“Chocolate Covered Strawberry” Paleo-Style Macarons

Chocolate Covered Strawberry MacaronsThese little cutie-pies were in the Paleo Valentine’s Day bake sale boxes. They were very simple. Simple to make. And simple to pop in your mouth and enjoy!  Here’s how I made these little treats:

“Chocolate Covered Strawberry”  Paleo-Style Macarons

The Cookie:
1 cup almond butter
1 pastured chicken egg
1/3 cup + 2 tablespoon organic maple syrup
2 Tablespoons organic cocoa powder
1/2 + 1/8 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
2 teaspoons homemade vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon sea salt

Preheat oven to 325 degrees {Fahrenheit}

In a food processor, I combined all of the cookie ingredients and  processed on low until ingredients are well combined. Then, I transferred the dough to a piping bag. (You can use a zip-top bag and simply cut the tip if you do not have a piping bag). I piped little quarter sized swirls of dough onto unbleached parchment-lined baking sheet. {They won’t “grow” much during baking}

Piped Macrons in the Making

These are tiny little mounds of yumminess, so they don’t take long to bake at all. I set the timer for 5 minutes and that was just about right for a still-chewy center. Some stayed in for a full 6 minutes, and they were a bit over-done, in my opinion.

Macaron Cookies all baked.

At this stage of the game, you can chomp down on these tiny little chocolate cutie-pies just like they are seen above, looking like a cookie version of a little chocolate kiss.

Or, if you are feeling indulgent, you can take it one step further, as I did for the bake sale, and turn them each into a tiny little sandwich. I used this STRAWBERRY FROSTING as a filling and they were just delicious! Look at how yummy these look with a little sandwiching makeover!  I can’t wit to use this recipe over the summer to make all sorts of grain and dairy-free ice-cream sandwiches!  I hope these inspire you do get creative, too.

~Kendra

Chocolate COvered Strawberry Filled

Strawberry Frosting {Grain-Free, Paleo, and SCD legal}

Simple Strawberry Frosting {Grain-Free, Fruit Sweetened, Palo, SCD-legal}:

1 cup Spectrum organic Palm Shortening
1/2 cup freeze dried bananas, ground up in a spice grinders, mixer, or blender until it makes a powder
3 Tablespoons freeze dried organic strawberries, crushed {I like to have some larger chunks to see and taste}

First, I mixed the shortening with my hand mixer just to get a creamy consistency. Next, I added in the powdered banana and blended until well combined. I added the strawberries in last and mixed just until incorporated.

I transferred the icing to a piping bag. This was the perfect filling for the “Chocolate Covered Strawberry Macaroons” that were in the Palo Valentine’s boxes we did this year

.Chocolate Covered Strawberry Filled

This was  also the perfect topping for the Paleo Mini Lemon Muffins I made last week. :9 Oh the deliciousness!

Flourless Cherry Sweetheart Cookies {Grain-Free & Paleo}

These were created with LOVE for the Valentine’s Bake Sale Boxes that got delivered last week. In keeping with my passion, I was thrilled to get to bake up some delicious treats for kiddos and families that are very particular with their ingredient lists; and, better yet, I was able to raise a little money for a couple of charities that are local to me and to my heart. I know I keep saying this, but it really was the Best. Bake Sale. Ever.

Grain-Free Cherry Sweetheart Cookies

super- duper simple nut butter cookies turned into these:

Cherry Sweetheart Cookies
1 cup organic almond butter
1/3 cup organic raw honey
1 pastured chicken egg
1/2 teaspoon aluminum free baking soda
1/2 teaspoon organic apple cider vinegar
10 + 24ish dried organic & unsulphered cherries
Pinch of salt

Preheat oven to 325 degrees {fahrenheit}.

I find these are easiest to mix together in a food processor.  I hope you love how easy these are as much as I do!

In your food processor, combine the almond butter, honey, egg, baking soda, apple cider vinegar, and 10 of the cherries. Pulse or mix on low spear until ingredients are thoroughly combined.

Line a baking sheet with unbleached parchment paper. I used my #70 disher (or 1 tablespoon) spring disher. YOU can use a large spoon or even a tablespoon measuring spoon, but if you do not own a #70 disher, just hop onto Amazon and purchase one for your kitchen drawer. They are so great for cookies and mini muffins!

Spoon your dough onto your parchment lined baking sheet, leaving 2 inches between each cookie. I have found that the amount of “spread” that these cookies get depends on the amount of oil in the nut butter. But, they always taste delicious!   Now, take the remaining cherries one at a time and, using a knife or the tip of your fingernail, make a small slit in one of the edges and separate it, mimicking the shape of a heart. Press the heart-shaped cherry into the center of each dough mound.

Bake in a preheated 325 degree oven for 9 minutes. remove and transfer to a wire rack to cool.  Refill your pan with the raining batter and repeat.

I get 24-28 cookies per batch. Cool completely and then store in an airtight container, that is IF they make it that far.
The cherries give each cookie a sweet and tart element, the fact that the entire batch only has 1/3 cup of honey as its sweetener, and the simple, throw-in-the-food-processor method here make these so very appealing to me as the chef of my household. And this basic recipe has endless possibilities! Chocolate chips are the obvious choice, yes, but I enjoy experimenting with less ordinary treasures.

Hope you Enjoy these as much as we did. <3
~Kendra

GhostMallows {Sugar-less Marshmallows}

GhostMallows
GhostMallows
Honey marshmallows with coconut cinnamon pie spice sugar
Honey marshmallows with coconut cinnamon pie spice sugar

Hooray! It’s Halloween ~ one of my very favorite days of the year. It has been my favorite for as long as I can remember. But now, it has even more meaning to me. Last year on this spooky & fanciful holiday, our third little ‘punkin’ decided that he wanted Halloween as his birthday. I will remember that day forever. It was a peaceful morning, and by no means unexpected, since we were one day shy of 42 weeks and had been expecting an arrival “any day now” for many, many, many days. I awoke at about 6 in the morning feeling unmistakeable contractions that came about every 5 minutes. I rang my mom to start heading over to be here for our older two. By the time she arrived just a little over an hour later, I could barely talk or walk through each crashing wave of contraction.

This was a very special birth for me because we had chosen a more intimate setting at a birth center with a midwife. After two hospital births, I was anticipating an unforgettable and triumphant experience, and I got just that. Things went quickly and, even though the midwife never made it to our birth, I feel like the experience happened just as it was meant to. Even with a very quick turn of events that led to 4 very large calendar-style paramedics rushing into my little quaint birth center room, an ambulance ride downtown to the children’s hospital, an almost immediate intubation, and a week-long stay at NICU. Just in case you were wondering: no, going straight to NICU 3 hours after having a baby and having to experience your postpartum “rest” on a hard sofa in the corner of the room  for a week is NOT ideal.  All things considered, I still look back on that day with a very warm glow in my heart. It was the best morning of my life. Honestly & hands down. My little Halloween pumpkin is one year old today. {typed with a pouty face}

Our family and a few friends will be here on Saturday for a birthday celebration, so I am starting early in preparation, making lots of FUN Halloween treats for my sugar-free kids. Last Easter, I made marshmallows from beet-sugar and brown-rice-syrup, and the kids absolutely LOVED them. On this eve of Halloween, I whipped up a batch of spooky Halloween mallows, partially to try again with a sugarless marshmallow recipe (with an unrefined sweetener), and also because my son’s preschool is handing out orange (food-dyed orange) pumpkin marshmallows as a fun Halloween snack today. Now, my little punkin’ will have a clean and allergy-friendly version of food-love to enjoy.

These sticky sweets are going to be perfect for my treat-table for Saturday’s festivities, especially piped out into these fun ghost shapes, I got nothing but giggles from my peanut gallery when they saw them. My daughter especially appreciates the silliness of these GhostMallows, and has been talking to them since she got home from school.  Hope you enjoy these as Ghost Mallows or as plain ol’ squares. It is definitely a recipe for the “keeper” bin.

I tried these with maple syrup last week and they didn’t turn out as well as they did today, so this is definitely the recipe I will stick with for future batches.

1/3 cup water
1 1/2 tablespoons gelatin (prefereably from humainly-raised, grass-fed cows. I like this brand)**
1/2 cup honey (or 1 full cup if using all honey and no maple)
1/2 cup maple syrup
1/8 teaspoon real salt
1 teaspoon pure vanilla

** FOR FULL SQUARES INSTEAD OF PIPING GHOSTS, DOUBLE THE GELATIN AND WATER – SO 3 Tablespoons GELATIN & 2/3 CUPS WATER**

In a large mixing bowl, I stirred together the gelatin, water, and vanilla and let stand while I heated my sweeteners. {I used a hand mixer, but you can use a stand mixer, too, if you prefer that. I like the hands on of making things like these. Its kind of like baker’s therapy for me, so simply use the mixing bowl here that goes with your stand mixer}

In a saucepan, I brought to a boil over medium-high heat my honey, maple syrup, and salt. I let the sugars heat to 240 {soft-ball stage}. I use a candy-thermomter, but you can always use the old-school method of dripping into ice cold water.

I carefully poured my hot honey mixture in a steady stream into my bowl of gelatin and water mixture, beating on medium speed with my hand mixer.

Once all of the honey mixture is incorporated, commence singing “WHIP IT!” because you will be whipping the ever-loving-yumminess out of this bowl of sweet goo until you have a cloud of fluffy marshmallow {about 10 minutes}.

[When a problem comes along….YOU MUST WHIP IT!]

Now – the SKY is the LIMIT with this marshmallow fluff!

Note: You will need some sort of powder substance to help with handling the complete and utter stickiness of the situation these marshmallows will create. Its a good problem to have, trust me.
What I used was my fall cinnamon-pie-spice-“sugar” mixture {which is just my cinnamon and coconut sugar recipe with pumpkin pie spice added in}.
You can use cinnamon, or if you feel like splurging on a bit of cane sugar here since you used honey in your recipe, powdered sugar can be used.

I sprinkled my powdered cinnamon-pie-spice-“sugar” generously on a sheet pan and rolled out half of the fluff. I spread with a spatula I had greased up with some coconut oil. These are now little squares of marshmallow.

Then, I transferred the remainder of the fluff into a zip-top bag and a cut about a half inch wide corner off. To pipe these little GhostMallows, start piping a pretty wide base and pull up. Hard to describe the technique, but you will get the feel of it after your first one or two; and the beauty of these little spooks is in the uniqueness of each little ghost. I used two ENJOY LIFE CHOCOLATE CHIPS for my eyes, but you can certainly keep with the sugar-free theme and try cutting a raisin in half for two eyes, or using a small slice of date.  Whatever you choose, you most definitely should play with your food!!

The mallow that I had spread out into a sheet, I used a few ways:
First, I chopped half of it into squares. Easy to pop in your moth or stick in a cup of cocoa squares. Yum!

Second, I took the remaining half and spread a layer of cashew butter on top. Then, I rolled the sheet of mallow, carefully and stickily, up into a “log” and sliced about 1/2 inch wide slices. You can see these at the back of a couple of the pictures here. they were delicious too!

Third, I needed an icing for the tops of the little sweet pumpkin muffins I made for Finlay’s birthday, so I melted a couple of squares of these marshmallows onto the top of the muffin and it was the perfect, sticky, sugarless topping.

See, the sky is really the limit. So play away, canaries!!
~Happy Ghostmallow Making~

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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

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