Frog Jam Pop Tarts

frog jam pop tart

Five years ago on this day, we drove to the Eastern coast, toward Fenwick Island and stayed at the beach with my family.  The drive was beautiful, especially heading over the famous Bay Bridge and then onto flat coastal lands filled with acres and acres of farmland.  Passing over the bridge always carries a unique and very significant feel to the drive.  It casts away the notion of being bound to the mainland (even though, we’re still attached to it) giving off a sense of freedom.  Freedom that the beach is upon us, especially after a hard winter…

After passing through acres of beautiful agriculture, I saw arched flags along the road, signifying a produce stand.  Mind you, we passed dozens of small and large produce stands, but I was told this was the stand to stop and gather the goods at.  Pulling into the parking lot, it was clear why we needed to check out the food here.  It was beautiful.  Off to the left of the main building was a giant outdoor playground for kids.  I don’t mean the standard kind like we see at a school ground either.  The play area had wooden planes, trains and automobiles, for the kids to climb around in while you shop.

So while the kids were preoccupied, I ventured through the rows and rows of produce.  It was almost overwhelming with the selection, but who can complain about that?  After a lot of searching, I picked up some sweet corn, peppers, cherries, asparagus, and Frog Jam.  I saw these jellies and jams all stacked above the fruit, decorating the stand nicely, and I knew, at that moment what I was going to create with that Frog Jam.  What IS Frog Jam?  A jam that consist of Figs, Raspberries, Orange and Ginger.  There are some other ingredients in there as well, but those are the key flavors that give it the unique name.  I instantly was in love with the concept and had to buy it.

So, what could I possibly create with Frog Jam that would be creative?  Healthy, homemade pop tarts!  My kids love the traditional kind, although, I find them overly sweet and too under-nourishing.  How often can you say that you’re full after a pop tart?  I am willing to bet not too often, and that’s what motivated me to design something tasty and something that works with a child’s palate.  These tarts were very simple to make, as I even allowed the kids to get involved on creating these, with hopes that they would like to eat them too.  I wasn’t sure if the healthy nature of the tart would avert them or the crazy jam inside, but I am happy to announce that my picky children were more than pleased with these treats.  They were just that too, a treat and a breakfast.  What is also wonderful is that you can save these in the freezer for another time.  However, I wasn’t able to save these in my home; I found my husband sneaking a few at a time to take back to the office and snack on, as well as my children doing the same.  The tarts were out of the house in a few days and my family is asking that I make some more again.  I couldn’t be happier seeing my family be excited to eat so well, and the tarts were a perfect change of pace.  So don’t be afraid to find some unusual flavor jam or jelly and create these beautiful and delicious tarts!

Frog Jam Pop Tarts Recipe

Ingredients:

  • 3 1/4 cups of King Arthur Whole-Wheat Flour
  • 1 cup of melted Butter (salted)
  • 1 tsp of Sea Salt
  • 1 cup of Organic Plain Yogurt
  • FROG Jam or any other Jam/Jelly

Directions:

Mix together the flour, butter, salt and the yogurt and then when a dough forms, begin to knead the dough.  If it feels too sticky, add more flour; too dry, add yogurt.  Roll out the dough on a floured surface or parchment paper.  Using cookie cutter or a knife, cut the shapes you are seeking.  Add a small spoonful to the dough and spread it out, not hitting the edges, however.  Place top on the tart and press the edges with your fingers first and then with a fork to seal the tart shut.  Bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes.

This article was previously published through Ciao Florentina, which has since been removed from the site.  I am the original author of this recipe. Thank you!

Paleo Parsnip Banana Muffins

Paleo Parsnip Banana Muffin

It was time.  It was time for a season of change, and a chance to do work for God.  I have poured myself into working at the kids’ school, and found it to be very rewarding!  I also discovered some things just in the past 2.5 months:

I am fulfilled.

I am blessed.  Being able to do God’s work and be near my kids at the same time… amazing!

I have fallen into eating routines I’m not proud of, and discipline is slowly slipping.  But I am not worried; as this is normal for people when change disrupts the routine.  Things will fall back into place accordingly.

I miss cooking and baking.  It is something I continue to do to feed our family, but experimenting with recipes has seemed like a burden… until now.

I’m thankful.  God has given me new vision on how hard it is to work, eat well, exercise, clean the home, be a parent, be a wife, and seek balance in life (and not in that order!) This insight has provided me a chance to see how I can help you even further to balance work and home and still eat well.

Paleo Parsnip Banana Muffins (Recipe slightly adapted from Paleo Newbie Recipes)

Personal thoughts:  This recipe below takes time. Prepare this on a Saturday or Sunday and freeze the muffins until ready to consume.  Muffins came out beautifully, and I was not disappointed! I completely recommend this recipe, and that it is sound.

Messy factor?  Medium Level. Lots of bowls, cups, measuring devices were used.  (But nothing out of the ordinary for me, and I can easily toss into the dishwasher.)

Dry Ingredients:

  • 1 1/4 cup almond flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tbs cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp allspice

Wet Ingredients:

  • 3 eggs – whisked
  • 2 bananas – mashed
  • 1/2 cup almond butter
  • 1/3 cup raw honey
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

Fold In:

  • 1 cup grated parsnips
  • ¼ cup chopped walnuts

Yields:

  • Makes 12-14 muffins

 

Method:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line muffin pan or use a silicone muffin tray. Combine dry ingredients in one bowl and wet ingredients in another bowl. Mix together, and set aside. Using a food processor (grater attachment) grate up 2 parsnips (about 1 cup.) Fold in parsnips and walnuts. Pour batch into a large measuring cup to help with pouring into muffin tins. Bake for 22-25 minutes. Delightful!!

Paleo Parsnip Banana Muffin

Mango, Cherry and Blueberry Salad

Fruit salad

There are days… You know the ones, where you look in the fridge and announce to the world that there simply isn’t enough fruit or greens to create a salad.  This was me.  I was trying to be good by eating a no grain breakfast, and I was craving some fruit, but everything looked high maintenance to me.  And then… I looked at the bagels.  NO! I was trying to be good, so I didn’t toast some delightful bagels up that day.

Did I mention I love bagels?  Back to fruit.

I won’t kid you, this salad is TOTALLY high maintenance if you are looking for a quick tossup.  This requires mangos and cherries.  Such a pleasure to cut these fruits, yes?  No.  BUT… completely worth the time.  Trust me, your taste buds will thank you for the blessed change.

What I also enjoy about this salad, is that it could be tossed on top of some lovely greens if you want a light meal, or if you were like me, put a side of pork tenderloin (leftovers) and make up some guacamole for a beautiful and healthy breakfast.  It is such a bundle of flavor, perfectly balanced with floral notes and sweetness.  What is not to love?

So, enjoy this overly easy recipe!

  • 2-3 mangos
  • blueberries
  • fresh cherries (pitted)

Toss together in a bowl, maybe add with a homemade dressing of honey and some balsamic! YUM!!!
Cheers!

Breakfast Cookies

Breakfast cookies

Let me get the record straight. These are not Paleo cookies however, they could be depending on what you decide to put in them. When I made this batch of cookies, I found the batter to be really runny, so I put in a LOT of oatmeal, and they turned out to be really delicious. The batch makes up quite a bit, so if everyone in your family is going to eat them, I would make the entire amount. If it’s just you, make 1/2 or freeze the cookies, as you will have more than you can eat by the end of the week.

Breakfast Cookies Recipe (Adapted from The Preppy Paleo)

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup raw almond butter
  • 1/2 cup pureed pumpkin
  • 1/4 cup pure maple syrup or raw honey
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1.5 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
  • 1/4 tsp. cloves
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 2-3 cups mix-ins of choice**

**Coconut, dark chocolate chips, oatmeal, pepitas, walnuts, etc. (I used coconut, chocolate chips, dark dried cherries and oatmeal.)

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Line your baking sheet with a silicone mat or parchment paper and set aside.  In a large bowl, combine all of your ingredients. Drop in tablespoon sizes of batter onto baking sheet.  Bake for 12-15 minutes.  Let cool a few minutes and then place cookies on cooking rack.

Triple Berry Smoothie

Triple Berry Smoothie

Day 13 of Paleo.  I have faced a challenging weekend with this diet, as it’s not one you can catch a break with.  Mind you, I’m not 100% Paleo, but I am 90%.  I’m tired of cooking and cleaning what seems to feel like 85+ times a week, and the dishwasher is now run twice a day.  It’s wearing me down a bit, and this weekend I had a couple of cheating moments.  Not during the football game, of all opportunities, but moments that I cannot help but break the rules, like running errands too long that I need to eat, and didn’t bring something along to curb the appetite.   The kids put out Goldfish to nibble on, munch munch.  They had the Kraft mac n’ cheese this weekend… drool, ok, just one bite.  But my biggest complaint is:  I just want a freaking bagel for breakfast.

Alas, I am being strong through this, despite my constant craving for a bagel.  I have made this delicious smoothie a few times now, and have been asked this morning by my daughter to make it for her, again.  I take that as a good sign.

I don’t have to tell you about the benefits of this smoothie, just look at the ingredients!  Done, and done.  Have fun and enjoy!

Triple Berry Smoothie

  • 1 cup – or more if you wish – Frozen organic berries (blueberries, raspberries, and blackberries)
  • 1 banana
  • 1/2 cup coconut milk
  • big handful of organic spinach

Toss in a food processor and blend until smooth!

Paleo Pancakes

Paleo pancakes

I know what you’re thinking, “oh great, another food blogger on a diet. Get back to me in March!”  Right?  Actually, yes, and no.  My reasons are sound, and stem before the holidays began… so I have good reason. 🙂

Without going into major details, let’s just say if I do not eat healthy, my nearly 40 (gasp!) year old body protests in a very ugly way.  But age really has nothing to do with  it.  I had digestion problems back in my college years, and what a surprise; I had poor dietary habits at that time?!  At first, my body gets mad with spicy or acidic foods, which is enough to get me to stop and pause.  This time I had let the holidays and stress get in the way and I didn’t read the signs;  many of them.  It got past the acidic food problem and moved onto having issues with aged cheese, Miso soup (Tyramine rich foods) and so forth.  It was that “fine” day I was hit by a 2×4 (not really) to wake me up from the insanity of what I was doing to my stomach.  I had had enough of this.  I can eat dairy and gluten, however, I have done so much damage to my gut, it was time to take a break.  Hit the reset button.  What an ironic time like the new year to set the tone.

So today is day 7 of my Paleo way of life.  How is it going?  Fantastic with a side of frustrating.  Actually, today is much better.  Yesterday I was at my wits end and wanted to quit.  Mostly because I. LOVE. BREAD.  I miss bagels and toast, mac n’ cheese and oh need I go on?  I’m a baker for crying out loud!

Really the problem is that I have children, who are still eating traditional foods and I have to MAKE it for them.  Do you know how hard it is to make a batch of mashed potatoes and not eat them?  It takes serious discipline everyday.  But the payoff has been rewarding.  I no longer feel bloated from each meal, and I have gained quite a bit of energy.

But what about the sweets?  How have I fared without them?  I have managed with a couple of bits of dark chocolate chips here and there, but today I needed a sweet tooth kind of breakfast.  This morning, I found a recipe that has helped with that craving for a sweet breakfast without sacrificing my guidelines.  And it was fantastic!  This recipe is staying on the books!

Oh, and it’s oh SO simple to make.  Enjoy this recipe brought to you by:  Paleo Porn 

Easy Paleo Pancakes

Serves 1 (feel free to adjust to feed more!)

  • 2 eggs, whipped
  • 1 banana, mashed
  • 1 heaping TBSP almond butter
  • dark chocolate chips (if desired)

Whisk ingredients WELL into a bowl.  Heat up griddle, and dab a little coconut oil on.  Pour batter onto a hot griddle or pan and let the batch cook on one side until bubbles form.  Flip.  EAT!!

I didn’t add any syrup to mine since they were great on their own, though I topped with a few slices of fresh bananas.

Enjoy!

No-Crust Quiche

No Crust Quiche

Happy 2014 everyone!!!  I pray that you all had a wonderful holiday season, filled full of quality family time, friendship, and many delicious foods (of course!)  Is it me, or did you find that last year was hard for so many near and dear to your heart?  Is that just because we’re getting older?  I certainly don’t FEEL like I am (most days.)  Catch that?

Life… so what plans have you for 2014?  While I am not a “resolution” kind of gal, I do have dreams I hope to see accomplished.  Though it occurred to me that if I actually want to see any dream become a reality, it needs to be a goal with plans attached, and no longer a wish, or thought.  What is my big dream?  It may be very “first world” but I want to give my family a second home at our favorite beach.  I’m not talking some high society house on the oceanfront… please.  Let’s be realistic.  Just a pretty little townhome or old school ranch in the Mount Pleasant area or our preferred choice – Sullivan’s Island would be a dream.  There it is again, that word!! Dream.  GOAL. GOAL. GOAL… I need to get it in my head.  Is this GOAL achievable in 2014 for us?  Nothing is impossible, however, I realize that things are on God’s timeline, and He may have a different plan for me.  So we’ll see?  I know it’s a lofty goal, and probably one that will take several years to make come true, but it’s now a goal, and no longer a pipe dream. 🙂

Well, enough about that.  I have plans, and 2014’s motto for me is ever so simple.  “Go get it!”  Said with a bit of a southern twang that I cannot possibly pronounce as perfectly as a close (native) Charlottean friend of mine.  Got a motto?  Ok, that is NOT food/health based?  Surprise me, cause I’d love to hear it.

Today’s breakfast was brought to you by… ME!  I did NOT copy or adapt anyone’s recipe, I just made this one on the fly, with a little background research on cook times.  Cheers to our health!

No-Crust Quiche

  • Chopped mushrooms
  • Chopped onions (1/4 cup or more depending on your taste)
  • 3-4 pieces of cooked bacon, chopped
  • 2 handfuls of fresh spinach, wilted – see directions
  • 4 organic eggs
  • 1 cup of milk
  • handful of mozzarella cheese

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  In a large fry pan, cook up bacon until soft and lightly browned (but not crispy).  Set bacon aside on a paper towel to drain.  Drain “most” of the bacon fat from the pan, reserving a little to cook up the onions and mushrooms.  While onions/mushrooms are heating up, grab a glass pie plate and spray with cooking spray or coconut oil.  When onions/mushrooms are complete, place in pie plate and spread around.  In the same fry pan, spray a little cooking oil (if pan is dry), and place in spinach until it lightly wilts.  Once wilted, lightly lay in spinach on top of onion mixture.  In a separate bowl, mix eggs and milk, and pour mixture into the pie plate (over all the other items.)  Sprinkle mozzarella cheese (or cheddar) on top of the mixture.  Place the pie into the oven for 45 minutes at 350 degrees.

Serve immediately.

*TIP – My hubby suggested topping it with a little salsa should you like a little heat.

Pumpkin Banana Ice Cream

Pumpkin banana ice cream

My daughter has a thing for ice cream, so much that she could eat it every day.  The best thing I can do as a parent is to guide her sweet tooth to crave the right type of sweets.  It may seem difficult, and it doesn’t happen overnight, so don’t look for a quick fix when making sweet changes.

This recipe is considered clean, and in my book, healthy.  It is made with pumpkin puree, frozen bananas, pure maple syrup (or honey if you like) and some pumpkin pie spice.  How did it fare?  While my batch tasted a lot like bananas, I believe they were overly ripe, which caused the heavy flavor.  I think the freshest bananas would be best to get more of a pumpkin taste out of it.  The original writer mentioned that you can use frozen mango puree instead if you like.  That sounds good to me too!

In any case, I like the batch of ice cream I made from her recipe, and my ice cream addicted daughter does too.  And… I’m a guilt free Mama letting her have some as an after school snack.  🙂

Stop by this site to see her recipe!

Spicy Taco Chili – Slow Cooked

Spicy Taco Chili - slow cookedLast night I found a great recipe to try out that looked quite delicious.  I’m one for picking out recipes by it’s appearance on Google or Pinterest.  Don’t give me grief… that’s how I do it, and it works.  After going through a few photos that look tempting, I then check out the recipes to see the complexity as well as how healthy it is.  Except… for desserts.

This taco chili sounded perfect for my husband who is a huge spicy food fan.  However, I had yet to create a dish spicy enough to match his palate, as I’m not one to eat with THAT kind of heat.  However, once in a while, I do crave a good spicy meal that sends me to the kitchen several times for another water run.  Isn’t spicy good for the body?  Well… I’ll just tell myself it is. 🙂

How did this meal taste?  Nailed it.  Perfection.  Serious heat.  And I just found out the best news, after I had eaten a full bowl (with a little sour cream to cut the heat); that this is a pretty healthy meal!  (I don’t do Weight Watchers, but if you do, put this is on the list to try.)  So, with that… it has officially made our dinner rotation.

What do you top it over?  You could just eat it in a bowl, but I’d recommend it with some rice or tortilla chips.

Ingredients (adapted from Skinny Taste):

  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 16-oz can organic black beans
  • 1 16-oz can organic kidney beans
  • 1 8-oz can organic marinara sauce
  • 10 oz package frozen corn kernels
  • 2 14.5-oz cans diced tomatoes w/chilies (this is important for the heat)
  • 1 packet taco seasoning
  • 3/4 tsp. cumin
  • 24 oz (3-4) boneless skinless chicken breasts

Directions:

Place all of the ingredients into the slow cooker in the order listed above and mix. Place chicken on top of mixture. Place on low for 8 hours or high for 5-6 hours.  About 1/2 hour before serving time, take chicken out and shred with a fork.  Place chicken back into cooker and finish cook time.  Enjoy!

Chocolate Avocado Muffins

Healthy cupcakes

If you want to get your kids to eat a better version of muffin, try this wonderful recipe out!  I have, and can say while they are not overly sweet, they are a great guilt-free treat!  I can satisfy my sweet tooth and not watch my waist line “pudge” out just by taking a bite.  This recipe falls in line with my road to healthier eating because of the ingredients chosen within.  Real food!  And to top it off there is no oil in this recipe – thank you avocado.

What a sneaky way to get your kids to eat well!  I tested this recipe out on the kids and they did not know that the avocado was in the recipe, but they did notice it had a taste to it that was different than if you were to make it with oil.  Also, this recipe was made with whole wheat flour, maple syrup and applesauce.  No sugar, egg or or AP flour please.

If you want to kick it up and make it vegan, by all means, this can be adjusted easily.

I hope you enjoy this recipe!  If you find it needing a little something, add some spices in the batch like cinnamon or all-spice to give it a kick.

Chocolate Avocado Muffins (adapted from Live.Learn.Love.Eat)

Ingredients: 

  • 1 medium avocado – ripe
  • 1/2 cup pure maple syrup
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 3/4 cup organic 1% milk
  • 1/4 cup natural applesauce
  • 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
  • 2/3 cup dark chocolate chips
  • 1-1/2 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 Tbsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Line muffin pan with 12 paper liners.  In a food processor, blend the avocado, maple syrup, cocoa powder, milk applesauce and vanilla.  Stir in chocolate chips by hand to the batch.  In a separate bowl, combine the flour, baking powder and the salt.  Combine the wet ingredients to the dry, and mix.  Spoon in batter into paper liners 3/4 way.  Bake for 18-20 minutes.  Test with toothpick to see when completed.  The batch will be heavy and cake-like.

Makes 12.