07Jul

Real Food Banana Nut Muffins {Recipe}

Banana Nut Muffins 1

I always love Gooseberry Patch cookbooks, and this one is no different! Today, I am sharing a recipe from their Good-for-You Everyday Meals book, with over 200 recipes, tips, and fun stories.

As usual, I followed the recipe loosely, making adaptations as necessary to fit our real food lifestyle, and to allow for what we had in our pantry. This recipe is a winner, and I can’t wait to try some of the other delicious-sounding muffin recipes from this book!

Banana Nut Muffins

What you need:

  • 3 very ripe, mashed bananas
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1/2 cup oil
  • 1/3 cup pure maple syrup
  • 1 cup oats
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/3 cup chopped walnuts

What to do:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl, stir together mashed bananas, eggs, oil, and maple syrup until combined.
  2. Add oats, flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt, stirring just until blended
  3. Fold in vanilla and walnuts
  4. Spoon batter into muffin tins. (I stretched my batter slightly and made 2 pans of mini-muffins). Bake at 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes for mini-muffins, or 20-25 minutes for full-sized muffins.

Everyone enjoyed these muffins immensely!

17Jun

Refreshing Flavored Water {Real Food!}

Refreshing summer water recipe--detox water recipe made from cucumbers, melons, and mint. Great taste and good for you too!

One of the best things that you can do for your diet is to give up sweetened beverages. Most are just empty carbs, and full of processed, really bad-for-you sugars. Nothing good from them at all. I’ll admit that I’m preaching to myself here because I am not quite there yet! I still love my occasional soda, though I also drink lots of water.

Sometimes, though, drinking lots of water can get old. My husband works outside in the weather, and especially in the summer days when our temperatures are in the mid-90′s, he needs to stay hydrated! He drinks a lot of water, and while he likes it, he has said he gets tired of the monotony.

So, of course, I decided to hop on pinterest and try some of the great flavored water recipes there. I started with a basic cucumber and lemon recipe, but am excited to try lots of others as well!

Refreshing Cucumber Lemon Water

Ingredients

  • 1/2-1 cucumber, depending on size
  • 1 lemon
  • a few mint leaves (10-12)
  • 1/2 gallon water

How to make your water: Slice cucumber and lemon and add them to water with peeling left on. Add mint leaves and let sit overnight.

Drink and enjoy! Yes, it really is that easy. I’m not usually a fan of lemon in my water, but this combination of flavors is really refreshing. My husband loved it as well, and we both agreed that is the best word for it: refreshing!

I have made it without the mint leaves since I didn’t have any, and the lemon and cucumber taste great as well. As a bonus, I have seen others say that this water can be great for detox and weight loss, so that’s always nice.

Have you made your own naturally flavored waters? What combinations are your favorite?

20Mar

Real Food, Homemade, Graham Crackers

Graham Crackers

I mentioned in previous weeks that one of the hard parts of our real food journey is snacks, since that is what we’ve been used to eating in convenient, store bought, processed forms.

So, my Real Foods board on pinterest is filled with lots of great snacks and desserts that are real food friendly. When I shared the graham cracker photo on my facebook page, there was a lot of interest in the recipe, so I know a lot of you are also interested in finding real food recipes that you can feel good about feeding your family.

Now, before I continue, I have to admit that these aren’t really graham crackers, because they aren’t made with graham flour. However, they are crackers and they were a big hit at my house!

They smelled wonderful while baking and as soon as they came out of the oven, my kids were grabbing at them before they were even cool enough to eat! Hubby was just getting home from work, and he grabbed one as well and said “These aren’t going to last long!”

My 4-year-old heartily exclaimed, “These are delicious.” And my 6-year-old ate about 3 before I could slow him down.

Then, they both decided we should take them to our church’s Wednesday night meal for our dessert (we are allowing ourselves to eat off plan during times like these, but still try to take some things so it’s not as bad). My 6-year-old even said we should take extra because they were so good his friends would probably want some too.

So, here is the quick & easy recipe. Seriously, these came together very quickly. And, did I mention they are yummy and a huge hit?

These were gone in a flash, but the next batch, I’m already planning to have some strawberries and homemade whipped cream with them. Yum!

Homemade, Real Food Graham Crackers

What you need:

  • 2 1/4 cup whole wheat flour (I used white whole wheat)
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup melted butter
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1 tsp vanilla

What to do:

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Mix dry ingredients in small bowl.

2. Mix wet ingredients together in a large bowl. Pour flour mixture into wet ingredients and mix well.

3. Roll out onto cookie sheet. Mine was a large rimmed cookie sheet, about 13 x 18. And, this is where having my broken rolling pin really came in handy. The handles are forever falling off in the middle of rolling, but for this project, it actually made it easier to roll (without the handles). So, yay for broken things.

4. Cut into cracker sizes and pierce tops with fork. I let my kiddos pierce the tops with forks, so our piercings have some character. You’ll still have to cut them apart after they are finished baking.

5. Bake approximately 10 minutes, or until edges start turning brown.

And, enjoy :)

 

17Feb

Got Snow? Make Snow Cream!

Snow Ice Cream from Serving Joyfully

I know some of us are still getting some winter weather, so I wanted to share this recipe. I shared it on my facebook page a couple of months ago and received some criticism for allowing my kids to eat snow. So, I’ll just go ahead and confess that I have 2 little boys who were quite fast as toddlers and I learned to loosen up a little. Snow is definitely not the worst thing they’ve ever had in their mouths, I’ll just put it that way.

Now, on to the recipe. When I was a little girl, this was a great treat for us and my mom made it with a touch of vanilla, evaporated milk, and sugar.

When we got our first good snow as parents and I went to make this for my son, I learned a couple of things. First, I learned that I had no sugar in my cabinets!? As an avid baker who usually has a couple extra bags of sugar, I still can’t believe that happened, but it did. So, I decided that milk + sugar…sweetened condensed milk should work, right? And I had that, so that’s what I used. But, a lot of people use milk and sugar, so if you have that instead–go for it.

I also learned that not everyone experiences snow cream as a child. My hubby had no clue what I was talking about and I was glad to rectify that quickly!

So, here is the recipe:

Snow Cream Recipe

12-14 cups snow (I fill up a 14 cup mixing bowl that I have)
1 can sweetened condensed milk
1 tsp vanilla
Additional flavors as desired

Combine everything in a large bowl. Stir (and stir, and stir, and stir), until everything is all mixed up. After I took this picture, I stirred some chocolate into mine. It is soooo yummy!

And, some pictures of us enjoying ours. My 6 year old thought it would be fun for me to take a picture mid-bite.

snow cream

And, this one shows how enjoyable that bite was!

Snow Cream

Even daddy enjoyed it, finally realizing what he’d missed out on all those years…haha.

(Side note: he’s growing his hair out for the role of Jesus for our church’s passion play! Pretty cool, huh?)

Snow Cream

 

28Dec

Pumpkin Cinnamon Crescents (#CartonSmart)

This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of Carton Smart. All opinions are 100% mine.

I love it when a package comes to my door that can educate, inspire, and motivate. Just a couple of weeks ago, this happened. I’ve seen the occasional carton packaging at my local grocery, but honestly hadn’t though much about the implications of them.

 

In researching for this post, my eyes were really opened to the benefits of carton packaging, and I hope you will Become Carton Smart as well. There are more and more options available in cartons–including many favorites for your holiday cooking, and everyday meals.

Like the Pacific Foods Chicken Stock:

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And the Pacific Foods Cranberry Sauce:

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From their website:

Being Carton Smart isn’t about big, grand gestures. It’s about making small, deliberate choices that add up to make a big difference. And choosing cartons is just one of them.

If you’ve been reading my blog for a while, you know that we try to be friends of the environment. Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle is a motto for us. Which is why I was so excited to learn about tetrapak carton packaging. 

• Tetra Pak® cartons are made of 70% paper, a renewable resource, from selectively harvested, re-grown trees that are FSC-certified (Forest Stewardship Council)

• Cartons use 1/3 of the packaging compared to cans.

• Cartons are space saving, easy to store and open.

• The unique packaging process preserves the flavor and nutrients of food without the use of preservatives.

• Recycleable and in fact result in 60% less landfill waste than cans

• Cartons are re-closable so you can use what you need and save the rest for later.

Since I live in a small house, with little shelfspace, I love how compact these cartons are and how easily they stack.

Check out the infographic below for more carton facts.

 

 photo 1898ca76-3272-4baf-a8df-07abf60e15e3_zps1bf425e9.jpg

If you’d like more info about being Carton Smart, you can Tweet @CartonSmart or Follow #CartonSmart on Pinterest

Now on to this delicious recipe that I made using the Pacific Foods Organic Pumpkin Puree. These are delicious!  There is just a hint of pumpkin flavor, but the pumpkin puree adds a nice color to the rolls, and makes them extra moist.

 photo d1d52bb8-c150-4f19-9a7c-b8c9ab3c8df3_zpsac6b75dd.jpg

 

What you need:

1 carton/can pumpkin puree
1/2 cup water
1/3 cup sugar
3 tbsp. butter
2 eggs
1 tsp salt
5 cups flour
1 pkg (2 1/4 tsp) yeast
1/4 cup butter, melted
1 cup sugar
1 tsp cinnamon

For the Icing

1 cup butter, softened
4 cups powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
2-3 tbsp milk

What to do:

1. Combine pumpkin puree, 1/2 cup water, 1/3 cup sugar, and 3 tbsp butter in a saucepan over medium heat, just until combined and butter is melted. The mixture should be warm but not hot.

2. In a large bowl, mix salt, yeast, and 2 cups flour. Add pumpkin mixture to this flour mixture.  Add eggs and beat well.

3. Mix in remaining flour until a soft dough forms. Knead until smooth, approximately 5 minutes. Cover and let rise (in a warm place, free from drafts) for approximately 1 hour, or until doubled in size.

4. Divide dough into 4 pieces, rolling each into a large circle, approximately 1/3 inch thick. (tip: keep the remaining pieces covered until you need them). Brush with melted butter.

5. Combine sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl.

6. Sprinkle cinnamon sugar mixture liberally onto the top of dough, and use a pizza cutter (or knife) to cut each circle into 10-12 pieces. Starting with the wide end, roll each up into a crescent shape, and place onto a well-greased cookie sheet.

7. Let rise approximately 30 minutes.

8. Bake at 375 degrees for 10-13 minutes.

9. To make the icing: Cream butter in a mixing bowl. Add 1-2 cups powdered sugar, and mix well. Add remaining powdered sugar, alternating with milk until desired consistency is reached. Finally, mix in 1 tsp vanilla extract.

10. Spread icing on rolls and enjoy :)

Tip:  This dough refrigerates well and can be made ahead the night before. To do this, simply put the dough in a ziploc bag after the first rise (you may have to separate it into 2 large bags). When you’re ready to fix them, start back at step 4.

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