Summer Strawberry Smoothie

Summer Strawberry Smoothie
Summer Strawberry Smoothie

My kids, on their own, created this tasty smoothie.  We watch Food Network sometimes before bed to round out our day.  This always inspires them to get in the kitchen.  My 9 year old takes this kitchen stuff very seriously.  He gets into the groove and wants to prepare food well after bedtime.  Maybe that’s just a stall tactic.  Anyway, it works on me.  I usually tell myself  “he must go to bed” or I could stay in the kitchen with him all night.  I have found it to be a wonderful place to let childhood creativity and imagination run wild.

 

Summer Strawberry Smoothie 3

 

 

Summer Strawberry Smoothie 2

 

When it comes to juices and smoothies, they are actually pretty talented.  We have been blending as a family long enough that they have  become little “blender experts.”  During the summer months we have an abundant herb garden and that’s where they find most of the accent flavors for their drinks.  This particular smoothie includes the herb mint and their two basic fruits: strawberries and bananas.  More often than not, they will choose these two as their base and then expand with whatever seasonal fruit we have in the fruit bowl.  On their own they will not willingly choose to add vegetables, and that’s okay.  When I blend a smoothie for them I add their veggies and they happily drink it, but its not a requirement when they are being creative.  This is their stage, not mine.  When they make a new drink they always say to me, “if this turns out good, you should put it on the blog.”  So here we are.  I hope you enjoy this drink that was lovingly thought up and designed by my boys.  They think of you as much as I do.  Happy Blending!

 

Summer Strawberry Smoothie

1 frozen banana

1 cup frozen strawberries

3 fresh mint leaves

2 TBSP plain Greek yogurt

2 TBSP raw local honey

1/2 lime – juiced

1 cup full fat coconut milk

1/2 cup almond milk

Place all ingredients in a high speed blender.  Blend until creamy, about 1 minute.

Roasted Pumpkin with Peanut Butter

Roasted Pumpkin with Peanut Butter
Roasted Pumpkin with Peanut Butter

Roasted Pumpkin with Peanut Butter 2

I have missed posting on the blog over the past month.  The reason for my absence is founded on the fact that we have been in the process of building a new house for close to a year.  And, for the past 4+ months we have been living with family or at the beach.  So for the last month I have been focused on getting my oldest son acclimated to a new school, chasing around my 3 year old and choosing all kinds of “stuff” that goes along with a new house.  We are still several weeks from move-in, but last week when my youngest came up with this yummy recipe, I decided it was time to share it with all of you.  So here goes…..

This time of year always makes me smile as I love the cooler weather and the abundance of gourd vegetables.  My memory of pumpkin is in the scrumptious pies you see adorning every family’s Thanksgiving table.  There is absolutely nothing wrong with a delicious pumpkin pie, but there are definitely many other ways to incorporate this highly nutritional and very functional food.  So last week when I was scooping the flesh out of our roasted pumpkin to make bread, my son asked to eat the remainder of the pumpkin and requested I add peanut butter to it.  To my surprise, this was a very tasty lunch.  I have since added a few more things to the recipe to further enhance the flavors, but all the credit goes to him for the original idea.  I recommend preparing it for lunch alongside steamed broccoli or as a side dish to accompany a dinner meal.  I hope your family enjoys this simple, yet satisfying recipe.

 

Roasted Pumpkin with Peanut Butter

1 medium pie pumpkin – cut in half and de-seeded

2 TBSP peanut butter – no added sugar

1/2 tsp cinnamon

pinch of celtic sea salt

drizzle of raw local honey (optional)

Preheat oven to 400.  Roast the pumpkin flesh side down in a baking dish with approximately 1 inch of water for 45 minutes or until a fork easily slides into the skin.  In a medium bowl, scoop all the flesh from the roasted pumpkin.  Add all the remaining ingredients and stir until well combined.  If your house is nut-free, feel free to substitute a “butter” that works for your family.

 

Here are some other yummy fresh pumpkin recipes:

Maple Pumpkin Spiced Muffins

Pumpkin Ginger Soup

Pumpkin Pancakes

 

 

 

Festive Healthy Homemade Popsicles

Festive Healthy Homemade Popsicles
Festive Healthy Homemade Popsicles

It is the quintessential summer snack.  A child can hear and recognize the musical sound of the ice cream truck as a dog hears a high-pitched whistle, even from miles away.  I can distinctly remember being young and staying with my cousin for a week every summer.  The days were filled with hours at the pool, going to see movies and anxiously awaiting the infamous truck. Her neighborhood was a late-day stop for him, so it was an all-day wait.  But, it’s what summer is all about.  Now that I have children of my own and try to instill cleaning eating habits,  I had to come up with an alternative to chasing down a refurbished, refrigerated truck on a daily basis.

These simple pops are loaded with essential vitamins and minerals from the berries and healthy protein from the addition of Greek yogurt.  I use a touch of raw local honey to keep the little ones happy.  After all, a popsicle should be sweet, right?  So, I think I have covered all the bases with this recipe.  Moms will be comfortable letting their children partake in this snack, and kids will love the sweetness.  With the upcoming holiday, let your kids help out with this treat, as it’s quite fun having your kids help in the kitchen.  I hope your family has a safe and happy 4th of July.  Enjoy!

 

Festive Healthy Homemade Popsicles

1 cup fresh blueberries

1 cup fresh strawberries

2 splashes filtered water

3/4 cup plain greek yogurt

1 tsp raw local honey

small paper Dixie cups

straws – cut in half

plastic wrap

 

In a blender add the blueberries and a splash of water.  Blend until liquefied.  Pour a small amount into the paper cups until all the liquid is used.  Cover each cup with a small piece of plastic wrap.  With a knife, make a small slit in the middle of the plastic wrap.  Place a straw into the cup through the slit.  This will hold the straw in place until completion of the first freeze.  Freeze for at least 2 hours.

In a small bowl mix together the greek yogurt and honey.  After the first freeze, remove the plastic wrap.  Add the yogurt mixture to each cup.  Freeze for at least 2 hours.

In a blender add the strawberries and a splash of water.  Blend until liquefied.  Remove the cups from the freezer and add the final layer of strawberries.  Freeze for at least 2 hours.

After the final freeze, run a little warm water over the outside of the cup and remove the cup.  Your kids will love these!

Gut Healthy Gummies

Gut Healthy Gummies

I am fairly new to gelatin, and have just begun to understand all the great health benefits of it.  When I was young, I could eat an entire bag of Haribo Gold gummy bears in one sitting.  My dad used to travel to Germany, where Haribo is produced, and would come home armed with loads of gummy bear gifts.  Back then I had no clue that gelatin was good for me.  Now, those gummies are high in sugar, so I do not eat them today, but boy were they good.  Instead I have experimented with many different methods of making my own homemade gummies.  I will admit this is an easy recipe, but it takes some time to get it right.  I adapted the recipe from www.elanaspantry.com/gummy-bears and instead of using stevia, I use grade b maple syrup.  Please take a look at her blog as she has many yummy paleo friendly recipes on her site.

The great thing about these little treats is that you can use whatever juice you like to flavor them.  For the picture above, I chose a veggie/fruit juice blend, but I also use my homemade elderberry syrup (see link below) for added immune support.  My kids love to snack on these gummies and I allow them several per day as I am totally comfortable with the ingredients list.  Enjoy!

Homemade Elderberry Syrup: http://megahealthymama.com/2014/01/homemade-elderberry-syrup/

A few health benefits of gelatin:

1.  Strengthening bones and joints

2. Strengthening nails

3. Improving hair quality

4. Improves digestion

Gut Healthy Gummies

1 cup organic juice

1 TBSP lemon juice

1 tsp grade b maple syrup

3 TBSP gelatin

In a small saucepan bring the juice to a boil.  Let cool 3 minutes then add lemon juice and maple syrup.  Gradually whisk in gelatin.  This is the important step as your gelatin will lump if you pour it too quickly or stop whisking.  Whisk until all the gelatin is dissolved.  Allow gelatin mixture to cool almost completely.  Pour into molds and refrigerate until solid.

 

Orange Broccoli Creamsicle Smoothie

Orange Broccoli Creamsicle Smoothie

Every week I try to get creative with our smoothies.  This creamy concoction came about because we have navel oranges in the fruit bowl.  My kids love to make popsicles to have as dessert, so I made this smoothie and we drank half and froze the other half in spaceship molds for later enjoyment.  Making popsicles with leftover smoothie is a great way to get your kids involved in the kitchen.  It’s also perfect for getting fruits and veggies into your family.  I love to use frozen organic broccoli in our smoothies several times a week because this vegetable happens to be one that my children will not eagerly eat on their own.  So, I started blending it with different fruits and it became a staple in my smoothie arsenal.  According to www.whfoods.com, broccoli may help us solve our vitamin D deficiency epidemic.  Broccoli has an unusually strong combination of both vitamin A and vitamin K.  Ample supplies of these two vitamins help keep our vitamin D metabolism in balance.  Those who are deficient in vitamin D would benefit from adding this nutritious vegetable to their weekly diet.

 

Orange Broccoli Creamsicle Smoothie

1 navel orange – peeled and roughly chopped

1/2 cup frozen mango

1 cup frozen organic peaches

1 cup frozen organic broccoli

1/3 cup plain greek yogurt

1 cup coconut milk – full fat

splash orange juice – no sugar added

Place all the ingredients into a blender and blend until creamy.  Drink half and freeze half in popsicle molds.  I hope you enjoy!

 

Raw Chocolate Pudding

Raw Chocolate Pudding

I have to be honest…..I’ve spent the last two weeks trying to perfect a cupcake that I would feel comfortable sharing with you.  In my mind I wanted to give you a romantic, beautiful Valentine’s Day post inclusive of a tasty but healthy cupcake.  It just hasn’t happened yet.  I finally came to the conclusion that I should stick with what I know.  Cupcakes are just not something my family eats, and as such, I decided to give you a yummy recipe that we do eat.  This raw chocolate pudding is just as decadent as the store bought and rates much higher on the healthy scale.  The addition of avocado (shhh…don’t tell anyone) makes this a healthy fat, clean approved dessert or after-school snack.  I also use raw cacao which is a top source of antioxidants, and contains an abundance of iron and magnesium.

Back to Valentine’s Day….My husband treats me to small gifts and treats all year.   So this holiday really tends to come and go without much sparkle in our home.  But, I am planning to prepare a special dinner alongside this treat for dessert, and we can enjoy each other’s company for the evening.  Try this recipe on your sweetheart and I am sure you will get lots of compliments and kisses for a small amount of effort. Plus, you can rest easy that you are offering a healthy and nutritious dessert that actually nourishes the body.  I add an organic strawberry on top to make the presentation a bit more stunning.  Happy Valentine’s Day!

 

Raw Chocolate Pudding

1 ripe banana

1 small ripe avocado

2 TBSP grade b pure maple syrup

2 TBSP raw cacao powder

1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk

pinch celtic sea salt

Place all ingredients in a blender or food processor and blend until creamy.  Refrigerate for at least 1 hour before eating.  Keep leftovers refrigerated.

 

Dark Chocolate Peppermint Bark

Dark Chocolate Peppermint Bark

I am a sucker for peppermint bark.  I came to the conclusion that I could still enjoy this decadent treat without completely sending my blood sugar level into oblivion.  When I set out to make this recipe, I consulted with a few different cookbooks and searched for a peppermint stick that would hold up to my healthy lifestyle standards.  Whole Foods carries a seasonal peppermint candy cane from a company called Hammonds out of Denver Colorado.  This peppermint stick does contain cane sugar, so I recommend enjoying this festive treat in moderation.  But, this is a great recipe to enjoy making with your children or other family members.  My kids love making it and it’s a simple, quick recipe that can take care of a sweet craving in just a few minutes.  I made several batches for our Thanksgiving dessert table and it was a huge hit.  This original recipe calls for almonds, but feel free to change up the nuts or even add dried fruit if you wish. This is a perfect treat to bring to holiday parties or to give neighbors and friends as a special gift.   I wish you all a very Merry Christmas and hope you enjoy these next few weeks with close family and friends.

 

Dark Chocolate Peppermint Bark

1 cup dark chocolate chips

1 tsp coconut oil

2 TBSP pumpkin seeds – chopped

2 TBSP almond slivers – chopped

3 TBSP hammonds peppermint stick – crushed

1 pinch celtic sea salt

In a double boiler melt the chocolate chips and the coconut oil.  Roughly chop the nuts and crush the peppermint stick.  When chocolate and oil melt completely, remove from heat and add nuts, seeds and peppermint.  Stir until combined.  Cover a cookie sheet with parchment paper.  Pour the chocolate mixture onto the parchment paper.  Sprinkle top with a few pumpkin seeds and a bit of the leftover peppermint stick.  Refrigerate to harden.  Enjoy!

 

 

Superfood Almond Joy

Superfood Almond Joy

Wow!  I have not posted in a few weeks.  I have had the privilege of teaching a healthy cooking class to a wonderful group of women, and that has taken up a majority of my time.  That, and chasing around two small children.  I hope, in the meantime, you all have been experimenting, testing and cooking an assortment of clean foods.

This recipe was birthed from my once again need for chocolate.  Almond Joy has not always been one of my favorites in that I didn’t love coconut as a child.  But, as my clean eating lifestyle has taken hold, it has become one of my very favorite things.  I use coconut in most all of my dishes in the form of oil, water, butter or unsweetened and raw.  It is an extremely versatile addition and makes all things taste a little better.  There are a few undeniable health benefits that I must convey to you.  Many schools of thought are that fats are bad for us.  But, studies have shown over and over that certain fats are actually beneficial to keeping our bodies running properly.  Coconut falls into this category of healthy fats.  It has been shown to be heart healthy and can help our bodies resist viruses and bacteria that can cause illness.  It also assists in fighting off yeast, fungus and candida.  So, when thinking about making a yummy treat for your family, always think about adding coconut to the mix.  Enjoy!

 

Superfood Almond Joy

1 cup unsweetened raw coconut

1/4 cup raw local honey

1 1/2 cup dark chocolate chips

4 tsp coconut oil

3 tsp raw cacao

raw almonds

In a small bowl combine coconut and honey. Mix until well combined.  In a small muffin tin or individual small muffin cups, add a dollop of the coconut and honey mixture.  Place a raw almond in the middle of the mixture.  Refrigerate so the mixture can harden a bit.  Meanwhile in a double boiler, add the dark chocolate chips and coconut oil. Melt together.  Remove from heat and add the raw cacao and stir until well combined.  Once the coconut cups have hardened, drizzle the chocolate mixture over top of each cup.  Place almond joys in the refrigerator to let the chocolate harden, about 30 minutes.  These little gems are best kept in the fridge.