I love making applesauce! I feel like such a queen when I do. It always comes out so beautifully and I can’t seem to mess it up. I usually make it during the Fall-time, and it perfumes the house with a warmth of cinnamon, and apples; tart and sweet. But, because it’s now Spring and I want to get more veg down my kids’ gullets, I came up with this recipe.
I happen to love beets. I always have. I was the weird kid (#weirdkidsrock) that would eat beets straight out of the can. And alfalfa sprouts with ranch as my after school snack. I meannnnn… But beets are really quite good for you, earthy and dirt-tasting as they are! They are great for heart and liver health and full of fiber.
Bonus: you let the crock pot do the dirty work (unless you consider coring and cutting apples dirty work. and then, I can’t help you. *I leave the skins on the apples for extra fiber.).
Once everything goes into the pot, the beets lend their beautiful, jewel-toned ruby-red color to the apples. Then, the entire thing becomes that same gorgeous color when blended together!
After fruit is thoroughly washed, core and cut the apples, cut the beets into quarters, and hull the strawberries. Place them, along with the blueberries (you can add in the beet juice, if you'd like) in the Crock Pot. Add the water, lemon juice, honey, and salt. Turn on to high heat for 4 hours. Once the apples are tender, turn off the Crock Pot. Use a wooden spoon to mash to the desired consistency. You may also use a hand mixer. Enjoy hot or cold!
I have struggled with sugar addiction for a long time. Perhaps, forever. I like to call it a sweet tooth, because that’s cuter. But, it can get out of hand, rather quickly. I’m on a mission, now, to eat less sugar and find plant based alternatives. I don’t believe in withholding things that make me happy (as long as it isn’t destructive), but I’m so glad there are so many other delicious ways to indulge!
I find myself using more maple syrup and local honey as sugar alternatives, where I can. I’ve also starting using date paste. And I found a way to make it myself. It’s another easy recipe that is full of health benefits. Dates are rich in protein, many vitamins (magnesium being one of them, which helps with migraines!), and aid in digestion (they are full of fiber).
This is good ANYWHERE…spread on toast, mixed into batters where sugar would normally be, stirred into oatmeal, blended into smoothies, baked into Sweet Potato Casserole (recipe coming soon!). It’s so good. And easy!
Pit the dates. Soak them in the water overnight (warm up the water first). Then put all the ingredients in the food processor and blend until creamy and smooth. It will take a while, but it's worth the wait. Store in an airtight container in the fridge, up to 3 months...if it lasts that long!
Turmeric. The beautiful golden and aromatic spice that comes from grinding up the root of its mother plant. It’s SO warming. It’s so incredibly beautiful. And, its benefits are many. It can reduce depression (YESSS!!), inflammation, Alzheimer’s effects, it fights cancer, and makes your skin glow. The bottom line is, it’s incredible for your health. I take turmeric capsules every day and make this beautiful Golden Milk quite often. It’s easy to put together and packs a huge health punch. It’s also delicious! Win! This beauty also has cinnamon, black pepper, ginger, cayenne pepper, and local honey in it, all of which add to the health benefits.
Cinnamon is another ridiculously healthy spice. It’s high in antioxidants, and anti-inflammatory properties. It also is antimicrobial (germaphobe here!), and is great for heart health. The black pepper is necessary because it activates the turmeric. Cayenne pepper adds a nice kick, while stimulating circulation, and helps with digestion and upset stomach. Local honey is great for allergies.
Side note: you can buy turmeric with black pepper already in it!
I have several recipes in which I use Golden Milk, oatmeal being one of them. I’ll post a recipe soon!
Try this beautiful drink and you will feel more healthful!
You may have noticed (or not, and that’s okay) that I have been gone for awhile. Almost a year and a half, now.
It wasn’t planned, but it was filled with purpose, intentional change, health issues, ups and downs, and a big adjustment to life. With my chronic illness (migraines) and corresponding anxiety and depression, it’s been a rough year, health wise. I’ve felt defeated. I’ve felt a deep darkness and sadness, a mourning for a life without pain. A mourning for the Mom and Wife, Daughter, and Friend I should be. While I’ve suffered from all of these things for many many years, it had reached a peak. A really awful peak. Sure, it ebbs and flows (not so much the chronic pain, which is most always present), but, I am starting to see the up. Praying it so. I’ve seen some real darkness in my life. A place where I am not even sure how I got there. Or how I’d climb and claw my way out. I’ve questioned God’s presence in my life, because how can I suffer so much and have Him still love me and have this as His plan for me? I’ve questioned my own existence. How can I be made for this Earth, this life, with such heavy burdens, both physical and mental. It’s taken its tolls on all aspects of my life. Anxiety and depression (along with my ever-present body pain) are monsters, but ones I’m both familiar and comfortable with, as they are my constant companions. I both hate them and respect them, as they are a part of me. Will we be lifelong friends? Maybe. Probably. But I am changing things. This is my year. Okay, maybe it wasn’t a good first three months, but we’ve still got time. Getting control of my “things” and my many hangups is priority. Changing up medications, expectations, and healthy living have been monumental these last few months. I’ve started yoga, daily workouts (save for those awful migraine-filled mornings), gluten free diet, less dairy, no cheese (it’s a trigger, among many others), and a more positive outlook, and it’s been so helpful. Do I allow myself to feel when I’m sad or upset? YES. Shoving down my hurt only hurts me more. And more deeply. Some days, I may not be ready to tap into my hurt, but when I am, I am here for myself. SELF CARE. Caring for myself. Not in a selfish way, but in a necessary way. I want to be the best me I can be for my boys, family, friends, students, co-workers, and this Earth. Because I AM FOR THIS EARTH, temporarily at least. Despite my questioning of my God, He’s never left my side. He’s been faithful, although I haven’t. He’s there. He’s here. I am His, and He is mine. This is especially poignant to me this Easter weekend. The greatest love story ever told. I am redeemed in Him. I will rise. I will rise. As Christ was raised to life. Now in Him, I live. I might not rise today, or tomorrow, but I’m getting there.
And I’m quite thankful for those who have supported me on this sometimes ugly journey. It has not been pretty or packaged up in a cute little box, as I’d have preferred, but in really messy, torn open, pieces missing, package kind-of-way.
But this is who I am. Perfectly created imperfectly in His image.
Talk about what hurts. That’s been ringing in my ears for some time. I’m ready.
So in all of that, my vision for my blog has changed drastically. I have adopted a more raw, vulnerable way of writing. I have also changed the way I eat, so my recipes will reflect that. More organic, more natural, like I aspire to be in my everyday life. You’ll also see a lot more dairy free (sometimes) and gluten free recipes.
Please keep me company on this new, refreshed, redeemed journey? I’d love to have you along.
I am segueing into food now. Because this is a food blog, afterall. No clever segue, however.
I know that Hot Cross Buns are traditionally eaten on Good Friday (yesterday). According to some random website on The Interwebs, “The buns mark the end of Lent and different parts of the hot cross bun have a certain meaning, including the cross representing the crucifixion of Jesus, and the spices inside signifying the spices used to embalm him at his burial.” In my typical blogging fashion, I made something Hot Cross Bun-ish a day after Good Friday. Side note, Good Friday is called such because, in my humble opinion, what Jesus did was GOOD. It was a horribly, hard time, but how he died for ME, for YOU, for US, was good. How do I deserve such great love? I don’t. And He loves me still.
So, I made Hot Cross Bun Muffins and Hot Cross Bun Donut Holes. An updated version of the amazing and delicious Hot Cross Bun. Gluten and almost dairy free.
So, please tuck this recipe away for next year. Or when you need a reminder of God’s overwhelming, incredible love, or of how far you’ve come in your journey, all while eating a treat. 😀
Big love and blessings,
Gluten Free Hot Cross Bun Muffins and Donut Holes
These muffins and donut holes are gluten free and mimic the flavors of a traditional Hot Cross Bun. These can be made dairy free with DF butter.
12 muffins, 12 donut holes
4Tbutter, softened(can use vegan butter, but I can't seem to give up real butter)
Preheat the oven to 325F. Grease the bottoms and tops of your silicone donut hole baking pan and put cupcake liners in your muffin tin. Cream butter, oil, and sugars in a mixing bowl. Add the eggs and continue beating. Add the baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, allspice, raisins, and chocolate chips and mix well. Add the flour and milk, alternating, and end with the flour.
Spoon into silicone mold, filling only the bottoms. Fill the muffin tins.
Bake for 17 minutes. Remove the donut holes. Bake the muffins for an additional 7 minutes.
To add the "cross", I mixed together powdered sugar, LorAnn Oils Butter Vanilla Bakery Emulsion, vanilla, and coconut milk, until I reached the desired consistency. You can use orange juice and powdered sugar. Or just vanilla. Get creative! I then spooned it into a ziploc bag and piped the cross on the "buns".
TGIF. We made it through another week. Mostly unscathed! I am looking forward to the weekend, however. I’m so tired!
I packed brunch for my boys’ lunches tomorrow. I made sunbutter and strawberry jam pancake sandwiches. I stuck tiny dinos on them, just for fun. I also packed colby jack cheese cubes, diced peaches, cotton candy grapes, and a few yogurt covered pretzels for dessert.
Well, oopsie. It’s almost been a month since I blogged. What can I say? Summer really took over. Now, it’s coming to a close. My boys go back to school next week ( 🙁 ). I’ve so enjoyed my extra time with them, where the days started and ended later, we ate our weight in ice cream, and we did what we wanted. Times are a-changin’! It’s back to the grind. It’s going to be a rude awakening next week, when I’ll be forced to wake them up. I’ll cross that bridge when I come to it. That “my baby is now going to Kindergarten” bridge will also have to be dealt with. I’m not emotionally prepared to deal with that at this time.
Moving on to what makes me comfortable – food. 😀
I found a recipe for Quinoa Granola Bars and tweaked them a little.
These were so good! The oats made them chewy and the quinoa made them crunchy. The dried fruit made them subtly sweet and the chocolate coating just made them. Chocolate coating makes almost everything. Ask anybody.
You can leave the chocolate coating off, if needed. I can barely come up with a situation where a chocolate coating would not be needed. But, know that option exists.
Quinoa Granola Bars with Dried Fruit & Chocolate
Recipe adapted from: Superhealthykids.com
1 C uncooked quinoa
1 C oats
1/2 C coconut
1 1/2 C combination of nuts and dried fruit (I used a 1/2 each of cranberries, golden raisins, and sliced almonds)
1/4 t salt
1/2 C peanut butter
3/4 C honey
1 T oil (I used coconut)
3 T brown sugar
1 t vanilla extract
1/2 C chocolate chips
1 t oil (I used coconut)
Preheat the oven to 350F. Grease a 9X13 inch baking dish. Spread the oats and quinoa on a cookie sheet and toast in preheated oven for 8 minutes. Pour the quinoa and oats mixture into a large bowl and add coconut, nuts, and dried fruit. Mix together. In a medium saucepan, combine salt, peanut butter, honey, oil, and brown sugar. Bring to a boil over medium heat and immediately remove from heat. Add the vanilla extract and mix. Pour over oats mixture and combine until dry ingredients are evenly coated. Pour into baking dish. Press mixture down into pan. Bake for about 15 – 18 minutes.
To make the chocolate, mix the chocolate chips and oil together in a bowl. Microwave at 30 second intervals, stirring until melted. Spread over the top of the bars and let them cool/dry.
Cut and serve.
These are a teeny bit crumbly, but are delicious for snacks (after school, maybe? mid-morning? you decide). You could also individually wrap the slices and freeze and pop into a lunchbox.
It’s summertime and the living’s…definitely busier than our school year! The mornings, especially, have been busy. To ease into my early mornings (sidenote: whyyyyy are my kids waking up so early during summer break???), I’ve been making overnight oats the night before, so that I might have an already-ready breakfast, that is both really delicious and really filling. It’s been very helpful in getting my day moving.
Simply put, overnight oats is (are?) oatmeal, made the night before (or at the very least, an hour before consuming). It is a great time-saving breakfast. Oatmeal is very filling (and high in fiber), and helps me to snack less between breakfast and lunch.
The formula to making overnight oats is very simple – equal part oats and liquids. For my liquid component, I use both unsweetened coconut milk and Greek yogurt. I also like to add chia seeds (high in fiber, protein, antioxidants, and Omega-3 fatty acids) and [golden] ground flaxseed (high in Omega-3 fatty acids, antioxidants, and fiber). The more ground flaxseed I add, I find that I need to add a little more liquid. You can choose whatever toppings you enjoy – fruit, jam, chocolate, coconut, nuts, etc. You can eat it hot or cold. I rather enjoy it cold.
Below are some of the delicious flavors I made this week.
Berry Crumble Overnight Oats
1/2 C oats
1/4 C coconut milk
1/4 C plain Greek yogurt
Mix liquids and oats together. Layer with toppings in a container. Store in refrigerator overnight (or for an hour, at the least).
It was 5:35pm, and I knew my husband and oldest son would be getting home from karate just after 6:00pm. I had mild Italian sausage (no casing), thawed on the counter. Like usual, I had no idea what to make. And like usual, I made something up on the fly. Unlike usual, it worked. It was a quick and super delicious meal. I decided to make rice bowls, with sausage patties and fried eggs. This was delicious at dinner, but would be incredible for breakfast, as well.
You won’t be disappointed, if you try this.
Breakfast Rice Bowls with Sausage and Fried Eggs
1 lb mild Italian sausage, without the casing (if it is in the casing, just squeeze it out)
1 egg, lightly beaten
1/2 C bread crumbs (I used gluten free)
Jasmine rice, cooked as directed
Red pepper flakes
*any other spices you want can be added in*
*this would be good with almost any vegetable mixed in, or any type of ground meat*
Mix all the above ingredients together. Form into patties and pan fry (I used a mixture of peanut and olive oil). Once seared on both sides, add some water to your pan and cover. This will cook the inside of the sausage patties.
While those are cooking, make your rice. Lastly, make your egg. You can cook it however you want, but for me, a fried egg is magical. The way that the yolk coats everything…incredible.
When I was in high school, I went to France with my parents. While I appreciated it as much as any snotty-nosed punk high school girl who was away from her boyfriend would (aka not as much as I would now), it was an amazing trip. I saw priceless art that I may never have the opportunity to see again, I stood in the Hall of Mirrors in Versailles, I saw king’s castles, I did loads of shopping (I brought back clothes that wouldn’t even be in style in the States for over six months – sure, many of my classmates laughed at the styles then, but they appreciated it later), I went to a high fashion show, and I ate. Lots of good food, including many delicious crepes – some filled with ham, broccoli, and cheese, and some with Nutella and raspberries. All of them delicious, wrapped up in a cone shape, still steaming in the Paris air.
When I found a crepe recipe in my 100 Days of Real Food cookbook, it brought me back to that fab trip to Paris. While I had never made a crepe before, I thought it would be “similar” to pancakes. Boy, was I “wrong” (I feel like Joey on Friends, using his air quotes incorrectly). After many tries, I was able to make 3 decent crepes that would suffice for my boys’ school lunches (the recipe makes 16-18 thin crepes). Practice makes perfect, right?
For my Bigs, I packed two crepes, some maple syrup, and some raspberry jam for dipping. I also packed a mandarin orange, blueberries, a few cinnamon apple sticks from Trader Joe’s, and a yogurt squeeze.
My Smalls requested peanut butter for dipping, so I packed that and one crepe. I also packed blueberries (he likes those now), raisins, and a few cinnamon apple straws. He will have peanuts and applesauce for snack.
Here is the link to the recipe. I added almond extract.