Thursday, September 20, 2012

Bean Balls

My son asked me to make meatballs with marinara the other day this is the recipe I came up with tonight for "meat"balls. I used butter beans and squash in my recipe but really any bean would work as well as most any veggie you have on hand. By using different spices these can take on any flavor you would like. I used equal parts sage, oregano, parsley, and thyme tonight. I also added about 1/2 tsp dried minced onion.

Bean Balls
2 cups cooked beans
½ -1 cup veggies
1 clove garlic
1 cup oats
¼ tsp salt
2-3 tsp spices

Preheat oven to 400º. Place beans, veggies, and garlic in food processor and chop till everything is in very small pieces but not pureed. Add the spices and enough oats so the mixture holds together well. If it gets too dry add a small amount of bean liquid or water. My beans were quite soft and ended up being pretty much pureed by the time I scooped them out but they would be just as good if they were not completely pureed. Scoop out small balls about 1 inch round and place on a stone or baking sheet. Freeze or bake.

Bake for 20 minutes until they are firm and lightly brown.You can flip them half way through the baking time if you want a more even brown on the top and bottom. 

They are ready to eat or you can cook them in marinara sauce. Heat a skillet of marinara sauce to a light simmer. Add the cooked bean balls to the sauce. Stir to coat and then let simmer for 5 min. Serve with spaghetti or in meatball sandwiches.  

Monday, May 21, 2012

Simple Baked Beans

I love baked beans with cornbread! This version takes quite a bit of cook time but only a few minutes of prep time. The slow bake allows time for the flavors to really sink into the beans.

Baked Beans
4 cups cooked Navy Beans
1 onion
1-2 cups veggies 
2 cups vegetable broth
½ cup molasses
¼ cup maple syrup
1 tsp dry mustard
½ tsp salt
¼ tsp pepper

Chop the onion and the veggies into bit size pieces. In a casserole dish with a lid combine all of the ingredients and mix together. Bake covered at 300º for 2 ½ hours.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Soaked Pie Crust

I made my first soaked pie crust tonight and it was delicious and very easy. This will be my go to pie crust from now on it is very similar to the crust I was using previously except that you add whey to the crust and let it soak/sit for 8 hrs.

Pie Crust (single crust)
½ cup butter
1 ¼ cups wheat flour
½ tsp salt
1 tbs whey or apple cider vinegar
1-3 tbs ice water

Cut up the butter into small cubes and then freeze it for 15-20 min before continuing with the recipe. Mix the flour and salt together. Cut the butter into the flour mixture until it looks like small crumbs. Mix in the whey and then add water as needed until the mixture just holds together. You do not want the dough to wet you just want it to press together and stick. Store the dough in a small covered dish and let sit for 8 hrs. After the soak time place the dough in the fridge for 1-2 hrs. When ready to roll out the dough take it out of the fridge and let it warm up slightly. On a surface generously dusted with flour roll out the dough to desired size and shape. The crust is now ready to bake or use in any recipe you desire.

Monday, May 14, 2012


This is a basic muffin recipe that does not involve soaking or sourdough.

1 cup all purpose flour
¾ cup whole wheat flour
¼ -⅓ cup sugar
2 tsp baking powder
¼ tsp salt
1 beaten egg
¾ cup milk
¼ cup unsweetened applesauce

Add Ins
¾ cup blueberries
¾ cup mashed bananas (reduce milk to ½ cup)
½ cup chopped walnuts or almonds
½ tsp cinnamon and 1 cup raisins
¼ cup chocolate chips

 Preheat oven to 400°.  Mix together the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl. Mix together egg, milk, and applause in a separate bowl. Add the egg mixture to flour mixture stir until blended but still a bit lumpy. Mix in any desired add ins. Fill muffin cups or a greased muffin tin with batter to about 3/4 full. Bake for 20 min or until slightly golden and a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.

Makes 12 muffins

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Creme Eggs

I love the Cadbury creme eggs they have always been one of my favorite parts of Easter. Knowing all I know now though with the artificial colors and flavors in them I no longer want to buy them or let the kids eat them. So this year I decided to make my own since I can make candy corn and conversation hearts I knew I could figure out creme eggs. 
I made these without any added colors, I always use natural food dyes for my sweets but for these I wanted to try for dye free. Making them without colors required me to make 2 types of fillings both are delicious on their own but putting them together makes the classic white and yellow look. If you want to you could just make the white filling and take some out to color yellow instead of making the second filling. 
These can be made 2 ways either in molds or on sticks. I like the molds but the sticks are fun too. Any egg mold will do I found some plastic ones at Hobby Lobby for $2 each, I think they are intended for peanut butter filled eggs. With this recipe I was able to make 40 of the eggs.

Here are the recipes for the fillings and the chocolate followed by my instructions for making eggs. There seems to be a lot of instructions but they are actually quite easy to put together.

Thick Simple Syrup
1 cup sugar
¼ cup water

Over low heat in a small saucepan heat the sugar and water stirring constantly. Remove from heat once the sugar is dissolved. 

Agave nectar, honey, or maple syrup can be used in place of the simple syrup remember each adds its own flavor to the filling.

Yellow Custard Filling
¼ cup butter
¼ cup heavy cream
1-4 tbs thick simple syrup
1 egg yolk
½ tsp vanilla
Pinch salt (optional)

In a medium saucepan heat the butter, cream, and simple syrup over low heat stirring until the butter is completely melted. Remove from heat and slowly whisk in egg yolk*. Continue to whisk and place it back on the heat cook over medium-low heat until mixture coats the back of a spoon this will take about 3-5 min. You can till it is done if you run your finger over the back of the spoon and it leaves a trail. Remove from heat and add the vanilla and salt.Stir well to thoroughly mix. Allow to cool slightly then place in a covered bowl and place in the fridge.
*If the custard starts to get little piece of cooked egg in it immediately pull from the heat and strain the mixture. It will still work just fine.

White Crème Filling
½ cup thick simple syrup
¼ cup butter softened to room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla
¼ teaspoon salt
3 cups powdered sugar

With a mixer cream together the simple syrup, butter, salt and vanilla. Sift in the powdered sugar. Slowly beat the sugar into the butter mixture 1/2 cup at a time until fully incorporated. Place in a covered bowl and refrigerate.

Chocolate Egg Coating
2 cups of chocolate chips
You can use any chocolate chips you like, milk, semi sweet, dark or a combination of chips.

Using a double boiler melt the chocolate over med heat. Stirring the chocolate as it melts till smooth. Remove the double boiler from the heat. If the chocolate starts to harden or gets thick you can easily warm it back up.

Putting together the eggs
Using a mold
Make the fillings and place them in fridge to firm up for 10-20 min. While the fillings are hardening melt the chocolate and use it to paint the insides of the molds. Remember to be sure to put a thin layer around all sides. Place the molds in the fridge for 5 min until they harden. 

Next you need to fill the molds. This is the method that worked best for me. I also tried pipping the filling into the eggs but I kept overflowing the eggs. With a little more practice the piping might work just as well. 

Take the molds and the yellow filling out of the fridge. Place a small amount of the yellow custard in each mold. I filled about 1/4 - 1/3 of the mold with the scoop of yellow custard. 
Next take out the creme filling. Working quickly, so the filling does not get to warm and sticky, scoop out a small amount of creme filling, just enough to fill in the rest of the mold. If the fillings start to get sticky place it back in the fridge for 5 min to harden up. The filling is very easy to work with when it is cold but next to impossible to work with when it is warm.
Flatten out the creme slightly and place it in the mold pressing down lightly so it fills the entire mold. Once the molds are filled place them back in the fridge. while you warm the chocolate back up.
Reheat the chocolate and paint a thin layer of chocolate on each mold completely covering the filling. Place the molds in the freezer for 5 min to firm up and make removing from the mold easier. 
When ready gently push on the top of the molds to get the eggs to pop out. Store what ever you do not eat immediately in a lidded container in the fridge. They will also do fine sitting out on the counter unless the room is quite warm. Just like chocolate chips they will soften if the temperature is to high.

On a stick
Make the fillings and place them in fridge to firm up for 20 min. Remember to take out the fillings (as needed) and work quickly, so the filling does not get to warm and sticky. If the fillings do start to get sticky place them back in the fridge for 5 min to firm up before continuing.

Start by making small balls of the custard and placing them on a parchment paper lined try. Then place the trays in the fridge.
Next take out the creme filling and make flat circles with it. The circle need to be large enough that you can wrap it around the custard balls you made. Place the circles on a parchment paper lined tray and then in the fridge to firm up before continuing. 
After about 5 min take out both of the fillings and place the ball of custard in the middle of the crème circles. Place a stick in the custard and fold up the crème around the custard and stick. Smooth the creme into a ball or egg shape they look best if you can make them slightly smaller at the top and a bit rounder at the bottom. Place each egg on the parchment paper lined tray. Then place them in the freezer so they get really firm for dipping.

While the fillings are freezing melt the chocolate. Take out the fillings and carefully dip each in the chocolate fully covering them. You may need to smooth the chocolate around all sides of the eggs or use a spoon to pour chocolate over the eggs so they are fully covered. Make sure you are only putting on a thin layer of chocolate or it will drip everywhere. Place them back on the parchment paper or stick the bottom of the sticks into a Styrofoam block so the sides are not flattened while they dry. After dipping place them back in the fridge to harden.

Saturday, March 24, 2012


Smoothies are one of my favorite snacks! They are easy to throw together, the kids love them, and they are full of nutritious ingredients. Some people love having smoothies for breakfast but personally I need a little more to get me going in the morning but as a snack they are perfect. Most of the time we drink them alone but sometimes depending on how hungry we are a handful of nuts or a drop or two is needed.
I find no need for any precise measurements when making a smoothie a little of this and splash of that and you are almost guaranteed a yummy treat. I use my stick blender for making smoothies because it is quick, easy, and requires very little clean up. I start with a quart size wide mouth canning jar. I put what ever fresh fruit and veggies I am using first, then the greens and the frozen fruit or veggies, and last the liquid. I fill my canning jar to about 2-3 inches from the top with all my ingredients then just place my blender in and turn it on. Once it is well blended I pour out my kids portions and then stick a glass straw in the jar and enjoy the rest. No extra cleanup needed!
Sometimes it takes a small amount of pressure to get the frozen foods to blend in and if I am using greens I might let it go a bit longer then usual and I may have to pull out a few leaves that are not blending in.
I have yet to have a bad smoothie but I always try to follow the ratio of 60% fruit and 40% veggies or greens. This is the highest amount of veggies I will do and usually I do less then 40%. I then pour in my liquid to about half way up the fruit and veggies.
I use a variety of ingredients and rarely do we have the same combination more then once. Here is a list of ingredients I use.

Liquid- I never use milk or fruit juice in my smoothies because I feel we get enough of those with a glass of juice in the morning and milk at breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Kombucha and whey are my go to liquids for smoothies. They add probiotic properties to the smoothie which make it excellent for the all important gut health. If you do not have these water, any type of milk, or a small amount of fresh fruit juice will work. *Since starting GAPS our smoothies are usually made with Kefir, raw eggs, and/or yogurt.

Fruits- I use either fresh or frozen of any of these. If you do not have fresh fruit to add that is fine just be sure you always have frozen fruit or add ice cubes to the smoothie before blending. The frozen fruit is how you get the great smoothie texture.

Veggies- I have to admit I have not tried a ton of different veggies in my smoothies but the ones I have tried I like. Frozen or fresh veggies will work well just be sure to have fresh greens. Start small and work your way up with the veggies.
beet greens

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Ice Cream and Sourdough ebooks

I recently bought 2 ebooks which I am loving.
The first was Sourdough from A to Z it was written as part of the GNOWFGLINS ecourse on sourdough. I did not want to do the ecourse so I just bought the book which I have been reading through and making recipes from. It is really the best resource I have found for sourdough, or at least for nourishing wholegrain sourdough. It is wonderful to have a whole book where I do not have to tweak the recipes to use more nourishing ingredients.

We love to make ice cream and the book Just Making Ice Cream is a perfect fit for our family. The recipes are full of nourishing ingredients and we can not wait to make our way through them all.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Tomato Salsa

This is my go to quick and fresh salsa recipe when ever tomatoes are in season. During the rest of the year we will pull out a jar of salsa but when tomatoes are fresh this is the one I prefer. It is wonderful right away and even better the next day.

Tomato Salsa
1 Tomato
½ tsp salt
¼ cup frozen or fresh corn
½ tbs lime juice
1 clove garlic
1 tbs cilantro
1 tsp olive oil
Chop tomato, add salt and drain for 10 min. If using frozen corn, rinse the corn and let drain. Mix all ingredients and let sit for 10 min.

Cheese Sauce

Cheese sauce is great for dipping veggies in and for nachos.

Cheese Sauce
2 tbs butter
2 tbs flour
1 cup Milk
1 cup Cheese
½ cup Cream Cheese

On low heat melt the butter add flour and stir till mixed together. Add the milk all at once and continue stirring until sauce thickens. Add the cream cheese and the shredded cheeses and stir till smooth.

Make the cheese sauce as mild or as spicy as you like adding chopped jalapenos or hot sauce depending on your tastes.


 More often then not we just cut up an avocado and use it in slices or simply mashed. Sometimes though I will through together this supper simple guacamole. Adding chopped tomatoes when they are in season makes this recipe even better.

1 Avocado
1 clove Garlic diced
½ tablespoon Lime juice
1 tablespoon Cilantro
½ tablespoon Olive Oil

Cut and scoop out the avocado. Place avocado, garlic, lime juice, cilantro, and olive oil in food processor and mix together until smooth.

You can also mix the guacamole by hand or with a hand blender if you do not have a food processor.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Refried Beans

My kids love refried beans and Spanish "orange" rice. Well I have not perfected the orange rice but after much trial and error they like my beans.

Refried Beans   
4 cups cooked Pinto Beans
2 cups veggie broth
1 onion
2 cloves garlic
⅛ tsp chili powder
¼ tsp cumin
¼ tsp salt
2 cups water -as needed

Chop the onion and garlic to desired size. Place all the ingredients, except the water in a large pot with a lid. Bring to a boil then reduce heat to a simmer and cover. Cook for 20-30 min checking to be sure it does not get overly dry adding water as needed. Mash the beans or puree, I like to use my hand blender, to the desired consistency if they seem dry add more water. 

These beans can also be cooked in a crock pot. Just place the beans and all ingredients in the crock pot and cook on low for 3-4 hours. Then mash or puree to desired consistency.

Some of our favorite bean toppings
Cheddar Cheese
Feta Cheese

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Cream Cheese Frosting

Sometimes I like to add a little cream cheese frosting to my veggie drops or my veggie bread. It makes them seem like a decadent treat! Leftover cream cheese frosting is delicious on graham crackers. This could also be used to top a carrot cake you just would have to increase the recipe.

Cream Cheese Frosting
¼ cup cream cheese
¼ cup powdered sugar
¼ tsp vanilla.
Mix all ingredients together until well blended using a stand or hand mixer. Beat until the frosting is smooth and a bit fluffy.

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Valentines Conversation Hearts

Here is another special holiday recipe. Just like candy corn at Halloween growing up conversation hearts were Valentines Day. These hearts are vegan if you use the agar and agave, unlike the store bought ones which contain gelatin and by using natural food dyes and organic flavorings they are chemical free! They also taste so much better then the chalky hearts you find at the store.

Candy Hearts
2 tbs agar flakes or 2 tsp agar powder*
3/4 cup water
2 tsp agave or honey
9 cups powdered sugar
Flavor extracts*
Food Colors
Extra Powdered Sugar

Heat water, agar, and honey in a pan over low heat till agar is dissolved. Be sure to watch closely and stir constantly add extra water 2-3 tbs at a time if needed. Be sure to stir the mixture close to constantly you do not want it to burn. Beat together the agar mixture and 1 cup powdered sugar in a stand mixer. Add another cup of sugar mix until incorporated. Continue adding sugar 1 cup at a time mixing well after each addition and periodically scraping the sides and bottom of the bowl. Continue to add sugar until a stiff dough forms you may not need all of the 9 cups of sugar before the stiff dough forms but you should use most of it. If the dough stiffens up too soon you may need to add up to 1/4 cup more water in order to incorporate more sugar into the dough.

Dust a work surface with sugar. Place the dough on the work surface and knead dough until satiny and not sticky anymore. Divide the dough and add colors and flavors. About ⅛ -¼ tsp flavoring and 4-5 drops of color for each section of dough. Knead in the color until evenly distributed, this takes quite a bit of work since the dough is very stiff. I knead, roll, and rub the dough until the color is even. If the dough feels very dry dip your fingertips in water and place a few drops at a time on the dough. It will get sticky very easily if it gets too sticky add more powdered sugar.

Dust the work surface with more sugar and roll out to desired thickness between ¼ -1 inch. For smaller hearts the dough should be rolled thick for bigger hearts roll the dough thinner. Cut out desired shapes and place on a baking sheet covered with parchment paper. Cover with a towel and let dry for at least 24 hrs.I like the flip my hearts about halfway though drying time to evenly dry out both sides.If you can wait even longer they get more crunchy each day. I think they were completely dry all the way through by day 4 but then there was only a few left by then!

Messages can be written on the hearts with a little bit of food coloring and a toothpick. Be sure to wait until the hearts are completely dry before writing on them or else the dye will run.

*Flavors we used in our hearts

If you would rather use gelatin replace the agar with 2 tsp gelatin, decrease the water to 1/2 cup and increase the sugar to 11 cups.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Bean Soup

I love recipes that I can make over and over again a million different ways. This is one of those recipes I can make every week and make it different every time. Choosing different beans or combinations of beans makes a big difference in this soup. I use any veggies I have on hand and decide on spices as I am mixing things together.

Bean Soup
3 cups veggie broth
2 cups water
1 cup dried beans
4 cups chopped veggies
2 bay leafs
2-4 tsp spices

Rinse and sort through the beans. Soak beans in water for 12-24 hours. Rinse beans and place in water. Wash and cut up the veggies. In a crock pot place the veggies, veggie broth, spices, and beans. Cook in crock pot on high for 4-5 hours till the beans are soft but not falling apart. Cook for another hour and puree all or part of the soup for a thicker soup. French Bread or biscuits are a wonderful side with this soup.

Leftovers can be frozen and reheated in the oven or on the stove top.


Veggies We like
Bell Pepper 

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Soaked Granola

Granola is so very versatile and can be very healthy. Unfortunately most store bought granola is full of sugar. Finding a reasonably priced organic granola that does not list sugar as one of the top ingredients is next to impossible. Plus we have been trying to eat more traditional soaked and sprouted grains and a soaked granola is not available. My solution of course was to make my own. We love it around here especially with homemade yogurt. The best part of this recipe is that you can mix it up however you like change the grains, nuts, seeds, fruits, even the amount of sweetener to your taste. We use an organic 5 grain rolled cereal I buy in the bulk bins instead of oats in all of my recipes but regular old fashion rolled oats will work great.

Soaked Granola
4 cups oats
¼ cup chopped seeds
½ cup chopped nuts
¾ cup buttermilk or kefir
1 ½ cups water
⅓ cup coconut oil
¼ cup butter
¼ cup maple syrup, honey, or combination
½ tsp salt
2 tsp cinnamon
2 tsp vanilla extract
½ cup shredded coconut
1 ½ cups dried fruit

Mix together the oats, nuts, seeds, buttermilk, and water. Cover and let soak in a warm place for 12-24 hours. 
Heat the oil, butter, sweeteners, salt, cinnamon, and vanilla until melted and well mixed. Mix the oat mixture and the butter mixtures together. Then spread out the mixture in a large baking sheet. The oats need to heat slowly and be turned often over a long period of time. Bake the granola at 250º turning the mixture at least once every hour for 2-4 hrs. Remove the granola from oven when the it reaches your desired crispiness. Cool completely then mix in the dried fruit and store in an airtight container.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Soaked Pancakes

My kids love pancakes! They can be topped with any number of things but maple syrup is their favorite.
We have started soaking our pancakes along with all our other breakfast grains, it is incredibly easy to soak your grains. Two of the biggest pluses to soaking grains is that you can use all whole wheat flour and you get part of the mixing work done the night before making morning prep easier.

Soaked Pancakes
2 cups wheat flour
2 cups buttermilk
2 tsp baking soda
½ tsp salt
2 egg beaten
4 tbs applesauce
1 cup milk

Mix together the flour and buttermilk. Cover and let soak for 12 to 24 hours in a warm place, inside the oven is my favorite place. If it is cold in the house I turn just the oven light on which keeps the oven just the right temperature.  
Combine the egg, applesauce, salt, and baking soda in a separate bowl. Add the egg mixture to the soaked mixture stir together until well mixed. If needed add milk 1-2 tbs at a time until you reach the desired consistency. Mix in any add ins* you would like.
Place a small amount on butter or coconut oil on a warm skillet. Pour 1 tbs to ¼ cup batter, depending on how big you want your pancakes, on to the hot, lightly greased skillet. Cook 2-3 min on each side. Adding more butter/oil as needed between batches. 
Serve immediately or keep warm in oven set at 200º. Serve with

Any leftovers can be stacked in a freezer container separated by wax paper and frozen for later.
Warm up frozen pancakes in a toaster oven or oven set at 350º for 5 min.
*Add In Ideas
1 cup fresh or frozen berries
½ cup chocolate chips
½ cup finely chopped nuts

Some of our favorite pancake toppings include
Homemade fruit syrups
Whip cream
Cream Cheese