PB + Jam French Toast

pb-jam-recipe.jpg

It’s a new season in our home in so many ways. The weather is cooling off, we are back in a daily groove for a new school year, and my son is venturing on his own in the kitchen! He is coming into his own independence, and he is expressing it through making some of his own meals. The best part is his initiative to do it on his own, albeit with a little help here and there.

Today, I made a quick and simple raspberry jam to go with breakfast, instead of the usual maple syrup. I’m trying to cut back on sugar for everyone. My little guy wanted French toast with a creative twist. So, he made a peanut butter sandwich and then cut it up into strips to create French toast “sticks”. There’s just something fun about eating a meal without utensils for kids!

Here’s the recipe for both the jam and French toast sticks.

Jam Ingredients:

1 cup organic raspberries

2 Tbs filtered water

1 Tbs raw honey

1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract

Splash of lemon juice

Preparation:

Add raspberries and water to a small sauce pan and cook on medium-high until the berries start to boil. Cook for a few more minutes and stir occasionally, so the berries don’t burn or stick to the bottom of the sauce pan. Add the honey, vanilla, and lemon juice and then mix well. This is when your kitchen starts smelling divine! Let it cook a couple of more minutes and then set aside.

French Toast Ingredients:

2 slices organic whole grain bread (we prefer gluten-free bread)

1 free-range organic egg

1/4 cup plant-based milk

1-2 Tbs organic peanut butter (my guy lives extra peanut butter)

1 tsp pure vanilla extract

2 dashes ground cinnamon

1 dash ground nutmeg

1/2 Tbs organic coconut oil

Preparation:

Add the egg, milk, vanilla and spices in a mixing bowl and whisk together. Preheat a medium-sized pan on medium-high and then add the coconut oil to the pan. Meanwhile, spread the peanut butter on the two pieces of bread to make a sandwich, and then cut into four strips. Dip the sticks into the egg mixture and place into the pan. Cook on each side for 2-3 minutes or until golden brown. I also helped him cook the strips on all four sides. It seems like a bit more work, but they come out really good!

Spoon a few tablespoons of the berry jam into a little container for dipping, or just spread it over the French toast and serve! My son gobbled this up and requested more for tomorrow!

SAGE + BUTTERNUT SQUASH FRITTATA

Frittata

I wanted to explore some new breakfast recipes and butternut squash is a GAPS-friendly ingredient, so I incorporated it into a frittata. To make it fun, I spiralized the butternut squash. It also made it easier to spread it out evenly in the pan. Sage seems to compliment this winter squash well and the goat cheese really brings everything together. And of course bacon goes with anything and my husband requested it in the recipe.

We didn’t miss the crust since this dish had so many great flavors and it was quite satisfying. Carbs are one of my biggest weaknesses. So anytime I can make my tastebuds happy sans carbs, I feel I have conquered the craving monster!

Ingredients:

1/2 butternut squash (non-bulbous end), peeled and spiralized

6 pieces bacon (nitrate + msg-free)

6 eggs, beaten

3 oz goat cheese

2 cloves garlic, minced

6 sage leaves

1/4 tsp sage powder

Salt + pepper to taste

Preparation:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Cut the bacon into small pieces and cook on medium-high until almost done in a medium-sized cast iron pan (or one you can put in the oven).

Next add the minced garlic and cook for about a minute.

Then add the squash and saute for about 3 minutes.

Add half of the goat cheese in tiny dollops over the mixture.

Mix in the sage powder, salt and pepper into the eggs and mix well then pour over squash mixture.

Add the remaining goat cheese over the mixture and place the sage leaves on top.

Bake for about 20 minutes or until golden on top.

 

HOMEMADE INSTANT POT YOGURT

yogurt-and-raspberries

I have another reason to love my Instant Pot. Yogurt!!!!! I have always wanted to make yogurt but it seemed so intimidating to attempt this task. But with the GAPS diet, it is highly recommended to eat homemade yogurt. It’s like a staple in the menu! So I perused through my wonderful Facebook group of Instant Pot mamas and found some great tips and recipes to glean from, to make yogurt. You can find great video tutorial here by Freida and Cheryl is the master of yogurt tips and recipes here. I HIGHLY recommend you read over both before attempting to make your own yogurt. You will thank me later!

My first batch was a failure due to a faulty thermometer. But my second batch was a hit and I made more batches with great success! I can’t believe how easy this was with my Instant Pot! I start this process about an hour before bed so it can cook overnight. Here is the basic recipe everyone uses and my instructions.

Ingredients:

1 half gallon of organic or grass-fed pasteurized whole milk

2 Tbs organic plain Greek yogurt

Tips:

Make sure your yogurt is NOT ultra pasteurized. It’s not recommended and it didn’t work for me!

I HIGHLY recommend whole milk. Don’t skimp on the fat, it will compromise the taste.

Get PLAIN yogurt for best results. Besides, who needs the extra sugar and if it contains too much sugar it can mess up the culturing process.

Make sure your yogurt has “live and active cultures” listed on the back. You need these in order to “start” the culturing process of your yogurt. Are you beginning to see the science in this process?

I get the small, individual containers for my yogurt. Once you open the container, the cultures begin to die off, causing it to lose its efficacy in creating cultures for your new yogurt. Once you start making your own, you can use the yogurt from your own batch to make more. Just make sure the yogurt isn’t more than 5 to 7 days old.

Kitchen Accoutrements Needed:

Instant Pot

Digital Thermometer

Ladle

Wire whisk

Cup (for mixing starter yogurt with 1 cup of scalded milk)

Large bowl (for an ice bath and then straining yogurt)

Large colander (for straining yogurt – optional)

Tea cloth, cheese cloth or coffee filters (to strain yogurt – optional)

 

Preparation:

STEP ONE: WARMING THE MILK

Pour the milk into the inner pot in the Instant Pot.

Place and lock the lid and make sure the valve is moved to the “SEAL” position.

Press the YOGURT button and then quickly press the ADJUST button until you see the word BOIL on the display. This will slowly scald your milk. (Takes about 30 minutes.) Meanwhile, go and read over the instructions five times like I did and watch Frieda’s video two more times to be sure you know what the heck you’re doing!

Take out the starter yogurt and place in a cup to get at room temperature. I use a Pyrex measuring cup so I don’t have to worry about the heat of the milk when I mix it together.

When the cycle is complete, the timer will beep. Don’t panic. Just make sure your digital thermometer is in reaching distance and unlock and remove the lid. Try to open and then lift back the lid quickly to avoid the water getting into your yogurt.

STEP TWO: COOLING THE MILK

Place the thermometer in the milk and it should read about 180 degrees or higher. I have never had it below that temperature, so this has never been a problem for me thus far. Remove the thermometer and the “skin” of the milk with a spoon or whatever works for you and then prepare an ice bath for the inner pot to cool down the milk. I use an avocado smasher from Pampered Chef to remove the skin. It works really well! Don’t laugh!

Press the CANCEL button to turn off the Instant Pot.

Place the inner pot of milk into the ice bath. This is a VERY FAST cool down for the milk, so make sure you stir it continually with the whisk to avoid “hot spots” in the milk. This only takes about five minutes or less! Once your thermometer reads between 110 to 115 degrees, immediately remove the pot from the ice bath and dry off the bottom of the pot with a towel. (If you cool our yogurt down too much, you can warm it back up a little by using the SAUTE button. Just CANCEL the yogurt cycle and then press SAUTE. Once it warms up, cancel the cycle again.)

Add about half a cup of warm milk to your starter yogurt and whisk until well blended. Add it back to your pot of milk and gently stir it with the whisk. Make sure you don’t scrape the whisk on the bottom of the pot! A film of milk is created on the bottom of the pot during the scalding step and it can affect the smoothness of your final yogurt.

STEP THREE: CULTURING THE YOGURT

If you have managed to heat and cool down your milk accordingly, the hard part is over! At this point, you place the inner pot back into the Instant Pot and lock the lid back on. Make sure the valve is turned to the seal position.

Press the YOGURT button again and hit the “+” button until you see 8:00 appear. (This stands for 8 hours of cooking time.) Pat yourself on the back for totally conquering the yogurt making process! Now go take a bath with some Epsom salt and lavender essential oil and get ready for bed. Tomorrow morning you will wake up to a pot full of delicious nourishing yogurt!

STEP FOUR: STRAINING THE YOGURT (OPTIONAL)

I love Greek yogurt so I always strain mine. If you like a runny yogurt then once the cycle is done you can just spoon the yogurt into a large container. I use mason jars for mine. Try not to scrape the bottom of the pot to avoid the milk film.

If you want Greek yogurt, then you want to get out your colander to strain your yogurt. I place the colander in the large bowl and then place a tea towel to strain mine. I have used coffee filters in the past and they worked very well but I found them cumbersome and it was annoying when they would move around when I was pouring the yogurt into the colander.

Cover the bowel with a large plate or any cover will do and place in the refrigerator for about 4 hours. The longer it strains, the thicker your yogurt. I did it overnight once and I found it to be too thick for me.

I keep my yogurt plain in the mason jar so I can use it in different ways. I use it with fruit, granola, smoothies and even sauces. My son’s favorite way to eat it is with a little honey, vanilla extract and fresh fruit. I hope you enjoy your new world of yogurt!

yogurt

 

 

SATURDAY FRITTATA

fritatta

Happy New Year! I hope you had a wonderful holiday season! Our family went up to Georgia to spend time with family and get some much needed rest. Then we returned and got hit really hard with a nasty bug! We are on the mend now and looking forward to getting back to our daily routines.

So I finally found the picture that goes with this recipe, so now I can share it with you! I love making a big breakfast for my family on the weekends. I love to let my husband sleep in and wake up to the smell of bacon, fresh brewed coffee and whatever recipe I am creating in the kitchen. My husband works really hard during the week, so one of my “love-languages” is “acts of service”, so cooking is a way I like to express my love for him. I recently made this delicious, yet Candida-friendly, vegetable frittata for breakfast. If you aren’t on any food restrictions, it would go nicely with some whole-grain or gluten-free toast!

If you have a cast-iron pan, well drag it out of your cabinet or drawer and let’s get cooking! I don’t know about you, but cast-iron pans weigh a ton, so I literally drag mine out every time I use it! I chose asparagus for something different in my morning eggs and I was quite impressed with the benefits of these little green trees. They contain antioxidants, vitamin B12, high in amino acids, and are loaded with vitamins A, C, K, fiber and folate. How good is that?

Here is what I threw together to make this yummy frittata:

5 eggs, scrambled

10 asparagus spears, chopped into 1 inch pieces

1/2 red pepper, diced

4 green onions, diced

1/3 cup of goat cheese

Salt + Pepper to taste

1 Tbs Ghee (can find in health food stores)

Preparation:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Heat up a medium-sized cast iron pan (or any pan that can go into the oven), on medium-high.

Add the ghee and then the asparagus and the red pepper. Saute for about 2 minutes.

Then add the green onions and cook for about a minute.

Next, add the scrambled eggs, salt and pepper to taste, and evenly spread the goat cheese over the mixture. I picked a firmer goat cheese, so it was easy to break apart.

Let the pan sit on the stove for a few minutes to cook the bottom part of the frittata.

Place the pan in the preheated oven and bake for about 10 minutes. You don’t want to overcook it. Eggs keep cooking once you take them off of the heat.

Enjoy!!

AUTUMN APPLE BUTTER

apple-butter

I love anything with apples. And this is the time of year I love to play around with apple recipes. The smell of the warm spices and apples, bubbling over on the stove is simply divine! This recipe is a spin-off of my Harvest Apple Butter recipe I did a few years ago. I just tweaked a few things and pureed the final recipe. This is not your traditional dark apple butter, since I left out the clove. And I don’t want to spend a lot of time in the kitchen this holiday season. I am really trying to be more in the moment with my family.

You can slather this smooth and creamy butter on toast, pancakes, waffles, ice cream or even just eat it out of the bowl. You can even make it chunky by not blending it. My husband and son devoured a small portion right out of a bowl. But I’m saving the rest for chilly mornings, when I make toast or pancakes for my hungry guys.

I hope you are enjoying your holidays with your families and created warm and loving memories to cherish!

Ingredients:

5 organic gala apples

1 bartlett pear

1/4 cup filtered water

1 Tbs coconut butter (also called manna I got mine at Whole Foods)

Juice of 1/2 a lemon

1 Tbs pure maple syrup

1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

1/2 tsp fresh grated ginger

Couple dashes of ground nutmeg

Preparation:

Peel, core and cut the apples and the pear into large chunks.

Add the fruit, water, cinnamon and ginger to a medium sauce pan and cook on medium-high for about 30 minutes. Stir the mixture several times while it simmers, so the fruit doesn’t stick to the pan.

Add the lemon juice, coconut butter and maple syrup and let it simmer for about another 10 minutes. If the heat is too high, lower it so it doesn’t burn. Stir a few times to keep it from sticking.

Blend the mixture or just smash it up to the consistency desired. I used an immersion blender, but you can also use a blender or food processor. This was easier clean up for me!

Spread it on a warm piece of toast, smile and enjoy!

 

 

 

CHOCOLATE CHIP-COCONUT OATMEAL BARS

Chocolate Chip + Coconut Oatmeal Bars

I love making healthful yet fun snacks for my little guy. Anything to get him to eat clean-eating recipes. I don’t keep a lot of packaged snacks in our home, so I try to make some snacks to break the monotony of fruits and veggies.

I haven’t made oatmeal bars in a looooong time, so I had fun making these chocolate chip coconut bars. I added some really hearty ingredients to boost the fiber content and sweetened them with natural sweeteners like raw honey and raisins. These bars are quite filling, so you can even serve them at breakfast.

Ingredients:

2 cups organic rolled oats

1 cup almond meal

1/2 cup ground flax seed

1/2 cup gluten-free flour (I used Bob’s Red Mill)

1 cup bittersweet chocolate chips (I used Pascha Organic brand)

1 cup organic raisins

1 cup toasted coconut flakes

1 tsp sea salt

1 tsp ground cinnamon

1 1/2 cups organic plain greek yogurt

1/2 cup organic peanut butter

1/2 cup raw honey

1/4 cup coconut oil (+ 1 tsp for baking pan)

1 tsp pure vanilla extract

Preparation:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

If you are not using a stone baking pan, grease the cookie sheet with 2 tsp of coconut oil. I use the Pampered Chef large bar pan. It measures 10″ x 15 1/5″ x 1″.

In a large mixing bowl, combine the dry ingredients (oatmeal through the cinnamon) and mix well.

In a small mixing bowl, combine the wet ingredients (yogurt through vanilla extract) and mix well.

Combine the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients bowl and mix well. Don’t be afraid to get in there and mix it up with your hands! I use a little coconut or olive oil to coat my hands to prevent the mixture from sticking. Plus your hands are really soft after you wash them off!

Press the mixture into the bar pan. Bake for about 30-35 minutes. Oven times vary with different stoves. After they cool off, cut into little squares. I yielded about 32 bars!

Store them in an airtight container and keep refrigerated.

 

 

BERRY-SPECIAL FRENCH TOAST

Berry French Toast

We just celebrated another anniversary. It has been 11 years of growth, sacrifice, joy, laughter, selflessness, gratefulness, fun, excitement, adventure, disappointment, forgiveness, hope, unconditional love, and I wouldn’t change it for anything. I am so grateful for all of God’s provisions, wisdom, grace and unconditional love. I never knew how hard marriage could be and no one really warns you!

It’s ironic how we invest our time and money for our career, education, hobbies, and even working out. But we don’t think twice to do it for our marriages. My husband and I have always been intentional about growing in our marriage. We have spent the last few years with marriage mentors through our church and we are now a part of the marriage ministry called ReEngage. This was one of the best decisions we have made for our family. If you are looking to strengthen your marriage, save your marriage or even have the hope to save a marriage that is already over; this is the place to go. With God, all things are possible!

Anniversary Collage

To show my husband, how much I appreciate and love him, I wanted to make him a nice breakfast. He loooooooves a home-cooked meal, especially when I make it. I was anticipating a busy day with my business and homeschooling, so I wanted to make sure we started it off really special. So, the night before, I prepared a breakfast casserole to help save time since my husband gets up at the crack of dawn.

Originally, I was going to make my Pecan Banana French Toast Casserole, but I was out of bananas! Soooooo, my creative juices kicked in and here is what I created. He loves berries, so I knew this was going to be a hit!

Ingredients:

5 slices gluten free bread (I use Udi’s)

4 organic free-range eggs, beaten

1/2 cup fresh raspberries

1/2 cup fresh blueberries

1 ½ cups coconut milk

¼ cup of raw honey

1 tsp. pure vanilla extract or 1 vanilla bean (I prefer the vanilla bean)

½ tsp. ground cinnamon

1/4 tsp. sea salt

1/16 tsp. ground nutmeg

Coconut oil (for greasing the pan)

Topping:

1 cup pecans

½ tsp. ground cinnamon

1 Tbs. coconut oil

1 Tbs. raw honey

Casserole Preparation:

Grease an 8×8 baking pan with coconut oil.

Cube the bread into large pieces and place in a medium bowl.

In a large bowl, mix together the eggs, milk, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt, vanilla and honey.

Add the cubed bread into the egg mixture and mix up really well.

Place in the refrigerator and let soak for at least an hour or even overnight.

While the bread is soaking, prepare the pecan topping.

Topping Preparation:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Mix all of the topping ingredients in a small bowl.

Spread out on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper.

Bake for about 15 minutes, check at the 10 minute mark to stir them around for an even roast.

Store in an airtight container and keep at room temperature, if cooking the casserole the next day.

The next day or an hour later:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Take casserole out of the refrigerator and let it warm up for about 20 minutes. (I don’t like to go from cold to hot with a glass dish.)

Mix in the fruit and spread the pecan topping evenly over the top.

Bake for about 50 minutes. Done when knife comes out clean. Let it sit for at least 5-10 minutes before cutting.

Bon appetite!

MOIST + DELICIOUS APPLE CINNAMON COFFEE CAKE

Apple Cinnamon Coffee Cake

I wanted to make a special coffee cake to compliment the great coffee with an event I was hosting. I had an Open House to display my different gift ideas with essential oils. I love creating a cozy, warm and welcoming atmosphere in my home for guests. What better way than to brew some fresh coffee and bake something in the oven.

The coffee is from Restore Coffee Roasters, my church’s coffee shop in the mall. You can find them here. Our coffee shop was created to help fund and support many organizations through our church. And I may be a bit biased, but I think our coffee is better than Starbuck’s 🙂

This cake turned out fantastic! It was moist and delicious! The cinnamon and sweetness was juuuuust right! I will be keeping this recipe as one of my go-to dessert or breakfast cakes. I can’t take full credit for this recipe. It was adapted from the recipe from WellPlated by Erin. You can find the original recipe here. I used gluten-free flour and substituted the buttermilk with full-fat canned coconut milk, the sugar with pure maple syrup and coconut sugar, added pure cinnamon essential oil to add some depth to the flavor and nixed the sugar glaze. This cake was sweet enough without the glaze.

Ingredients:

For the cake:

1 1/4 cups gluten-free all purpose baking flour (I use Bob’s Red Mill)

1/2 tsp. sea salt

1/2 tsp. baking soda

1/4 tsp. allspice

1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg

4 Tbs. grass-fed butter, softened (I love Kerry’s)

1/2 cup pure maple syrup

1 large egg, at room temperature

1 tsp. pure vanilla extract

3 drops pure cinnamon essential oil* (I only recommend a certain brand for consumption)

1/2 cup full-fat canned coconut milk

2 organic red delicious apples, peeled and diced

For the topping:

3/4 cup organic old fashioned rolled oats (not instant!)

1/3 cup of organic coconut palm sugar

1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

1/4 tsp sea salt

2 Tbs grass-fed butter

1/4 cup chopped walnuts

Preparation:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. I used a nonstick pie pan from LeCreuset. Grease your pie pan if it isn’t non-stick. You can also use a spring form pan. Grease it then line it parchment paper and grease it again.

Prepare the cake: In a medium mixing bowl, mix together the flour, sea salt, baking soda, all spice and nutmeg.

In a large glass or stainless steel bowl, cream together the maple syrup and butter. I used an electric hand mixer to give it a more fluffy consistency, since I didn’t use sugar. Stir in the cinnamon essential oil then add the egg and vanilla, mix well. (Note: drop the cinnamon onto a stainless steel spoon before adding, to avoid too many drops in your mixture.)

I followed Erin’s instructions in blending the dry and wet ingredients. I figured there must be a science to it, so why mess with perfection? Take a 1/3 of the dry ingredients and 1/4 cup of the coconut milk and add to the butter mixture and blend well. Next, add another 1/3 of the dry ingredients and 1/4 cup of coconut milk and blend again. Add the remaining 1/3 of the dry ingredients to the mixture.

Stir in the apples and mix well. Pour into the pie or cake pan.

Prepare the topping: In a small bowl, combine the oats, coconut sugar, cinnamon, salt and chopped nuts. Mix in melted butter. Sprinkle over the cake. Bake for about 40 minutes. Cake is down when it is lightly brown and a knife inserted into center of cake comes out clean. Take out and let cool for about 20 minutes. Run a butter knife around the edges to loosen before cutting.

Enjoy!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

EASY KALE AND TOMATO SCRAMBLE

Kale and Tomato Scramble

 

It has been really busy in the Milu home lately. Holidays are literally creeping up and my food processor broke last week and just yesterday my Blendtec had an issue! This is truly a health coach and nutrition/food blogger’s nightmare!! So I had to adapt and overcome this morning by making this easy veggie scramble after my workout.

This recipe literally took only about 10 minutes from start to finish! And its a very satiating meal. I used dinosaur kale instead of the traditional kale. It seemed heartier and even smelled “greener”. Is that even possible? 🙂 I loved getting my protein and veggies at the same time!

Ingredients:

3 organic eggs

3 kale leaves

5 mini San Marzano tomatoes, halved (use whatever you have on hand)

2 Tbs feta cheese

Dash of garlic powder, salt and pepper

1 Tsp. grass-fed butter or coconut oil

Preparation:

Preheat a medium-sized pan on medium high. Add butter or coconut oil. Add tomatoes and kale and cook a few minutes, until the kale turns bright green. Then add the eggs and seasonings. Mix up like scrambled eggs. Add the feta cheese and let it cook for about another minute. Enjoy!

Do you have any great easy and quick recipes to share for the holidays? I would love to have more for my family cookbook!

 

PUMPKIN PROTEIN SMOOTHIE

Pumpkin Smoothie

The pace is picking up in the Milu home for the holidays. School is in full swing, weekly co-op groups, family gatherings, fall cleaning in the house and getting ready for the holidays. My health saving meal is my morning protein shake. It’s quick, easy and packed with nutrition. I wanted to change-up my recipe since it’s fall, so I just had to add pumpkin! Pumpkin contains vitamin A, carotenoids, fiber, zinc and so much more. Plus it adds a rich, creamy taste to your smoothie.

Have a happy fall!!!

Ingredients:

1 cup coconut milk (I used the canned, full-fat version)

1/2 cup pure pumpkin

2 drops pure cinnamon essential oil* (I only recommend 1 brand)

1 wooden toothpick tip, dipped in clove essential oil

1 scoop plant-based  protein

1 vanilla bean pod, (scrape the inside to get to the beans, don’t use the pod)

(you can substitute for 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract, but this tastes better 🙂

1 Tbs. raw honey

1/8 tsp. ground nutmeg

1 small frozen banana

5-6 ice cubes

1/2 cup coconut water

Preparations:

Add ingredients in order listed. Blend on high until creamy consistency.

Note: Make sure when adding essential oils, you add the cinnamon by first dropping it into a spoon and then stir it in. Dip the wooden toothpick into the clove and then swirl it into the mix. This avoids adding too much oil to your recipe 🙂