To DO List: Eat Mo’ Vegetarian Brekkies ~ Our Pick 4 Omelet Station

Batman eats veggies!
I am mom. This may not be the case in every household, but I am also cook. To me, the fact that I am responsible for filling their plates every day means that I am also responsible for the nutrition that my children receive. Its a job I take seriously – yes, in a fun and silly way, but still, seriously.

One of the constant goals of mine as the NUTRITION-PROVIDER of my household is to not only get it in ’em, but teach them along the way to LOVE the nutritious choices, so that when I am no longer the one in charge of filling their plates, hopefully the lessons they are learning now will carry over. It is constantly in my mind as I plan out meal times, even planning the treats! I explain to them every step of the way the reasons “WHY” I am selecting certain ingredients and constructing a balanced plate of food, or sometimes a balanced day of food, since every single meal isn’t perfect nutritionally speaking. I truly aim to make the healthy decisions be appealing and fun! This is all a part of my master plan to grow healthy, happy eaters who WANT to be healthy, happy eaters! {don’t tell them , but I think it’s working}

My favorite meals are ones that encourage the whole family to try new textures, new tastes, and new colors of food. This may seem very elementary, like the classic phrase,” EAT THE COLORS OF THE RAINBOW”, but even as adults, sometimes, we get sedentary on what we know and forget to broaden our taste buds on occasion. Every color of food makes up the phytonutrients and vitamins that our bodies need to function at their best.  Meals like this are great for EVERBODY to explore something new, and for some reason, it makes it more fun to get to have control over those choices! I am talking about our super fun breakfast this morning BUILDING YOUR OWN omelet.

To begin our Omelet bar, I used a dozen farm-fresh, soy-free, gmo-free, pastured chicken eggs and cracked them into a bowl for a good whisking. The carton was now empty, so I thought: What a great vessel for dividing our omelet selections. Because there are 3 kiddos here, I simply cut the carton into 3 equal sections of 4 “holes”. The rule: PICK FOUR!  Want to know what the coolest part was?  They all picked more than 4! :D. I love this.

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So, I chopped from the fridge some piles of tomato, orange bell pepper, broccoli, and spinach {we only buy organic produce as to reduce our exposure to pesticides and herbicides}. From our home garden {organically grown}, I collected, chopped, and piled some parsley, some rainbow chard, and some chives.  The kids took turns filling their sections and we labeled their containers and lined them up for cooking.
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It was so much fun watching them get excited about their selections and watching their faces as they cheered on each other’s omelets over the flat-top and excitedly waited for their own to cook.  We made omelets, we made a fun memory, and we all had something green for breakfast. A win, win, win in my book!!! 🙂

~Happy Omelet Making, Canaries ~

Raspberry Beret Macaroons {Gluten-Free, Grain-Free, Paleo, SCD-Legal}

If you like a classic coconut Macaroon, you will love these subtly sweet nuggets. These were created for the Valentine’s Day bake-sale boxes we did to raise money for a couple of local Autism non-profits that we know and love. They are light not overly sweet with the delicious tang of raspberry. So yummy!

Raspberry Beret Macaroons
Raspberry Beret Macaroons

1/2 cup raw organic honey
3 cups unsweetened coconut
3 Tablespoons coconut flour
2 Tablespoons crushed freeze-dried organic raspberries
1/2 cup coconut milk
Juice + Zest of 1 large organic lemon
1 white from a pastured chicken egg
Pinch of salt

Preheat oven to 325 degrees {Fahrenheit}

First, in a Vitamix or your blender, pulverize the dried coconut for about 1 minutes until you have super-fine shreds.
Dump into a large mixing bowl and add in the wet ingredients {coconut milk & lemon juice & zest} and mix just to combine.

Next, in your stand mixer or with a hand mixer, mix your egg white and pinch of salt until soft peeks form {a couple of minutes}. Take the egg whites over to the shredded coconut mixture and fold them in lightly. Sprinkle the coconut flour and crushed dried raspberry into the bowl and lightly fold again, just until well combined.

Now, with a #70 tablespoon scooper {I use this SO often, if you don’t have one your kitchen is missing a wonderful family member, hop on over to amazon and order one!}, fill the scoop tightly, pull it up against the side of the bowl to pack in the mixture.  Pull the trigger and dump out onto an unbleached-parchment-lined baking sheet. Continue filling up your tray.

Bake at 325 degrees for 20-22 minutes. I rotated my tray half-way through, a habit I got into after coking my way through the BabyCakes cookbook. After 2o minutes, my macaroons were getting slightly brown on the edges, so I removed and transferred the entire sheet of parchment to a wire rack to cool.

For the Valentine’s Bake-Sale boxes, I mixed a little of the powder from the freeze dried raspberries into a tiny bit of this lemon glaze, turning it perfectly pink and raspberry flavored. Using a zip-top sandwich bag with the tip snipped off, I drizzled the glaze lightly over the macaroons for a finishing touch. Mwah!

Lemon Cake & Lemon Cake Truffles {Grain-Free, Paleo, Gluten-Free, Cane-Sugar-Free, Dairy-Free}

Lemon Cake Truffles

Lemon Cake Truffles

Oh my! These little bites of lemony goodness and such a delight! The cake, itself, if very easy to throw together, and can certainly be enjoyed on it’s own. Actually, it would be wonderful for breakfast with a cup or organic tea, or as an afternoon snack. It’s a pretty dreamy treat!

There are so many almond flour recipes out there, I decided to change it up a bit on this one. One of our family’s favorite nuts is the cashew. We love the creamy texture and the mildly sweet flavor. So, for this lemon cake, I decided to use Cashew Meal. It turned out with a beautiful crumble, I think!

Grain-Free Lemon Cake

2 1/2 cups cashew meal
1 teaspoon Real Salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 cups cup raw organic honey
1/4 cup liquid measure virgin coconut oil + more for oiling pan
Juice and zest of 1 organic lemon
3 pastured chicken eggs
2 teaspoons organic lemon extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees {Fahrenheit}

In a large bowl, whisk together your dry ingredients {the cashew meal, salt,  & baking soda}.  Make a well into the center of the bowl and add to it the remaining liquid ingredients and lemon zest. Give it all a stir to combine.

Oil a loaf pan or a square baking dish with coconut oil. Pour your batter into the oiled pan and give it a spread with the back of your spoon or a spatula to even everything out.

Bake at 350 degrees for 40 minutes. This is definitely one of those cakes that you can “smell” when it is done. To the look, it will have a nice brown color and should not have any liquid seen on a toothpick inserted into the center {although it may carry out some crumbs with it}. Remove from the oven and cool as long as you can before sneaking a little sliver to taste. {I am guessing I am not the only one who does this ;)}

~For the Cake Truffles ~

You will need: 1 prepared Grain-Free Lemon Cake from above ~plus~ The following lemon glaze:

Lemon Glaze: 1/2 cup tapioca flour 1 tablespoon arrowroot powder 5 tablespoons organic grade B maple syrup 1 teaspoon organic lemon extract 1 teaspoon lemon zest

Simply blend all ingredients together in your blender. Can be stored in the fridge. Makes a great glaze for cookies or bars, and makes the perfect “glue” for these delicious lemon truffles!!

Preheat the 350 degrees if you haven’t already.

Crumble your cake in a large bowl. Stir in about 3 tablespoons of your lemon glaze. Now, Using a tablespoon (#70) scooper, pack the scooper full of the crumb mixture, pulling up against the side of your bowl to really pack it in. Pull the trigger to drop your scoop onto a parchment lined baking sheet. Simply reshape the top of your truffle if the scoop has been too rough on it. It should be a nice, tight little mound of sticky lemon crumb. Keep lining these mounds up on your parchment-lined baking sheet. They can be placed fairly close together, as no rising will occur at this point.

Bake the truffles for 6 minutes.

Remove from oven and let cool for 10-15 minutes. Now, using a piping bag with the smallest piping tip, usually used fro writing {or, honestly, most of the time I just grab a zip-top sandwich bag and snip off the corner}. Drizzle a zip-zag line across the top of each truffle as the finishing touch.

The taste of these lemon cake truffles is perfection for me. The healthy fats from the nuts and coconut oil and the sweet, lemony flavor really remind me of my mom’s lemon bundt cake she made a lot when we were growing up. There’s truly nothing better than turning a nostalgic {unhealthy} treat into a copy-cat recipe that meets all of our dietary restrictions in a delicious way!

Hope you enjoy, they sounds like a lot of steps, but honestly, they are not difficult to make!

Happy Cake Truffling, Canaries! ~Kendra

“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!

Honey Caramel Popcorn Balls {Sugar-Free Caramel Corn}

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Oh, sweet Caramel.
Such a beautifully, buttery sweetness, melting on my tongue; oh my caramel, how I do love thee.

On our journey to sugar-free eating, I wondered if I would ever achieve quite the same delight I had always so loved in the flavor of caramel but in a healthier allergy-friendly version. I now wonder no more. This caramel popcorn is so delicious! And it is the perfect recipe as the holiday season commences. Perfect for the Halloween treat-table, or to gift for the holidays.

{dairy-free, sugar-free, additive-free, clean eating ingredients!   mmmm, mmmm, good}
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This caramel is simply made with honey instead of over-processed, highly-refined brown-cane-sugar. I molded mine into these kid-friendly popcorn balls and we so enjoy the treat. From our happy kitchen to yours, we hope you enjoy this recipe as much as we do.

6 cups popped organic non-gmo popcorn
1/3 cup coconut oil
1/2 (generous) cup raw honey
1 1/2 tablespoons blackstrap molasses
1/2 teaspoon real salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda***
1 teaspoon pure vanilla

***If making popcorn balls, OMIT the baking soda and add 1/4 cup of water to the liquid mixture.

Heat in a saucepan over medium-high heat the oil, honey & molasses ***(and 1/4 cup of water if you will be making popcorn BALLS as opposed to just caramel popcorn).

Bring to a boil , then turn heat down to medium and cook for 4-5 minutes without stirring.

Remove heat source and:
OPTION 1 for caramel corn: stir in the salt, baking soda***, and vanilla. The caramel will fluff and rise like a delicious science experiment.
Pour over the popped popcorn and stir to coat the popcorn as evenly as possible. Do this with a bit of finesse, as the caramel will be very hot!  Fold out onto a parchment lined baking sheet.
Bake at 250 for 45 minutes, stirring every 15 minutes

OPTION 2 for Popcorn Balls: stir in the salt and vanilla.
Pour over the popped popcorn and stir to coat the popcorn as evenly as possible. Do this with a bit of finesse, as the caramel will be very hot!
When the caramel corn has cooled enough to be comfortable to handle, form your popcorn balls. Let cool completely ~ if you can keep your hands off of them long enough!

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Scared Of The Dark Cherry Gummy Bears

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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-Pie-Spiced Sweet Potato Fries

Pumpkin-Pie-Spiced Sweet Potato Fries

Sometimes the simplest of ideas turn into the best treats! The fall flavors of pumpkin-pie-spice pair beautifully with the sweet & nutritious sweet potatoes. Use coconut oil and bake and you have a healthy version of french fries to make your fall meals spooktacular!

These were hand-cut organic sweet potatoes, sliced into thin strips. 2 tablespoons of coconut oil melted to a liquid and tossed to coat the sweet potato strips. About 2 tablespoons of pumpkin pie spice and a couple of pinches of salt and these were quickly on their way to a 450 degree oven. The cooking times will vary greatly depending on the size of your fries. These cooked for about 25 minutes and were perfectly browned and crispy in parts and deliciously “fluffy” on the inside.

Elvis-Cakes (Coconut Flour Peanut Butter & Banana Pancakes, Gluten-free, Dairy-Free, Soy-Free, Sugar-Free)

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Pancakes. One simple word. But I would be willing to bet my stainless-steel bowl collection that this one simple word can arouse oodles and oodles of memories. Some of you may be salivating jsut reading it. {…she types as she wipes the dribble from her chin.}

Most of us moms {and dads} who have braved the rough waters of a gluten-free or allergy-friendly diet have, somewhere in the beginning, been struck with the urge to recreate the all-time-kid-tastic-morning-wonderland of — PANCAKES —!  We’ve all gone there. Some of those gluten free pancake mixes that you can buy at the store produce this psuedo-cake, not truly worthy of the pancake title, that look close enough to the real thing; yet, when you dig the side of your fork gracefully into the pile, you find your grace leaving the table, trying to pull apart a gummy bite, most likely with a scrunched look on your face and not at all convinced that the bite you are about to take is going to satisfy the craving your tongue, tummy, and heart are having. Such a dissappointment. And after trying a few mixes, you begin to throw those boxes that promise a fluffy pancake into the same category as GMO’s, almost,  holding a burning grudge in hopes of honest labeling!

Admittedly, my very favorite breakfast treat is the gf crepe (which is a pancake of sorts, right?), but these Coconut Flour Pancakes are one recipe that visits our breakfast table loyally.  The original recipe with maple syrup is fine on its own, but the fun part for me, the mom-chef, is creating masterpieces of flavor and fun – suitable for very  ~happy eating~ !  I especially pride myself on getting them to scoff down a plate with something other than syrup – and, since we have a cane-sugar allergy, completely free of refined sugar.

This morning, I was channeling my inner-elvis. I had about 12 bananas getting over-ripe and ready to be moved to the freezer, and so I decided to pair them with a classic organic creamy peanut butter for.

I took the original recipe and added a tablespoon of peanut butter and a tablespoon of our cinnamon sugar to the batter.  I cooked them up in coconut oil, and topped with more sprinkle of cinnamon sugar, sliced bananas, and a dollup of organic pb. Plates were cleaned. Pancake breakfast complete.

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Pepi-Chia Herb Crackers

When I began on our special diet journey for our suffering then-3 year old, we removed in one fail swoop the triad of typical Standard American Eating : Wheat, Milk & Eggs. This is how my career-in-the-kitchen began.

Molly is our little canary in the kitchen, and we have since learned that her immune-dysfunction provides us with a perpetual game of guessing as to what her immune “soldiers” may be bullying around each day.  We have come an amazingly long way since those days of desperate prescription filling (with no avail). Her rashes were given so many names and so many treatments, but it was not until we removed the underlying cause of inflammation that we began to see big changes; and the bonus changes ~ her neurological issues associated with sensory processing disorder, obsessive compulsion, and Aspberger’s Syndrome actually began to improve.  Behaviors that we were settling in on with a “non-progressive but incurable” diagnosis were actually changing. Hope. Light. and a Passion beyond comparison to share this “Secret” with the world, just in case what worked for us may work for other suffering families.

As we began, I worked hard to mimic the flavors and textures that we were all used to eating. But once you go as far as I had to take out milk and wheat and eggs, and once you understand how calming that inflammation has long-lasting effects, effects that may mean the difference between her having to be put on dangerous drugs with very long lists of side effects, or the difference in her developing cancer in her 50’s or 60’s and her living a long a healthful, vibrant life, those choices don’t seem so difficult at all! Quite the contrary.  I get excited about finding new ways to promote our health through food!!

Since I started, I have been traveling ever-further into healthful choices in our kitchen, subsequently we actually do very limited grains now and have severely  down-sized our consumption of animal proteins.

We eat rices, and some quinoa, and occasionally gluten-free oats (on a 4-day rotation), but every once in a while, I still get that craving for a crunch that a simple nut won’t appease. Today, I was having such a craving.

We are relaxing at home today, football playing for dad, kids enjoying the cooler outdoor weather and making “gluten-free mud pies” and I have put on a pot of chili with beans and zucchini and some chopped greens and stewed tomatoes.  In our past life, I would have eaten my chili on a bed of frito chips and a large handful of cubed colby ~ not today.
We now are dairy-free (processed) and have recently decided to take corn out of the equation as well.  So today, I went into creative mode to come up with a cruchy cracker that fit the bill.

My challenge: No Grain, No Sugar, No Fruit, No Eggs, No Milk Crackers
My solution: Pepi-Chia Herb Cracker
My surprise: Everyone loved them, including our 2 year old grazer.


Pepi-Chia Herb Crackers

1 cup + 1/3 cup raw pepitas (shelled pumpkin seeds)

½ cup non-dairy milk (I like almond or hemp)

2 tablespoons cold-pressed olive oil

2 tablespoons chia seeds

2 tablespoons raw shelled sunflower seeds (or more)

1-2 tablespoons dried parsley

1-2 tablespoons dried rosemary

1 1/2 teaspoon baking soda

½ teaspoon Real Salt (optional)

In your food processor or spice grinder, grind 1 cup of the pepitas into a meal
or course nut flour.

In a medium mixing bowl, dump in your pepita meal and stir in the chia seeds, sunflower
seeds, herbs, baking soda and Real Salt. Now add the non-dairy milk (or you
could use water) and the oil and stir just until combined.

On a parchment lined baking sheet, spread the mixture into one even layer about
1/4 inch thick. Sprinkle the remaining pepitas over top and bake at 325 degrees
for 25-30 minutes. Take out to and cool on baking sheet. Cut or break into desired shapes.