Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Herbal Concoction

We have been sick for over 2 weeks now. It's time to whip up a batch of herbal syrup. It's pretty easy and by no means am I saying it will cure anyone, but it can only help. And it tastes really good too! 

Here's the recipe, we used 1/4 cup of each unless otherwise stated:

  • oregon grape root (I used 1/2 cup)
  • olive leaf 
  • elecampane
  • yerba santa
  • elderberries (I used 1/2 cup)
  • 3 tbs. vodka (grain free/optional)

Boil 6 cups filtered water.  Add oregon grape root and boil on a simmer for 15 minutes. I used powder for this batch, but just make sure yours is chopped up to get to the good yellow stuff under the bark.

Next, add the rest of the herbs and turn down to low. Let sit for 30 minutes or until liquid is reduced by half. 

Then, strain out your mixture into a bottle. Add 2-3 drops of stevia for every 8 ounces of syrup you have. Sake. You can add honey or maple syrup if you like, but it will last longer if you use stevia. Add vodka to preserve. But I didn't add any vodka and mine is still good after 3 weeks. If oyu don't add vodka, make sure to check for mild, etc. before using. But the herbs may fight off bacterial growth. Store in fridge for up to 3 weeks. Our family took a tablespoonful every day and it seems like they're beginning to kick their colds and feel better. 

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Healthy Blueberry Pancakes - wheat free, dairy free, and sugar free

I would make everything in mason jars if I could. But pancakes is one of those things that's just easy to make in a mason jar and it looks so fabulous all packed in there. So here it is, healthy blueberry pancakes. 

Pancakes should be eaten in every families house at least once a week in my opinion and my kids agree. But I add a few extras to make them more nutritious. Otherwise, you're just feeding your kids bread and sugar, the staple of most American diets these days. 


  • 1 cups gluten-free pancake mix (I used Bob's Red Mill)
  • 1/2 cup almond meal (or process a handful of almonds to a fine meal)
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup rice milk (or any kind of nut milk)
  • 1/4 cup coconut milk
  • 1 tbs olive oil or melted coconut oil
  • frozen blueberries 
  • real maple syrup
  • 1 tbs. coconut sugar (optional, but yumm)

Preheat your griddle to medium heat and grease with coconut oil. Then, put all your ingredients in your mason jar and get out your handy immersion blender or just blend up with a fork. You can also just shake it all up for a few minutes, but you might have some chunks left over. I love my immersion blender, no chunks to worry about. Then, add frozen blueberries. Don't defrost them, they'll get all funky. 

Now your ready to make some pancakes. you can pour from the jar or ladle them out. Cook until there are a lot of bubbles on the surface of your pancake. But not long enough for them to start looking dry. The key with gluten-free pancakes is to cook them just long enough to be fully cooked, but not dry. I find that they take just a bit longer than traditional pancakes. 

Make sure your helper takes them directly to the table where hungry folks await! Enjoy with maple syrup, the real stuff! 

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Homemade Wheat-Free Granola

We just began making our own granola and it's so good! I can't believe I used to actually buy this stuff for way too much money. And ours is so much better. We're still improving the recipe every time we mix some up, but this time it was pretty great. A long list of ingredients, but you can modify or add your favorites as you see fit. 

  • 8 cups rolled oats (please never use instant!)
  • 1/2 cup sunflower seeds
  • 1/2 cup sesame seeds
  • 2 cups shredded coconut
  • 4 tbs cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp ginger powder
  • 1-2 tbs vanilla extract
  • Zest of 1 orange 
  • 1/4 cup- 1/2 cup maple syrup or honey
  • 1 cup melted coconut oil
  • 2 cups of your favorite mixed dried fruit- chopped (apricots, figs, prunes, dates, cranberries, golden raisins, dried cherries)
  • 1 cup favorite nuts (we used walnuts and cashews)
Preheat oven at 375 degrees. In a large bowl, mix all dry ingredients. Melt coconut oil, then mix in syrup and vanilla. Te pour the liquid mixture over the oat mixture and toss throughly. Put on baking sheet and place in oven for 20-25 minutes. Toss mixture every 10 minutes or so. 

Take out of oven and place back in bowl. Mix in chopped fruit and nuts.

 Makes 3 quart mason jars full. 

Hide your stash of granola!

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Naturally Died Easter Eggs

Beets, blueberries, onion skins, turmeric, and red cabbage. So easy and perfect. That's all you need to make naturally dies Easter eggs. And they are so much cooler looking than the store bought dyes and much more fun than the plastic ones. 
You'll need the above ingredients plus a few extras for fun. 

  • 1-2 dozen eggs (if you have smaller ones, buy 2 dozen, you may have a few broken ones)
  • 1 cup blueberries (greyish-blue)
  •  3 chopped beets (red)
  • 3 yellow onion skins (brown)
  • 2 tablespoons turmeric (yellow)
  • half a shredded red cabbage (blue!)
  • 1/4 cup white vinegar per batch
  • rubber bands
  • tape
Boil each of the coloring ingredients in 2 cups of water for 15 minutes, then strain. Add 1/4 cup vinegar per batch. Boil your eggs in water for 10 minutes to make them hard boiled. Remember to save the egg cartons to put eggs back in after dying.

Then it's time for the kids to decorate the eggs. You can tie rubber bands around them and tape them up to create patterns. We even tried using plastic wrap on one! Wipe each egg with vinegar first so that they hold the dye better. And please, just let your kids handle the eggs no matter how young they might be, if an egg breaks, they will learn. There is no "right way" to do these, just let the kids experiment and get messy. 

After decorating, dip them in the dyes and leave for as long as you like. We left ours for 4 hours and they came out beautifully. Be careful when taking them out of the dyes, they can be rubbed off easily when wet. Put in a sunny spot to dry and then enjoy the hunt! 

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Kale Chips

So for the past year or so kale chips have been showing up on our local co-op shelf. I always think, 'what the hell, they're just dried out kale, yuck!" But then I tasted one and realized the addictive quality that they have. Who knows why. Maybe it's the saltiness and cruchiness that make them soooooo incredibly hard to put down. But when my very picky 4 year old started doing his food dance, I knew I was onto something. Yes, this was the first time he had eaten a green! 

So kale chips, very expensive, but oh so easy to make at home. Here's how:


  • Kale 
  • olive oil
  • sea salt
  • garlic and onion powder
  • Bragg's (or another wheat-free soy sauce)
  • nutritional yeast 
  • sesame seeds (optional)
Preheat oven to 500 degrees! Tear up a head or two of kale into large pieces (about 3 inches each, if they are too small, they burn easily) Now toss all your ingredients in a large bowl. I didn't specify amounts because you should flavor it as you see fit. One head of kale filled up 3 large mason jars. Lay kale out on a baking or cookie sheet a single layer at a time (it may take a few batches to go through all your kale).

Unfold kale and don't let them touch. Cook for just 5-6 minutes or until all chips come out crispy, but not burnt.  This is the touchy part, I usually burn at least a few chips, but you oven temperature may vary from mine, so try cooking them first at 3 minutes, then look in every minute to see how they are fairing until you find your correct baking time. Pain in the butt, yes, but you only have to do it once. I suppose this would work great in a dehydrator, but since I don't have one, I'll stick to baking them. 

I actually used a pizza stone for them last time and it worked great. But the trick is to cook them so that they are crispy and you have no "kind of cooked" pieces left. If you have any moisture left in them, when you go to store them they will make ever other kale chip in the jar soggy. It's a good idea to leave the lid off the jar in case you have any moisture that may have snuck in. But most likely, you'll eat them all before you can store them away.