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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.

 

Homemade Fruit Snacks

How to Make Homemade Fruit Snacks | Dye-Free & Allergy-Friendly!

Impress your kids and avoid strange ingredients by making homemade fruit snacks! Just a few simple and nourishing ingredients create a fun and healthy snack.

Homemade Fruit Snacks - Dye-free healthy snacks

One of the best decisions I made as a parent was to stop buying packaged fruit snacks. Let’s face it – they are sort of weird, food-like morsels that really are more like candy than anything.

Even the “natural” or organic versions still have some questionable ingredients. And basically zero nutrition.

Why You Should Make Your Own Fruit Snacks

My solution to this problem is always homemade.

I’ve been making homemade fruit snacks (also known as gummies) from scratch for my kids for quite some time. I get lots of requests for the recipe.

Most people are amazed at how simple it is. But beyond that, it’s amazing how healthy they are!

We used to buy organic fruit snacks once in a while as a special treat. But not anymore.Homemade Fruit Snacks - Dye-free healthy snacks

Homemade Fruit Snacks with Grass-fed Gelatin

These fruit snacks are filled with nourishing gelatin (use code TAKE10 for 10% off) which is great for gut healing. They are also very safe for almost any allergy. I love that I can even make a variety of flavors for my little guy that is allergic to multiple fruits (have you ever tried finding something fruit flavored at the store that does not contain banana, grape or pear? Impossible).

My kids will easily eat a whole batch in a week if I let them. So I often have to make a new batch almost weekly! I try to make different flavors like blueberry lemon, lemon lime, lemonade and cherry. I love having very healthy snacks on hand that my kids truly love. And they don’t have to feel like they are missing out.

Healthy Snacks for Toddlers

One of the things that surprised me is how much my toddler loves homemade fruit snacks. I just make them in a pan and cut them into small squares. It’s a great finger food! Bonus that I can pack them up for when we are out and about. No little puffs or melts with strange ingredients. Just fruit and gelatin.

Do your kids like fruit snacks?

Try replacing the store-bought version with a homemade version. You can make them in any shape and flavor. Let your kids choose which ones. They’ll think it’s great! And you can know they are eating something that is healthy and healing.

This post is linked to Allergy Free Wednesday.

Homemade Fruit Snacks - Dye-free healthy snacks

Homemade Fruit Snacks
A fun, fruity snack that is full of nourishing gelatin and free of allergens and artificial ingredients.
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Ingredients
  1. 1 cup pure juice (i.e. blueberry, cherry, lemon, lime)
  2. 3/4 cups sweetener (cane sugar, coconut sugar, honey, maple syrup)
  3. 3 -6 Tbsp. grass-fed gelatin
  4. 1/4 tsp. sea salt (optional)
Instructions
  1. Combine the juice, salt and sweetener in a small saucepan. Heat slightly and mix until the sugar/honey dissolves.
  2. Taste the juice and add more sweetener if necessary.
  3. Allow the juice to cool for 10 - 30 minutes.
  4. Add the gelatin to the juice while gently whisking.
  5. Let sit for one minute.
  6. Heat the juice/gelatin mixture over low heat, whisking gently until the gelatin completely dissolves.
  7. Pour the mixture into molds or a glass pan.
  8. Refrigerate until solid (about 20 minutes).
  9. Remove fruit snacks from molds or cut into squares/desired shape from a pan.
  10. Store in a container in the refrigerator.
Notes
  1. Do not use juice from concentrate/juice that you would drink plain. Use pure juice.
  2. You may need extra sweetener for some flavors like lemon and lime.
  3. You can use one type of juice or a combination - blueberry lemon, cherry lime, lemon lime, etc.
  4. Using less gelatin will make a softer gummy and they will need more time to set. More gelatin will make it firmer.
Just Take A Bite https://justtakeabite.com/
This healing hot cocoa will warm you up, keep you hydrated and nourish your body. Plus it tastes great! The perfect cold weather drink.

How to Make Homemade Hot Cocoa That Heals

This healing hot cocoa will warm you up, keep you hydrated and nourish your body. Plus it tastes great! The perfect cold weather drink.This healing hot cocoa will warm you up, keep you hydrated and nourish your body. Plus it tastes great! The perfect cold weather drink. #realfood #glutenfree #homemade

Ever since I got pregnant with baby number two (in 2010) I have been hooked on hot chocolate. While I had morning sickness, it was about the only way I could get fluids down. For some reason even when I’m sick chocolate still sounds good.

Even after giving birth I still enjoyed hot chocolate, but didn’t need it daily any more. I should say I’d try not to drink it daily…I was trying to be “good.”

Being good didn’t work.

Why Water Doesn’t Hydrate

I’d go for stretches where I only drank lots of plain water or water with a little lemon juice (that’s supposed to be healthy, right?). But I started to notice that I always felt so full after drinking plain water. It felt like I never absorbed it unless I just took tiny sips at a time. And I would always have to go to the bathroom frequently. Plus I would get very cold.
 
But give me a big mug of hot chocolate – completely different! I can go through the whole thing in a few minutes and not feel like I have a belly full of liquid. I feel like my body absorbs it and uses it. It helps me get warm and stay warm.

So whenever I’m feeling dehydrated, like I’m not absorbing fluids, or like I need something to help warm up I reach for a big mug of homemade hot cocoa.

This healing hot cocoa will warm you up, keep you hydrated and nourish your body. Plus it tastes great! The perfect cold weather drink. #realfood #glutenfree #homemade

Why Hot Cocoa Heals

I’ve tried other drinks, but they never do the same thing. Why would this be?

Turns out my body really does know what it needs.

First, cocoa is actually quite high in magnesium. And that’s something I am lacking.


You can also increase your magnesium levels with this two-ingredient DIY magnesium lotion OR buy a high quality magnesium lotion HERE. We love both!


Cocoa is also high in iron. And I just found out this week that I’m anemic. So I better keep drinking my hot chocolate!

Finally, as a tired mom with adrenal fatigue, plain water just makes me sluggish. This healthy hot cocoa gives my adrenals the boost they need to get through the day.

Healthy Hot Cocoa

After reading Eat For Heat I know that some fluids like plain water, tea, coffee and soda just flush the minerals out of your body. But cocoa is is a very warming food. And so is salt…which I add to my hot chocolate to make it even more warming!

Finally I saw this article recently about the health benefits of honey and cinnamon.

I combine all of these benefits into a cup of delicious, healing, hydrating, warming hot cocoa. It only takes a few seconds to make (once you have hot water). And it is very allergy-friendly (dairy, eggs, wheat, gluten, soy, etc.). If you can handle cocoa powder it is even GAPS legal.

You can also use cacao or carob in place of the cocoa. Whichever you choose make sure it’s organic.

With the salt/sweet/mineral content this could even replace your sports drink.

Make Your Homemade Hot Cocoa Even Better

If you really want a nutrient boost you can add collagen, butter and/or coconut oil!

Want to take a step towards good health? Instead of drowning in ounce after ounce of plain water try a delicious mug of healing hot cocoa. Your body and your taste buds will thank you.

A little disclaimer – I’m not a doctor. I don’t have scientific data to back this up. I just know how my body responds. I always feel warm and hydrated when I drink my homemade hot cocoa. But I feel full and cold when I drink most other fluids.

How about you? Does your body respond well to hot cocoa?

Want to learn more about hydration, thyroid, and adrenals? Read why I cut way down on drinking plain water.

This healing hot cocoa will warm you up, keep you hydrated and nourish your body. Plus it tastes great! The perfect cold weather drink. #realfood #glutenfree #homemade

5 from 2 votes
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Homemade Hot Cocoa That Heals

Prep Time 2 minutes
Servings 1

Ingredients

  • 1 - 2 tsp. organic cocoa powder it is important to use organic to avoid GMOs (you can also use carob powder if you can't tolerate cocoa)
  • 2 tsp. raw honey, organic cane sugar or maple syrup
  • 1/4 tsp. cinnamon optional
  • 1/8 tsp. unrefined sea salt
  • 1/4 cup milk or milk substitute optional
  • 2 tsp. collagen  optional
  • 2 tsp. butter optional
  • 2 tsp. coconut oil optional
  • hot water

Instructions

  1. Place cocoa powder, honey, cinnamon, collagen and salt in a mug.

  2.  Fill the mug with hot water and stir to dissolve.

  3. Add a splash of milk if desired for creaminess/to cool the hot chocolate.

Kettle corn granola is a little salty and little sweet. You get the flavor of kettle corn in your breakfast bowl!

Kid-Friendly Kettle Corn Granola Recipe

Kettle corn granola is a little salty and little sweet. You get the flavor of kettle corn in your breakfast bowl!Kettle corn granola is a little salty and little sweet. You get the flavor of kettle corn in your breakfast bowl!

Granola is one of my absolute favorite foods. I got hooked on it in college…and ate it every day. I wish I had known back then just how easy it is to make your own granola.

Now I make it all the time. I always have some on hand for an easy snack or quick breakfast.  It’s great mixed in yogurt or eaten plain with milk. I even love putting some in my daughter’s lunch for a filling finger food.

A super easy breakfast that my kids love is a granola bar bowl – you get the taste of granola bars without the work. Grab the recipe here.

Sweet and Salty Homemade Granola

I’ve been making granola for many years now. I have several granola recipes already on the blog.  I don’t usually follow a recipe anymore. I just use what we have on hand and create something new every time.

But this version of granola is hands down my favorite!

It’s salty and sweet and very addictive!! I call it kettle corn granola because it really tastes like kettle corn.Kettle Corn Granola || Homemade Dutch Apple Pie

Easy Finger Food Snack

My kids love to munch on this stuff. As you can see my son had no problems helping me make the granola and being my taste tester.

One of the great things about granola is that you can make a huge batch (I usually do about 10 cups of oats at a time – a double batch of this recipe) and freeze it.  Then when you want granola you are set.

You don’t even have to thaw it! Granola is ready straight from the freezer. I usually keep a small jar in the cupboard and refill it from the freezer stash as we use it up.Kettle corn granola is a little salty and little sweet. You get the flavor of kettle corn in your breakfast bowl!

Budget-Friendly Breakfast

 The other thing I love about granola is how much money it saves.  Have you looked at the price of granola made with quality ingredients? I was recently at a small meat market. They had locally made granola…$4 for about 6 oz.!!! That is insane. My kids would eat that much in one sitting.

When you make granola at home you control the ingredients AND you save a ton of money. Always good.

You also make a very allergy-friendly breakfast treat. This one is gluten, dairy, nut and egg free.Kettle corn granola is a little salty and little sweet. You get the flavor of kettle corn in your breakfast bowl!

Quick-Prep Homemade Granola

Granola only takes about five minutes to prepare. The end result is a huge batch of homemade cereal that will last a long time. It is also the perfect project to do with kids. When I make granola each kids gets his or her own bowl to create their own batch. They can add whatever they like. My kids love being creative with granola. Sometimes we end up baking theirs, but usually they eat it before it gets to the oven.

This would make a great Christmas gift. Make a couple batches, package it and pass it around to family and friends. Throw a few mini chocolate chips in after the granola has cooled and you’ll really be giving a delicious treat.

Soaked Granola Recipe

If you want to be sure you’re really getting all of the nutrients out of your granola you can make this into a soaked version. You’ll have to plan ahead, but it’s still oh, so delicious!

Do you like the salty sweet combination of kettle corn? Now you can enjoy it for breakfast with kettle corn granola.

Kettle corn granola is a little salty and little sweet. You get the flavor of kettle corn in your breakfast bowl!

Kettle Corn Granola
A delicious granola cereal that has the sweet and salty flavor of kettle corn.
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Unsoaked
  1. 5 cups old fashioned oats
  2. 1/2 cup water
  3. 3/4 cup coconut oil and/or butter
  4. 1/2 cup coconut sugar
  5. 1/4 cup honey
  6. 1/4 cup maple syrup
  7. 1 tsp. unrefined sea salt
Soaked
  1. 5 cups old fashioned oats
  2. 2 1/2 cups warm water + 2 Tbsp. yogurt, kefir or lemon juice
  3. 1/3 cup coconut oil and/or butter
  4. 1/2 cup coconut sugar
  5. 1/4 cup honey and/or maple syrup
  6. 1 tsp. unrefined sea salt
Unsoaked
  1. Heat the oven to 350*F.
  2. In a large bowl combine the oats, water and salt.
  3. In a saucepan heat the sugar, honey, syrup and oil until the oil is melted and the sugars and oil combine.
  4. Pour the sugar/oil mixture over the oats. Mix until well combined.
  5. Spread the oat mixture onto a large parchment lined baking sheet.
  6. Bake for about one hour, stirring every 20 minutes, until golden brown.
  7. Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely.
  8. Store in an air tight container in the cupboard or in the freezer for long term storage.
Soaked
  1. Combine the oats, warm water and soaking agent.
  2. Cover and let sit 24 hours.
  3. Spread the oat mixture onto dehydrator trays and dry until crisp, about 8 hours.
  4. Crumble dried oats into a large bowl.
  5. Heat oven to 350*F.
  6. In a small saucepan combine the salt, butter, sugar and honey.
  7. Cook until melted and combined.
  8. Pour the butter mixture over the oats. Mix well.
  9. Spread onto a parchment lined baking sheet (it may fit on one large sheet or you may need to spread it on two sheets).
  10. Bake for 30 minutes.
  11. Allow to cool completely.
  12. Crumble the granola and store in an air tight container or in the freezer.
Notes
  1. This recipe easily doubles or triples and freezes well.
  2. Granola is ready straight from the freezer.
Just Take A Bite https://justtakeabite.com/
This post is linked to From The Archives Friday.

Traditional Blueberry Pie Recipe

Traditional blueberry pie is a family classic handed down through generations. This blueberry pie recipe is easy-to-make and will turn anyone into a blueberry lover!

Traditional blueberry pie is a family classic handed down through generations. This blueberry pie recipe is easy-to-make and will turn anyone into a blueberry lover!

I’ve mentioned before that blueberries are my favorite fruit…and blueberry pie is my favorite pie! So every summer I make at least one blueberry pie. Even if it’s the only blueberry dessert I make.

We’ve had a whole assortment of grain/starch/flour restrictions over the years. At one point or another the list included:

  • wheat
  • rice
  • corn
  • quinoa
  • oats
  • rye
  • amaranth
  • tapioca
  • cassava
  • potato
  • almonds
  • coconut
  • arrowroot

That doesn’t leave much to work with.

The Best Pie Crust

Now that we have done a lot of healing on the Vitamin A Detox Diet we can tolerate some wheat (though we still eat mostly gluten-free). I normally only use wheat in the form of sourdough.

But I make an exception when it comes to pie. I use basic all purpose flour for pie crust.

I’ve made quite a few gluten-free pies in the past. They are good. But gluten-free pie crust just doesn’t turn out that well.

So when it comes to pie I go the old fashioned route and make a traditional blueberry pie with wheat crust.

I use butter to make pie crust. I used to use lard, but it’s not allowed on the Vitamin A Detox Diet. I love the flavor of butter in pie crust!Traditional blueberry pie is a family classic handed down through generations. This blueberry pie recipe is easy-to-make and will turn anyone into a blueberry lover!

Blueberry Pie Filling

Blueberry pie filling is so easy to make. It’s not like cherry pie that you have to cook in advance. Just mix a few ingredients and pour it in the crust.

That being said, blueberry pie filling can be tricky to get just right because it needs quite a bit of thickener. Fresh blueberries are so juicy!!

I generally opt for white rice flour. Though cornstarch works well too.

Sometimes I add grass-fed gelatin. It works well to make sure things gel and adds some nutrients to the filling. The tricky part is guessing how much to use depending on how juicy your blueberries are.

Grab some gelatin and all of your other favorite PS brand products HERE for 10% off using the code TAKE10!!

The Best Traditional Blueberry Pie

Blueberry pie has always been my favorite pie. In fact it’s one of the only pies I will eat. Dutch apple pie is the only other one. So when blueberries are in season I HAVE to make pie. It’s a once-a-year treat.

Now that my big kids have learned to cook they are starting to take over the pie-making. My oldest can do it all by herself from start to finish. Then she helps her siblings make mini pies.

Pie is such a great project to let your kids help with. Hands are the most important tool!

Traditional blueberry pie is even better served with freshly made classic vanilla ice cream if you tolerate dairy. Otherwise coconut milk ice cream or almond milk ice cream are just as good.Traditional blueberry pie is a family classic handed down through generations. This blueberry pie recipe is easy-to-make and will turn anyone into a blueberry lover!

How to Preserve Pie

Blueberry pie freezes very well! You can prepare the entire pie and then freeze it until you are ready to bake. Simply thaw in the fridge for about an hour and follow the same baking instructions.

I like to make two pies at a time so I can have one now and freeze one for later. Blueberry pie in the middle of winter reminds me that summer will indeed come again.

When it comes to pie I don’t think anything beats blueberry. 

What is your favorite pie flavor? Do you go with a traditional wheat crust or make it gluten or grain free?

Traditional Blueberry Pie

Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 50 minutes
Servings 10
Author Mary | Just Take A Bite

Ingredients

  • 2 cups organic all purpose flour
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 10 Tbsp. butter
  • 1/4 cup cold water
  • 4 1/2 cups blueberries
  • 3/4 cup organic cane sugar
  • 4 Tbsp. white rice flour or cornstarch
  • 3 tsp. grassfed gelatin optional
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. nutmeg optional
  • 1/4 tsp. cinnamon optional
  • 1 Tbsp. lemon juice

Instructions

  1. Heat the oven to 450 degrees F.

  2. Combine the flour and salt in a food processor (this can also be done by hand). Pulse to blend.

  3. Add 5 Tbsp. butter. Pulse until combined.

  4. Add other 5 Tbsp. of butter. Pulse until combined and there are pea-size crumbles.

  5. Add the water and process until a ball of dough forms.

  6. Split the dough in half.

  7. Roll one of half of the dough on a floured surface and place it in a 9" pie pan.

  8. In a large bowl combine the remaining ingredients for the filling.

  9. Pour the filling into the prepared pie crust.

  10. Roll the remaining crust on a floured surface.

  11. Cover the filling with the pie crust and seal edges.

  12. Cut slits in the top to allow steam to escape.

  13. Place the pie pan on a sheet pan (in case of spills).

  14. Bake for 10 minutes in preheated oven.

  15. Reduce heat to 350 degrees F and bake for another 40 - 45 minutes.

  16. Allow pie to cool completely before serving. This allows the filling to fully set.

  17. Serve plain or with ice cream or whipped cream.

Missing tacos due to dietary restrictions? Bring back taco night with this simple night-shade free cucumber salsa. Free of allergens and nightshades, and low in Vitamin A, it's sure to be a hit!

Nightshade-Free Cucumber Salsa

Missing tacos due to dietary restrictions? Bring back taco night with this simple night-shade free cucumber salsa. Free of allergens and nightshades, and low in Vitamin A, it’s sure to be a hit!Missing tacos due to dietary restrictions? Bring back taco night with this simple night-shade free cucumber salsa. Free of allergens and nightshades, and low in Vitamin A, it's sure to be a hit!

Sometimes when I’m trying to meal plan and just can’t think of anything to put on the menu, I crowd source. In other words, I ask my kids.

It’s inevitable that at least one of them suggests tacos (though I try not to bore my husband and actually serve them every week).

It’s usually my son making the suggestion. He has been my taco meat chef since he was six, and jumps at the chance to cook his “famous” taco meat (you can get his taco seasoning recipe here).

Taco night has always been one of my favorites too, from childhood until now. I mean, who doesn’t love a good taco?

Vitamin A Detox Diet Tacos

Our tacos have certainly evolved over the years, through all sorts of food allergies and dietary restrictions. These days taco night is a bit more challenging on the Vitamin A Detox Diet. No tomatoes, peppers, avocado, or cheese.

I know that may not sound like much is left.

But we still have delicious tacos regularly!Missing tacos due to dietary restrictions? Bring back taco night with this simple night-shade free cucumber salsa. Free of allergens and nightshades, and low in Vitamin A, it's sure to be a hit!

One key component is this nightshade-free cucumber salsa.

Not only is it easy to make, it’s totally delicious! Even my pickiest eater loves it.

Nightshade-Free Cucumber Salsa

There is no cooking involved to make cucumber salsa. The most work you’ll have to do is peel and chop a cucumber. Or better yet, delegate it to your kids. My oldest loves to make cucumber salsa for the family when we’re having tacos.


Teach your kids to cook with the Kids Cook Real Food eCourse!

Check it out HERE!


Once the veggies are prepped you just mix all of the ingredients in a jar and let it chill for a few minutes. So, you can still have delicious salsa even if you don’t remember to make it until fifteen minutes before dinner!Missing tacos due to dietary restrictions? Bring back taco night with this simple night-shade free cucumber salsa. Free of allergens and nightshades, and low in Vitamin A, it's sure to be a hit!

This nightshade-free cucumber salsa tastes amazing as a dip with organic tortilla chips.

Most of the time we use it on tacos, taco bowls, or nachos (topped with this gooey dairy-free cheese sauce!).

What is on VAD Diet Tacos?

For VAD Diet-safe tacos we use either organic blue corn hard shells (I like this brand) or homemade white corn soft shells, and fill them with seasoned ground beef or chicken.

Toppings include:

  • Cucumber salsa
  • Grated zucchini cheese (grab the recipe here)
  • Sour cream (my kids can have a small amount of cream)
  • Black beans or refried pinto beans (I cook them in the Instant Pot)

Our tacos are simple, but so, so delicious!Missing tacos due to dietary restrictions? Bring back taco night with this simple night-shade free cucumber salsa. Free of allergens and nightshades, and low in Vitamin A, it's sure to be a hit!

What Are Nightshades?

Most healing diets eliminate nightshades. These include tomatoes, peppers, eggplants, and potatoes, plus a few other less-common foods like goji berries, ashwagandha, Cape gooseberries, ground cherries, and garden huckleberries.

For many people nightshades are a pain – literally. Nightshades cause calcinosis, a calcification of soft tissues, due to calcitriol. Calcitriol is a very potent hormone, possibly the most powerful hormone in your body!

Calcitriol tells your intestines to absorb calcium. Too much can quickly lead to hypercalcemia. This is the cause of calcium deposits in your soft tissue, also known as joint pain, muscle stiffness, arthritis, coronary artery disease, and more.

If you struggle with any type of chronic pain or weakness, consider cutting nightshades out of your diet. Or if you have issues with osteoporosis you might want to consider eliminating nightshades as well.

Here is a a great article on nightshades if you want to read more!

We do still eat some potatoes (though not if they are green or sprouting!). But we avoid all of the other nightshades.Missing tacos due to dietary restrictions? Bring back taco night with this simple night-shade free cucumber salsa. Free of allergens and nightshades, and low in Vitamin A, it's sure to be a hit!

Salsa Without Tomatoes

Now even if you are nightshade-free you can enjoy chips and salsa or everyone’s favorite taco night with this super simple cucumber salsa. Having salsa without tomatoes is totally doable and delicious.

What is taco night like at your house? What are your favorite toppings?

5 from 1 vote
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Nightshade-Free Cucumber Salsa (VAD Diet)

A quick and easy salsa free of nightshades.

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 0 minutes
Servings 4
Author Mary | Just Take A Bite

Ingredients

  • 2 cups cucumber peeled and diced
  • 1 1/2 tsp. apple cider vinegar or white vinegar
  • 3/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. garlic powder of 1 clove fresh garlic, minced
  • 1 1/2 tsp. organic cane sugar
  • 1/4 cup white onion, diced optional

Instructions

  1. Combine all of the ingredients in a jar.

  2. Mix and chill for at least 10 minutes.

  3. Store in the refrigerator for up to a week.

In need of an easy, allergen-free breakfast? These sunbutter breakfast cookies only take a few minutes of prep time and are free of gluten, dairy, eggs, nuts, rice, corn, soy and coconut.

Gluten-Free Sunbutter Breakfast Cookies

In need of an easy, allergen-free breakfast? These sunbutter breakfast cookies only take a few minutes of prep time and are free of gluten, dairy, eggs, nuts, rice, corn, soy and coconut.In need of an easy, allergen-free breakfast? These sunbutter breakfast cookies only take a few minutes of prep time and are free of gluten, dairy, eggs, nuts, rice, corn, soy and coconut.

When I ask my kids what they want for breakfast nine times out of ten they say breakfast cookies.

I don’t blame them. Who doesn’t want a cookie for breakfast?!

Easy Gluten-Free Breakfast Cookies

I’ve been making a variety of breakfast cookies for years. But recently we experimented with an egg free diet for my oldest. So I had to come up with yet another version.

Sunbutter makes a great allergy-friendly substitute for eggs. Not to mention it is delicious! It also replaces the fat. So there is no need to use dairy or coconut.

I also add some ground flax seeds to make sure the cookies hold together.In need of an easy, allergen-free breakfast? These sunbutter breakfast cookies only take a few minutes of prep time and are free of gluten, dairy, eggs, nuts, rice, corn, soy and coconut.

Soak Grains for Better Digestion

Sunbutter breakfast cookies start with a long soak to reduce the phytic acid content. This is especially important when using oats as they are very high in phytic acid.

If you’ve never soaked your grains before, rest assured it’s a very simple thing to do. Mix the grains with water and lemon juice. Done.

When you are ready to bake all you have to do is add the remaining ingredients, mix, scoop and bake.In need of an easy, allergen-free breakfast? These sunbutter breakfast cookies only take a few minutes of prep time and are free of gluten, dairy, eggs, nuts, rice, corn, soy and coconut.

Kids in the Kitchen

This is a great recipe to let little ones help with. No chopping. No egg cracking. No butter melting. Just measure, pour and mix.


You can teach even your youngest children all the necessary skills for making these delicious breakfast cookies with the Kids Cook Real Food eCourse! Check it out HERE.


Kids can even sample the ingredients as you go. Somebody has to make sure the honey tastes good, right?!

You can add whatever extras you like to sunbutter breakfast cookies. My kids always ask for mini chocolate chips. Dried fruit, nuts, seeds and coconut all work, depending on your dietary needs.In need of an easy, allergen-free breakfast? These sunbutter breakfast cookies only take a few minutes of prep time and are free of gluten, dairy, eggs, nuts, rice, corn, soy and coconut.

Seasonally-Inspired Breakfast Cookies

Change up the flavor of your sunbutter breakfast cookies by adding seasonal ingredients.

In the summer add diced strawberries, blueberries, or peaches.

For fall you could add some diced apples and cinnamon. Be sure to chop the apples finely enough to make them bite sized for kids.

Dried cranberries make a very festive cookie during the holidays.

Are you looking for an allergen friendly breakfast treat for your family? Sunbutter breakfast cookies will be a family favorite.

Easy Prep-Ahead Breakfast Cookies

Be sure to make a big batch so you can stock the freezer for effortless breakfasts on busy school mornings. Paired with a big glass of homemade rice milk you’ll have breakfast on the table in under a minute!

You can also add them to lunch boxes for a delicious and healthy treat.

I have to share a fun fact that I learned while making these.

When you mix a lot of baking soda with sunbutter it turns green!

Don’t worry. I adjusted the recipe so you won’t have green cookies like we did. But it is perfectly safe to eat them even if they are green.

In need of an easy, allergen-free breakfast? These sunbutter breakfast cookies only take a few minutes of prep time and are free of gluten, dairy, eggs, nuts, rice, corn, soy and coconut.

In need of an easy, allergen-free breakfast? These sunbutter breakfast cookies only take a few minutes of prep time and are free of gluten, dairy, eggs, nuts, rice, corn, soy and coconut.
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Allergen Free Sunbutter Breakfast Cookies

A simple breakfast cookies that is free of gluten, eggs, dairy, nuts, rice, corn and coconut.

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Servings 20

Ingredients

  • 2 1/2 cups gluten-free oats
  • 1/2 cup sorghum flour or brown rice or amaranth
  • 3/4 cups warm water
  • 2 Tbsp. lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup sunbutter unsweetened
  • 2/3 cup honey
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/4 cup ground flax seeds
  • 1/2 cup add-ins: chocolate chips dried fruit, coconut, seeds, nuts

Instructions

  1. Combine the oats, sorghum, water and lemon juice in a bowl. Cover and let sit 24 hours.

  2. Heat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

  3. Add the sunbutter, honey, salt, soda, and flax seeds to the oat mixture. Mix well.

  4. Stir in the add-ins.
  5. Scoop mounds of dough onto the prepared baking sheet (as large or as small as you like).

  6. Bake for 15 - 20 minutes (less time for smaller cookies, more time for larger cookies).
  7. Let cool.
  8. Store in sealed container in the refrigerator for up to a week or in the freezer for up to a year.

This post is linked to Savoring Saturdays.

Looking for an easy weeknight dinner that the kids will love and can meet any dietary needs? My nourishing sloppy joes are very kid-friendly and can be on the table in less than 20 minutes!

Easy Nutrient Dense Sloppy Joes: Ready in Less Than 20 Minutes!

Looking for an easy weeknight dinner that the kids will love and can meet any dietary needs? My nourishing sloppy joes are very kid-friendly and can be on the table in less than 20 minutes! Serve it on homemade gluten-free bread for a truly tasty meal.Looking for an easy weeknight dinner that the kids will love and can meet any dietary needs? My nourishing sloppy joes are very kid-friendly and can be on the table in less than 20 minutes! We all need a few go-to meals that take very little time to make, include nourishing ingredients, and the whole family enjoys. This is one of our family favorites that fits the bill perfectly!

We call it sloppy joes. Others call it barbecue. What do you call it?

Easy Gluten-Free Sloppy Joes Recipe

This sloppy joes recipe really could not be any easier. Brown the meat. Add a few  ingredients. Simmer 5 minutes and you’re done. That’s it.

I love that you can serve it in many ways to meet a lot of dietary needs.  For those that can have bread I serve it on gluten-free buns or open face on homemade gluten-free bread. For those that can’t I serve it with tortilla chips or potato chips. My kids also like to eat it plain. My personal favorite way to eat sloppy joe meat is on top of pureed veggies (like parsnips).Looking for an easy weeknight dinner that the kids will love and can meet any dietary needs? My nourishing sloppy joes are very kid-friendly and can be on the table in less than 20 minutes!

Sloppy Joes with Nutrition

Want to know the best part about my version of sloppy joes? It includes both broth and vegetables! Yes, my kids still love it! Dinner win!

I actually make this recipe FOUR different ways depending on our current dietary needs. You can choose which one works best for your family.

  1. Original recipe – beef, ketchup, mustard, broth
  2. Added nutrition – beef, ketchup, mustard, broth, squash or pumpkin
  3. Nightshade free – beef, mustard, broth, squash or pumpkin, honey
  4. Vitamin A Detox Diet – beef, mustard, broth, honey, rice flour

Easy Prep Ahead Dinner and Lunch

Sloppy Joes work very well for a freezer meal. Make a big batch and freeze it in dinner size portions. Then all you have to do is heat and serve.

Not sure what to put in your kids’ lunch box? Sloppy joes to the rescue! You can heat the meat in the morning or leave it cold. Whether it’s on a bun or plain with something to dip kids love it, and it’s easy to eat. 

Growing up I did NOT like sloppy joes at all. I never tasted any I liked until I made my own. Honestly, now it is one of my favorite meals!! I could eat it every week.

Now I’m sharing this simple version with you. I hope you enjoy it too.

Easy Nourishing Sloppy Joes

My nourishing sloppy joes are very kid-friendly and can be on the table in less than 20 minutes!

Cook Time 20 minutes
Servings 6 people

Ingredients

  • 1 Tbsp. refined coconut oil or tallow or avocado oil
  • 2 lbs. grass-fed ground beef
  • 3/4 cup ketchup
  • 5 Tbsp. mustard
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1/2 cup pureed squash or pumpkin optional
  • 1 cup chicken or beef broth

Instructions

  1. Heat a large skillet over medium high heat with the coconut oil.

  2. Add the ground beef and cook until browned.

  3. Add the ketchup, mustard, salt, garlic powder, squash, and broth. Stir.

  4. Simmer until thickened, about 5 minutes.

  5. Serve on a bun, over a bed of pureed vegetables or with tortilla chips

Recipe Notes

  • You can substitute ground turkey, pork or chicken for the beef.
  • You can make a double or triple batch and freeze some for a future meal. It reheats very well.
  • To make this nightshade free replace the ketchup with 1/2 cup squash/pumpkin and 2 Tbsp. honey.

Easy Nutrient Dense Sloppy Joes (VAD Diet)

These nourishing sloppy joes are very kid-friendly and can be on the table in less than 20 minutes!

Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Servings 6 people
Author Mary | Just Take A Bite

Ingredients

  • 1 Tbsp. refined coconut oil or avocado oil or tallow
  • 2 lb. grass-fed ground beef
  • 4 Tbsp. mustard
  • 1 tsp. sea salt
  • 1 cup chicken or beef broth
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 3 Tbsp. white rice flour

Instructions

  1. Heat a large skillet over medium high heat with the coconut oil.

  2. Add the ground beef and cook until browned.
  3. Add the mustard, salt, honey, rice flour, and broth. Stir.

  4. Simmer until thickened, about 5 minutes.
  5. Serve on a bun, over a bed of pureed parsnips or with tortilla chips.

Recipe Notes

  • You can substitute ground turkey or chicken for the beef.
  • You can make a double or triple batch and freeze some for a future meal. It reheats very well.

 

Summer preservation just got a little easier. This pectin-free easy strawberry freezer jam is the perfect way to use fresh strawberries. Just FOUR real food ingredients!

Pectin-Free Easy Strawberry Freezer Jam

Summer preservation just got a little easier. This pectin-free easy strawberry freezer jam is the perfect way to use fresh strawberries. Just FOUR real food ingredients!Summer preservation just got a little easier. This pectin-free easy strawberry freezer jam is the perfect way to use fresh strawberries. Just FOUR real food ingredients!

You know summer has arrived in Michigan when strawberries are in season. It’s an exciting time of year! But at the same time it means preservation season has also begun.

For me this lasts from June to November. Literally half of the year I am preserving food for the other half of the year! It’s a lot of work, but so worth all of the effort.

How to Preserve Strawberries

I’m always so thankful that we kick off preservation with fruit like strawberries. I can ease into it instead of jumping right into the labor intensive canning. Fresh strawberries are so easy to work with. Simply wash, hull and freeze. We usually freeze at least four gallons of strawberries to use all winter in yogurt, smoothies, and muffins.

While the strawberries are still fresh I like to make a lot of strawberry jam. It has recently become my preschooler’s favorite food. Our homemade gluten free bread toasted with butter and strawberry jam. No other flavor. Only strawberry.

Summer preservation just got a little easier. This pectin-free easy strawberry freezer jam is the perfect way to use fresh strawberries. Just FOUR real food ingredients!

How to Make Pectin-Free Strawberry Freezer Jam

There are so many ways to use strawberries when they are fresh. There are even plenty of ways to use them once they are frozen. But one of the best ways to use them, fresh or frozen, is by making strawberry jam!

I’ll confess. I’ve never been that great at making jam.

I followed recipes exactly. I bought various types of pectin. It just never seemed to turn out well. I think my husband was starting to wonder if I would ever make jam that wasn’t like liquid or totally solid.

So I created my own recipe for pectin-free easy strawberry freezer jam. And it is amazing!

I love this recipe because you don’t need pectin (the debate is still out on whether or not pectin is really that great for you). Instead it uses grass-fed gelatin (Use the code TAKE10 to get 10% off gelatin HERE).Summer preservation just got a little easier. This pectin-free easy strawberry freezer jam is the perfect way to use fresh strawberries. Just FOUR real food ingredients!

How to Stock Your Freezer with Jam

This pectin-free strawberry freezer jam recipe makes about five half-pints of jam.  Since it only takes about fifteen minutes to make you can easily cook several batches in one day while you have fresh strawberries.

Pectin-free easy strawberry freezer jam is great on toast. But  you can also spread it on pancakes, mix it into yogurt, or even use it as an ice cream topping! My kids like to eat it by the spoonful.  It’s that good.

Since creating this strawberry jam recipe I have upped my game in jam and jelly making! We now enjoy homemade pectin-free concord grape jelly, 5 minute peach jam, and red plum raspberry jelly! They are all pectin free!

Whether you still have fresh strawberries available or you already have your stash in the freezer, try making pectin-free easy strawberry freezer jam.

You’ll have a little taste of summer ready in your freezer all year long.Summer preservation just got a little easier. This pectin-free easy strawberry freezer jam is the perfect way to use fresh strawberries. Just FOUR real food ingredients!

Pectin-Free Easy Strawberry Freezer Jam

Simple strawberry freezer jam with only four ingredients and no pectin.

Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 15 minutes
Author Mary | Just Take A Bite

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup organic lemon juice
  • 3 1/2 tsp. grass-fed gelatin
  • 3/4 cups organic cane sugar or coconut sugar or honey
  • 5 cups strawberries, washed, hulled and roughly chopped fresh or frozen

Instructions

  1. In a medium sauce pan combine the lemon juice and gelatin. Let sit 2 minutes

  2. Add the sweetener and strawberries.

  3. Cook over medium heat, stirring and mashing berries with a potato masher, for about 10 minutes.

  4. Pour the jam into half-pint jars.

  5. Chill jam in the refrigerator until set.

  6. Use the jam fresh or freeze until ready to use.

Recipe Notes

  • This makes about five half-pints.
  • If using frozen berries, thaw them at least partially before making the jam

 

Whether you need a simple snack or a nourishing side dish, this simple hummus is VAD Diet approved and very kid friendly. Plus it's ready in less than five minutes!

The Easiest Hummus Recipe Ever

Whether you need a simple snack or a nourishing side dish, this simple hummus is VAD Diet approved and very kid friendly. Plus it’s ready in less than five minutes!Whether you need a simple snack or a nourishing side dish, this simple hummus is VAD Diet approved and very kid friendly. Plus it's ready in less than five minutes!

Hummus is a staple in our house. Being dairy free we use this as our go-to veggie dip. It also works well as a pasta sauce or even a cheese replacement for pizza (we love this gluten free crust).

I think I’ve only ever made traditional hummus once. Then the jar of tahini sat in my pantry.

Over the years I’ve simplified my hummus so much. It literally takes three minutes to make. And my kids go crazy for it!

Vitamin A Detox Diet Approved Hummus

When we started the VAD Diet I was relieved to see that beans are not only approved, but encouraged! We can still have our beloved hummus and veggies. And we do. A lot. My kids will eat it by the spoonful.

This is seriously the easiest hummus recipe ever. Three ingredients. Three minutes. Done.

Although my hummus is on the VAD Diet approved list (get your copy of the diet here or my guide to feeding kids on the diet here- COMING SOON!), our dipping options have changed a little. We now use peeled cucumber, raw cauliflower and parsnip sticks. My kids also love to dip rice crackers, homemade gluten free “wheat thins” or homemade teff crackers in hummus.Whether you need a simple snack or a nourishing side dish, this simple hummus is VAD Diet approved and very kid friendly. Plus it's ready in less than five minutes!

How to Make Easy Hummus

Canned or boxed chickpeas will work just fine for a super quick hummus. I do this when I don’t plan ahead. Take note that it will increase your resistant starch intake. If you want a healthier and more frugal option simply cook your own! Dried beans are so cheap. If you have an Instant Pot, cooking beans is a snap too. That’s my favorite method. Check out this guide for cooking beans in an Instant Pot.

Aside from beans all you need is oil and salt. This avocado oil is approved for the VAD Diet. And we like this salt.

Sometimes I add organic garlic powder and onion powder for a little more flavor. But my kids love it either way.Whether you need a simple snack or a nourishing side dish, this simple hummus is VAD Diet approved and very kid friendly. Plus it's ready in less than five minutes!

Hummus Adds Protein

Since adequate protein is such an important part of the VAD Diet, hummus makes a great addition to any snack or meal. Beans have a lot of protein. Not to mention they are loaded with fiber to help fill those little bellies and feed the good bacteria.

I try my best to give my kids a balance of protein, carbohydrates and fat at both meals and snacks. Veggies or crackers with hummus meets all three requirements! And it is easy to pack in a school lunch. That is my definition of a winning food.

Ready for some delicious snacking or need an easy lunch addition? This super simple hummus is kid-friendly, VAD Diet-approved and is loaded with nutrition.Whether you need a simple snack or a nourishing side dish, this simple hummus is VAD Diet approved and very kid friendly. Plus it's ready in less than five minutes!

Three Ingredient Hummus

Prep Time 3 minutes
Servings 8
Author Mary | Just Take A Bite

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups canned, boxed or cooked garbanzo beans (chickpeas), drained, liquid reserved
  • 4 Tbsp. avocado oil
  • 4 Tbsp. bean liquid
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. organic garlic powder optional
  • 1/4 tsp. organic onion powder optional

Instructions

  1. Combine all of the ingredients in a blender.

  2. Blend on high until smooth, adding extra oil or bean liquid if necessary.

  3. Adjust seasoning to taste.

  4. Serve immediately or refrigerate for up to a week.