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Ready to dress up your summer salad? In less than five minutes this creamy spinach pesto salad dressing goes from the blender to your bowl!

Creamy Spinach Pesto Salad Dressing

Ready to dress up your summer salad? In less than five minutes this creamy spinach pesto salad dressing goes from the blender to your bowl!

Ready to dress up your summer salad? In less than five minutes this creamy spinach pesto salad dressing goes from the blender to your bowl!

I don’t know about about you but when June rolls around I am so ready to get my salad on! I actually love eating salads year round. But something about the warm, summer weather makes me crave salad.

And when it comes to dressing I am not a traditional girl. Ranch? No thanks. Italian? Blech. I used to always eat honey mustard (I even have over four versions of it on the blog!!), but when I had to give up mustard for two years I lost that taste too.

Ready to dress up your summer salad? In less than five minutes this creamy spinach pesto salad dressing goes from the blender to your bowl!

My New Favorite

These days my salad dressing usually contains desiccated liver, fermented kale or aquatic greens…or all three if I’m really feeling the need to boost nutrients.

But there is one thing I always love on my salads – pesto! I usually make a really mild and simple version of pesto with peas (super kid friendly!!!).

Ready to dress up your summer salad? In less than five minutes this creamy spinach pesto salad dressing goes from the blender to your bowl!

Recently I had the opportunity to try some Taylor Farms organic salad mixes. I went right for the baby spinach and popped it in the blender with olive oil, Stonyfield whole milk yogurt and seasoning. Amazing!

I served it with dinner on a bed of Taylor Farms mixed spring greens. The family loved it! My six-year old still isn’t a fan of lettuce salads. So he had cucumber, avocado and parmesan cheese topped with the creamy spinach pesto.  He sure was happy with his salad – and even asked for it again the next day!

Ready to dress up your summer salad? In less than five minutes this creamy spinach pesto salad dressing goes from the blender to your bowl!

Kid-Friendly Greens

Creamy spinach pesto is a great way to get your kids to eat their greens. It does not taste like eating spinach (my son will vouch for that!). Plus it is combined with healthy fats like whole milk yogurt and extra virgin olive oil to help utilize the vitamins and minerals in the spinach.

Ready to dress up your summer salad? In less than five minutes this creamy spinach pesto salad dressing goes from the blender to your bowl!

Even if your kids aren’t big salad eaters yet this creamy spinach pesto works well for dipping veggies or even chicken nuggets. We also like to eat it on noodles (pesto pasta!).

Ready to dress up your summer salad? In less than five minutes this creamy spinach pesto salad dressing goes from the blender to your bowl!

Sometimes I’m sneaky and add a little desiccated liver. My kids don’t mind the taste since I add it to everything. It really boosts the Vitamin A content!

If you’re like me and craving a good summer salad this dressing is for you! Grab a big bowl, some Taylor Farms organic salad mix, your favorite salad toppers and a big helping of creamy spinach pesto! Summer has officially begun.

What is your favorite salad dressing? Do you make your own dressing creations?

Ready to dress up your summer salad? In less than five minutes this creamy spinach pesto salad dressing goes from the blender to your bowl!

Creamy Spinach Pesto Salad Dressing
Serves 6
A creamy green dressing the whole family will love!
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Ingredients
  1. 2 cups tightly packed spinach
  2. 1/2 cup frozen peas, thawed
  3. 2 Tbsp. plain, whole milk yogurt
  4. 2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
  5. 1/4 - 1/2 tsp. unrefined sea salt
  6. 1/8 tsp. garlic powder
  7. 1/8 tsp. onion powder
  8. optional: 1/8 tsp. desiccated liver, 1/8 tsp. fermented kale powder, 1 Tbsp. pumpkin seeds, 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
Instructions
  1. Run warm water over the peas to thaw or let sit on the counter to thaw.
  2. In a blender combine the spinach, peas, yogurt, oil, salt, garlic, onion and optional ingredients if desired.
  3. Blend on high until smooth, scraping sides as necessary.
  4. Adjust seasoning to taste.
  5. Serve immediately or store in the refrigerator up to one week.
Notes
  1. This dressing works well on salads, as a veggie dip, on pasta or for chicken nuggets.
  2. This recipe makes one cup of dressing and is easily doubled or tripled to serve at a picnic.
Just Take A Bite http://justtakeabite.com/
I am working with Stonyfield Yogurt and Taylor Farms for this post. I have been compensated for my time but all opinions expressed are my own.

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.

Missing your beloved granola bars because you can't have oats? Problem solved! These oat and nut free chewy granola bars have the taste and texture of oats. You'll never miss them!!

Oat and Nut Free Chewy Granola Bars

Missing your beloved granola bars because you can’t have oats? Problem solved! These oat and nut free chewy granola bars have the taste and texture of oats. You’ll never miss them!!

Missing your beloved granola bars because you can't have oats? Problem solved! These oat and nut free chewy granola bars have the taste and texture of oats. You'll never miss them!!

My son can’t eat oats.

We’ve been working through a myriad of food allergies with him for the last four years. And amazingly he has been able to get rid of almost all of them.

Except a few oddballs. Like oats.

We have added back dairy, corn, rice, seeds, bananas, apples, avocado – a whole assortment of foods – too many to list! But the oats are still a big no-go.

So every time I make a batch of granola bars he feels a bit left out. I’ve made rice bars before. Which are delicious! But they are more like a cookie than a granola bar.

Missing your beloved granola bars because you can't have oats? Problem solved! These oat and nut free chewy granola bars have the taste and texture of oats. You'll never miss them!!

Oat Free Bars!

We put our heads together and my son and I came up with a new version of oat and nut free chewy granola bars. They have some texture and lots of flavor. Plus they hold together well. Which is always a trick with homemade granola bars.

The secret ingredient is brown rice puffs. Cereal is a rare treat in our house. If we do have cereal, it’s often plain rice puffs. We eat them with milk or add them to yogurt for a little crunch. They work perfectly in this granola bar recipe to add texture.

Missing your beloved granola bars because you can't have oats? Problem solved! These oat and nut free chewy granola bars have the taste and texture of oats. You'll never miss them!!

Make it Double

I like to make a big batch (or two!), wrap them individually and stick them in the freezer. Then I’ve got an easy snack or breakfast component ready to go at any time. These chewy granola bars are ready to eat right from the freezer.

One batch makes about fourteen bars. But if you’ve got toddlers and preschoolers you can cut them even smaller to make a batch of twenty to twenty eight.

Probably the best part of these oat and nut free chewy granola bars is how easy they are to make. I can get a batch in the oven in less than ten minutes.

So what are you waiting for? Got ten minutes? Get into the kitchen and whip up a delicious snack that has no corn syrup, glycerin, thickeners or binders.

Don’t need to avoid oats? Both my chewy and crunchy granola bar recipes are great!!

Missing your beloved granola bars because you can't have oats? Problem solved! These oat and nut free chewy granola bars have the taste and texture of oats. You'll never miss them!!

Gluten, Oat and Nut Free Chewy Granola Bars
Yields 14
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Ingredients
  1. 3 cups rice puffs, roughly chopped in a blender
  2. 1 1/4 cups white or brown rice flour
  3. 2 Tbsp. chia seeds
  4. 1 tsp. cinnamon
  5. 1/2 cup honey
  6. 1 Tbsp. organic cane sugar
  7. 1/4 tsp. unrefined sea salt
  8. 1/2 cup butter
  9. 2 eggs
  10. 1/4 cup unsweetened sunbutter
  11. 1/2 cup add-ins (raisins, chocolate chips, pumpkin seeds, cranberries, etc.)
Instructions
  1. Heat oven to 350F.
  2. Melt the butter, sunbutter and honey in s a small saucepan. Set aside.
  3. Combine rice puffs, flour, chia seeds, cinnamon, salt and sugar in a large bowl.
  4. Add the butter mixture and mix well.
  5. Add the eggs and mix well.
  6. Stir in opt-ins.
  7. Spread the batter in a greased or parchment lined 9x13 baking pan.
  8. Bake for 25 min.
  9. Let cool 15 minutes. Cut into bars (but do not remove from pan).
  10. Let cool 1 hour. Remove bars from pan.
  11. Wrap individually or store in a large container in the refrigerator or freezer.
Notes
  1. Bars are ready to eat straight from the freezer.
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.

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?

How Much Do Your Kids Know About Their Food?

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?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?

We have a little joke in our house about corn.

Whenever I serve corn with a meal my husband asks, “Why did you make two vegetables?” – referring to the corn and whatever vegetable I’m serving. To which the kids quickly reply, “Corn is NOT a vegetable, Daddy! It’s a grain!”

The sad thing is that far too many people don’t actually know that. My husband and I both grew up thinking that corn was a vegetable (now he says it just to tease the kids). It may be laughable at our table, but the reality is so many kids are so disconnected from where their food comes from that they don’t even know that corn is a grain. Or that an egg is not dairy (it comes from a chicken, not a cow!).

Kids today see food that comes in boxes and bags without any idea of its origin.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?

How Will They Learn?

We are blessed to live in the country, raise our own animals and grow our own produce. Every day is a lesson in agriculture for my kids! (Though I am curious if some of the neighbors that have large corn fields know they are growing grains??)

But not everyone has that opportunity. That is why I am thankful for resources like the book Where Does a Rainbow Grow? by Kathryn Kemp Guylay. In it she uses bright colors and easy-to-read text to explain to kids where their food comes from and what to eat to stay healthy.

Real Colors!

As a family we made a decision over five years ago to cut out food dyes 100%.

No exceptions. It has made a world of difference in the neurological health of our children. So when I opened this book and the first page talks about avoiding fake colors I was hooked.

My kids love to look at the pages with brightly colored produce. They also like to answer the questions and try to name every fruit and vegetable.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?

Ever since reading Guylay’s first book Give it a Go, Eat a Rainbow my kids and I have enjoyed pointing out how many colors we eat each day. Just the other day when I put some spinach on my son’s plate he asked, “What is green good for?” It makes me so happy to know at six years old he is already learning how his food impacts his health. Green is great for bones and teeth!

Try Something New

Seeing all of the pictures has reminded me that, although we eat a wide variety of and a large quantity of produce, we still have plenty of foods we haven’t tried. Maybe we’ll grab a few new items the next time we go to the store and experiment with them.

Where Does a Rainbow Grow? would make a great addition to a home school curriculum. Or it would be a wonderful gift to share with your child’s classroom.

I firmly believe that the more knowledge we have about our food, the better choices we make and the healthier we become.

Let’s raise a generation of kids that understand where their food comes from and how they can use food to feel good. Reading Where Does a Rainbow Grow? Is a great place to start!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?

If you want to get your kids more involved with their food and learn how to cook check out the Kids Cook Real Food eCourse.

I was compensated for my time to review this book; however I was not paid to write a positive review. All opinions are my own.

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.

Ready to think summer? This no mixer required bananas foster ice cream is sure to help! So easy to make and free of grains, eggs and nuts.

No Mixer Required Bananas Foster Ice Cream (gluten free, grain free, egg free, nut free)

Ready to think summer? This no mixer required bananas foster ice cream is sure to help! So easy to make and free of grains, eggs and nuts.

Ready to think summer? This no mixer required bananas foster ice cream is sure to help! So easy to make and free of grains, eggs and nuts.

Summer is just around the corner. I keep telling myself that so when it’s forty degrees in May I don’t get too discouraged. A couple days of eighty degrees before the forty sure helped too.

One great way to start thinking summer is with ice cream! If you’ve followed me very long you know ice cream is my absolute favorite food. At least these days I don’t eat nearly as much as I used to and most of the ice cream I do eat is homemade. It’s all about the baby steps!

Ready to think summer? This no mixer required bananas foster ice cream is sure to help! So easy to make and free of grains, eggs and nuts.

Make it Real

I recently bought some ice cream for my husband – a limited edition flavor – bananas foster. I tasted it. Wow, was it sweet!! Good, but sweet. It reminded me of egg nog.

My kids (and I) were a bit jealous, so I made our own version. This homemade bananas foster ice cream is loaded with banana flavor – because it is mostly pureed bananas! Then I swirled in some homemade caramel sauce for the “foster” taste. You could really bump up nutrition and save time by using this metabolism boosting caramel with liver!

Ready to think summer? This no mixer required bananas foster ice cream is sure to help! So easy to make and free of grains, eggs and nuts.

You can add homemade vanilla wafers for great texture. I didn’t have any on hand…but I can’t wait to try it some time!

A little pinch of nutmeg really makes this bananas foster ice cream stand out.

Feel free to make your version with as much or as little sweetener as you like. The bananas add plenty of sweetness on their own as long as they are really ripe. But a tablespoon or two of maple syrup added to them is just right for us.Ready to think summer? This no mixer required bananas foster ice cream is sure to help! So easy to make and free of grains, eggs and nuts.

Quick and Easy

One of the best parts of this ice cream is that there is no ice cream mixer required. You do have to make the caramel and freeze the bananas in advance. But once you’re ready the ice cream comes together in minutes and is ready to eat.

Are you thinking summer already? Give this bananas foster ice cream a try. What’s your favorite flavor?

Ready to think summer? This no mixer required bananas foster ice cream is sure to help! So easy to make and free of grains, eggs and nuts.

No Mixer Required Bananas Foster Ice Cream
Serves 6
A creamy banana ice cream with swirls of caramel.
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Ingredients
  1. 6 very ripe bananas
  2. 2 - 4 Tbsp. maple syrup or honey (optional)
  3. 1/4 - 1/2 tsp. unrefined sea salt
  4. 3 - 4 Tbsp. caramel sauce
  5. 1/8 tsp. ground nutmeg (optional)
  6. 1/4 cup vanilla wafers, crumbled (optional)
Instructions
  1. Prepare the caramel. Refrigerate.
  2. Slice the bananas and freeze on a parchment lined baking sheet in a single layer.
  3. Combine the frozen bananas, maple syrup, salt and nutmeg in a food processor. Blend until smooth (this will take a few minutes and you may have to scrape down the sides multiple times).
  4. Transfer the ice cream to a freezer safe container.
  5. Gently mix in the caramel and vanilla wafers.
  6. Serve or freeze.
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.

Want to make science fun? Spend a day at the zoo learning about your favorite animals. Top it off with a delicious penguin parfait!

Penguin Parfait and a Trip to the Zoo!

Want to make science fun? Spend a day at the zoo learning about your favorite animals. Top it off with a delicious penguin parfait!Want to make science fun? Spend a day at the zoo learning about your favorite animals. Top it off with a delicious penguin parfait!

My kids are true animal lovers. Just one more reason we moved to the country to start our own farm a few months ago!! But it’s not just farm animals. They are fascinated by just about any animal.

Science In Action

This is our first year homeschooling…and we chose to study land animals for science. They really, truly love animals! So when I heard that Stonyfield Yogurt was promoting World Penguin Day and Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) Saving Animals from Extinction (SAFE) program I knew we had to see what it was all about.Want to make science fun? Spend a day at the zoo learning about your favorite animals. Top it off with a delicious penguin parfait!

We took a trip to our local zoo (John Ball Zoo) to see the penguins up close. I’ve been going to JBZ ever since I was little. Whenever I visited my grandparents they took us to the zoo, and we each got a balloon. It is one of the best (and only) memories I have of my grandparents (I was very little). But I cherish those memories. And I love that I get to take my own kids to John Ball now!Want to make science fun? Spend a day at the zoo learning about your favorite animals. Top it off with a delicious penguin parfait!

As luck would have it when we walked into the zoo they were just about to feed the penguins. So we hurried right over and got to see penguins swimming all over and enjoying fish. My kids thought it was great.

The fun didn’t end there. We spent the rest of the morning exploring tigers, bongos, spider monkeys, goats, chickens, chimpanzees and more. My animal-loving kids could have stayed all day. They really had fun on the new funicular. And, of course, we took a snack break and enjoyed some Stonyfield yogurt!Want to make science fun? Spend a day at the zoo learning about your favorite animals. Top it off with a delicious penguin parfait!

Penguin Fun

We can’t wait to go back to the zoo again this summer when we have more time to explore and more animals are active. But leaving the zoo didn’t put an end to our celebration of World Penguin Day.

At home we went on a waddle walk to see just how hard it would be to walk miles and miles like penguins do. The kids were out of breath after waddling across the yard. I don’t know how the penguins do it!

Later that day we watched some videos about penguins and learned about Emperor Penguins by watching Planet Earth. The kids were glued to the tv, fascinated by how the male penguins care for the eggs and wait for the females to return with food.Want to make science fun? Spend a day at the zoo learning about your favorite animals. Top it off with a delicious penguin parfait!

A Special Yogurt Treat

In honor of all of our Penguin Day fun we decided to make a special snack – a penguin parfait! This fun treat is easy to make and reminds us to do our part in keeping wildlife safe. I combined Stonyfield yogurt with tummy calming activated charcoal to create a black and white parfait you can enjoy for breakfast, lunch or a snack.

Yogurt has a great balance of sodium to potassium which is great for your heart! This parfait also contains a nice mix of protein, fat and carbohydrates. Activated charcoal is my go-to supplement for settling tummies after an illness or an allergic reaction. I sometimes give it to my kids to help with gentle detox as well. It’s great for tummy maintenance once in a while. So this parfait is more than just a delicious treat. It’s filled with nutrition too.

I encourage you to help your kids explore and discover God’s beautiful creation. Take a trip to your local zoo and learn about the animals and how you can help protect them (don’t forget you can earn FREE zoo tickets when you buy Stonyfield yogurt!). Then enjoy a penguin parfait!Want to make science fun? Spend a day at the zoo learning about your favorite animals. Top it off with a delicious penguin parfait!

Penguin Parfait
Serves 2
A simple yogurt parfait to celebrate World Penguin Day.
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Ingredients
  1. 1 cup full fat plain creamy or greek-style yogurt
  2. 2 Tbsp. honey or maple syrup
  3. 1 capsule activated charcoal (260 mg)
  4. 1 medium-size ripe banana, halved and sliced
  5. 2 Tbsp. mini chocolate chips
Instructions
  1. In a bowl combine the yogurt, honey and charcoal. Mix until charcoal is fully distributed.
  2. Divide the yogurt between two cups.
  3. Top the yogurt with a layer of banana slices and 1 Tbsp. chocolate chips per cup.
Notes
  1. You can replace the yogurt + honey with two YoKids yogurt in your favorite flavor.
Just Take A Bite http://justtakeabite.com/
I am working with Stonyfield Yogurt on this post. I was compensated for my time but all opinions expressed are my own.

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 idea of force feeding a picky eater sounds cruel. But it might be just what your child needs to get back on track!

Should You Force Feed a Picky Eater?

The idea of force feeding a picky eater sounds cruel. But it might be just what your child needs to get back on track!

The idea of force feeding a picky eater sounds cruel. But it might be just what your child needs to get back on track!

I am a big fan of gentle parenting. I like to let my kids make decisions, learn from their mistakes, listen to their bodies and follow their passions.

Really it is a great way to parent.

I want my kids to mature and be independent thinkers, not control their every move.

But that went out the window with my youngest when she was struggling to eat anything. She couldn’t listen to her body anymore because all she heard was fear.

Food meant pain. Food meant allergic reaction after allergic reaction. And she was too little to communicate how she felt. So she simply stopped eating.

What did I do?

I forced her to eat.

Now, before you become alarmed let me explain.

When my daughter was at the point of being afraid to eat I had to convince her brain and her belly that food could be safe. Which meant getting a few bites down.

Sometimes that meant giving her a few tortilla chips. Sometimes that meant offering her a cookie. The actual food didn’t matter. Just getting something in her empty stomach was the key.

But sometimes there was no food that would entice her enough to take a bite. And yes, sometimes I did have to try physically pushing a little bit of food into her mouth to get past the initial fear. But she sure is good at dodging that!

The idea of force feeding a picky eater sounds cruel. But it might be just what your child needs to get back on track!

Enter my Secret Weapon – Nourishing drinks!

Often with picky eaters or children having allergic reactions half of the battle is the chewing process. So I skipped that and started offering delicious drinks. To my great joy my daughter started drinking them!

Want to know what happened next?

She started eating solid food again! Simply getting some safe, nourishing food in her system was enough to replenish nutrients and stimulate her appetite. And that is such a critical point.

To be clear, this did NOT happen over night. This was a long process with many setbacks like new reactions and illness. Then it was back to square one of living on nutrient-dense drinks until she was refueled enough to eat again. This has been a two year journey!

he idea of force feeding a picky eater sounds cruel. But it might be just what your child needs to get back on track!

Variety is Key.

One key to using drinks for nourishment is variety. We all need an assortment of vitamins and minerals every day and every week. This is especially true for kids with allergies that need to rotate food.

Picky eaters are at risk for nutritional deficiencies. In fact, these deficiencies often cause picky eating in the first place! 

So I set out to create an assortment of delicious drinks that covered a broad spectrum of nutrients to alleviate the picky eating. And I want to share it with you!

If you struggle with any of the following in your child, this book is for you!

  • picky eating
  • oral sensory processing disorder
  • allergies
  • refusal to eat certain textures
  • slow weight gain/underweight
  • won’t eat many fruits and vegetables
  • won’t eat meat
  • craves starch/carbs
  • holds food in mouth/struggles with chewing

Want to know who else it’s for? Any parents that want to boost their child’s nutrition! Yes, this book really is for everyone.

The idea of force feeding a picky eater sounds cruel. But it might be just what your child needs to get back on track!

What’s in it?

I offer simple, nourishing drinks to help get any picky eater back on track to full health and appetite. Kids and adults alike will love these drinks that include fun flavors like apple pie a la mode and peach cobbler. The recipes in Easy Nourishment For Picky Eaters work for those with allergies. They are even safe for children as young as 6 months. Don’t let picky eating get in the way of good health. Drink your way to a well-nourished body.

Yes, there are some days that I still have to “force” my daughter to eat…just get her to take one bite and remind her that food is not scary. Her favorite way is with a “chocolate shake” loaded with healthy fats and gut-healing collagen. That is my kind of force feeding!

The idea of force feeding a picky eater sounds cruel. But it might be just what your child needs to get back on track!

It can be hard to feed an undernourished child. But take heart! He can be nourished with simple, nutrient-dense drinks. The best part is he won’t even know.

Do you have a picky eater? Did you know there could be a root cause?

Boost those nutrients and watch that picky eating turn around!

The idea of force feeding a picky eater sounds cruel. But it might be just what your child needs to get back on track!

Looking for more than nourishing drinks? Check out my other book Why Won’t My Child Eat?! that has in-depth information about how to assess and deal with a picky eater.

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.

There are so many diets and theories and opinions when it comes to health. I've experimented with many of them! As I celebrate another year of life I'm so excited to finally be able to find joy in nourishing my body.

How to Find Joy in Nourishing Your Body

There are so many diets and theories and opinions when it comes to health. I’ve experimented with many of them! As I celebrate another year of life I’m so excited to finally be able to find joy in nourishing my body.There are so many diets and theories and opinions when it comes to health. I've experimented with many of them! As I celebrate another year of life I'm so excited to finally be able to find joy in nourishing my body.

“You have to be healthy to eat healthy.”

It’s something I often say to people frustrated with trying to eat the “right way” but still not feeling great. There are so many diets that promote real food and healing. They all have merit, but that doesn’t mean they work for everyone.

I know this because I’ve tried them (read some of my thoughts HERE). And the only thing I got was severe obsessive compulsive disorder, anxiety, more food intolerances and infertility. But no healing.

The real problem is they all include rules. Specific diets place restrictions on what you can eat and categorize food as good or bad. When a food is deemed bad or forbidden guess what happens? You want it! You are left with this constant decision making between doing the right thing or the wrong thing. And feeling guilty if you choose wrong. Or worse food starts to cause anxiety.There are so many diets and theories and opinions when it comes to health. I've experimented with many of them! As I celebrate another year of life I'm so excited to finally be able to find joy in nourishing my body.

It took me the last twenty years to move past feeling like food is either good or bad. But I did it.  And I love it! It is so freeing to finally enjoy food.

Sound Familiar? There’s help!

Are you hung up on trying to find the right diet for you? Are you wondering if low carb or grain free or high fat is right for you? Does it make you stressed just thinking about it? Here are some simple tips to get past the fear and back to joy.

  1. Start listening to your body.
    Take note of how you feel when you eat certain foods. Keep a food journal for a week or two if need be. If nuts bother your stomach, take a break from them. If you feel better eating more carbohydrates and less fat then go for it. Eat what makes YOU feel good, not what helps your neighbor or your favorite blogger. If you are dealing with an autoimmune disease or allergies that will impact what foods hurt or help.
  2. Get rid of the rules.
    Stop viewing food as good or bad. As long as it’s real food it’s ok. Enjoy a piece of homemade chocolate cake and ice cream. Make a big stack of pancakes with butter and real maple syrup for breakfast. When you restrict foods because you think you shouldn’t eat them (instead of restricting because they actually make you feel bad) they create more stress. Ditch the diet and rigid rules.
  3. Start focusing on nourishment.
    This is where the fun begins. When you let go of unnecessary rules and you’re not constantly debating between eating a salad and digging into a container of ice cream you can focus on really taking care of your body.

Finding Joy

I spent far too many years trying to eat the perfect diet. Only to feel stressed, anxious and deprived. Then I had to go the other direction of eating anything and everything to try to restore metabolic health (you can read about my journey HERE and HERE). All to find a place of balance. Now I find great joy in nourishing my body. Not because a diet tells me to. Because I want to.

I heard someone recently say that happiness is external and joy is internal. Being happy comes from your circumstances, but joy is a state of being that comes from within. And it’s true. Good food does make me happy. But it’s the joy and peace I have inside that motivates me to make healthy choices every day.There are so many diets and theories and opinions when it comes to health. I've experimented with many of them! As I celebrate another year of life I'm so excited to finally be able to find joy in nourishing my body.

Balance is Key

Today eating is like an exciting adventure for me. I try to pack as many nutrients into my food as possible. I add desiccated liver and fermented kale to smoothies and salads. I eat sardines and anchovies a couple times a week. I eat pastured meats and eggs regularly. I aim for a rainbow of vegetables and plenty of healthy fats daily. I drink herbal teas for added minerals and to support my body and get my hormones back in balance. It’s almost like a fun game to see how many vitamins and minerals I can get each day. I feel good and the joy comes pouring out.

But I also enjoy a dish of ice cream when I want it. Sometimes I eat a bowl of mashed avocado and tortilla chips for breakfast (quick and delicious…and it’s easy to add liver to avocado!). I like to bake with my kids and make special sweet treats together (like gluten free Oreos® and salted honey chocolates). It’s even rare that I go a day without at least a little bit of chocolate.There are so many diets and theories and opinions when it comes to health. I've experimented with many of them! As I celebrate another year of life I'm so excited to finally be able to find joy in nourishing my body.

There is no more should or shouldn’t with food. There are no rules. There is no restriction. Which in turn eliminates cravings (imagine that!).

Now I love to fuel my body, and I love how it makes me feel. That does not mean my diet is perfect. Not every single bite of food has to be nutrient packed. And less healthy foods here and there don’t negate all the good stuff I put in my body every day.

Let go of the Guilt

There is no guilt or feeling of reward for eating a certain way. I just truly love to eat nutrient dense food. No rules or special diets. I don’t eat GAPS or Paleo or AIP or low carb or any other specialized diet. I just eat real food that makes me feel good and that I know is helping me take care of my body. One day I might eat grain free while the next I might need some extra starch. And they are both just fine!

It’s very freeing to let go and find joy in nourishment. And it’s the healthiest I’ve ever been!

I am very blessed that I do not have an autoimmune condition or severe allergies. But I do have some sensitivities and health issues I’m still working through. But I try not to let them get me down. I nourish my body as best I can with my limitations and keep striving for full healing.

Eating real food is easy. There are limitless options. Eating real food that meets your needs can be hard. But once you figure out how to do it you’ll love how you feel.There are so many diets and theories and opinions when it comes to health. I've experimented with many of them! As I celebrate another year of life I'm so excited to finally be able to find joy in nourishing my body.

Foods That Nourish

Some of my favorite nutrient dense foods are ferments. They are packed with natural probiotics. What I really love is how easy they are (take a big scoop and enjoy!) and how much my kids like them. My toddler can’t get enough sauerkraut. While we do make our own sometimes, I don’t always have time to pound cabbage.

I recently got the chance to try sauerkraut and fermented pickles from Cultured Guru.There are so many diets and theories and opinions when it comes to health. I've experimented with many of them! As I celebrate another year of life I'm so excited to finally be able to find joy in nourishing my body.

Both the kraut and pickles have just a few simple ingredients and taste amazing! Using traditional fermentation these products are teaming with probiotics. They make great additions to a meal or are the perfect quick snack.

My oldest can’t get enough of the pickles. She has oral SPD and doesn’t tolerate any amount of spice. So even though she likes pickles it’s rare we can find any she’ll eat. But she loves the Cultured Guru pickles! She loves the sauerkraut too. Another rarity for her.

If you want to try some Cultured Guru ferments you’re in luck! You can get 25% off off using coupon code PROBIO.

I’ll be stocking up too. My kids and I can’t get enough!! Such a blessing when working on healing allergies!There are so many diets and theories and opinions when it comes to health. I've experimented with many of them! As I celebrate another year of life I'm so excited to finally be able to find joy in nourishing my body.

Super Charged Bites

Another super food that tops my list is a traditional staple – organ meats. I get mine by adding Perfect Supplements desiccated liver to just about everything. I even make caramel with it! I also love the fermented kale, collagen and aquatic greens from Perfect Supplements. I add them to most of our smoothies.

You can get 10% off any of these Perfect Supplements products with the coupon code TAKE10.

Some of my other favorite foods include sardines, salmon, eggs, raw milk, butter, lard, tallow, pastured meats and a rainbow of vegetables. They all make my body smile.

You have to be healthy to eat healthy.

I’m so excited to finally be healthy so I can enjoy eating well and nourishing my body every day.

Are you ready to let go of rules and enjoy eating again? Ditch the diets and find joy in nourishing your body.

Today is my birthday, and I’m starting it with pure joy. Joy that I’m taking care of myself and this beautiful body God gave me.

Want to see what I eat for my #nourishingbreakfast #nourishinglunch and #nourishingdinner? Follow me on Instagram! It may inspire you…or it might gross you out. In my husband’s words, “You eat that for breakfast?!”There are so many diets and theories and opinions when it comes to health. I've experimented with many of them! As I celebrate another year of life I'm so excited to finally be able to find joy in nourishing my body.

Disclaimer: I am working with Cultured Guru for this post. I have been compensated for my time but all opinions are my own.

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.

Do you ever mix savory and sweet? This dark chocolate spice cake combines dark cocoa with cumin and cinnamon for a unique yet satisfying flavor.

Gluten Free Dark Chocolate Spice Cake

Do you ever mix savory and sweet? This dark chocolate spice cake combines dark cocoa with cumin and cinnamon for a unique yet satisfying flavor.Do you ever mix savory and sweet? This dark chocolate spice cake combines dark cocoa with cumin and cinnamon for a unique yet satisfying flavor.

Sometimes you just need chocolate. Am I right?

And sometimes you need dark chocolate…with a twist.Do you ever mix savory and sweet? This dark chocolate spice cake combines dark cocoa with cumin and cinnamon for a unique yet satisfying flavor.

Something New

I recently got to try the new Stonyfield double cream yogurt and some fun spices from Simply Organic. I paired these unlikely sidekicks in a unique dark chocolate spice cake.

The cake is very mildly sweet with a hint of spice. But plenty of chocolate!Do you ever mix savory and sweet? This dark chocolate spice cake combines dark cocoa with cumin and cinnamon for a unique yet satisfying flavor.

Kid-Friendly

My kids couldn’t get enough. I thought they would be hesitant to try chocolate with cumin added. Boy, was I wrong. They could hardly wait for me to take pictures before they tried it.

And of course they all wanted to help make the cake. My toddler did a lot of sampling.

I also added some mini chocolate chips (this is the brand we love because it is allergen free) to provide another burst of chocolate and some texture.Do you ever mix savory and sweet? This dark chocolate spice cake combines dark cocoa with cumin and cinnamon for a unique yet satisfying flavor.

Change It Up

We enjoyed it plain as a light dessert. Dark chocolate spice cake would also be very good topped with a simple butter cream or homemade ice cream (vanilla, chocolate or salted dark chocolate would all be great choices!).Do you ever mix savory and sweet? This dark chocolate spice cake combines dark cocoa with cumin and cinnamon for a unique yet satisfying flavor.

Yogurt and Spice and Everything Nice

I’m so glad we got to try the double cream yogurt from Stonyfield. It is just what it says…double the cream (you know I’m always in favor of more healthy fat!). It’s like yogurt and sour cream had a baby…super creamy and mildly tangy. The perfect combination.

On the down side now regular yogurt (even though we buy full fat) doesn’t seem as creamy.Do you ever mix savory and sweet? This dark chocolate spice cake combines dark cocoa with cumin and cinnamon for a unique yet satisfying flavor.

I’ve been using Simply Organic spices for quite some time now. But I’m pretty boring. I stick the same basic herbs and spices. So I was excited to see some unique blends like adobo and garam masala. Looks like I’ll be doing more experimenting!Do you ever mix savory and sweet? This dark chocolate spice cake combines dark cocoa with cumin and cinnamon for a unique yet satisfying flavor.

Allergy Friendly

If you’re looking for a chocolate-y treat that won’t give you sugar overload try my gluten free dark chocolate spice cake. It is loaded with healthy fat and real ingredients but free of gluten, nuts and eggs.

Have you ever mixed chocolate and spice? What combination would you try?Do you ever mix savory and sweet? This dark chocolate spice cake combines dark cocoa with cumin and cinnamon for a unique yet satisfying flavor.

Gluten Free Dark Chocolate Spice Cake
Serves 12
A mildly sweet dark chocolate cake that combines cocoa, cumin and cinnamon for a unique twist.
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Ingredients
  1. 1 cup white rice flour
  2. 1/4 cup dark cocoa powder
  3. 1/2 cup organic cane sugar
  4. 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
  5. 1/2 tsp. cumin
  6. 1/4 tsp. unrefined sea salt
  7. 3/4 tsp. baking powder
  8. 2 tsp. grassfed gelatin
  9. 1/4 cup cold water
  10. 1/4 cup hot water
  11. 1/2 cup Stonyfield Double Cream Yogurt
  12. 2 Tbsp. honey
  13. 1/4 cup mini chocolate chips
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease an 8" baking dish.
  2. Combine the gelatin and 1/4 cup cold water. Set aside.
  3. In a large bowl combine the flour, cocoa powder, sugar, cinnamon, cumin, salt and baking powder.
  4. Add the 1/4 cup hot water to the gelatin mixture and stir to dissolve.
  5. Add the gelatin water, yogurt and honey to the dry ingredients. Mix well.
  6. Stir in the chocolate chips.
  7. Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Bake for 35 min.
  8. Serve warm or at room temperature.
Notes
  1. Serve plain or topped with ice cream, butter cream or vanilla yogurt.
  2. For extra flavor mix whole raspberries into the batter before baking.
Just Take A Bite http://justtakeabite.com/
 I am working with Stonyfield Yogurt and Simply Organic spices on this post. I have not been paid to provide positive comments.Do you ever mix savory and sweet? This dark chocolate spice cake combines dark cocoa with cumin and cinnamon for a unique yet satisfying flavor.

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.

This week's kid-friendly real food meal plan and agenda focus on fun in the kitchen, homeschooling and new activities. It's going to be a busy week!

Kid-Friendly Real Food Meal Plan Week Of 1-8-17

This week’s kid-friendly real food meal plan and agenda focus on fun in the kitchen, homeschooling and new activities. It’s going to be a busy week!

This week's kid-friendly real food meal plan and agenda focus on fun in the kitchen, homeschooling and new activities. It's going to be a busy week!

It’s a new week. A week for new experiences on the farm. Although we are finding farm life is a lot of work (and we don’t even have animals or a garden!) we love it. I am so grateful we get to call this place home. We even went cross-country skiing across the property yesterday!

Back To School!

We enjoyed our first week back to school last week. All the kids are having fun learning (or at least that’s what they tell me). This week we add piano lessons, Spanish immersion co-op and one-on-one Spanish conversations to the mix.

Cooking Up A Storm.

We’ve been busy in the kitchen getting back to work with the Kids Cook Real Food ecourse. My kids never want to miss an opportunity to help in the kitchen. Last week we practiced flipping skills and made pancakes. I think this week I’ll have my eight year old make cheeseburgers for dinner one night to keep perfecting her skills.

I’ve been enjoying experimenting with food photography in our new house. I’ve got lots of recipes to create and photos to take for my upcoming book!! Stay tuned for more details.

Kid-Friendly Food.

Here is our kid-friendly real food meal plan for the week. Lots of delicious food kids love and that they can help make!

Have a wonderful week full of healthy food.

This week's kid-friendly real food meal plan and agenda focus on fun in the kitchen, homeschooling and new activities. It's going to be a busy week!

Sunday
B – cereal, friut | cabbage, cheese, scones
L – crockpot roast chicken, mashed potatoes, beans
D – hot dogs and brats, peppers and cauliflower with dip, chips, carob sunbutter smoothies
prep: 
notes: 

Monday
B – toast with sunbutter, blueberry smoothies
D – cheeseburgers, french fries, peas
prep: 
notes:

Tuesday
B – yogurt, granola bars
D – chicken noodle soup, muffins, smoothies
prep: bake muffins
notes:

Wednesday
B – chocolate “milkshakes”, bagel with cream cheese
D – grilled cheese, sauteed broccoli, smoothies
prep:
notes:

Thursday
B – sunbutter filled dates, squash cherry smoothies
D – sloppy joes, sauteed nappa cabbage, jello
prep: soak oats and teff
notes:

Friday 
B – oatmeal |teff porridge with blueberries
D – quiche, muffins, roasted cauliflower
prep: make pie crust, bake cherry pie
notes: 

Saturday 
B – quiche, muffins
D – pumpkin pasta, garlic bread, spinach, beans
prep: make homemade pasta?
notes:

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.

Enjoy your holidays AND serve a healthy breakfast with this nutritious candy cane smoothie bowl. It's so easy to make your kids can do it!

The Christmas Breakfast You Need – Candy Cane Smoothie Bowl

Enjoy your holidays AND serve a healthy breakfast with this nutritious candy cane smoothie bowl. It’s so easy to make your kids can do it!

Enjoy your holidays AND serve a healthy breakfast with this nutritious candy cane smoothie bowl. It's so easy to make your kids can do it!

I have so many wonderful memories of Christmas from my childhood. We’d go to church for a candle light service on Christmas Eve. When it was time for presents my three siblings and I would sit in a line, and my dad would hand them out one at a time. There was so much joy and excitement.

Then we would visit out-of-town extended family. It was great to see grandparents and cousins that we didn’t get to see very often.

Of course after all of the celebrations were done it was time to play! We played with our new toys and spent hours outside building snow forts. That’s what Christmas break is all about, right?

Then I Grew Up…

Now I’m a parent…and I still love Christmas. But it doesn’t quite bring the same joy and excitement as it did when I was a child. I dwell on all of the stuff on my to-do list. The packing, traveling, buying, wrapping, cooking, baking, cleaning and hosting. It’s more crazy than calming. More stressful than joyful.

So by the time all of the chaos is over I’m just plain worn out. I don’t have the energy to prepare a fancy breakfast for my family.

Enjoy your holidays AND serve a healthy breakfast with this nutritious candy cane smoothie bowl. It's so easy to make your kids can do it!

My Solution?

This super simple candy cane smoothie bowl!

IT’S LOADED WITH NUTRIENTS BUT REQUIRES VERY LITTLE EFFORT…ISN’T THAT WHAT WE ARE ALL LOOKING FOR?

A candy cane smoothie bowl is festive and fun. It is so easy to make I actually let my kids do most of the prep work! The older kids practice their detailed cutting skills they learned in the Kids Cook Real Food eCourse. The younger ones pick out pomegranate seeds.

All of the preparation can be done the day before (great afternoon project for bored kids!!). Even the smoothie ingredients can go right in the blender and be ready for morning.

Head over to Kitchen Stewardship where I’m sharing the recipe. Christmas breakfast planning done!

Get the recipe here!

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.