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.

Artichoke Chicken with Mustard Vinaigrette (grain / gluten / dairy free, paleo)

I am always on the look-out for weeknight dinner recipes that are quick and easy but also delicious enough to serve to company on the weekend if I wanted to. This one fits the bill. It’s also a one pan dinner which equals quick and easy clean-up as well.

This dish has great flavor. I love the combination of the artichoke and mushroom with the mustard vinaigrette. I hope you enjoy it, too!

artichoke chicken with mustard vinaigrette, gluten grain dairy free, paleo

INGREDIENTS:
  • 4 organic chicken breasts (thighs/legs would do great, too)
  • 1 can artichoke hearts, quartered
  • 1 onion roughly chopped
  • 1 pound mushrooms, sliced
  • 2 tablespoons of brown mustard 
  • 2-3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1/4 cup red wine
  • 1/2 teaspoon of Trader Joe’s 21 Seasoning Salute (If you aren’t familiar with this, it’s basically just a fabulous blend of spices – I use it for practically everything.)
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • Salt and pepper to taste
METHOD:
  1. Pre-heat oven to 350.
  2. Line a 13 x 9 baking dish with parchment paper. Arrange the artichokes on the bottom of the pan, place the onions next, then the mushrooms.
  3. Lay the chicken on top of the veggies.
  4. In a mixing bowl combine and mix the mustard, garlic, oil, vinegar, wine and spices. Pour this mixture over your chicken. I let mine marinate in this for about an hour before placing it in the oven, but you certainly can skip that step.
  5. Cook for about 45 minutes. *If your chicken pieces are on the thinner side, check your chicken for doneness around the 30 minute point, you definitely don’t want to overcook it. However, the thicker pieces may need to cook for as long as an hour.
  6. Serve hot and pile all the veggie goodness on top of your chicken. Hope you like it!
*Use organic ingredients whenever possible.
**Adapted from The Chew.

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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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.