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Thursday, February 9, 2012

New Patio Box

I know I've been posting a lot of recipes and food-related thoughts lately.  It's mostly because with this massive change in diet, food and meals are pretty much all I think about.  I am consumed by food . . . in a good way.  I spend most of each day in the kitchen, whipping up good, body-nurturing things for my family to eat, then cleaning up the mess only to start all over again for the next meal.  And so it goes, day in and day out.  Some may think it sounds tedious.  Even I think it sounds tedious.  But the random thing is that it isn't!  I love it.  It's actually very fulfilling, almost like I've finally accepted my stewardship and am reveling in it.  It has released the anxiety that built up over my knowledge that I was wholly to blame for my children's terrible eating habits.

Anyway, that's not what this post was going to be about.  Here I am trying to post something completely unrelated to food and what do I do? Go rambling off about food, of course.  :)

We got a new patio storage box.  It's huge and was wonderfully priced at Home Depot.  The only problem is, every time I've sent the boys outside to put all their outdoor toys into it, I arrive on the scene to find this:

Lazy little buggers, aren't they?  Cute, though.  I think I'll keep them anyway.  We're all flawed.  :)

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Wednesday, February 8, 2012


I've been experimenting with making my own healthy(er) chocolate lately.  And I think I've finally hit on a good combo.  This is so super easy.  You really just add everything to taste and depending on how much you want to end up with.

In a bowl, combine equal parts unsweetened cocoa powder + finely grated coconut + melted coconut oil.
Add honey to taste.
Throw in a pinch of salt.
Blend with an immersion blender (I did this with our whisk attachment).
Revel in your healthy chocolate when your kids go to bed the next evening.

The crazy thing is, I don't really crave sweets anymore.  I can only handle a teeny bit of this stuff at a time.  I prefer fruits.  Maybe it's pregnancy, I don't know, but whatever it is, I am grateful for it.  Sweets used to be my downfall - big time.

So anyway, here's what we did with our healthy chocolate recently.  Remember the no-bake cookies?  Well, we got the bright idea to smother them in chocolate for our FHE treat this week.  Anders was in charge of treats, so he and Soren grabbed toothpicks and took care of dipping and coating (almost) the whole pan.  (I say almost because we had already eaten a few of them.  Hee hee.)

Take a look at the process.  Can you tell how much the boys loved fulfilling their FHE duties?  :)

So, yeah.  Our new chocolate-smothered, no-bake cookies were given hearty approval by this now sweets-crazed family.  In fact, the night they were made (Sunday night in preparation for Monday night FHE), Dan "had" to taste test a couple before he sat down and did yet another of his signature happy dances.  I love his happy dance.  It makes me happy.  :)  We will surely be whipping these up again.  If you try the chocolate concoction, let us know how you like it or if you adapt it somehow for your family!  We love to hear about innovation in the kitchen since that's what we seem to be all about these days.  Truth be told, when it works out - when the family is smiling and giving you thumbs up and raving about your culinary prowess - it's rather empowering.  Can I get a "hear, hear"?
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Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Gluten-free, Dairy-free, Sugar-free Chocolate No-Bake Cookie Balls

Whew! What a mouthful! So these are definitely all that in the title, but also definitely NOT nut-free, so allergy sufferers beware.

This recipe is adapted from one shared by another homeschooling mama, a self-professed "nutritarian." We are SO HAPPY she shared this one with us. Thanks, Emily!

1 cup cashew crumbs (break out your high-speed blender or food processor, folks)
1 cup almond butter (the original recipe calls for almond crumbs as well, but we had almond butter already made, so we used that.  I think either way would work.)
1/4 - 1/2 cup of unsweetened cocoa powder (really, it's just to taste)
~ 14 pitted dates + 1 tsp vanilla + 1 tsp salt processed in blender (or food processor) until smooth
1/4 - 1/2 cup of unsweetened finely grated coconut (again, to taste)

1. Mix everything together in a bowl.  Emily uses her hands, but I knew this would wreak havoc with my eczema, so I grabbed a stout spoon (grab a silicone spoon = no sticking) and went to town folding and mixing and folding and mixing and folding some more.  It worked.
2. Form into cookie balls and refrigerate.
3. Eat.

With only dates to sweeten them, I was afraid these would need a sweetener boost, maybe honey or something like that.  But I was totally wrong.  These are so sweet I can only handle ONE!  They're satisfying and curb sugar cravings like nothing I've ever eaten.

Oh, and of course they pass the fickle kid taste test.  My boys LOVE these.  Soren calls them air-dry cookies (you know, "no-bake cookies") and Anders calls them dots.  :)  Karsten just eats them like a child possessed.  Good thing he has a mommy to intervene on his behalf.

Thanks again, Emily!

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Monday, February 6, 2012

Gluten-free, Dairy-free Crepes

Can you tell my kids LOVED these?  :)  He's leading his heavenly choir as he revels in his latest bite of deliciousness.

GF, DF, yes, but not egg-free. Sorry vegans! I plan on trying this with flax eggs in the future, so I'll definitely add an update once I do. For now, please leave a comment if you try the recipe successfully with an animal product-free substitute for eggs. :)

We stumbled upon this recipe on accident really. It is adapted from one posted on the Super Healthy Kids blog that was for pancakes/waffles. We made the waffles a week or so ago and liked them okay, but we thought the batter would be PERFECT for crepes. We were right. These were amazing.

1 cup gluten free rice flour blend (we used Authentic Foods "Bette's Gourmet Featherlight Rice Flour Blend")
1/2 tsp gluten free baking powder
pinch of salt
2 eggs
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 1/4 cup coconut milk

1. Mix flour, baking powder, and salt in a bowl.
2. Make a well and break eggs into it and pour in oil.
3. Pour in coconut milk.
4. Mix all together with an immersion blender.
5. Cook as you would a "normal" crepe.  :)

*Note: I doubled this recipe and ended up with about 14 crepes (half from the larger pan, half from the smaller).  It wasn't enough for our family of five.  Tripling it would have been perfect.

We pulled out maple syrup, non-dairy buttery spread, finely grated raw coconut, applesauce, bananas, and almond butter for our toppings, but the sky's the limit.  If we'd had any fresh, we would have added berries to the line-up, too.  The best combo, hands down, was spread, sliced bananas, almond butter, coconut, and a drizzle of maple syrup.  It was so creamy and satisfying!  Dan was doing a happy dance in his chair as he worked his way through each bite.  :)

Photo of the winning combo (minus the almond butter; I remembered it later).

More photos of the happy child.  I couldn't get any of Soren because he finished his too darn fast!  That kid is my bottomless pit, for sure.  :)

Karsten was the only one who was unimpressed by the crepes.  He was content to just suck the applesauce out of the middle.  Oh well, can't please them all!  :)  This one was DEFINITELY a success.
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Sunday, February 5, 2012

100% Spelt Biscuits

I've tried making these a few different ways, but I think I finally hit on the RIGHT way last night. They were SO delicious, fluffy, crumbly, and creamy. Just so. dang. good!

My recipe is adapted from this recipe, and doesn't turn out anything like the picture there because I grind my own spelt flour, which must be infinitely different than "light spelt flour."  But trust me, they're good.

2 1/2 cups of spelt flour
1 heaping Tbsp of baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup olive oil
1 Tbsp honey
1 cup coconut milk

1. Mix dry ingredients; cut in olive oil
2. Add honey and milk; stir well
3. Spray a (12 cup) muffin pan with coconut oil; scoop "dough" (it's not really very dry, but it should be kind of fluffy) into muffin cups with large cookie scoop or just a spoon.
4. Bake in preheated 350* oven for 15-20 minutes (I do 15) or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the largest comes out clean.
5. Remove muffins immediately so bottoms don't become soggy.  To do this, turn muffin pan over above a cookie rack so muffins will tumble out; cool on rack or eat warm.  Either way, they're delicious!

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Saturday, February 4, 2012

Everything Soup

Imaginative name, I know. But that really is how it came about. I had a bunch of produce in the fridge that needed to be used. So I used it. And this turned out DE-LI-CIOUS! Which is saying a lot for me since I've never managed to make a palatable soup from scratch. Never. They are usually pretty gross tasting. BUT, last night was MY night because this just worked. Hooray!

Here's what you need:

1 Tbsp coconut oil
1 red onion chopped/diced
5 or 6 carrots chopped/diced
5 or 6 celery stalks chopped/diced (Don't get rid of your wilting celery! Use it for this recipe. My rubbery, floppy celery was one of the ingredients I invented this soup for. :))
2 cloves garlic diced
1 head cabbage chopped
8 cups liquid (I only had 1 cup of vegetable broth left in the whole house, so had to use water for the rest. You could do half broth, half water; or even all broth. Whatever you want.)
2 white sweet potatoes (peeled and cubed)
1 can red kidney beans (drained)
1 can whole sweet corn (drained)
1/2 bunch fresh parsley (roughly chopped)
Italian dry seasoning blend to taste (I used McCormick Perfect Pinch Italian Seasoning because that's what just happened to JUMP out at me when I opened my spice cupboard.  :))
Salt to taste

I remember reading somewhere that we should "eat the rainbow."  Just look at these gorgeous colors!

Here's how you do it:

1. Heat oil over medium heat

2. Saute onion, carrots, and celery in oil.  When onions start to become opaque, add garlic and saute just for a bit (don't want garlic to burn, ya know).

3. Add some seasoning to your sauteing veggies.  However much you want.  Remember, I only had one cup of broth, so I bulked up on seasoning.  If you have more broth than I did, you can go easier on the seasonings.

4. Add all the cabbage and 1 cup of liquid.  Allow cabbage to cook down a little (a few minutes), while stirring occasionally.

5. Add remaining 7 cups of liquids and sweet potato cubes.

6. Bring liquid to a boil, then reduce heat to simmer.

7. When sweet potatoes are soft (test with a fork), add beans and corn and allow to warm up.

8. Add parsley and salt.

9. Serve with warm spelt biscuits (recipe to follow).

10. Enjoy!

This fed my family of five with LOTS of leftovers to freeze/refrigerate.  SCORE!

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Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Try this

Photo credit: Healthy Happy Life
Instead of putting mayo on your sandwich or dressing in your salad wrap, smear hummus all over your carb-of-the-meal.  Hummus is easy to make, provides lots of protein (not to mention amazing FLAVOR), and can be tailored to any meal (Indian food?  No problem, just add cumin or curry powder.  Mexican food?  No problemo, just add avocado and cilantro.  Craving something spicy?  Whip up some jalapeƱo hummus.  Garden fresh?  Roasted red pepper, people!)  I'm telling you, this stuff is miracle food.  Yeah!  Here's a great basic hummus recipe to get your wheels cranking: Extra Easy Hummus.  (Bonus: it doesn't use tahini or sesame oil.)

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