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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.

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.

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.

Kid-Friendly Rutabaga Fries Recipe

Wondering what vegetables to feed your child on a low Vitamin A Diet? Or just looking to add something new to your menu? These rutabaga fries are easy to make and kid approved!Wondering what vegetables to feed your child on the VAD Diet? Or just looking to add something new to your menu? These rutabaga fries are easy to make and kid approved!

If you’ve been following my Vitamin A Toxicity series I hope you aren’t feeling too overwhelmed. I’ve got plenty of safe and delicious recipes for you. After all, you need to be able to feed your child well on the Vitamin A Detox (VAD) Diet. And if you haven’t read my previous posts about Vitamin A you should! They just might change your life.

Are There Safe Vegetables on the VAD Diet?

Unfortunately a lot of the foods eliminated on the VAD Diet are vegetables! Especially your typical kid-friendly veggies like carrots. most orange, red, yellow and green veggies are out. They are high in carotenoids, which are actually twice as bad as retinol. Each carotenoid molecule splits into two retinol molecules! And if it isn’t needed the extra caratenoids are stored under the skin (remember how my son had carotenemia?).


As a little side note here, I’m coming to realize that we’ve way over-complicated our food these days. With the ability to get any kind of food all year long we have seriously strayed far away from the way people used to eat. A simple diet of meat, potatoes, grains, beans and a few basic fruits and veggies is probably more accurate. And totally healthy.

Our vegetable selection alone has gotten very extensive, unlike the choices of our ancestors. Most nightshades were ornamental/decorative, not edible. And carrots weren’t originally orange!


So we’ve had to do some experimenting. Even I had to try some new veggies. Some were hits (who knew parsnips and parsley root are so delicious?!). Some were big misses (none of us is a fan of turnips). And we still enjoy some of our old staples like cauliflower and cabbage.

One of our new favorites is rutabaga. I’m not sure why I had never tried them before. Maybe because they are so big and ugly. If you buy one at the store it comes with a waxy coating to keep it from drying out.

But once you peel it you see a pretty pale orange flesh (don’t worry, it’s not high in Vitamin A!). Rutabagas are a bit tough to cut. But not too bad.Wondering what vegetables to feed your child on the VAD Diet? Or just looking to add something new to your menu? These rutabaga fries are easy to make and kid approved!

Rutabaga Fries

I’ve tried cooking rutabaga a few ways and eating it raw. The raw is a bit strong for my taste buds. Hands down our favorite way to prepare it is by making rutabaga fries!

Rutabaga fries are the closest to regular french fries (potatoes) that I’ve tried. They hold their shape well, but are tender on the inside.

My kids love to use the new crinkle cutters they got for Christmas to make crinkle cut rutabaga fries. And anything in a fun shape is going to be a bonus for introducing a new food to kids. Getting them in the kitchen to help make the food will too! We use Kids Cook Real Food to teach knife skills.Wondering what vegetables to feed your child on the VAD Diet? Or just looking to add something new to your menu? These rutabaga fries are easy to make and kid approved!

I’d be lying if I said they were an instant hit for the whole family. My girls can’t get enough. My son…he can tolerate them right now, but isn’t crazy about them. And that’s ok. I told him we’ll keep trying. Sometimes it takes a while to adjust to a new flavor. Hey, I forced myself to like liver by eating it over and over (and get myself deeper into this toxic mess). So a child can learn to like rutabaga fries too, right? My husband doesn’t mind them. But he’s not big on trying new foods either.

If your child needs a little convincing he can dip them in honey, honey mustard or hummus (recipe coming soon). But hopefully that won’t be the case. My girls and I devour them plain.

Rutabaga for the Whole Family

Even my 8 month old enjoys well-cooked rutabaga chunks. He’ll grow up with a unique palate, starting life on the VAD Diet!

Rutabaga fries are so easy to make. Just peel, slice and roast with avocado oil or refined coconut oil. And lots of salt, of course (this is the salt we are using these days). Don’t forget the mandatory “assistant” to pull open drawers and untie your slippers while you use a sharp knife!Wondering what vegetables to feed your child on the VAD Diet? Or just looking to add something new to your menu? These rutabaga fries are easy to make and kid approved!

We are actually going to try growing rutabagas in our garden this year! Another fun experiment. I hope they turn out. It’ll be interesting to see if the flavor is any different when they are home-grown. Maybe that alone will encourage the boys to eat them.

Have you ever tried rutabaga? What is your favorite way to eat them?

Rutabaga Fries

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 10 minutes
Servings 5
Author Mary | Just Take A Bite

Ingredients

  • 2 rutabagas
  • 2 Tbsp avocado oil
  • 1 tsp salt

Instructions

  1. Heat oven to 400 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

  2. Peel rutabaga. Cut into thin strips.

  3. Mix rutabaga, oil and salt on baking sheet.

  4. Bake for one hour, until browning and cooked through.

Chips and dip make a great side dish for any party or picnic. Make it real food style with this easy homemade chip dip. Just ONE ingredient plus seasoning.

Easy Homemade Chip Dip

Chips and dip make a great side dish for any party or picnic. Make it real food style with this easy homemade chip dip. Just ONE ingredient plus seasoning.Chips and dip make a great side dish for any party or picnic. Make it real food style with this easy homemade chip dip. Just ONE ingredient plus seasoning.

One of the easiest side dishes any time of year is chips with dip. I know, you may be thinking that doesn’t sound very healthy. But it can be!

Buy your favorite kind of chip (we like the potato chips made with avocado oil or olive oil) or make a batch of homemade chips. Better yet swap the chips for some homemade teff crackers or gluten-free Wheat Thin® style crackers. You still get the crunch without eating chips. Then all you have to do is take one minute to mix up a quick dip.

What is in Homemade Chip Dip?

This chip dip reminds me of my favorite childhood dip – french onion. What’s great about this homemade version is what it’s missing…namely MSG (read about the dangers of MSG here) or anything artificial. Just a few simple ingredients.

This is also not a dip full of spice. We keep it simple for the oral sensory issues in our family. But that doesn’t mean it’s low on flavor. This simple chip dip tastes great and packs a punch of flavor.Chips and dip make a great side dish for any party or picnic. Make it real food style with this easy homemade chip dip. Just ONE ingredient plus seasoning.

What Can you Dip in Chip Dip Besides Chips?

If you don’t eat chips, this dip works very well for fresh vegetables. Our favorite is cucumbers. We even enjoy it on a burger whether it’s with a bun or simply as a dip when going bun-less. That’s what my kids do most of the time since gluten-free buns are expensive. Plus it’s just easy for kids to dip!

Homemade chip dip is very versatile.

Easy Dip for Kids

Chip dip works well for packing school lunches. A tasty dip is a great way to get kids to eat fresh vegetables. Serve a combination of chips or crackers and veggies. Even if you have reluctant veggie eaters you might be surprised that they eat it all when served together.

Making chip dip is also a great activity for kids. Even the little ones. You really can’t mess it up (the recipe is very forgiving…and you can always add extra sour cream if they go a little overboard with seasoning).

My four-year-old LOVES to help in the kitchen. I like to put her on dip duty. It keeps her hands busy, and she feels so proud that she is helping.Chips and dip make a great side dish for any party or picnic. Make it real food style with this easy homemade chip dip. Just ONE ingredient plus seasoning.


All of my kids know their way around the kitchen thanks to the Kids Cook Real Food eCourse. We’ve been doing it since 2016! Check it out HERE if you’re interested in getting your kids cooking.


Is Chip Dip Dairy-Free?

This version of chip dip is made with dairy. While my kids are mostly dairy-free, they do tolerate butter and a small amount of cream. So we still use a little sour cream.

But if you can’t have any dairy you could make this with coconut sour cream or almond milk sour cream. Both sound delicious!

The next time you are in the mood for chips and dip try this simple homemade version of chip dip. It takes less than one minute to make and will be a family favorite.Chips and dip make a great side dish for any party or picnic. Make it real food style with this easy homemade chip dip. Just ONE ingredient plus seasoning.

Easy Homemade Chip Dip

A simple chip dip made with real ingredients that only takes a minute to prepare.

Prep Time 1 minute
Servings 8
Author Mary | Just Take A Bite

Ingredients

  • 2/3 cup organic sour cream
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. organic garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp. organic onion powder
  • 1 tsp. organic dried dill weed (optional - not allowed on VAD Diet)

Instructions

  1. Combine all of the ingredients in a glass jar.

  2. Mix until well combined. Adjust seasoning to taste.

  3. Serve with chips, crackers or vegetables.

  4. Store, covered, in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.

Simple Baked Beet Fries

Every summer our garden is loaded with beets. My husband just did our THIRD planting! There are so many reasons to eat beets. But not everyone is a fan. Until now. You’ll have even your picky eaters going for seconds with these simple baked beet fries!

Beets. You either love them or hate them. Some (like me!) love their earthy sweet flavor. Then there are others that think they just taste like dirt.

I am happy to say that I’ve converted my whole family into beet eaters! Especially freshly roasted golden beets from our garden. They are so sweet!!

But I know not everyone is so fond of them.

It’s a shame because they are loaded with vitamins and minerals. Just look at that rich color! Plus they are powerhouse helpers for your liver, assisting in detox.

There must be a way to get beet haters to enjoy them (besides trying to hide a tiny bit in a smoothie), right?

Yes, there is!There are so many reasons to eat beets. But not everyone is a fan. Until now. You'll have even your picky eaters going for seconds with these simple baked beet fries!

Beet Fries.

My three year old will eat a mountain of beets. But my son, although willing, really only cares for a few pieces. Until I made them into fries.

All it takes is cutting beets into sticks and rolling them in flour. Bake for an hour and sprinkle generously with real salt. And presto. Beet fries.

Suddenly my son will fight over them!

You don’t even need ketchup for dipping. They are great as-is. Perfect for keeping the added sugar out of your diet.

I love that this is also a great alternative for anyone that can’t have potatoes due to allergies (like my sons) or a nightshade sensitivity. We also make a lot of carrot fries to avoid potatoes.There are so many reasons to eat beets. But not everyone is a fan. Until now. You'll have even your picky eaters going for seconds with these simple baked beet fries!

My kids will eat these warm or cold. They do tend to go for the golden ones first. Like I said, golden beets are so sweet. But they like both varieties. If you think you don’t like beets, try golden. You might change your mind.

Grab some beets from your local farmer’s market (or grow your own!) and make these picky eater approved beet fries. Easy to make and fun to eat. Plus they are so good for you! It’s a win all around.

Do your kids like beets? Would they eat them as beet fries?

There are so many reasons to eat beets. But not everyone is a fan. Until now. You'll have even your picky eaters going for seconds with these simple baked beet fries!

5 from 2 votes
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Simple Baked Beet Fries

A delicious way to serve beets to picky eaters.

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 10 minutes
Servings 5

Ingredients

  • 3-6 medium to large beets
  • 1/2 cup rice flour, cassava flour or tapioca flour
  • 1 tsp. unrefined sea salt
  • 1 Tbsp. olive oil or avocado oil

Instructions

  1. Heat oven to 400 degrees F.

  2. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.

  3. Peel and slice beets into 1/2" sticks.

  4. Combine flour and half of the salt.

  5. Lightly coat beet sticks with flour and line them up on the baking sheet.

  6. Drizzle the olive oil over the beets.

  7. Bake in heated oven for one hour.

  8. Sprinkle on remaining salt while fries are still hot.

 

Need a simple side dish that boosts the nutrient content of your meal while still tasting great? This Instant Pot turmeric rice is kid-friendly and so easy to make!

Instant Pot Turmeric Rice (with Liver!)

Need a simple side dish that boosts the nutrient content of your meal while still tasting great? This Instant Pot turmeric rice is kid-friendly and so easy to make!Need a simple side dish that boosts the nutrient content of your meal while still tasting great? This Instant Pot turmeric rice is kid-friendly and so easy to make!

When you are a gluten free family, you eat a lot of rice (except when you have a child allergic to rice…so glad he healed from that!). It’s easy. And it goes with just about everything.

I’m the boring mom that usually just cooks plain white rice (it’s much easier on our tummies than brown rice). Then my family gets to add whatever seasonings they like. My kids usually opt for cinnamon and a little sprinkle of organic cane sugar. I personally like just butter and salt.

Flavor Boost

My poor husband was getting pretty sick of plain rice. He grew up eating Rice-A-Roni and was missing flavor in his meal.

I went to my cupboard to see what I could add to the rice for some flavor. There was a bag of turmeric that I had purchased quite a while back…but never opened because I had no idea what to do with it! I had never even tasted turmeric myself. But I heard how good it is for you.

I decided to just take a leap and add some to our rice with a mix of other seasonings. Wonder of wonders…my kids LOVE it! And so does my husband.Need a simple side dish that boosts the nutrient content of your meal while still tasting great? This Instant Pot turmeric rice is kid-friendly and so easy to make!

They were all hesitant to try it at first. “Why is my rice yellow?!” But after the first bite, they were hooked. And they aptly named it “yellow rice.”

There is definitely no lack of flavor in this rice. And it’s loaded with good stuff from turmeric to broth to liver (this is the brand I love)! It’s so good my mother-in-law served it for the whole relation when we visited for the holidays.

Interested in trying Instant Pot turmeric rice? Head over to Kitchen Stewardship where I’m sharing my quick and easy recipe!

Grain and nut free mineral rich hummus makes the perfect snack or lunch box addition. This is will soon become a kid favorite for dipping veggies!

Grain and Nut Free Mineral Rich Hummus

Grain and nut free mineral rich hummus makes the perfect snack or lunch box addition. This is will soon become a kid favorite for dipping veggies!Grain and nut free mineral rich hummus makes the perfect snack or lunch box addition. This is will soon become a kid favorite for dipping veggies!

It’s time to get back to routines, back to school, back to nourishing lunches! If you haven’t set any goals, a good one is to make sure your kids are being nourished every single day at every meal.

It may sound daunting, but it’s not. Real food is actually quite simple. Want a snack? Have a pear. Have some pepper slices. Simple.

Want to know what else is simple?

My grain and nut free mineral rich hummus!

It’s so simple my kids can make it themselves. Just a few ingredients tossed in the blender. Done in less than five minutes.Grain and nut free mineral rich hummus makes the perfect snack or lunch box addition. This is will soon become a kid favorite for dipping veggies!

If you want to avoid using canned beans, the easiest way to cook chickpeas is in your Instant Pot!

But what makes it mineral rich?

In addition to the usual chickpeas and oil, I like to add pumpkin seeds. They are loaded with zinc, potassium, magnesium, iron, manganese, phosphorus and vitamin E!

The seeds are ground right into the hummus, so you’d never know they’re there. But they really boost the nutrition. You could also use sunflower seeds and/or hemp seeds to vary the minerals.Grain and nut free mineral rich hummus makes the perfect snack or lunch box addition. This is will soon become a kid favorite for dipping veggies!

Allergy Friendly Hummus

I like to keep my hummus very allergy friendly. No grains, nuts, dairy, eggs, soy or corn. Veggies with hummus is my go-to dish to bring to a family gathering. I have kids with allergies and a niece and nephew with allergies. So I try to make sure I bring something everyone can (and will!) eat.

My kids will eat hummus by the spoonful. I like to keep some on hand for easy snacks and lunch additions. If I have pepper and cucumber slices prepared, my three year old will grab a pile with the whole container of hummus and start dipping away.

This year make nourishing food a priority. But don’t stress yourself. Keep it simple with easy foods like fruits, veggies and my five minute grain and nut free mineral rich hummus. You never know, it might just be the trick to turn your kids into raw veggie lovers!

Are your kids adventurous eaters? They might like my pesto hummus!Grain and nut free mineral rich hummus makes the perfect snack or lunch box addition. This is will soon become a kid favorite for dipping veggies!

Grain and Nut Free Mineral Rich Hummus
Serves 10
A simple, mineral rich dip for veggies or crackers.
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Ingredients
  1. 1 1/2 cups chickpeas (cooked, boxed or canned), drained, liquid reserved
  2. 4 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil or avocado oil
  3. 6 Tbsp. bean liquid or water
  4. 2 Tbsp. pumpkin seeds (or sunflower or hemp)
  5. 1/4 tsp. unrefined sea salt
  6. 1/4 tsp. garlic powder
  7. 1/2 tsp. onion powder
  8. 1/4 tsp. dillweed (optional)
  9. 1/4 tsp. desiccated liver (optional)
Instructions
  1. Combine all of the ingredients in a blender.
  2. Blend on high until smooth. Add extra liquid/water if needed.
  3. Adjust seasoning to taste.
  4. Serve immediately or refrigerate (up to one week) until ready to serve.
Just Take A Bite https://justtakeabite.com/
Looking for that perfect Christmas breakfast or dessert? This adorable and easy candy cane mason jar fruit salad is great for both kids and adults!

Candy Cane Mason Jar Fruit Salad

Looking for that perfect Christmas breakfast or dessert? This adorable and easy candy cane mason jar fruit salad is great for both kids and adults!

Looking for that perfect Christmas breakfast or dessert? This adorable and easy candy cane mason jar fruit salad is great for both kids and adults!

I am working with Stonyfield Yogurt for this post. I have been compensated for my time commitment. All opinions expressed are my own. I have not been paid to post positive reviews.

When it comes to holiday entertaining (for a crowd or just for my own family) I have two requirements:

  1. Nutritious
  2. Simple

I’ve learned how to host a crowd without stress and still serve real food. The big stuff is easy – meat, potatoes, veggies, etc. But I tend to neglect the little things like breakfast, dessert and fruit sides.Looking for that perfect Christmas breakfast or dessert? This adorable and easy candy cane mason jar fruit salad is great for both kids and adults!

Three-in-One Recipe

Today I’m sharing my solution for all three!

Candy cane mason jar fruit salads work for breakfast, dessert or a simple side dish.

Start with whole milk Stonyfield yogurt that you strain to make it really thick. We like to use the vanilla, but you could use plain to make it without any added sugar. The strained vanilla yogurt is a simple alternative to whipped cream that has probiotics! My kids could not get enough of it! And I always have quarts of Stonyfield yogurt on hand. Actually I usually have about four or five in my fridge because we eat it so often.

I add our own fruit, sweeteners and other add-ins (like kettle corn granola and chia seeds) to the plain, whole milk organic yogurt for an easy breakfasts a couple times a week. That way I know we’re eating good quality food! I love that Stonyfield is all organic and is committed to using quality ingredients.

And if you’re concerned about sugar content, Stonyfield has less sugar than other brands.Looking for that perfect Christmas breakfast or dessert? This adorable and easy candy cane mason jar fruit salad is great for both kids and adults!

If you like your yogurt/cream really thick (like I do!) you can even use strained Greek yogurt for the fruit salads. But it would be a bit on the tart side. The strained yogurt works perfectly for these fruit salads so the fruit does not sink into the yogurt. You can really see those layers!Looking for that perfect Christmas breakfast or dessert? This adorable and easy candy cane mason jar fruit salad is great for both kids and adults!

Fruit Stripes

Once strained, simply layer the yogurt with your favorite festive fruits. We use pomegranate seeds, kiwi, raspberries and grapes. Taylor it to your tastes and the look you like. Little kids might not be keen on pomegranate seeds. While adults might like a mix with everything. My toddler enjoyed a combination of raspberries and green grapes. But my big kids loved the pomegranate seeds and kiwi.Looking for that perfect Christmas breakfast or dessert? This adorable and easy candy cane mason jar fruit salad is great for both kids and adults!

I make a variety and let everyone choose what they like. I keep some all green and some all red and some I mix. They look so festive! Like a candy cane in a jar.

How to Save Time

Best of all? You can make them ahead of time for a super easy breakfast or dessert. Don’t want to interrupt opening Christmas presents to make breakfast? Make these fruit salads the night before and munch while you unwrap. Or prep them before your guests arrive for a super easy dessert.Looking for that perfect Christmas breakfast or dessert? This adorable and easy candy cane mason jar fruit salad is great for both kids and adults!

If you’re really busy you can skip the last step and simply turn breakfast into a candy cane parfait buffet. Set out all the ingredients and let everyone assemble their own! Add granola, chia seeds and nuts for a complete meal. This works very well for a big crowd.

Kids Can Cook Too!

I really love that my kids can actually make these on their own. They’ve been learning to cook for two years now through the Kids Cook Real Food eCourse. So they are proficient with knives and many other kitchen tools. I could give them all the supplies and let them prepare the fruit salads as a fun project. Then I’m free to work on the main meals.

Interested in teaching your kids how to cook? Check out the Kids Cook Real Food eCourse HERE!

Looking for that perfect Christmas breakfast or dessert? This adorable and easy candy cane mason jar fruit salad is great for both kids and adults!

Coffee with Dessert?

Whether serving mason jar fruit salads for breakfast or dessert, a cup of coffee is an excellent accompaniment for the adults. If you like coffee that is. Me? I’ve never been a coffee drinker. But my husband and in-laws are! Whenever my in-laws come visit I have no drink to offer them with dessert. My brother and sister-in-law actually bring their own! They know I never serve any.Looking for that perfect Christmas breakfast or dessert? This adorable and easy candy cane mason jar fruit salad is great for both kids and adults!

Thanks to Krups I now have a great coffee maker! And I can finally learn how to make some decent coffee. No more embarrassed hostess here.Looking for that perfect Christmas breakfast or dessert? This adorable and easy candy cane mason jar fruit salad is great for both kids and adults!

Cutest Candy Canes

Now let’s be honest, the real reason we all want to make these mason jar fruit salads is simply because they are so stinkin’ cute! Seriously. Who wouldn’t want one? My kids were sad I hadn’t made two for each of them. I guess next time I know to make a huge batch. They could be easy grab ‘n’ go snacks or great additions to school lunches. Use seasonal fruit to change it up throughout the year.

Festive and nutritious holiday dishes don’t have to be complicated. Keep it simple and fun with these fresh, fruity candy cane mason jar fruit salads. They are sure to be a family favorite.Looking for that perfect Christmas breakfast or dessert? This adorable and easy candy cane mason jar fruit salad is great for both kids and adults!

Candy Cane Mason Jar Fruit Salad
Yields 6
A simple, holiday fruit salad that works for breakfast, dessert or a side dish.
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Ingredients
  1. 4 cups Stonyfield whole milk vanilla yogurt (or plain or Greek)
  2. Seeds of 1 pomegranate
  3. 2 kiwis
  4. Medium bunch of red and/or green grapes
  5. 2 cups raspberries or strawberries
  6. (Optional) 2 Tbsp. chia seeds
Instructions
  1. Strain the yogurt in cheesecloth for one hour. Hang it over a bowl to get as much whey out as you can.
  2. While the yogurt is straining chop/seed the fruit into bite-size pieces.
  3. Layer the fruit and yogurt in 1/2-pint mason jars, small glass bowls or festive dishes.
  4. Top with chia seeds or more fruit.
Notes
  1. The fruit salads can be made with all red fruit, all green fruit or a combination.
  2. Older kids can help prepare the fruit and layer the salads.
  3. This makes 6 - 8 1/2-pint mason jars, depending on the ratio of fruit to yogurt you like.
Just Take A Bite https://justtakeabite.com/
No more boring fruit. This simple creamy orange poppy seed salad dressing transforms any combination of fruit into a special side dish.

Creamy Orange Poppy Seed Salad Dressing

Nothing says spring like a fresh fruit salad. Top it with this creamy orange poppy seed salad dressing for a treat the whole family will love.

No more boring fruit. This simple creamy orange poppy seed salad dressing transforms any combination of fruit into a special side dish.

It’s no secret. I LOVE salad. I could (and sometimes do) eat it every day (I’ll be sharing my secret super food dressing soon!).

But my family…not so much. For my husband a “big” salad is about ten pieces of lettuce. So when I was challenged by Stonyfield and The Cookful to create a new salad dressing it took some real thinking. What could I make that my family would actually like?

No more boring fruit. This simple creamy orange poppy seed salad dressing transforms any combination of fruit into a special side dish.

Skip the lettuce.

Instead of going the traditional lettuce salad route I opted to create a fun fruit salad! Use any fresh fruit you have on hand (especially what’s in season!). Add a burst of flavor with Stonyfield vanilla Greek yogurt (now available in full fat!!), freshly squeezed orange juice and poppy seeds.

I used what we had on hand in the house – Fat Free Vanilla Greek Yogurt. You could also use whole milk yogurt combined with a little maple syrup. But the Greek yogurt really adds a nice thickness.

This creamy orange poppy seed salad dressing is so easy to make. My big kids can make it by themselves (they are learning to do so much from The Kids Cook Real Food eCourse!!).

No more boring fruit. This simple creamy orange poppy seed salad dressing transforms any combination of fruit into a special side dish.

Great for oral sensitivities.

My oldest has a very sensitive mouth. Any hint of tartness or tough skin in her fruit and she won’t eat it. One fruit she usually does not like is grapes. She makes some pretty good pucker faces when she tries them.

But the other day all I had in the house was a bowl of grapes. I gave her a dish topped with creamy orange poppy seed salad dressing. Not a single complaint! She licked the bowl clean. It’s that good.

No more boring fruit. This simple creamy orange poppy seed salad dressing transforms any combination of fruit into a special side dish.

Spruce up your salad.

If you like sweet salad dressings (like me!) you could even use this on a lettuce salad. Add some crispy pecans, dried cherries and feta cheese. Delicious!

Looking for some other great salad dressing recipes? The Cookful has plenty to choose from . I think the No Egg Caesar Dressing would be great.

Ready to add some extra flavor to your fruit salad?

Try this super easy creamy orange poppy seed salad dressing. No more boring fruit.

No more boring fruit. This simple creamy orange poppy seed salad dressing transforms any combination of fruit into a special side dish.

Creamy Orange Poppy Seed Salad Dressing
A creamy fruit salad dressing with a pop of orange flavor.
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Ingredients
  1. 1/2 cup Stonyfield vanilla Greek yogurt (fat free or full fat)
  2. juice of 1/2 - 1 orange (depends how strong you want the orange flavor)
  3. 1/2 tsp. poppy seeds
  4. pinch unrefined sea salt
Instructions
  1. Mix all of the ingredients.
  2. Chill for 10 minutes.
  3. Serve over fruit as a salad, on the side as a dip or on a lettuce salad.
  4. Store in the refrigerator for up to 10 days.
Notes
  1. This makes enough for a large fruit salad.
  2. You can replace the vanilla yogurt with plain yogurt and 1 Tbsp. honey or maple syrup.
Just Take A Bite https://justtakeabite.com/

Have you heard of The Cookful?

It’s a great new site that really digs deep into specific food topics. They came up with some great salad dressing recipes!

I am working with Stonyfield and The Cookful on this post. I have been compensated for my time commitment, but I have not been paid to post positive reviews. Opinions are my own.