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Gluten Free Buckwheat Pancake Mini Muffins With Berry Dipping Sauce :: Gluten Free, Grain Free, Egg Free, Dairy Free, Nut Free

April 16, 2019

A healthy buckwheat pancake, in the perfect “little hand sized” package – mini muffins!

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.

Birthday girl!

I’m pretty sure I get more excited about the girls’ birthdays than they do 🙂 I love remembering being pregnant with them and experiencing their birth stories, and telling them about how they were when they were babies! This sweet and spunky middle kiddo of mine turns 8 next week, and we started celebrating a little early with a fun breakfast idea that is totally up her ally…

On. The. Go.

If you look up busy bee in the dictionary, I’m pretty sure Claire’s picture would be right next to it. From the day I felt her strong, *non-stop* kicking in utero, to her blazing fast, “sunny-side up” delivery, never-ending toddler years, and now these smart as a whip school age years, we are definitely kept on our toes with this one, and on-the-go breakfasts have become a specialty of mine in her honor.

Pancake…muffins?

Absolutely! While we love a slow start Saturday filled with a fluffy stack of pancakes, in reality, busy weekday mornings just don’t have room for that. Last year we created *the* pancake mini muffin – a perfect, portable substitute for that fluffy pancake stack. I hear from you guys all. the. time. about how much your kids love them, so I’m giving you another option to add to your rotation to get some new ingredients into the mix!

A new ingredient line-up…

So many of you have messaged me asking how to make my original pancake muffins egg free and/or grain free, so this version is dedicated to you. But wait! If you don’t happen to be a “free” anything household, these delicious buckwheat pancake muffins are still for you too! Food rotation is so important to get a variety of nutrients into your family. Eating the same thing over and over again can wear on the gut, and can create imbalance in your nutrient levels.

What is buckwheat?

Despite the sound of it’s name, buckwheat flour is ground up buckwheat seed – it’s a seed, not a grain! Many people that cannot tolerate gluten or grains can tolerate buckwheat, and it has a host of nutritional benefits. Buckwheat has an impressive protein content and is packed with essential minerals our bodies need to function at it’s best. Even if you can tolerate gluten/grains, it is a good idea to rotate your food around. Using the same flour day in and day out in your baking will wear on the gut. Change things up a little! The buckwheat gives these muffins a mildly sweet, nutty flavor, and the vanilla and warm coconut sugar make them taste like pancakes!

Allergen friendly!

It is pretty tough to get a muffin to look like a muffin without eggs, my friends. Let alone feel like a muffin and taste like a muffin! But for some reason, I have found that buckwheat batters have some “stick” to them almost like a chia seed, so the egg binding isn’t always needed. And add in a bit of baking powder to react with an acid, and you’ve got yourself a nice puffy muffin top without the egg rise!

Little kids love to dip!

That is no secret to you, I’m sure, dear momma! So instead of dipping these little pancakes in a load of sugary maple syrup, we’re going to cut the sugar down and use some fruit, and then mix it with some fat to keep blood sugars balanced. Use whatever berries are in season near you, or thaw out some frozen berries to use if it is wintertime. The sauce takes no time at all to make, and you can customize it to your kids’ taste for sweet. If you have really littles in the house, I’d skip the added honey all together. If you have teens in the house used to sweeter foods, that touch of honey will really bring out the berry’s sweetness, and it will still be less sugar than dousing them in maple syrup before a school day.

Not just for breakfast!

This recipe as written fills my 48 cup mini muffin pan! That, my friends, is the epitome if the whole “cook once, eat twice” mantra so many of us try to live by on busy schedules. The girls enjoyed taking the leftovers from breakfast in their school lunch the next day topped with butter, and with a thermos of soup. They freeze fantastic too, so if you don’t have a need for the extras right away, just pop them in a freezer bag for another time.

A note on the soaking

If you are newer to the more traditional real foods movement, this whole soaking process is probably new to you. In a nutshell, soaking grains, legumes, nuts, and seeds is an ancient practice that helps reduce gut disturbing phytic acid, making digestion more sound over time. It takes only minutes to prepare, though remembering to get the flour soaking the night before is part of the process! And because I totally, and utterly understand that, I’m going to step out and be a little taboo for a minute…if you are a hardcore traditional foodist, you’ll want to cover your eyes for this part… Skip the soaking if that means you’ll make these instead of opening a box of cereal, dear momma. I’d rather have you make this healthy, nutrient dense breakfast for your kids without the soaking versus not making them at all. If you are totally into the soaking, go for it! I actually love it because it means most of the recipe is made the night before.

Gluten Free Buckwheat Pancake Mini Muffins With Berry Dipping Sauce :: Gluten Free, Grain Free, Egg Free, Dairy Free, Nut Free

Ingredients

FOR THE BUCKWHEAT PANCAKE MINI MUFFINS ::

FOR THE BERRY DIPPING SAUCE ::

  • 1 cup berry of choice quartered if large like strawberries
  • 2-4 tsp raw honey or coconut sugar depending on how sweet your berries are
  • 1-2 tbsp butter optional if you don’t tolerate dairy

Instructions

FOR THE BUCKWHEAT PANCAKE MINI MUFFINS ::

  • The night before you want to make the muffins, put the buckwheat flour, milk, vinegar, and salt in a medium mixing bowl, and stir to combine. Cover with a lid and let the mixture soak overnight 7-10 hours. This soaking process helps break down the phytic acid in the buckwheat seed making it easier on digestion over time.
  • The next morning, pre-heat your oven to 350 degrees, and spray a mini muffin tin with avocado oil spray or use mini muffin liners
  • Stir in the rest of the ingredients to the soaked batter, and spoon the batter into your prepared muffin tin.
  • Bake the mini buckwheat pancakes at 350 degrees for 15 minutes (if you are making regular sized muffins, bake for more like 25-30 minutes). Let the muffins cool for a couple minutes, and then turn them out onto a cooling rack to cool completely. You can keep the muffins in an airtight container for 3-4 days, or in the freezer for months. 

FOR THE BERRY DIPPING SAUCE ::

  • Everything into a sauce pan over medium heat. Stir occasionally, letting the sauce simmer and break down for about 3-4 minutes. A potato masher helps this along well.
  • Taste the sauce for sweetness, and then blend until smooth. The berry sauce will keep up to a week, chilled in the refrigerator. 

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Probiotic Rich Fermented Red Onions & 10 Minute Sheet Pan Fish Tacos!

April 10, 2019

Sheet pan fish tacos topped with tangy, probiotic rich fermented red onions are a match made in heaven!

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.

Beach days, rock hunting, & fish tacos…

We made it. Our feet were grounded on the Lake Michigan shoreline all weekend, and we couldn’t be more full of joy! While we spend most of our spring and summer days with our feet in the soft, powdery sand of our hometown shoreline, we do love to beach hop to some special places along Lake Michigan with a more rocky landscape so that my rock hunters can find special treasures! My oldest has become quite the geologist in the last few years, with such a love for collecting different rocks and fossils. And my oldest also couldn’t think of a better way to re-fuel after our first spring beach day than fish tacos!

The obsession began a few summers ago…

We were enjoying a rare to us night out at a restaurant after a long, hot beach day, and my oldest, who was about 6 at the time, ordered fish tacos. They were just about the biggest hit you could ever dream of for her, and she still talks about them to this day. They had the avocado crema, mango salsa, and those pretty little pickled red onions sprinkled on top – the works! She was obsessed, and I just knew I had to duplicate them for our menu rotation after that!

The real deal “pickled” red onions

Quick little refrigerate pickled red onions are great, and truly is nothing wrong with them, but what if there was a way to make them the “real deal” way? Instead of pickling them in vinegar for the sour punch, letting nature do it’s work with a little sea salt and water, and allowing the natural, good bacteria in the vegetable ferment the onions to tangy perfection – the way your ancestors would have preserved and “pickled” onions! And let me tell you…the tangy, sweet, salty, crunchy red onions make *the* best fish taco topping!

A quick fermentation 101

It’s as simple as making a little salt water brine to suspend your onions, a clean, air tight space to allow the science to happen, and a little time. When you add the salt water brine to vegetables, the good bacteria in the vegetables starts eating away at the natural sugars in the veggie. The lactic acid left behind from this veggie sugar metabolizing gives the vegetable a tart, tangy taste, and is also just so amazingly good for our bodies! It is a great way to keep beneficial bacteria in our gut flora (probiotics), and it balances stomach acid.

Ok, so what do I need to get started fermenting my onions?

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

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

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

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

Do the kids like them?

Well, 2 out of my 3 give these little onions 2 thumbs up. My youngest is still warming up to them, but onions are strong in the first place, and probably aren’t a great fermented food to start out with for really little guys. My suggestion for littles and fermented foods is to start out with fermented carrots and sauerkraut. Sour pickles and fermented asparagus are fantastic options that are kid friendly too. I also loved this recipe for Ranch Dressing made with Kefir (a style of fermented milk) to dip your veggies in! The littles will love it, and you can feel good about what their gut being nourished. All in all, be inspired to give even the smallest of children in the house a try of fermented foods. My girls were eating small shreds of sauerkraut and shredded fermented carrots by the age of 9 months old, and developing that taste palate is priceless.

Fermented onions first, then onto the tacos!

So grab a mason jar and get some fermented red onions going! Then plan a fish taco night into your menu plan this month and just wait until you see how fun fish taco night is! Here is the recipe for the fermented onions, and the tacos will follow.

Print Recipe
5 from 11 votes

Probiotic Rich Fermented Red Onions :: The Perfect Topping for Fish Tacos, Salads, Wraps, and More!

Ingredients

  • 1 pint warm water
  • 2 tsp sea salt
  • 1 large red onion sliced
  • 1 tsp sugar optional

Instructions

  • Dissolve the sea salt in the warm water.
  • Put the sliced red onions and sugar into a mason jar, packing them in tightly.
  • Pour the salt water brine over the onions leaving a half inch to inch of headspace at the top.
  • Add your fermenting weight over the onions in the brine to be sure the onions stay submerged. If you do not have a weight, just be sure the onions are completely submerged in the brine or you will get molding.
  • Put your fermenting lid on the jar (I use pickle pipes) and leave in a warm space in your kitchen on the counter or in a cupboard for 1-3 weeks. You can taste the onions along the way to get your preference of tartness. If your house is warmer, it will ferment faster, and if your house is cooler, it will take longer. Everyone has a different taste for fermented foods. Your fermented onions should smell oniony and taste pleasantly tangy/sour. The longer you ferment the more beneficial bacteria will be present. I ferment my onions around 3-4 weeks if it is winter time and cooler in my house, and it takes more like 2 weeks in the very warm summer months.

But getting back to those fish tacos!

A couple months back, I had dinner with some friends at a local restaurant. It was all about conversations that didn’t revolve around slime, school work, or Hatchimals; glasses of wine, and great food – it is such a necessity of mom life to do this! One of my friends and I ordered the fish tacos, and, after we quite literally devoured them, I had a renewed desire to get a fun, family friendly fish taco recipe to the blog!

Sheet pan prep for busy families

…Because fish tacos on a Wednesday night is just the bees knees, and I promise it will be *the* thing that gets you through the rest of the week. Just a quick slice through some wild caught white fish, a toss through some taco season of your liking, and 10 minutes at the most in the oven. That is weeknight dinner at it’s best.

What kind of fish?

Any wild caught white fish will do, though we have certainly enjoyed fish tacos with wild caught salmon! Use whatever your family likes to eat. We pick up wild caught mahi-mahi, cod, and salmon at Costco. We also have a local fish monger that has the fish here and there. Check around where you live, and ask! Fish mongers are always happy to tell you about where their fish comes from!

Fish Taco Bar topping ideas!

  • Shredded cabbage or lettuce
  • Coleslaw
  • Fermented Red Onions (Recipe is below!)
  • Raw cheese or goat cheese
  • Guacamole
  • Shredded carrots (or ease your littles into the fermented topping idea by using shredded fermented carrots – my youngest eats them this way)
  • Salsa
Print Recipe
5 from 11 votes

10 Minute Sheet Pan Fish Tacos

Ingredients

FOR THE FISH

  • 4 fillets of white wild caught fish such as cod or mahi mahi Cut into strips, or bit sized chunks if you have little ones at home.
  • 3-4 tsp taco seasoning I use my own taco season mix.

FISH TACO TOPPING OPTIONS

  • Shredded cabbage or lettuce
  • Coleslaw
  • Fermented Red Onions (See above recipe)
  • Raw cheese or goat cheese
  • Gauacamole
  • Shredded carrots
  • Salsa

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 400 degrees, and line your baking sheet with Silpat, or spray with avocado oil spray, or lightly grease with butter or coconut oil.
  • Toss the cut up fish with the taco season and spread the pieces of coated fish onto the sheet pan. Bake for 10 minutes. If you made smaller pieces for little kids, you will have a shorter cook time.
  • Serve on your favorite tortillas with toppings of your choice!
My sweet tween, happily inhaling said fish tacos after the photoshoot 😉

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Spring Onion Soup

April 3, 2019

Spring onion soup made sweet and mild, perfect for sipping on a cool spring day!

It’s no secret that spring takes it’s good ‘ol time sprouting around here…

We bounce between winter coats and boots one weekend to hoodies and tennis shoes the next! While we await a more consistent warmer spring air around these parts, I’ll share one more warming soup for the spring season.

What are spring onions?

Spring onions (also called scallions) are just early onions, harvested before the onion bulb forms. You can find spring onions with a slightly larger bulb than what is pictured here if you can find them at farmer’s markets. This is more typical of what I can find organic in a grocery store around here, and either works great for this soup. Spring onions have more of a mild onion flavor, so we love eating them raw on salads in the summer, and it makes for a very sweet and mild onion soup – perfect for adults and kids alike.

The process…

This spring onion soup couldn’t get any simpler as far as ingredients go. A simple potato crisped to perfection for flavor in sweet butter. A gentle and flavor enhancing saute, and a quick simmer with some fresh baby spinach for color and nutrients. A blend through with an immersion blender or in your regular blender, and you have a super smooth, sip-able soup for your mug, or the kids’ tea cups that will warm your belly and nourish your body with spring at it’s best.

But will the kids like it?

If you have older kids that enjoy a French Onion soup, they will love this mild onion soup flavor. If you have little guys, say age 3 and under (even your 9 month old’s are in this category – perfectly safe to try if baby has started some bone broth and veggies just fine!), I say ladle some of this gentle soup into a little tea cup with a straw and let them have at it. Introducing my babies to veggie soup purees from very young is, I’m almost positive, why they accept just about any new veggie soup puree I put in front of them. Including this one, which was a new soup for them. “New” foods can be a struggle for ages 3-6, and my 5 year old was not an exception. She did ask what it was, but knew that she just had to take a couple of “polite bites” to try the new food, and if she wasn’t a fan she could be done. As it turns, out she slurped down 2 small bowl-fulls and asked for it in her thermos for school. My oldest asked if there was any left the next morning for breakfast…like her momma, she is becoming, I tell ya!

Breakfast soup?

This beautiful and delicious spring onion soup has been a favorite breakfast of mine over the last month while I’ve perfected my ingredient ratios for you. Super hot in a mug with a side of hard boiled eggs and a muffin to be exact! Bone broth rich soup is a wonderful way to start the day, and truth be told, as the weather turns warmer, I’ll be swapping my breakfast soups for smoothies more often, so I’m savoring all I can of this beautiful season.

Topping ideas

SO many possibilities here! Our favorite so far has been the sweet and salty bite of shaved Parmesan or your favorite cheese on top. If you don’t tolerate cheese, you can add some nutritional yeast flakes during blending to add the cheesy bite. We also loved a swirl of tangy coconut yogurt. You could do sour cream if you wish too. A sprinkle of sunflower seeds gives great crunch as well.

Freeze-able?

If you see an abundance of spring onions this season at your farmer’s market for those amazing in season prices, take advantage and double or triple this soup up. It freezes fantastic, and I even think the flavor enhances with time!

Print Recipe
5 from 14 votes

Spring Onion Soup

Ingredients

  • 3-4 tbsp butter, ghee, or olive oil to cook in
  • 1 russet potato cubed
  • 4 bunches of spring onion chopped, including whites and greens included)
  • 1-2 cloves of garlic coarsely chopped
  • ½ cup white wine
  • 1 quart bone broth
  • 3 handfuls of baby spinach
  • Sea salt & pepper to taste
  • Garnish with cheese of your choice, or dollop of sour cream or coconut yogurt

Instructions

  • Melt the butter in a soup pot over medium high heat, and add the potatoes with a big pinch of sea salt. Cook until the potatoes start to slightly brown and crisp. This will take a good 5-10 minutes depending on how big you cubed your potatoes.
  • Add the spring onion and garlic, stir, and cook over medium heat for a few minutes until fragrant and the spring onion wilts and the whites soften.
  • Pour in the wine, scrape up any bits at the bottom of the soup pot, and lightly simmer for one minute.
  • Add the bone broth and spinach and simmer for 5 minutes.
  • Turn off the heat, blend the soup with your immersion blender or regular blender, and then sea salt and pepper the soup to your taste.
  • Top the soup with your choice of cheese or a dollop of sour cream.

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Spring Instant Pot White Bean Soup :: Stovetop Directions Included!

March 28, 2019

Light and refreshing spring flavors, creamy and comforting without being heavy, this Instant Pot White Bean Soup is your answer to cool spring days!

We had our feet in Lake Michigan this weekend!

Well, let me rephrase that…my Michigan born and bred kids had their feet in the “just starting to thaw” Lake Michigan waters that were registering in at an invigorating 32 degrees Fahrenheit 🙂 I enjoyed my thermos of coffee from ashore in my winter boots! They are like a moth to a flame to this beach, and I love watching them enjoy it in every season!

Cool spring days meals

Spring has a way of really messing with us here along the lakeshore. We see that sun finally peeking out, and most Michiganders trade snow boots for beach flip flops at a mere 40 degrees. The girls saw the slightest bit of water thawed at the lake, and their boots and socks were off faster than I could say “barley thawed.” The sun is deceiving with chilly air still hanging around, so warm meals with spring freshness has become a bit of an expertise of mine.

The key to warm spring meals…

Despite the cool air, our body clocks definitely still shift in the spring. So the key for me has been to invite those fresh spring flavors into light spring soups. We enjoy spring Nettles and garlic in this roasted asparagus and garlic stinging nettle soup. We make fresh skillets of spring veggies, and this spring I’ve been using my Instant Pot a bit more since, well…life, right?! I created this Instant Pot leek asparagus soup with fresh lemon that we have been literally guzzling by the mug full weekly – it is so addicting! And this week, we enjoyed this lighter version of bean soup.

More…soup?!

Ummm yes, because, at least where I live, March is notorious for spring colds, the last of the flu viruses, and various other bugs that kids like to pick up. Packing nourishing, healing bone broth based soups in our lunchboxes for school, or soup bowls for dinner is vital at this time of year. If you have never made bone broth before, please check out how easy it is to make with these recipes either in your Instant Pot OR slow cooker!

Creamy and comforting bean soup without the heaviness…just in time for spring!

Because I really do feel the shift from winter to spring – while we crave those heavier comfort foods during the cold winter months, our bodies shift in the spring to the desire of refreshing spring food. This brothy soup is light and airy, with a bit of creaminess to the broth for comforting and amazing texture. Kids tend to like soups with a creamier feel, and this one will not disappoint. The spring dill and bright lemon juice finish at the end is fantastic.

Instant Pot OR Stovetop!

Because I’m hearing from more of you on my last IP post that stovetop is still your main cooking jam, and I *big puffy heart* love that! You are my people! I love my stovetop cooking, and while my Instant Pot has made it’s way to a permanent spot on the counter, if I have the time, I will choose the stovetop every time. Please see the Stovetop directions below to adapt this recipe to how you cook!

Print Recipe
5 from 17 votes

Spring Instant Pot White Bean Soup :: Stovetop Directions Included!

Ingredients

  • 2 cups dry navy beans
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 3-4 tbsp butter to cook in bacon grease, olive oil, ghee, or other cooking fat of your choice will be fine
  • ½ large onion diced
  • 1 large carrot or parsnip peeled and diced
  • 1 large celery stalk diced
  • 2-3 cloves of garlic minced
  • ½ tsp sweet paprika
  • ½ tsp dried dill
  • A pinch to 1/4 or more tsp of red pepper flakes depending on your heat preference this amount leaves the soup with a very mild kid friendly heat.
  • 1 ½ quarts bone broth
  • Juice of ½ lemon about 1-2 tbsp
  • 1 bunch lacinato kale de-ribbed and chopped
  • Sea salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

INSTANT POT METHOD

  • Put the 2 cups of dry navy beans and sea salt in a medium bowl with warm water to cover by 2-3 inches. Let the beans soak for 8-10 hours, then rinse and strain and set them aside until they are ready to add to the IP.
  • Turn the Instant Pot on to “Saute,” add the butter to melt, and then add the onion, carrot, and celery with a pinch of sea salt. Saute for 5-7 minutes until fragrant and soft.
  • Add the garlic, paprika, dill, and red pepper flakes, stir and saute for 1 minute. Turn the IP to “Off.”
  • Pour the drained beans and bone broth into the IP, stir to combine, put the IP lid on, and turn the valve to closed.
  • Turn the Instant Pot on to “Soup,” and leave the time at 30 minutes. The Instant Pot will automatically turn on, and will take about 10ish minutes to come to pressure (depending on how cold your broth is) before counting down the 30 minutes. When the time beeps that the 30 minutes is done, turn the Instant Pot “Off,” and leave the valve closed and lid on to naturally let the pressure release. This gives the beans time to finish cooking and locks flavor in. After about 15 minutes, you can open the lid.
  • Ladle out about half the soup, puree it in a blender or with a hand-held immersion blender, and return the pureed soup to the pot. Add the lemon juice and kale to the soup and stir. The heat from the soup will wilt the kale, and you can season your soup with salt and pepper to your taste.

STOVETOP METHOD

  • Put the 2 cups of dry navy beans and sea salt in a medium bowl with warm water to cover by 2-3 inches. Let the beans soak for 8-10 hours, then rinse and strain and set them aside until they are ready to add to the soup.
  • Warm a soup pot over medium heat, add the butter to melt, and then add the onion, carrot, and celery with a pinch of sea salt. Saute for 5-7 minutes until fragrant and soft.
  • Add the garlic, paprika, dill, and red pepper flakes, stir and saute for 1 minute. 
  • Pour the drained beans and bone broth into the soup pot, stir to combine, and bring to a simmer over medium-high heat. Simmer until the beans are cooked and tender. This will take 45 minutes to an hour. Stir occasionally and check the beans for done-ness.
  • Ladle out about half the soup, puree it in a blender or with a hand-held immersion blender, and return the pureed soup to the pot. Add the lemon juice and kale to the soup and stir. The heat from the soup will wilt the kale, and you can season your soup with salt and pepper to your taste.

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Sheet Pan Gluten Free Chicken Nuggets :: Egg Free, Dairy Free, Nut Free, Grain Free & EASY Prep (NO Breading or Dredging!)

March 21, 2019

Fuss free, fast prep, freeze-able, and {oh so!} kid friendly in taste sheet pan gluten free chicken nuggets!

Glimpses of spring…

We can almost taste it! It really is melting! We are seeing consistent SUN, and sweet friends, spring is so close we can hardly stand it. Our beautiful frozen Lake Michigan beach is thawing out, and we can hardly wait to get our feet into it’s powdery sand.

Spring BUSY

As we started coming out of winter hibernation mode, and spring activities started blooming (<– see what I did there! 🙂 ), I had a panic moment looking at the rest of March, April, and May and had to take a minute! While those toddler and baby years were…a LOT…it really has nothing on tween years with a couple of school aged kids on the side. I know I’m totally in for it when they are all in their teens, but I’m loving that I get to ease into that one kid at a time!

Prep ahead goals

I will be the first one to admit that I literally live for standing stove side to cook. I know that isn’t everyone. It is therapy for me. I do make a point to get my “therapy” cooking into my schedule at least once a week, but a little #RealLife for you…I can’t do that every day. I decided to play around with a little idea I had for nuggets that I could make ahead for the freezer for busier school activity evenings, and make it as fuss free as possible. Bonus if they were simple enough to batch up and throw into lunchboxes too!

Fuss free kitchen time

The first day that I had planned to make these nuggets my day completely fell apart. It happens right?! I originally was going to do the typical “breading” for these nuggets, “dredging” them in something grain free, and decided to scrap that whole step all together because I was short on time. Big time bonus – they turned out even better with out that time consuming step, so this prep truly is fuss free.

No skimping on nourishment here!

Even though my goal was to make something that could be easily prepped for the freezer, for dinner, or lunchbox add-ins, I didn’t want to create something with empty calories. These busier months before summer break at school require big time fuel for growing and active kids. They need real food that packs a punch. I bulked up these chicken nuggets with a load of sweet potato for slow burning energy to fuel those growing kids. It also helps the meat budget when you can pack in some veggies and make the meat stretch.

The perfect texture!

Oh that texture you guys! It was one of the first things the girls mentioned when I started trying this recipe out – and I don’t have “picky” eaters. Nugget texture matters – these are not dry, have the perfect chew, and the flavor is out of this world. There is a slight sweetness from the sweet potato without adding any sugar or even honey, and they don’t taste like sweet potato. The secret is adding a bit of fat (coconut oil) to make up for the leaner chicken or turkey, and soaking up the moisture from the sweet potatoes with a little coconut flour. The result is a great chicken nugget texture that even the pickiest toddler nugget connoisseur will enjoy.

Freezer Tips

There are 2 ways you could freeze the chicken nuggets – choose which works best for you!

  • Your first option is mixing the meat mixture, form it into nuggets, and freeze flat on a baking sheet. When the nuggets are frozen, pop them into a freezer bag to store in the freezer. You can bake them off from the frozen state for dinner adding an extra 5-10 minutes.
  • OR you can mix and bake the nuggets fully, and then freeze them already baked off. I can see myself doing this for easy lunchbox add-ins. They are already cooked and you can toss them in to lunchboxes frozen – they will thaw by lunchtime.
Print Recipe
5 from 18 votes

Sheet Pan Gluten Free Chicken Nuggets :: Egg Free, Dairy Free, Nut Free, Grain Free & EASY Prep (NO Breading or Dredging!)

Ingredients

  • 1 lb ground turkey or chicken I pick up organic ground turkey at Costco
  • 2 tbsp room temp coconut oil
  • 2 cups finely shredded sweet potato I just use my box grater. This ends up being 1-2 sweet potatoes depending on the size
  • 2 tbsp coconut flour
  • 1 tbsp onion powder
  • 1 tbsp garlic powder
  • 1 tbsp dried parsley
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • ¼ tsp pepper

Instructions

  • Pre-heat the oven to 400 degrees
  • Everything into a medium mixing bowl and combine well.
  • Scoop small portions of the meat mixture (size of ping pong ball), roll into a ball, and then flatten onto a Silpat lined or parchment paper lined baking sheet. You can make the nuggets any size (and shape) you want. The nuggets do not spread out or puff up, so make them the size/shape/thickness you want.
  • Bake the nuggets for 12-13 minutes, flip them over using tongs, and then bake another 11-13 minutes depending on the size of your nuggets. Let them cool a few minutes before serving.

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Instant Pot Spring Leek & Asparagus Soup :: Gluten and Dairy Free!

March 7, 2019

Instant Pot leek & asparagus soup pulls the best flavors of spring with a quick pressure cook prep time!

Snow Day number 7,458…

Another lake effect snow storm, polar vortex, whatever you want it call it…is in the books! In March. It’s Michigan…I get that. By March I’m definitely over it, and I’m so ready to bring you some bright, fresh spring recipes! Since it is so cold here, we’ll start with spring produce in soup form to keep us warm, m’kay?!

Whatever state is sending us spring produce…THANK YOU!

We adore you. No really we do. Because we won’t see fresh Michigan asparagus until almost May, and I just can’t go that long without some spring in my life! When I saw the first asparagus sale from at the store a couple weeks ago, I snagged what I could and to the girls’ complete delight we had roasted asparagus with dinner that night – something other than winter veggies! They were in heaven! Leeks and lemons are such a bright and fun spring addition to this smooth and creamy soup too – it’s like spring in a bowl!

Flavors that will blow you away

It is just so good. This soup – you will want cup after cup after cupful. The mild leeky onion allows the rest of the veggies to really shine through, and that tangy bright lemon and yogurt put it over the top. Once you try the little hit of lemon in your asparagus soup, you’ll never go back. This soup would be a great appetizer or soup course item for Easter brunch or dinner. Your guests will be wondering what it is that is making the flavor so amazing, and it is really that combination of the perfect balance of sweet veggies, tangy finishes, and delicious herbs. It will vanish before their eyes!

Instant Pot quick!

I cannot wait to make this soup all spring long! If you happen to snag a great in season deal on asparagus this spring, you can really stock up your freezer with asparagus soup. Shopping veggies in season is defintely how to keep your real food budget in check. And since we can make the soup easily in our Instant Pot, the though of making it all season long doesn’t sound daunting! If you have the 8 quart, I bet you could double this recipe!

The perfect, kid friendly (and not so veggie loving person friendly) soup!

I made this soup on the “soup-ier” side so I could drink it from a mug easily, and so my younger girls could easily use a straw for their school lunch thermos. When my girls were older baby and toddler ages, they really loved eating soups like this with a straw. Between the pressuring cooking time and the blending of the soup, I promise there are no asparagus “strings” left and it is super kid friendly in texture. While I absolutely believe in making sure kids are exposed to every food texture, I understand how those bigger asparagus spears can be kind of stringy. The texture of this soup is soup smooth and creamy – perfect for kids and adults alike!

Freezer Friendly!

Absolutely fill your freezer with at least a couple quarts of leftover soup when you make it! When late fall and middle of winter hit your home, it is SO nice to pull out a jar of spring flavors to change up your menu! To freeze the soup, I like to cool it to room temp, and then fill BPA free freezer quart containers. If you freeze in glass jars, just be sure to leave the lid off for 24 hours in the freezer so it has room to expand and not break your jar. You can put the lid on once it freezes completely.

Print Recipe
5 from 21 votes

Spring Leek & Asparagus Soup :: Gluten & Dairy Free!

Ingredients

  • 3-4 tbsp friendly fat to cook in I prefer the flavor of a combo of butter and olive oil. Ghee is lovely too.
  • 2 large leeks ends and green tips removed, sliced into rounds and rinsed of sand (Use the white and light green part. If you don’t have leeks 1 medium onion or a couple shallots would work well.)
  • 3 cloves of garlic peeled (no need to chop – it will all get blended up in the end)
  • 2 bunches of asparagus woody ends removed and coarsely chopped
  • 1 small/medium yellow potato cubed
  • 1 ½ quarts bone broth
  • 1 tsp dried dill if you have access fresh use about 2-3 tbsp
  • ¼ cup full fat coconut yogurt regular yogurt, crème fraiche, or sour cream (you can use raw milk or coconut milk if you don’t have these, but the tang of the fermented creams is lovely)
  • Juice of ½ lemon use about 1 tbsp
  • Sea salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

  • Turn the Instant Pot to “Saute,” and melt the butter/oil. Add the leeks and saute for 5 minutes until fragrant, soft, and sweet. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute, and then turn the Instant Pot “Off.”
  • Add the asparagus, potato, bone broth, and dill, stir to combine, and put the lid on the Instant Pot. Be sure the valve is closed, and turn your Instant Pot on to “Soup.” Bring the time down to 10 minutes. (The IP will start automatically from here. It will take about 5-10 minutes to come to pressure depending on how cold your broth was, and then will start counting down the 10 minute pressure cooking time.)
  • When the 10 minutes of pressure cooking is done, release the valve and take the lid off. Blend up the soup using your immersion blender or regular blender until it is smooth.
  • Stir in the yogurt and lemon juice, and then taste for salt and pepper. You can sea salt and pepper the soup to your taste, and serve.

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Gluten Free Lemon Coffee Cake :: Paleo Friendly & Honey Sweetened!

February 28, 2019

Soft and lightly sweet gluten free lemon coffee cake with ingredients you can feel good about!

A bit of fresh citrus to brighten our long winter!

These long Michigan winters! We sure do make the best of it, but by the end of February we long for something to brighten our moods a bit! I’ll always be forever thankful for whatever areas of California and Southern states are sending the citrus our way during February each year, because we really enjoy it!

A fresh and bright new breakfast!

Lemons and honey are a match made in heaven, and this lemony sweet coffee cake is no exception! I have fallen in love with the grain free combo of cassava and almond flours together lately. You won’t miss the regular flour with the soft, almost “gluten-like” texture of this coffee cake. And the honey sweetened lemon brightness is the perfect start to the day!

Quick prep & low fuss!

Because real life, right momma?! Whether you are making this coffee cake for a special Easter brunch, or your weekend breakfast, the prep time won’t take you all day in the kitchen with these simple ingredients. Even the crumb topping is a simple mix into a bowl!

Ingredient swaps and tips

  • You can swap the 2 cups of grain free flours for 2 cups of Namaste GF Flour blend if you do well with grains. I love the resistant starch of cassava plus the fat and protein in the almond flours, but understand not everyone can tolerate those. I also plan to make the coffee cake with just the GF Flour blend as well as I truly think rotating our food ingredients and not always eating the same thing is important!
  • Egg free friends, this recipe only has ONE egg! Woot! That means a flax egg, gelatin egg, or other egg replacer should work just fine. I even think an applesauce egg would be ok.
  • I seriously love almond extract with the flavors of this coffee cake, but if you don’t have that around, vanilla extract will work too.
  • The crumb topping is super forgiving and customize-able. I have done coconut shreds mixed with some of the flour. I have done blended walnuts mixed with some of the flour too – you can use what you have on hand.

Freezer friendly

I did take some leftovers of one of the batches that I made of this lemon coffee cake to freeze, and it thawed out great. If you have an abundance of lemons, you sure could double this up into 2 square pans so you can freeze some slices of coffee cake for busy school day mornings.

Print Recipe
5 from 15 votes

Gluten Free Lemon Coffee Cake :: Paleo Friend & Honey Sweetened!

Ingredients

FOR THE COFFEE CAKE ::

  • ½ cup softened butter or organic palm shortening if you can’t have butter/dairy
  • 1/3–1/2 cup honey coconut sugar will work here but will change the color of the coffee cake
  • 2 ½ tbsp lemon zest I had 2 lemons so this was what I got from 2 lemons
  • 1 tsp almond extract vanilla extract would be fine – the almond is SO good though
  • 1 egg
  • ½ cup full fat coconut milk or raw milk if you can have dairy
  • 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • ¼ cup juice from lemons I used 2 lemons
  • 1 cup cassava flour
  • 1 cup blanched almond flour
  • 2 tsp aluminum free baking powder
  • ¼ tsp sea salt

FOR THE CRUMB TOPPING ::

Instructions

  • Pre-heat the oven to 325 degrees, and grease a 2 quart baking dish with butter, coconut oil, or palm shortening.
  • Blend the butter, honey, lemon zest, and almond extract in a medium mixing bowl until creamed.
  • Add the egg, coconut milk, ACV, and lemon juice, and blend to combine.
  • Add the flours, baking powder, and sea salt, and blend until just combined, and then pour the coffee cake batter into the greased baking pan.
  • Combine the crumb topping ingredients int a small bowl, and sprinkle over the top of the coffee cake.
  • Bake at 325 degrees for 40 minutes, or until the middle is set and the top is lightly golden brown. Cool the coffee cake at least 10 minutes before cutting and serving. The coffee cake holds together and firms up as it cools. 

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  • GF Lemon Breakfast Cookies
  • Paleo Lemon Poppyseed Mini Muffins
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Creamy Garlic Butter Salmon :: Dairy Free Option Included!

February 7, 2019

Gorgeous wild caught salmon drenched in an elegant, smooth, and creamy garlic butter sauce!

A winter for the books!

Six consecutive days snowed in from school, and 3 days of ice in a row cancelling school the following week. YOU GUYS…we are so accustomed to snow (and a lot of it!) here on the Lake Michigan shoreline, and typically we can trudge through to school in just about any winter weather, but the last couple of weeks have truly made this a winter we will never forget!

A cozy winter dinner

By that second ice day, there had been an accumulation of almost 2 weeks of fun school activities and dates canceled, and we were ready for some warm comfort food! My kids truly needed a brain boost to lift their spirits, and wild caught salmon always makes them smile.

Easy weeknight prep for any occasion!

Whether you are snowed in, celebrating Valentine’s Day at home, or just have a house full of kids that need an omega 3 fatty fish boost in an amazing cream sauce, this salmon dinner is for you. The prep truly is weeknight fast for any busy work and school day, taking only 20 minutes to make! The elegant cream sauce would make any special dinner night at home perfect with pretty asparagus spears and glasses of white wine too.

How to make perfectly pan seared salmon

The magic lies in a super hot skillet, and I’m convinced ghee makes the best crust and flavor. Start by getting your ghee or other cooking fat super hot in the skillet and put the salmon that has been pat dry and seasoned with salt and pepper right in. After it has crisped up and sealed in the flavor on both sides, set the salmon aside to make the cream sauce. There is nothing like the flavor that comes from pan searing salmon, and all those bits from searing will cook right into the dreamy sauce.

Creamy, dreamy sauce without the dairy!

Unless you can tolerate dairy that is, of course! Because you can make it either way. Dairy free friends, I promise you won’t taste the coconut milk – there is so much amazing garlic goodness paired with ghee or olive oil, wine, and sweetly sautéed veg, that all you will taste is amazing flavor. We thicken the sauce with tapioca which makes the velvety sauce so elegant and special – and trust me, I’ve had my fair share of gummy tapioca sauces – this is NOT one of them! It is so silky and amazing.

Optional change ups

  • If we hadn’t gotten iced in, I would have picked up some mushrooms to saute in with the onion and garlic – it is my favorite way to make this dish. You will love it!
  • You can add some Parmesan cheese to the finished dish if you tolerate dairy ok!
  • I have used sun-dried tomatoes versus fresh before, and it is SO good. And a great way to make this dish in the winter when fresh tomatoes can be pricey or not have that summer sweetness.
  • You can add steamed broccoli to the finished dish for more veggie boost.
  • Asparagus is my favorite veggie add in. During those first days of spring when the air is still cool and crisp, but the first of that spring asparagus is coming in, this warm salmon meal with asparagus is so comforting.
Print Recipe
5 from 15 votes

Creamy Garlic Butter Salmon with Dairy Free Option Included!

Ingredients

  • 3 tbsp ghee or butter, olive oil, or pastured lard/tallow
  • 4 large wild caught salmon fillets cut in half if you have little ones at home
  • Sea salt and pepper for the salmon
  • 3 tbsp butter or more ghee
  • ½ medium onion diced
  • 7 cloves of garlic minced
  • ½ pint cherry or grape tomatoes
  • ½ cup white wine bone broth would be fine here, though the flavor of the wine in here is fantastic if you can do it
  • 1 ½ cups coconut milk or raw cream/milk
  • Heaping handful of baby spinach or baby kale
  • 1 tbsp tapioca starch or arrowroot starch mixed in a couple tbsp water for the slurry to thicken
  • Sea salt/pepper to taste

Instructions

  • Get your large skillet nice and hot and melt your ghee in the pan. While the skillet is warming up, pat dry your salmon fillets and sprinkle both sides with sea salt and pepper.
  • Put the salmon in the hot ghee, skin side down for 2-3 minutes until crispy, then flip the salmon over to the flesh side. Cook for another 3-4 minutes until the flesh has a golden brown crust. Take the salmon out of the pan and set aside on a plate while you make the sauce. If your salmon is larger cut or thicker, you will want to bump up your cook time to more like 5 minutes each side.
  • Melt the butter in your skillet over medium heat and add the onion and garlic. Mushrooms are a nice touch here too that we enjoy. Cook the onion and garlic in the butter for a few minutes until fragrant and starting to get golden brown.
  • Add the wine and tomatoes and bring to a simmer for 4-5 minutes to blister the tomatoes a bit, and cook off the alcohol in the wine. Be sure to scrape up any bits at the bottom of the pan – flavor!
  • Add the coconut milk and bring to a simmer over medium high heat for 3-5 minutes. Add the baby spinach or kale, along with the tapioca starch slurry to thicken the sauce more. Stir frequently until everything thickens – you can add more wine or water if you want to thin the sauce out any.
  • Sea salt and pepper the sauce to your taste, and add the salmon fillets back into the pan to warm back up. Serve your salmon over white rice or rice noodles, over a baked sweet or white potato, or over a bed of steamed or roasted broccoli or cauliflower.

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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.

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Healthy Salty and Sweet Trail Mix :: No added sugar!

January 22, 2019

From lunchbox additions and afternoon pick me ups, to game day munchies and movie night snacks, this salty and sweet trail mix is the perfect healthy choice!

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.

Lunchbox ruts…

Dear momma, I am so feeling you! Halfway through the year, and that lunchbox rotation is starting to look a little blurry, the kids are bored of the same thing, and you are just squinting your eyes at any glimpse of summer break on the horizon 😊

Even real food bloggers need a fresh idea!

Because I’m human too. And I have a full schedule, 3 completely different kids, and seriously those lunchboxes don’t pack themselves! My youngest started asking for “trail mix” in the last few weeks, and I had an idea of what she was asking for. Usually I just take the easy route and pack the girls a hand full of nuts or seeds with a few pieces of raisin and call it “trail mix,” but my youngest was referring to a trail mix she fell in love with a while ago…

A healthier take on an old stand-by…

A year or so ago, Costco carried this cleaner than most trail mix that I had grown accustomed to having in my rotation for the girls’ morning school snacks, or as a quick lunchbox addition. Like Costco seems to be so good at doing, right when you get into a rhythm of using something of theirs that you love…they take it away! Amiright?! To be honest I didn’t love that the dried fruit in the mix had sunflower oil, but for the most part the mix was pretty clean, and it was nice to use once a week as a quick snack or lunchbox filler. Really this mix isn’t that hard to duplicate! I decided to grab a cleaner, healthier fat to make the trail mix feel rich, and make it fun with different pieces of dried fruit for the sweet, and a hit of sea salt for the salty – that makes for a fun snack!

Let’s break it down!

You can really swap the nut/seed/dried fruit combo for anything that you have in your pantry. I love having a big variety to take advantage of all the different vitamins and minerals that nuts and seeds have to offer, without overdoing it on one particular kind. If you are nut free, just use all seeds, and if you can’t have something on the list, simply swap it out. And as far as the dried fruit goes, the sky is the limit as long as it doesn’t have added sugar in my book, so go for it! I can hardly wait until strawberry and blueberry season so that I can dry some of those out to add to the mix!

Speaking of the fruit…

Dried fruit is super sneaky. You have to really look at the ingredient labels and be sure you aren’t getting sunflower oils and added sugar. Just be careful – I’ll add a link to each of the dried fruit elements that we love using here, and I’ll add a few more that I think work great too. All of these are oil and added sugar free! For the most part, I get the dried fruit between Costco and Amazon.

  • Raisins
  • Dried mango (to use these in the trail mix, just chop them up into bite sized pieces)
  • Dried apple (to use these in the trail mix, just chop them up into bite sized pieces)
  • Dried goji berries
  • Dried apricots (to use these in the trail mix, just chop them up into bite sized pieces)
  • Prunes (to use these in the trail mix, just chop them up into bite sized pieces)
  • Dates (to use these in the trail mix, just chop them up into bite sized pieces)
  • Dried bananas (Sometimes called banana chips – I use these as snacks with pouches of Justin’s almond butter for lunches too!)
  • Figs (to use these in the trail mix, just chop them up into bite sized pieces)

To bake or not to bake?

If you are short on time, this mix truly does just come together to toss without the cooking fat and sea salt, and you’re good to go. Many of you with toddlers in the house can start out this way! As the kids get older and their palates mature, having that salty/sweet combo with the richness from a little butter makes a handful of trail mix go from good to amazing! When the girls got their hands on this, they literally thought we were having a treat. I’ll be packing this up in little containers for a popcorn swap the next time we visit the movie theater because it definitely is a nice salty and sweet snack. While I think butter or ghee has the best flavor, avocado oil or olive oil would work the same way. Use what you can!

Soaked/Sprouted Nuts and Seeds

All of the nuts and seeds that I use in this trail mix have been soaked and dehydrated (with the exception of the shelled pistachios). When I first started learning about real food years ago, I learned about the process of soaking in the Nourishing Traditions cookbook as something that our ancestors would have done. The soaking takes the phytic acid in the nuts and seeds down a few notches, making them easier to digest. If that feels outside your real food comfort zone just yet, don’t work yourself up over it. Just use what you have or buy and make this fun recipe! If you are a traditional foodie, you will want soaked or sprouted nuts/seeds. My process to make the soaking process simple and fast, is that when I buy the bags of organic nuts/seeds from Costco or Amazon, I soak and dehydrate them right away. They stay in containers in my pantry so that I can take a quick handful for lunchboxes, or scoop them out for a recipe like this!

Other fun add-in ideas

You can really dress the trail mix up for whatever you are using it for! This basic framework is great for everyday, if you are going to have a bowl of it out at a party or on game day, add in some healthier choice chocolate chips is fun (this does have added sugar just fyi if you have to watch that). I also think coconut flakes are a fun addition and when I have those around I like to add those in with the baking process to make them crispy like chips.

A quick note about saving money and where to shop

Nuts, seeds, and dried fruit can be super pricey if you aren’t careful. We want to have good stewardship with our real food budget, and so I suggest shopping around diligently to find your best priced source. For where I live, it is really between Costco and Amazon, though there are a couple of items with better pricing at our local grocer, such as the dates listed in the dried fruit above. In the links below in the recipe card, any of the nuts that you see with the “Kirkland” organic brand linked, I get at Costco. The rest of the nuts/seeds I buy on Amazon to save money. These items come with a lot, so build up your stash a little at a time, and you will be able to have more variety in your trail mix with time! 

Print Recipe
5 from 18 votes

Healthy Salty and Sweet Trail Mix

Ingredients

Instructions

  • Pre-heat the oven to 300 degrees.
  • Pour the nuts, seeds, and dried fruit right onto a baking sheet (NO Silpat or parchment paper for this recipe), and then toss with the melted butter and sea salt so that everything is coated evenly.
  • Divide the trail mix between 2 large baking sheets, spread the trail mix out, and bake at 300 degrees for 10 minutes. Stir the trail mix around (I just shake the pans a bit!), and then bake another 5-7 minutes.
  • Let the trail mix cool completely and then store in an airtight container.

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Instant Pot Poblano Potato Soup

January 15, 2019

Poblano potato soup is winter comfort food…with a Mexican twist and in a fraction of the time with your Instant Pot!

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

A fresh week, a delicious soup, and a brand new cookbook…

For this real food blogger, it really doesn’t get any better than that – specifically that last part. A sparkling new cookbook filled with so many amazing possibilities! My dear blogging friend for so many years, Emily, from Recipes to Nourish sent her second cookbook, “Amazing Mexican Favorites with Your Instant Pot” to me this weekend, and authentic Mexican food makes this momma so happy!

Fun Mexican favorites…and some new ideas!

I’ll be the first one to admit that my Mexican food comfort zone revolves around the basics…tacos, fajitas, and maybe a little tortilla soup, so I was really happy to step out of my comfort zone and learn a few new food ideas from this beautiful cookbook. There are so many great taco, burrito, and fajita ideas that I can’t wait to learn how to make in my Instant Pot, but there are also a handful of recipes that I have never heard before…and that my friends, is where the magic lies…

Giving your kids the gift of a broad taste palate…

Here’s the deal dear momma! When your goal is creating broad taste palates for your kids, it goes so much further beyond just eating their broccoli at dinner. I honestly didn’t know how the girls were going to like this soup, but what I DID know, was that they were going to happily come to the dinner table that night, even if there was new food in their bowl. Mealtime has been, and always will be positive, and they have been exposed to a variety of flavors from early on. The flavors in this book are super authentic, and this soup is bold and SO amazing…and all 3 of them liked it – my oldest in this picture ate 2 bowls (she adored it!).

That spark in her eye…

She asked to look through the book more and I love that it sparked an interest for a different culture of food. We talked about where Rudy, Emily’s husband, has family roots, and while she knew where Mexico was on the map, it was really cool to see her eyes light up learning about the food culture there. THIS is where it’s at dear momma. Don’t be afraid to put different cultures of food, bold and bright as they may be, in front of your kids. They will grow into adults that appreciate the variety in culture that surrounds us, and have a deep appreciation for food!

Winter comfort food…with a Mexican twist!

SO, let’s talk about this amazing Poblano Potato Soup! I have definitely had my fair share of potato soups – we LOVE creamy and comforting potato soups in the winter – but THIS! This potato soup has the most delicious Mexican twist to it. The smoky paprika flavor, and the mild, sweet heat from the poblanos was so surprising to me. It really was so different…and we adore this soup!

Breakfast, lunch, or dinner!

Since I made the Poblano Potato Soup for the first time at the beginning of the day, I ended up eating the bowl of soup for my breakfast with a side of eggs and figs – it was so satisfying, not to mention FAST using my Instant Pot! The fiber and slow burning carbohydrates in potatoes along with the cooking fat and my side dish protein made for a really balanced meal. My girls ate theirs with fish sticks for dinner – it was a real hit!

A quick note on the heat for your littles

All 3 of my girls loved the taste of this soup at first. Like I said earlier, my oldest ate 2 bowls and really enjoyed every single bite. My younger 2 girls, who are still a bit sensitive to heat, started heating up after about 3 bites. They both said they wanted to keep eating it but their mouth felt too spicy. I asked Emily personally where the heat was coming from – was it the poblanos or was it the smoked paprika? She is thinking it is more the peppers, so I am planning on making this soup again and cutting back on the poblano peppers by 1 or even 2. My poblanos were…HUGE – as you can see in the photo above! It could have just been that too! I LOVE that each recipe in the cookbook has a spicy heat level attached – mild, medium, and hot. This soup recipe is labeled as “medium,” and so it makes sense that my littles found it to have more heat than they are used to. I felt like most of the recipes in the book were labeled as mild, and the ones that are labeled hot or medium, are easily adjusted for heat if you have little guys not used to it.

Notes for my dairy free friends

Since we don’t tolerate dairy, I did swap the cream for a mix of coconut yogurt and coconut milk – I think all coconut milk would be fine too. I did not taste the coconut. I also left the cheese out. I think it would taste even more amazing with the cheese, so if you can tolerate the dairy – enjoy that!

Print Recipe
5 from 13 votes

Poblano Potato Soup

Ingredients

  • 3 poblano peppers
  • 3 tbsp 42 g butter, ghee or avocado oil
  • 1 leek white and pale green parts only, sliced
  • 5 fresh garlic cloves crushed
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • ½ tsp dried dill
  • ½ tsp smoked paprika
  • ¼ tsp ground cumin
  • ¼ tsp ground black pepper
  • 3 russet potatoes peeled and chopped
  • 4 cups 1 L chicken broth or vegetable stock
  • 1 cup 230 g sour cream or 1 cup (240 ml) heavy cream
  • ½ cup 55 g shredded sharp cheddar cheese
  • ½ lb 225 g pan fried Spanish style chorizo, sliced into small pieces

Optional Toppings

  • Sour cream
  • Freshly chopped cilantro

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to broil with a rack in the highest position.
  • Place the poblano peppers on a baking sheet and broil until they start to blacken, about 3 minutes. Remove from the oven and when cool enough to handle, carefully peel the blackened skin off. Remove the stems and discard. Coarsely chop the peppers, then set them aside.
  • Add the healthy fat of your choice to the Instant Pot and press “Sauté.” When the fat has melted, add the leek, sautéing for 3 minutes, stirring occasionally, then add the garlic, salt, dill, paprika, cumin and black pepper and continue to sauté for 2 minutes, stirring occasionally. Press the “Keep Warm/Cancel” button. Add the potatoes, roasted peppers and broth.
  • Place the lid on the Instant Pot, making sure the steam-release valve is sealed. Press the “Manual” button and set for 9 minutes. When the Instant Pot is done and beeps, press “Keep Warm/Cancel.” Using an oven mitt, “quick release”/open the steam-release valve. When the steam venting stops and the silver dial drops, carefully open the lid.
  • In batches, ladle the soup into a blender, taking care to fill only about half of the blender (hot liquids will expand, so please use caution). Blend on a low setting just until puréed and combined. Add the puréed soup back to the Instant Pot and press “Sauté,” bring to a boil and give it a few stirs. Add the sour cream and cheese and stir until fully combined. Turn off the Instant Pot by pressing “Keep Warm/Cancel.”
  • Serve immediately garnished with browned chorizo and the toppings of your choice.

Notes

Notes: For a vegetarian version, omit the chorizo and use vegetable stock instead of the chicken broth.

More real food recipes you might like ::

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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:

  • 3 Tbsp dijon mustard
  • 2 Tbsp pure maple syrup

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.

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Instant Pot Cauliflower and Kale Soup :: Stovetop Directions Included! :: Gluten and Dairy Free!

January 4, 2019

Make super smooth and creamy cauliflower and kale soup in a fraction of the time with your Instant Pot!

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

Winter hikes, and warm bowls…

At this point in the year, my little Michigander children expect snow…and lots of it! Every once and a while we experience a “barely white” Christmas, and this year was one of them. With the last 2 weeks off from school, they’ve been less than impressed with the lack of fresh powder, but thankfully that leaves roads clear enough to visit some of our favorite hiking places to move around. We warmed up with warm bowls of this super smooth and creamy cauliflower and baby kale soup after a hike this weekend, and the rest will be saved for school lunchbox thermoses, and momma’s breakfast.

A mind-blowing breakfast revelation….

Those of you that follow my Instagram much in the last few years know that soup is on my breakfast plate most days of the week – especially in the cooler months of fall, winter, and early spring. Years ago a nutritional therapist that I was working with opened my eyes to just how many more vegetable minerals and vegetable fiber our bodies need on a daily basis, and one of the ways I have figured out to get veggies into this not-so-smoothie-loving girl’s plate is to use soup.

A new breakfast favorite!

Ever grab a head of cauliflower at the market only to forget about and find it a few days later with the beginnings of those little brown spots on it? Just me?! Well, it happened to me a couple months back in the thick of the beginning of the holiday season, and I decided to use the whole head up in one shot so it didn’t go to waste. I used what I had in-house, and this delicious soup was the result – and became my breakfast for the rest of the week! It has been a nice change up from my typical breakfast soups, which also means veggie nutrient variety for my body, and that is always a win.

What I eat with my soup for breakfast

When I eat soup for breakfast, I like to have it with sides of just about anything! That keeps things interesting, so you don’t get bored. Fried eggs or sausage, a healthy muffin or breakfast cookie…even dinner leftovers will work. Leftover soup warms up quickly, and can go with you in a to-go mug too.

Ok, breakfast soup for mom, but will the kids eat it?!

Well devour it is more like it in my house, but yes, this soup is super kid friendly. If your kids aren’t big soup for breakfast eaters, pack it along in their school lunchbox thermos, or serve it with dinner. It’s a great way to get in more veggie variety with an easy to eat, flavorful soup. The texture is super smooth which most kids prefer, and the flavors are pure and delicious versus super complex. Your toddlers/babies can use a straw if they want to do it themselves. Veggie soup purees were some of my girls’ very favorite first foods, and because we started out young, they crave these mineral rich soups!

Kale? But why?!

The baby kale (or baby spinach if that is what you have) just adds more nutrients to the soup without changing the flavor. Baby kale/spinach is super mild and wilts right into hot soup – I add it to many of my soups because it is an easy way to get those dark green leafies in! It obviously changes the color, but its nice to add more nutrients without any fuss to the flavor. You can certainly leave this ingredient out if you don’t have it around, or if the kids are going to complain about the soup being “green” 🙂

The key to amazing flavor from the Instant Pot

Get those veggie basics down into some flavorful fat on the “saute” feature first. You’ll be so glad you did because the difference in flavor is very different than if you were to just toss everything in and go. Pulling the sweetness out of the carrot and onion builds the flavor in the soup which is why it is so tasty without a bunch of complex seasonings.

Chop and GO!

One of my favorite parts about soup purees, is that the veggie prep is really carefree. You don’t need a fine, perfect dice on your veggies. It all ends up getting pureed in the end, so just a quick, coarse chop will do.

Some for now, and some for later

This cauliflower and kale soup freezes great. This batch was eaten for lunch after our hike, I packed a serving away to have for my breakfast the next day, and I packed a quart away into the freezer for another time. That is probably the only true meal planning tip you’ll ever hear from my end! Whenever I make veggie soups, I always pack a quart away into the freezer for another time. I pack thermoses for the girls twice a week, and having soup in the freezer helps with that!

Print Recipe
5 from 16 votes

Instant Pot Cauliflower & Kale Soup

Ingredients

Instructions

INSTANT POT METHOD:

  • Turn the Instant Pot on, and press “Saute.”. Put the ghee into the pot to melt, and add the onion and carrot with a big pinch of sea salt. Cook the onion and carrot on the “Saute” function for 5-7 minutes until they are soft and sweet. Add the garlic, stir in, and then turn the “Saute” feature “Off.”
  • Once you turn the “Saute” feature off, add the cauliflower and bone broth, and put the Instant Pot lid on. Turn the valve to closed, and press the “Soup” button. Bring the time down to 10 minutes. The Instant Pot will automatically turn on, taking about 10 minutes to come to pressure before counting down the 10 minutes of pressure cooking time.
  • When the Instant Pot is done pressure cooking, release the valve to let the pressure out, and take the lid off the Instant Pot. Add the coconut milk and baby kale, and use your immersion blender to puree the soup until it is smooth. Add sea salt and pepper to your taste after you puree the soup.

STOVETOP METHOD:

  • Melt the ghee in a large soup pot, and add the onion and carrot with a big pinch of sea salt. Saute the veg until it is soft and sweet.
  • Add the cauliflower and bone broth and bring to a simmer. Simmer for about 20-25 minutes until the cauliflower is soft, and then turn the heat off.
  • Add the coconut milk and baby kale, and use an immersion blender to puree the soup until it is smooth. Add sea salt and pepper to your taste after you puree the soup.

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20 Minute Sheet Pan Steak Fajitas

December 29, 2018

Just 2 sheet pans and a super easy recipe for 20 minute sheet pan steak fajitas!

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.

Fresh, new year menu!

True to my typical “Happy New Year” blogging style, we’re keeping things kid/family friendly, super delicious, and do-able for “real families in the real world.” I’ve got some great meal ideas for you to plug into your meal plan for the winter that will keep real food on the table, and everyone in the family happy.

A healthy menu that will STICK in the new year

Because really, if your new year healthy eating goals aren’t sustainable, they will be thrown out the window by January 27th – right?! Easy does it, and baby steps are always (always!) the way to go. Jumping onto the latest diet, or food trend bandwagon sometimes gets you a great kickstart. Go ahead and do a Whole30 if you need to break the sugar habit, or get some food elimination for a period of time on GAPS or Paleo if you need to do some gut healing. But BIG PICTURE, friends. It’s really just all about real food…

Real food that works for YOUR body

That is going to look different for everyone, but the main point here is…would your great-grandparents (or for some of us great-great-grandparents) have eaten it? If they did great. If they didn’t, I’m out for the most part. Simple real ingredients? YES! Mile long list of fake food-like ingredients? I’m out. It really can be that simple. Simple, real food eaten in a balanced way without over-doing one food group, item, or nutrient is always the way our ancestors would have eaten.

So let’s talk about fajitas!

And more specifically lets talk about SHEET PAN fajitas, because boy, oh boy will this blow your mind! We sure do love our Instant Pot for quick, healthy meals on busy days (you will be seeing a lot of those around the internet in the next few weeks!), but truth be told…sheet pan dinners are STILL my go-to on busy weeknights. You can’t beat oven roasted flavor (sorry Instant Pot!), and it doesn’t get much easier than throwing it all on a sheet pan.

The season blend…

The fajita season blend here is super easy to make, and very kid friendly in taste. On purpose! I love me some fajita heat, but if I made them as hot as my husband and I like it, the girls would be a no-go. So this blend is mild on the heat without skipping that amazing fajita flavor, and you can add more heat to your liking (or a squirt or 2 of sriracha to your personal fajita to spice it up!).

The key to juicy, tender grass-fed round steak…

It’s all in the marinade and the cook method. The marinade breaks that tissue down a little bit (you could also tenderize your meat if you want), not only adding a load of flavor, but also making it more tender to chew. And then a super quick, hot broil is the perfect way to lock the steak’s juices in without making it tough.

Serving options (and some wrap/tortilla ideas!)

Here are some of our favorite tortillas/wraps to rotate around!

But don’t just limit yourself to wraps. Sometimes I don’t have them in house, or we just want a change up, and the fajita steak and pepper filling tastes so good on top of a baked potato or sweet potato – in fact the sweet potato is on of my girls’ favorite serving methods.

Topping ideas!

  • Guacamole
  • Salsa
  • Raw cow or goat cheese
  • Fresh chopped cilantro/parsley
  • Sour cream
  • Sriracha
  • Lime juice
Print Recipe
5 from 11 votes

20 Minute Sheet Pan Steak Fajitas

Ingredients

FAJITA SEASON BLEND

FOR THE STEAK/MARINADE

  • 1 lb grass-fed round steak or flank steak
  • 2 tbsp Fajita Season Blend from above
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • Juice of 1 lime

FOR THE VEGGIES

  • 4 medium bell peppers, cored, de-ribbed, and cut into strips
  • 1/4 large head of cabbage, cut into strips
  • 1 medium/large purple onion, halved and cut into strips
  • 3 tbsp ghee, melted
  • The rest of the 1-ish tbsp Fajita Season Blend from above

Instructions

  • In a small bowl, whisk together the Fajita Season Blend, and set aside.
  • Put the Steak/Marinade ingredients into a glass container with a lid (or a freezer bag), stir to combine, and set in the refrigerator to marinate at least 30 minutes, or up to a day. If you have a busy day, get the steak marinating before you leave for the morning, so it is ready to cook when you get home.
  • When you are ready to make the fajitas, pre-heat the oven to 400 degrees.
  • Toss the Veggie ingredients together on a large sheet pan, and then divide the veggies onto 2 large sheet pans so they are spread out well for roasting. Roast at 400 degrees for 15 minutes.
  • Take the veggies out of the oven, and combine the veggies onto ONE sheet tray, scooting them over to cover just half of the sheet tray. Put the marinated steak onto the other half of the sheet tray, and broil on HI for 4 minutes until the steak is cooked to your liking (this leaves just a slight pink in the middle. If you make thinner strips of steak than what is shown above, you will want to cut the broil time down by a minute or 2.)

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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 12 votes

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

  • 1/2 cup coconut oil
  • 1/3 cup maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup blackstrap molasses
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 6 1/2 cups oats I like to use sprouted oats for best digestion over time
  • 3 cups pecans coarsely chopped (you could use other nuts and/or seeds here.)
  • 1/4 cup coconut sugar regular organic sugar would work here too. Coconut sugar has a lower glycemic index and has a great warm flavor
  • 1 tbsp cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/8 tsp ground cloves

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.

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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.

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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.

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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!

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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 17 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.

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Gluten Free Pumpkin Biscuits :: Easy, 5 Minute Blender Batter!

November 15, 2018

Bring a basket of dinner rolls to the table every week with these fast prep, 5 minute blender batter gluten free pumpkin biscuits!

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.

What an amazing fall!

We couldn’t have asked for anything better – well, other than asking for more weeks of perfect hiking weather?! Thankfully we have been able to hit all of our favorite trails to see the leaves change during the last couple months, and boy has the season definitely taken a change in the last week or so. We warmed up after a cooler than usual hike last weekend with hot bowls of autumn chicken stew and these fluffy and comforting pumpkin biscuits – I just had to share them with you!

Blender batter and a can of pumpkin?!…*gasp!*

Those of you who have been around here long enough know that I am not a baker – I don’t love the fuss of it all. I’m all about a simple blender batter that will yield me delicious biscuits to go with any dinner or any cup of soup for lunch. These biscuits have been so fun to play around with that we have even enjoyed them with a plate of eggs and sausage for breakfast! If a biscuit dough is fussy and hard to work with, I’m just not going to make them. This dough comes together super fast – and yes, dear momma, go ahead and use that can of pumpkin if you don’t have any leftover squash around. These days, I rarely ever have “leftover” squash to use for recipes since my crew is getting older and like to make it their life goal eat all the things. Organic canned pumpkin works great.

My biscuit must have list…

Gluten free baking can be tough. We aren’t gluten free because it is trendy, or because we are following the crowd. I literally just don’t tolerate it, so we just keep the whole house gluten free for the sake of my health. And let me tell you…I’ve had my fair share of brick hard gluten free biscuits. Crumbly and brittle gluten free biscuits. And chalky tasteless gluten free biscuits. These biscuits are lightly crispy on the outside, and soft and fluffy inside which, if you ask me, is the perfect biscuit combination! Super easy and fast prep checked off the list as well, and we have a winner.

Ingredient notes

  • Butternut squash or freshly baked pumpkin purees would work fine in this recipe if you have that on hand.
  • Most GF Flour blends should work if you don’t have access to Namaste GF Flour Blend. I have not tried grain free swaps such as coconut flour etc, so you will have to play around with the ingredients if you need to go that route.
  • There is only 1 egg in this recipe, so if you are egg free, I do think a flax egg will work for the bind. They might not puff up as much because the eggs do help with that, but they will bind and still taste great.
  • If you are nut free I think you could take the almond flour out and use more Namaste – you won’t need the same amount though. The almond flour does help with that lightly crispy crust out the outside of the biscuit which is why I like using it.

Freezer friendly

Prep ahead, and always have biscuits ready to go! You can either freeze the dough, or freeze the baked off biscuits.

  • To freeze the dough, blend up the dough, portion the biscuits out on a tray and freeze. Once the biscuit portions are frozen, pop them into a freezer bag. When you want to bake the biscuits, take them out to thaw, and bake according to the instructions below.
  • To freeze already baked biscuits, let the baked biscuits cool to room temperature, and then put them into a freezer bag. If you plan to freeze longer than a couple months, I recommend individually wrapping the biscuits in plastic wrap or beeswax wrap to prevent freezer burn.

Soups to go with your biscuits!

The pumpkin biscuits will go with just about any dinner meal, from your roasted pastured chicken, beef roast, or chili, but I also wanted to leave you with some soup recipes. My favorite real food in the real world life hack is making a big pot of soup for dinner, and then packing the leftover soup and biscuits in to lunchboxes for school the next day. Cook once, and eat twice!

Print Recipe
5 from 11 votes

Gluten Free Pumpkin Biscuits

Bring a basket of dinner rolls to the table every week with these fast prep, 5-minute blender batter gluten-free pumpkin biscuits!
Prep Time5 mins
Cook Time12 mins
Total Time17 mins
Course: Bread
Cuisine: American
Keyword: gluten-free biscuit recipe, gluten-free pumpkin biscuits, pumpkin biscuit recipe
Servings: 12 biscuits
Author: Renee - www.raisinggenerationnourished.com

Ingredients

Instructions

  • Pre-heat the oven to 425 degrees and line a baking sheet with Silpat or parchment paper
  • Put the flours and cold butter into your food processor, and pulse until the butter is pea sized bits in the flour.
  • Add the rest of the ingredients, and blend to combine.
  • Scoop the biscuit batter onto your baking sheet into the sized biscuits you want, and bake at 425 degrees for 12-15 minutes, depending on the size of your biscuits (smaller biscuits will not need as long – the ones pictured in this post took 15 minutes). Let them cool for a few minutes, and then transfer to a cooling rack.

More real food recipes you might like ::

Dinner Ideas Feeding Babies Healthy Kids and Teens Instant Pot Nourishing Staples Real Food 101 Real Food Tips

Mashed Acorn Squash and Parsnips :: Oven Roasted or Instant Pot Method

November 14, 2018

Mashed acorn squash and parsnips is a sweet, rustic, healthy change up to your dinner side dish menu plan!

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.

Simple & Sweet

Sometimes the best things come in the simplest of packages. One of the things I love the most about this space I am so blessed to get to write in every week, is opening messages from…you. This week I got the sweetest message from a new momma, that was not unlike so many other messages I get on a daily basis. That whole…“how in the world do I get this thing done?!” question. I felt an urge to hop on my IG Stories and chat about baby season, and it was really nostalgic to look back on those blur of a days that infant season brought to my life. One of my answers to the “how do you get it done” question is…keep it simple and sweet dear momma. 

Back to the basics…

Because sometimes as a blogger, I get caught up in needing to post the next fun dessert, or fancy food prep that will draw eyes to the blog, when really what I know you all need is real life. That is why I am here in the first place – when I was a brand new momma I didn’t have very many places to turn for real life recipes. I didn’t want another momma to have to figure this thing out on her own, and that is one of the drives behind this writing space. So here I sit, writing to you about simple split pea soup, the basics for how to roast a whole chicken, and then make a simple chicken stew out of the leftovers…and how to take budget friendly in season veggies and turn them into a nourishing side dish that the whole family will love.

Team Oven Roast or Team Instant Pot???

Believe it or not, when my babies were babies, I didn’t own an Instant Pot! I didn’t have one until I was well out of the baby years – it’s only been about 3 years since my Instant Pot became a staple on my counter. While the Instant Pot has revolutionized my kitchen routine, the oven does tend to draw me in during these cold winter months. There is just something about the flavor that embeds into those veggies when you roast them in an oven. Don’t get me wrong – I still totally make this side dish in the Instant Pot if I’m making it on a whim and haven’t the time for the oven roasting, but this sweet and earthy veggie mash has it’s roots in my babyhood season of life…and during those years, it was all done in the oven.

Sooo…what does it taste like?

I think both parsnips and acorn squash are overlooked a lot during the fall and winter, getting passed up for the more popular butternut squashes and carrots or sweet potatoes. But let me tell you about these great veggies! Not only are both acorn squash and parsnips loaded with vitamin C, fiber, and an array of other nutrients, they have really mild kid friendly flavors. Acorn squash is sweet and buttery, and when you cook parsnips they become like a sweet carrot. The added roasted onion and hint of that little clove of garlic really take the mashed veggies to another level.

What do I serve mashed acorn squash and parsnips with?

My babies ate it as is! It makes a great first foods start (you can leave the onion and garlic out if your baby is just starting food but my babies over 7-8 months old were eating all of this). But really your mashed acorn squash and parsnips will go alongside just about any dinner. Here are some meal ideas to serve it along with:

Print Recipe
5 from 12 votes

Roasted Acorn Squash and Parsnip Mash

Mashed acorn squash and parsnips is a sweet, rustic, healthy change up to your dinner side dish menu plan!
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time45 mins
Total Time55 mins
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: American
Keyword: mashed parsnip, roasted acorn squash
Servings: 4 servings
Author: Renee - www.raisinggenerationnourished.com

Ingredients

  • 1 medium acorn squash or 2 small acorn squashes quartered and seeds scooped out
  • 2 medium parsnips peeled and quartered
  • ¼ medium/large sweet onion
  • 1 clove of garlic don’t peel it if you are doing the Roasting Method
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 3-4 tbsp butter
  • Sea salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

ROASTING METHOD ::

  • Pre-heat the oven to 425 degrees.
  • Toss the squash, parsnips, onion, and garlic onto a baking sheet with the olive oil and a big pinch of sea salt. Bake the veggies at 425 degrees for 45 minutes until everything is soft.
  • Peel the garlic, and scoop the squash out of the shell, and then put all of the roasted veggies into your blender or food processor with the butter. Blend until smooth. Taste for salt and pepper and add that to your liking.

INSTANT POT METHOD ::

  • Fill your IP with 1 cup of water and place a steamer basket inside. Put the squash, parsnips, onion, and peeled garlic into the IP on top of the steamer basket.
  • Put the lid on, close the valve, and turn the IP on to “Manual.” Bring the time down to 15 minutes. The IP will start automatically. Once the IP comes to pressure, the 15 minutes will count down.
  • When the veggies are done pressure cooking, turn the IP off, release the pressure, and transfer the veggies to your food processor. Make sure to scoop the squash out of the shell. Add the butter to the food processor, and blend until smooth. Sea salt and pepper the veg to your taste.

More real food recipes you might like ::

Batch Up Meals Dinner Ideas Feeding Babies Healthy Kids and Teens Instant Pot Lunch Ideas Nourishing Staples Real Food 101 Real Food Tips school lunches Soup

Healthy Instant Pot Split Pea Soup :: Stovetop Directions Included Too!

November 10, 2018

The humble, pantry staple split pea made into a delicious, healthy split pea soup using your Instant Pot OR stovetop!

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.

Purposely slowing it all down…

I woke up a week or so ago with the thought that we are almost through fall, and I didn’t even realize it! So we are slowing it down, taking more off the schedule, and making more time for spending with family outdoors before that cold snow hits!

A kid soup favorite

Part of me slowing down has been to ask the girls some of their favorite fall and winter foods that we want to be sure to include in our meal plans over the next few months. We all want those most looked forward too meals, and the girls were excited to collaborate on a few favorites. Of course indulgent lasagna, Thanksgiving meal staples, casserole, biscuits, and hot cocoa were all on the list. But want surprised me was some of the simpler foods that my kids looked at as “comfort foods” in their eyes – like this split pea soup. They’ve been eating this exact recipe for split pea soup since they were toddlers! It took me a bit to figure out the exact timing for making it in the Instant Pot, loosely following the IP instruction manual time table for different legumes, but I’ve got it how I like it now, and I’m so excited to share it with you!

A soup (and pantry!) staple

The humble split pea. It is almost always on my pantry shelf, for a myriad of reasons! I first learned about peas/dried peas in the very first real food cookbook that I bought, “Nourishing Traditions” by Sally Fallon. So much of the traditional food preparation that I do even today stems from what I learned in this priceless book! At a dollar a pound, dried peas are really one of the most cost-effective ways to feed my family in balance with other nutrient dense food staples. Peas, along with many other legumes are also a great “perfect food” balance of slow burning carbohydrates for energy, and protein. While we are not an exclusively plant-based diet family, properly prepared legumes like peas help me balance meals – because most people don’t need to be eating meat for their only source of protein all day long. And one of the biggest reasons dried peas are almost always found in my pantry is because my kiddos adore them! I purchase split peas in the bulk section of our local health food store. Check around where you shop, or local food co-ops. You can also find them on Amazon.

Pea Powerhouse!

Peas are more than just their fiber – which is a fantastic nutrient benefit by the way! They are also packed with protein, three different B vitamins, and essential minerals that our organs depend on to function together the way they were meant to. We already talked about how the combination of slow burning carbohydrate energy and protein makes peas a great balanced food, so the added bonus of these nutrients is fantastic!

Split Pea Soup

Typically, split pea soup is flavored with a ham hock and/or chopped ham. It is really rare for me to have pastured ham around other than Easter, so over the years I have perfected that smoky pork flavor that infuses split pea soup with so much amazing taste with a couple secret ingredients. Using smoked paprika works so well, and it is a cost-effective staple that most people have in their pantry. If we happen to have a little bacon grease leftover from weekend breakfasts, a small spoonful of that into the cooking fat also adds smoky pork flavor. The flavor also comes from cooking the veggies the right way……

Instant Pot Pro Tip…SLOW DOWN…

Seems a contradiction, eh?! I know it, you bought the Instant Pot so you could make meals…instantly! But if there is one thing this stovetop soup lover has learned, it is that if I want that amazing flavor that so many veggies have to offer…I’ve gotta slow down and let that saute do it’s magic. Don’t skip that step. Get your veggie basics down in the pot with some flavorful fat – I promise it is worth the 10 minute wait. The flavor is a night and day difference.

To blend or not to blend?

That is all up to you! Pictured in this post is the more traditional way of serving split pea soup – un-blended. The little bits of peas and carrots are so fun and colorful. Truth be told, because I served this soup to my little ones as toddlers and tended to blend it up completely so it was easier for them to serve themselves with a straw, all 3 of my kids prefer the soup totally blended. It transforms into this super velvety bowl of soup – the texture is amazing.

Soaking/Sprouting Tips

Since split peas are technically a “legume,” we know that soaking will help reduce the phytic acid in the split peas, making them easier on digestion. You’ll notice around the 10 hour mark of soaking that the peas will have the start of a little sprouted “tail.” Sprouting these little “tails” in legumes allows the nutrients in the bean more readily available to absorb. Dried peas are very easy to sprout because they naturally “split” during the drying, but you can certainly just do the minimum 6 hour soak if that is what you have time for (I end up in this boat more often than not!). Soak for at least 6 hours and no more than 12. You can approach the soaking a couple different ways (it truly just depends on how your schedule works – there is no one right way!) ::

  • Get the peas soaking first thing in the morning when you wake up to make the soup around dinnertime.
  • Or soak them overnight to make the soup in the morning/early afternoon.

Tips for making split pea soup stove top

You can definitely make this soup stovetop, and I did for years – literally the girls’ entire babyhood! I didn’t have an Instant Pot until my youngest was 2! The absolutely lovely part about making this recipe stovetop, is that you can totally double it up into a large stock pot. In fact, this recipe that I have been using in my kitchen for years is halved to fit into my Instant Pot. I made and froze batches of the large batch for years. Simply follow the same sautéing instructions in the recipe, and then when you get to the bone broth part, just pull your heat up to make the soup simmer until the split peas are cooked through. It will take about 45 minutes to simmer stove top.

Freezer Friendly

Cook once, eat multiple times, dear momma! This batch typically feeds my family of 5 for two to three lunches. It freezes up great. As mentioned in the above paragraph, you can double this into your stockpot and cook it stovetop if you want more leftovers. If you have a larger Instant Pot (I have the 6 quart IP), you may be able to get away with a double. I’m not sure if the IP pressure cooking time changes with it doubling into the 8 quart pot – if you do happen to try it, let us know!

Print Recipe
5 from 21 votes

Healthy Instant Pot Split Pea Soup

The humble, pantry staple split pea made into a delicious, healthy split pea soup using your Instant Pot OR stovetop!
Prep Time6 hrs
Cook Time30 mins
Total Time6 hrs 30 mins
Course: Soup
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Instant Pot split pea soup, pressure cooker split pea soup, split pea soup recipe
Servings: 6 servings
Author: Renee - www.raisinggenerationnourished.com

Ingredients

  • 1 lb split peas this is about 1 ½ cups of dried split peas if you buy in bulk
  • 2 tbsp ghee or butter plus 1 tbsp leftover bacon grease for sauteing you can use all ghee or butter if you don’t have the bacon grease – the bacon grease gives a lovely flavor and hint of smoky pork
  • 1 medium onion diced
  • 2-3 medium carrots peeled and diced
  • 1 large or 2 small stalks of celery diced
  • 4 cloves of garlic minced
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 ½ quarts bone broth less if you want your soup very thick
  • 1 bay leaf
  • Sea salt/pepper to taste

Instructions

  • Six to 12 hours before you want to make the soup, soak the split peas. Soaking helps reduces the phytic acid in the legume, making them easier on digestion. You’ll notice around the 10 hour mark that the peas will have the start of a little sprouted “tail.” Sprouting legumes allows the nutrients in the bean more readily available to absorb. Soak for at least 6 hours and no more than 12.
  • When you are ready to make the soup, turn your Instant Pot on to “Saute,” melt the cooking fat (ghee and bacon grease), and add the onion, carrots, and celery with a big pinch sea salt. Saute for about 10 minutes until the veggies are very soft and sweet. Slow down and don’t skip this step! This is flavor!
  • Add the garlic and smoked paprika and Saute for 1 minute, then turn the Instant Pot to “Off/Cancel.”
  • Drain and rinse your soaked split peas, add them into the Instant Pot along with the bone broth and bay leaf, and stir to combine.
  • Put the lid on your Instant Pot, turn the valve to closed, turn your Instant Pot on to “Soup,” and bring time down to 10 minutes. The Instant Pot will take about 10 minutes to come to pressure before counting down the 10 minutes. When the timer beeps that the 10 minutes of pressure cooking is done, turn the Instant Pot off, and leave the Instant Pot alone for 5 minutes. This naturally will let some of the pressure in the Instant Pot release and finishes the cooking process without overcooking the split peas. Release the rest of the pressure after 5 minutes, and take the lid off the Instant Pot. Remove the bay leaf.
  • Scoop out 2-3 cups of the soup to a small mixing bowl, and blend with an immersion blender (you could use a regular blender), and then return the blended portion of soup back into the pot with the rest of the soup (it makes the broth nice and creamy!). Stir to combine, and sea salt/pepper your soup to your taste. The split pea soup will thicken a bit more as the soup cools since the peas continue to absorb liquid. You could alternatively blend the entire soup – my toddlers enjoyed using a stainless steel straw to drink their soup this way!
  • Drizzle olive oil and/or splash raw cream or coconut cream into each bowl of split pea soup to garnish if you wish.

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4 School Lunches With Veggie Variety PLUS Tips For Avoiding Lunchbox Packing Burn-Out

October 25, 2018

Pack school lunches full of veggie variety with the greatest of ease, and learn how to avoid lunchbox burn-out!

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

October school lunch burnout…

If there is anything I have learned 3 kids into this school thing, it’s that lunchbox burnout is totally a thing. We are exactly 2 months into school, and I am already getting messages, emails, and questions about how to get into a school lunch rhythm, how to get variety into lunchboxes, and why, oh why do we have to do this 5 days a week?! You guys, I completely get it. I have been there.

Wait…what?!

Yep, the food blogger that literally makes her living off of blogging about feeding kids healthy and Instagram’s daily school lunch posts (#rgnschoollunch) has struggled with school lunch packing burnout. Because there really is a human, normal, everyday mom behind this screen, and it is completely normal to feel the burnout. <—- Please read that part again. Don’t give up on it all and beat yourself up, because lunchbox burnout is a very real thing, and I can’t wait to give you some seasoned momma tips on how to avoid it for as long as possible.

A framework, a rhythm, and a flow

I recently recorded a podcast with my friend Kristin from Live Simply. At the beginning of the interview, I remember telling Kristin how google eyed I always am at her meal planning posts, because I have simply “never been a meal planner.” As it turns out, we discovered that there is definitely a “framework” to how meals flow at my house – it just might not all be down on paper in a pretty planner. I really do think that having this rhythm and flow to how I pack school lunches is how I have been able to avoid the burnout. A framework takes the thinking out of packing – you just follow the pattern!

What exactly is a framework?

I love the idea of calling this meal planning style a framework because it leaves plenty of wiggle room for variety. And that matters for multiple reasons. Not only does variety help save your budget by allowing you to buy whatever produce is in season and on sale depending on the time of year, variety also allows us to get a good diversity of nutrients into our ever-growing kids’ bodies. So for instance, if you follow my #rgnschoollunch tag over on Instagram, you’ll notice a rhythm to Monday’s. I almost always use leftover GF waffles from weekend breakfast to make sandwiches, and then the fruit and vegetable are constantly changing. Seriously momma, it is that simple. Don’t complicate this thing – it is one of my secrets to NOT burning out. So that veggie might be a salad, or veggie sticks with dip, or whatever roasted veggies were left-over from dinner that night – there is so much wiggle room depending on what vegetables are in season and on sale.

So let’s zero in on the veggies

I’m all about baby steps, so let’s take this one thing at a time. Since all things vegetable is one of the most commonly asked about lunchbox questions I get, I thought we could focus on that. How do we get the variety in and how much do I pack? 


4 School Lunches With Veggie Variety!


THIS, dear momma, is seriously where it’s at. Cook once, eat twice. Dinner leftovers aren’t just for the main meal or thermoses like spaghetti. You are absolutely allowed to take your kiddo’s regular PBJ lunch and add dinner veggie sides to it! Kids LOVE roasted veggies – and who wouldn’t?! Roasting vegetables brings out their sweetness, and it is so easy to eat. Veggie “mashes” also work so great. Sweet potatoes and regular potatoes are only the tipping point! You can get squash mashes in there or even roasted root veggie mashes blended with carrots, potatoes, and a little green.

  • Veteran Momma Tip #1 :: YES, my kids eat this stuff cold. If your kiddo won’t have anything to do with that, you might need to use a thermos. If you happen to be reading this post, and you have younger children (babies and toddlers), I encourage you to start NOW. Train their palates to be cool with leftovers at room temp, and I promise the lunchbox packing years will be so much easier.
  • Veteran Momma Tip #2 :: Make more veggies than what you really need for dinner to ensure you have those leftovers. If you usually make one sheet tray of veg, make 2! You already have the oven on anyway, you might as well work ahead. You can fill up lunchboxes, and also use the leftover veg for your own breakfasts or lunches.

There is so much you can do to change up a salad. The veggie toppings can change weekly, and you can add in extras like crush nuts or seeds, dried fruit, cheese, or hard boiled eggs to make them fun and interesting.

  • Veteran Momma Tip :: Because younger children typically take a longer time to manage eating a salad, it is important to realize that salads are sometimes better suited for kiddos past Kindergarten/1st grade. In these cases, just “de-construct” the salad. Put the different components of the salad in to the lunchbox and add some dip. Not having to manage a fork to work at a salad helps with time management, because at school they don’t necessarily have an hour to eat. Leave the salad eating practice for dinner time at home for your little guys, and just make it easier to eat in their lunchbox.
  • Veteran Momma Tip #2 :: You do not (I repeat, you do NOT) need to go overboard making veggies into fancy shapes and patterns (unless that is your thing of course!). But you CAN make the veggies more interesting and even more easy to eat by using things like a julienne peeler to make strips of carrot versus sticks. They are easier to eat that way for some kids. Or, cut disks/coins of carrots and cucumbers for easy dip scooping.

Peas and little mixed frozen veggie bags from the freezer section, dear momma! They are a finger food snacktime lifesaver as babies and toddlers, and they are a lunchbox lifesaver for school aged kids! I get the big bags of frozen organic peas and mixed veggies at Costco. You can put them in frozen and they thaw by lunchtime!

  • Veteran Momma Tip :: If your kids prefer some butter/seasoning on their veggies, simply warm them up in a pan real quick to coat them with butter and sea salt and then pack them in. One of my girls prefers them this way, so I take the extra minute to do that and lunchboxes come home empty. The extra fat consumption and minerals from the sea salt is a bonus too!

Because seriously how fun is that?! You can make a fry out of lots of different kinds of veggies – white potatoes, sweet potatoes, butternut squash, yucca, carrots, parsnips…the list is endless!

  • Veteran Momma Tip #1 :: Make a sheet tray of fries to go with dinner, and while you are at it just add in a second sheet tray so you have enough for lunchboxes. Cook once, eat twice.
  • Veteran Momma Tip #2 :: There is something about crinkle cut fries that literally make kids think they hit the jackpot! Just get a little crinkle cutter and watch how fast the veggie fries go!
  • Veteran Momma Tip #3 :: A little ketchup never hurt anyone 😉 If it means they will get the veggie fries in, I say go for it. My kids don’t necessarily need it, but I do like to play the fun mom every once and a while and pack some ketchup along.

 

Originally, this post was supposed to be cold lunch/bento box style lunch focused, because I know not everyone uses thermoses. I just couldn’t leave this idea out though. One of the ways I really love packing the veggies into kids is using soup. Soup purees to be exact. The added bone broth is extra protein and nourishment – it’s truly win-win. THIS is the thermos I’m using!

  • Veteran Momma Tip #1 :: Stainless steel straws are your friend! The make the soup less messy, faster to eat, and much easier to eat, so the kids are more likely to get it all down.
  • Veteran Momma Tip #2 :: Cook once, eat multiple times. I’m starting to sound like a broken record, but utilize this! Make a big pot of broccoli soup, squash soup, or tomato soup for dinner, and then scoop the leftovers into thermoses for lunch the next day.

How many veggies should I pack?

This is literally going to depend on each and every individual child. It is definitely not going to look the same even within the same family. Here are some things to consider::

  • If your child is not really into veggies, focus on veggie eating at breakfast and dinner at home. You want your child to be full and focused at school, and if you pack it full of veg they probably won’t eat, you are risking them going all afternoon without fuel.
  • If you have a younger child (1st grade and under I would say), consider how long raw veggies take for your child to eat. Specifically salads which take some coordination with a fork and extra time to chew, sometimes these veggie meals are best kept for dinner time at home to practice. Roasted/steamed veg or just veggie sticks are easier to manage for little guys.
  • Another thought on the very little guys that are in their first or second year of school. Their brains are literally on overload. A school day is a lot to take in. If they have never eaten at a daycare as a baby/toddler, eating at school with a bunch of their peers is so different. It is exciting! And they are going to be slower to eat. The star of their lunch should not be veggies – make sure there are enough filling items in their lunchbox so they can fill up as much as possible before their afternoon begins.
  • Consider the time your school allows the children to eat. Unfortunately, the 25ish minutes my girls have to eat is probably not the norm – I hear of schools that only allow 15 minutes. Consider this, and save larger portions of veggies for dinner time – you want to make sure what they do have time to eat is going to fuel them for their afternoon.

Packing gear in this post

We’ve been using our Planetbox’s since my 4th grader was in Kindergarten! They still look like brand new, and they are so easy to pack and wash up. Make sure to check out the accessories tab for the “Pods” that you can use to separate compartments, the leakproof “Dippers” for their condiments (each Planetbox comes with one of these), and the leakproof bowls for drippy food (each Planetbox comes with one of these). Also pictured in the “bonus” number 5 lunch idea is the gear I use for soup days. It all fits right into the Planetbox bag too. I use the Lunchbots brand 8oz thermos and have the Trio and Duo Lunchbots trays.

Salad Dressing & Veggie Dip Recipes for all those veggies!

Hey, listen, if the vitamins in our veggies are “fat soluble,” we might as well pair them with delicious fat based dips to allow those vitamins to absorb. Let the kids pick what they love and dip away!

School Lunch Packing Resources ::

  • If you are a paper and pen sort of a person, you MUST check out Kristin’s Simplified School Lunch Kit over on her blog – absolutely invaluable for new school lunch packers and visual learners!
  • Here is my Lunch Gear Resource Guide if you  want to learn more about the lunch gear I use and why.
  • Here is Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3 of the real food podcast recorded with Live Simply – there are so many tips and real life examples from my own home menu, including lunchboxes.

 

 

Batch Up Meals Breakfast Ideas Healthy Kids and Teens Lunch Ideas Real Food 101 Real Food Tips school lunches Snack Ideas

Gluten Free Mini Pumpkin Muffins :: Gluten Free, Grain Free, Dairy Free, Nut Free

October 16, 2018

Gluten free mini pumpkin muffins made just right for little hands and big imaginations!

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.

Playing dress-up, and a little story about Princess Pumpkin Muffins…

So it all started a couple weekends ago when my oldest ventured off to the store with Daddy to get started on a school project, and my littles were left home to play. These two in particular have the wildest imaginations, and when left to themselves, their stories would captivate just about any crowd! They were both curious about the muffins I was making that morning, but were torn between the princess story they were playing out, and seeing if they could stick around to help long enough to lick the bowl clean…{which, as you can see, they did, in fact, accomplish!}

Teaching a princess to bake

Because why wouldn’t you want to bake in your best gown?! I invited the girls up to the counter, gowns and all, to help me make some pumpkin muffins. They were full captivated, and with each little giggle, egg crack, and sprinkle of cinnamon, I was convinced that baking in a princess gown is definitely something that everyone must try!

Princess Pumpkin Muffins?!

Well, that is what the girls claimed they shall be called, as they sprinkled the “sparkles” {coconut sugar}, over the tops of the muffins! We’ll label them just pumpkin muffins for the sake of the blogging SEO gods, least I never get seen by the mighty interwebs…but by all means, these special little muffins are most certainly fit for the mightiest of princesses and totally deserve the title “Princess Pumpkin Muffins.”

A mini muffin favorite…revisited!

As you can see in the above photos, my original plan was “regular” sized muffins. After a couple batches, I decided to make these muffins “mini” in honor of my mini-est little princess since she just adores muffins that fit right in her little hand. For those of you who have been around here long enough, you know that the girls love taking the Paleo Mini Banana Muffins to school – a lot! (See my hashtag #rgnschoollunch to see how we pack them!). Since banana and pumpkin behave similarly in baking, I decided to use that framework for these muffins, and the results were simply delicious.

A batter fit for a bowl or blender!

I just LOVE that this batter can be blended up right in a blender or food processor. I pulled a bowl and hand mixer out for my littles when they were making their batch, mostly because it gave them more space to spread out – and what little one doesn’t love using a hand mixer!? But absolutely, dear momma, utilize your blender or food processor to whip that batter up super fast on a busy morning or prep day – it goes so fast.

Simple ingredients for little attentions spans

This recipe is simple enough for the littles to stick around from start to finish. That feeling of making a recipe from the first egg crack to the last sprinkle is priceless – and these 2 were so excited to serve “their” muffins to their big sister for lunch when she got home! I’m even letting you go ahead and use that can of pumpkin to save on some time, unless you make your own pumpkin purees! For these muffins, the can definitely works. I also think that cinnamon suits little ones’ palates over the whole pumpkin pie spice deal (at least in my household that is the preference) – cinnamon is warm and sweet and makes the muffins really delicious – if you are a pumpkin pie spice fan, though, by all means use that!

Ingredient tips

  • If you don’t have access to coconut sugar, raw honey or pure maple syrup are a fine substitute for the sweet. Coconut sugar has a lower glycemic index, and the warm sweetness goes really well with pumpkin which is why I love using it for this recipe.
  • If you make your own pumpkin purees, go for it! Canned pumpkin works just as good, and is a time saver for how I run my kitchen, so I chose to use that. Since the recipe doubles up so well, you can double the recipe to use up the can of pumpkin, or use the rest of your canned pumpkin puree for pumpkin raisin breakfast cookies, or pumpkin spice latte (which, let’s face it, you are totally making that latte 😉 )
  • I have not tried other flour options for this recipe. With the right combination and ratios, this could be done with other gluten free flours though, I’m sure. They are already grain, gluten, nut, and dairy free so that covers a lot of bases!

Equipment and freezer tips

I am pretty convinced that every house with little kids ought have a large mini muffin sheet pan! I have gotten so much use out of this pan in the last couple years, and my only regret is not having it around when I walked through years and years of toddlerhood. I use this safe avocado oil spray to grease it down super fast and easy, though you can use mini muffin paper liners if you wish. The mini pumpkin muffins freeze up fantastic. Simply let the muffins cool down all the way, and then pop them into a freezer bag. You can take them out to warm in the oven for breakfast, or pop them into lunchboxes completely frozen, and they will thaw by lunchtime.

Print Recipe
5 from 20 votes

Gluten-Free Mini Pumpkin Muffins

Gluten-free mini pumpkin muffins made just right for little hands and big imaginations!
Prep Time5 mins
Cook Time13 mins
Total Time18 mins
Course: Snack
Cuisine: American
Keyword: dairy-free muffin recipe, dairy-free pumpkin muffins, gluten-free pumpkin muffins
Servings: 24 mini muffins
Author: Renee - www.raisinggenerationnourished.com

Ingredients

Instructions

  • Pre-heat the oven to 375 degrees, and spray a mini muffin pan with avocado oil spray.

  • Put the eggs, pumpkin, oil, coconut sugar, and vanilla into your food processor or blender, and blend for 1 minute until smooth and creamy.
  • Add the flours, cinnamon, baking soda, and salt and blend to combine until smooth.
  • Scoop the batter into a mini muffin pan, and bake the mini muffins at 375 degrees for 13 minutes until golden brown and cooked through. Let the mini muffins cool for a couple minutes before turning them out onto a cooling rack. The muffins hold up really nice and are ready to eat in a just a few minutes of cooling! To freeze the muffins, let them cool completely and then toss them in a freezer bag to freeze.

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