Apple Pie Balls (grain / gluten / dairy free, paleo)

It was a beautiful and hot summer here in Seattle… and fall has officially arrived!  And these little treats are perfection!! Best part for me is that they are quick and easy, and don’t even require baking. All you need is a food processor, Vitamix, or your favorite chopper-upper and you’re good! These keep beautifully in the fridge and then you have a cool treat packed full of yummy, good-for-you ingredients! These make about 12-16 balls or an 8×8 dish of Lara-type bars. Enjoy, friends! They are delicious and a big hit with the little ones, too.

Apple Pie Balls (gluten : grain free, paleo)

INGREDIENTS:
  • 1/2 cup pecans
  • 1/2 cup almonds
  • 1/2 cup walnuts
  • 12 medjool dates, pits removed
  • 3/4 cup dried apple rings
  • 1 tablespoon chia seeds
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
METHOD:
  1. Put pecans, almonds and walnuts in the food processor and pulse until the nuts are coarse meal consistency.
  2. Add the pitted dates, dried apple rings, cinnamon, nutmeg, chia seeds, and salt to the ground nuts and pulse until everything is thoroughly combined and processed. 
  3. The mixture should be sticky enough to roll into balls OR you can form them into Larabars: line an 8×8 dish with parchment paper, plop your mixture into the dish and smooth and flatten with your hand to shape the bars flat, refrigerate for a couple of hours and then cut into bars/squares once they’ve firmed up enough.
  4. Once formed into balls or squares, they should be kept in a covered container in the fridge.
*Use organic ingredients whenever possible.
**Adapted from Mind Body Green.
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Whole Wheat Belgian Waffles

Prior to May, I had made waffles twice. And they were not good. But in May, I volunteered to make waffles for my son’s Staff Appreciation Breakfast at his elementary school. Husband thought I was crazy. My awesome neighbor Julie (who was also on the committee) came to the rescue with this recipe. It is a favorite in her family. So I tried it out on my family, who loved it, and set out to multiply this recipe by 8 and serve to the staff. It worked! And it was so much fun! So much so that we made them again in bulk just a few days later for my 4 year-old’s birthday party.

I double this recipe every time I make these. We have a really deep Belgian waffle iron and it uses a ton of batter, so I don’t get as many per batch. These freeze beautifully! You can take them out as needed and pop them in your toaster for a quick breakfast. Also, another lunch box favorite. Jonah loves these sandwich style with peanut-butter and honey in the middle. Yum. Enjoy!

Whole Wheat Belgian WafflesINGREDIENTS:
  • 2 cups white whole-wheat flour
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 tablespoons raw honey
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups warm milk
  • 1/3 cup butter, melted (we use Kerrygold Butter – Unsalted)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
METHOD:
  1. Mix the dry ingredients together.
  2. Beat the eggs, stir in the milk, vanilla, melted butter and honey.
  3. Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients and mix well.
  4. Pour batter on to your waffle iron (mine is a super deep Belgian iron and takes about 1/2 cup of batter) and cook until golden brown.
  5. Add some butter, 100% pure maple syrup, fruit and enjoy!
  6. Makes about 10-12 waffles
*Use organic ingredients whenever possible.
**Adapted from All Recipes.
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Chicken Salad with Parsley, Grapes, + Pecans (gluten-free, paleo)

All of this sunshine in Seattle has done atrocious things to my meal-planning and my dinner-making. I have been scrounging through the fridge and pantry around 4:30 every afternoon practically demanding things to appear out of thin air. We have had some pretty pathetic dinners at our house the past couple of weeks. The kids and I haven’t been able to bring ourselves in out of the sunshine. It’s simply magnetic to us Seattle-ites.

This chicken salad has been in my sunny day repertoire for a really long time. I’m not sure where it came from and I’m sure random things get added in to the mix, so the recipe is super duper flexible. Such as, I cook my chicken with the celery stalks, but I do not put celery in my chicken salad because I have a strong dislike for celery in things… but you, dear reader, may add celery to yours! And whatever else you’d like, for that matter. I hope it comes in handy and saves you from the sunny-day-scramble-for-dinner blues.

Chicken Salad with Parsley, Grapes, + Pecans (gluten-free, paleo)

INGREDIENTS:
  • 2 boneless organic chicken breasts
  • 3 stalks celery
  • Large handful of fresh parsley, roughly chopped
  • Large handful of red grapes, quartered
  • Large handful of lightly toasted pecans, chopped
  • 3 green onions, chopped (use the whole onion)
  • 1/2 cup of homemade mayonnaise (may need more depending on how wet you want your mixture to be, can also use 1/2 mayo, 1/2 sour cream)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
METHOD:
  1. In a large pot half-way filled with water add your chicken breasts and celery stalks, salt and pepper and bring to a boil. Once water is boiling, lower heat to medium low and let chicken simmer 30 minutes to an hour.
  2. Remove chicken and let it cool. Once it has cooled to touch, shred with a fork (or in your mixer with paddle attachment in place) and place in a medium-sized bowl with chopped parsley, grapes, pecans, green onion, and mayo.
  3. Mix it all together and taste and add salt and pepper accordingly, and possibly add more mayo or sour cream if the mixture doesn’t seem wet enough for your taste.
  4. Slather it on homemade honey whole wheat bread, whole wheat tortillas, crackers, tortilla chips or eat it by the spoonful! Also would be delicious rolled up in lettuce or chard. (p.s.This is well-loved by my son, he likes it rolled up on a whole wheat tortilla, so I send them in his lunchbox.)
*Use organic ingredients whenever possible.

Fresh Fruit + Mint Salad with Honey Lime Vinaigrette

We go through crazy volumes of fruit in our house. I don’t know many people who don’t enjoy fruit, but it’s the one food group that all of our kids agree upon and love wholeheartedly. This fruit salad is another gem from The Joyful Kitchen ladies. I have made it the last two weekends and I love, love, love it. The addition of mint just kicks it up and makes it taste so, so fresh and delicious.

I don’t really think it matters what fruits you choose, I’ve changed it up each time and it was equally delicious.

Fresh Fruit and Mint Salad with Honey Lime Vinaigrette

INGREDIENTS: (for the fruit salad)
  • 1 pineapple, cored and cut into bite-sized chunks
  • 6 kiwis, peeled and chopped
  • 3 oranges, peeled and chopped
  • 1 pound of strawberries, chopped
  • 1-2 mangoes, peeled and chopped
  • 2-3 tablespoons of fresh mint leaves
INGREDIENTS: (for the dressing)
  • Juice of two limes
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 2 tablespoons honey (can use less depending on sweetness of fruit)
  • 2 tablespoons of a lightly flavored oil (olive oil is what I used, grapeseed oil would work great, too)
METHOD:
  1. Whisk together the dressing ingredients.
  2. Toss gently with the fresh fruit and mint.
  3. Garnish with more fresh mint.
*Use organic ingredients whenever possible.
**Taken (with permission) from Julie @ The Joyful Kitchens.

Honey Mustard Chicken with Bacon + Mushrooms (Alice Springs Chicken, gluten / grain free)

Some of my fondest memories of growing up are from eating out in restaurants as a family. I tell my husband that eating out is one of my love languages. It’s my parents’ fault. We ate out every Friday night with my sweet papaw. Usually Cracker Barrel, sometimes Wendy’s, and sometimes steakhouses! One of my favorite steakhouses, reserved usually for birthday celebrations growing up, was Outback. Oh yeah. The blooming onion! That dark loaf of bread! The salad with yummy croutons. And the Alice Springs Chicken. It’s been so many years since I last stepped into an Outback Steakhouse, but when I saw this recipe on Pinterest over a year ago I had to make it, and I have made this chicken over and over again. It makes me happy. My kids are kind of picky when it comes to chicken dishes unfortunately, but all three of them LOVE this chicken. I blame the bacon. I hope you and yours love this as much as we do.

Honey Mustard Chicken with Bacon, Mushrooms, + Cheese

INGREDIENTS:
  • 4 chicken breasts
  • 6 slices of bacon
  • 1/2 package of sliced mushrooms
  • 1/4 cup mustard
  • 2 tablespoons mayonnaise
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1-2 cups colby jack cheese, cheddar will do fine, too.   We like Kerrygold Cheddar Cheese. (Omit cheese if Paleo) 
  • Salt and pepper to taste 
METHOD:
  1. Pre-heat oven to 350. Line a 9 x 13 baking dish with parchment paper.
  2. Cook your bacon. Put cooked bacon aside. Do not dump out the bacon grease – you’re going to brown your chicken in it in the same pan! 
  3. While your bacon is cooking, mix the mayo, mustard and honey together. This is your honey mustard sauce.
  4. Place your chicken in the pan with the bacon grease still in it and cook chicken 3-4 minutes on each side or until lightly browned.
  5. Place lightly browned chicken in your baking dish, top with slices of bacon, mushrooms, the honey mustard and then finally the cheese!
  6. Let bake until chicken is fully cooked, about 30 minutes, but be sure to check for doneness.
  7. Serve with extra honey mustard sauce, if desired. Kids love dipping their chicken in this!

 

*Use organic ingredients whenever possible.
**Adapted from Amy’s Finer Things.
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Rachel’s Morning Glory Muffins (loaded with seeds, nuts, fruits, and vegetables)

Good morning! I have a super special treat to share with you guys. Today I am introducing you to these most amazing muffins. These babies are packed full of good-for-you ingredients to start your day off just right or to give you an energy packed treat as an afternoon pick-me-up. But there is more as to why these guys are so special… If you live in Seattle and haven’t attended a class taught by The Joyful Kitchens, you need to. The Joyful Kitchens is made up of three lovely Seattle ladies who are like the quadruple threat in the kitchen, if such a thing exists. They teach, they cook from scratch, they cater, they photograph – and most importantly they are wonderful, sweet, hospitable, and beautiful women. I have taken three of their classes in the past year and have learned so many fun new recipes and tricks that range from cocktail parties and holiday treats, to most recently fun brunch food. These muffins came from that class. I asked Rachel if she would let me share this recipe with you guys, because I know that you will love them just as much as we have. They will be a staple in our home for sure. They are great as a quick breakfast and perfect for a snack. I’ve been sticking them in Jonah’s lunchbox everyday too, to get him through the rest of his afternoon at school.

So run out to your favorite bulk bin location and stock up! We love to hear from you, so let us know how you liked them and I will be sure to pass all compliments along to Rachel!

morning glory muffins with seeds, fruit, and nuts.

INGREDIENTS:
  • 1 1/2 cups whole spelt flour
  • 1/4 cup natural raw wheat germ (this was the only item I forgot when I went bulk bin shopping for these muffins so I used an additional 1/4 cup almond flour)
  • 1/4 cup almond flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh ground nutmeg
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 2 cups shredded carrots (would be great with shredded zucchini, too)
  • 1 tart apple peeled, cored, and shredded
  • 1/2 cup raisins
  • 1/2 cup chopped and pitted dates
  • 1/2 cup chopped raw walnuts
  • 1/2 cup raw sunflower seeds
  • 1/4 cup raw pepitas (pumpkin seeds)
  • 1 teaspoon toasted flax seeds
  • 1/2 cup chopped super dark chocolate or dark chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup shredded, unsweetened coconut
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure almond extract
  • 1 tablespoon molasses
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup melted coconut oil
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon course sea salt
  • 3/4 cup pure maple syrup
METHOD:
  1. In a large bowl, mix together all dry ingredients. Add in the shredded apple and carrots, the raisins, dates, walnuts, seeds, chocolate, and coconut.
  2. Using your hands, mix all of the ingredients together to ensure everything gets coated with the flour.
  3. In a separate bowl, beat the eggs and add the applesauce, maple syrup, molasses, melted coconut oil, almond and vanilla extracts.
  4. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and stir until just incorporated and moist. If your mixture is too dry, add just a touch more applesauce.
  5. Scoop batter into greased muffin tins.
  6. Bake for 20-35 minutes at 350 or until the middle is set if using regular muffin tins. If using mini muffin tins, bake for 15 minutes.
  7. Eat warm out of the oven with butter! Enjoy!
  8. Makes 12-18 regular size muffins or about 26 mini muffins
  9. NOTE:  We are working on a gluten-free / paleo conversion for this recipe as well.
*Use organic ingredients whenever possible.
**Taken from Rachel @ The Joyful Kitchens.

Crock Pot Refried Beans

We have been making these beans for about a year now and I cannot get enough of them. They couldn’t be easier to start first thing in the morning, let cook all day, and enjoy for a simple but delicious dinner. These beans go hand-in-hand with the Whole Wheat Tortillas, Erin’s Pulled Pork, and my husband’s homemade guacamole (recipe coming soon). Add some shredded cheddar, sour cream, and dinner is set! Also, this makes a ton – the beans freeze beautifully in a freezer-safe container for another day. Enjoy!

crock pot refried beans

INGREDIENTS:
  • 2 cups dried pinto beans, thoroughly rinsed (you can also use black beans if you’d like)
  • 6 cups water
  • 1 onion, chopped roughly
  • 1 jalapeño, diced (If you like a bit of heat like we do, we sometimes add a jalapeño and a serrano or a poblano… you can’t mess this up. If you aren’t so into spice, either omit the pepper entirely or seed it and just use half.)
  • 1 teaspoon of salt
  • 1 teaspoon of black pepper
  • 1-2 teaspoons of ground cumin
  • 2-4 crushed cloves of garlic
METHOD:
  1. Dump your rinsed pinto beans into the crock-pot, pour in the water. Add your chopped onion, garlic, pepper, and spices. Give it a stir and cover.
  2. Let this cook on high for 8-10 hours.
  3. Remove the biggest chunks of onion and the excess liquid. With a potato masher, mash the beans until they are the consistency you’d like them to be. If you want them extra smooth, save some of the excess liquid to add back in while mashing.
  4. These are SO delicious and taste like restaurant quality beans.  Enjoy!
*Use organic ingredients whenever possible
**Adapted from 100 Days of Real Food.