turkey is in my cookbook, Nourished Beginnings. We make our yearly Thanksgiving turkey that way each year and it is so delicious. You can use the carcass of your chicken or turkey to make bone broth and then make your soup.

Freezer friendly?

If you are overloaded with Thanksgiving turkey, or batch cooking whole chickens, you can definitely stock up on this soup for the freezer, for a pregnant or new momma that needs a meal, or someone who is ill. A comforting meal makes such a great gift to a brand new momma. To freeze the soup, cool it completely and store in freezer safe containers.

Print Recipe
5 from 18 votes

Pot Pie Soup :: Use Chicken Or Turkey!

Use chicken or turkey to make the comforting flavors of pot pie in an easy to make pot pie soup!
Prep Time5 mins
Cook Time10 mins
Total Time15 mins
Course: Soup
Cuisine: American
Keyword: dairy-free pot pie soup, gluten-free pot pie soup, pot pie soup recipe
Servings: 4 servings
Author: Renee - www.raisinggenerationnourished.com

Ingredients

  • 4 tbsp of friendly fat to cook in butter, ghee, olive oil, tallow/lard etc
  • 1 medium onion diced
  • 2 large carrots peeled and diced
  • 2 small yellow potatoes cubed
  • 4 cloves of garlic minced
  • 2 tbsp Namaste GF Flour Blend rice flour, or even cassava flour will work. If you want the soup thicker, or more like a stew, add 3 tbsp – the 2 tbsp leaves the soup smooth and creamy
  • 3 cups bone broth
  • 1 cup whole milk or coconut milk
  • 1 tsp dried parsley
  • ½ tsp dried thyme
  • 1/8 tsp red pepper flakes or to taste per your family’s heat preference (Optional - if you are preparing this for little guys, leave it out, and you can always add it to your bowl if you enjoy the heat)
  • 1-2 cups leftover chicken or turkey cubed or shredded
  • 1 cup frozen organic peas
  • 1 cup frozen organic corn
  • Sea salt/pepper to taste

Instructions

  • Melt the butter in your soup pot over medium/high heat, add the onion, carrot, and potato and stir in a big pinch of sea salt. Cook over medium-high heat for 10 minutes so the veggies soften and sweeten.
  • Add the garlic and flour and stir to combine. Cook for 1 minute.
  • Add the broth, coconut milk, parsley, thyme, red pepper flakes, and chicken, and bring to a simmer until the broth thickens from the flour. This takes a few minutes.
  • Add the peas and corn and simmer a few minutes until they thaw. Add sea salt and pepper to your taste.
  • Garnish with more parsley, and pie crust biscuits or regular biscuits if you choose. See the above notes on biscuit options for more details.

More real food recipes you might like ::