Cinnamon Chocolate Chip Cookies: Grain and Dairy Free

Our kids have been sick over the past week. Because of that I’ve had them on a strict no treats diet to help their bodies fight it off better. They are almost totally better now so last night I decided to make them a treat!

Cinnamon Chocolate Chip Cookies: Grain and Dairy Free

Ingredients

  • 4 Ripe Bananas
  • 1 Cup Raw Almond Butter
  • 2 Free range eggs
  • 1/4 Cup Raw Honey OR French Vanilla Liquid Stevia to taste.
  • 2 Teaspoons Coconut Flour (leave out if you use Stevia instead of honey)
  • 1 Teaspoon Baking Soda
  • 3 Teaspoons Cinnamon
  • 2 Teaspoons Vanilla
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Sea Salt
  • 1 Cup Dried, unsweetened Coconut Chips. Can substitute with Flakes
  • Small bag of gluten free mini chocolate chips (Optional!)
  • Optional: 1/4 to 1/2 tsp. powdered ginger

Pre-heat oven to 350. Mash Bananas up until smooth. Add Almond butter and mix until well blended. Add Eggs, honey (or Stevia) and Vanilla. Add Baking Soda, Coconut Flour, Cinnamon and Sea Salt. Mix well. Taste and adjust sweetener if needed. Add chocolate chips and Coconut Chips. Mix well. Prepare baking pans with Parchment paper. Pour dough onto paper using 1/4 cup measuring cup. Cookies will expand while baking so leave plenty of room. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes. Allow to cool before lifting off of the pan. If you can’t wait, scrape it off with a spoon and enjoy with raw milk.

Cinnamon Chocolate Chip Cookies

Cinnamon Chocolate Chip Cookies

Garlic Kale Salad

I’m not a huge fan of raw greens. For many reasons. One of which is the issue of the anti-nutrients that cooking or culturing neutralizes in greens. So, even if I loved them, raw greens are still not a great idea from a nutritional standpoint on a frequent basis. A couple of years ago though I had a delicious raw kale salad served as a side at a slow food restaurant. It was so yummy 2 years later I still think about it every time I prepare Kale. So, tonight, I threw together a knock-off version of it using the delicious, mild and delicate curly leaf kale provided by our wonderful Winter CSA. Got some recipe ideas from a couple of on-line sources and cobbled together my own. It’s yummy. I ate 3 servings of it in one sitting.

Garlic Kale Salad

  • 2 bunches curly leaf kale (although any kind of Kale will do)
  • 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
  • 1/3 cup organic extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup fresh squeezed lemon juice (raw is useful because the extra enzymes in it make the kale more nutritionally accessible in it’s raw state)
  • 3 large cloves raw garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon cultured g/f soy sauce (Can substitute Coconut Amino Acids in it’s place if soy needs to be avoided at all costs)
  • 1 minced anchovy fillet or 1/2 teaspoon anchovy paste (this is totally optional but please don’t leave it out even if you typically think of anchovies as disgusting. It simply adds a bit of mild salty tang with no residual fish taste once it’s blended into the whole recipe)
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  1. Strip leaves from the stems (discard stems). Wash and dry the leaves. Tear the leaves into small pieces and place in a large bowl.
  2. Add Parmesan, oil, lemon juice, garlic, soy sauce, anchovy (if using), pepper and salt. With clean hands, firmly massage and crush the greens to work in the flavoring. Stop when the volume of greens is reduced by about half. The greens should look a little darker and somewhat shiny. Taste and adjust seasoning with more Parmesan, lemon juice, garlic, soy sauce and/or pepper, if desired.
  3. Leave for a minimum of 30 minutes to allow flavors to develop. Can be made a day ahead and stored in refrigerator. Tastes bolder and more flavorful the second day!

Garlic Kale Salad

Chocolate Nut Fudge Brownies: The Healthy Version

Chocolate Nut Fudge Brownies

Chocolate Nut Fudge

  • 1 Cup Coconut Cream (Can be purchased here: http://www.tropicaltraditions.com)
  • 2 Large Pastured Eggs
  • 1/2 Cup Raw Honey
  • 1/4 Teaspoon Sea Salt
  • 1/4 Cup Organic Raw Chocolate (Can substitute with whatever cocoa you have on hand if necessary)
  • 2 Tablespoons Vanilla
  • 1/3 Cup Chocolate Chips (Optional!)
  • 1/4 Cup Chopped Walnuts or Pecans (I personally used Pecans)

1. Pre-heat oven to 325 degrees (300 for convection oven). Grease an 8×8 Pan. I used Spray Olive Oil.

2. In a large bowl measure out all ingredients and mix until combined. My Coconut Cream was very lumpy and because I chose to mix by hand small lumps were still present in the batter. If you wish everything to be fully mixed definitely use a mixer. We personally like the little tiny chunks of the pure coconut cream in the brownies. Added nice moist texture. Pour batter into prepared pan and bake 20-25 minutes. Try not to over bake; the top will be slightly crispy and the middle is fudgey and *very* moist.

Allow brownies to cool in pan before attempting to cut. These are incredibly tender and fudge like. Slice into small bars and enjoy!

Fudge Brownies!

MellowMallows: Homemade Marshmallows

Our family is going on what we hope to become an Annual camping event with friends and family. It’s been fun to plan and anticipate the trip. One of the top items on my “to buy” list for the trip was corn syrup free marshmallows. Because the Doodles has such severe reactions to High Fructose Corn Syrup and Corn Syrup it’s become a no-fudge or exception item. We stopped by Whole Foods in hopes of finding the pillowy treats there. After searching the store top to bottom I finally found some tiny little bags of powdered treats. I did mention tiny right? The price tag *wasn’t* so tiny. At more than $6 per bag and figuring that it would take at least 3 bags just for our small family to have 2 nights of roasting around the fire it made them way too expensive for my budget.

A friend came to the rescue and posted this recipe for homemade marshmallows. I love Alton Brown. He loves food and manages to mix science and food together in ways that my brain can actually understand.

Since his recipe called for a couple of items on my DoNotBuyEverAgain list I decided to modify it with some ingredient substitutions and changed up the amounts as well based on what I had on hand.

    • 3 packages unflavored gelatin (I used Knox)
    • 1 cup ice cold water, divided
    • 1 1/2 cups raw sugar
    • 1/2 cup honey
    • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
    • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
    • 1/4 cup Powder Sugar
    • 1/4 cup potato starch
    • Olive Oil Spray
    • Optional! All Natural food dye added until desired color is reached. We chose to use Pink because these are primarily for the Doodles and she kinda has a thing for pink right now.

    Directions

    Place the gelatin into the bowl of a stand mixer along with 1/2 cup of the water. Have the whisk attachment standing by.

    Knox Gelatin

    Knox Gelatin

    Knox gelatin mixed with cold water

    Knox gelatin mixed with cold water

    In a small saucepan combine the remaining 1/2 cup water, granulated sugar, honey and salt. Place over medium high heat, cover and allow to cook for 3 to 4 minutes. Uncover, clip a candy thermometer onto the side of the pan and continue to cook until the mixture reaches 240 degrees F, approximately 12 minutes. Once the mixture reaches this temperature, immediately remove from the heat.

    Bubbling honey and sugar mixture

    Bubbling honey and sugar mixture

    Turn the mixer on low speed and, while running, slowly pour the sugar syrup down the side of the bowl into the gelatin mixture. Once you have added all of the syrup, increase the speed to high. Continue to whip until the mixture becomes very thick and is lukewarm, approximately 12 to 15 minutes. Add the vanilla and food dye drops (if you decide to use any) during the last minute of whipping.

    When syrup was first added to gelatin

    When syrup was first added to gelatin

    Starting to get nice and thick!

    Starting to get nice and thick!

    While the mixture is whipping prepare the pans as follows.

    Combine the powdered sugar and Potato Starch in a small bowl. Lightly spray a 13 by 9-inch metal baking pan with nonstick cooking spray. Add the sugar and potato starch mixture and move around to completely coat the bottom and sides of the pan. Return the remaining mixture to the bowl for later use.

    A side note about reading labels: The last time I bought powdered sugar it used Arrowroot powder which I prefer. This time it had Tapioca Starch. Label reading fail.

    Label on back of powdered sugar bag

    Label on back of powdered sugar bag

    When ready, pour the mixture into the prepared pan, using a lightly oiled spatula for spreading evenly into the pan. Dust the top with enough of the remaining sugar and cornstarch mixture to lightly cover. Reserve the rest for later. Allow the marshmallows to sit uncovered for at least 4 hours and up to overnight.

    Mallow Mixture in prepared pans

    Mallow Mixture in prepared pans

    Tops dusted

    Tops dusted

    Turn the marshmallows out onto a cutting board and cut into 1-inch squares using a pizza wheel dusted with the confectioners’ sugar mixture. Once cut, lightly dust all sides of each marshmallow with the remaining mixture, using additional if necessary. Store in an airtight container for up to 3 weeks. I cut most of them in the squares as suggested but experimented with cutting one in a heart shape. It came out pretty cute!

    Pink HeartaMellow

    Pink HeartaMellow

    Pink Mallow Squares

    Pink Mallow Squares

    These were pretty delicious. My Man informs me they remind him of Peeps because they have a softer, more delicate texture than regular marshmallows do. I trial roasted one over a hot eye and they melt faster than the average mallow that is for sure. They will be *amazing* in hot drinks.

     

 

Better than Nothing

Waaaay back when I first started blogging about traditional foods and healthier lifestyles I wrote what has been one of my most popular posts. Good, Better and Best options with our food choices. In hindsight I think it’s one of the most popular posts not because it’s well written but because people desperately need options. Compromise has become a necessity.

We are asked on a frequent basis “But if I can’t find or access xyz food what do I do?” or “If I can’t afford this or that supplement or food item?What then? What then indeed.

I don’t know about you but I prefer a world with black and white. Nice simple and easy choices. You know, like whole foods are best. Always buy whole foods. Ahhh. That seems simple! I can do that! Only buy whole foods. But then you learn about soil depletion and the effects of fertilizers, pesticides and fungicides and think oh no, whole foods aren’t good enough. They need to be all natural or ORGANIC whole foods. Taking the hit to the budget is worth it. You just tighten up elsewhere. Then you learn about the varieties of whole foods chosen and (gasp) genetically modified to withstand transportation  and decide that locally produced, heirloom variety whole foods are the way to go. As you dive deeper and deeper into the world of nutrition the lists of Thou Shalt Not Eat and Thou Shalt Not Source becomes ever longer.

Along with the Eat Nots and Source Nots there also pop up the Prepare Nots with all the different ways whole foods will actually deplete nutrient reserves when prepared improperly. It’s enough to make one want to give up on the whole thing and go get a full meal off the McDonalds Dollar Menu. Except you do vaguely remember how it sits like a rock for hours afterwards and you’d have to resort to downing one of those expensive digestive enzyme pills just to feel human again. Not to mention that article you saw float by your newsfeed a few days about about the McDonalds recall of their apple slices. And if they have to recall apples who can risk a hamburger there?? So instead you sneak a bar of chocolate and try not to think about the fact that it has sugar in it and that Fair Trade is a meaningless term so the poor people you thought were being treated fairly actually are still getting paid a pittance and the whole world of packaging and labels is just one big scam. Then you remember that according to that one MLM company nobody actually sells TRULY raw chocolate but them, everybody else is just lying.

Speaking of scams. Those darn free range eggs you scrounged up the extra money to buy?? Turns out they have soy. Oh yes. GMO Soy. Which means all the hormone free meat you go out of your way to buy might as well have had hormones because you now know how bad GMO soy feed is and how much estrogen gets dumped in the eggs. Those beautiful gorgeous orange yolked eggs. You gaze at the package feeling a little sick but most of all disappointed.

Sometimes it feels like we just can’t win for losing in the nutritious and safe food battle.

Doodlebug helping to pinch traditional Czech homemade cookies with jam for Christmas treats

Doodlebug helping to pinch traditional Czech homemade cookies with jam for Christmas treats

It would be one thing if all of this was for us. Us as in adults. But it isn’t. We are slogging through the information wars for our kids. We are sourcing for their health. For their nutrition. In my experience only as our health directly affects our children (ie nutrition in the womb) or our ability to have children do we REALLY get dead serious about the whole nutrition thing. That or a life threatening illness. That tends to do the trick too. It is impossible not to care or to walk away from what is learned and to let go of “ideals” when it involves the next generation. And the parent guilt sets in. Especially if you know now what could have saved your first or second borns a lot of health grief and you see the difference in your next child. Or if you are a parent looking back at your kids lives wishing you had known then what you know now about nutrition.

The little peach tree in the back yard where we buried our tiny Kaitlyn Anne

The little peach tree in the back yard where we buried our tiny Kaitlyn Anne

It’s a guilt laden world. And there are those on all sides who like to add to the guilt because it helps to pad their bottom line and profit margins. There are even the ones who are not guilt-mongers for baser reasons like profits but actually are deeply concerned and well meaning. I typically fall into the later category. It can be incredibly difficult to take good and life changing information about food and use it to live a freer, healthier lifestyle vs. a life of bondage to food legalities. You can’t unlearn what you know. And with knowledge comes responsibility. And with responsibility the weight of an extra burden in our already crazy lives.

There is an art to negotiation. Successful negotiations are all about knowing what is truly important to both parties and what things are optional. As you learn the list of what is crucial may rapidly change. My list looks very different today than it looked 3 years ago. In the process of negotiating the terms of life between current knowledge base, current resources, and currently available options it is important to have narrowed down what is MOST important. What things do you feel comfortable compromising on? How big of a compromise? Below is a sample of my current list. I have mine divided up into Required (the items I don’t want to compromise on) and Allow (the items I’m willing to compromise on due to budget restrictions and or availability)

  • Eggs: Free Range Required, Non GMO Soy Required. Humane Treatment required. Allow GMO Free grain. Allow non organic.
  • Beef: Grassfed Required. Antibiotic and Hormone Free Required. Humane Treatment Required. Allow to be finished on grains for up to a week before processing. Locally sourced and processed required (Locally = same state) Allow grains used to be GMO/non organic.
  • Fruit: Organic/All natural/Sustainably farmed preferred. In season preferred. Transitional crops allowed. Minimally sprayed allowed.

It has been really helpful for me to actually get what the most important things are to me written out in a systematic way. The list can be as detailed as you wish it to be. I would recommend updating it every couple of months if you are on a fast track of learning and trying to make changes for your family. At a minimum the list should be updated about once a year. It can be as basic and simple as the following.

  • No Margarine or veggie oil spreads. Only butter. No Butter with flavorings or colors added.
  • Read all labels of everything before purchasing. No MSG or HFCS.

Start somewhere. Anywhere. Despite all the nutritional information conflicts it is worth it to make your move somewhere. The worst thing you can possibly do is throw up your hands in despair over not ever being able to get it all done, it all bought and prepared “right” and just decide to do nothing at all. SOMETHING is always better than nothing. A trick I learned a while back that seems to work wonders for me is to always “one up” whatever the convenient temptation is at the moment. If it’s the difference between running to the store to buy them out of Snickers or making a homemade batch of brownies with nutritious ingredients by all means make the brownies. Then you can congratulate yourself on how healthy it is that you used raw sugar and avoided all the horrible ingredients in the average candy bar. It’s the better choice. Maybe one day life will work out to where we can all always have the best. But until then it would save a world of frustration if we could just give ourselves the freedom to do the next best thing. The freedom to compromise.

Food prepared with love, care and attention to details is the best food. Always. Even if it is GMO Sweet corn on the grill. If we lose sight of the purpose of our pursuit of good food, lose sight of our relationship with our children and the generation of kids we want to help then it renders the food battles pointless. Keep the joy in the process. Keep the kids involved. Teach them to enjoy the process of food in all it’s complexities. That it’s about ever so much more than learning how to use the presets on the microwave.

Doodlebug helping to make bread at 2 years old

Doodlebug helping to make bread at 2 years old

Some of us have, and continue to deal with serious health issues. Our luxury and margins that we can compromise with is not nearly as extensive as those who do not have very specific health issues they are treating with what I like to call “Food Therapy” or nutritional healing. When food is being used as medicine it’s a much more strict and less enjoyable proposition. But even with the strict nutritional healing protocols joy can be found in the process. Food can still be made to taste good.

My kids and I had eggs for lunch today with gorgeous deep orange yolks from free range chickens. Chickens fed Soy feed. We enjoyed every last bite. We also ate raw cheese melted on those eggs from cows fed organic feed. Soy again. We ate every late bite of that raw cheese. And we were grateful for it. Grateful to be able to have and afford raw cheese. Grateful to be able to have and afford egg yolks so obviously full of rich nutrients from chickens that had the freedom to run around and eat bugs all day. We are so grateful for our less than ideal, less than perfect lunch. It was amazing. It was a lunch rich in compromise and nutritional value.

Have you learned the art of negotiation in the food info wars? What is the compromise that bothers you most?

Summer Garden Veggie Baby-food

Carrot N Squash Squished Delight

  • 1 cup of medium to small diced garden fresh carrots
  • 2 small squash or 1 medium to large yellow (or other heirloom variety) Can substitute or add Zucchini
  • 1 Cup Bone Broth (Might need a few tablespoons extra)
  • Real Mineral Rich Sea Salt
  • Optional: Yolk of 1 Free Range Egg
  • Optional: Small pinch of freeze dried ground grass-fed liver
  • Optional: Pinch of powdered beef gelatin

Chop carrots and squash up while broth is brought to a slow simmer. Add them to the broth and bring to a boil. Stir frequently until veggies are very tender and soft. Using an immersion blender OR a food processor puree veggies and bone broth until smooth and creamy. Add extra bone broth if consistency is too thick. Add egg yolk, powdered liver and beef gelatin if desired. Add salt to taste erring on the side of lightly salting since infants tastebuds are more sensitive then adults.

Recipe can be doubled and tripled if desired. Allow to cool and then freeze in ice cub trays. Can be thawed for meals on the go later!

Special Cautions: It is very important to safely source eggs if you are going to use them with an infant. It is highly controversial giving egg yolks to an infant because traditionally they known to provoke allergic reactions. This is partly why it is so important to use ONLY free range eggs that have not been fed grains. Often times the reaction to egg yolks is not to the egg yolks themselves but to the grains (GMO soy or corn) that have been fed to the hens.

Happy Tin Tin baby!

Happy Tin Tin baby!

Grain Free Teething Biscuit Recipe

  • I’ve been looking for one of these recipes for a while. And had no luck. Lots of gluten free ones floating around but nothing that was totally grain free. So, I invented my own. These have passed the baby test and the 5 year old test. And my test for that matter. They aren’t great to my adult tastebuds but definitely not bad either.

So, here goes.

Grain Free Teething Biscuit

Ingredients:

  • 2 Cups Coconut Flour
  • 1/2 Cup Arrowroot Powder
  • 1/2 tsp. Sea Salt
  • 1/2 Cup Almond Meal
  • 2 Free Range Eggs
  • 4 tablespoons Raw Coconut Syrup (Could be replaced with Stevia or honey if the baby is over a year old. Just add extra Yogurt in it’s place to reach desired consistency)

    Raw Coconut Sap/Syrup

    Raw Coconut Sap/Syrup

  • 2+ cups Plain Yogurt (I used homemade so it was kinda runny with lots of whey)
  • 1/3 Cup Extra Virgin Coconut Oil in liquid state (just has to be gently warmed if the kitchen is too cold)
  • Smidge of Vanilla

Instructions:

Mix Coconut Flour, Arrowroot flour and Sea Salt in a bowl. Add 2 eggs and Yogurt along with the Coconut Syrup and Vanilla and Coconut Oil. Mix thoroughly. Dough should be stiff and moist, similar to playdough. Can add extra Yogurt as needed to reach desired consistency. Recruit help with this stage as needed.

Doodlebug helping me to mix grain free teething biscuits

Doodlebug helping me to mix grain free teething biscuits

In a small pyrex baking dish spray with Olive Oil or rub down with butter or coconut oil. Sprinkled 1/2 of the Almond Meal over the bottom of the pan. Dump dough into pan and gently pat down with fingertips until even. Sprinkle the rest of the Almond Meal over the top.

I baked mine at 250 degrees for 2 hours in an attempt to make it a dryer texture. Next time I will try it at a higher heat for a shorter period of time and see how we fare.

Sliced grain free teething biscuits

Sliced grain free teething biscuits

When you pull them out of the oven and they are still warm cut them with a butter knife. As they cool they will draw apart and be very easy to remove from pan. Once cooled I put them in a quart ziplock bag and store them in the freezer. Whenever the little man needs something to knaw on they are super easy to pull out! He LOVES them. 😀

Caleb wolfing down the teething biscuits

Caleb wolfing down the teething biscuits

If you try them let me know what you think! Just a note about the texture…Although the outside is slightly crunchy it quickly softens up with some gnawing. Coconut flour is extremely soft and can be easily chewed/broken up by little gummy mouths. Caleb hasn’t had any choking issues at all with these and we introduced them at 7 months old.