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Kid-Friendly, Healthy Avocado Fries

Simple, healthy avocado fries

 

I once heard a chef on tv (I won’t mention names) say you should NEVER cook avocado. Boy was she wrong!!! I cook avocados all the time. They are delicious!

Years ago while doing the GAPS diet I got very creative with avocados. I put them in soups, on salads, blended them in smoothies, added them to eggs, used them for “bird’s nests,” all kinds of stuff.

The Best Way to Serve Avocado

Although smashed avocado with a generous helping of Real Salt scooped with organic corn chips or raw veggies is pretty amazing, there is another version of avocado that tops my list.

My favorite way to serve avocado is to fry it in a pan to create avocado fries!

I use either butter or coconut oil and plenty of unrefined sea salt.

The result? Golden, crispy, salty outsides with rich, creamy insides. This is like heaven for an Analytical Eater (find out if that’s you HERE).

Avocado Fries

Avocado fries are like french fries…but much healthier.

They contain tons of good fat, vitamins, and minerals (did you know avocado is high in potassium?). You can eat the avocado fries plain or dip them in ketchup, pesto, hummus, or honey mustard. Really they are good dipped in pretty much anything.

Eat them like fries or use them to top a salad (like croutons).

How to Increase Healthy Fat in Your Child’s Diet

I like avocado fries as part of an easy to prep lunch. I just toss them in the pan and let them cook while I get the other food prep done.

Avocado fries make great finger food for toddlers. And they are a fun way to get healthy fat into any child’s diet.

There isn’t much to cooking avocado. Simple, delicious, nutritious. My favorite food trifecta!

Give avocado fries a try. You’ll be glad you did. If someone ever tells you not to cook avocados…ask them if they’ve tried avocado fries.

Simple, healthy avocado fries

 

Quick Avocado Fries

Cook Time 14 minutes
Servings 2 kids
Author Mary | Just Take A Bite

Ingredients

  • 1/2 avocado sliced lengthwise
  • 1 Tbsp. butter or coconut oil
  • Pinch unrefined sea salt to taste

Instructions

  1. Heat a small skillet over medium heat. When hot add the butter/coconut oil.

  2. Add sliced avocado (the thickness just depends on your taste). Sprinkle with salt. Let cook on the first side until golden and crispy, about 5-7 minutes.

  3. Flip and repeat with the other side. Add extra salt if necessary.

Recipe Notes

Don't waste the salty butter in the pan. Use it on bread or to cook some greens.

This post is linked to Fat Tuesday and Real Food Wednesday and Fresh Bites Friday and Fight Back Friday.

An easy solution for preserving pears without spending hours in the kitchen - how to make and can pear sauce. A great no-sugar-added alternative to applesauce. #canning #realfood #healthykids #pearsauce

How to Make & Can Pear Sauce | A No Sugar Added Alternative to Applesauce

Fall is a busy time of canning applesauce and freezing pumpkin. But don’t forget about preserving pears! With a short season and a busy schedule use this guide to stock your pantry with pear sauce before the pears are gone.

An easy solution for preserving pears without spending hours in the kitchen - how to make and can pear sauce. A great no-sugar-added alternative to applesauce. #canning #realfood #healthykids #pearsauce

I’m a big fan of hardy produce. You know, the kind that can sit on the counter or in the fridge for weeks and still be OK? Like carrots, potatoes, apples, rutabaga, parsnips, cauliflower, and cabbage.

I love all kinds of fruits and veggies. But some of them are a bit demanding.

One day an avocado is not quite ripe. The next day it’s mushy.

The same goes for pears. You check and check for ripeness. Then all of a sudden you’ve missed the window and they over ripe.

Personally, I like to be in control instead of my produce. But it just doesn’t work that way for everything.

So I always get anxious when it’s pear season. I want to preserve them. But I just don’t have time any old day. Will I time it just right? Will I be stuck peeling hard pears? Or will I let them go too far because we were busy with soccer and band?

It’s a gamble.

I try to do a fair amount of canning each fall. How much I do depends on my kids’ ages and how I’m feeling.

Regardless, I don’t like to spend hours on end in the kitchen each day to keep up with produce preservation.An easy solution for preserving pears without spending hours in the kitchen - how to make and can pear sauce. A great no-sugar-added alternative to applesauce. #canning #realfood #healthykids #pearsauce

How to Can Pears

I already take the easy route when it comes to canning peaches. That is a life saver!

Then I get to pears. There is really no way around it.

Canning pears takes a lot of time.

Lots of peeling and slicing (especially if the pears are small). It can take up to sixty pears just to do one round of canning! That is a lot of peeling.

So I stopped doing it years ago. Much to my husband’s disappointment. I just don’t have time.

But I still want to preserve this amazing fruit to enjoy it all winter.

How to make and can pear sauce - an easy alternative to applesauce

How to Can Pears Without Sugar

Enter pear sauce.

It is just like applesauce but with pears. Honestly, I would take pear sauce any day over applesauce. It is that good.

There is no need to add any sweetener as pears are plenty sweet on their own.

The other thing you don’t have to do – peel them!

Preserving pears is quite easy when you can just wash, quarter, cook and puree. Then either can or freeze the pear sauce.An easy solution for preserving pears without spending hours in the kitchen - how to make and can pear sauce. A great no-sugar-added alternative to applesauce. #canning #realfood #healthykids #pearsauce

Pear Sauce for Baby

One of the reasons I love having pearsauce on hand is that it makes a super easy first food for little ones six months and up. You can serve it plain or turn it into a nutrient dense baby porridge. Warm the pear sauce slightly and mix in coconut oil and an egg yolk. Stir and serve!

My big kids love pear sauce too! Sometimes I even make it extra special by adding strawberries, raspberries or blueberries from our freezer stash. As they melt and let off juice it colors the pearsauce and adds an extra burst of flavor.

Serve it cold. Serve it warm with a pinch of cinnamon. Add it to oatmeal. Mix it in yogurt.

You really can’t go wrong. You also don’t need to spend days on end making pear sauce.

Pear Sauce Canning

Here is my busy mom’s solution to preserving pears. I am able to work through a half bushel in one day (with four young kids, including a nursing little one) and still manage to do our school work, go to activities, and get healthy meals on the table.

It only takes about twenty minutes to wash and slice one batch of pears. Then you can let it cook for a bit while you tend to something else. Being able to make pear sauce in steps is so handy!

A full batch (seven quarts) takes about 30 – 35 medium to large pears. So figure out how many jars you’d like to can and then figure out how many pears you need. I usually get one bushel of pears. It makes three rounds of pear sauce with some pears left over for eating fresh.

Pear sauce makes a great alternative to applesauce. Variety is key to any diet, especially if you are implementing a rotation diet for food allergies. So this is a nice change of pace! My kids actually prefer it over applesauce.

Have you ever tried preserving pears? I encourage you to try pearsauce!

Are you new to canning? Check out my step-by-step tutorial to get you going.An easy solution for preserving pears without spending hours in the kitchen - how to make and can pear sauce. A great no-sugar-added alternative to applesauce. #canning #realfood #healthykids #pearsauce

What to do With Extra Pears

Depending on the size of the pears and the quantity you buy, sometimes you end up with a pile of extra pears. And like I said before, they can go from almost ripe to mush pretty quickly. So what do you do with those extra pears?

Of course you can eat them fresh! Pears are a sweet treat on their own. But you can only eat so many. Here are a few other options for using up extra ripe pears.

Homemade Pear Sauce Recipe

Homemade Canned Pear Sauce

Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Servings 7 quarts
Author Mary | Just Take A Bite

Ingredients

  • 30 - 40 medium ripe pears
  • 1 cup water

Instructions

Making Pear Sauce

  1. Wash pears (this can be done in a clean sink full of water).

  2. Add 1 cup water to a large stockpot and turn on high heat.

  3. Quarter and core pears, placing them in the stockpot as you go.

  4. Adjust heat to simmer and cook the pears until soft, stirring periodically, about 15 minutes.

  5. In batches puree the cooked pears and their juice in a high-powered blender until smooth.

Freezing Pear Sauce

  1. Chill the pear sauce.

  2. Put the pear sauce in freezer-safe containers.

  3. Label and freeze for up to a year.

Canning Pear Sauce

  1. Return the pureed pear sauce to the stockpot and keep warm.

  2. Prepare the water bath canner (filled with water and jars and get the jars hot).

  3. Ladle the hot pear sauce into hot jars, leaving 1/2" headspace.

  4. Wipe the rims of jars and place the lids and bands on.

  5. Can in hot water bath for 30 minutes (quarts) or 25 minutes (pints).

  6. Remove the canner lid and let the jars sit for 5 minutes.

  7. Remove jars from the canner and place on a towel to cool, untouched for 8 hours.

Recipe Notes

  • One batch of pear sauce makes 6-7 quarts or 12-14 pints.
  • A half-bushel of pears will make 2 rounds of pear sauce, with a few pears left for eating fresh.

This post is linked to Savoring Saturdays.

Homemade Ground Beef Jerky

Soy-Free and Coconut-Free Homemade Ground Beef Jerky

When you’re working around allergies, it can be hard to find easy and nutritious snacks, especially with protein. This homemade ground beef jerky is simple and safe for the whole family.

Allergen-Free and Kid-Friendly Homemade Ground Beef Jerky

One of the biggest struggles of having children with allergies is finding easy sources of protein.

Our allergies include nuts, dairy, beans and eggs. So basically it’s meat or nothing. And I don’t know about you, but I just don’t feel like cooking meat for every meal of the day!

But as a Nutritional Therapy Practitioner, I know just how important it is to get adequate protein for blood sugar regulation (think hangry!) and to help kids grow and develop well.

Allergen-Free Protein Options

I do let my kids have sunbutter (we LOVE this brand that is made in a peanut and tree nut free facility!). But it really doesn’t have that much protein. And I only give it every four days to stick with our rotation diet. I also do sardines and anchovies about once a week. Although they are super nutritious, that gets expensive!

When it comes to lunches and snacks I stick to easy. And the usual easy protein sources aren’t options. Most days there is enough leftover from the previous night’s dinner that it’s not a problem.

But sometimes there’s not.

The solution?

Homemade Ground Beef Jerky

I did some research to find a recipe…and couldn’t find one. Most of them use either soy sauce or coconut aminos. When you can’t use soy or coconut that just doesn’t work. Plus I really had no desire to go to the store or buy specialty items.

So I came up with my own recipe using just a few simple and nourishing ingredients. To my great delight this ground beef jerky turned out great!Allergen-Free and Kid-Friendly Homemade Ground Beef Jerky

Soy-Free Beef Jerky

My biggest surprise…my one year old was the child that liked it the best! She ate almost the whole batch (don’t worry, not in one day). My husband and I love it too!

It is so easy to stick in the diaper bag when running errands. No mess. No refrigeration. Just a simple, healthy snack that is free of allergens and easy enough for a one year old to eat. Perfect!

You can adjust the salt and sugar to your liking. I like a lot of salt. You can also add liquid smoke for a smokey flavor. If you really want to bump up the nutrition you can even add desiccated liver! (Use the code TAKE10 for 10% off)

Allergen-Free and Kid-Friendly Homemade Ground Beef Jerky

What is the Best Meat for Beef Jerky?

Ground beef is the easiest meat to work with and makes the easiest to eat beef jerky (trust me, I tried other meat first…and I could barely chew that batch).

Not a fan of beef? Swap it for ground pork, chicken or turkey!

This ground beef jerky is perfect for school lunches or summer picnics. Make a big batch and store it in the freezer. Grab as much as you need any time. It thaws in about sixty seconds.

Is it Cheaper to Make Your Own Beef Jerky?

The other thing I love is how affordable this beef jerky is. I use grassfed ground beef. No fancy steaks. So a whole batch only costs about $6.00 (including the other ingredients)…and makes at least 30 good size pieces of jerky!

We recently bought some locally-made beef jerky. It came in a tiny package and cost about $8.00. Plus my kids thought it was too spicy. I don’t think I’ll be doing that again.

Can You Make Beef Jerky Without a Dehydrator?

Most homemade beef jerky recipes use a dehydrator. But it is possible to make beef jerky in the oven. Simply spread the meat in small strips on a baking sheet and bake it at a very low temperature (around 200 degrees F). Check it every hour for doneness.

What are your go-to allergen-free snacks?

If you’re like me and always trying to figure out an easy snack that is healthy, satisfying and free of allergens you’ve found it. Ground beef jerky is perfect for the whole family. Put it at the top of your allergy-friendly snack list! Homemade lunch meat is a great option too.Allergen-Free and Kid-Friendly Homemade Ground Beef Jerky

Easy, Allergen-Free Ground Beef Jerky

Homemade beef jerky made with ground meat and free of allergens, including soy and coconut!

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 12 hours
Servings 30 pieces
Author Mary | Just Take A Bite

Ingredients

  • 1 lb. ground beef, pork, chicken, or turky
  • 1/2 cup gelled beef, pork, chicken, or turkey broth
  • 1/3 cup honey, maple syrup, or molasses
  • 4 tsp. unrefined sea salt
  • 2 tsp. Perfect Supplements Desiccated Liver Powder optional

Instructions

  1. Combine all of the ingredients in a large bowl. Cover and refrigerate for 2 - 8 hours.

  2. Spread strips of marinated meat onto dehydrator trays using 1-2 Tbsp. of meat each (thinner is better when spreading. Hands work best to spread it).

  3. Dry at 155*F for about 12 hours, checking every hour after 6 hours for doneness.

  4. Allow to cool and store at room temperature for up to a week, in the refrigerator for up to 3 weeks or in the freezer for up to a year.

Recipe Notes

Easy Gluten-Free Sourdough Bread | Allergen-Free and Kid-Friendly!

Easy Gluten-Free Sourdough Bread | Great for Kids!

Looking for gluten-free sourdough bread that is allergy-friendly, kid-friendly and easy to make? This is it! Just a few minutes of hands-on time gives you delicious gluten-free sourdough without gums.

Easy Gluten-Free Sourdough Bread | Allergen-Free and Kid-Friendly!

One of my first kitchen experiments when I had just entered the world of real food was sourdough bread. I had some experience with bread-baking. But the idea of sourdough seemed daunting.

Flour and water come to life? You have to feed your food?

That sounded like something to either totally mess up or poison my family with!

But I love a good challenge. So I decided to try it anyway.

What is Sourdough?

The first step of the process was to understand what sourdough is. Sourdough is made by the fermentation of dough using naturally occurring lactobacilli and yeast.

In simpler terms, mixing flour and water creates bacteria and natural yeast that breaks down glucose and phytates in the grains, while providing natural leavening.

Sourdough contains lots of good bacteria that produce enzymes to break down phytic acid and help digestion.

Sourdough bread can also be helpful for anyone with blood sugar issues as the resistant starch helps slow absorption of the carbohydrates.

Does Sourdough Bread Contain Yeast?

Most bread contains a cultivated yeast – baker’s yeast. Sourdough bread, on the other hand, uses a natural yeast. There is no need to add yeast to sourdough bread. The fermentation of the grains provide sufficient leavening.

That being said, when it comes to gluten-free sourdough bread, the natural leavening is often not sufficient. I have baked far too many loaves that rose beautifully, only to sink down while baking.

So I add just a bit of baking powder to maintain the rise.

Easy Gluten-Free Sourdough Bread | Allergen-Free and Kid-Friendly!

How to Make A Gluten-Free Sourdough Starter

Sourdough bread requires a starter. You can buy a starter or find a friend that is willing to share. But it’s actually really easy to make one! As long as you don’t expect to make a loaf of bread the same day.

A lot of gluten-free baking is quite different from baking with wheat. Thankfully making a gluten-free sourdough starter uses the exact same process as it would if you were using wheat or rye. Sometimes you may want to feed a gluten-free starter more frequently to get it bubbling well.Easy Gluten-Free Sourdough Bread | Allergen-Free and Kid-Friendly!

The basic process is combining flour and water until it starts to bubble. This can take anywhere from two days to a week, depending on what grains you use.

  1. Start by mixing equal amounts of water and flour (1/4 – 1/2 cup is good to start). Cover and let sit 12 hours.
  2. Add equal amounts of water and flour again (1/4 cup works well). Cover and let sit 12 hours.
  3. Add equal amounts of water and flour again (1/4 cup). Cover and let sit 24 hours.
  4. Repeat this process until the mixture starts to bubble. That is your starter.
  5. Use some of the starter in a recipe or store it, covered in the fridge.
  6. Any time you use your starter be sure to feed it again.
  7. If you are going to be using your starter, feed it 2-12 hours beforehand to get it good and bubbly and to be sure you have enough for your recipe.

Easy Gluten-Free Sourdough Bread | Allergen-Free and Kid-Friendly!Which Grains Work Best for Gluten-Free Sourdough?

Just about any grain can be used for gluten-free sourdough. Some common grains that are easy to work with are:

  • brown rice
  • teff
  • sorghum
  • buckwheat

Most sourdough starters use only a single grain. You can have multiple starters to utilize a variety of grains.

I use mostly sorghum and brown rice. I use them interchangeably in my one starter.

Easy Gluten-Free Sourdough Bread | Allergen-Free and Kid-Friendly!

Easy Gluten-Free Sourdough Bread

A gluten-free sourdough starter works the same way as the wheat version, but the bread does not. I tried numerous gluten-free sourdough bread recipes that utilized different techniques and grains.

One was a brick. One was goopy. Some just sunk down. We ate a lot of sub-par bread along the way!

In the end I went back to my usual mantra that simple is the best. No gums. No need to combine five different flours.

This simple gluten-free sourdough bread takes about five minutes to mix up. Then it can rise anywhere from 8 – 24 hours.

The dough will not feel like regular bread. It will be sort of fluffy. And you will likely think you totally messed it up. But don’t worry. It will rise up nicely in the oven.

Adding psyllium husk powder to gluten-free sourdough keeps the bread soft (and is why you see a bit of marbling in the bread).

Easy Gluten-Free Sourdough Bread | Allergen-Free and Kid-Friendly!

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Easy Gluten-Free Sourdough Bread

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Servings 12 slices
Author Mary | Just Take A Bite

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups brown rice or sorghum sourdough starter
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 2 1/2 Tbsp. psyllium husk powder
  • 1 1/4 cups sorghum flour
  • 1/4 cup white rice flour
  • 2 Tbsp. honey
  • 3 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. baking powder

Instructions

  1. 2-12 hours before making the bread, feed your starter so you have at least 2 cups.

  2. In a large bowl combine the starter and water.

  3. Very gradually whisk in the psyllium husk powder so that it doesn't clump.

  4. Whisk in the honey and oil.

  5. Add the sorghum flour, rice flour, and salt. Mix well. The mixture should be sort of fluffy/clumpy.

  6. Cover and let rise 8-24 hours (the longer it rises, the more sour the bread will be)

  7. When ready to bake, heat the oven to 350 degrees F.

  8. Grease a medium-size loaf pan (4.5 x 8.5 in. / 1.5 qt)

  9. Sprinkle the baking soda and baking powder on top of the risen dough.

  10. Quickly mix in thoroughly (hands work well for this), distributing the soda/powder throughout.

  11. Place the dough in the prepared pan and gently press in.

  12. Bake for 1 hour.

  13. Immediately remove the bread from the pan and allow to cool completely before slicing.

  14. Store in a bag or sealed container at room temp for up to a week or in the freezer for up to a year.

What Does Gluten-Free Sourdough Bread Taste Like?

This version of gluten-free sourdough bread does have a different texture than traditional wheat sourdough. It’s sort of in-between a yeast bread and a sweet bread.

The bread is very soft and can easily be used for sandwiches, grilled cheese, french toast, or whatever else you like to make with bread.

Gluten-free sourdough bread can have a mild flavor or a very sour flavor depending on the rise time. I typically let it rise for about 12 hours, and my kids tell me it’s a bit on the sour side for them. You can add a little more honey or some molasses to keep the flavor mild while still getting a good ferment.

Easy Gluten-Free Sourdough Bread | Allergen-Free and Kid-Friendly!Does Gluten-Free Sourdough Bread Toast Well?

Initially I was disappointed with my gluten-free sourdough bread because it is so soft. As an Analytical Eater, I need crunch in my food. I love very toasted bread.

But I found a solution!

This gluten-free sourdough bread has more moisture than a traditional loaf. So it requires a longer toast time to compensate. I actually prefer to bake an individual slice instead of toasting it. Ten minutes in the toaster oven at 400 degrees F gives that perfect, crispy crust. You know it’s good when you can hear it while you spread butter.

My kids love it toasted with either butter or sunbutter and a little drizzle of raw honey. I like it toasted with butter, sunbutter and some zucchini cheese slices that start to get melty from the heat.

How Long Does Sourdough Bread Last?

Since gluten-free sourdough bread is already fermented, it stays fresh at room temperature for quite a while. It will stay good on the counter (in a bag or container) for about a week.

I don’t think a loaf ever lasts that long for us. Sometimes it’s gone in two days! But if you don’t think you’ll use it all in a week you can freeze it for long-term storage. If you slice the bread before freezing you can take it out one slice at a time as needed.

Is Sourdough Bread High Histamine?

Anything fermented contains histamine. So if you have histamine intolerance, you should use caution with sourdough bread – even if it is gluten-free.

That being said, everyone is different. You need to experiment and see what your body tolerates. I’ve dealt with histamine intolerance for quite some time, but I do fine with gluten-free sourdough bread.

Easy Gluten-Free Sourdough Bread | Allergen-Free and Kid-Friendly!Does Sourdough Bread Contain Gluten?

This might seem like a silly question in a post about gluten-free sourdough bread. But I do want to clarify some misconceptions.

Traditional wheat or rye sourdough does contain gluten. The fermentation process does not remove the gluten.

That being said, many individuals that are sensitive to gluten can tolerate traditional wheat or rye sourdough. Why is that? 

The bacteria in sourdough break down some of the carbohydrates and protein in the grains. This includes breaking down fructan, a carbohydrate found in wheat. Many individuals that are sensitive to gluten are actually sensitive to specific carbohydrates, such as fructan.

My daughters are gluten-free but tolerate wheat sourdough just fine. My sons, on the other hand, have to stick to strict gluten-free. It’s worth experimenting to see what your body tolerates. Making sourdough bread with an ancient wheat variety like Einkorn is another option for many that are sensitive to gluten.

Gluten-Free Sourdough for Kids

Most kids like bread. They like toast, sandwiches, grilled cheese – all of it. So why not make it the healthiest bread possible?

Gluten-free sourdough bread contains healthy bacteria and is easy on those that have digestive complaints. Plus it helps absorb key vitamins and minerals!

Gluten-free sourdough bread is a great addition to a healthy diet for kids!

Are you gluten-free? Have you ever tried gluten-free sourdough?

Looking for an easy, egg-free snack or breakfast? These naturally sweetened gluten-free orange raisin muffins are the perfect hand-held treat that both kid and adults love!

Gluten-Free Egg-Free Orange Raisin Muffins

Looking for an easy, egg-free snack or breakfast? These naturally sweetened gluten-free orange raisin muffins are the perfect hand-held treat that both kid and adults love! Free of eggs, dairy, gluten, and nuts, these muffins are very allergy friendly! Looking for an easy, egg-free snack or breakfast? These naturally sweetened gluten-free orange raisin muffins are the perfect hand-held treat that both kid and adults love!

Not sure if it’s just my kids or a kid thing in general, but my kids LOVE muffins. Really any hand-held, round bread. If I make sourdough bread, they enjoy it. If I make sourdough rolls you’d think I hadn’t fed them in three days the way they eat them.

I guess kids just like to eat with their hands. Which explains why my kids refuse to use utensils no matter what kind of food they are eating.

But muffins are definitely a favorite around here.

Which is why I find myself baking muffins a LOT!

Egg Sensitivity in Babies

A few months ago I had to cut eggs back out of my diet and my toddler’s diet. We were off eggs for about a year (almost since birth) and then reintroduced them. I think eggs are one of the most nutrient-dense foods on the planet. But as much as I love eating the eggs fresh from our hens, they were giving my son a diaper rash. They were also giving me phlegm in my throat on a daily basis.

Eggs seem to be a common sensitivity in babies these days. It’s unfortunate since eggs provide many essential vitamins and minerals.Looking for an easy, egg-free snack or breakfast? These naturally sweetened gluten-free orange raisin muffins are the perfect hand-held treat that both kid and adults love!

Some people can tolerate eggs in baked goods even if they can’t eat plain eggs. But we are generally not that fortunate. If a food is bothersome at all…it has to be cut completely. For some reason it seems to be worse when my kids are very young too.

My five-year-old was egg-free for at least the first two years of life. Now she can eat them every day!Looking for an easy, egg-free snack or breakfast? These naturally sweetened gluten-free orange raisin muffins are the perfect hand-held treat that both kid and adults love!

Egg-Free Muffins

Eliminating eggs from your diet definitely eliminates some food options. This includes not only egg dishes, but many baked goods. Yes, our beloved muffins had eggs!

Thankfully there are some great egg substitutes for baking. My favorite way to bake egg-free is with gelatin.

That is exactly what I do in these allergen-free orange raisin muffins.

Mix the juice of a couple oranges with gelatin. Then add hot water to dissolve. It’s the perfect binder to make egg-free muffins.


Make sure you use high quality gelatin in your baking. We always use Perfect Supplements gelatin. It is the only gelatin that is certified glyphosate free. You can stock up on Perfect Supplements gelatin HERE with the code TAKE10 for 10% off your order.


Baking Without Refined Sugar

An added bonus of these orange muffins is that they contain no refined sweeteners. Maple syrup or honey combined with orange juice provides plenty of flavor and sweetness.

The raisins add a little extra natural sugar as well. Dried cranberries or even mini chocolate chips would work too.

We prefer to top gluten-free orange muffins with a generous pat of butter to help metabolize the carbohydrates. The flavor contrast with the salty butter and sweet orange is another plus.

Looking for an easy, egg-free snack or breakfast? These naturally sweetened gluten-free orange raisin muffins are the perfect hand-held treat that both kid and adults love!Easy Allergen-Free Snack for Kids

Gluten-free orange raisin muffins make a great addition to a quick weekday breakfast, a mid-morning snack, or packed up in a lunch box.

Combine it with a nourishing drink, a bowl of soup made with bone broth, or another form of protein and fat like bacon, sunbutter, or sausage. You really can’t go wrong!

Grab a couple organic oranges, some Perfect Supplements gelatin, and your favorite gluten-free flour blend and whip up a batch of egg-free orange raisin muffins today!

It also helps to have a very cute assistant for quality control. My toddler gave these muffins his seal of approval!Looking for an easy, egg-free snack or breakfast? These naturally sweetened gluten-free orange raisin muffins are the perfect hand-held treat that both kid and adults love!

Gluten-Free Egg-Free Orange Raisin Muffins

A quick allergen-free muffin with no refined sweeteners and a bright orange flavor.

Course Breakfast, Snack
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Servings 12
Author Mary | Just Take A Bite

Ingredients

  • 1 cup white rice flour
  • 1/2 cup sorghum flour
  • 1/2 cup amaranth flour
  • 1 tsp. psyllium husk
  • 1/2 tsp. unrefined sea salt
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 3/4 cups unsweetened applesauce
  • 2 organic oranges juice (about 1/2 cup) and zest
  • 1/3 cup avocado oil or olive oil
  • 6 Tbsp. maple syrup or honey
  • 3 tsp. gelatin
  • 1/4 cup hot water
  • 1/4 cup raisins, cranberries, or chocolate chips optional

Instructions

  1. Heat oven to 350 degrees F.

  2. Line or grease a 12-cup muffin tin.

  3. In a large bowl combine the flours, psyllium husk, salt, baking soda, baking powder, and orange zest.

  4. Add the applesauce, oil, and maple syrup. Mix well.

  5. In a small bowl combine the gelatin and orange juice (about 1/2 cup). Let sit 1 minute.

  6. Add the hot water to the gelatin mixture and stir until dissolved.

  7. Immediately add to the batter and mix well.

  8. Stir in raisins.

  9. Fill muffin cups 3/4 full.

  10. Bake 35-40 minutes, until golden.

Recipe Notes

This makes 12 large muffins, 16 medium-size muffins, or 24 mini muffins.

How to make REAL "Kool-Aid"

How To Make REAL “Kool-Aid” | Dye-Free & Allergen-Free

Not a fan of adding dyes and artificial flavors to your kids’ diet? This real food version of “Kool-Aid” is easy to make and fun for kids. No chemicals required.

How to make REAL "Kool-Aid"Lately I see a lot of commercials for convenience foods that just seem plain silly.  Like to-go containers of peanut butter? Because you don’t have enough time to scoop a little peanut butter into a container at home?

Then there are the “foods” that are just plain junk. Like “Kool-Aid” squeeze packs. Because it’s such a great idea to fill your child with high fructose corn syrup and food coloring that they had to make it even easier for you to do. And you can even do it on the go. Give your child a bottle of water…and then fill it with nasty stuff that contributes to ADHD and other health issues.

I say just give them the water and be done. There really is no need for anything extra.How to make REAL "Kool-Aid" - A simple, dye-free drink for kids.

How to Make “Kool-Aid” Without Food Coloring

Sometimes it is nice to have a treat. And there are also times when your child needs a beverage that is a bit more hydrating than plain water, like this Smart Water.

So I created a real food version of “Kool-Aid” syrup to add to water. It’s made with quality ingredients. Plus it has unrefined sea salt with minerals for hydration.

 I send my daughter to school with a water bottle every day. But once in a while I add a couple tablespoons of our homemade fruit syrup. She gets a treat. And she’s more likely to drink more that way and stay hydrated. A little flavor goes a long way.

How to Avoid High Fructose Corn Syrup

You don’t need the corn syrup and food dyes to make water fun. Simply make your own syrup (it only takes 10 minutes!). Then your child can still focus at school while having a delicious treat. And if your child is like mine, they’ll tell their friends all about it and start teaching others about good health at a young age. Everyone wins.

What do your kids like to drink?

How about some “Kool-Aid” real food style? The pictures show cherry “Kool-Aid.” You can also make blueberry or lemon lime or any combination. There is something delicious for everyone.How to make REAL "Kool-Aid" - A simple, dye-free drink for kids.How to make REAL "Kool-Aid" - A simple, dye-free drink for kids.

{REAL} "Kool-Aid"
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Ingredients
  1. 1/2 cup pure juice (cherry, blueberry, lemon, lime)
  2. 1 cup organic cane sugar or coconut sugar
  3. 1/2 tsp. unrefined sea salt
Instructions
  1. Combine all of the ingredients in saucepan.
  2. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer about 5-10 minutes, until sugar is completely dissolved, whisking frequently.
  3. Remove from heat. Pour the syrup into a glass container, cover and refrigerate until cool.
  4. When ready to serve add 1 Tbsp. syrup to every 1/2 cup water. Stir or shake to mix.
Notes
  1. This can be made with one flavor of juice or a combination.
  2. You can add more or less syrup depending on how sweet you like it.
Just Take A Bite https://justtakeabite.com/
How To Turn A Pork Roast Into Ham | Just Take A Bite

How To Turn A Pork Roast Into Ham

Are you looking for a way to serve ham without worrying about nitrates, nitrites and fillers? Make your own! You can easily turn a pork roast into ham in your crockpot.

How To Turn A Pork Roast Into Ham | Just Take A Bite

I love ham. I mean love it.

You can imagine my sadness when my daughter had a reaction to ham while she was still breastfeeding. That meant no ham for her…or me.

How To Turn A Pork Roast Into Ham | Just Take A Bite

Why You Should Avoid Ham

Pork was not the problem.

The problem is whatever is used for smoking/curing. Even something simple like beet sugar caused a reaction.

But aside from allergens, there are the added nitrates and nitrites. This is not a cut and dry issue either. Some say avoid it all. Some say just be careful of quantities, whether naturally-derived or not.

Whatever your reason, sometimes it’s a good idea to avoid cured meats, including ham.

How to Turn Pork into Ham

I avoided my beloved ham for a long time – until I decided to make my own! You can turn a pork roast into ham right in your crockpot (this is my favorite one).

No fancy tools. No strange ingredients.

Really all you need is pork, salt and a sweetener.

I used a rolled pork roast. But any cut will work.

Homemade Ham in the Crockpot

Cut some slits in the pork, put it in the crockpot and add the salt and sugar. Turn the crockpot on and you’re pretty much done.

How To Turn A Pork Roast Into Ham | Just Take A Bite

Your holiday ham really can be that simple. And you don’t have to worry about nitrates or nitrites or whether or not celery powder is better or worse.

To turn a pork roast into ham the important step is using lots of quality unrefined sea salt. Then adjust the sweetness to your liking.

If you want your ham really smokey you can also add a little liquid smoke (be sure to find one without coloring added).

Pork Loin Ham Recipe

As I write this I’m thinking about how tasty our homemade ham was. I might have eaten all of the leftovers myself. Though now I wish some had made it to the freezer so I could enjoy it again.

I guess that means I just need to make another!

Are you thinking about making a Christmas ham?

Save time and money by making it yourself this year! Just put it in the crockpot in the morning and spend your time focusing on delicious side dishes and desserts.

No crockpot? Or you’ve already filled it with something else? You can make ham in the oven too.

How To Turn A Pork Roast Into Ham | Just Take A Bite

Homemade Ham
Turn a pork roast into a delicious ham with a few simple ingredients and a crockpot.
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Ingredients
  1. 1 pork roast (cut and size of choice)
  2. 2 - 4 tsp. unrefined sea salt (adjust based on size of roast)
  3. 2 Tbsp. - 1/2 cup any combination of sweeteners (honey, maple syrup, organic cane sugar, organic brown cane sugar, molasses; adjust to taste)
Instructions
  1. Using a sharp knife cut slits in the pork roast all over.
  2. Place the pork in the crockpot.
  3. Add salt and flip the roast to make sure there is salt on all sides.
  4. Add the sweetener (start with a smaller amount and add more later if you want it sweeter).
  5. Cover and cook on HIGH for 4 hours, then turn to LOW for 5+ hours.
  6. Flip the roast 2 or 3 times during cooking to make sure all sides get coated with flavoring. You can also baste the roast with the juice in the crockpot, trying to get it into the slits in the meat.
  7. An hour before serving cut the roast into large chunks and coat with the juice in the crockpot.
Notes
  1. You can use a single sweetener like honey or cane sugar. Using a combination of liquid and dry sweeteners gives a good balance of flavor and creates a good "sauce."
  2. To make ham in the oven follow the same directions, baking the pork in a covered dish at 375*F for 2 hours, then turning the heat down to 325*F for 2 hours.
Just Take A Bite https://justtakeabite.com/
This post is linked to Savoring Saturdays.

When it comes to replacing store-bought snacks with homemade it doesn't get much easier than granola bars. These chewy granola bars come together in minutes. The hardest part is waiting for them to bake!

Baked Chewy Granola Bars | Gluten-Free | Nut-Free

When it comes to replacing store-bought snacks with homemade it doesn’t get much easier than granola bars. These baked chewy granola bars come together in minutes. The hardest part is waiting for them to bake!When it comes to replacing store-bought snacks with homemade it doesn't get much easier than granola bars. These chewy granola bars come together in minutes. The hardest part is waiting for them to bake! I always have homemade granola bars on hand in the freezer. They are easy to make and taste great. The only problem is that they don’t hold up well unless they are refrigerated. So they are good at home…but not so good for packing in a diaper bag, putting in a lunch, etc.

Allergen-Free Granola Bars

I decided to experiment a bit and make a new version of chewy granola bars. They are baked, they use sunbutter instead of nut butter, and they have eggs to help hold them together.

These granola bars turned out quite well. They are still chewy, but not as gooey as the no-bake bars. They would hold up well sitting out all day. I wish I had made these before our vacation.When it comes to replacing store-bought snacks with homemade it doesn't get much easier than granola bars. These chewy granola bars come together in minutes. The hardest part is waiting for them to bake!

Homemade Chewy Granola Bars

I have seen recipes for other baked granola bars that don’t use eggs, so if you can’t have eggs you could definitely try these without. Just increase the honey and/or oil.

I’m usually a fan of rolled oats. But when it comes to granola bars quick oats actually hold up much better. Not to mention they are easier to eat for Intuitive Eaters. You can also another flour combined with oats (wheat, rice, etc.)

The other nice thing about these bars is that I was able to use chocolate chips in them…without the chips melting! A very versatile granola bar that holds up well and can be adapted to many special diets. I love them. My kids do too!!

When it comes to replacing store-bought snacks with homemade it doesn't get much easier than granola bars. These chewy granola bars come together in minutes. The hardest part is waiting for them to bake!

Are Granola Bars Healthy?

As much as we like to think that granola bars are a healthy snack option – they usually are not. Especially when it comes to store-bought versions!

Even organic granola bars have some questionable ingredients, like agave, xanthan gum, palm oil, and natural flavors.

Besides the quality of ingredients, store-bought granola bars typically have a lot of sugar and very little protein or healthy fat. Which can lead to blood sugar issues (anybody else have a kid that gets HANGRY very easily?…blood sugar problems).

That’s why I prefer to stick with homemade as often as I can. And since they are so easy to make and freeze so well it’s not too hard! Homemade granola bars have eggs and sunbutter for protein and butter or coconut oil for healthy fat.

Then there is the added bonus that they taste better. My husband is always upset when we are out of homemade granola bars. He likes them so much better than store-bought.

Fun little fact – granola bars a product of the Chemical Revolution. They are derived from military inventions of the 1940’s due to food rationing. Not exactly the place I’d look for a healthy snack.

Gluten-Free Granola Bars

By using gluten-free oats these granola bars are totally gluten-free. Although we don’t have any wheat allergies, we choose to eat gluten-free for other reasons.

You’d be surprised how many packaged granola bars have wheat flour added. Making homemade granola bars is a great way to be sure you are avoiding allergens or reactive foods.

Are granola bars a go-to snack for your kids? Try switching to homemade!

Baked Chewy Granola Bars

Servings 16

Ingredients

  • 4 cups quick oats
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1/2 cup butter or coconut oil melted
  • 1/4 cup sunbutter
  • 2 eggs (can be replaced with an extra 1/4 cup of honey and oil)
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon optional
  • 1 cup mix-ins dried coconut, raisins, dried fruit, chopped nuts, chocolate chips, seeds

Instructions

  1. Melt coconut oil and/or butter. Let cool slightly.

  2. Mix oats/flour, honey, oil, nut butter, eggs and cinnamon. The mixture should be quite moist. If it is not add more honey/oil. This is what binds the granola bars, so be sure all of the oats/flour are wet.

  3. Stir in mix-ins.

  4. Pour mixture into a greased or parchment lined 9x13-in. pan.

  5. Bake at 350 for about 20 minutes, until the edges just start to become golden.

  6. Let cool for about 20 minutes.

  7. Cut into bars (they will still be quite soft at this point) in the pan (do not remove).

  8. Allow to cool/solidify completely in the pan for 1-2 hours.

  9. Remove bars from pan and wrap individually. Store in the refrigerator for up to a week or in the freezer for up to a year.

Recipe Notes

You can replace some or all of the quick oats with rolled oats, ground oats, wheat flour, rice flour, buckwheat flour.

When it comes to replacing store-bought snacks with homemade it doesn't get much easier than granola bars. These chewy granola bars come together in minutes. The hardest part is waiting for them to bake!

Soaked Teff Crackers | Just Take A Bite

Soaked Teff Crackers | Healthy Gluten-Free Snacks

Tired of the same old crackers? Try something new with soaked teff crackers. Allergy-friendly, crunchy and salty these crackers are easy to eat for toddlers or strong enough to use for dipping.

Soaked Teff Crackers | Just Take A Bite

Normally when I do any gluten-free baking I use at least two different flours, usually three. I really like this combination.

Gluten-Free Baking with Teff

But when you are on a very limited diet and are trying to rotate starches, that gets tricky. You sometimes have to limit yourself to one grain/starch a day. Most gluten-free flours don’t work well alone (have you ever tried baking with just tapioca…it doesn’t work so well). But there is one that does.

Teff!

Soaked Teff Crackers | Just Take A Bite

What is Teff?

Teff is a very hearty grain that reminds me of wheat or rye. It gives great depth of flavor to baked goods. Sometimes I use it for about a quarter of the flour in my baking.

But other times I use it alone. Like in these soaked teff crackers.

Kid-Friendly Teff Crackers

I started making these crackers for my little one and I so we had something safe to snack on. But soon the whole family wanted them. My son even requested these in place of the crackers I had already made for him.

I like to keep a batch on hand at all times for dipping (hummus is my favorite), eating with soup or for an easy snack on the go.

These teff crackers have a hint of sweetness, so they are like Wheat Thins®. But they don’t have any vegetable oils, gums or fillers. Plus the flour is soaked for better digestion. Teff crackers are the perfect solution to delicious gluten-free snacking. I love to add extra salt on top to really satisfy my craving for a crunchy, salty snack.

Soaked Teff Crackers | Just Take A Bite

Easy Gluten-Free Snack for Kids

What’s even better is how easy they are to make! It takes about one minute to get the flour soaking. Then the next day you’ll have crackers in the oven with about ten minutes of hands-on time.

This is a great project for little hands. Invite your kids into the kitchen (check out this course for help!) and show them how fun and easy it is to make food from scratch.

Double the recipe and store half in the freezer. Snack on some and save some for easy lunch packing. Teff crackers, cheese slices and homemade lunch meat make the perfect homemade Lunchable®.

The next time  you are in the mood for something crunchy make a batch of teff crackers. Just be sure to make it a big batch! They’ll go quickly.

Teff Recipes

One of my other favorite ways to use teff is to make teff porridge. It’s a great alternative to oatmeal!

Some great breakfasts or snacks are my teff and sorghum cherry bars or my teff and rice granola bars. They are both loaded with flavor.

Have you ever baked with teff?

Give it a try with these foolproof soaked teff crackers. The whole family will love them.

Soaked Teff Crackers | Just Take A Bite

Soaked Teff Crackers
Yields 50
A gluten free Wheat Thin style cracker made with teff flour.
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Ingredients
  1. 2 cups teff flour
  2. 4 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil (or melted lard, tallow or butter)
  3. 6 Tbsp. warm water
  4. 1 tsp. lemon juice
  5. 1 1/2 tsp. unrefined sea salt
  6. 6 tsp. organic cane sugar
  7. 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  8. 3-6 Tbsp. water
Instructions
  1. Combine the flour, fat, warm water and lemon juice.
  2. Cover and let sit 7-24 hours.
  3. Heat oven to 350*F.
  4. Add the salt, sugar, baking soda and 3 Tbsp. water to the soaked mixture.
  5. Mix and knead dough by hand until a ball forms. Add more water if needed.
  6. Split the dough into three equal parts.
  7. Cut four pieces of parchment paper (the size of a baking sheet).
  8. Place one piece of dough on one piece of parchment paper. Top with another sheet of parchment paper.
  9. Roll the dough between the paper until it is about 1/8" thick.
  10. Remove the top layer of paper.
  11. Cut into desired shapes with a pizza cutter or cookie cutters.
  12. Sprinkle extra salt on top of the dough.
  13. Transfer the parchment paper to a baking sheet.
  14. Repeat with the remaining portions of dough.
  15. Bake the crackers for about 20 minutes, until golden.
  16. Turn off oven. Leave the crackers in the oven for 7-10 minutes, until crisp.
  17. Remove from oven and let cool completely.
  18. Store crackers in an airtight container at room temperature for up to a month or in the freezer for up to a year.
Just Take A Bite https://justtakeabite.com/
 This post is linked to Savoring Saturdays.

Easy Allergen-Free Sweet and Sour Meatballs | GAPS, Grain-free

Easy, Allergen-Free Sweet and Sour Meatballs | GAPS-Legal

Looking for a quick, nutrient-dense meal that your kids will actually eat? These sweet and sour meatballs are free of all major allergens and GAPS-legal. Not to mention they are loaded with broth! They are sure to be a family favorite to add to your weekly meal plans.
 
Easy Allergen-Free Sweet and Sour Meatballs | GAPS, Grain-free
 

When I embarked on the GAPS diet years ago there weren’t that many resources available. Which meant I had to come up with most of my own recipes.

Although I came off the GAPS diet a long time ago, it taught me how to be really creative in the kitchen.

That is how I came up with this easy sweet and sour meatball recipe that has been both a family favorite and reader favorite for years!

Allergen-Free Meatballs

Most meatball recipes include egg. Sometimes they also have bread or breadcrumbs and some type of milk.

Those ingredients do make a delicious meatball. But when you are dealing with allergies, it’s hard to substitute.

So I created meatballs that are not only allergen-free, but can also be nightshade free!Easy Allergen-Free Sweet and Sour Meatballs | GAPS, Grain-free

Easy Gluten-Free Sweet and Sour Sauce 

The real secret about these meatballs is not actually the meatball at all. Instead it’s the sauce!

A combination of broth and honey cook down to a rich and gooey sauce that kids love.

Depending on dietary needs I add ketchup, dijon mustard, and/or a bit of pumpkin to bring it all together.

Healthy Dinner in Less Than 30 Minutes

Taste aside, I love that I can make these meatballs in under 30 minutes. Simply brown, add the sauce ingredients, and simmer until thick.

My kids love sweet and sour meatballs served with buttered gluten-free noodles. Any time I ask my five-year-old what she wants for dinner I get the same answer – meatballs and noodles! Sweet and sour meatballs are also great with rice, mashed potatoes, mashed sweet potatoes, or squash.

If you are in need of an easy, nourishing weeknight dinner that the kids will gobble up, this is it! They’ll get lots of broth without even knowing it. Plus grassfed beef for loads of protein and vitamins. A win all around!

Do you have a go-to easy button dinner? Give these allergen-free sweet and sour meatballs a try.

This post is linked to Fat Tuesday at Real Food Forager.

Easy Allergen-Free Sweet and Sour Meatballs | GAPS, Grain-free

Easy Allergen-Free Sweet and Sour Meatballs

A quick and easy meatball recipe kids will love.

Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 18 minutes
Servings 4

Ingredients

  • 1 lb. grassfed ground beef, pastured ground chicken, or ground pork
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp. turmeric
  • 1 Tbsp. avocado oil, tallow, lard, or coconut oil
  • 1-2 cups chicken or beef broth
  • 1/4 cup ketchup optional
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1/2 tsp. salt

Instructions

  1. Combine the meat, salt, garlic powder, onion powder, and turmeric. Mix well.

  2. Form into meatballs.

  3. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. When hot add 1 Tbsp. fat.

  4. Brown the meatballs on all sides.

  5. Add the broth, ketchup, honey, and salt. Simmer until thick, about 10 minutes, stirring periodically to coat the meatballs.

  6. Add extra broth and continue to simmer for more sauce.

Recipe Notes

For a nightshade-free version, replace the ketchup with 1/4 cup dijon mustard or 1/4 cup pureed pumpkin.