Wholesome R.D. Mom

Making Nutrition a Way of Life


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Chocolate Lovers Donut (grain-free, nut-free and dairy-free)

Last week, our area of North Carolina had a cold spell, leaving us with an inch and a half of sleet. This may not mean anything to you, but to North Carolina, it means we need to shut down the state. No school, no mail delivery, bare grocery store shelves…..and ultimately, no sanity for many parents. I’m being a little facetious, as I actually had a great time being cooped up in the house with my wonderful and crazy family. Because we didn’t have the usual morning hustle and bustle of having to get ready for school, packing lunches or grabbing a quick breakfast, we hung around in our pajamas all day (until we wanted to play outside on the ice), made some special treats and drank lots and LOTS of hot cocoa.

One of the mornings we decided to revisit a recipe I had left behind months ago…..a recipe for chocolate donuts. The recipe was yummy the first time, but needed a few tweaks to make it become an easy, go-to recipe that I’d be willing to share. This recipe ais grain-free, nut-free, and dairy free (depending on the type of chocolate used). However, I can assure you that even the pickiest of eaters with no dietary restrictions (eh, eh, em……my husband) enjoyed them! I am definitely a chocolate gal and often crave chocolate donuts. Therefore, I’m a happy lady to have a recipe to satisfy those times…..oh, and to share a little treat with my kiddos who would demolish the whole batch if they could. We hope you enjoy these delectable chocolate donuts as much as our family does.

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For the donuts:

Ingredients: makes 6 large donuts or 24 mini muffins (“donut holes”)

  • 1 large greenish-yellow plantain
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon (optional, but it helps to hide the mild plantain taste)
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 3.5 oz semi-sweet chocolate or dark chocolate (often times 1 bar = 3.5 oz) OR you can use a heaping 1/2 cup of chocolate chips (my favorite brand is Enjoy Life which are allergen free)
  • 2 Tbsp coconut oil
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda

Directions: 

  • Preheat oven to 350° F
  • Peel the plantain and place it in a high speed blender along with the eggs, vanilla, cinnamon and salt.
  • Blend until the mixture is smooth.
  • Melt the chocolate and the coconut oil (or butter) together on the stove or in a microwave. Note: I have even skipped this step when using mini chocolate chips by just placing them whole in my Vitamix (just make sure you don’t forget the coconut oil).
  • Add the baking soda to the plantain mixture then spoon the melted chocolate and coconut oil into the blender while on low until the mixture is uniform.
  • Pour the donut batter into a mini muffin tin (for donut holes) or a donut pan.
  • Bake for approximately 15 minutes or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean (the time will be slightly longer for the donut pan).

For the chocolate coating:

Ingredients:

  • 1.75 oz semi-sweet chocolate (1/2 of a 3.5oz chocolate bar) or 1/4 cup chocolate chips
  • 1 tsp coconut oil

Directions: 

  • Melt the chocolate and the coconut oil on the stovetop or in a shallow microwave safe bowl in the microwave.
  • Dip the top of the donut into the melted chocolate (the warmer the chocolate the thinner the coating, the cooler the chocolate the thicker the coating)
  • Place frosted donuts on a baking sheet or large plate and place in the refrigerator for the chocolate coating to harden.
  • Store the donuts in a airtight container in the fridge and let sit at room temperature before serving.
  • Lick your fingers and the bowl but make sure you get rid of the evidence!

 


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Orange Creamsicle Mini Muffins

What happens when I ask my daughter what she want to make with me in the kitchen? She looks around the room, finds something that inspires her, then decides to work that into her world of what she knows she likes. In this case, she found some organic oranges sitting on the counter and she immediately blurted out, “orange muffins!” This was so strange to me, because although my daughter loves muffins, she is not fond of oranges. So I thought about it for a few minutes and decided that this may be a good way to re-introduce her to oranges.

I try to make muffins that contain some kind of whole grain (or other high fiber grain-free flour) with a good protein content as my kids tend to crash and remain hungry after downing a refined carbohydrate muffin that is full of sugar. So I experimented with some ricotta in this recipe and kept the sugar down to a minimal amount while still hoping for a semi-sweet muffin. Additionally, when making baked items or pastries I often use whole wheat pastry flour as it is 100% whole grain and allows for a much lighter texture than whole wheat flour (even white whole wheat flour). I typically find organic whole wheat pastry flour at Whole Foods  (365 brand) and sometime purchase it online through Vitacost (Bob’s Red Mill brand). I would definitely consider it my go-to flour aside from coconut flour.

For our initial trial of this recipe my daughter decided to add mini chocolate chips to the batter. Both my kids felt like they were eating cupcakes and loved that variation. However, the next time we made them we added dried cherries which were also delicious. I can imagine these would be awesome with mini white chocolate chips and dried cranberries or fresh blueberries, yum. The possibilities are endless, so let your kids decide 🙂

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Ingredients:

  • 1 c. whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 c. granulated sugar (organic)
  • 2 tablespoons grass-fed butter or coconut oil (you can also sub your favorite oil as I like to bake with Walnut oil), melted
  • 2 Eggs
  • 1/4 c. ricotta cheese
  • 1/4 cup fresh squeezed orange juice (equals about 1 medium-sized orange)
  • Zest of 1 organic orange
  • 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • Your choice of: 1/4 c unsweetened and unsulphered dried cherries (I buy mine at Trader Joes). Or you can substitute any other dried or fresh fruit of your choice or add a little surprise with 2-3 Tbsp of mini chocolate chips.

Directions: 

  • Preheat oven to 350° F
  • Sift together the dry ingredients:  flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside.
  • In a separate bowl mix together the sugar, butter, eggs, ricotta, orange juice, orange zest and vanilla.
  • Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix until fully incorporated.
  • Gently fold in the dried cherries (or other add-ins that you have chosen. My kids love the mini chocolate chip version of course).
  • Spoon batter into a mini muffin pan lined with mini baking cups (I use the following liners as it helps to avoid losing half the mini muffin to the pan or the liners and it also helps tremendously with clean up: http://www.ifyoucare.com/product/fsc-certified-baking-cups-fsc-c005046). Fill each liner about 3/4 full. (makes 24 mini muffins)
  • Bake for ~15 minutes or until a toothpick can be inserted in the center and come out clean.
  • Wait for the muffins to cool a bit and dig in.

We’ve also tried these with a dollop of cream cheese “frosting” (organic cream cheese, a small drizzle of pure maple syrup, a splash of freshly squeezed orange juice and some orange zest) which was absolutely delicious! Make sure you taste along the way and make it the way you like it!

YUM!

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Pumpkin Muffins (gluten-free, dairy-free)

Who doesn’t love Pumpkin Muffins? One of my favorite pumpkin muffin recipes (that I have made or years) uses whole wheat pastry flour and is quite nutritious. However, this year I wanted to experiment and make a grain-free and dairy free version (as I have noticed I feel a ton better eating this way due to my autoimmune thyroid disease). So this week I made an attempt and I’m quite pleased with the result….not to mention my kids love them too! I have found that using some almond butter in the recipe tends to create a different texture than my typical coconut flour muffins (which I also love…but I know some individuals don’t care for the coconut flour texture). These muffins are once again a great balance of healthy fats, carbohydrates and protein which makes them great for breakfast or snacks.

 

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Pumpkin Muffins (gluten free, dairy free)

This recipe makes about 12 regular-sized muffins

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup unsweetened organic applesauce
  • 1/2 cup plus 2 Tbsp pumpkin puree
  • 1/3 cup almond butter (I used unsalted)
  • 4 eggs
  • 1/4 cup coconut flour, sifted (I love this for the fiber content and the fact that a little goes a long way)
  • 1/4 cup pure maple syrup or local honey
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1 Tbsp pumpkin pie spice
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt (if using salted almond butter then reduce the salt to a scant 1/4 tsp)

Directions: 

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  • Combine the almond butter, applesauce, pumpkin, eggs, vanilla and maple syrup together in a bowl and mix well.
  • Add the coconut flour, pumpkin pie spice, baking soda and salt to the almond butter mixture and stir until blended (wait for a minute or two and then stir again as the coconut flour will absorb the liquid).
  • Use a 1/4 measuring cup to scoop the batter into a muffin tin lined with unbleached parchment muffin liners (The If You Care baking cups are my favorite as they take a lot of work out of the clean up process and you won’t have to worry about eating your muffin off the wrapper).
  • Bake for about 22 minutes or until the muffin rims turn a golden color. You can also utilize the toothpick method (put a toothpick in the middle of a muffin and pull it out. If it’s clean then the muffin is done. If the toothpick comes out dirty, with batter on it, the muffins need to cook longer).
  • Allow the muffins to cool and then dig in.
  • Store leftovers in the fridge.

These would go great with a light cream cheese topping made with organic cream cheese mixed with a drizzle of maple syrup and a bit  of pure vanilla extract. My family likes the flavor of cream cheese so I only use a little maple syrup, therefore, add as much as you need to get your desired flavor/sweetness…..just remember that it is sugar.


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Crock Pot Cider Applesauce (unsweetened)

I don’t use my crock pot very often as my family is not fond of the resulting texture of numerous foods (namely meat) and the fact that my husband, daughter and sometimes son, claim they have compartmentalized stomaches disallowing any mixed dishes in the house.  However, there are a few recipes that have forced me to hang onto this kitchen appliance…….and this Cider Applesauce Recipe is one of them. Not only is this Cider applesauce delectably healthy, but the cooking process creates a warm nostalgic Fall aroma that is so comforting. This recipe contains no added sugar as the apples and spices create a perfect blend of sweetness and a healthy comfort food that the whole family with love. So what are you waiting for? It’s apple season right now and Fall can never come too soon!

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Crock Pot Cider Applesauce (No Sugar Added)

Ingredients:

  • 10 large organic apples (if using smaller apples, like I have seen at Trader Joes, I would recommend doubling the amount to 20 apples)
  • 1 Tbsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground gloves
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg

Directions:

  • Cut the apples into 4 slices (in half, then in half again).
  • Peel and thinly slice the apples, then place them into your crock pot (my 4 quart crock pot is almost full with this amount of apples).
  • Sprinkle all of the spices evenly over the apples.
  • Cover and cook on high until apples are soft (about 4 hours).
  • About half way through the cooking open the lid and stir the spices into the apples then cover again for the remaining time.
  • For a chunky applesauce you can whisk the apples or use a potato masher to break up the larger pieces when done. If you prefer a smoother applesauce feel free to use an immersion blender or puree it in a blender in small batches after it cools a bit.
  • Transfer it to recycled mason jars and keep refrigerated.

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A few ways we love to enjoy this Cider Applesauce are (oh, and we like it chunky):

  • On top of pancakes or waffles
  • Stuffed into crepes
  • Warmed in a bowl with a large dollop of vanilla Greek yogurt and a sprinkle of granola (this is when my kids think they are eating dessert for breakfast…..but how could I say “No?”)
  • As a side to accompany a delicious pork dinner.
  • As a late night snack and dessert
  • Mixed into muffins (or any recipe that might call for applesauce)
  • Anytime we darn well feel like it because it’s just that good!!!

 


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Homemade Organic Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream

This summer I broke down and finally bought our family a Cuisinart ICE-20 Ice Cream Maker (which also makes frozen yogurt and sorbet)….and it has certainly been a lot of fun! My son loves ice cream and has asked for it every birthday instead of cake…….so I knew he would be in heaven. Additionally, I like being able to customize flavors and control the ingredients in our ice cream. It’s not exactly healthy, but the cool decadent dessert  is a fun treat to splurge on every now and then. We have made some healthier versions of frozen yogurt and have not yet tried out a sorbet (that is next on my list), but this mint chocolate chip ice cream got an amazing 2 thumbs up by everyone in the family. I erred on the cautious side with the peppermint extract (as I know it can be strong) so I supplemented with a dark chocolate mint bar (Green and Black to be specific) to make up for some of it. The mixture below was simply perfect in flavor……subtle and not overpowering, but a definite minty delight. And our addition of spinach to tinge the ice cream green was a success (despite it not being depicted in the photo very well)! We sure hope you enjoy our rendition of mint chocolate chip ice cream.

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Organic Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream

Ingredients:

  • 1 c. organic whole milk
  • 3/4 c. organic cane sugar
  • 2 c. organic heavy cream
  • 1 small handful of organic baby spinach
  • 1/2 tsp. organic peppermint extract
  • 1 Tbsp arrowroot starch (this is optional, but I wouldn’t skip it. Please see my note below)
  • Pinch of salt
  • ~1/4 c. shaved Organic Green and Black Dark Chocolate Mint bar

Directions:

  • Before starting, make sure to place the freezer bowl of your ice cream maker in the freezer for at least 6 hours. I have been storing my bowl in the freezer so it’s always ready when I want to make ice cream, frozen yogurt or sorbet in the summer.
  • Place the milk and the spinach in a blender and puree until there are no spinach chunks left.
  • In a medium bowl, use a whisk to combine the newly blended green milk, sugar, and salt.
  • Once the sugar is dissolved, stir in the heavy cream, peppermint extract, and arrowroot starch.
  • Put the frozen freezer bowl on the ice cream machine motor base and add the paddle and the lid.
  • Turn on the ice cream maker and slowly pour in the mixture.
  • Let the ice cream churn for about 10 minutes. I always cover the top pour hole with a folded kitchen cloth to help keep the cold in and the churning time down.
  • In the meantime, finely chop (or shave) the dark chocolate mint bar until you have about 1/4 cup of chocolate shavings.
  • Once 10 minutes of churning has taken place take off the kitchen towel and add the chocolate shavings.
  • Continue churning for another 5-10 minutes or until the desired consistency is reached (with the kitchen towel on top of the pour hole my churning times were reduced by 5-10 minutes).
  • If not eating it right away (or if you desire a firmer consistency) store the ice cream in an airtight container in the freezer.

Note: I use the arrowroot starch as it works as a stabilizer and interferes with the formation of large ice crystals, helping to create a smooth mouth feel to the ice cream. Trust me, you will never make ice cream without it again!

 

 

 


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Banana Bread Protein Pancakes

What do you do when you don’t have much time in the morning, are out of homemade muffins and waffles, the kids had yogurt, granola and fruit the day before and you want to make sure your family has a well-balanced and healthy breakfast?……..Enter…. Banana Bread Protein Pancakes!

I absolutely adore simplicity in the kitchen and I try to make sure that I am not a slave to food prep while continuing to feed my family wholesome meals. Below is a simple morning pancake recipe that takes just a few minutes longer than it would for you to make pancakes using a store-bought box of highly processed pancake mix.

My kids love these, I enjoy them and they make wonderful leftovers. The bonus is the added protein from the siggi’s skyr, which I find helps to keep my kids a little more satisfied and satiated and helps to keep me out of a morning carbohydrate fog. If we have leftovers (as I usually make multiple batches at one time….they freeze well too) I sometimes pack the kids pancake sandwiches for lunch filled with cream cheese and berries or peanut butter and bananas. These pancakes are so simple and delicious and can easily be made gluten free!

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Banana Bread Protein Pancakes

Serves about 3-4

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/4 cup old fashioned oats (for a gluten free version use gluten free oats)
  • 1 large ripe banana (or 1 and 1/2 smaller bananas)
  • 1 5.3oz cup siggi’s Vanilla 0% Skyr
  • 4 eggs (preferably pastured or organic and cage-free)
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla
  • 1-2 Tbsp maple syrup (this depends on how ripe your banana is)
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp salt (or to taste)
  • Optional: mini chocolate chips (my kids’ favorite)

Directions:

  • Combine all ingredients in a high speed blender or food processor and blend until batter is smooth and uniform in texture
  • Use a little oil (I use a Misto spray bottle filled with avocado oil) or a pat of grass-fed butter to grease your pan over low-medium heat
  • Pour the batter into the pan to make ~4 inch pancakes (and top with some mini chocolate chips if desired)
  • Allow to cook until edges start to harden and the bubbles on top pop, leaving craters in the pancakes (about 2-3 minutes)
  • Flip pancakes and allow to cook until batter is no longer runny (another minute or so)
  • Eat them plain, topped with mixture of honey and peanut butter with banana slices, unsweetened applesauce, your favorite flavor of Siggi’s Skyr yogurt, or pure maple syrup…..whatever floats your boat and makes yours kiddos happy  🙂

You’ll be amazed at how fast these pancakes disappear 🙂

 


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Dinner Challenge Week 1: Simple Frittata Recipe

Do you struggle with feeding your entire family the same meal for dinner?

Despite all of the variety I can feed my kids at lunch time. Hot dinners are definitely a struggle in our home. First off, there is not one meal that we can/will ALL eat (ok, maybe aside from breakfast for dinner). My kids are exact opposites in their likes and dislikes (and both are quite picky), my husband is very particular about his food being separate (and is not very adventurous) and I have a food allergy and some intolerances that need consideration.

We try to prepare meals with lots of components (a couple of meat options with at least two side dishes that each person will eat…….so if you do the math there could be 6 different side options at times) to make dinner enjoyable for everyone, but even sometimes that doesn’t work. Honestly, it’s exhausting!

Therefore, after some contemplation, I decided to begin a mini Dinner Challenge and have each kid cook a meal with me one night each week. I would like for them to understand, first hand, what goes into a meal from finding the recipe, prepping the entire meal, setting the table and serving it. My thought is that if they pick out the meal and help prepare it that they will be more likely to appreciate it and eat it!………we’ll see huh?

The next day, my soon-to-be-6-year-old, Dane, found 17 recipes that he would like to make with me for our Dinner Challenge. I was shocked to see chicken amongst his choices (as he does not care for chicken and will not eat it when we make it). However, he assured me that he was definitely interested in trying the recipes…..so here is to branching out…..hopefully!?!

Fast forward to today, the real start of our Dinner Challenge. On the menu was a Vegetable Frittata as our main course (Dane’s choice). We loosely followed a recipe, tailor-making it to Dane’s liking (and adding some sausage last-minute per his request). He choose what vegetables to include and managed to prep and cook the whole meal from start to finish all by himself (with just a little direction on my part). I was quite surprised at how confident and skilled Dane was and he was super excited the whole process. He even said, “I am a real cook!” His little sister, Brooke, who is 3, had a hard time watching the whole process so I kept her busy with glitter glue and setting the table “for mommy.”…..such great helpers I have!

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While the frittata was cooking I had Dane think of some sides to accompany the dish. His choices (cantaloupe and tomatoes) weren’t at all fancy and didn’t require a recipe, but they complemented the dish, definitely suited his likes, and provided a good first step to meal planning.

All in all we had some great quality family time as we all talked about the process and complemented each other on our ninja knife skills.

So what happened when dinner was served and the blessing was said? We all dug into our proud boy’s dish! It was quite delicious and we all had seconds….aside from Brooke who tried one bite and graciously declined any more………”But she doesn’t like eggs anyways.” Dane said in defense. He’s right, but I was still impressed that I never heard a complaint by her. Brooke elected to just eat her sides and was thoroughly happy with that. About a hour later Brooke was hungry, but I was okay with making her a peanut butter sandwich, because at dinner she was present with us and tried the food, making no fuss about not liking the dish. Next dinner challenge will be all up to her. This is feeling good!

 

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Below is the recipe we threw together this evening. Feel free to switch out any or all of the vegetables for your favorites or make it vegetarian. The choices below were all Dane’s as he was a “real cook” tonight.  🙂

Dane’s Simple Vegetable and Sausage Frittata

DSC_0277Serves 3-4

Ingredients:

  • 6 eggs (preferably pastured)
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • a pinch of pepper to taste
  • 1 large handful of spinach, chopped
  • 1/2 large green bell pepper, chopped
  • 1-2 chicken sausages, chopped  (if using store-bought sausage make sure you remove the pork casing or you could also sub a couple of pieces of pastured bacon) – this was a last-minute throw in for us 🙂
  • Pat of grass-fed butter or a little avocado oil
  • 1/2 cup Mozzarella cheese mixed with cheddar and parmesan (or your choice of cheese)

Directions: 

  • Set the oven to 350 degrees F
  • Beat the eggs, salt and a pinch of pepper in a bowl and set aside
  • Sauté the chopped vegetables and the chopped sausage in a skillet with a little grass-fed butter or avocado oil until tender
  • Stir the eggs while you slowly add the cooked vegetables to the egg mixture and pour the whole mixture into a greased 5X9 baking dish (or similar)
  • Sprinkle the cheese on top and bake for about 25 minutes or until cooked through

Note: I typically have added basil and some other herbs to my frittatas, but have never had any luck with Dane liking them. So this time I left the herbs out and let Dane guide the ingredients. It worked! He definitely enjoyed his meal and so did I 🙂 Therefore, feel free to add in any herbs/spices that you would like to jazz it up a bit. This is a very kid-friendly version……that is, if your kid likes eggs.