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Real foodies love cookbooks and kitchen gadgets. But don't forget about the little ones. Here are my top picks for little foodie gifts.

My Top Picks for Little Foodie Gifts

Real foodies love cookbooks and kitchen gadgets. But don’t forget about the little ones. Here are my top picks for little foodie gifts.

Real foodies love cookbooks and kitchen gadgets. But don't forget about the little ones. Here are my top picks for little foodie gifts.

If you want your kids to grow up knowing about real food, you have to teach them. What better way than with some Christmas gifts that promote real food and natural health?!

My kids love all things related to food – cooking food, eating food, learning about food and nutrition. So it’s no surprise that my gift list for little foodies isn’t that different than my list for adults. Just a little more age appropriate.

My kids have or want everything on this list. So it really is little foodie approved!

Desiccaated Liver

Now you might think I’ve really lost it. I put liver at the top of my gift list and now on my kids’ gift list! I really truly believe it is that important. Although my kids would not want a jar wrapped up under the tree, they do understand how nutritious it is and request to add it all sorts of foods.

Soon I’ll be sharing my son’s secret taco seasoning recipe – which includes lots of desiccated liver. My youngest likes to put liver on her salads.

While this may not be a stocking stuffer, using liver in your cooking will give your kids the gift of good health. And it doesn’t get much better than that.

You can always get an extra 10% off using my code TAKE10. I already stocked up for the year. Merry Christmas to all my kiddos! Grab yours HERE.

Kids Cook Real Food eCourse

Making nutritious food for your kids is a wonderful gift. The next best thing…teaching them to cook good food! It’s the gift that won’t take up space and will benefit them for a lifetime.

My six year old loves to cook dinner with me. By the time he is college age he’ll practically be a chef. I keep saying he is going to make an amazing husband someday.

My girls beg to help in the kitchen too. That’s why we’ve been doing the Kids Cook Real Food eCourse for two years now! Even as early as age two kids can learn to use knives, proper measuring skills and how to follow a recipe.

This really is a gift for you too. Wouldn’t you love for your kids to be able to get up in the morning and make breakfast? With the KCRF eCourse they will!

Grab a spot today in the Kids Cook Real Food course! This is a great gift for Grandpa and Grandma to get the kids.

Kitchen Tools

If you teach your kids to cook…they’re going to want some kitchen tools. Trust me on this one. My kids LOVE having their own set of measuring spoons and cups, knives and other little gadgets like crinkle cutters.

This can be a great way to encourage a child that is hesitant to help in the kitchen. It also teaches your child responsibility by needing to take care of their own equipment.

Last year my oldest got a set of knives for Christmas. Now every time she helps with chopping she HAS to use her knives. Maybe this year I’ll get a set for my son. Yes, a six-year old can safely use sharp knives! They learn how in the Kids Cook Real Food eCourse.

Chef Coat/Hat/Apron

Of course when your kids start working in the kitchen with their new skills and new tools they will have to look the part. Last winter my oldest and I made super cute aprons for each child. They grab them whenever they help me cook. Or even just to set the table. My son likes to fill the pockets with silverware and pretend he works at a restaurant.

This year I think we might go a step up and get the older kids chef coats (like these)! My daughter wants to be a baker some day. And my son really loves to cook. They will be thrilled to look like a real baker and chef with the proper attire.

Again, it’s one more way to encourage kids to learn about food, nutrition and how to cook. It’s a win for everyone.

Cookbooks

My oldest is an avid reader. She has been since she was a few months old. I could read book after book to her when she was literally three months old. It was crazy.

Now at age nine she still devours books. One of her favorite things to read is a cookbook! It’s actually a great way to teach younger kids to read too. Get one with lots of pictures to help those younger readers (and for those that just love to see good food). Then you can look through it together or they can read on their own.

Choose some recipes to make together. Or for older kids challenge them to try a new recipe on their own for dinner some time!

Here are a few good ones:

Nourishing Meals

The Nourishing Traditions Cookbook For Children

The Nourishing Homestead

Real foodies love cookbooks and kitchen gadgets. But don't forget about the little ones. Here are my top picks for little foodie gifts.

Nutrition Books

I may be getting a bit nerdy here. But this is how important nutrition is to me. I really want my kids to understand why we eat the way we do. I want them to understand how to care for animals, how to grow our own food and how it helps our bodies. Not to mention how we eat is important for taking care of God’s holy temple.

This year for science we chose to study human anatomy and physiology. My kids LOVE it! They beg to do science every day. We just finished learning about the digestive system and are now learning about nutrition. Perfect! This is the curriculum we are using.

I know not everyone homeschools. But that doesn’t mean you can’t study nutrition! Find age appropriate books (or even “study” some cookbooks) and make time to read them often.

We love these books about eating the rainbow that are simple yet show what each color of the rainbow does for our bodies.

We live in a world where food comes in boxes and bags. Which leads to the question...how much do your kids know about their food?

Play Kitchen

Hands down the toy all of my kids play with the most is our play kitchen and food/dishes. We started with just a small bucket of play food when my oldest was about two. It has evolved now into a full bin of dishes and food. They make elaborate feasts and love to play restaurant.

This is the kitchen my youngest just got for her birthday. It is the perfect size for little hands. And all of this pretend play helps develop a love for working with food.

The sets that allow kids to practice cutting are great leads into real kitchen skills!

Mini Trampoline

Little foodies need to focus on health in addition to real food. A mini trampoline (like this one) is a great way to get out energy. But more than that it is wonderful for the lymphatic system. Every bounce or tap helps drain the lymph nodes.

When I did Hair Tissue Mineral Analysis for my girls one of the action items on their plan was to rebound for ten minutes every day! Kids think it’s fun. But it’s more than that. It is so good for them!

Crunchy Balm

Last on my list is another repeat from my real foodie gift list. Crunchy Balm. My son uses it daily when his legs get itchy. I love the quality ingredients (tallow and essential oils) and how well it works.

This year I think I’m getting my oldest some of the Crunchy Organics lip balm. She’s at the age where she is interested in “beauty products.” But there are very few products that I will let her use because I am picky about ingredients. I totally trust this lip balm. It’s on my list too! I ran out of my last one. It’s the only thing that keeps my lips from cracking in the winter.

And for the older crowd Crunchy Organics has deodorant too! Another product that requires careful consideration due to potential harmful ingredients. There are a few different scents so it works well for boys or girls! I think this will be another stocking stuffer for my oldest.

Time to Shop!

It’s so fun to shop for little foodies! I love encouraging my kids to understand where their food comes from and why it’s important. Let’s raise a new generation of good stewards, taking care of God’s creation. Start small with some fun Christmas gifts!

In order for me to support my blogging activities, I may receive monetary compensation or other types of remuneration for my endorsement, recommendation, testimonial and/or link to any products or services from this blog. It will not change the cost of any products or services for you.

Christmas is just around the corner. What should you get for the real foodie in your life? Here are my top picks for the perfect real foodie gifts that will help promote natural health and well-being.

My Top Picks for Real Foodie Gifts

Christmas is just around the corner. What should you get for the real foodie in your life? Here are my top picks for the perfect real foodie gifts that will help promote natural health and well-being.Christmas is just around the corner. What should you get for the real foodie in your life? Here are my top picks for the perfect real foodie gifts that will help promote natural health and well-being.

If you’re like my kids you want to listen to Christmas year round. If you’re like me you don’t mind the music, but you kind of dread all the hustle and bustle of buying gifts and all the other to-do’s for the holidays. And you tell yourself every year you are going to start early…and then Thanksgiving rolls around and you haven’t even started.

Don’t panic! (I’m saying that for my own benefit.) Today I’m sharing my top picks for gifts that any real foodie would love. Don’t forget that Black Friday is coming up in a few days. There will be great deals on pretty much all of these!

Desiccated Liver

Yes, liver tops my list!! Maybe I’m crazy. But that’s how much I love it. I use the Perfect Supplements brand desiccated liver. And I am so thrilled that they now carry it in powder form instead of just capsules.

I put liver in literally everything we eat because it is so nutrient dense and has more Vitamin A than just about anything else you can eat. I add it to meatballs, tacos (my son has his own taco seasoning recipe with liver), salads, smoothies and even caramel!

Whether you are a fellow liver lover or you’ve never tried it, now is a great time to stock up. Get 10% off using the code TAKE10. I might just try to stock our pantry with desiccated liver for the year! No, I’m not even joking. With little kids and trying to focus on prenatal nutrition we go through a LOT of liver. I’d gladly take it as a present. It’s like getting the nutritional equivalent of gold.

Grab your liver and other Perfect Supplements products here.

Slow Cooker

The tool I use most often in my kitchen is my slow cooker (a.k.a. Crockpot). I know everyone is crazy about the Instant Pot these days, but I’m still a slow cooker fan. I like to do my meal prep in the morning and be done for the day. Especially on the days where we are gone in the afternoon and don’t get home until dinner time. Or on Sunday mornings when everyone is starving as soon as we get home from church. It’s a life saver.

Some of my favorite slow cooker recipes are sweet and sour meatballs, meatloaf, split pea soup, mashed potatoes, sausage and lentil chili and pork and beans. And you can never go wrong with a roast, whole chicken or ribs in the slow cooker.

I use my slow cooker so often that it never actually gets put away. It has a permanent place on my counter top.

This is the kind I have been using for years. Though a larger one like this would be nice!

Tea Strainer

This may be a small, simple kitchen tool, but it’s another one I use daily. I love herbal teas for helping all sorts of things like supporting your liver, adding minerals and balancing hormones. I buy loose leaf teas in bulk and then make my own mixes depending on what my body needs.

Right now I’m drinking a lot of nettle dandelion tea. I also love to make infusions for myself and for my kids. Add some fresh or frozen fruit to a jar and let the tea steep over night. Such a refreshing and nourishing drink! Nettle is my go-to for just about everything, especially seasonal allergies.

I’m thinking about putting a tea strainer on my list again this year so I have a second one. Then I can make multiple infusions at once!

This is the one I love.

Crunchy Balm

Winter in our house brings about DRY skin. My husband and two oldest kids especially are prone to super dry, itchy skin. Our favorite remedy is Crunchy Balm. It’s made with whipped tallow and essential oils. It is so soft and creamy and really works.

Crunchy Organics has plenty of other amazing products too, like their face cream made with frankincense and a whole line of natural makeup.

I’m not sure how many jars of Crunchy Balm we have laying around the house. I just like knowing there is always plenty on hand. If you deal with eczema or any kind of skin irritation I highly recommend Crunchy Balm.

We do also love Cheshire Fields products. And the creator, Michelle, is so nice. She even made custom products for us to work around allergies! It’s hard to find natural products without coconut!!

Immersion Blender

I’m not really sure how I survived before I had an immersion blender. It is my go-to tool for a lot of food preservation during the summer and fall. I use it to puree applesauce, pearsauce and squash.

Making homemade mayo or Miracle Whip is a cinch with an immersion blender. It literally takes five minutes, including the time it takes to get the ingredients out. 

Needing foods pureed for a little one? The immersion blender makes it so easy. Cook some veggies, add broth and puree.

We also love to make pureed soups like our favorite squash and sausage soup. I eat it for breakfast lunch and dinner!

There are so many neat brands now. It’s hard to choose which one to get!!

Young Living Essential Oils

Are you new to a natural lifestyle? Essential oils are a great way to help boost your family’s health. I started using essential oils about three years ago. I started with the Young Living Starter Kit. And I’ve been using them ever since.

My favorite oil is Pan Away. I have battled hormone headaches for many years. The only way to ease them was with OTC medicine. But now it’s so rare that I have to take any medicine. I use Pan Away at the first sign of a headache and it usually subsides shortly after.

Essential oils support your health and work well for cleaning your house safely. I love diffusing oils both during the day and at night. Interested in getting started? Grab your starter kit here!

Vitamix

The Vitamix is definitely one of my favorite kitchen tools. Sometimes I use it three or four times a day. It makes perfect smoothies (like the ones you will find in my book Easy Nourishment for Picky Eaters), even when most of your ingredients are frozen solid!

Hummus only takes minutes in the Vitamix for a quick snack or lunch.

I even use it to grind flour and make homemade powdered sugar. Some years I use it to puree our applesauce, peels and all! It makes such an amazingly smooth sauce. My kids would say that homemade ice cream is the best thing that comes from the blender. The batter is ready in under five minutes. There really isn’t much the Vitamix can’t do.

Probably one of the things I love most is how easy it is to clean. That only takes seconds too. Talk about fast work in the kitchen.

Grassfed Collagen/Gelatin

Need a powerhouse ingredient to add to those delicious smoothies? Grassfed collagen is a great source of protein. I never make a smoothie without it.

I also use grassfed gelatin to make homemade fruit snacks and all sorts of real food jello salads. You can find all of my recipes using gelatin here.

I love both Perfect Supplements and Vital Proteins brands. Don’t forget to stock up on your Perfect Supplements products 11/24 – 11/27 at 45% off using code TAKE10! You can also get some FREE collagen from Vital Proteins 11/24 – 11/27. Use the code PEACELOVECOLLAGEN at checkout for a 5 oz. canister of collagen when you spend $75.

Cast Iron Skillet

Want a juicy burger, a perfectly cooked steak or the best scrambled eggs you’ve ever tasted? You need a cast iron skillet! A kitchen tools that has been around for centuries is definitely a keeper.

I was nervous when I got my first one. I thought they were hard to use and care for. WRONG. How to use – get it HOT. How to clean – wipe it down when you’re done and wipe a little oil on. That’s it.

You may want to get a few in different sizes. I love my small skillet for making a batch of scrambled eggs for the kids in the morning. My large skillet is great for steaks, burgers and even taco meat.

Still on my list is a cast iron griddle. That would make some awesome pancakes and bacon!

Grab your favorite size cast iron tools here.

Real Food and Natural Health Books

Last on the list, but definitely very important – you need knowledge to know how to use your kitchen tools and natural health products. That’s where books come in. Whether ebooks or hard copies these are some of the best around. Some are part of my personal library. Some I’m still hoping for! You might notice a theme…nourishing yourself and your family.

Family Table (by Shaye Elliott)

Easy Nourishment for Picky Eaters (by Mary Voogt)

Nourished Beginnings (by Renee Kohley)

The Nourished Metabolism (by Elizabeth Walling)

Why Won’t My Child Eat?! (by Mary Voogt)

Healthy Snacks To Go (by Katie Kimball)

The Paleo Approach (by Sarah Ballantyne) 

Nourishing Traditions (by Sally Fallon) (this is the book that started my real food journey and completely changed the way I looked at food)

Christmas is just around the corner. What should you get for the real foodie in your life? Here are my top picks for the perfect real foodie gifts that will help promote natural health and well-being.

Keep it Simple

I could probably add about thirty more items to the list. There really are so many good ones. But these top my list.

Remember, some nice tea, a cute apron, a night off from cooking, a back rub or a few hours of quiet also make perfect real foodie gifts. And won’t break the bank.

You can also keep it simple with homemade hot cocoa or a big bag of kettle corn granola.

What’s on your real foodie wish list this year?

In order for me to support my blogging activities, I may receive monetary compensation or other types of remuneration for my endorsement, recommendation, testimonial and/or link to any products or services from this blog. It will not change the cost of any products or services for you.

Two Ingredient Allergen Friendly Nestle Crunch Bites | Just Take A Bite

Two Ingredient Allergen Friendly Nestle Crunch® Bites

This Valentine’s Day get your kids in the kitchen to whip up a special treat. These two ingredient allergen friendly Nestle Crunch® bites are easy to make and fun to eat!

Two Ingredient Allergen Friendly Nestle Crunch Bites | Just Take A Bite

I’m a sucker for just about anything chocolate. Especially when it comes to Valentine’s Day.

Allergies and chocolate do mesh.

Having kids with allergies and food sensitivities has actually increased my love of chocolate.

That may sound strange. But we pretty much avoid all fruity candy. My kids don’t eat anything with food coloring (can you say crazy pills?!). Plus my son is allergic to corn (corn syrup, cornstarch, etc.).

So when it comes to treats we stick to chocolate. Even with dairy allergies we all love the Enjoy Life chocolate chips. They are great plain or in a cookie. But they are even more fun when melted and turned into a delicious candy.

We’ve made chocolate covered toffee and salted honey chocolates (my personal favorite!).

Two Ingredient Allergen Friendly Nestle Crunch Bites | Just Take A Bite

A family favorite.

But hands down my kids love these Nestle Crunch® Bites the best. And they really couldn’t be any simpler to make.

  1. Melt chocolate.
  2. Add coconut.
  3. Pour in molds.

Yes, they are that easy. Yes, they are grain, dairy, nut, soy, rice, egg and corn free.

The little bits of unsweetened coconut give the slightest crunch that tastes just like the crisp rice of Nestle Crunch® bars.

So much fun.

Let your kids choose some fun molds and create a special treat you can feel good about.

Package them up as gifts for friends or family. And don’t forget your spouse! Everyone will want some.

Two Ingredient Allergen Friendly Nestle Crunch Bites | Just Take A Bite

This Valentine’s Day skip the expensive boxed chocolates filled with artificial colors and flavors. Show your friends and family how much you love them with homemade Nestle Crunch® Bites.

Just two simple ingredients. No common allergens. Five minutes of hands on time. Happy Valentine’s Day!

Have you ever made homemade chocolates? Did you know they could be this easy?

Give two ingredient allergen friendly Nestle Crunch® bites a try. You might get some extra love in return.

Two Ingredient Allergen Friendly Nestle Crunch Bites | Just Take A Bite

Two Ingredient Allergen Friendly Nestle Crunch® Bites
Yields 30
A simple allergen friendly chocolate that is grain, nut, dairy, rice, corn, soy and egg free.
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Ingredients
  1. 1 cup Enjoy Life Chocolate Chunks (semi-sweet) or Dark Chocolate Morsels
  2. 2 - 3 Tbsp. finely shredded unsweetened coconut
Instructions
  1. Melt the chocolate in a double boiler (or glass bowl over a saucepan with about an inch of water).
  2. Turn off the heat.
  3. Add the coconut and stir until combined.
  4. Pour the chocolate into molds.
  5. Refrigerate until firm.
  6. Unmold.
  7. Store in a covered container in the refrigerator for up to a month.
Just Take A Bite http://justtakeabite.com/
 In order for me to support my blogging activities, I may receive monetary compensation or other types of remuneration for my endorsement, recommendation, testimonial and/or link to any products or services from this blog. It will not change the cost of any products or services for you.

In order for me to support my blogging activities, I may receive monetary compensation or other types of remuneration for my endorsement, recommendation, testimonial and/or link to any products or services from this blog. It will not change the cost of any products or services for you.

The Best Christmas Gift | Just Take A Bite

The Best Christmas Gift

I was challenged by Stonyfield to write about the best Christmas gift I ever received. After thirty five celebrations it’s hard to settle on just one! Mine comes in a small package.

The Best Christmas Gift | Just Take A Bite

When it comes to gifts the most significant ones for me always seem to revolve around babies.

Lately I hear a song on the radio a lot called “A Baby Changes Everything.” Every time I hear it I pause and reflect.

The most important birth was that of Christ Jesus. Long ago in a stable in Bethlehem. That baby sure changed everything! What an amazing gift that God sent to us. He is the reason I am even writing this post. There is no Christmas without the birth of our savior.

I received another “baby” when I was five years old. It was a birthday present. My first Cabbage Patch Kid. It was all I wanted.

Every store was selling out as soon as the dolls arrived. Finally one day just before my birthday a store nearby got a few. My mom called to ask…there were ten in stock.

By the time we got there only five were left!

It took me all of ten seconds to choose the one I wanted. She had a little tuft of blonde hair and a pacifier. She was mine. I named her Caroline Rebecca. I never wanted to let her go.

From that moment on I knew (even at five years old) that all I really wanted to do when I got older was be a mom.

I took her with me wherever I went. I played with dolls any chance I got. I pretended to nurse her, feed her, change her. She was my world.

Fast forward about twenty years. Happily married. Ready to start a family and have the children I have been wanting for so many years.

But it would not be that easy. In 2006 we started our long, lonely walk through the world of infertility.  The one thing I had dreamed about since I was five years old seemed like just that, a dream. I didn’t know if it would become a reality.

The Best Christmas Gift | Just Take A Bite

But in 2007 God gave us our first miraculous gift after various fertility treatments.

I found out I was pregnant in August and my daughter was born in April of 2008.

We started the journey again in 2009. After five emotionally and physically draining rounds of IVF we found out in September of 2010 that I was pregnant. My son was born in May of 2011.

Two precious gifts.

The Best Christmas Gift | Just Take A Bite

Yet I knew my family was not complete. I had dreamed since I was five years old of having a big family. I always wanted four children.

In 2013 we did our last round of IVF. Unfortunately it ended in a miscarriage. My dreams were crushed.

But after 6 months of hard work, a lot of physical challenges and healing and days and nights of prayer we got our best Christmas gift.

In December of 2013 I found out I was pregnant. We got to share the good news with our children and extended family as a special Christmas surprise. My oldest was the first to find out. Her reaction at only five years old was priceless (as you can see in the photo at the top).

The Best Christmas Gift | Just Take A Bite

In August of 2014 my daughter was born. She has changed my life in so many ways. She has brought me down a path of healing. A baby was the only motivation strong enough to get healthy. She has taught me what it means to truly sacrifice as I have had to give up a lot to keep her nourished and thriving over the last sixteen months – food, time with friends, outings with my family, travel. None of it was as important as taking care of my little miracle.

She has taught me about contentment and true joy.

Johanna means “God is Gracious.” He is indeed. And she reminds me every time I get her out of her crib and she gives me a big hug, every time she runs over, hops in my lap and snuggles, every time she comes up behind me and gives me kisses on my back, every time she laughs so hard she almost falls over.

A baby really does change everything. A baby (all of them) has been the best Christmas gift I ever received.

The Best Christmas Gift | Just Take A Bite

Whether or not there are any more precious gifts in my future I don’t know. Whether or not my childhood dream of a large family is part of God’s plan I don’t know. That is in God’s hands. His plans and his timing are perfect. I just know that the miracles He has entrusted to me so far have truly changed my life.

It is said that good things come in small packages. I wholeheartedly agree. From a tiny little baby in Bethlehem to the precious little ones sleeping upstairs as I write this. God has been gracious and changed my life through the miracle of a baby. It is the by far the best Christmas gift ever.

In order for me to support my blogging activities, I may receive monetary compensation or other types of remuneration for my endorsement, recommendation, testimonial and/or link to any products or services from this blog. It will not change the cost of any products or services for you.

Easy Coconut Snowballs | Just Take A Bite

Easy Coconut Snowballs

Are you dreaming of a white Christmas? Even if there is no snow outside you can have a white Christmas inside with these little coconut snowballs. Just four ingredients create a fun, healthy treat.

Easy Coconut Snowballs | Just Take A Bite

If you’re looking for a last minute holiday treat that you can make in minutes I’ve got you covered!

These coconut snowballs only have four ingredients. And they taste like peppermint.

So easy!

All it takes is about five minutes of mixing, melting and pouring. Then form the mixture into balls once it has cooled.

Easy Coconut Snowballs | Just Take A Bite

I like to add these to my kids’ lunches. I make sure they are getting healthy fat. They love having a little treat with their meal.

Coconut snowballs would also make great finger food for a holiday party. Set a tray out for guests and watch them disappear!

Easy Coconut Snowballs | Just Take A Bite

You can use cane sugar or powdered cane sugar (simply blend cane sugar in a high speed blender until powdered) to make coconut snowballs. The flavor is the same. Using powdered sugar creates a smoother texture.

Easy Coconut Snowballs | Just Take A Bite

Let it snow.

Somehow we don’t have snow yet in Michigan this year! I’m not sure if we’ll end up with a white Christmas. But we can make it white with our own snow!

Are you dreaming of a white Christmas?

Get in the kitchen and create a little snowstorm with the kids. Everyone will have fun and stay warm.

Easy Coconut Snowballs | Just Take A Bite

Easy Coconut Snowballs
Yields 9
A minty coconut snowball that makes a great treat or any time snack.
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Ingredients
  1. 3 Tbsp. organic cane sugar OR powdered cane sugar
  2. 1/4 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
  3. 3 Tbsp. coconut oil
  4. 1/2 tsp. peppermint extract
Instructions
  1. Combine the sugar, coconut and oil in a small saucepan.
  2. Heat over medium heat, stirring until the sugar and oil are melted.
  3. Remove from heat.
  4. Add peppermint extract.
  5. Pour into a small glass dish.
  6. Refrigerate until solid, but not hard (1-2 hours)
  7. Scoop into tsp. size balls.
  8. Store in the refrigerator.
  9. Serve cold or room temperature.
Notes
  1. You can add a tsp. of cocoa powder to the mix to make dirty snowballs.
  2. You can dip the chilled snowballs into melted chocolate.
  3. If your mixture is too hard to scoop simply leave it out to come to room temperature.
  4. You can make your own powdered sugar by blending cane sugar in a high powered blender until fine.
Just Take A Bite http://justtakeabite.com/
In order for me to support my blogging activities, I may receive monetary compensation or other types of remuneration for my endorsement, recommendation, testimonial and/or link to any products or services from this blog. It will not change the cost of any products or services for you.

In order for me to support my blogging activities, I may receive monetary compensation or other types of remuneration for my endorsement, recommendation, testimonial and/or link to any products or services from this blog. It will not change the cost of any products or services for you.

Light and Dark Hot Cocoa | Just Take A Bite

Light and Dark Hot Cocoa

Are you looking for the perfect teacher gift? I’ve got you covered! My daughter created Rebecca’s light and dark hot cocoa to give as gifts. Everyone that tries it is blown away by the flavor. You will be too!

Light and Dark Hot Cocoa | Just Take A Bite

I remember the first year my oldest was in Kindermusik. She wasn’t even two yet.

We were finally at the point of venturing out of the house without having to worry about nursing schedules. And I wanted the chance to talk to another human being with a little more to talk about than dolls and dancing.

Class started in the fall and ended just before Christmas. That was fun, I thought. Then the last day rolled around…and everyone started handing gifts to the teacher.

Learning how to give.

Wait a minute.

We’re supposed to give a Christmas gift to every teacher/leader our children have? I guess I missed that part in the parenting handbook.

Light and Dark Hot Cocoa | Just Take A Bite

Now with three kids I know that it is totally a personal choice who you give to and how much. Some years we go shopping and let the kids pick out gifts for teachers. But that gets to be just one more thing to do.

So two years ago I simplified our gift giving. We give gifts to the teachers we see on a regular basis (maybe I’m Scrooge, but I don’t give something to every bus driver and mail carrier. You have to draw the line somewhere).

And I don’t shop for gifts either. We have two gifts we make every year. One is homemade granola. This year teachers get a special treat with kettle corn granola!

Light and Dark Hot Cocoa | Just Take A Bite

The other is my daughter’s “famous” light and dark hot cocoa. She came up with the idea of a layered cocoa mix.

It’s that good.

It is always fun to see the reaction of the people that try it. They assume when a five year old gives them homemade hot cocoa it will be fine. Then they taste it.

Some have even said it’s the best hot cocoa they’ve ever tried.

I love how simple it is to make. And that it doesn’t contain any powdered milk, flavorings, thickeners, etc. Just a few simple ingredients create the most delicious hot cocoa you’ve ever had.

I also love that it is super allergen friendly. Even I can drink it! And if I can drink it anyone can (I haven’t met many people with as many food restrictions as I have). If you can’t have cocoa you can replace all of it with carob. It won’t be light and dark hot cocoa anymore, but it will still taste great.

I even have a couple secret ingredients – unrefined sea salt and grass-fed collagen! Just because you’re drinking hot chocolate doesn’t mean you need to leave the nutrition out.

Light and Dark Hot Cocoa | Just Take A Bite

Let the kids help.

This is a great project for kids of just about any age. My oldest (age seven) can make it on her own. My four year old can make it with a little help from me. Even with kids helping it only takes about five minutes to make.

Let the kids create a pretty label and teacher gifts are done! And I have yet to find a teacher that doesn’t like hot cocoa.

Make a big batch. Give some away as gifts. Keep some for the family and enjoy a mug while you open presents or after playing in the snow (if it will ever snow this year!)

I’ve even got a cute gift tag to attach to the jar for you! Just click the link below, print and cut.

Light And Dark Hot Cocoa Gift Tag

Are you looking for a simple, heart-felt gift this year?

Light and dark hot cocoa makes the perfect teacher gift or special treat.

Light and Dark Hot Cocoa | Just Take A Bite

Light and Dark Hot Cocoa
Yields 2
A rich, homemade hot cocoa with light and dark layers.
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Ingredients
  1. 3 cups organic cane sugar
  2. 1/2 cup cocoa powder
  3. 1/2 cup dark cocoa powder
  4. 1/2 tsp. unrefined sea salt
  5. 1/2 cup mini chocolate chips
  6. optional: 2 Tbsp. grass-fed collagen
Instructions
  1. In a medium size bowl combine 1 1/2 cups sugar, cocoa powder, 1/4 tsp. salt and 1 Tbsp. collagen.
  2. In another bowl combine 1 1/2 cups sugar, dark cocoa powder, 1/4 tsp. salt and 1 Tbsp. collagen.
  3. In two pint size jars layer 3 Tbsp. cocoa mixture, 3 Tbsp. dark cocoa mixture and a few chocolate chips (about 2 tsp.).
  4. Repeat four times, until the mixture is used.
To use
  1. Mix 1 - 2 Tbsp. of the cocoa mixture into 1 cup of hot water or milk.
Notes
  1. This is enough to fill two pint jars.
  2. Light and dark hot cocoa makes a great gift.
  3. I use Enjoy Life chocolate chips since they are allergen friendly.
Just Take A Bite http://justtakeabite.com/

In order for me to support my blogging activities, I may receive monetary compensation or other types of remuneration for my endorsement, recommendation, testimonial and/or link to any products or services from this blog. It will not change the cost of any products or services for you.

My Simple Mommy Style | Just Take A Bite

My Simple Mommy Style

I don’t know much about style, but I’m sharing my simple mommy style today. It’s all me. prAna and Stonyfield are helping too! There is even a giveaway!

My Simple Mommy Style | Just Take A Bite

I am working with Stonyfield and prAna for this post. I have been compensated for my time commitment. But the opinions and ideas are my own. I have not been paid to post positive reviews.

It is almost comical for me to use this post title.

Style? Me? Ha!

I don’t really have one. Unless comfort is a style. In all seriousness, I like to keep things simple.

Which is why I was so excited when prAna wanted to join forces with Stonyfield for this #JustBeYou campaign.

Comfortable clothes that are actually stylish!

Now we’re talking.

It was hard to choose just one item to try. But I went with the Kara Jeans. I have the hardest time finding pants that fit (without having to shop in the juniors section), that I can move in and that are age appropriate (old college clothes aren’t really cutting it anymore in my mid 30’s!).

It doesn’t take much effort to put them to the test at my house. With three young kids I spend half of my day on the floor playing, picking up toys, changing diapers, etc.

I really love these pants! They let me move, and they are super cute. They work well with flip flops or boots (perfect for the ever changing Michigan weather). I can wear them to church or just working around the house.

My Simple Mommy Style | Just Take A Bite

I actually wore them the entire day – morning until bed time. Normally half of my day is spent in “comfy” pants. You know, the ones you wouldn’t leave the house in but you put them on the minute you get home.

The prAna Kara jeans fit my simple mommy style perfectly.

I like all things simple. My decor. My clothes. My food. Simple.

I like my yogurt the same way. My absolute favorite flavor is vanilla, like the new Oh My Yog! Madagascar vanilla bean. Add some granola and I’m good to go for any meal. I could eat it all day long.

I’ve been dairy free for a little over a year now while nursing my youngest with a dairy allergy. One of the first things I’ll be eating when she’s done nursing is vanilla yogurt!

My lifestyle is simple too. I am such a homebody. We are pretty busy with the kids’ activities and school drop off and pick up. But I’d be content to stay home every single day.

What would I do? Read books and color. For real.

Comfy pants, a stack of books, creative coloring and delicious vanilla yogurt.

It’s my dream day. It’s me! Simple life spending time with my favorite people – my kids.

I chose dark green pants. I don’t have any green pants. I thought I’d be “bold.” Plus they hide stains pretty well when I spill on myself in the kitchen or when little hands and faces wipe food all over me. Both happen way too often.

PrAna clothing is super cute and comfortable. But it is also sustainable! Check out their story.

How about you? What is your style? What does a dream day look like for you?

prAna wants to help you #JustBeYou

They are giving away one item (up to a $99 value!!) to one of my readers!

The giveaway is only open for one week. So be sure to get your entry in!

I’ll warn you, though, it will be hard to pick just one thing! I need to do more browsing to add to my Christmas list.

In case you want to buy more or are ready to start your Christmas shopping you can get 15% off with the coupon code JBYF15HDAP. It is good through December 15, 2015.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

In order for me to support my blogging activities, I may receive monetary compensation or other types of remuneration for my endorsement, recommendation, testimonial and/or link to any products or services from this blog. It will not change the cost of any products or services for you.

In order for me to support my blogging activities, I may receive monetary compensation or other types of remuneration for my endorsement, recommendation, testimonial and/or link to any products or services from this blog. It will not change the cost of any products or services for you.

Ecocentric Mom – Mom + Baby Box Review

Ecocentric Mom: Mom and Baby Box Review | Homemade Dutch Apple Pie

**I am working with Ecocentric Mom to blog about this Mom + Baby box. I have been compensated for my time commitment to review this product. However, my opinions are entirely my own and I have not been paid to publish positive comments.**

Have you ever heard of Ecocentric Mom?  I hadn’t until recently.  It is a great site that finds quality, natural products and sends you a box every other month.  You can choose from three types of boxes – Mom, Mom + Baby or Pregnancy.

I just got my first box to try.  It is a mom and baby box, and it is filled with great stuff.  Now I get to share it with you!

It is neat to see new, natural products that I may not know about otherwise.  Plus I didn’t have to go to the store to shop for them!  This is a great way to find products I feel good about and want to use.  Then if I find something I really like I can order just that specific product.

Here are the products included in this month’s box, descriptions and my reviews.

Mama Loves Me by Mara Van Fleet
“In this delightful book, a cute baby elephant shares his admiration for his mom’s special talents—using her trunk to reach up high, to play hide-and-seek, to give him a quick shower, and to kiss him at goodnight.”

This is such a cute book!  All three of my children love it.  I like how the trunk is part of each page.  I also love that it is a quality board book that my little one can hold and not destroy.  She is in the chew on books phase.  So this is perfect.Ecocentric Mom: Mom and Baby Box Review | Homemade Dutch Apple Pie

Snack Out Loud Crunchy Bean Snack
“Crunchy Bean Snacks are an irresistible, family-friendly savory snack made simply from pinto beans, sunflower oil and natural seasoning so they’re naturally Non-GMO, gluten-free, nut free and soy free. Yummy!”

I wasn’t sure what to think of a crunchy bean.  But this was really tasty!  Even my kids loved it, which surprised me.  They reminded me of spiced peanuts.  So it was really a treat for me (that can’t have peanuts).  Plus I love anything crunchy.  I may have to see if these are sold at our local health food store for an easy on-the-go snack.Ecocentric Mom: Mom and Baby Box Review | Homemade Dutch Apple Pie

Kelapo Extra Virgin Coconut Oil
“Add excitement to your favorite dishes—and promote a healthy lifestyle—with our Kelapo™ Extra Virgin Coconut Oil. Kelapo Coconut Oil is organic, cold-pressed, and fair trade approved.”

Personally, I’ve never tried a brand of coconut oil I didn’t like.  So I can’t say if Kelapo is better or worse than any other brand.  But I can say it tastes great!  I loved slathering it on my bread.  When you’re dairy free you have to have good coconut oil on hand.  I would gladly have a big jar of Kelapo in my kitchen.

Pure Essentials Botanic Bath Infusions
Botanic Bath Infusions are 3-in-1 relaxing bath therapies that combine restorative mineral sea salts, fragrant essential oils, and curative herbs and flowers in a 100% biodegradable soilon pouch.”

These bath salts look great…if I could ever find time to actually take a bath.  I might have to just try them in a foot soak soon.

Amara Baby Food
This is an easy and healthy way to travel with baby food.  We got to try the apple.  The only ingredient is apples!  I simply added some milk to the powder (no heating, no waiting, no glass jars to carry.  And any liquid, including water and breastmilk, will work).  Both of my big kids loved it.  My little one isn’t old enough to try it yet.  But I’d definitely let her have it when she’s a little older.Ecocentric Mom: Mom and Baby Box Review | Homemade Dutch Apple Pie

Bum Boosa Bamboo
Bum Boosa replaces the traditional synthetic or tree-pulp wet wipe using an immensely renewable and sustainable grass: bamboo. Nourishing plant-based ingredients such as Calendula, Chamomile, and Organic Aloe Vera care for delicate skin. Scented with Lavender and Sweet Orange essential oils.”

I normally use cloth wipes.  And when I do use disposable they are unscented.  So it was strange to me to use wipes with so much scent.  But they work very well.  I really like that they are made without any chemicals.

Flavrz
Flavrz Organic Drink Mixes – world’s best organic, deliciously healthy and affordable, alternative to the usual artificially flavored, colored and sweetened beverages.In addition to being delicious, healthy and affordable Flavrz Organic Drink Mixes are great for the environment when used with a reusable water bottle. Our small, easy to carry, easy to use 2Go pouch is a concentrate that one adds to ten to sixteen ounces water at home, office, gym or on the go.

Six Flavrs – Sport, Energy, Immunity, Cherry Berry, Tropical Peach and Lemon-Lime
Organic, NON-GMO, Gluten-Free”
 
The Falvrz drink mix has great flavor.  I tried the sport. It was a nice treat to have something besides water to drink.  I like that you can make your drink as sweet or mild as you like.  I diluted mine quite a bit.  But I’m not a fan of the agave syrup it contains.  So I wouldn’t buy this normally.
 
“The perfect way to catch all of your ideas – as they happen. 100 heavy weight white cards fit nicely into pockets or handbags for quick jots of important things. Complete with a heavy card  stock carrying case.”
 
These little note cards are so fun and have a variety of cute pictures on them.  I’m always writing things down so I won’t forget (hello, mommy brain!).  These are handy to have on hand both at home and on the go.  Small note cards are also great for keeping little hands busy when you’re waiting somewhere.  Grab a few cards and crayons before you head out the door.
 
O & N Collective
O&N Collective is an online apothecary specializing in certified organic and natural skin and personal care products.  Our mission is to provide safe and effective products that promote health and wellness.”
 
This looks like a great site for ordering specialty personal care products.  Included in the Ecocentric Mom box is a coupon for 15% off your order.  That is a huge savings when it comes to natural products!
 
Natural Seal Liquid Bandage

“Don’t let a small scrape turn into a trip to the hospital, protect your little ones with Natural Seal Liquid Bandage! For the ultimate protection for your little ones, use on cuts, scrapes, burns, rashes, blisters & more!”

Of all of the products in the box I think I enjoyed this one the most!  This liquid bandage is so easy to use and perfect for little ones that pick at bandages and pull them off.  As long as you can get them to wait the minute or two for the liquid to seal you’re all set.  No peeling off sticky bandages and pulling hairs.  No tears.  Just spray it on and wash it off.  The next time one of my kids gets a scrape I’m using this for sure!

Do you like what you what you see?  Are you interested in getting a box of great products to try for yourself?  Sign up at Ecocentric Mom and see what fun, natural products arrive at your door.

I am working with Ecocentric Mom to blog about this Mom + Baby box. I have been compensated for my time commitment to review this product. However, my opinions are entirely my own and I have not been paid to publish positive comments.

In order for me to support my blogging activities, I may receive monetary compensation or other types of remuneration for my endorsement, recommendation, testimonial and/or link to any products or services from this blog.

In order for me to support my blogging activities, I may receive monetary compensation or other types of remuneration for my endorsement, recommendation, testimonial and/or link to any products or services from this blog. It will not change the cost of any products or services for you.

Gluten Free Brownie Mix

Gluten Free Brownie Mix - Homemade Dutch Apple Pie

I love to bake.  But I don’t always have time to do all of the measuring and mixing…especially when it comes to gluten free baking.  It takes extra time to measure four types of flour instead of one.

You could solve that problem by buying a mix.  But that means you’re going to get extra ingredients in your baked goods  that you don’t want.

My solution?  A homemade mix.  Brownies are one of my favorite baked goods.  So I made a brownie mix for days when I have very little time in the kitchen.

Find a day when you have some time and mix up all of the dry ingredients for your brownies.  You can make a double, triple or quadruple batch so making brownies is easy any time.

Store the mix in the freezer.  It will stay fresh, and you can use it straight out of the freezer.

A homemade brownie mix is also a wonderful gift for Christmas or for a new mom.

Even if you are busy you can have homemade brownies.  This gluten free brownie mix is simple to assemble.  Then getting a pan of brownies in the oven only takes minutes. 

These brownies can also be made dairy and egg free.  It’s a great treat for just about anyone.  And now you can have it just about any time.

Gluten Free Brownie Mix - Homemade Dutch Apple Pie 2

Gluten Free Brownie Mix
Yields 16
A simple mix to have on hand for quick gluten free brownies any time.
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Dry Mix
  1. 2 cups any combination of gluten free flours (a 1:1 ratio of whole grain to white works best)
  2. 1/4 cup organic cocoa powder (or carob powder)
  3. 1 tsp. baking soda
  4. 1/2 tsp. sea salt
Brownies
  1. Dry mix
  2. 1/4 cup water
  3. 3 eggs
  4. 1/3 cup coconut oil or butter, melted
  5. 1/2 cup honey
  6. 1/4 cup chocolate chips (optional)
Dry Mix
  1. In a medium bowl combine all of the dry mix ingredients.
  2. Pour the mix into a storage container and seal (I like to use glass jars).
  3. Store the mix in the cupboard, refrigerator or freezer (depending on how long you want to store it).
Brownies
  1. When ready to bake, heat the oven to 350*F. Grease an 8" or 9" baking pan.
  2. Combine the brownie mix with the wet ingredients. Mix well.
  3. Pour the batter into the prepared pan.
  4. Bake for 25 - 30 minutes, until baked through.
  5. Allow to cool. Cut into squares.
  6. Store at room temperature or freeze for long term storage.
Notes
  1. Sorghum, amaranth, brown rice and teff work well as whole grain flours.
  2. White rice and tapioca work well as white flours.
  3. To make these brownies egg free omit the eggs and add an extra 1/4 cup honey and 2 Tbsp. coconut oil or butter.
Just Take A Bite http://justtakeabite.com/

In order for me to support my blogging activities, I may receive monetary compensation or other types of remuneration for my endorsement, recommendation, testimonial and/or link to any products or services from this blog.

In order for me to support my blogging activities, I may receive monetary compensation or other types of remuneration for my endorsement, recommendation, testimonial and/or link to any products or services from this blog. It will not change the cost of any products or services for you.

Cranberry Bread in a Jar

I made a few homemade Christmas presents this year.  One of them was cranberry bread in a jar.  I got the idea/recipe from The Better Mom.  It is super simple to assemble and makes a very thoughtful gift.  I also tried making the bread myself to be sure it was a good recipe since I was giving it away 🙂  It turned out great!  I just made the regular version since I was in a hurry.  Next time I’ll plan ahead and try the soaked version.

Cranberry Bread in a Jar

Layer these ingredients in a wide-mouth one-pint mason jar (I used a regular mouth jar.  It still fit fine). in the following order:

1 cup organic whole spelt flour (or organic whole wheat flour)
1/4 cup sucanat (a healthier substitute for brown sugar)
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/3 cup dried cranberries
1/4 cup chopped pecans (or walnuts)
1/2 cup rolled oats

After adding the dried cranberries, use your hand to tightly pack down the ingredients to make room for the remaining two layers.

Cut out festive paper in circles the same size as the jar top; place paper on top of the circle seal and then screw the lid over the paper. Add decorative ribbon and a gift tag.

Include the baking instructions (see below).

Baking instructions:

1/2 cup cultured buttermilk
1/4 cup filtered water
1 large egg, slightly beaten
2 Tbsp. butter, melted
2 Tbsp. pure maple syrup
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Dump contents of jar into a large mixing bowl. Add all of the above ingredients.  Using a large wire whisk, fold the ingredients into the batter until all ingredients are thorougly incorporated.

Place the batter into a well-oiled loaf pan. (Coconut oil works great in keeping bread from sticking to the pan, but you can also use olive oil or butter.) Bake for approximately 30 minutes, until bread is a rich brown color and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Allow to cool for 5-10 minutes before serving.

In order for me to support my blogging activities, I may receive monetary compensation or other types of remuneration for my endorsement, recommendation, testimonial and/or link to any products or services from this blog. It will not change the cost of any products or services for you.