Monday, December 22, 2014

Easy Chocolate Drizzled Kettle Corn

I don't think I've publicly admitted my love for corn and corn products yet. My name is Morgan, and I freaking love me some corn. Unfortunately, like most love stories, corn does not reciprocate my love. It's not that I'm allergic, but it certainly doesn't digest well. I've given up corn cereals, polenta, and even whole corn (except for a couple fresh ears in the summer, worth it!), but I refuse to give up popcorn. It would have to cause me more than a minor bellyache for me to quit. We gave away our microwave a few years back and haven't missed it. I absolutely love fresh popcorn popped in coconut oil with a little sea salt hot off the stove and have even found local organic kernels from Riverview Farms (they also have amazing meat if you are in the Georgia area). I certainly reserve it as a treat, but my toddler also got the undying-love-for-popcorn gene, so it is a more frequent treat now! If you've been to the grocery store at all in the past month then you've undoubtedly seen bags of this this stuff. I did purchase one for a holiday party and it was a big hit. A few days later my son came asking me for the "choc poppa-corn". I figured I could probably make a slightly healthier version for cheaper at home. And I was right! I used healthy coconut oil, organic popcorn, and low glycemic coconut sugar. Whether you need a last minute gift, something to feed the influx of guests at your house, or just a treat to watch a holiday movie with, this kettle corn will certainly hit the spot. Enjoy!

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Pistachio Reindeer Cups

My husband is in a band (sexy I know), and this year they decided to have a holiday party. I was excited for the chance to make a fun holiday treat, but was stumped on what to make. Unfortunately our son had an all nighter last week and in my 3am haze this idea came to me. It's fun enough for kids and sophisticated enough for adults. Enjoy!

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Happy 1st Birthday Blog

So my blog turned 1 on November 13th, but I missed the celebration because I was sick. So as a happy belated b-day I want to share the top 10 posts on my blog from the past year. I am so honored to have support from my husband, family, and friends. I never imagined my blog would reach as many people as it does. I hope you find as much joy in it as I do and thank you for reading!

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

In Sickness and In Health

I haven't posted in a few weeks because I've had quite a month of sickness. It seems like every other week for the past 2 months I've had some ailment! Even as I type I am again nursing a cold. I believe it started when I got a severe stomach virus that put me out for several days; I think it really wrecked my immune system. Compile that with the never ending exhaustion of playing with a toddler all day and being pregnant and I set myself up for disaster. I have been thoroughly humbled by my own limitations and learned a few things about self-care that I want to share. Sometimes the simple things are easy to forget. Just a reminder, I am not a medical professional, this is just my experience. I hope it helps you in times of sickness or keeps you in a time of health. This post contains affiliate links which help support my family and are of no extra cost to you. Enjoy!

Friday, November 14, 2014

Raspberry Peppermint Creme Gelee

I love deserts, especially the super decedent ones that accompany this season. Although I think a nice slice of pecan pie or a piece of rich fudge is the perfect ending to a meal, sometimes I just don't have the room for it. I made this desert as a lighter alternative. It is easy to make but looks and sounds fancy! The peppermint is soothing and the perfect end to a heavy meal. Enjoy!

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Oven Baked Apple Chips

When I was younger we went to north Georgia every fall to pick apples and eat all things made with apples. Now I get to carry on the tradition with my son. We gorged ourself on fresh apples and when we got home I worked on making anything and everything with apples in it. The best thing we made was definitely apple chips. They are very easy to make but you will have to be home for a couple of hours. You can make a lot at once and then try not to eat them all in one sitting. Enjoy!

He ate so many fresh apples
Loved getting them straight off the tree

Needed a little help from Mom with some of them

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Pumpkin Spice Latte Chia Pudding

I have a bad habit of having coffee as breakfast; probably from the years of working and being in school. Even though I make my coffee "bullet proof" style with gelatin, grass-fed butter, and coconut oil, it still isn't a sound breakfast. Since PSL season is in high swing I decided to make a healthy breakfast with a caffeine kick. The best part about this recipe is you can make it at the beginning of the week and have a quick breakfast all week long. Enjoy!

Pumpkin Spice Latte Chia Pudding

Gluten Free, Vegan
Makes about 2.5 cups

1 cup canned full-fat coconut milk
1 cup strong brewed coffee
2/3 cup pumpkin puree
2 tbl maple syrup
1 tsp vanilla extract
pinch of salt
6 tbl chia seeds

Spice Mix
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp ginger powder
1/8 tsp nutmeg
1/8 tsp cardamom
-or- 1 tsp pumpkin pie spice

  1. Whisk together all of the ingredients except the chia seeds.
  2. Once the ingredients are mixed well, whisk in the chia seeds.
  3. Refrigerate for 2-4 hours until thickened. Stir occasionally while it is thickening to prevent lumps.
  4. Alternatively, to make a smoother pudding, blend all of the ingredients and chia seeds in a high speed blender and then refrigerate.
  5. Store in the fridge for 5 days.

Notes and Substitutions

  • You can use decaf coffee or a coffee substitute such as Teccino or a Dandelion and Chicory Root Mix to fit your needs.
  • This pudding will be the texture of tapioca if you don't blend it. If you aren't sure how you will like it; try making it unblended and you can always blend it once it is thickened.
  • Affiliate Links Below. Thanks!


What is your favorite breakfast?

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Pumpkin Pie Snack Squares

I'm pretty sure my son thinks dates are candy and I intend on reinforcing that thought. In order to refine his "candy" pallet (and honestly to get him to eat some fat and protein with the little carb jewels) I decided to make a seasonal treat. If you are familiar with Larabar's, this recipe mimics those. You have to store these in the freezer because of the pumpkin, but they can travel in a lunchbox for the day. I don't normally worry about macros in my food but since this is a treat for my son I was curious. If you make 30 snack squares (perfect size for a toddler) then they have 5 grams each of carbs and fat, 2 grams of protein, 1 gram of fiber and about 3-4 grams of sugar; not to mention the vitamins and minerals from the real food ingredients Enjoy!

Pumpkin Pie Snack Squares

Gluten Free, Vegan*
Makes 30 squares or about 12 bars

1 cup brazil nuts, raw
1/2 cup pecans, raw
1/4 cup sunflower seeds, raw
1/4 cup pumpkin seeds, toasted and salted
1/2 cup raisins
1/4 cup pumpkin puree
2 rolled coconut dates or 3-4 medjool dates pitted, chopped
1 tbl honey or *maple syrup for vegan

Spice Mix
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ginger powder
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp cardamom
optional (use 2 tsp pumpkin pie spice instead of the spice mix)

  1. Add all of the nuts/seeds and spice mix to a food processor (mine is a 2 cup and it was just big enough). Grind into a course powder.
  2. Add the raisins, chopped dates, pumpkin puree, and honey or maple syrup to the nuts and process until combined. It may take a few minutes and I had to scrape the sides down with a spatula but it will get there.
  3. Once you are happy with the mix, scoop it into a parchment lined pan ( 8x6 inches or whatever you have that is close) and press down. The mixture is pretty sticky so I find it is easier to press down if you wet your hand or use a piece of parchment paper to press it. Alternatively you can roll them into little balls.
  4. Let it set in the freezer for a few hours before slicing. 
  5. After slicing store in the freezer. You can serve these directly from the freezer.

Notes and Substitutions

  • You can change the nuts and seeds to suit what you like and have; just try and use about 2 cups total. I think walnuts instead of pecans, almonds instead of brazil nuts, and salted and toasted pistachios instead of the pumpkin seeds would all be great. It's okay if all your nuts/seeds aren't raw or aren't salted and toasted. If none of your nuts/seeds are salted then add a pinch of salt to the mix. Let me know in the comments section if you try different combinations. 

Grind nuts/seeds and spices into a course powder

Add remaining ingredients and blend until combined

Press into a parchment lined pan, freeze, and slice.

What is your favorite natural "candy"?

Monday, October 6, 2014

Fall Spice Biscuits

Depending on who you talk to it is either pumpkin or apple season. To me I'd say it's apple season as the pumpkins haven't started showing up at the famers market yet, and the apples have made a grand appearance. Luckily for me though, the other winter squashes are in abundance. I like to make this recipe once a week and use it for breakfast sandwiches on busy mornings. Enjoy!

roasted butternut squash

Fall Spice Biscuits 

(adapted from Wellness Mama)
Gluten Free
Makes 5

1/3 cup coconut flour
1/2 cup mashed winter squash*
4 eggs
4 tbl coconut oil or butter, melted
1 tbl maple syrup
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp ginger
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp sea salt

  1. Preheat the oven to 400F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Whisk coconut flour, baking soda, salt, and spices together in a bowl. Make sure to get out any lumps.
  3. Add the melted oil, mashed squash, eggs, and maple syrup. Mix well with a spatula and let it rest for 5 minutes for the coconut flour to absorb the moisture. 
  4. Scoop the batter by 1/3 cup onto the baking sheet, forming 5 biscuits. The biscuits will spread quite a bit but not rise much when baking so make them the height you want with a smaller diameter.
  5. Bake for 12-15 minutes until no loner shiny. Cool before serving.
  6. Store in the fridge for up to a week.

Notes and Substitutions

  • *I used roasted butternut squash, but acorn or pumpkin would be great. If you use canned then you may need a tablespoon more of coconut flour.
  • You can use 1 tsp of pumpkin pie spice instead of the spices.
  • I highly recommend serving these with fig butter and bacon!

Whisk together dry ingredients

Add wet ingredients

Mix well

Shape into biscuits
Bake on 400F for 12-15 minutes

What is in season in your area?

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

5 Surprising Toddler Foods

Toddlers are notorious for their picking eating. Our little guy (19 months) definitely has a strong opinion about what he will and will not eat. He never liked pureed food and still won't touch yogurt or cheese; all things I thought were typical toddler foods. Of course he'll eat crackers and ice-cream but at this stage in life kids aren't eating a lot so we try and make what does make it into his mouth count. To do this I simply try everything. I don't assume he won't like something just because it isn't a normal food I would think of for a toddler. So here is my list of healthy foods he loves, even though I think they are odd. These items may not be weird to you because your kid loves them too. I'd love to hear about in the comments section. Below the list is more tips for feeding your toddler.

1) Bone-In Meat

Turkey leg
My son is definitely a carnivore, and I'm not talking about chicken nuggets. He loves bacon (not suprising) and will pick meat out of a meal and just eat that. However, what he loves most is bone-in meat. I'm talking about chicken or turkey legs and ribs. He loves being able to hold it and he gnaws on the bone and cartilage. Obviously keep a watchful eye if you do this as pieces of the bone or cartilage can come off.

2) Bone Broth

Egg drop soup
To go along with all the bone-in meat we are eating, I like to make bone broth once a week. Bone broth is just stock made out of bones and vegetables. I put about 2 pounds of bones (chicken or beef) with a gallon of water, a quart size freezer bag of vegetable scraps, and a couple of tablespoons of apple cider vinegar (which helps to draw out the minerals in the bones) in my slow cooker and cook on low for 1-2 days (here is an easy recipe to follow). The result is a broth rich in protein, specifically gelatin. There are numerous benefits of cosuming gelatin (read about it here). The best part is that my son adores it. I will make soup with it but he prefers some warm broth straight.

3) Coconut Oil

You've probably heard about all the benefits of coconut oil. It certainly has a place in our home both as a food and a beauty product. Coconut oil was one of the first foods I introduced to my son. I mixed his probiotics into a small amount and he ate it off a spoon. He also like these banana stacks. We all need healthy fats, but especially little ones. I also cook most of our food in it, or make "bullet proof" coffee (or herbal tea in his case).

4) Herbal Tea

My son loves his herbal tea (and coconut oil!). Herbal tea's are not only a great sugar free alternative to water but they can also be used medicinally. I give my son a mixture of chamomile and catnip tea in the evenings to improve sleep. Chamomile is naturally sweet so he loves it. Read more about some good tea's for tot's here.

5) Seaweed

My son loves toasted nori sheets. They sell small snack packs of them but he prefers the regular size sheets for making sushi. I'm guessing he thinks it's paper that he's allowed to eat, and I'm happy about the minerals and iodine he gets from them.

Other Tips

1) Like I said before, don't assume your toddler won't like something just because it isn't typical toddler food. My son loves raw spinach and sardines. He will eat sauerkraut and snack on green olives. I know all this because I just let him try those foods. I've had plenty of items spit back at me but I'm happy to let his palate develop naturally and not hold anything back. 

2) My son has recently gotten into dipping. He will eat just about anything if he can dip it. Think beyond honey mustard or ketchup; you can use thick soup or hummus as a dip for vegetables, yogurt as a dip for fruit, or I like to make homemade fig butter or date caramel as a dip for sausage. I do often catch him just eating the dip, so I always make sure that the dip is just as healthy as the dipping vessel.

3) You know that saying "out of sight, out of mind?", well the reverse is also true. I leave lots of fruit out in our fruit basket. My son will inevitably walk by and ask for a 'nana' or an 'appa'. This way my son choose a healthy snack that he will actually eat because it was his idea. I also leave is cup of water out so he'll swing by and take sips, because you know, he's got very important playing business to attend to!

4) Speaking of "appa's" (which is an apple for those of you who don't speak toddler), my son prefers them whole not sliced. He's been able to handle a whole apple since he was 9 months old, thanks to his rapid teeth sprouting (lucky us). If your toddler doesn't like a food initially, try cutting it (or not cutting it) a different way. Sometimes in all in the presentation.

5) This is probably an age old wisdom; "try and try again." My son loved eggs for awhile and now he won't touch them. He used to hate spinach and now loves it. Our pallets never stop developing so we try to always offer our son whatever we are eating. He won't always sit still for dinner but he always gets a plate of whatever we are eating with a little bit of everything.

Do you have any tips for feeding toddlers?

Monday, September 8, 2014

Butternut Spiced Soup

I love winter squashes, as a group they are one of my favorite foods. They are sweet, creamy, and nutritionally and flavorfully quite a bang for your buck. You can't imagine how thrilled I was to see some varieties all ready showing up at the farmers market. It took me a long time to like squash soup. I used to make it often, because my husband liked it, but never really enjoyed the flavor. Finally I realized that every recipe I tried included heavy cream or coconut milk. For me, the squash are plenty creamy on their own. In fact I think the added cream takes away from the complex flavors in the squash. I made this recipe with butternut, but other varieties of winter squash would taste great. I recommend acorn, pumpkin, or kabocha; just make sure to roast whatever kind you choose as it brings out the sweetness of the squash. This recipe is very simple and adaptable. Enjoy!

Butternut Spiced Soup

Gluten Free, Vegan*
Makes 5 cups

1 large butternut squash (see notes)
2+ cups bone broth (chicken or beef) or vegetable stock*
1 medium yellow onion, diced
2 inch by 1/2 inch piece of ginger, or to taste (1.5 tsp dry)
1 inch by 1/2 inch piece of turmeric, or to taste (1 tsp dry)
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1 tbl sea salt, or to taste
3 tbl coconut oil

  1. Preheat the oven to 375F. Split the squash and de-seed. My squash was large so I cut it into smaller pieces to make it more manageable. 
  2. Rub the flesh with a little coconut oil and salt, and place flesh side down onto a parchment lined baking sheet. Bake for about 1 hour until the skin can easily be piereced and the flesh has begun to brown. Set it out to cool.
  3. Heat 2 tablespoons of coconut oil in a medium size pot over medium heat. Add the diced onions.
  4. Peel and dice the ginger and turmeric and add to the onions. Sauté for 8 minutes. If you do not have fresh turmeric or ginger then just use powdered kind but wait to add it until the next step. It would be about 1 teaspoon of turmeric and 1 1/2 teaspoons of ginger.
  5. Once the onions have begun to brown, add the dry spices and sauté for about 30 seconds until they get very fragrant. Immediately pour about 1/4 cup of stock into the pot and turn off the heat. The stock will unstick any spices or onions and keep the spices from burning. 
  6. Scoop the flesh of the squash (I got about 3 1/2 cups), into a blender. Add the onion and spice mixture, salt, and 2 cups of stock. Depending on the size of your blender and squash, you may have to work in batches. Mine exactly fit into my 5 cup blender. 
  7. Blend until smooth and creamy. You can add more stock to achieve the consistency you like.
  8. To reheat pour back into the pot and warm on low. If you refrigerate it for later then you may want to add a couple tablespoons of stock or water when reheating as it thickens in the fridge. 
  9. Leftovers should be good for 5 days.

Notes and Substitutions

  • You can use other varieties of winter squash interchangeably. I didn't weigh my squash, but I did get about 3 1/2 cups, if you end up with way more then this then just save some for another use or freeze it for later. You can look at the picture to get an idea of how big my squash was on a standard size cutting board.
  • This soup definitely has a strong ginger bite, if you are sensitive to the flavor of ginger or do not want it so spicy then I would cut it in half and reduce the nutmeg to 1/4 tsp.
  • I topped it with a little cinnamon, but it would be great with a dollop of greek yogurt.
De-seed squash and rub with coconut oil and salt.

Place the squash flesh side down and roast on 375F for 1 hour.
Let the roasted squash cool.
Saute onions, ginger, and turmeric for 8 minutes.
Add the dry spices and sauté for 30 seconds,
 then add about 1/4 cup stock and turn off the heat.
Blend squash flesh, onion mixture, salt, and stock
until smooth and creamy.
Gently reheat on low and enjoy!

Do you like winter squash?

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Low Allergen Blueberry Cobbler

I love visiting my husbands grandmother. She is the sweetest woman I have ever met and one hell of a cook. She still cans and preserves food and has figs, pecans, and blueberries on her property. Last time we visited we picked a ton of blueberries and I brought them home and froze them to have this winter. Since blueberries are officially out of season here I have all ready broken into my stash. This recipe is really simple to make, low in added sugar, and free of most of the common allergens. It would be great with some coconut ice-cream. Enjoy!

Our little guy loved picking blueberries.
We found many in his pockets later that day!

Low Allergen Blueberry Cobbler

Gluten Free, Vegan, Nut Free
Serves 4

2 cups frozen blueberries
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp cinnamon
coconut oil for the pan

2 Tbls coconut flour
2 Tbls tapioca starch or arrowroot starch
1/2 tsp baking soda
pinch sea salt
1 tsp lemon juice or apple cider vinegar
1/2 cup coconut milk
2 tbl coconut oil, melted
1 tbl maple syrup

  • Preheat the oven to 375F
  • Combine the coconut flour, tapioca starch, baking soda, and sea salt. Mix out any lumps.
  • Add the lemon juice, coconut milk, melted coconut oil, and maple syrup to the dry ingredients. Mix well then let it sit for about 5 minutes so the coconut flour can absorb the moisture. It should be like thick pancake batter.
  • Oil a small baking dish (mine was 1 1/4 quart size, but I think and 8x8 or smaller would work, depending on how tall you want it, mine was flatter).
  • Mix the blueberries, vanilla, and cinnamon together and place in the dish.
  • Scoop the batter onto the blueberries. You can smooth it out but I prefer to plop it randomly over the top to get that 'cobblestone' look.
  • Bake for about 35 minutes until the top is golden brown and the blueberries are bubbling up the sides.
  • Let it cool slightly before serving.

Notes and Substitutions

  • My blueberries were very sweet (as fresh picked sun-ripened ones ought to be) so I didn't add any sweetener to them. I recommend tasting a couple of your berries and adding a tablespoon of maple syrup or coconut sugar to them if needed.
  • Sorry for the poor lighting on the photo's, it was really stormy this day and I had no natural light!
  • Affiliate Links Below

Mix the dry ingredients

Mix in the wet ingredients, and let it sit for 5 minutes

Add blueberries, cinnamon, and vanilla to the oiled dish

Top with the batter sporadically

Bake on 375F for 35 minutes and enjoy!

What is your favorite flavor of cobbler?