The Best Grain Free Chocolate Cupcakes!

By April | Filed in Eating

I tested a lot of ingredients to get this recipe perfect. I had five final recipes with this one that stood out as my favorite. I sat my family down for a blind taste test and they all agreed that this was by far the superior chocolate cupcake. They love them! Grain free for the win! Just in time for our birthday celebration and hike with family today!

Grain Free Chocolate Cupcakes

Combine the dry ingredients:

Once combined mix in the following (same bowl):

  • 4 Organic Eggs

  • 1/2 cup + 2 Tbsp. Organic Sugar

  • 1/3 cup Olive Oil

  • 1/8 cup Organic Coffee

  • 1/2 cup Unsweetened Applesauce

  • 1/8 tsp. Vanilla Extract

  • 1/8 tsp. Coffee extract

  • 1/8 tsp.  Chocolate extract

Bake at 375° for 20-25 minutes. Spoon batter into cupcake liners in a cupcake pan. Stainless steel is safest and what I use. They are done when the centers no longer wiggle. Cool completely and frost with a buttercream frosting and optional natural sprinkles and clown toppers. Makes 12 cupcakes.

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Gluten Free Bread Recipe for Bread Machine

By April | Filed in Eating

When we eat bread this is my go to gluten-free bread recipe. I also like to make sprouted emmer bread but we’ll save that recipe for another day. I have been experimenting with different ingredients for the past five years and this recipe is the result of numerous tweaks in my test kitchen. This recipe makes a soft universal bread that can be used as a sandwich bread or as you desire. It’s not only gluten free but it doesn’t use nut flour or coconut flour. I have made many different breads with coconut flour and I didn’t like the texture. If you are sensitive to the nut flours like I am or you are just not fond of ingesting so many nuts in your diet, you’ll like this recipe. It’s also oat free. There tends to be a lot of gluten free recipes containing oats and as I’ve mentioned in previous posts, I like to avoid oats. My bread machine is just a regular non-expensive bread machine. It’s not a specially made one with gluten free settings so there is no need to go invest in another appliance for this.

Gluten Free, Bread Machine, Bread:

  • 1 package yeast (I’ve used both active dry and instant bread machine yeast and they both work the same in this.) This is 2  1/4 tsp. if you buy your yeast in bulk.

  • 1/4 cup warm water

  • 2 tbsp. organic sugar

Combine the yeast, sugar and water and let sit on counter for 10-15 minutes. While the yeast becomes active you can begin adding the rest of the ingredients to the bread machine.

Once the yeast is foamy and active add it to the rest of the ingredients in the bread machine. Select the basic bread setting with light crust (if yours has this option). That’s it, let the bread machine do the rest of the work.

I’m not entirely convinced that I want to be eating xanthan gum. I will continue to experiment to find an alternative that works as well to make a bread that doesn’t taste like card board. I know that even with the xanthan gum, this recipe is far superior to the gluten free options at the store with all of their soy, canola oil, corn syrup and other corn products that are probably GMO. Since it’s homemade I can also leave out the dough conditioners, preservatives, artificial flavors and coloring and added synthetic vitamins like folic acid that can be very damaging to some people-if not everyone. I also don’t feel we should be eating foods like this regularly so I try to limit how often we eat it. It is nice to have this alternative to gluten when I’m craving a piece of bread though.

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Have you ever wanted to grow edible flowers? Nasturtium flowers are edible, pretty to look at and protect other plants by allowing cover for garden spiders and other good bugs. I have mine growing around the outside of my chicken coop so that my chickens can help themselves to a flowery treat every now and then. That is if my children don’t get to them first. I love having plenty of things growing in my yard that my children can walk by and munch on. It is also said that the flowers help rid chickens of internal parasites- bonus!

Nasturtium are easy to grow and like full sun. They won’t flower as well in partial shade so find them a sunny spot. Plant them in the early spring and they will bloom throughout the summer and fall. If some flowers fall to the ground they should reseed themselves and come back the next year like mine do.

Edible flowers are a fun addition to any garden. Hope you have as much fun with them as we have!

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Coconut Rice Pudding

By April | Filed in Eating

This is a creamy and delicious breakfast for those cold winter mornings. In our family we don’t eat oats because of the phytates. Phytates interfere with mineral absorption and can lead to mineral deficiency. Soaking some grains helps in this area. We eliminated oats from our diet after reading Cure Tooth Decay and learning how soaking doesn’t reduce the phytic acid in oats like it does in other grains. This didn’t eliminate our love of having a warm, comforting bowl of oats for breakfast, so I went in search for something to replace it with.

Rice pudding was not something I grew up eating but it sure has been fun to make it for my children. My version uses creamy coconut milk instead of large amounts of cream and milk. When I buy cream and milk I buy it raw and organic and the last thing I want to do is cook it. I don’t like cooking homemade milk from my raw coconut either. If I’m not cooking it I make my coconut milk homemade. Food from cans is not ideal. Coconut milk is one of the few canned foods I will use/buy other than pumpkin for my gluten free pumpkin pancakes when fresh isn’t available. This is an absolutely delicious treat that my children request frequently. Enjoy!

Ingredients:

  • 1 organic egg, beaten (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon organic vanilla extract
  • 1 tbsp. grassfed butter (optional)
  • 1/2 cups organic raisins
  • 1/2 teaspoon Ceylon cinnamon

Directions:

In a saucepan, combine rice, coconut milk, salt and maple syrup. Bring to a boil while stirring. Once boiling reduce the heat, cover and simmer. Simmer until all of the liquid has been absorbed by the rice. Add the beaten egg, swiftly stirring it into the rice. This step can be left out if there are sensitivities and the pudding will be just as wonderful. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in vanilla, butter (leave out for a dairy free version), raisins and cinnamon and serve warm.

 

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Thursday I announced on the Facebook page that I was going to do another fun giveaway. I asked you all to choose what should be given away.

These were the choices:

A. http://amzn.to/1mMqmB1
B. http://amzn.to/1atm7Yq
C. http://amzn.to/1dSKnUg

You all voted and B, the Melissa & Doug Wooden Table Set, got the most votes.

Here’s how to enter to win this cute little set for yourself:

I’m not going to make you subscribe to my blog or Youtube channel. Feel free to do that if you like the content. Just leave a comment below stating why you’d like to win. That’s it! Simple and easy. The winner will be selected through random.org on February 1st and announced here on this blog post.

Congratulations to Chelsea Morgan, the winner of the Melissa and Doug table set!

 

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Sunflower Seed Butter Cookies

By April | Filed in Eating

I don’t eat peanuts or peanut butter. Not only am I sensitive to peanuts, but I also avoid them because they are often contaminated with aflotoxins. Even organic peanut butter is often contaminated! Find out more here. When I  want something like a peanut butter cookie, I make these instead. They have the added benefit of being grain, gluten and dairy free, which is great for those who have sensitivities to these foods!

 

Sunflower Seed Butter Cookies:

1 16 oz jar organic sunflower seed butter
1 cup organic sugar
1 egg

 

 

 

Mix ingredients, roll into balls, criss-cross smash the tops with fork tines and bake on an ungreased cookie sheet (preferably a safe choice like stainless steel). Bake at 350 for 6 to 8 minutes. Makes 2 dozen cookies. These are a bit fragile until they’ve cooled, so carefully move them to a cooling rack to cool. Enjoy!

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People always ask me what we eat for certain meals. Some will inquire about more ideas for healthy breakfasts while some are in need of dinner ideas. Like I’ve mentioned in the past, we do a lot of smoothies, fresh juices and fruit for breakfast but also hearty breakfasts filled with eggs and vegetables. This roasted vegetable rustica skillet is an example of one of the meals I make.

We go on hikes, bike rides or walks every morning. Everyone will usually grab a piece of fruit before and when we get home we eat something more fulfilling like this. Everyone gets a nice full belly of nutritious vegetables and organic nutrient dense eggs from our chickens. This is grain free and can easily be made Paleo. If you are wondering why we try to avoid grains, Wheat Belly is an excellent book on the topic.

Roasted Vegetable Rustica Skillet Breakfast:

Chop large chunks of veggies of choice and place on a non-toxic baking pan drizzled with olive oil and top with salt and pepper. Examples of vegetables: Zucchini, Yellow Squash, Bell Peppers, Tomatoes, Onions, Mushrooms (I don't eat mushrooms but you may). Roast for 30 minutes at 430 degrees or until they are roasted to your liking.

 

Once the veggies are roasted you can top them with poached or over easy fried eggs, some shredded cheese, green onions, bacon crumbles or other toppings you may prefer.

 

 

Enjoy!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Homemade Coconut Pudding

By April | Filed in Eating

I was in the mood for some comfort food tonight, and with no milk in the house, I had to figure out a way to make some pudding for everyone. I tweaked my dairy recipe a bit and made the most divine coconut pudding. I had to share the recipe for those who are dairy free, or for those who like to use a lot of coconut like I do. This pudding is so creamy and divine you won’t even know it’s dairy free!

Coconut Pudding Recipe

Ingredients:

  • 2 cans organic coconut milk (haven’t tried homemade yet but it could possibly work)

  • 3/4 cup organic sugar

  • 4 Tbsp organic cornstarch

  • 1/4 tsp salt

  • 1 tsp vanilla

  • 1 Tbsp organic butter *optional, can leave out for dairy free

In medium saucepan over medium heat, heat milk until bubbles form at edges.  In a separate bowl, combine organic sugar, cornstarch and salt.  Pour the mixture into the hot milk, a little at a time, whisking to dissolve.  Continue to cook and stir until mixture thickens enough to coat the back of a metal spoon. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the vanilla and butter.  Pour into serving bowls.  Chill before serving or eat it warm. Mmmm! Enjoy!

 

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There are a few people who have been messaging me asking where my Holiday gift guide is this year. Well here it finally is! You may have seen some of these shared on the Facebook page in the previous weeks as well.

A. I love this Le Creuset Honey Pot. Not only is it cute, it’s functional too!

B. Another cute and functional kitchen item is my antique butter bell crock. I store my nutrient dense Kerrygold butter in it.

C. Himalayan salt is not only great for flavoring your favorite dishes, it’s also a great air purifier. I own several of these Himalayan salt lamps. It purifies by emitting negative ions to clear air of smoke, dander, pollen, and other pollutants. It also adds a beautiful, warm, soft amber glow to any room

D. Stainless steel pans are so awesome to cook/bake with! I grew up using aluminum so when I first experienced stainless steel I was surprised at how superior it cooks and cleans compared to what I was used to. More importantly,  you are sparing your family from eating aluminum that would otherwise leach into their food.

E. These Lifefactory glass water bottles are awesome!

F. My Sweet Bee Magic Skin Cream is one of my favorite indulgences. It’s all organic and made from extra virgin olea Europaea olive oil,  Cera Alba (Beeswax),  honey, propolis extract, bee pollen, and royal jelly.

G. I recently decided to try this Berry Breeze Activated Oxygen Refrigerator Deodorizer and I’ve been really excited about the results! Produce is lasting much longer.

H. I know I’m known for using stainless steel straws but these glass straws have been a very welcome addition to my kitchen. We love these and they are actually very hardy.

I. These 2 quart glass batter bowls with lids are essential to every whole food kitchen. The lid is especially important for quick and easy storage of a plethora of items.

For some bonus fun ideas check out one of my favorite stores on Amazon, the Silly Yogi. I recently splurged and bought myself these knit mittens from them. For more ideas check out last year’s gift guide here.

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Homeschooling Tools

By April | Filed in Parenting

I’ve received many questions over in my Facebook inbox asking how I teach certain subjects to my children. Many have also asked what my favorite workbooks or curriculums are but these are a resource we don’t rely heavily upon at this time. This is a difficult question to answer with a short explanation and since I haven’t covered it fully in other posts, I will cover it now.

One specific fan Kelly asked: “My sons are ages 5 and 3 and I have made the decision to homeschool. I am not sure what we need to get started. With the holidays coming up I was hoping to start acquiring some of the things we need. What would you recommend?”

Homeschooling, life learning or unschooling families learn at home but also with plenty of time out in the world. Most of the homeschooling families I know tend to collect certain tools for the home to facilitate the learning process. I am no different but I especially like anything that facilitates learning through play. Tools that help foster critical thinking, spatial problem-solving tasks, language comprehension, inventive thinking, problem solving, math reasoning, and logic. In our home we use all types of building materials and many games that provide stimulus through creative play to achieve these things.

Some of our favorite building materials are:

Good ole Lincoln Logs! These classics don’t even need an introduction! You will never have too many Lincoln Logs!

 

 

 

 

 

Magformers “spark curiosity and play time is creative, stimulating, and constructive. Building with Magformers engages mathematical and scientific thought, deductive
reasoning, and requires use of spatial awareness. Manipulating the powerful, colorful Magformers magnets IS educational, but despite being an educational experience, play is magical and FUN!” I agree 100% with that statement. Our children never tire of these and are always competing to be the one who gets to play with them next.

Metro Mags are another super fun magnetic building toy. “Square and triangular tiles adhere on all sides for infinite 2D and 3D building possibilities. Open-ended manipulative building set engages children of all ages in creative play. Develops spatial awareness and problem-solving, logical thinking, and math reasoning.”

Wood Blocks I love wood toys! They are my favorite! ”Stimulates creativity and hones basic motor skills. Features natural look; pieces are easy for little fingers to grasp. Excellent tool for teaching math concepts, organizational skills, sequential skills, and spatial relations”

In addition to the things above we really love board games. I’ve discussed some of our favorites that are great skill builders here.

Then there’s always Lego’s, but most already know about them. What you may not know are some of the cool techniques to teach things like math, music and grammar using Lego’s. Check it out here!

Okay, so I know some of you may be thinking, “where’s all the super hero figures, princess dolls and the video games.” I know some of our favorites are a little old fashioned but you don’t have to be limited to just these things. These tools are timeless learning tools that even adults enjoy getting down on the floor and playing with.

Just a reminder: indoor play is great but we all need plenty of time in nature. Don’t forget to spend plenty of time outdoors with your children. Get your hands into the soil and grow things. Smell the flowers and take your shoes off and connect with the Earth. You can count leaves and pine cones, discuss the beautiful colors you see, learn about the seasons and learn to identify plants. The options are endless.

So there you have it! Hope this helped inspire you to try some new building materials to assist your homeschoolers in their learning!

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