PALEO EASTER FEAST

Easter Sunday will be the 1st day AFTER the 30-day GRAIN FREE challenge group that I hosted and tested out with my own family.  Guess what my husband said to me?  It went a little something like this:

>>>”I was thinking, this hasn’t been so bad. Maybe I can be mostly grain-free with a splurge every now and then”<<<

Hello, music to my ears! 😀 I can’t tell you how proud it makes me when I have been able to feed my family healthy meals that they don’t want to run away screaming from. {insert the fist and arm pump and an empathic “YESSSS!!!”}

So, for the upcoming weekend of Easter festivities, we have decided to stick with our grain free program that we are all feeling great on!  I am putting together a delicious {if I do say so myself} menu and I am too excited NOT to share it with the world. I hope this helps someone ull off an amazing Easter meal without using any gluten OR GRAINS at all. Sending out some food love for your family this Easter. Here is what will be on our table for this year’s Easter Feast:

First, I am going to have TWO homemade dips that will be entwined in the day’s meals. Here are the two sidekicks that will enhance several dishes for our day:

Dip 1) Lemon-Parsley Vinaigrette ~ This will be served in a small bowl for an optional dip for the Brussels Sprouts Chips; This will be drizzled over the grilled lamb chops; This will be drizzled over the Avocado and Mango Skewers

  • 1/2 cup fresh organic parsley leaves
  • 2 to 3 Tablespoons good quality organic olive oil
  • 1 Tablespoon fresh organic lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest, organic
  • 1 small clove garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon Real Salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, organic
  • 1/4 teaspoon dry mustard, organic

Dip 2) Dill Aoeli (or, basically, mayonnaise) ~ This will be used as a base for the Peppered Cucumbers, This will be used in the Slaw, This will be used to make Deville Eggs

  • 1 egg (or 2 egg yolks)
  • 1 cup oil of choice (like organic olive oil or organic expelled pressed sunflower oil)
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons fresh chopped dill
  • Salt & pepper to taste

*The key to making this homemade aioli (mayo) is to start with your egg in a food processor and drizzle the oil in VERY, very slowly until it comes together. Add in the dill and lemon juice and salt & pepper to taste.

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>>Now to SET the TABLE<<

Devilled Eggs – Yolks Fork-Whisked together with some of the Dill Aioli, some mustard powder, and some pickle juice from lacto-fermented pickles (if we don’t have any of our own made up, we LOVE Bubbie’s brand) Pepper to taste. Perfection.
*Can be made ahead of time and refrigerated.

A cold relish Tray of Bubble’s Pickles & Lacto-fermented Dill Carrots

Creamy Peppered Cucumbers  (I got this idea from Southern Living Magazine and made a few tweaks~ delicious!)-
3 cucumbers cut into wedges
1/3 cup Dill Mayo
1 tablespoon organic lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon Real Salt
Fresh Cracked Pepper

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Mango, Avocado & Cucumber Skewers – Chunks of Mango, Cucumber, Mint, and Avocado all skewered on a festive food stake and drizzled with a tiny bit of the Lemon Parsley Vinaigrette

Creamy Kraut&Broccoli Slaw – I LOVE adding some homemade sauerkraut into our slaw. First, it’s like a traditional cabbage slaw with a facelift of probiotic goodness; and second, its just plain tasty 🙂 Our concoction will be a mixture of Organic Broccoli Slaw mix, homemade sauerkraut, and a palmful of organic raisins. *Can be made ahead of time and refrigerated.

The dressing:
1/3 cup Dill Mayo
1-2 tablespoons of organic lemon juice or organic apple cider vinegar
2 teaspoons of raw honey
Salt & pepper

Sprouted Lentils –  made with 1 cup sprouted lentils, 3 cups broth, 1 bag of frozen organic lease and carrots, and some seasonings to taste. {* Lentils are not technically found on all Paleo & Primal allowable lists. We do well with them in our house and our Grain-Free plan is more of a modified Specific Carbohydrate Diet, so lentils are on MY PERSONAL allowable list, and they will most definitely be on my Easter table because a couple of my kiddo actually LOVE them! We buy them already sprouted here}
*Can be made ahead of time & reheated

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Brussels Sprouts Chips –  Hand peeled Brussels sprouts leaves peeled, tossed in oil, and baked at 350 until they start to crisp up and brown. We will be serving these along with a tiny dipping bowl of the lemon parsley vinaigrette. *Serve these fresh out of the oven.

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Roasted Beets & Organic Tri-Colored Carrots – These will get chopped roughly, tossed in about 3 tablespoons of the Lemon Parsley Vinaigrette,  and roasted at 400 degrees for nearly an hour. I’ll stir a couple of times through the baking time just to get everything evenly roasted.

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Grilled Lamb Chops – Salted and Peppered lamb chops will get grilled to perfection and drizzled with a little Lemon-Parsley Vinaigrette. Um… yes puhlease.

Lamb Chops with Lemon Parsley Vinaigrette

>>THE SWEET STUFF<<

Apple Cinnamon Nutbutter Bundt Cake – <Click for recipe
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& maybe even some of these Avocado-Lemon tarts because they are so pretty :).

Lemon Avocado tarts

25 Super Easy Gluten-Free Lunchbox Ideas that DON’T include Ants-On-A-Log :)

When Back-To-School ads start up, some moms start planning out outfits, and some start sorting out school supplies. In our house, this mom’s brain goes straight to the box ~ the LUNCHBOX! I am constantly considering how to send interesting foods to school with my kiddos, lunches that will make them SO excited about eating lunch that they will forget all about what the majority of their classmates are sitting down to {less than ideal school lunches of empty calories, lacking nutritional value, and a lot of allergens that we must avoid}. 

I put together 25 quick and easy ideas this morning. I hope these can inspire you to get creative with your lunch box options as you send your students off to the lunchroom this year.

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1. Apples with Nutbutter or Seedbutter: Sliced apples can be soaked in lemon water, or in water with a drop of lemon or lime essential oil (food grade & organic preferably). Pair this with a small container of almond butter or, our favorite is Cashew Butter. There are a few companies that even offer small single serving pouches that are great to pack in a lunch box. For all-natural varieties, try Justin’s or Barney Butter. If you want an organic, raw variety and are willing to spend a little extra money, look for the Artisana brand.
Apple & Nutbutter

2. Gluten Free Pretzels and Mustard for dipping
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3. Mama Chia Pouches, or your own homemade chia pudding.
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4. Spring Rolls. I love to make these rice paper spring rolls. I can fit ALL sorts of raw veggies into them. I like to quickly blend some frozen mango, a little lemon or lime juice, and a little avocado oil to make a quick dipping sauce, too!  The rice paper can be found at most grocery stores on the ethnic isle. Give yourself some practice time, but I know you will be able to roll a spring roll in no time!
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5. Ham or Prosciutto wrapped pears or apples. Yummy!
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6. Lunchmeat Pinwheels. Roll with cheese, or, if you are dairy free, you can use hummus and veggies and roll them up into your favorite nitrite free lunch meat. Serve as is, or slice into little bite-sized pinwheels.

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7. Gluten Free Bread (toasted optional) or Organic Rice Cakes topped with Nut or Seed Butter. We like to vary these. Sometimes we top with fruit and almost always our mix of cinnamon and organic granulated coconut sugar.
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8. Bento pressed rice. These are just fun and cute and kids love them! You can find some fun bento molds and cutters on amazon.
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9. Chicken Salad Lettuce Wraps – Perfect for leftover chicken. I use homemade mayo or even hummus as a dressing and send in lettuce wraps.

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10. Gluten-Free Tortilla Wraps – Trader Joe’s Brown Rice Tortillas work well here at our house. There are also potato tortillas, corn tortillas, or venture out and make your own, like these cauliflower pita wraps!
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11. Yogurt & Berries
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12. Meatballs – We do meatballs in our thermos often! You can send them just alone, or put some rice, quinoa, or mashed potatoes in the bottom. Kids love a hot meal at lunch.
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13. Fresh Fruit and/or Nuts – Need I say More?
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14. Gluten Free Pasta Salad – I like to use a organic brown rice pasta, like Tinkyada brand or Jovial brand. Great for leftover pasta, you can dress with a vinaigrette, like one of our favorites by Annie’s Naturals called Papaya Poppy-Seed, or you can use a high-quality or homemade mayo, or even hummus. Be sure to add lots of fresh veggies. Olives are a favorite here, too!
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15. Organic Rice Crackers sandwiched with nutbutter or seed butter
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16. Yogurt with Granola – We are Dairy, Soy, and one of us is Coconut Free, so this Almond-Milk based yogurt by So Delicious is a great option for us!
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17. Hard Boiled Eggs : serve them any way you like them. We do them plain, we do them deviled, and we do them “Greek”, with the yolk removed and replaced with hummus! You can even replace the yolk with guacamole, although I find that avocados don’t always last well all the way until lunchtime, so we save our avocado-eating for home where we can serve them up fresh. 🙂

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18. Veggies & Hummus – we love the individual size organic hummus from Costco. They are really friendly on the budget, too. Serve with any raw veggies you like! My kids really like sweet peppers, blanched green beans, carrots, even black olives!
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19. Gluten Free Garlic Bread Sticks with Pizza Dip – This can be as simple as taking your favorite brand of GF bread  {or your homemade cauliflower pita), rubbing it with butter or coconut oil, sprinkling with garlic, and toasting. Cut into strips, & serve with a side of Organic Pizza or Pasta Sauce. If you really want to get fancy, wrap the bread sticks with nitrite free lunch meat or pepperoni, too!
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20. Oatmeal in a thermos – who says you can’t send breakfast for lunch?! My daughter loves oatmeal, ANY time of day! { Or really porridge of any kind }. We do a thermos of oatmeal sometimes, and then I send a small container of dairy-free milk and some great healthy toppings for her to create her own lunch masterpiece with.

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21. Nitrite Free Pepperoni or Salami
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22. Skewered Chicken & Pineapple – another great way to use leftover chicken!
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23. Thermos of leftovers – I could create another 25-log list on JUST the leftovers I have sent in a thermos to school! I love a good crock pot meal that leaves enough leftovers for the next school day! Meatloaf, soups, stews, roasts, pulled pork, mashed sweet potatoes with coconut sugar and pecans, sauerkraut and hot dogs, beans, beanie weenies… ANYTHING!
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24. This kind of goes along with the previous, but there are lots of store-bought soups that go great in your thermos as well. One of my daughter’s favorites is Pacific Foods’ Lentil Soup. For gluten-free options, check the labels and try to avoid anything with a rue or with regular pasta. For dairy free, be sure you check the bottom of the ingredients list for the words CONTAINS: MILK or check highlighted ingredients inside the list.
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25. Tomato and Mozzarella Skewers – For some reason, anything skewered become more appealing to kids! This is one of my son’s favorite combinations. We look for organic, preferably raw mozzarella when we can find it. For my dairy-free kiddo, we just do veggies and leave off the cheese. We love raw cauliflower in our house.
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Best of luck getting your little ones off to a healthy school-lunch start this school year! Share you successful lunch box stories with us! And share your ideas if you have them, too! I would love to hear the healthy ways you are navigating the lunchroom!  ~Happy Lunchboxing~

Red, White & Blue Frozen Bananners

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I love recipes that the kids get to help with, and this one was perfect to include them on. We had lots of fun, and they helped come up with the idea for what was RED and BLUE and HEALTHY to use as “sprinkles” on our Nanner-Pops, too. Smartie pantses ;)!

I still want to perfect this dip, but it was definitely a hit with the kids, and it checked all of our allergy-friendly boxes here, so that is always a bonus!

First, prepare you toppings. We used some fresh organic strawberries, some fresh organic blueberries, and even some freeze-dried organic blueberries. Any nuts WOUDL be fabulous! Get creative!

Next, prepare your bananas by peeling, cutting in half, and skewering with kabob skewers, popsicle sticks, or I used cake pop stick that you can find at almost any craft store. Set aside.

Now, in a small saucepan {you will want one deep enough to be able to dip, or at least roll, the sauce 3-4 inches deep onto the bananas. IN the saucepan over medium heat, combine:

3 tablespoons of coconut oil
&
1/4 cup + 1 tablespoon coconut butter (coconut manna)
&
3 tablespoons of honey

Once the coconut butter has melted down, add in:

6 tablespoons of coconut milk (or more if you feel like your sauce is still too thick)
&
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract (optional)

Stir together until smooth and then turn off your heat.  Now, simply dip your banners and set them onto a freezer-safe dish. Take a pinch of your topping of voice and sprinkle it onto the dip. Continue with all of your banners until done. Now, simply freeze until you are ready to enjoy! (we could only wait about 2 hours!).  Enjoy!