K is for Cookie…O Wait, That’s Not Right! (Mini PB Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe)

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On our last “sick day” at home, K and I reread all of the library books we checked out the week before. One of her new finds was Laura Numeroff and Felicia Bond’s “The Best Mouse Cookie” where Mouse burns his first batch of cookies but makes a comeback by baking a mountain of chocolate chip cookies to enjoy.

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And just like “if you give a mouse of cookie,” if you give K any idea of a cookie, she wants to bake some herself! So that’s what we did.

One of my Mama friends in our co op shared this great gluten-free recipe for peanut butter cookies. Mmm! They were good. You should have seen the faces of our littles as they stuffed themselves silly 🙂

Since we don’t have white/refined sugar in the house (what the recipe called for), I thought I would do a little tweaking and come up with a version of my own. Oh! And I had to add some chocolate chips in it of course…what cookie at our house doesn’t have chocolate in it?

While I enjoyed both versions very much, my version of the cookies were a little more likely to crumble and melted in our mouths (probably because I substituted a tiny bit of honey for the cup of sugar the recipe called for)…and chocolatey!

Hope you enjoy the recipe as much as our family did!

Mini PB Chocolate Chip Cookies
Refined-sugar-, dairy-free, soy-free, grain-free, gluten-free

This recipe takes about 12 minutes (5 minutes prep time plus 5-7 minutes baking time) and makes about two dozen mini cookies

What You Need:
Ingredients (listed below)
medium sized bowl
whisk
measuring cup & teaspoon
cookie sheet lined with parchment paper or foil

Ingredients:
1 organic range-free large egg
1 C organic creamy peanut butter
3 heaping Tbsp organic honey
1/2 tsp salt (I use pink himalayan)
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 cup mini chocolate chips (I use Enjoy Life dairy-, soy- and gluten-free chips)

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
2. Crack egg into bowl and whisk
3. Stir in peanut butter and honey
4. Add salt and baking soda and stir well
5. Mix in chocolate chips
6. On your lined cookie sheet, form balls (2 1/2cm in diameter) and push flat (about 1cm thick) leaving an inch of space in between
7. Put them in your oven for about 3 minutes and then rotate cookie sheet and leave in for another 3 minutes or until golden brown
8. Let them cool thoroughly (or they will crumble apart) and then enjoy!

*I made these a few times already and discovered the more honey you add, the less crumbly and more chewy they are 🙂

How K assembled the cookies:

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Rolling the cookie dough into small balls

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Placing one an inch away from another

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 Pressing the ball down until about 1cm thick

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All ready for the oven!

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After waiting patiently for cookies to cool…K takes her first bite!

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K licking off the crumbs that were left on her chin. Yum!!!

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Fighting A Cold Naturally (plus K’s Honey Lollipops recipe)

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Ugh! Being sick is no fun at all…especially when your little one is sick with you! It’s one thing to fight a cold on your own but watching your little one suffer can be unbearable at times.

I can count the fingers on one hand how many times K has gotten sick in the two and a half years of her life, and this past week was the first time she’s had to fight it on her own. I used to be able to nurse her through those rough days and nights and help boost her immunity. But those nursing days came to an end earlier this year. So…what was I to do?

I went through my “how to fight a cold” checklist in my head: homemade bone broth, lemon, raw honey, garlic, turmeric, coconut oil, probiotics and lots and lots of sleep! Check, check, check, check, check, check, check and…well, we’ll see how the sleep goes! I felt prepared to help both K and I win this battle!

So with my crockpot filled with some ACV, water and pasture-raised knuckle beef bones on high for the first few days, K and I managed to hang in there during the day between her coughs, sneezes, sniffles and her shouting “boogs” (short for, “tissue Mama!”) every few minutes. We constantly drank hot lemon tea, bone broth infused with garlic, turmeric, coconut oil and lemon juice and ate Bubbies’ sauerkraut (her favorite). Thankfully she was chipper all day long, filling our time with imaginary play, painting and playing basketball by making slam dunks in our laundry basket.

As for nights, the first few were a huge struggle. Tossing and turning, being waken by her congested coughs and stuffed nose, and running a high temp of 103, all poor little K could do was cry and try soothe herself back to sleep. The nights were miserable for all of us. I rubbed some garlic oil onto her feet and covered them with socks and turned up the humidifier on high, hoping to help draw the toxins out of her body while opening up her lungs. And as she slept for increments of 20-30 minutes at a time, I would lie there and pray, asking God for healing and for her fever to break.

With two almost sleepless nights, I felt like I was losing this battle. My health wasn’t getting any better (mainly due to the lack of sleep) and K’s didn’t seem to be progressing either. But thankfully, things turned around on the morning of day 3.

K woke up with a temp of 98.7 and while she looked a lot better, her raspy voice and congested cough said it all. She had a sore throat and was miserable. At that point, I took out my jar of organic raw honey and after giving K half a teaspoon that morning, I quickly realized that it did make her throat feel better…almost instantly! But…and here’s the BUT…it also made her HYPER!!! She rarely has any sort of sugar to begin with, but a full on gulp of it made her CRAZY!!! She ran around and her slam dunks in the laundry basket became SUPER slam dunks with loud shouts and squeals that I’m sure my neighbors loved to hear at 7am. “Honey, honey, more honey Mama!” was all I heard for the next hour or two.

At that point, I had to think of a more practical way to help soothe K’s throat opposed to feeding what was turning into a honey monster with spoonfuls of more honey by the hour. Ah ha! What about a honey lollipop? I googled “homemade honey lollipops” and came across a ton of great recipes. At this point, all I wanted was a quick and easy recipe I could whip up in 5 minutes. So I simplified all the recipes out there, gave this one a try and LOVED it!

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K’s Honey Lollipops
Paleo, refined-sugar-, dairy-free, nut-free, soy-free, grain-free, gluten-free

This recipe takes about 15 minutes (5 minutes cooking plus 10 minutes cooling time) and makes about a dozen pops

What You Need:
Ingredients (listed below)
small pot
metal spoon
parchment paper or silpat
lollipop sticks
candy thermometer

Ingredients:
1/2 C honey

Directions:
1. Place honey into the pot and put it on a medium-low flame
2. Stir and wait until your thermometer reads 300 degrees F and remove from heat
3. Allow to cool until honey is somewhat gloppy and formable when poured
4. Using your metal spoon, pour small 1″ diameter round dollops onto paper/silpat and place lollipop stick on top, rolling it to make sure the top is covered in honey
5. Wait until pops are cooled before removing and then begin licking! Wrap extra pops in parchment paper, seal them in a plastic bag and store in the fridge for later enjoyment!

After a few more days of more bone broth, lemon tea, ACV water, honey lollipops and R&R for the two of us, I am proud to say that K and I finally beat the cold!!! Today was our first full day out and about and both K and I were able to enjoy every minute of it ~ tissue free!

So…what to make of all this? Well, I’m thankful I haven’t yet had to give any meds to K with all the natural home remedies available and God’s healing hand. But when that day comes, at least I can say we fought the battle with all we had…and at least enjoyed K’s honey lollipops through it all 🙂

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Zoodles of Fun With Octopus Friends

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I was at the Virginia Park Farmers Market with my family last weekend and was thrilled to see all the fall vegetables starting to come in! As I scanned the rainbow of organic produce on the tables, I couldn’t help but stop at the beautiful zucchini and yellow squash, just picked the day before. Chocolate Chip Zucchini Muffins…Squash Fritters…Zucchini Pancakes…my mouth began to water. The dark green and deep yellow skinned squash were calling my name! So I walked over, asked for a few samples and all I could hear was crunch, crunch, crunch followed by, “Mmmm, Mama. Soooo dee-lish-ish!!! May I have more please Mama?” So I picked up a handful of zucchini and yellow squash, already excited to make something yummy for K and the family!

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Over the past few months, I’ve been working on a recipe e-book collaboration with a company and they asked me to create 10 toddler/kid-friendly dishes, one of which I will share today: Zoodles of Fun With Octopus Friends – Octopus Hot Dogs & Zoodles (Zucchini Noodles) With Peas. I hope you and your little one enjoys this gluten- and grain-free pasta!

Here’s what I did:

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Took two hotdogs and carefully sliced them into little octopi..

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I carved cute faces on them with my knife and a toothpick and then adored them for a few minutes…

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Until K found a few, got hold of ’em and the fun began! She had a few minutes of play while I heated them up on the pan…

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K turned the vegetable spiraler and laughed as the Zoodles came out of it…

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After sautéing the Zoodles with some butter, I threw in some frozen peas and then topped the dish with the friendly octopi 🙂

While I loved eating this tasty noodle dish (one of the few I get to enjoy with my eczema/allergies), I savored the HUGE smile on K’s face as she giggled and then smiled back at the octopi on her plate!

Octopus Hot Dogs & Zoodles (Zucchini Noodles) With Peas
Paleo, refined-sugar-, dairy-free, nut-free, soy-free, grain-free, gluten-free

This recipe takes about 15 minutes and makes 1 adult-sized serving, 1-2 kid-sized servings or 2-3 toddler servings (all depending on their appetite).

What You Need:
Ingredients (listed below)
Cutting board & knife
Vegetable spiraler  or Julienne Peeler
Small bowl
Small sauce pan & spoon
Toothpick
Serving dish/bowl

Ingredients:
1 hotdog link (I use Applegate’s organic nitrate-free 100% beef dogs)
3-4 Tbsp filtered water
1 medium-sized zucchini squash
1 Tbsp grass-fed butter or coconut oil
1/4 C frozen peas

Directions (Hot Dogs):
1. Using your knife, slice the hotdog link in half so that you have two half sized links.
2. Leaving 3/4″ at the end of each link (where the casing ends are), slice the rest of the link in half, making two long tentacles.
3. Slice the two tentacles in half again making four tentacles on each octopus.
4. Slice each tentacle in half so that each octopus has 8 long tentacles (if your little one doesn’t eat a full-sized hot dog, you can save the other octopus for later or make smaller sized ones like I did).
5. Pour 3-4 tablespoons of filtered water into your sauce pan so that it covers the bottom and put it over a medium-low flame. Once the water starts to bubble, place your octopus hotdogs in and rotate until they are tender.
6. Once ready, remove and let cool. Using your toothpick, poke holes to make little eyes and using your knife, carefully carve out smiles!

Directions (Zoodles WIth Peas):
1. Rinse and dry your zucchini, cut off its ends and use your “pasta” tool to create Zoodles (if you’re using the vegetable spiral, get your little one involved by turning the handle and placing the Zoodles into your small bowl).
2. Cut Zoodles into an appropriate length for your child (1 1/2″ is just right for K).
3. Rinse your saucepan clean, put your butter or oil in the pan and place over a medium-low flame.
4. Saute your Zoodles until they are al dente and then remove and let cool.
5. Put peas in the sauce pan, stir them around until tender and then remove from heat.
6. Once cool, lay the Zoodles onto a dish, sprinkle some peas on top and joyfully pop in your happy octopi for your little one (or yourself) to enjoy!

**Santa Monica Mama is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com.

Chocolate Pudding (Paleo, refined-sugar-/dairy-/nut-/soy-/grain-/gluten-free)

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It’s extremely HOT out here in Santa Monica! We’ve been trying to beat the heat with icy cold treats like Coconut Sprinkled Chocolate Covered Bananas, Homemade Shamrock Shakes, and Coconut Pear Avocado Popsicles. One of K’s favorites that we enjoy making together is our Paleo, refined-sugar-/dairy-/nut-/grain-/gluten-free Chocolate Pudding! I remember someone telling me that you could make your own pudding so that it fits your needs (no refined sugar, additives, preservatives, etc.) so I thought I’d give it a shot. After doing some research on Paleo puddings and several tries with a few ingredients and my Vitamix, I think I figured out a perfect recipe (at least for us)! I LOVE how this recipe only needs a few ingredients and could be prepared within minutes. I like to make a large batch, divide it up in glass containers and place them in the fridge/freezer to serve later in the week. K especially likes it when I place it in the freezer for about 15 minutes before serving on a hot, hot day like today!

I have MANY versions of this pudding using a variety of spices and fruits but two of my favorites are coconut milk based and strawberry based…

Here’s what I did (coconut milk version):

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Gathered the ingredients and pureed them in my Vitamix for about 15 seconds…

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Had K slice and then chop some strawberries to use as a topping…

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Served about a half cup to K and she LOVED it, licking the bowl clean!

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I stored the rest in glass containers and placed them in the freezer for later.

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I also saved the pit, placed it in a water-filled mason jar with toothpicks and watched it grow in the windowsill (this is the one we just planted ours in a pot after 5 months and it’s now thriving outside in the sun)!

I hope you have a fun time experimenting with different versions of this chocolate pudding…please include your version in the comments below. We’d love to try a new one!

Chocolate Pudding (coconut milk-based)
Paleo, refined-sugar-, dairy-free, nut-free, soy-free, grain-free, gluten-free

This recipe takes about 3 minutes and makes 2 servings (or 3 for a toddler)

What You Need:
Ingredients (listed below)
blender with spatula
serving bowl & spoon
knife & cutting board (optional for fruit toppings)
glass (freezer) containers (optional for storage)

Ingredients:
1 peeled organic banana (the greener the healthier)
1 pitted organic ripe avocado
2 Tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 C coconut milk
fruit or coconut flakes for a topping

Directions:
1. Place all ingredients (except toppings) into the blender and puree.
2. Use spatula to remove putting and place into bowl/storage containers.
3. Slice/chop fruit and then sprinkle over pudding.
4. Enjoy immediately or place into the freezer for about 15 minutes for a frozen treat!

Chocolate Pudding (strawberry-based)
Paleo, refined-sugar-, dairy-free, nut-free, soy-free, grain-free, gluten-free

This recipe takes about 3 minutes and makes 2 servings (or 3 for a toddler)

What You Need:
Ingredients (listed below)
blender with spatula
serving bowl & spoon
knife & cutting board (optional for fruit toppings)
glass (freezer) containers (optional for storage)

Ingredients:
1 peeled organic banana (the greener the healthier)
1 pitted organic ripe avocado
2 Tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 C organic strawberries (I use frozen ones)
fruit or coconut flakes for a topping

Directions:
1. Place all ingredients (except toppings) into the blender and puree.
2. Use spatula to remove putting and place into bowl/storage containers.
3. Slice/chop fruit and then sprinkle over pudding.
4. Enjoy immediately or place into the freezer for about 15 minutes for a frozen treat!

Coconut Avocado Pear Popsicles

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Looking for a healthy frozen treat for you and your family (baby included)? Or maybe something to help with your teething baby? I just discovered these icy creamy treats on The Spunky Coconut’s blog the other day and with organic avocados and pears in the fridge, I thought I’d give it a try. And for an added bonus, we just had to dip them in coconut flakes just like in my last recipe I posted. They’re not only rich in healthy fats and are full of fiber, they taste DELICIOUS!!! Baby K enjoyed her first popsicle this morning and we all LOVED them! I hope you (and/or your little ones) do too!

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Coconut Avocado Pear Popsicles
Paleo, grain-free, gluten-free, dairy-free, nut-free, soy-free
Adapted from The Spunky Coconut’s Avocado Pear Baby Food Pops

This recipe takes about 45 minutes or however long your freezer takes to freeze popsicles (10 min. prep & 35 min. + in the freezer)  and makes 4 popsicles

What You Need:
Ingredients (listed below)
blender or food processor
popsicle molds (I used these Mickey Mouse ones) OR small Dixie cups, aluminum foil & popsicle sticks
thin spatula or teaspoon (for filling molds/cups)
small bowl

Ingredients:
2 ripe pears with skins removed (I used organic d’ anjou pears)
2 ripe avocados pitted and scooped
1/2 C finely shredded coconut flakes (I use Let’s Do Organic Coconut)

Directions:
1. Puree pear and avocado in blender/food processor.
2. Fill popsicle molds with puree (try to fill all the air pockets) .
3. If using cups, fill with puree 3/4 full and cover the with foil. Push popsicle sticks through the center of the foil, making sure the stick is 2/3 of the way down (make sure it does not touch the bottom).
4. Place into freezer. While waiting, pour coconut flakes into small bowl and set aside.
5. Once frozen, defrost for a few minutes and then remove popsicles (I ran some warm water over the molds for a minute before removing).
6. Dip popsicles into coconut flakes, using your fingers to coat them. If coconut flakes are not sticking, quickly run cold water over your pop and try again!
7. Serve immediately and enjoy on a hot day!

**Santa Monica Mama is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com.

Banana + Coconut + Chocolate = Frozen Yumminess!

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One of our newest favorite homemade frozen treats in our home are my Coconut Sprinkled Chocolate Dipped Frozen Bananas!

Banana = Yummy

Coconut = Very Yummy

Chocolate = Very Very Yummy

Now, combine these three ingredients and you’ve got…

Banana + Coconut + Chocolate = EXTREME Frozen Yumminess!!!!

As you know, I absolutely LOVE chocolate and coconut is right up there! Pretty much anything that has chocolate or coconut in it wins me over. And I have found bananas to not only be a great easy to-go healthy snack (the greener the healthier) but the perfect easy substitute for a recipe that calls for a sweetener (sugar, honey, maple, molasses, etc.). So in our house, we always have several bunches of bananas, packages of organic coconut flakes/shreds and Enjoy Life dark chocolate in our fridge.

This recipe calls for 4 ingredients and is super easy to make. Baby K loves to help making (and eating) these too!

Here’s what we did:

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Sliced up the bananas into pieces & chunks…

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Dipped them into the melted chocolate…

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Rolled the chunks into coconut and Baby K sprinkled coconut on the slices

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Kept a handful of banana slices un-dipped for K to eat and then rolled them into coconut flakes. Put the trays in the freezer for about 20 minutes and then took them out to enjoy!

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While K devoured the frozen coconut banana slices (especially good for teething!), my family enjoyed the rest!

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Coconut Sprinkled Chocolate Dipped Frozen Banana
Grain-free, gluten-free, dairy-free, nut-free, soy-free

This recipe takes about 30 minutes (10 min. prep & 20 min. in the freezer)  and makes 3 full-size bananas, ~ 30 slices or 6 chunks

What You Need:
Ingredients (listed below)
small bowl (plastic is fine)
small ceramic or glass bowl
larger bowl/pan that the small bowl can fit in (for a water bath)
measuring cups & spoons
teaspoon (one you eat soup with)
medium-sized tray/pan lined with aluminum foil

Ingredients:
1-2 C boiling water (for water bath)
1 C Enjoy Life dairy-/soy-/nut-/gluten-free semi-sweet chocolate chips
2-3 tsp melted or solidified coconut oil (I use Trader Joe’s or Nutiva)
1 C finely shredded coconut flakes (I use Let’s Do Organic Coconut)
3 medium to large sized bananas sliced, cut up into thirds or left as whole

Directions:
1. Pour coconut flakes into the small plastic bowl and set aside.
2. Pour chocolate chips and coconut oil into your small ceramic/glass bowl and place bowl inside your larger bowl.
3. Carefully pour boiling water into your larger bowl, creating a water bath to melt the chocolate.
4. Begin to gently stir mixture together and take the bowl out once only a few chips are left unmelted.
5. Drop banana pieces one at a time into the chocolate mixture, coat and then remove with spoon (if using the full-sized banana, spread the chocolate mixture onto the banana until well coated).
6. Either place chocolate dipped banana pieces right into the coconut, swirl around in the bowl until completely covered in coconut OR place dipped bananas onto your foil and sprinkle your desired amount of coconut on top.
7. Put your tray into your freezer for about 20 minutes and then serve (if you leave it in longer or you have a very cold freezer, you may want to leave out for a few minutes to defrost before eating…and that’s only if you can wait).

**Santa Monica Mama is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com.