Granola Bars (grain, gluten, dairy free, paleo)

These are for sure one of our favorite new snack items.  All four of us love them.  They are grain-free, gluten-free, salty and sweet, and couldn’t be easier to make.  They are crunchy and chewy at the same time, too… which really is the way a granola bar should be.  These are almost vegan…. replace honey with maple syrup if you need a yummy vegan snack!

granola bars (grain, gluten, dairy free, paleo)

INGREDIENTS:
  • 1/2 cup almonds
  • 1/2 cup macadamia nuts
  • 1/2 cup cashews
  • 1/2 cup sunflower seeds
  • 1/2 cup pumpkin seeds
  • 1/2 raisins
  • 1/2 cup dried apricots, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons cocoa nibs
  • 1/4 cup shredded coconut
  • 1/2 cup coconut oil
  • 2/3 cup almond butter
  • 2/3 cup honey
  • 2 teaspoons 100% pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/4 cup mini chocolate chips (I like “Enjoy Life” brand)
METHOD:
  1. Combine nuts and seeds in food processor, and pulse until roughly chopped.  You can use any combination of nuts and seeds you want, as long as it totals 2 1/2 cups.
  2. Pour nut/seed mixture into a large bowl.
  3. Add shredded coconut and cocoa nibs and stir to combine.
  4. Add dried fruit, and stir again.  You can use any type of dried fruit as well, as long as it totals 1 cup.
  5. In a medium saucepan over low heat melt coconut oil, almond butter, honey, vanilla, and spices.  Simmer for 3-5 minutes once combined, until thick and bubbly.
  6. Pour mixture into nuts / seeds and stir until everything is evenly coated.
  7. Pour into 8×8 baking dish, lined with parchment paper and press down firmly.
  8. Sprinkle mini chocolate chips on top, and press into bars.  If you mix these in, they will melt and creat a gooey mess.  Trust me, I’ve tried.  So just save them for the last step and press them on top.  
  9. Put in freezer for 1-2 hours to harden.
  10. Cut into desired size bars, store in refrigerator.
*Use organic ingredients whenever possible.
**Adapted from Seasonal Family.

Cinnamon Raisin + Almond Cookies (grain / gluten / dairy / egg free, paleo, vegan)

This post is dedicated to my super amazing friend, Nicole.  Today is her 40th birthday!! She is the kindest, most thoughtful friend and I am super thankful for her in my life!  She is also a vegan, thus the dedication.  I brought her a dozen of these cookies this morning at the gym.  She thinks they are delicious, and I bet you will too!  I had a cookie like this the other day at my friend Jen made, so I tried to recreate… after quite a few test batches (too bad, we had more cookies to eat) I’m super happy with the results.  We ate them all really fast here in my house.  I usually go for chocolate, so the raisins were a welcomed break from all the chocolate!  Enjoy!

Cinnamon Raisin + Almond Cookies (grain, gluten, dairy, egg free.  vegan.  paleo)
INGREDIENTS:
  • 2 1/2 cups almond flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/2 cup coconut oil
  • 1/2 tablespoon almond extract
  • 1/2 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup
  • 1/2 cup sliced almonds
  • 1/2 cup raisins
METHOD:
  1. Preheat oven to 350F.
  2. Combine dry ingredients (almond flour, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt) and mix until combined.  
  3. In a small sauce pan over low heat, melt coconut oil.  Add wet ingredients (syrup, almond extract, vanilla extract).  Stir to combine.  
  4. Pour wet into dry, and mix until batter thickens.  I do this step in my mixer, and I let it mix for about a minute.  The almond flour absorbs as it stirs, so give it a good stir.  
  5. Fold in raisins and sliced almonds.  
  6. Roll into balls, about ping-pong ball size.  Place on parchment lined cookie sheets, bake 8-10 minutes.  
  7. NOTE:  Makes 24 cookies.
*Use organic ingredients whenever possible.

Brownies

Remember how I said awhile back that part of our whole food journey as a family has been to not eliminate treats completely, but to reinforce to our kiddos that treats are just that, treats? We don’t get them on a daily basis and we don’t eat them from packages much anymore, but that being said, I don’t feel one bit guilty about making a batch of delicious brownies from good, quality ingredients for my family. These brownies. I cannot quit making these brownies. In December, I even made them two days in a row. The first days batch got crumbled and put into our vanilla ice cream mixture and became Brownie Ice Cream… so of course I had to make them the next day to eat with our Brownie Ice Cream… right?!

These guys are super easy to make and they are wheat-free. If you have oatmeal on hand, just blend up 1/4 cup of oats to use or you can buy oat flour in the bulk section of your grocery store.

Delicious, friends. I am warning you. Now you are going to have a brownie problem. Oh, and this is another Sprouted Kitchen inspired recipe. She is awesome.

oat flour brownies

INGREDIENTS:
  • 5 tablespoons Kerrygold Butter – Unsalted
  • 9 ounces good quality dark chocolate, like Theo Chocolate Bar, chopped (I use 3 of these bars)
  • 1/4 organic natural cane sugar (Next time I am going to try to substitute 100% Pure Maple Syrup and see how that works.)
  • 2 eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon 100% pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup oat flour, or ground oats (be sure to select gluten-free oats if you need GF brownies)
  • Pinch of salt
  • Maldon Smoked Sea Salt, to sprinkle on top once cooked
  • Optional add-in: 1 cup of your choice of lightly toasted diced nuts, our favorite is pecans
METHOD:
1. Pre-heat oven to 350.
2. In a medium saucepan, melt the butter over low heat and stir in the chocolate. Stir constantly until mixture is melted and remove from heat.
3. Add in the vanilla and sugar and mix.
4. Whisk in one egg at a time.
5. Add the oat flour and salt and stir vigorously for one whole minute. This step is important to ensure everything is incorporated well.
6. If adding nuts, go ahead and add these next.
7. Pour brownie mixture into a  8 inch glass pan lined with greased parchment paper and bake for 25-30 minutes or until brownies appear set, but be careful not to over cook.
8. Let these guys cool completely before you cut them. Sprinkle with salt.  Enjoy!
*Use organic ingredients whenever possible
**Adapted from The Sprouted Kitchen.
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Waffles (grain / dairy / gluten / sugar free, paleo)

I’ve finally found it!  Seriously, I think maybe I’ve tried 50 recipes for grain-free waffles (or pancakes) and they all suck.  One time, I tried out a new recipe when my mother-in-law was in town.  Poor thing.  They were so bad.  She of course, graciously ate them anyways, but man.  Some recipes are just bad.  Untilllllllll, these.  They taste so good, the texture is identical to their traditional counterpart, and there is literally zero added sugar.  The ingredients might surprise you a little bit, but give em a shot.  I promise they won’t disappoint. My kids have not enjoyed any of my Paleo waffle attempts until this one – they both gobbled them up! Also, they freeze beautifully, so double the batch and stick extras in freezer for a quick breakfast or on the go snack.  We just pop them in the toaster frozen, and in a couple of minutes they are ready to go.

waffles, grain, dairy, sugar, gluten free, paleo

INGREDIENTS:
  • 1 banana
  • 1 apple, peeled and cored
  • 1 cup almond butter
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tablespoon arrowroot powder
  • 1 tablespoon 100% pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • Oil for greasing waffle iron (we use ghee or bacon fat – coconut oil would be good choice too) 
METHOD:
1.  Puree banana and apple in food processor.
2.  With whisk attachment in place on electric mixer, whisk almond butter on high for 2-3 minutes until smooth and fluffy.
3.  Add apple/banana puree and the remaining ingredients to the bowl with the almond butter.  Whip on medium speed until fully combined.
4.  Grease hot waffle iron (do this in between each waffle to ensure they don’t stick to iron)
5.  Ladle batter into waffle iron until about 60% full, so as not to overfill the iron.  Cook approximately 4-5 minutes or until waffle is golden brown and crispy on the outside, and soft on the inside.  Enjoy!
NOTE:  Makes about 6 waffles, depending on the size of your waffle iron.

 

*Use organic ingredients whenever possible.
**Adapted from Eat Like a Dinosaur.

Homemade Ketchup (gluten / sugar free, paleo)

I used to by the Costco pack of ketchup.  Yep.  The one with high fructose corn syrup, GMO sugar, corn syrup, and “natural flavors” – what does that even mean, “natural flavors”?  Then, about a year ago we switched to an organic brand, thus eliminating a few of the above ingredients, but still containing sugar.  We just did a really, really strict Paleo challenge through our gym, and weren’t able to eat any sugar.  Like none.  Not even naturally occurring fruit sugar.  Welp, husband loooooves ketchup, so I started making my own.  Everytime we ran out, I’d google ‘ketchup’ and ended up trying all different recipes. Some were good, some were so bad.  Now, I’ve taken bits and pieces from the 7 different recipes I tried and came up with my own.  It is perfect for us.  Made to taste just the way we like it.  Husband loves it still, the one kid that likes ketchup loves it, and it has converted me into a ketchup consumer.  Didn’t use to care for the stuff, but as long as it is this recipe, I like it.  Hope you like it too!

homemade ketchup, gluten free, paleo

INGREDIENTS:
  • 24 oz strained tomatoes (we use Bionature Organic brand)
  • 7 oz tomato paste (we use Bionature Organic brand)
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon smoked hot paprika
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 tablespoon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 2 tablespoons coconut sugar (or maple, or honey…. or completely omit like us)
METHOD:
1.  Combine all ingredients in a sauce pan, and simmer for 20 minutes over low heat.
2.  Allow to cool, store in air tight container in refrigerator.
3.  This recipe fills almost 2 mason jars.  It makes quite a bit.  Not sure how long it keeps because we eat it so fast, but if you are worried about it, 1/2 the recipe.

 

*Use organic ingredients whenever possible.

Lemon Bars (grain / gluten / dairy / sugar free, paleo)

Soooooo… my awesome girl Noelle (yes, the same one who introduced me to the most amazing dessert ever), challenged me to create the best lemon bars of life.  I think the text went something like “if I know you at all, you won’t stop until you find it – I challenge you to create for me the best paleo lemon bars ever”.  And she does know me – it is crazy what you can learn about someone by the way they CrossFit. Because I texted back “challenge accepted” (duh), and immediately starting thinking, researching, preparing.  And now, behold. The best (paleo) lemon bars of life.
lemon bars (grain gluten dairy free, paleo)

INGREDIENTS: (crust)
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons 100% pure maple syrup
  • 1/2 cup almond flour
  • 1 cups unsweetened, finely shredded coconut
  • 1 egg white (save yolk for lemon filling)
  • Pinch sea salt
INGREDIENTS: (filling)
  • 3 eggs, plus 2 egg yolks (you are going to have one extra egg white – just save it, and throw it in your next batch of scrambled eggs)
  • 6 tablespoons 100% pure maple syrup
  • 1/3 cup lemon juice (about 2 lemons)
  • 2 tablespoons lemon zest
  • 1/3 cup almond flour
METHOD:
1.  Turn oven on to 350F.
2.  Melt coconut oil over low heat on the stove.  Add maple, coconut, almond flour, and sea salt.  Stir until combined.  Remove from heat.
3.  Add 1 egg white, and stir vigorously for 1 minute.  Crust dough will be very sticky.
4.  Line a 9×9 baking dish with parchment paper, and pour crust dough into dish.  Using hands, press dough down in dish until compact, and evenly spread throughout.
5.  Poke a few holes in the crust using a toothpick.  Maybe 10.  To prevent it from bubbling up when cooking.  This step is important.  Don’t skip it.
6.  Bake crust for 10 minutes, remove from oven.
7.  While crust is cooking, whisk the eggs plus the egg yolks in electric mixer until light and frothy.
8.  Add the rest of the filling ingredients, and whisk for 2 minutes.  Set your timer.  2 minutes, people.
9.  Pour the mixture over the crust, which you already baked for 10 minutes.
10.  Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until edges are slightly brown and center is set.
11.  Let it cool.  No really, don’t eat it yet.  Let it cool.  It is important for it to set.  Give it 30 minutes.
12.  Dust with coconut flour – looks just as beautiful as powdered sugar, and nobody will be able to tell the difference.  Promise.
13.  Cut, and consume.

 

*Use organic ingredients whenever possible.
**Adapted from Green Kitchen Stories.

Sweet Potato + Leek Cakes, with Yogurt Sauce

Erin brought these delicious cakes to my house for dinner over the summer and I believe I have made them three times since. They are so yummy and so beautiful. The first time I made them we just ate them by themselves with the yogurt sauce drizzled over the top. The second and third times, we have placed the cakes on a bed of mixed greens, topped with a fried egg and then drizzled the yogurt sauce on top… our favorite way to eat them, for sure.

The recipe is from Sprouted Kitchen – if you haven’t checked out her blog yet, we strongly recommend it. Her new cookbook is a beautiful piece of art, too. She cooks mostly vegetarian, whole, real foods and the photos of her food are breathtaking. I followed this recipe of hers step-by-step, so she gets all the praise for this one!

I doubled the recipe so we could have leftovers through the week and it made about 20 smallish cakes. The ingredients below need to be doubled if you wish to do the same.

sweet potato + leek cakes with yogurt sauce

INGREDIENTS: (sweet potato cakes)
  • 1 3/4 lbs sweet potatoes (I baked mine, then peeled them and set aside to cool)
  • 2 teaspoons butter or coconut oil, plus more for cooking
  • 1 leek, halved and thinly sliced
  • 2 teaspoons tamari
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • Pinch of red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 cup oat flour (gluten-free oat flour if you need it to be GF)
  • 1 egg, whisked
METHOD: (sweet potato cakes)
  1. Either bake or boil your sweet potatoes until softened and set aside to cool.
  2. While your potatoes are cooking/cooling, in a large pan melt your coconut oil or butter and cook the chopped leeks over medium heat until softened, about 4 or 5 minutes. Once they are ready, set them aside and let them cool.
  3. In a large bowl, add the sweet potatoes, tamari, garlic, red pepper flakes, whisked egg, and flour and mix together with the cooled leeks until combined.
  4. Over medium to medium high heat in a large pan, melt enough coconut oil/ butter to completely coat the pan. Form your patties from 2 tablespoons of the sweet potato-leek mixture and flatten a bit with a spoon once in the pan. If your patties are too wet/sticky to work with, add a bit more flour until they are only “tacky” feeling and not wet. You don’t want them to fall apart in the pan.
  5. Keep an eye on the oil in your pan, if it gets too dry your patties will stick to the pan and most likely scorch – but they’ll be beautifully crisped if you keep up with the oil/butter. Let each patty cook for about 7-8 minutes or until they look nice and browned.
  6. Place cooked cakes on a paper towel lined plate to blot off excess oil while you finish cooking the rest. Serve the cakes warm with the yogurt sauce drizzled on top or on the side. These are amazing on a bed of lettuce with a fried egg! But they are just as yummy on their own! Enjoy.
INGREDIENTS: (yogurt sauce)
  • 1/2 cup greek yogurt, or plain whole milk yogurt
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons chopped cilantro or basil
  • 2 tablespoons shallot, minced
  • Pinch of salt and pepper
METHOD: (yogurt sauce)
  1. Add the yogurt, oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper to a food processor or blender and pulse a few times until combined.
  2. Add the herbs and chopped shallot to the yogurt mixture and pulse until the mixed.
  3. Can be stored in a sealed container in the fridge!

 

*Use organic ingredients whenever possible.
**Taken from Sprouted Kitchen.

Peanut Butter Quinoa, with Apples + Honey

Oh gosh. I have found a winner. I don’t know about you all, but one of my all-time favorite go-tos for a snack or even a dessert is sliced apple drizzled with peanut butter and honey. In fact, if we don’t have something on hand for dessert, chances are quite good that I will make myself my apple “treat.”

This recipe is perfect for breakfast, lunch (I am currently eating it for lunch as I type), breakfast-for-dinner or post-dinner snack! It’s super quick and easy, too. And… a huge hit with the kiddos. Score!

I topped mine off with a whole banana sliced up. Perfection. I think cinnamon will be added next time… because you all know how much I love my cinnamon. If you have all of these ingredients in your kitchen,  which you probably do, go make it! And let us know what you think.

peanut butter quinoa with apples and honey

 

INGREDIENTS:
  • 1/2 cup of quinoa, rinsed
  • 1 cup of water (to cook quinoa in)
  • 2 heaping tablespoons of peanut butter or more if you want it more peanut-buttery! (I used 3 tablespoons of natural crunchy peanut butter)
  • 1 tablespoon of raw honey
  • 1 apple diced
  • 1 banana for topping (optional)
METHOD:
1. Give your quinoa a quick rinse in a mesh strainer and cook in a medium pot according to the package instructions.
2. After quinoa has cooked, remove from heat. Stir in the diced apple, peanut butter and honey and stir until everything is combined thoroughly and you don’t have anymore globs of peanut butter left.
3. Serve warm. Top with sliced banana if you choose. Enjoy!
NOTE:  Makes 2 large servings.

 

*Use organic ingredients whenever possible.
**Adapted from Oh Shine On.

Carrot Cake Muffins (dairy-free, grain-free, gluten-free, paleo, processed sugar-free)

So two nights ago husband asked me to make 24 muffins for him to bring to work the next day. Which normally is no problem. But this time, he asked at 9pm, just after I got the kitchen all cleaned up and was headed toward bed. I wasn’t about to go to the store, so I had to think quick and whip up something with ingredients on hand. As I was scrolling through my muffin recipes, I remembered these gems. And miraculously had all the ingredients.  I’ve probably made these 15 times in the past, and am not sure why I haven’t posted them yet. They are one of my very favorite, if not my absolute favorite grain-free baked item. Actually, that’s a lie.  This chocolate lava cake surpasses all, but these carrot guys are a distant close second.  They are slightly time-consuming. Not difficult, but just lots of steps. I think it will be worth your efforts however – they are delicious. Allegedly, husband’s coworkers scarfed those muffins down and had no idea they didn’t contain flour, sugar, or vegetable oil.  Gross.   PS, if you are wondering why we use the ingredients we do, read here. And lastly, I think I’ve finally found the best white frosting recipe on the earth without using powdered sugar or dairy. So while you are at it, make this (dairy-free, processed sugar-free, vegan) frosting too and spread it on your muffins!  Enjoy!

Carrot Cake Muffins (dairy-free, grain-free, gluten-free, paleo, processed sugar-free)

INGREDIENTS:
  • 1 1/2 cup blanched almond flour
  • 1/2 cup coconut sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon cardamom
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded carrots
  • 1/2 cup pureed dates (if your dates are too dry to puree on their own, let them soak in hot water for 10 minutes, drain off water, and then puree in food processor)
  • 1 cup chopped pecans
METHOD:
1.  Preheat oven to 325F.
2.  Get all your ingredients ready – shred carrots (in food processor or with a cheese grater), puree dates, and chop pecans.
3.  Combine dry ingredients (almond flour, coconut sugar, salt, baking soda and spices) in a large bowl and set aside.
4.  In a smaller bowl, whisk together eggs and melted coconut oil.
5.  Add wet ingredients to dry, and stir to combine.
6.  Mix in pureed dates and carrots.
7.  Fold in pecans.
8.  Divide evenly among 12 muffin liners, and bake for 20-25 minutes, or until toothpick inserted into middle of muffin comes out clean.
9.  Allow to cool completely, then top with this frosting!

 

*Use organic ingredients whenever possible.
**Adapted from The Cupcake Project.

Coconut Cream Frosting (dairy-free, gluten-free, processed sugar-free, paleo, vegan)

Oh man.  Been on the hunt for a white frosting that doesn’t use powdered sugar.  Finally found the best one.  Tried so many.  Failed at so many.  This one wins.  It is creamy, the texture is perfect, and the taste is incredible.  This will for sure be my go-to frosting recipe. Most recently I made it to put on carrot cake muffins, but it would be good on pretty much anything you wanted to frost.  I may have even consumed a few spoonfuls straight out of the fridge.  Don’t judge.  You would have too if there was a tub of this in your fridge.  Let us know what you think of this when you make it!  This frosting would also be real good on pumpkin muffins, chocolate cupcakes, blackberry bars, or spread on grahams!

Coconut Cream Frosting (dairy-free, processed sugar-free, paleo, vegan)

INGREDIENTS:
  • 1 cup full fat coconut milk (canned)
  • 1 cup maple syrup
  • Pinch sea salt
  • 5 teaspoons arrowroot powder
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 1 1/4 cup coconut oil, melted 
METHOD:
1.  Combine coconut milk, syrup, and sea salt in a saucepan over medium heat on the stove and simmer for 10 minutes.
2.  While the mixture is simmering, combine arrowroot and water in a small bowl to make a paste.
3.  After 10 minutes, pour arrowroot mixture into saucepan and whisk enthusiastically to combine.
4.  Quickly bring to a boil, until bubbly and shiny.  Then remove from heat.
5.  Very gradually add coconut oil to mixture, blending either with hand blender, or in stand mixer with whisk attachment in place.
6.  Allow to cool for 10 minutes, then transfer to refrigerator for a minimum of 2 hours (I left mine in overnight).
7.  Remove from refrigerator, and blend again until light and fluffy.  Serve immediately.
NOTE:  Due to the coconut oil in this recipe, this frosting does not hold up well in high temperatures.  If you are making this ahead of time, I would spread it on cupcakes or cake immediately after whipping, store in refrigerator, and remove cupcakes or cake about and hour before serving.  This will allow frosting to soften up a bit, but not become overly warm and melt.

 

*Use organic ingredients whenever possible.
**Adapted from Elana’s Pantry.