Delicious Grain-Free Chicken Casserole

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Hello to you all! I apologize for my absence in the last several months. I do feel like I have somewhat of an excuse as we just gave birth to our third child (our first girl) on August 21st! Nora Kathryn is a bundle of love, and I am definitely enjoying the fact that I have another girl in the house! 🙂

Still, all of that to say…I have missed you, my friends, and I am very excited to start posting again. Over the past months of preparing for our baby, I have also spent some time putting together recipes to post, and the one I am about to share today will not disappoint. In fact, you can ask my (almost) 2 year old what he thought of it last night as he shoved in his 4th helping! 🙂 I can definitely say that I felt I have scored a “mommy win” with this dish.
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A huge thanks to He and She Eat Clean for this amazing recipe! Scott and Whitney Carlson are the authors of this blog; I found this delish dish off of their website, and am super excited to share their recipe with you. I have adapted it with a few changes, but the majority of the recipe remains the same. Check out the original recipe here, and while you are at it, take some time to browse around for a few more of their recipes! 🙂 Enjoy this easy, budget-friendly, and delectable casserole!

Ingredients:
2 c cooked shredded chicken (Leftover rotisserie chicken works great.)
1 medium butternut squash, peeled and cubed (I measured approx. 3 cups uncooked squash.)
1/2 c coconut cream (Skim this off the top of a can of coconut milk. It works best to refrigerate
the can overnight for this. Do not use low fat coconut milk, people! Full fat is best and truly much
better for you!)
4 cloves garlic, unpeeled
1 leek, chopped
3 Tbsp coconut oil, melted
1.25 c frozen green peas, thawed
1 TBSP apple cider vinegar
1 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp oregano
1/2 tsp thyme

Directions:
Preheat the oven to 375. Place the cubed butternut, leek, and 1 tablespoon of coconut oil in a bowl. Toss to combine. Next brush the cloves of garlic with a little coconut oil and wrap in aluminum foil. Place the leek and butternut squash mixture on a parchment-lined cookie sheet and set in the oven. Take the wrapped garlic cloves and set these in the oven next to the cookie sheet. Roast in the oven for 35-40 minutes. (Roasting these veggies is a key component in the flavor of this casserole.) 🙂

Place the roasted leek and butternut in a large bowl. Squeeze the garlic cloves out of their skin into the bowl as well. (CAUTION: The cloves will be extremely hot, so you will need to let them cool. Using a hot pad, unwrap the cloves and place them in the fridge until cool enough to handle!) Mash the butternut/leek/garlic mixture to a smooth, yet slightly chunky texture.

Add apple cider vinegar, sea salt, black pepper, oregano, and thyme to the mashed butternut squash and stir to combine. Add coconut creme and oil. Stir to combine. Next add the shredded chicken and green peas, and stir once more.

Place the entire casserole in a large skillet and heat the dish for 8-10 minutes on medium. Enjoy, and eat seconds! 🙂
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*This post contains affiliate links.
*Credit to He and She Eat Clean for this recipe!

Homeoprophylaxis: A Guest Post by Cilla Whatcott

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Recently, most of us, if we have followed the media, have all been made aware of the tremendous focus there has been (within the US as well as areas outside the country) to mandate and more heavily push vaccines. This undoubtedly has left several mothers wondering how much choice they have when it comes to making health decisions for their children. Are there other ways to protect our children from various diseases which may not follow the traditional vaccination schedule? Today, I would like to welcome Cilla Whatcott, HD RHom, CCH, who shares about homeoprophylaxis, a homeopathic approach to immunization. She is a nationally certified classical homeopath, author, and instructor at Normandale Community College in MN, co-founder of Free and Healthy Children International and mentor of homeopathic students. She is the mother of children adopted from China, Russia, Taiwan and has one natural biological child. Author of There Is a Choice and co-author of The Solution, she will be speaking at the upcoming international conference http://www.HPWorldwideChoice.com. I invite you to read what she has to share.

**Please also remember that regardless of where one stands on vaccinations (to fully vaccinate, to vaccinate on a delayed schedule, or to not vaccinate) that this blog is a place of respect and honor for each other as mothers.**
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From Cilla…
Thinking like a homeopath requires critical observation. We look below the surface! With all the hype and hysteria about measles lately, there are a few things to remember when being exposed to social and public media.

According to SharylAttkisson, the renowned investigative journalist, she likens propaganda to astroturf, or artificial grass, since it has no roots or depth. She explains by saying, “Astroturf seeks to manipulate you into changing your opinion by making it seem as if you’re an outlier–when you’re not. Hallmarks of astroturf and propaganda include use of inflammatory language such as quack, crank, nutty, pseudo, paranoid and conspiracy. Beware when an interest addresses an issue by controversializing or attacking the people, personalities and organizations surrounding the issue rather than the facts. That could be astroturf” (1).

According to the media, there is no other way to protect your child besides conventional vaccination. Furthermore, you are accused of committing a selfish act by not “protecting the community” unless you vaccinate, regardless of any risks involved. In my opinion, this is not the whole story. Do you have a choice? I am fully convinced that you do.

There is a non-toxic alternative available to parents for disease prevention. It’s called “homeoprophylaxis” or HP. It has been around for 200 years, and it has been used effectively for epidemics and childhood infectious disease. HP is produced exactly like other homeopathic remedies in FDA approved pharmacies. (Did you know that the FDA was formed by a homeopath named Royal Copeland? He actually devised a homeopathic pharmacopoeia to protect the use of remedies.)

Homeopathic nosodes for HP are made from substances of the targeted disease. Biological discharges, such as sputum, or exudates, are used as the original substance. The solution is then serially diluted and potentized to create the homeoprophylaxis remedies.

This process is a type of “attenuation.” Attenuation means to “weaken”; a similar process is used in manufacturing conventional vaccines. With vaccines though, there is still some of the original disease product present after attenuation. This is the “antigen” found in any vaccine. This is just one of a few key differences between HP and vaccination. The most obvious difference is the purity of the homeopathic nosodes compared to conventional vaccines. The homeopathic nosodes contain no additives whatsoever. There are no antibiotics, preservatives, detergents, foreign DNA, or unknown viruses present in HP nosodes.They are not grown on animal tissues, so they carry no foreign DNA. HP is administered by mouth, touching mucous membrane, just like natural disease enters the body, and an individual is only given one nosode of a disease remedy at a time, which is more easily recognized by the body than multiple vaccinations administered at once. Nosodes are available for measles, mumps, whooping cough, meningitis, tetanus, polio and many other infectious and tropical diseases as well.

The goal of HP is to provide education to the developing immune system. According to Dr. Isaac Golden who has completed a 15 year study of HP for childhood disease, “I would suggest that HP remedies stimulate the energetic immune response and this must lead to a maturing of the response in an analogous way that infection with simple diseases can help to mature the physical immune response” (2).

HP has been used for cholera (3), polio (4), meningitis (5), Leptospirosis (6), and many other diseases showing effectiveness rates between 85% – 95%.

While vaccination does provide a variable level of protection against many infectious diseases, its safety is not confirmed with any degree of certainty. In particular, long term health consequences of vaccines have not been adequately researched.

In comparison, homeoprophylaxis has provided 200 years of clinical evidence showing us that it is safe, devoid of any toxic components, and also yields positive long term health effects. Fewer chronic diseases and fewer cases of sore throats, ear infections, eczema, and other inflammatory diseases are some of the benefits over time. In addition, homeoprophylaxis appears from evidence to provide a level of protection which is comparable to or better than vaccines, meaning that parents have genuine choices available when it comes to preventing potentially serious infectious diseases.

If you are interested in talking with me or learning more I, (Cilla), offer a complete HP program including a kit containing all necessary remedies, a booklet for record keeping, initial consultation, and ongoing support and consultation during the program. Costs are determined by the kit size and contents, and number of children in the family. I can be reached through my website: http://www.FamilyHomeopathyCare.com or by email at homeopath2@comcast.net. I look forward to speaking with you!

If you’d like to read more on homeoprophylaxis, two books are available on Amazon (Click on the links below the titles):
1. There is a Choice by Cilla Whatcott, HD (RHom), CCH
2. The Solution by Kate Birch RSHom(NA), CCH, CMT and Contributor Cilla Whatcott, HD (RHom), CCH

1. //ws-na.amazon-adsystem.com/widgets/q?ServiceVersion=20070822&OneJS=1&Operation=GetAdHtml&MarketPlace=US&source=ac&ref=qf_sp_asin_til&ad_type=product_link&tracking_id=avocad06-20&marketplace=amazon&region=US&placement=1502460254&asins=1502460254&linkId=TVZ47LHYOZNXJCWH&show_border=true&link_opens_in_new_window=true“>There is a Choice by Cilla Whatcott, HD (RHom), CCH
2. //ws-na.amazon-adsystem.com/widgets/q?ServiceVersion=20070822&OneJS=1&Operation=GetAdHtml&MarketPlace=US&source=ac&ref=qf_sp_asin_til&ad_type=product_link&tracking_id=avocad06-20&marketplace=amazon&region=US&placement=1480001910&asins=1480001910&linkId=IJ34RY2R6YMCLPXZ&show_border=true&link_opens_in_new_window=true“>The Solution by Kate Birch RSHom(NA), CCH, CMT and Contributor Cilla Whatcott, HD (RHom), CCH

Resources used in blog post article (Numbers referenced above):
1. Retrieved from: http://sharylattkisson.com/propaganda-and-astrotuf-recognize-it/ February 9, 2015.
2. Golden, Isaac. 2012. The Complete Practitioners Manual of Homeoprophylaxis. Victoria, Australia page 93.
3.VonBoenninghausen,C. Baron. 1984. BoenninghausensKleinemedizinischeSchriften [Lesser Medical Writings], Heidelberg 1984.
4.Eisfelder, HW. Poliomyelitis Immunization: A Final Report. Journal of the American Institute of Homeopathy. V 54, Nov-Dec 1961, pages 166-167.
5.Mroninski,C, et al. Meningococcin, its Protective Effect Against Meningococcal Disease, Homeopathic LINKS, Winter 2001 Vol 14 (4) 230-234.
6.PubMed 2014. Retrieved from: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20674839Bracho G1, Varela E, Fernández R, Ordaz B, Marzoa N, Menéndez J, García L, Gilling E, Leyva R, Rufín R, de la Torre R, Solis RL, Batista N, Borrero R, Campa C. Large-scale application of highly-diluted bacteria for Leptospirosis epidemic control.Homeopathy. 2010 Jul;99(3):156-66. doi: 10.1016/j.homp.2010.05.009.

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*This page contains affiliate links.
*Image from istockphoto.com
**Disclaimer: Avocado Mommy does not assume any responsibility for any results of any health program. When beginning any new health program or products, always make sure to check with your health practitioner. Please also remember that this blog is always meant to be a place of encouragement and respect. Avocado Mommy never seeks to push an opinion or to show disrespect for anyone regarding the choices they make for their family.

Coconut Flour Fudge Brownies (Grain-Free Goodness!)

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It’s no secret…I am definitely in love with chocolate, particularly chocolate brownies. If I am honest, I have something on hand every week! 🙂 Am I addicted? Probably. 🙂 These brownies have been my “go to” dessert for quite a while; they also have been successful at satisfying the sweet tooth of family and friends. I am incredibly grateful to Erica from the Comfy Belly for this delicious recipe. I did alter the amount of coconut flour, but other than that, this is Erica’s recipe. 🙂 Be sure to check out her blog for more great dishes! 🙂

Ingredients:
1/4 cup minus 1/2 tsp. coconut flour (Do not pack this. Too much coconut flour will alter the texture of your brownies.)
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (You can also use cacao powder.)
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
4 organic eggs (This is important.)
3/4 cup maple syrup (Grade B preferred)
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1/3 cup melted coconut oil (If dairy is tolerated, Kerrygold butter tastes great in place of the coconut oil! I find mine at Trader Joe’s. Sometimes Costco will carry this as well.)

Directions:
1. Preheat the oven to 350 and grease an 8×8 pan with coconut oil.
2. In a large mixing bowl, whisk the dry ingredients together. Set aside.
3. In a smaller bowl, combine all of the wet ingredients, except for the coconut oil (or butter). Add the wet ingredients (except the coconut oil/butter) to the dry ingredients. Using a handheld mixer, combine the wet and dry ingredients until well incorporated. Add the 1/3 cup oil or butter and process again until incorporated.
4. Let the batter set for 5 minutes, and then proceed to process once more for 30 seconds with the handheld mixer.
5. Pour the batter into the prepared pan, and bake for 20-25 minutes, or until the toothpick inserted comes out clean. (I always under bake mine a little and take them out at 20 minutes because I prefer them that way; it is a matter of your taste preference.)
6. Optional but absolutely delicious: Poke holes into the top of the brownies and frost with Erica’s delicious ganache! Find the recipe here.
7. Let cool slightly and enjoy! 🙂

*This page contains affiliate links.
*Brownie and ganache recipe from Comfy Belly.

Guest Post from Dr. Noodles! Delicious, Tasty, and Grain-Free

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I am excited to introduce to you Steve Frazier and his wife, Dr. Brenda Frazier, PhD, the founders of the company, Dr. Noodles. I had the opportunity to meet both of them as they promoted their product at our local health food store. One taste of this delicious, grain-free pasta, and I knew I had found a superior product. I was also convinced that I had to ask them if they would do a guest post for me on my blog. They enthusiastically agreed, and I am so excited to have them with us today. Mr. Frazier and his wife share their story and inspiration for starting Dr. Noodles, and they also include a delicious recipe at that end. Enjoy this post, and I encourage you to check out their delicious products for yourself and for your family.
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Greetings to all our fellow food and health enthusiasts!! We are very excited to be your guest blogger today and to share a bit of our story. Let’s start from the top. My wife and I were in the restaurant business for 25+ years and now, my Master’s Degree and her PhD later, we have found ourselves back in the food industry.

About three years ago my wife, Dr. Brenda Frazier, PhD, became ill. Since then she has seen 17 doctors with several hundred thousands of dollars in medical expenses and no answers. Along the way she began seeing a holistic Clinical Nutritionist, which our daughter Alex Hartinger, now totes as her career path as well. (Our family has taken the dive into natural health and an organic lifestyle very much together and whole-heartedly.) Both have helped her with her Lyme Disease diagnosis and are now addressing the many systemic problems, which this terrible disease has evoked on her body. Along the way she discovered a gluten-free lifestyle and realized some favorable results, but she ultimately realized that grains were still causing her ailments.

Now that she knew how immensely her grain-free choice was worth it, she proceeded to spend countless hours in the kitchen as she passionately strove to make this lifestyle as close to her previous, “comfortable” life as possible. Her efforts paid off as they led to hundreds of recipes and experiments with food. She knew that the options on the market had quality OR texture OR taste but were rarely “the whole package.” Naturally, and somewhat out of necessity, she started a grain- free cookbook, which was a place to keep track of her awesome recipes that would hopefully help other people navigate this shift in eating habits should they decide to be grain-free or be told they must be grain-free. When we got to the garbanzo bean pasta it became glaringly obvious to us that we needed to share it on a level way beyond a cookbook. The Dr. Noodles grain-free, non-GMO, soy free, nut free, and dairy free noodle was born and born to shine. In the past year since this revelation, a new family business has manifested, and our noodles are sold all over the state of Wisconsin (and we’re GROWING!!).

This is what it looks like!
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Our story continues as we bring Dr. Noodles fettuccine, spaghetti, and elbow macaroni to celiacs, gluten and grain intolerant people, and diabetics across the State of Wisconsin- and to many, many more people who are just looking for a more nutrient dense, less inflammatory responsive food than the pastas on the market. Our product is non-GMO containing only four ingredients: garbanzo bean flour, arrowroot starch, xanthan gum (which all come from Bob’s Red Mill and are on the Non-GMO Project verified list), and organic eggs. We’re all about organic; however, we will probably never be able to claim to be totally organic as organic garbanzo bean flour is currently 6-7 times more expensive than the non-GMO kind we are buying, and given our research on source and quality, we know that we are providing a clean and real whole food product.

Finally, now that we have shared our story and our product, we’d like to conclude with one of our favorite recipes. If you’d like more delicious recipes from Dr. Noodles, there are more posted on our website, http://www.drnoodlesbybrenda.com, or on our Facebook page, http://www.facebook.com/drnoodlesbybrenda. noodles4
Garbanzo Bean Spaghetti Carbonara (Serves 4)
Ingredients:
½ onion, chopped
2 tablespoons coconut oil
½ lb. bacon (uncured, organic)
2 tablespoons of butter (organic)
3 egg yolks (organic)
1/3 cup unsweetened almond milk
¼ cup raw cheddar cheese
½ tsp sea salt
1 package of Dr. Noodles spaghetti
Heat the oil in a pan and sauté the onion until transparent. Add the bacon and cook until the bacon is crisp. Remove this mixture from pan and keep it warm. Melt the butter in the same fry pan with the bacon fat. Remove pan from heat. Stir in egg yolks and season to taste with sea salt and pepper. Stir in the almond milk and cheese. Add the onion and bacon mixture and mix thoroughly. Cook pasta in boiling salt water until tender. Drain. Mix everything together and serve immediately. You can add more cheese at the end if you prefer.

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Thank you all for taking the time to hear our story and a huge thanks to AvocadoMommy for inviting us to be on her blog. We are honored to be here. Let us say, it has been through a strong faith in God and much prayer that we have managed to get through some very difficult times with Brenda’s health. With His help we have persevered and brought a product to market that has brought smiles and joy to many hearts of people who have not been able to eat good tasting pasta for many years.
We demo our product regularly around the state and post the schedule on our Facebook page. We invite you to join us for some great tasting pasta, a nice chat, and friendly comradery. See you soon!! If you see this little dude at a demo, say, “Hi!” to our garbanzo-bean-noodle-loving grandson, Mac!
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*This page contains affiliate links.
*Pictures courtesy of Dr. Noodles.

Delicious Homemade Chicken Soup (Grain-Free!)

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This one is a winner. It is such a delicious and warming soup recipe, and I can hardly wait for you to try it! Plus, while we have a couple colder days still in the weather forecast, isn’t it nice to have a few simple, yet absolutely satisfying, soups to use from your recipe file? 🙂 This one is great for many reasons: it is gluten-free, grain-free, and dairy-free. Plus, it is a super immune booster with the bone broth added into the soup. Oh, and did I mention that it is just downright delicious? 🙂 Enjoy! 🙂

Ingredients:
2 tablespoons coconut oil (If you don’t have a dairy sensitivity, I would strongly encourage you to use Kerrygold Butter. I find mine at Trader Joe’s.)
1 cup organic carrots, peeled and chopped
1 cup organic celery, chopped with leaves removed
1/2- 1 cup chopped onion
3 cups homemade bone broth (You can find the recipe here. )
1 teaspoon dried thyme
2 tablespoons chopped, fresh basil
2 cups cooked, shredded chicken (I like to use a leftover rotisserie chicken from our local health food store. It adds a ton of flavor!)
1 cup full fat coconut milk (Homemade coconut milk is great in this recipe. You can find the recipe here.) *Note: If you do buy this from the store, use the canned, full-fat coconut milk, and make sure it is free of carrageenan.
Salt and Pepper to taste

Directions:
Over medium heat, melt the coconut oil (or butter if using) in a large pot. Saute the carrots, celery, and onion for 3-4 minutes, or until the onion is tender. Pour in the bone broth, and add in the thyme, basil, salt and pepper. Stir. Next, add the chicken to the pot, and gently stir again. Bring to a boil, and then turn the heat down to a simmer. Cover and simmer for 20-30 minutes. Pour in the coconut milk and stir. Heat through and serve! This soup is great with a side of plantain crackers. Get the recipe here.
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*This page contains affiliate links.

Nutritious Chocolate Mint Smoothie (Paleo Style)

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I know, I know…I am a couple days late with this one! I had planned to have this post ready for St. Patty’s Day, but unfortunately (or not:)), I drank this delightful smoothie before I gave myself a moment to take a picture. So, I just promised myself another smoothie the next day…and the next. 🙂 Yes, I have had three of these since March 17th, but I am not ashamed! There is no need to feel guilty for this one, because it is full of nutritious ingredients, paleo, and even more, it is absolutely satisfying. Go ahead! Make a few for yourself this week. 🙂 Enjoy!

Ingredients:
1/2 avocado, peeled, cut into chunks, and placed in the freezer for an hour (Please do not skip this step! This is a smoothie “game changer” in regards to texture!)
1 frozen banana, cut into chunks
*1/2-3/4 cup coconut milk (Try this homemade recipe!) If you do not make your own, it is important to purchase a brand which does not contain carrageenan.
1-2 mejool dates
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract, alcohol free (I purchase mine from Trader Joe’s.)
1/8 teaspoon pure peppermint extract (This is the brand I recommend, as it does not contain alcohol.)
1-2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 cup ice
Optional add in: Great Lakes Collagen Hydrolysate (This is a great protein source and super for gut health. Make sure to purchase the green can, not the red one.)

Directions:
Place all the ingredients in a blender, and process until smooth. A high-speed blender works great for this, but if you do not have one, a normal blender will work just fine. It just may take a little more work to get it all processed. 🙂 Pour your delicious treat into a large glass. If desired, top with one of these brownies!

*Start with a 1/2 cup of milk. You may need to add a little more milk (or water) to assist in blending. Add a little at a time, so as to not make it too runny. You want your smoothie to have an “ice cream-like” consistency. 🙂

*This post contains affiliate links. Thanks for your support!

A Birthday Boy’s Dream Digger Cake (Gluten-Free)

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Recently, my oldest son had his third birthday, and as I write this, I can’t believe we have had three of these celebrations already. “Is he really three?” I ask myself. Then I remind myself of the importance of cherishing each moment, for I have learned this to be true: time does fly. 🙂

In light of the conversation of cherishing each moment, one of the things I have always loved is the time to celebrate a holiday, a birthday, or a special occasion. Not only is celebration fun, but I truly believe that we must make time to honor those moments and seasons of joy. Ecclesiastes 3:4 says that there is “a time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance” (ESV, emphasis mine). Yes, there is a time to celebrate, and birthdays are no exception.

With that said, my son’s third birthday this year was such a wonderful time. He is in love with anything “digger” or “dumptruck”, and so I knew that our celebration would revolve around that theme. When I originally started planning his party, I had a full menu of which I planned to serve our few guests and then to top that off, I also wanted to serve birthday dessert (Of course, right? I mean, who wouldn’t want birthday cake?! :)). Let me tell you… this birthday was about learning to simplify. I feel like I am constantly learning this lesson (aren’t we all?!). By the time the planning was done, I had decided that we would skip a meal and instead, have a fun digger birthday cake with ice cream, strawberries & dip, and some leftover caramel popcorn I had in my freezer. I have always thought that simplifying like this would take away some of the fun and joy in the planning process; what I learned instead was that this actually left me (and my family!) less stressed it made planning much more of a blast. Plus it allowed for more time to relish in each moment of the birthday (cherishing the time, right? :)) rather than being concerned about details that, in all reality, didn’t matter “big picture”. Plus it gave me some time to give this cake a whirl; it truly was one of the best birthday celebrations.

So, what about this cake? 🙂 Let me tell you that looks can be deceiving! This actually was a very simple gluten-free cake to make. I utilized one of my favorite gluten-free baking brands (Pamela’s) and I was set! I also looked at a lot of Pinterest pictures! 😉 Enjoy this simple, yet fun way to spice up a boy’s birthday celebration. 🙂

For the Cake:
2 Bags Pamela’s Gluten-Free Chocolate Cake Mix
The remaining ingredients listed on the bag recipe (2 eggs, *1/2 cup oil, and 1 1/2 cups water) *I chose to use melted coconut oil for this recipe.

Directions: Lightly grease 2- 9 inch round pans and set aside. Follow the mixing and baking instructions for the “Luscious Chocolate Cake” recipe found on the bag. It is also important to fill the pans 2/3 full. You will have extra cake mix when you are done. Use it to make cupcakes! 🙂 When the cake is done, cool for 15 minutes and then run a knife along the sides to loosen, but do not pop out of the pans yet. Cool completely. In the meantime, make the frosting.

For the sake of simplicity, click on this link to find the frosting recipe. Here a couple of my notes regarding the frosting:
1) Semi-sweet chocolate chips work instead of chopping up the chocolate.
2) I used Brown Rice Syrup instead of the corn syrup to make sure the frosting was gluten-free.
3) My frosting was pretty runny yet by the time I was done preparing it. I followed her instructions and chilled it in the fridge until it was a little more set. I actually popped it in the freezer for a portion of the time, just to speed up the chilling process. 🙂
4) Follow the directions!!! Don’t skip the ice bath, etc. 🙂 You will be glad that you took the time to follow the extra steps. 🙂

Assembly Instructions:
1) On a large cutting board lined with foil, carefully pop out one of the cakes so that the flat side of the cake is face up. Frost the top of this layer with a generous amount of frosting. Carefully pop out the second cake and carefully lay it on top of the frosted layer, right side up. If your cake is rounded, may have to shave a little off the top of this layer to make sure that it is flat on the top.
2) Frost the remainder of the cake (top and sides). Don’t worry about being neat at first. Glob a generous portion on the top initially so that you have a lot of frosting with which to work. That way, you won’t get crumbs mixed in with your frosting.
3) Once your cake is frosted, smooth it out all over.
4) Cut a chunk out of one portion of the cake, but only cut down through one, rather than both layers. Set this piece aside.
5) Crumble the cut out piece and use this to fill the empty space in the cake. This will create the “dirt look”. You can also mix the cake crumbs with some crushed up gluten-free chocolate sandwich cookies.
6) Use any remaining crumbs to add extra “dirt” around or on top of the cake.
7) Complete the cake by adding a few digger truck toys on the top as well as around the base of the cake.
8) Serve with organic vanilla ice cream (Make sure to purchase the kind without mono and diglycerides and carrageenan.)

Enjoy!!!
*This post contains affiliate links.
*Thank you to Pinterest for all of the many “digger cakes” on display!
*Thank you to Our Best Bites for the frosting recipe. 🙂

Chocolate Chip Coconut Bars (Grain-free, Nut-Free, Delicious!)

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I recently discovered this recipe from Living Healthy With Chocolate and decided to give them a whirl. Why not, right?! I had all the ingredients in my pantry, so I proceeded with excitement. The recipe that I have posted here contains a few modifications, just because I wanted to add a little of my own creative ideas, but I can guarantee you that the original recipe is absolutely delicious too!! 🙂 Make sure to check out the rest of the Living Healthy With Chocolate blog while you are at it; there are so many delightful treats featured. Enjoy!

Ingredients:
1 cup+2 tablespoons unsweetened, shredded coconut
1 cup coconut butter, (measured when melted)
5 tablespoons coconut oil or grass-fed butter, melted (measured when melted) Unsalted Kerrygold is a great option for a grass-fed butter in this recipe.
pinch of sea salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 tablespoons maple syrup (Grade B preferred)
1/2 cup Enjoy Life dark chocolate chips

Directions:
Grease an 8×8 glass pan and line it with parchment paper. (I have found that greasing the pan first is an easier way to get the parchment paper to lay more flat.) Set the pan aside.

In a small saucepan, melt the coconut butter on the lowest setting. When melting coconut butter, stir frequently to avoid burning. Set aside.

In a medium mixing bowl, combine the coconut, coconut oil (or grass-fed butter), salt, vanilla, and maple syrup. Stir gently with a spatula. Pour in the melted coconut butter, and combine. Gently stir in the chocolate chips. Some will melt a little; that is okay! 🙂 Your batter will look runny. Do not worry! It will solidify when you place it in the freezer or fridge.

Place the bars in the fridge until solidified and cooled. This will take approximately 20 minutes. You can always place them in the freezer if you are impatient like me, but remember that they will get rock hard pretty quickly! 🙂

*Store the bars in an airtight container in the fridge. Enjoy often and without an ounce of guilt!

Optional add-ins: In addition to the ingredients listed, you can also add 2 tablespoons of a nut butter of your choice. Another great option is to add a scoop of the Dynamic Greens Espresso powder for an extra boost of nutrients! 🙂 I actually did a batch where I added both the nut butter and the Dynamic Greens along with the rest of the recipe. Not only were they delightful, but they were kid-approved as well!!

*Note: These do not have the best taste when they have been sitting at room temperature for a while. They taste best chilled. 🙂 (I did have to let mine sit out for a bit before giving a sample to my 3 year old son so as to make for easier chewing for a wee-little one. :))

Original recipe found here.

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Delightful, Nutrient Dense Strawberry Cake (Made with Coconut Flour)

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I have missed you all! I apologize for my “blog posting absence”, but I have been busy collecting a few more delicious recipes for you all! This one comes from Lauren Geertsen’s blog, Empowered Sustenance. She writes that she originally received this recipe from her friend, Melanie. I encourage you to check out Lauren’s great recipes and her insights on health and wellness. I believe you will find great resources for your health journey. 🙂

Like I said, I have been collecting tasty recipes to share, and this one is sure to please. I decided to take on the adventure in making this for my family for Valentine’s Day, and it did not disappoint. I will admit that it was a little more time consuming to put together, but I believe the main reason was that it was my first time making it, and I wanted to make this cake GOOD! 🙂 My sister and mom also decided to make it as well on Valentine’s Day, so it was quite fun to text and chat throughout the day as to how everyone’s cake was progressing. The pics that we shared at the end of the day (since we live a distance away from each other) were fantastic! I was pretty proud and so excited to serve it.

In addition to making a tasty treat for my loved ones, I knew that we were delighting in a cake that was full of nutrition: coconut flour, several eggs, raw honey, and grass-fed butter make this cake more than just a regular dessert. It is full of fiber, protein, and healthy fats. Talk about a dessert that you can feel good about eating. In fact, I am not going to lie… we did in fact eat leftovers for breakfast. 🙂

If you are interested in checking out Lauren’s recipe for this cake, you can click on this recipe link. I did follow her version of the cake recipe exactly, but I did make a few modifications in the preparation directions and in the frosting. For the sake of simplicity, I will post what I did here, and you can always refer back to her site if you’d like! 🙂 Enjoy this delightful strawberry cake for any occasion. 🙂
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Cake Ingredients:
8 eggs
1/2 cup raw honey
5 tablespoons chilled, grass-fed butter, grated (I like the Kerrygold brand; Costco sells a case of three of them for under $7. Otherwise, I have gotten mine at Trader Joe’s as well.)
1 cup coconut flour. (To measure it, scoop it and then level with a knife. Do not pack it. It is important not to add too much coconut flour.)
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup whole-milk yogurt (We like the Kalona brand.)
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup fresh strawberries, diced (If possible, organic strawberries are best. They are one of the fruits on the “Dirty Dozen” list. More on that here.)

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350F. Line a 9 inch cake pan with parchment paper and coat the sides with butter or coconut oil. I did not have a cake pan, so I used my springform pan and just lined it with aluminum foil along the bottom and sides.

Put the honey and eggs in a large mixing bowl, and with whisk attachment, mix on medium-high for 5 minutes. It should be frothy and pale yellow. Add the grated butter and mix for another minute. Set the bowl aside for a short bit.

In a separate bowl, mix the coconut flour, salt, and baking soda together. Add these dry ingredients to the honey and eggs mixture. Mix for about 1 minute.

With a spatula, gently mix in the whole-milk yogurt, vanilla extract, and the diced strawberries.

Pour the batter into the prepared cake pan or springform pan. Bake for 45 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Check the cake at 35 minutes to see if it is done. Every oven behaves differently. Lauren’s recipe states to cook for 35 minutes. Mine was not done that quickly. Cool completely (very important!) before frosting with the delicious strawberry buttercream frosting (Recipe below):

Frosting Ingredients: (This recipe comes from Honest Body)
1 cup room temp softened, unsalted grass-fed butter (Kerrygold works wonderfully.)
10 tablespoons raw honey
1 bag (mine was 1.2 oz) freeze dried strawberries
Pinch of sea salt
2 tablespoons maple syrup (grade B preferred)
1 tablespoon+ coconut milk or milk of choice (The milk should NOT be used if the frosting is already a
spreadable consistency. Only use if it is too thick for frosting your cake.)

Directions:
Blend the freeze dried strawberries into a powder in the blender. Pour the powder into a large mixing bowl. (Be careful when pouring or you will have a powdery mess! :))

Add the remaining ingredients, and with a mixer, combine on medium-high speed until creamy. Frost your cake. Decorate with additional strawberries if desired. Enjoy!!! 🙂

*This page contains affiliate links.
*Credit for the cake recipe comes from Lauren over at Empowered Sustenance.
*Credit for the frosting recipe comes from Honest Body.

Coconut Peanut Butter Stuffed Date Truffles

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My love for chocolate, peanut butter, and dates inspired me to give this recipe a whirl, and all I can say is, “Wowza!” These are AMAZING. I am not even kidding; you need to have made these yesterday. Not only are they delicious, but they are an excellent choice for a treat. Dates are packed with nutrients: fiber, potassium, iron, B vitamins, and vitamins A and K, just to name a few. (See more on the health benefits of dates on Dr. Mercola’s site. )

Before I go any further and give you the directions for these date truffles, I do have to thank Sylvie, from Gourmande in the Kitchen, who is the master behind the original recipe. If you want her original recipe without my modifications, head on over and check out her creation (She has named these treats Chocolate Covered Coconut Dates). Plus, she has some other wonderful recipe inspirations as well! 🙂

Without further ado, here is your tasty treat! 🙂

Ingredients for the Stuffed Dates:
1/2 cup unsweetened shredded coconut (Note: If your batter seems a little runny after the stuffing ingredients are mixed, add 1-2 extra tablespoons of shredded coconut.)
2 tablespoons melted coconut oil
2 tablespoons maple syrup, Grade B preferred
4 tablespoons organic, creamy peanut butter (You can also use sunflower seed butter or almond butter as well!)
Pinch of sea salt or pink Himalayan salt
1/8 teaspoon vanilla extract (Trader Joe’s sells one that is both alcohol free.)
About 20 large, soft Medjool dates (I actually have found a great deal on dates at Costco!)

Ingredients for Chocolate Dip:
1/2 cup melted coconut oil
1/2 cup cocoa powder
4 tablespoons maple syrup, Grade B preferred
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
Pinch of sea salt or pink Himalayan salt

Directions:
*In a large mixing bowl, combine the ingredients for the date “stuffing” (mixing by hand). You can also put all of the ingredients in a food processor for a smoother filling.
*Cut each date in half lengthwise one way, and take out the pit.
*Fill each date with the peanut butter stuffing.
*Chill the dates in the freezer. 20 minutes is a good amount of time.
*While the dates are chilling, make the chocolate dip. Place the melted coconut oil in a medium-sized bowl. Add in the remaining ingredients and mix with a whisk.
*Remove the dates from the freezer. Using a toothpick to hold each date, dip one at a time in the chocolate until fully covered. Place them on a parchment lined cookie sheet. If you desire, sprinkle the dates with chopped nuts, coconut, etc., right after dipping so that your sprinkles set with the chocolate. Place back in the freezer until the chocolate sets. Enjoy!! Store in an airtight container in the fridge or freezer.

*This page contains affiliate links.
*This recipe has been adapted from Gourmande in the Kitchen.