Scared Of The Dark Cherry Gummy Bears

scaredofdarkgummy

I’m not quite sure when Halloween became synonomous with massive quantities of food-dyes and high-fructose-corn syrup, but I don’t have to tell you that these are not the healthiest selections for our kids. The last thing you want to read, I’m sure, is another study about how dangerous some of theses  chemical food colorings can be (or why many other countries don’t allow them into their foods), or how high fructose corn syrup will get your child closer to diabetes by the day.

I know this is a major sugar-buzz-kill for so many parents. They escape into the “one day out of the year won’t hurt them” mentality, and they may be perfectly right (at least a percentage of them). As a family who already battles a neurological disorder, I have made a choice to remove all chemical additives from our diet, so most of the store bought “goodies”, we simply walk past as if they are a piece of store furniture,  When I happen upon a circumstance where I have to admit to the layman that…

“We Don’t Eat Candy.”
or
“My Kids Are Allergic To Sugar”

…I undoubtedly get a look that, if I could freeze-frame the moment, would most appropriately be marked with a scribbled thought bubble and a big. red. question-mark.  Then comes the pity. Its really kind of comical at this point. Do I dare tell them the real kicker? That even if they weren’t allergic I wouldn’t give them sugar. {{{(gasp!)}}}

Huh?
Huh?

I assure you, though, that I AM NO PARTY POOPER!  My kids have fun stuff. Almost daily! And holidays are just a creative person’s dream because they provide a theme, a canvas for creation.   Halloween is no exception.

The past few Halloweens, I have ordered some really great candies from our go-to allergy-friendly candy shoppe, Natural Candy Store. But even here, it is tough to find candies that aren’t made with sugar.  So, it has been my mission this year to create some great home made candies and treats (adding more by the day) to make our Halloween celebration SCARY FUN this year!

These Gummy Bears will be PERFECT.

Three Littel Bears


SCARED OF THE DARK CHERRY GUMMY BEARS (also, see below the Valentine’s Version)

1/2 cup black cherry concentrate*
1/2 cup pure water
1/2 tablespoon lemon juice
1/2 tablespoon lime juice
3 tablespoons gelatin**

*You can find this in the supplements section of most health food grocers, or simply order online from a source like amazon or vitacost.
**For the healthiest option, try a brand of gelatin that is from grass-fed cows. I use the Great lakes Brand {the red or orange can, not green}.


Directions:

In a bowl or measuring cup, combine all the liquids.

In a saucepan over medium heat, I started with about half of the liquid mixture and all of the gelatin and whisked together while the pan was heating. When I had a sort of paste, I added the remaining liquid in and continued to whisk until the gelatin was completely dissolved.

I turned off the heat and let the mixture sit for about 5 minutes, just to cool.

The next step is where the fun comes in! I added powdered probiotic at this stage and then poured into my molds. You do not have to add anything at this point, but the sky is the limit if you want to make these “gummy-vites”.

Pour into your mold or desired dish. Refrigerate until set (at least 2 hours).
I used these fantastic bear ice cube trays. I first saw them on one of my favorite blogger’s sites (Elana Amsterdam’s Elana’s Pantry) and marked them as a MUST HAVE!! She had done some other great bear flavors, as have many other bloggers, so this is by no means a new recipe. They are a healthy take on the old “Knox-Blox” recipe (A favorite of our Papa’s … hopefully we can pass these off as the knox-blox he loves so dearly and save him from himself! :))    I found the bear molds here.

The existential Gummy Bear

As you can see, there is much fun to be had with these gummy bears. PLAY WITH YOUR FOOD!

When Halloween night comes this year, I will be making a batch of these “Sacred Of The Dark Cherry” bears, and also an Apple Cider version. Yummy!!

~Happy Halloween Eats~

For Valentine’s Day, I ordered these cute little heart-shaped molds and we had a blast making Very Cherry (with cherry-pomegranate juice) and Very Berry (with Cherry & Raspberry Juice) Gummy Hearts. <3 <3 <3

Very Berry Gummies

Pumpkin Pistachio Banana Bread {Grain-Free, Sugar-Free}


Pumpkin Pistachio Banana Bread
– O, Sweet Fall Delight!
{Grain Free, Paleo, Dairy-Free, Sugar-Free}

Are the words AUTUMN and PUMPKIN not synonomous? They are in my kitchen. And we are all happier for it! Those warmly fragrant pumpkin pie spices are out in full-force as the weather here in Texas, just this week, really ( post the Harvest moon’s fantastic showing ), has turned from stagnant heat to crisp, breezy, refreshingly-fall temperatures.

Just this morning, I sat out on the side porch, enjoying the cool breezes against my skin and watching my son draw chalk pictures. I had a little dream of a mash-up of banana bread and pumpkin bread. I used some of my grain-free recipes in combination and whipped up this DELIGHT of a quick bread. This is definitely a TREAT!

3 Ripe Bananas
3 Eggs, Pasture-Raised Preferably
1 cup chashew butter
1/2 cup organic pumpkin pie puree
1/2 cup pistachios (ground/blended to a rough meal)
4 tablespoons liquid coconut oil
1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon lemon juice

I used my Vitamix and blended first the eggs, bananas, nutbutter and pumpkin. Then I added the rest of the ingredients until I had my batter. I love using the vitamix to do batter. It feels so easy to me.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

pumpkinpistachiobananabread9

pumpkinpistachiobananabread8

Bake for 55-60 minutes. Mine got a dark golden brown on top and a toothpick inserted into the center came out clean.

pumpkinpistachiobananabread1     pumpkinpisatchiobananabread5

Let the feeling of fall officially begin!!

pumpkinpistachiobananabread2

Chocolate Lovers Chia Pudding

chocolate chia pudding
Mmmmm. Pudding.

I am always a sucker for a free recipe book, so when I ran accross a free kindle book all about Chia Seeds (Chia Seeds: Facts, Nutrition, Benefits, And Recipes For Weight Loss, Energy, and Overall Health) {phew} including a hundful of recipes, I one-clicked it immediately and excitedly.

The chocolate pudding recipe, above the rest, piqued my sweet interest, and after minor adjustments to the recipe, this pudding is a fave!

Chocolate Lovers Chia Pudding
¼ cup chia seeds
2 tablespoons Dark Cocoa Powder
2 tablespoons Organic Grade B Maple Syrup
1 cup unsweetened coconut milk (or other non-dairy milk)
1 heaping teaspoon black strap molasses
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

In a mixing bowl, whisk together the cocoa powder, syrup, black strap molasses,
and vanilla until you have a silky smooth texture. Add the milk and the chia
seeds and mix to incorporate. Let the mixture stand and set on the counter for
about 30 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes or so.

Cover and chill for 2 hours (or overnight).

I transferred the chilled pudding to my vitamix and blended before serving, to
make the texture more smooth. Serve up as is, or decorate with your favorite
toppings. Some of our favorites:

Fresh Fruit
Coconut Flakes
Cinnamon & Coconut Sugar
Whipped Coconut Cream
A dollup of nutbutter

~Happy Eating~

Grain Free Pumpkin Muffins

paleopumpkinmuffins7

Baking this morning with my very own “admiral underpants”. There’s really nothing like an underoo-clad 4 year old to make your baking experience a delight. With slow-but-steady little four-year-old-sized fingers, he carefully pulled apart each little mini-muffin liner and placed them into the muffin pan. My mommy-hands hovered above, pressing the scooper lever to fill each of his liners. Soon, we were ready to bake, and a short time later, we shared some pretty big smiles as we devoured 3 muffins each. Memories officially made.

PALEO / GRAIN-FREE PUMPKIN MUFFINS

First, we preheated our oven to 325 degrees f.

Ingredients:

1 cup organic peanut butter
3 eggs, pastured-raised
1/2 cup organic pumpkin puree
4 tablespoons coconut oil, liquified
1/4 cup +1 tablespoon honey or maple syrup
1 tablespoon organic cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons organic lemon juice

>paleopumpkinmuffins1

In a mixing bowl, we lovingly combined these grain-less ingredients, spooned them into our lined mini muffin cups, and placed in the preheated oven for 15 minutes.

paleopumpkinmuffins6<

Perfect, golden, fluffy, yummy, grain-free pumpkin muffins were ours for the tasting!

paleopumpkinmuffins3

Happiness.

paleopumpkinmuffins4

Paleo Pita Tortillas

Pita Tortillas with Hummus
Pita Tortillas with Hummus

Over the years of our special diet, we have gradually lessened and lessened the amount of grains we eat. At the same time, we have switched our brains off of that once prominent desire for a bread every day or even at every meal. Now ~ even though we don’t feel deprived of our breads, we certainly ENJOY a bready texture every now and again.

I ran accross the idea on another blog site, Slim Palate. I varied the method a bit, but I thought the outcome was fantastic! These cauliflower tortillas have a super-short ingredient list. I love super-short ingredient lists!

Cauliflower
Eggs
Seasoning

For what I would consider minimal effort (trust me, I have seen MUCH more labor-intensive tortilla recipes!), you have a grain-free bread option that tastes, to me, like pita bread. My family has taste-tested these beauties a handful of times now and they are one of those magic-trick creations – they always do a dissappearing act! Hope you enjoy.

Tools you will need:
A food processor or blender
A food net or cheesecloth
A baking sheet
Parchment Paper ~ Unbleached
Preheat oven to 375 degrees f.

Ingredients:
2 small heads of cauliflower (you will need 4 cups of “riced” cauliflower)
4 eggs (preferably from pastured, humanely raised chickens)
2 teaspoons Real Salt Organic Seasoning Salt

Start by trimming the cauliflower to remove the stem. I used my vitamix to finely chop down the raw cauliflower into a “rice”. You could most definitely use a food processor. (I don’t own one.)

Next, place the cauliflower in a large stock pot and add a cup or two of water. Bring to a boil, then cover, turn off your heat, and let sit for 5 minutes, just to soften the tough cauliflower.

Next, I added the cauliflower, water and all, back to the Vitamix. I would NOT recommend an immersion blender here. Pulse a handful of times to be sure you chop down any of the larger pieces and get an even, gritty consistency.

Strain the cauliflower using a fine mesh bag or cheese cloth. Be careful not to burn yourself. Strain as much water out as you can.

Dump the strained cualiflower into a mixing bowl and add the 4 eggs and the seasoning salt. Mix well. Your “batter” will be kind of runny and gritty, but don’t be alarmed. These will surprise you!

You should be able to make 6 rounds on your parchment-lined baking sheet. Mine were about 5″ in diameter. I spooned the mixture on and spread it into a circle with the back of the spoon.

cauliflowerpita1

Place in the oven for 12 minutes. You will see that the edges begin to look cooked (similar to watching for a pancake to know when to flip it). Carefully, peel the pita tortillas from the parchment and flip.

Place back in the oven for another 12 minutes. Repeat with remaining batter. (Should make 16-18 pitas-tortillas)

Notes: The original recipe I saw had lower cooking times and called for the extra step of browning these off in a skillet. I found that I was able to achive the browned surfaces with the higher cook times and save myself a step. I may brown them before a future meal for a crispier texture if that specific recipe seems to fit that texture. But, we all enjoyed these as a pita-type bread. A delicious grain-free winner!

Plum Crazy Parfait

We heart parfaits! Breakfast, snacks lunches, sometimes even for dinner!

Plum Crazy Parfait
Plum Crazy Parfait

This week, I ran accross some deliciously plump organic plums at our local grocer (H.E.B.). They were glistening at me this afternoon from the fridge and I decided they needed to adorn an afternoon parfait.

I pulled out 2 cans of this week’s yogurt choice (So Delicious brand coconut yogurt) and some other add-ins: Frozen Organic Blueberries Fresh Organic Blackberries Dried Unsweetened Coconut Shreds 1 Banana

&

2 Juicy, Ripe Organic Plums (star of the show)

I layered everything beautifully in some stemless martini glasses just to enjoy the art of it all. Sweet treat that everyone was happy with!

~Happy Eating Always~