PB + Jam French Toast

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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!

WATERMELON + LIME POPSICLES

Watermelon Popsickles

July is National Watermelon Month and I have been wanting to make these for a while, so this is an opportune time for a nice, juicy popsicle! I had a sweet, ripe watermelon and wanted to add a little zing to it, so I added a fresh lime. You could also add a couple drops of lime essential oil to really bring out the lime flavor!

Watermelon doesn’t just taste good, it also has some great health benefits! This delicious fruit contains lycopene, a powerful antioxidant. It’s about 92 percent water, so it is a great way to stay hydrated. Watermelon also contains Vitamins A, B6 and C, magnesium and potassium. The lime helps digestion, blood sugar levels, constipation and even heart disease!

This was an easy treat to make so you shouldn’t spend too much time in the kitchen. And it’s kid-approved so it makes a great healthful treat.

Ingredients:

4 cups of ripe watermelon

1 lime

Dash of sea salt

2 drops of lime essential oil (optional)

Preparation:

Add all of the ingredients into a blender and puree. Pour into the popsicle containers and freeze overnight. Enjoy this cool, refreshing treat the next day!

 

GARAM MASALA BEEF + VEGETABLE BOWL

Do you ever get in a cooking “funk” and get bored with your regular weekly cooking ideas? Well, this recipe was a result of overcoming my cooking doldrums, and it seemed to go over quite well with the family! I wanted a different flavor than just my usual garlic and onions, so why not Indian flavors? My first Indian dish experience was in DC with my husband, when we were first dating. The fragrant spices, with a hint of heat, cooled down with rich, creamy coconut milk. Ahhhhh!!!!

I didn’t use coconut milk in this dish. I didn’t want a creamy sauce with the beef. This dish is a great high protein-low carb meal and even GAPS-friendly. I will be making this recipe again!

 

Ingredients:

1 1/2 lbs ground beef

2 cups green beans, trimmed

1 large sweet onion, diced

1 container baby bella mushrooms, diced

3 large carrots, diced

1/2 cup bone broth

5 garlic cloves, minced

3/4 Tbs garam masala

2 tsp sea salt

1 1/2 tsp cumin

1/2 tsp turmeric

1 head of cauliflower, riced (I also get mine pre-cut at Trader Joe’s in the produce section)

Preparations:

In a large pan, saute onions on medium-high heat for a couple of minutes. Add beef and brown for a couple of minutes and then mix in garlic and spices. Let cook for about five minutes then add the green beans and cook for another 5 minutes. Next, add the mushrooms and bone broth and cook for about 3-5 minutes, until the mushrooms have cooked down. The last thing to add will be the riced cauliflower. The cauliflower takes on whatever flavors you have in your dish, so I like to mix it thoroughly. If your carrots and green beans are still a little too crunchy, just cook the mixture a little longer for your desired texture. I don’t like mushy vegetables, so these times worked well for me.

SIMPLE SUMMER PARFAITS

Summer is around the corner and the weather is confirming this with hot and humid days! I am finding myself choosing cooler foods and yoga as exercise to help endure this weather. I found an amazing yoga studio here in North Palm Beach called Power Yoga Tribe. The community is like family and the instructors/owners, Preston and Christen have some serious love and talent for yoga! Preston’s birthday was coming up and I love to cook for others, so I created a quick and easy summer parfait. I just used a cute little mason jar and layered my cultured yogurt recipe with fresh organic fruit. The cultured yogurt has an amazing taste compared to store-bought and it provides amazing benefits for your gut health.

You can store the parfaits in the fridge for several days but mine were gone the same day. This makes a quick and easy snack that even your kids will love! There are so many things you can do with yogurt in the summer. Keep checking back to see other great recipes I am creating for my family.

Ingredients:

1 cup cultured yogurt (you can use store-bought)

1 tsp raw honey or pure maple syrup

Dash of cinnamon

1 cup of blueberries, raspberries or diced strawberries (whatever you prefer!)

Preparation:

Add a heaping spoon of yogurt to the jar, enough to cover the bottom completely. Add choice of fruit, enough to cover the yogurt. Keep alternating yogurt and fruit until you fill the jar. I topped mine off with fruit for a visual effect. Cover tightly and store in the fridge.

Do you have any great ideas for yogurt? Please share and post to our community!

 

 

CREAMY CAULIFLOWER + MEATBALL SOUP (GAPS-FRIENDLY)

This recipe is our family’s new favorite dish! I could make this every week and my guys would be happy. The combination of the meatballs and hearty veggies, can satisfy anyone. You really don’t miss the carbs. I used my homemade bone broth to make this dish really gut-healing and flavorful. I also added more water since you cook the meatballs in the soup and I wanted a large batch for leftovers. You can adjust the water to how much broth you prefer in your soup. Cooking the meatballs in the broth makes them moist and the veggies come out perfectly tender with a little crunch in the kale!

I pureed some of the cauliflower to add more depth to the broth. This recipe is adapted from a meatball recipe in the cookbook “The Heal Your Gut Cookbook“. If you are looking for great GAPS recipes, this is the book to have in your kitchen. I made a huge pot for leftovers. Cook once, eat twice!!!

Ingredients:

1 lb organic ground beef

1 lb ground pork (organic if possible)

2 eggs

1 qt homemade beef bone broth

3 cups filtered water

1 head cauliflower, chopped

1 bunch of kale (about 8-10 large leaves), chopped

4 carrots, peeled and chopped

1 8 oz container baby bella mushrooms, sliced

1 large sweet onion, sliced

5 cloves garlic, minced (divide in half)

2 tsp sea salt

2 tsp dried oregano

1 tsp dried basil

1 tsp ground pepper

Preparation:

Cut all of your vegetables before you begin this dish. You can even cut them the night before or earlier in the day to save time.

Add a little broth to a very large stock pot, just enough to saute half of your garlic. Cook garlic on medium-high for a couple of minutes until it becomes fragrant. Add the rest of the broth and turn up heat to bring broth to a boil.

In a large bowl, combine beef, pork, eggs, other half of minced garlic, all of the spices and mix well. Make about 1 inch meatballs and place on a tray. I use a small ice cream scoop to make my meatballs.

Once your broth is boiling, add the cauliflower and cook until fork-tender. Next, turn down heat to medium-high and puree half of your cauliflower. I use an immersion blender and just blend some of the cauliflower.

Add the meatballs one by one to the pot. Next add the carrots, onions, kale and mushrooms. Cook for about 20 minutes. Add more salt and pepper to taste. The broth and meatballs already have a lot of flavor, so we didn’t need to add more seasoning. Enjoy!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

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.

 

 

TURKEY NOT-SO TORTILLA SOUP

Turkey Not So Tortilla Soup

Okay, who is tired of their Thanksgiving leftovers? Every year, I love to create a healthful, appetizing recipe with our leftover turkey. Turkey can be very boring, so what better way to spice it up than to go Mexican! The weather was a little cool on the day I created this, so it really hit the spot for our family. Both my husband and son wanted seconds, so this will definitely be a new staple in our recipe box.

This dish was really simple and quick. So if you have a busy day, you can whip this up in a jiff! You probably already have most of these ingredients in your kitchen. You can garnish this dish with avocado or add brown rice, to make it a heartier meal. Or even add a little tortillas for some crunch. I wanted to keep it clean, so for me, I nixed the tortillas. Please use organic ingredients, when possible.

Ingredients:

1 1/2 pounds shredded turkey meat

1 medium onion, chopped

1 poblano pepper, seeded and chopped

2 cups plum tomatoes, chopped

1 cup Pomi brand strained tomatoes

1/2 cup shredded carrots

3 garlic cloves, minced

4 cups organic vegetable broth

1 10 oz package of frozen corn

1 Tbs. chili powder

2 tsp. cumin

1 tsp. sea salt

1 tsp. garlic powder

1 bay leaf

1/4 cup fresh chopped cilantro

1/2 Tbs. grape seed oil

Preparation:

Heat up a large pot on medium-high. Add 1/2 tablespoon of grape seed oil to the pot, then wait a minute and add onions and poblano pepper.

Saute a few minutes, then add the chopped tomatoes and garlic.

Let the mixture cook for a few more minutes then add the turkey, carrots and spices. Next, add the strained tomatoes and vegetable broth and mix well. Let it simmer for about 10 minutes, then turn down the heat to medium.

Add the package of frozen corn, and cilantro. Let the soup simmer for at least 20 more minutes. This is where the flavors start to marry. By now, your kitchen is smelling, oh so good!!! Mmmmmm….

Serve with avocado or brown rice. For an extra treat, crumble some tortillas on top.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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 🙂