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Friday, March 29, 2013

Strawberry Balsamic Vinegrette

One if the things I really seem to miss since I've been a 'clean' eater is salad dressing. It is hard to enjoy my salads plain, and harder to find sugar free or unprocessed dressings. We tried this last night and it was pretty good! I will be experimenting with raspberries and blueberries in the future!

1/2 cup strawberries, puréed
1 cup olive oil
2 Tbsp raw honey
2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
1/2 tsp Italian seasoning

Pour all ingredients in a canning jar, seal lid and shake. I let mine sit for at least an hour to release all the flavors.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Chocolate banana frozen yogurt pops

This morning we woke up to no milk, cereal or bananas, so the kids get Popsicles for breakfast. There is a lot of mmmmmms and lip smacking going on right now, I think I can safely say they are pretty happy about that!

2 bananas
1/2 cup plain yogurt (mine is homemade ;)
1/4 cup heavy cream
1 Tbsp cocoa powder

Mix in a blender and pour into Popsicle molds. Freeze and enjoy!

DIY roasted coffee beans (a bit of Heaven ;)

I read a Facebook post from Trim Healthy Mama on March 15, 2013 that had me jealous! Not only was it written with elegance, but she described an experience roasting green coffee beans and drinking the freshly ground cup of heaven the next morning. I quickly set out to see what all the fuss was about. I did enough research to figure out what to do and not too much to add more days to the shipping. I placed my order and sat.....oh I couldn't wait! A few days later my sampler box of green beans arrived, and it felt like Christmas! I opened my box, assembled my popcorn popper and refreshed my memory with the step by step YouTube video. Unfortunately, I quickly burnt my first handful of beans! My second batch was in an iron skillet and turned out just fine. It took twice as long as what I read, I stopped the roast a bit early for fear of burning them like the popcorn popper failure. Yet, even with screwing it up and not roasting them dark enough, I still managed to produce the most wonderful and yummy cups of coffee I've ever tasted. (I add just half n half, no sugar or flavors and enjoy it very, very much.) I look forward to a cup every morning and find myself making a cup or two throughout the day, too!

This morning I roasted a new batch and this time I did it in a good heat dispersing pan. I found that it roasted more evenly and quicker than in my iron skillet.

After just one week I think I am officially converted. I had a cup of 'really good' coffee in downtown Chicago a few days ago and would rate it mediocre after my new found love. Life is full of new things to try and learn, I never want to stop exploring!

Where I ordered my first 4 lbs. of green coffee sampler:

YouTube video teaching the popcorn popper method:

Home roasting basics:

Peanut Butter Oatmeal Banana Chocolate Vegan Cookies

Today I decided to try a sugar, wheat, and egg free cookie. What!?!?! Is that even possible....yeah and just because I can, I dipped them in chocolate :). Notice the picture at the end: the twins little hands kept grabbing more as I tried taking the picture. When I go near the fridge I hear "Please! Please! Please!" Like mini seagulls at the beach begging for bread! I think they were worth the effort :)

Cookie Ingredients:
2 mashed bananas
1 cup whole rolled oats
1/2 cup ground milled flax seed
1/3 cup natural peanut butter

Blend the ingredients and spoon onto a cookie sheet. Bake at 350 for 15 minutes. Remove from pan and cool in the fridge. I sliced mine in half so they would be small enough to pop into your mouth after coated in chocolate.

Chocolate coating:

1/2 cup coconut oil
1/4 cup cocoa powder
2 Tbsp honey
Dash cinnamon

Melt oil, stir in rest if ingredients, dip cookie balls into chocolate and sit on waxed paper. Place in fridge to harden and store in container in fridge.

Sunday, March 24, 2013


This recipe was kind of an accident, one the kids hope we have again! I doubled the homemade tortilla recipe I was taking for a spin and since my husband and I are gluten free at the moment, I decided to make the second half as a dessert for the kids. They of course were thrilled. I know you can add honey, fruit, chocolate syrup or powdered sugar, but I chose to make ours fried in butter and sprinkled with cinnamon and organic sugar. The result was simple and satisfying. I did sauté a pear in butter and cinnamon for the youngest 3 kiddos and they loved it rolled up in theirs'.

Tortilla dough:

2 cups flour
3/4 cup warm water
3 Tbsp olive oil
1/2 tsp salt


Mix the flour, water, oil and salt in a bowl. Dump out onto a floured surface and knead dough a few times. Divide into 8 equal pieces and let rest 10 minutes. Roll as thin as possible and fry one at a time in oil of your choice or butter. Sprinkle with cinnamon-sugar or drizzle with honey on each side. Serve warm.

*Traditionally a sopapilla is fried in an inch of oil and puffs up really big, this is a healthier version using a small dab of oil or butter.

Chicken fajitas with homemade tortillas

Well this recipe is not exactly on the gluten free diet unless you use alternative flour or skip the tortillas altogether, but I made them for the kids who all agreed they were the best tortillas they ever tasted. My 7 year old son even have me a huge hug after dinner and said, "Thank you mommy for learning how to cook so much stuff, you're a real chef now!" Awe, that made it all worth the effort. I always tell the girls when their daddy raises the bar for their future husband, and tonight I think I just raised the bar for the boys' potential wife :)


Tortilla dough- 2 cups flour, 3/4 cup water, 1/2 tsp salt and 3 Tbsp olive oil.

4-5 chicken breasts
1 green pepper
1 Red pepper
1 orange pepper
1 onion

Taco seasoning:
1/4 tsp each of garlic salt, garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, chili powder, and cumin.
1/4 cup water

Make tortilla dough. Dump out onto a floured surface. Knead the dough a few times. Divide the dough into 8 equal pieces. Let sit for 10 minutes.

Slice the chicken into strips and sauté it in olive oil while the dough is resting. Add taco seasonings and water, cover and simmer for 20 minutes.

While the chicken is cooking roll out the tortillas as thin as possible and fry in oil one at a time. Flip them like a pancake to cook each side.

Add vegetables to chicken and cook for 5 minutes or until they are the fineness you like. Serve with salsa, avocado, cheese and sour cream.

I dumped mine into a Romain lettuce leaf, but admit I tasted a small piece of a was good!!!

(You may notice in the picture that I doubled the tortilla dough recipe. I made the second set fried in butter and sprinkled with cinnamon and sugar for dessert. I'll post that recipe next :)

Friday, March 22, 2013

Chocolate dipped Strawberries

Okay, here is yet again the same basic chocolate recipe used in another way. I have started thinking of chocolate as my favorite accessory for food :). It has a million uses and goes with just about anything, kind of like your favorite pair of shoes.


1 carton fresh strawberries
1/3 cup melted coconut oil
2 Tbsp cocoa powder
Dash salt
1 Tbsp honey
1/2 tsp vanilla

Melt the coconut oil. Whisk in cocoa powder, salt, honey and vanilla. Dip strawberries one at a time and set into a cookie sheet lined with waxed paper. Put into fridge to harden for an hour. Enjoy!

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Toddler snacks: Peanut Butter Rice Crispies

I'm always looking for simple and healthy ways to get the kids to eat better. We have 2 year old twins that are in the 'I can do it myself' phase. Cereal is so messy, so far I've come up with 2 fun ways to eat it that get more in their mouth and less on the floor.

I take a small spoonful of natural peanut butter or 1/4 of a banana and give them a few spoonfuls of Rice Crispies at a time and let them dip into the cereal bowl. The cereal sticks to the spoon of peanut butter or banana and they love getting to do it their self! What ideas have you found that work with independent eaters?

Homemade Orange Chocolates

Okay, I know this is just another variation of the same recipe, but it is sooooo good! The smell alone is worth a blogpost! I can't stop thinking up combinations, like raspberry-lemon or peanut butter-banana. So, I'd be lying if I said this was the last post on homemade chocolates your going to see from me ;)


1 cup coconut oil
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1 Tbsp butter
1 Tbsp half n half
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp orange extract
1 Tbsp raw honey
The zest of 1 small orange
1/4 cup dried cranberries
1/4 cup slivered almonds

Melt the oil and butter. Whisk in the honey, cream, cocoa, vanilla and pure orange extract. Pour into a pie plate lined with waxed paper. Sprinkle on the orange zest, cranberries and almonds. Place in the fridge to harden for at least one hour. Remove waxed paper from the pan and slice chocolates with a pizza cutter. Store in an airtight container in the fridge.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Noodle-less Lasagna

Ditching the wheat noodles has proved to be pretty easy. I didn't even have to give up lasagna, yay!


3 med- large zucchini cut into strips

Cheese filling:

1/2 cup fresh chopped spinach
1 regular container cottage cheese
1 regular container ricotta cheese
2 eggs


1 lb ground beef
1 jar sugar free spaghetti sauce
1 diced onion
1 small jar tomato paste


Slice the zucchini into strips and set on paper towels to dry out for a few hours. I sliced mine and went to church. By the time I came home, took a nap and felt like cooking they were prefect.

Mix the cheese filling ingredients into a bowl, set aside.

Brown the ground beef, drain. Add onion and sauté for a few minutes. Add sauce and tomato paste. Mix well.

Layer your ingredients as normal for a lasagna. Top with mozzarella cheese and bake at 350 for 1 hour.

Blue cheese T-bones and balsamic brussel sprouts

Well it's been 27 days past the 21 day detox and I'm still going strong! I love eating this way, and as the one or two cookies I've cheated with have reminded me, I feel so much better too! Here was a very yummy dinner we had a few nights ago, and brussel sprouts are my favorite treat lately!

Balsamic brussel sprouts:

Wash and slice off the bottoms of your baby cabbages. Sauté them in olive oil and garlic salt for 5 minutes per side. ( I find that if you slice them in half too they cook better all the way through. ) Pour some balsamic vinegar over the caramelized brussel sprouts and sauté for a few more minutes. Serve warm.

Swedish pancakes- gluten and sugar free

We love Swedish pancakes. It is a family tradition that my husband makes on the weekends for the kids. We haven't had them in a while and now that we are trying to eliminate wheat and sugar from our diets I decided to tackle this recipe next. Here is what I did:


8 eggs
1/3 cup half n half
1tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 cup almonds

Toppings: fresh fruit, honey, fruit preserves, or peanut butter.

I put the almonds into my coffee grinder and chopped them as fine as possible. Then, blend everything on a blender. Pour into a frying pan and make as normal. Spread topping on and roll.

I think next time I will add a little bit of applesauce to them. I know you can buy gluten free flours, but I haven't gotten to that yet. I'm sure they would work just fine as well.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

How to save / clean your mattress!

I am doing a bit of spring cleaning and thought it was time to replace one of the kid's mattresses. Usually we throw away and buy new mattresses for the kids, because I have never been able to find a way to clean them and remove odors effectively. Believe me I have tried EVERYTHING! After a little motivation from a friend, I looked online for an all natural air freshener. (And quite frankly Febreeze just doesn't cut it!). I found a great recipe to try and then I put my thinking cap on as to what could sanitize as well as freshen. What I came up with was amazing! My child's mattress looks AND smells brand new! I didn't take before pictures, because I honestly did not want to show the gross stains on the Internet.....but with the results we got, now I wished I had!!!!

Air freshener and sanitizer:

2 small oranges, sliced
1/2 Tbsp whole cloves
2 cups water
1 cup hydrogen peroxide

Boil the oranges and cloves in the water. Strain off 1 cup and let cool. Put the cooled liquid and hydrogen peroxide in a spray bottle. The liquid looks like a weak cup of tea, but it did not leave a tan color stain on my couch or mattresses. But, be aware if you have a white couch, it could leave a stain. So you may want to test it somewhere no one would see!

Spray onto fabrics or mattress you want to freshen. I put a space heater in the room to dry it. Then I the sprayed it a second time (both sides). After about 4 hours when I checked it again it was sparkling clean! I immediately made more spray and went and sprayed every mattress in the house! Yay!

Tex Mex hamburger stir fry

Ummm, well I was short on time, ingredients and imagination.....the result was a hit with the hubby! I ate mine over lettuce, he covered his with cheese. Pretty simple and tasty. Don't be afraid to experiment. :)

1 lb. ground beef
1 med onion chopped
1 large green pepper
1 large red pepper
1 large yellow pepper
1 can chili beans
1 can tomatoes with chilies
1/2 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp minced onion

Brown the ground beef and drain. Add the sliced veggies and sauté. Drain the tomatoes and add with the beans to the pan. Mix in the spices and serve over lettuce with cheese. Enjoy!

Almond, Cranberry chocolate bark

Looking for a new sweet treat? I love chocolate and cranberries and this combination is just heavenly in my book. It only takes a few minutes to make these and you get to enjoy them until they are gone.

1 cup coconut oil
2 Tbsp butter
2 Tbsp half n half
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1 Tbsp honey
1 tsp vanilla
Dash salt
1/3 cup almond slivers
1/3 cup dried cranberries

Melt oil and butter. Whisk in cream, honey, vanilla, cocoa, and salt. I use a pie pan with waxed paper to line it. Pour into dish. Sprinkle almonds and cranberries on top. Put in the fridge to set. Remove from fridge when it has hardened, pull the each paper and chocolate from the pie pan. Slice with a knife or cutter into bite size pieces. Store in the fridge in airtight container. Will last 2 weeks....yeah right! Not in this house :)