Thursday, August 25, 2016

Banana Oat Blender Muffins

I was looking to find something to do with my very ripe bananas and I came upon this recipe.
I didn't want to use dairy, so I adapted the ingredients and they turned out as a huge success!!!
I did bend our sugar free rule, with the use of chocolate chips, however they were dairy free and had very little sugar (compared to other brands). You've gotta live sometimes, ya know?!?!?! :) And I also know that if I put pecans or almonds in them another day, that my kids would still be happy!

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups gluten free rolled oats
  • 1/4 cup extra oats (to mix in, NOT blend)
  • 2 large very ripe bananas
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 tablespoons grapeseed oil
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened almond milk
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/8 teaspoon himalayan salt
  • *optional add-in: chocolate chips (I added 4 dark chocolate chips to each muffin or nuts)
Directions:
Prehead oven to 400 degrees F.
Add all ingredients to a high powered blender (like Vitamix), EXCEPT 1/4 cup oat and *add-ins
Blend until thoroughly combined and oats are pulverized. 
Then, stir in oats.
Pour into 12 lined and/or sprayed muffin tins.
Finally, toss a few chocolate chips on top, if desired. A few go a long way! My kids were amazed that there were chocolate chips in their breakfast (and they only got 4)

Bake for 15 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean when inserted into the center of the muffin.
Let cool for 10 minutes.
Enjoy!!!


Thursday, January 21, 2016

Date sweetened cinnamon raisin oat bars

So, I'm often looking for a bar that we can easily grab for a snack. I've tried many recipes and I finally found this lovely recipe at www.beginwithinnutrition.com , but I'm trying to use the least processed foods/sweeteners. So, I substituted out the brown rice syrup for homemade date paste. The result was kid approved and in my opinion absolutely yummy! I hope you enjoy it as well!

Ingredients:
1½ cup gluten free rolled oats
½ cup almond butter, unsweetened
¼ cup coconut oil, melted
¼ cup date paste
¼ teaspoon Himalayan salt
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

½ teaspoon cinnamon
¼ cup raisins

Directions:
In a medium sized bowl, mix almond butter, melted coconut oil, date paste, salt, vanilla, and cinnamon. Then, mix in raisins and oats (you may grind them prior to mixing in, if you wish). I did not grind the oats until the mixture was already together. So, I just pulsed half of the mixture in my food processor, until I got my desired consistency. I still like the "chunkiness" of the oats and raisins and didn't want the mixture to get too smooth (like a larabar). Anyhow, the end result was just right for me. You can play around with the texture that you prefer by only using the food processor on parts of your whole batch.
ENJOY!

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Pumpkin Pie Chia Seed Pudding



I found a recipe on the Whole New Mom website, but wanted to change it a little bit. So, here is my variation of this recipe. My kids devoured it, so I just got done making this recipe for a second time.
I hope you enjoy it!

Ingredients:
2 C unsweetened vanilla almond milk
3/4 C canned pumpkin
1/2 C chia seeds
1 1/4 tsp. homemade pumpkin pie spice
2 T pure maple syrup
1/8 tsp. Himalayan salt

Directions:
Mix almond milk and pumpkin in a 1 quart mason jar. Then, stir in chia seeds. Finally, mix in remaining ingredients.

Refrigerate and allow chia seeds to absorb liquid to thicken the pudding. This usually takes at least 1 hour...if you just can't wait any longer.
Overnight it will thicken even more, if desired.
Enjoy!

*another idea is to spoon the mixture into popsicle molds and freeze until solid





Friday, January 23, 2015

Chicken Tortilla Soup


This is one of our families favorite recipes. It is super easy and really delicious. A dear friend Anna gave me this recipe many years ago. We use as many organic ingredients as possible. It's actually really surprising that there are no seasonings added to this soup, but trust me it is full of flavor! It is especially great on a cold winter day! I hope you enjoy it as much as we do!

Ingredients:
2 cans black beans (may sub 1 can red beans)
1 30 oz can tomato sauce
1 16 oz can chopped tomato w/ jalapenos (or regular canned tomatoes for a mild soup)
2 small cans roasted green chilies
1 cup salsa (you choose spice level)
1 can corn
2-4 chicken breasts
*corn tortilla chips, avocado and cheese for optional toppings

Directions: 
Put all ingredients into a large pot on stove (start on medium, once it begins to bubble turn to low 1-2 hours) or crockpot and cook on low for 4-6 hours. (I prefer 6 hrs, chicken shreds more easily)
Pull out chicken at end and shred with 2 forks.
Put back into soup pot and simmer 15 more minutes if desired. (not necessary)
Serve warm with desired toppings.
We like to drizzle a little evoo (extra virgin olive oil) on top and add some fresh avocado.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Banana Buckwheat/Oat Bars

These were the most amazingly delicious bar we have had in a long time! I just used some ingredients I had lying around and it turned out to be a hit. It was so much of a hit that I forgot to take pictures until it was all devoured!

Ingredients
Dry Ingredients
1/2 cup ground oat flour (ground in Vitamix)
1/2 cup buckwheat flour (raw groats ground in Vitamix)
1.5 cups gluten free rolled oats  (NOT ground)
1/2 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

Wet Ingredients
2 eggs
2 small ripe banana
1/4 cup of almond milk
1/4 cup coconut oil, melted
1/2 tablespoon pure vanilla extract



Instructions
Preheat oven to 350 degrees and spray a 13x9 pan with nonstick cooking spray or brush with coconut oil.
Next, in a large bowl,  mix together dry ingredients. In a medium size bowl, mash banana and mix in the wet ingredients.
Pour the wet into the dry ingredients. Mix thoroughly. If dough is too stiff, add 1 tablespoon of almond milk at a time, until the dough is able to be spread easily with the back of your spoon.
Pour into baking dish. Bake at 350F for about 20 minutes.

Homemade Almond Milk

We primarily drink water and almond milk in our home. So, making homemade almond milk is a great way to save money (especially buying almonds in bulk or at Costco) and it is always wonderful knowing exactly what you are putting in your body. This is so simple and so delicious. My favorite part is that it can turn into the most wonderful frothy topping to pour over hot tea! Occasionally, I'll treat myself to a chai tea with this almond milk recipe sweetened with honey and whipped with a little milk frother. Yum!!

Ingredients:
3 - 4 cups water (3 cups for a more whole milk type flavor and 4 for a lighter milk)
1 cup soaked almonds

Directions:
Cover almonds with water (approx. 2 cups) and soak overnight.
Drain and rinse almonds in the morning.
Put water and almonds into a Vitamix or high powered blender.
Blend until almonds are pulverized and the mixture is creamy.
Pour mixture into a nutmilk bag or over cheesecloth into a jar or container to store your almond milk.
Squeeze out almonds until the pulp is nearly dry.
Store almond milk in the refrigerator.
I find that mine is usually good for 7-10 days.

Additional step to use pulp for almond flour:
Pour almond pulp onto a baking sheet and dry in oven on low.
Return pulp to Vitamix and blend until a fine flour is created.

Here is a wonderful tutorial with some optional additions. The pictures are fantastic and Wellness Mama has an amazing blog for all sorts of things! Go check her out by clicking here.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Chia seed pudding

This is one of my favorite treats! It has the texture of tapioca pudding and a slightly sweet, slightly nutty flavor. My favorite part about this recipe is it is extremely versatile!
What I am posting here is the most basic recipe, then you can add your own twists by changing the type of milk used (ie. using coconut milk) or mixing in a variety of fruits and spices. There are also many different ratios of chia to milk that you can try depending on your tastes. I like the pudding slightly thick, but not jiggly. You may find another ratio that suits you better. Also, you can blend up your chia seeds to make a more smooth pudding. I personally like the texture. So, have FUN! Play with your food and find what works best for you! :)

Ingredients:
3 cups unsweetened vanilla almond milk (Silk brand is the only one I've found without carrageenan)
2/3 cup chia seeds
1-2 T pure grade B maple syrup (optional-I don't use this...anymore)

Directions:
Pour almond milk into 1 quart sized mason jar. Pour chia seeds on top (use funnel to avoid spilling seeds everywhere). Place lid on jar and shake vigorously. Let sit for 10 minutes, then stir and shake one more time to break up any lumps. Refrigerate for 2-4 hours or overnight. It will continue to thicken the longer it sits. Chia seeds can hold 9-12 times their weight in liquid!

Some of my favorite variations:
Cinnamon Raisin:
add 1/2 cup raisins & 1 T of cinnamon (or less...I just really like cinnamon)

Pumpkin Pie:
add 2-3 T pumpkin puree (NOT pumpkin pie filling) & 2 t pumpkin pie spice

Toppings to add AFTER pudding has formed:
fresh fruit
nuts

Banana Nut:
Just before serving, top with fresh sliced bananas and walnuts

Mixed Berry Coconut:
Just before serving, top with unsweetened shredded coconut (toasted) and fresh berries. This blend is particularly good if you mix the chia seed with coconut milk to make the pudding!

Here are a couple great chia seed resources!
The Chia "Cheat" Sheet

Coconut Chia Recipe

Monday, August 25, 2014

Favorite Dishwasher Detergent

When I first started eliminating toxins from our home, I had a LONG list of products I wanted to change. However, it is impossible (on a budget at least) to make that change all at once. So, I went through that list with a highlighter and decided which products I wanted to replace first.
The first two things I would change were our dish detergent and our clothes detergent.
My thinking was that if I didn't want harsh chemicals in my home, I certainly didn't want to eat off of dishes that were cleaned with them or wear clothes (24 hours a day) with residue from potential toxins! I figured that those two items were the most often used things in my home...so I began there!
I used ewg.org* to help me in the process of finding better alternatives, aside from me making my own. You have to start somewhere, right?

So, now I happily use Seventh Generation powdered dish detergent. It works amazingly well and gets a good "A grade" from ewg! You can buy this online and our local Target carries it in the store. Also, it seems to last forever!! We dump it in a plastic container and use an old protein powder scoop to get it out.

*If you don't know about ewg, it is a website that grades various household products as well as skincare products for saftey, considering each ingredient and it's level of toxicity.


Thursday, August 21, 2014

Homemade Mouthwash

I wasn't crazy about the fact that most mouthwashes had food dyes and artificial sweeteners, so I went on a search for an alternative! I love my new mouthwash.

Ingredients:

8 oz distilled water
3 drops Peppermint essential oil
3 drops Tea tree essential oil
1 t baking soda

Directions:

Pour all ingredients into a glass jar. I used a cleaned out Argo Tea bottle or you could use a mason jar. Shake vigorously before each use. Pour 2 tablespoons into a small reusable cup and swish! Then, enjoy your minty fresh clean mouth!

The reasons to use these ingredients thanks to BreathMD.com

Baking soda - sodium bicarbonate which works as a mechanical cleanser on the teeth and gums, neutralizes the production of acid in the mouth and also as an antiseptic to help prevent infections occurring. A paste made from sodium bicarbonate and a 3% hydrogen peroxide solution can be used as an alternative to commercial toothpastes.

Peppermint - Peppermint has a high menthol content, and is often used as tea and for flavouring ice cream, confectionery, chewing gum, and toothpaste.

Tea tree oil - Tea tree oil has beneficial medical properties when applied topically, including antiseptic, antibacterial, antifungal, and antiviral action, and is also believed to have beneficial cosmetic properties.

Breakfast Bars

This recipe was adapted from Elana's Pantry website. It is a fabulous and versatile recipe. I eliminated the agave, added some seeds, added an egg, changed the oil and adjusted the flour content for just the right combination for our family.

Ingredients:
1 cup finely ground almonds (basically make flour)
¼ teaspoon sea salt
¼ teaspoon baking soda
¼ cup coconut oil
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
½ cup unsweetened shredded coconut
½ cup pumpkin seeds
¼ cup chia seeds
¼ cup chopped almonds
¼ cup chopped pecans or walnuts
¼ cup raisins (optional)

Directions
In a small bowl, combine ground almonds (almonds I've ground into flour in the Vitamix), salt and baking soda
In a large bowl, combine coconut oil, egg and vanilla
Stir dry ingredients into wet
Mix in coconut, pumpkin seeds, chia seeds, chopped nuts and raisins
Grease an 8 x 8 inch baking dish with coconut oil
Press the dough into the baking dish, wetting your hands with water to help pat the dough down evenly
Bake at 350° for 20 minutes
Cool bars in pan for 2 hours, then serve

Makes 12-16 bars

Banana Oat Pancakes

This recipe I found this morning on http://www.mountainmamacooks.com/. I only altered it by leaving out the honey, because I am even avoiding natural sweeteners (unless it is in the form of whole fruit).
I must say, they were still fabulous and my kids loved them! It is amazing how much sweeter everything tastes when you give up added sugar!


Ingredients:
2 cups gluten free oats
1 1/4 cups unsweetened almond milk
1 large ripe, banana
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 large organic egg
coconut oil for cooking


Directions:
Place all ingredients, except egg and coconut oil in the base of a blender and blend until smooth. Add egg and pulse a few times until egg is fully incorporated.
Heat a griddle or large saute pan over medium heat and melt a teaspoon or two of coconut oil. When hot, pour or scoop the batter onto the griddle, using approximately 1/4 cup for each pancake. Brown on both sides (about 2-3 minutes per side) and serve hot with maple syrup.
*If batter becomes too thick to pour easily, add a tablespoon or two of almond milk to thin.

Blueberry Apple Flax "Pancake"

This is the most delicious breakfast "pancake". It has a strange texture, but the flavor is amazing. Both of my kids didn't like it at first...I think because of the texture, but after a few bites, they wanted more! It also doesn't flip over for me like it is supposed to. So, I just mush it around the pan a while until it is nicely browned and flip it the best I can. My version isn't as pretty as the original version from http://simplygluten-free.com , but I am so thankful for this recipe! It fills that sweet tooth I have!
Ingredients:

1 small (or ½ large) apple – roughly chopped
1 large egg
3 tablespoon flax seed meal
1 tablespoon water
1 pinch kosher or sea salt
½ cup blueberries
Directions:

Put the apple in a food processor or blender and pulse a few times to chop it up. Add the egg, flax seed meal, water and salt and process until well blended.

Heat a small non-stick skillet over medium high heat and spray lightly with non-stick cooking spray. Pour the batter into the hot pan and turn the heat down to low. Sprinkle the blueberries on top of the batter and gently press them into the top of the pancake. Cook for about 6 minutes or until the edges look dry, the bottom is browned and the pancake will slide around in the pan after it has been loosened with a spatula. Flip the pancake over and cook for another 4 – 5 minutes. The pancake should feel firm to the touch. Flip onto a plate (blueberry side up) and serve.
Servings

Makes 1 large gluten free pancake.

Simple Italian Dressing

We almost never buy salad dressing anymore, because it is so easy to make our own and it ensures that there isn't any sugar or preservatives added. This is one of my favorites! You don't have to use a Vitamix or blender. A shaker cup will do fine, but the blender emulsifies the dressing to give a creamy delicious texture!

Ingredients:

1/2 cup raw apple cider vinegar
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 t sea salt or 1/2 t Himalayan salt
1/4 t pepper
1/2 t Italian spices (basil, oregano, marjoram, rosemary etc.)
1-2 whole cloves garlic, pressed if not using blender (optional)
2 t organic dijon mustard (optional)

Directions:

Put all ingredients in Vitamix. Slowly turn up the speed until 10 on low. Mixture will turn a creamy yellow.
Alternatively, you may mix in a mason jar or shaker cup.

Bacon Wrapped Pecan stuffed Dates

These may not look too pretty, but oh my! are these some of the yummiest little treats ever!!! And they are so simple to make! A friend of ours made them for our small group, then I made them for my Easter brunch! Delicious!!! The recipe was also found from Paula Deen via foodnetwork.com!

Ingredients:

1 (8-ounce) box pitted dates
30 pecan halves
10 to 12 slices bacon (you will have to look carefully because most bacon contains sugar...I have found one brand locally that doesn't contain any sugar)

Directions:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
Stuff each date with a pecan half. Cut each slice of bacon into 3 pieces. Wrap 1 piece around each stuffed date, place seam side down on parchment lined baking sheet. Bake until bacon is crisp, 12 to 15 minutes. Drain and serve.

Coconut Flour Banana bread

This recipe is so incredibly easy and delicious! It is definitely one of our favorite breakfast "breads" or afternoon treats!


Ingredients:

3 medium-sized ripe bananas (about 1 1/2 cups)
3 large eggs
1 T pure vanilla extract
3/4 t baking soda
1/2 t salt
1/4 cup plus 2 T coconut flour (I use THIS brand)
1/2 cup walnuts or pecans (optional)


Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a loaf pan with non-stick spray or brush with coconut oil. You may also use muffin paper, but I recommend even spraying the paper, as it will stick like crazy otherwise! If using a loaf pan, line the bottom with a rectangular piece of parchment paper. Blend bananas, eggs, vanilla, baking soda and salt in your high powered blender (I use my Vitamix). After all is blended thoroughly, add the coconut flour until completely incorporated. It will thicken quickly. Stir in nuts if desired. Pour immediately into pan. Bake for 50 minutes or until lightly browned and a clean toothpick test (The "cake" will be moist, but should not stick to the toothpick).


*original recipe discovered at Comfybelly.com