Friday, June 24, 2016

Healthy Snack Ideas for the Road




I'm sure we all know how it is when we're traveling . . . we load up on snacks and junk food. This year I'm trying to leave out the junk and have come up with some easy healthy snacks to take along with us on the road.


String cheese -- My kids love the Kraft Twist-ums cheese where you get mozzarella and cheddar twisted together.

Blue Diamond almonds -- We're a peanut free home and that's why we love Blue Diamond almonds. They're one of the few nuts that are completely peanut free. They're also packed full of vitamins and minerals and are high in protein. They make a great salty snack and my kids LOVE 'em.

Dried fruit -- This is what we call "real fruit snacks". We like raisins, craisins and apricots but we love dried mangos and pineapple.

Bite sized fruit -- Grapes and blueberries are great for the car. They can be popped in your mouth and are mess free--well, depending on who's
eating them . . .

Carrot sticks -- We can't forget the vegetables--and mini carrots are always a popular choice.

Crackers -- I've always loved Annie's Homegrown and we've recently become fans of the new Annie's Snack Mix. The kids love it, and I love that it's all natural and organic. The best part is that it's very affordable too. I stock up on boxes of this stuff when they go on sale at Target for $2. That's a price you can't beat!

Homemade fruit gummies -- These little jello bites are perfect for popping in your mouth. They're sweet and tangy and have a little fat to keep you feeling satisfied. My favorite recipes are these Lemon Gummies and these Coconut Lime Gummies. They're simple enough to make ahead of time and a fun snack to pull out when everyone is in need of a treat.

Granola bar bites -- This is another great snack to make ahead of time (or have the kids make them) to pull out when you're getting the munchies. Find the recipe here

    . . . But you have to have a little junk food too. My kids already know we never go on a trip without licorice. Yum Earth is our favorite brand lately.

    What are your favorite healthy snacks for the road?

    -Amy


    Monday, April 11, 2016

    Melt in Your Mouth Pumpkin Pie Bars (Grain-free, Egg-free, Paleo, GAPS)


    I'm always on the search for healthy desserts and nutrient dense snacks that will fill my kids hungry tummies right up.  This recipe fits the bill for both.  These pumpkin bars by themselves make a great snack but by adding a few chocolate chips to the recipe I've tricked my kids into thinking they're now dessert.  Personally my favorite way to eat them is by ditching the chocolate chips and sprinkling a few chopped pecans on top. Sometimes I will even sprinkle three-fourths of the pan with chocolate chips and the other quarter with pecans so everyone is happy.

    Not only are these pumpkin bars easy to whip together and free of refined sugar but they taste amazing!  They are so moist and light they practically melt in your mouth.  There's no reason to wait until fall to make these dreamy bars.  They are the perfect treat any time of year. 





    Pumpkin Pie Bars
    nourishing-bites.blogspot.com

    Ingredients:

    3/4 cup creamy almond butter
    1/2 cup pumpkin puree
    1 well-ripened banana (should have lots of brown spots)
    1/4 cup raw honey or pure maple syrup
    1 tablespoon coconut flour
    1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
    1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
    1 teaspoon cinnamon
    1 teaspoon baking soda
    1/4 teaspoon Real Salt
    1/4 cup mini chocolate chips or chopped pecans (optional)


    Directions:

    1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly butter a 8 x 8 glass dish.
    2. Mash banana in a food processor or stand mixer. Add almond butter, pumpkin, maple syrup, and vanilla and mix until well combined.
    3. Add remaining ingredients, mix until smooth.
    4. Poor batter into prepared baking dish. Sprinkle chocolate chips or pecans on top if using. Bake for 30 minutes or until knife inserted near center comes out clean.

    Enjoy every delicious bite!

    Printable recipe


    -Amy


    Tuesday, February 23, 2016

    Chocolate Chip Cookies (grain-free, egg-free, refined sugar-free, Paleo, GAPS)





    We're in crazy special diet mode at our house right now trying to heal some food intolerance. Between my four kids there's at least one of them who can't have peanuts, gluten, dairy, and eggs. This makes it tricky when trying to cook for a family of six.  There's always someone who can't eat something, or so it seems.  Luckily I've been able to track down some recipes that fit the bill for everyone.  These Chocolate Chip Cookies are a hit and have become a favorite treat.  They are grain-free, egg-free, Paleo, refined sugar free, and GAPS friendly.  I love that the ingredients are simple and can be whipped together in minutes.

    Just look at these sweet morsels.  Don't they look amazing?  Let me tell you, they are soft, chewy, moist and delicious! 100% kid approved!





    Chocolate Chip Cookies
    nourishing-bites.blogspot.com

    Ingredients:

    1/4 cup raw honey
    1/4 cup butter, softened
    1/4 teaspoon baking soda
    1/4 teaspoon Real Salt
    1/4 teaspoon vanilla
    mini chocolate chips (optional)


    Directions:

    1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line baking sheet with parchment paper.

    2. Measure ingredients into a medium sized bowl and whisk together until well combined.

    3. Scoop tablespoon size balls onto parchment lined baking sheet.  Flatten tops slightly with back of spoon.

    4. Bake for 6-8 minutes or until cookies are slightly brown around edges.  Allow to cool on baking sheet for 10 minutes.  These store great in the freezer, but I doubt you'll have any left to freeze!



    -Amy

    Wednesday, August 5, 2015

    Healthy Dark Chocolate Fudgesicles


    Our summers here are hot, sweaty and sticky.  Yuck!  That's one thing this California raised girl dislikes most about the mid-west -- humidity!  I depend heavily on cool treats to help me get through the hot summers.  These dark chocolate fudgesicles have become one of my favorites.  We make a lot of homemade popsicles and I've found a lot of them turn out icy.  The secret ingredient to keeping these popsicles smooth and soft is gelatin!  It's amazing the difference a little gelatin can make.  Go ahead and give these a try.  I just know you'll the the rich chocolaty flavor and the smooth creamy texture.




    Dark Chocolate Fudgesicles
    nourishing-bites.blogspot.com
    (adapted from this recipe)

    1 1/4 cup full fat coconut milk
    2 egg yolk
    1/2 cup honey
    dash of Real Salt
    1 1/2 teaspoon unflavored gelatin (I use this kind)
    1 teaspoon vanilla extract
    2 ounces unsweetened chocolate, roughly chopped

    1. Soften the gelatin by placing it in a small bowl with the vanilla.

    2. Warm the coconut milk in a pot over medium heat for about 5 minutes, stir occasionally and do not let boil.  Meanwhile mix the egg yolk, honey, and salt in a small bowl.  Slowly poor the hot coconut milk into the egg mixture, mixing continuously to temper the eggs.

    3. Pour the mixture back into the pot and continue to cook on medium heat for about five minutes, stirring constantly.  Do not allow the mixture to boil.

    4.  Pour the gelatin mixture into the pot and whisk vigorously until the gelatin has dissolved, about two minutes.

    5. Remove from heat and stir in the chocolate until melted and smooth.  Let pudding cool at room temperature about 20 minutes and then pour into molds.  Place in freezer for up to six hours or until firm.

    Tuesday, May 12, 2015

    The Best Chocolate Cake Ever (Gluten/Dairy Free)




    I've been feeding my family a gluten free diet since January per doctors orders for my three year old.  It was kind of a stressful transition but now that we have the hang of it it's really not a big deal.  I've been having fun trying some new recipes and discovering a new way to cook.  I ran into a chocolate cake recipe on Mel's Kitchen Cafe that was gluten free and made out of quinoa.  The recipe had rave reviews, and since I was curious about making a cake out of quinoa I had to try it.  That was a good choice.  It was delicious. Moist.  Flavorful.  I was worried I would take a bite and it would be full of chewy bits of quinoa but the truth is you don't even know it's in there--in texture or flavor.  Really this recipe is a dream come true whether your eating gluten free or just love delicious chocolate cake.  I've made this recipe several times and have had success making it into an 8 inch cake, cupcakes, and mini cupcakes.




    The Best Chocolate Cake Ever
    nourishing-bites.blogspot.com
    (adapted from this recipe)

    2 cups cooked and cooled quinoa (I usually make mine the day before and have it ready to go in the fridge)
    1/3 cup milk of choice (I used coconut milk)
    4 large eggs
    1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
    3/4 cup butter, melted and cooled (preferably grass fed)
    1 1/2 cups sugar
    1 cup cocoa powder
    1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
    1/2 teaspoon baking soda
    1/2 teaspoon salt

    1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Place liners in muffin tin or lightly grease two 8-inch round cake pans, lining bottom of pans with parchment paper.

    2. Combine milk, eggs, and vanilla in a blender.  Process until just combined.  Add cooked quinoa and butter.  Blend until smooth.  This may take several minutes.

    3. In a large bowl combine sugar, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt.  Add the contents from blender and whisk until well combined.

    4. Divide batter into lined muffin tins or prepared cake pans.
    For cake bake 28-30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
    For cupcakes bake 15-22 minutes.
    For mini cupcakes bake 10-15 minutes.

    5. Remove from oven and let cool for 10 minutes.  Transfer to wire rack to finish cooling.  Frost with frosting of choice.

    Printable recipe
    nourishing-bites.blogspot.com

    -Amy


    Monday, March 23, 2015

    Lemon Lover Lemon Bars (Dairy Free, Gluten Free, Paleo)


    Sometimes I think my mom and oldest daughter are identical twins fifty years apart.  My daughter is like a mini-me of my mother.  My daughter is very smart.  She is studious and does very well in school.  Teachers love her.  She is also very mature for her age.  I've often said she was born grown up.  She's super helpful and responsible around our home.  I don't know what I would do without all her help.  It's been a lifesaver on more than one occasion.  I know all those things could have been said about my mother as a child too.  The other day when I saw my daughter stack all her clean laundry up on her head and across her arms so that she could take it to her room to put away all in one trip I had to laugh because I heard stories of my mother doing that same thing as a child.  They are both the oldest children in their family.  They both play the piano very well.  They both don't care for chocolate.  They both love lemon. I could go on and on.  I dedicate these lemon bars to them.

    These are not your typical lemon bars.  The filling is extra tart, but not overly so.  The sweet nutty crust helps balance out the tart filling and is subtly crunchy and textured.  I'd say these are like your typical lemon bars all grown up.  They are for mature taste buds, delicious, and leave you feeling satisfied after just one bar.




    Lemon Lover Lemon Bars
    nourishing-bites.blogspot.com

    For crust:
    1 cup raw pecans
    1/4 cup organic coconut oil
    2 tablespoons honey
    1 tablespoon coconut flour
    1 egg

    For lemon topping:
    1/2 cup fresh lemon juice (about 2 medium lemons)
    1/4 cup honey
    1/4 cup coconut oil
    dash sea salt
    3 eggs

    Instruction for the crust:
    1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
    2. Pulse pecans in food processor until finely ground.  Do not over mix or you'll end up with pecan butter.
    3. In a medium bowl mix pecans with coconut oil, honey, coconut flour, and egg.
    4. Line a 8x8 glass dish with parchment paper and spread your mixture evenly on the bottom of dish, pressing down with the back of a fork to make it nice and compact.
    5. Bake for 15 minutes or until the edges turn a light golden brown.  Set aside to cool.

    Instruction for the filling:
    1. In a small sauce pan whisk together lemon juice, honey, coconut oil, and salt until well combined and warm. 
    2. In a medium bowl crack eggs, and whisk together with a fork.  To temper the eggs slowly pour a 1/2 cup of the lemon mixture into the eggs while mixing briskly.  Add egg mixture back to pan. Whisk together over medium heat, stirring constantly, until mixture starts to boil and thickens.  Continue to stir for one minute more.  Once filling is nice and thick remove from heat and let cool. 
    3.  Once cool spread the topping over the crust.  Cover with plastic wrap and allow to set up in fridge for four hours before serving.



    -Amy


    Monday, March 9, 2015

    Nutty Peppermint Chocolate Bites


    We don't eat a lot of dessert at out house but Sunday is always dessert day.  Always.  It's become kind of a tradition.  My kids get to take turns picking the dessert and helping to make it.  They love when it's their turn.  We've been trying a lot of new recipes lately and have discovered some new favorites.  These nutty peppermint chocolate bites picked by my six year old were a huge hit.  My kids were literately jumping up and down with excitement over them. This dessert did not disappoint. These little chocolate bites have everything packed into it.  Rich chocolate, chewy coconut, pecans (my favorite nutty flavor) and just the right hint of mint.




    Nutty Peppermint Chocolate Bites
    nourishing-bites.blogspot.com

    1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons organic coconut oil, melted
    1/4 cup cacao powder
    1/4 cup almond butter
    2-3 tablespoons raw honey
    1 teaspoon vanilla extract
    1/2 teaspoon peppermint extract (I like this kind)
    pinch salt (I like this kind)
    1/2 cup pecans
    1/2 cup unsweetened shredded coconut (I like this kind)


    1. Combine coconut oil, cacao powder, almond butter, honey, vanilla, peppermint, and salt in a double boiler.  Heat until well combined, stirring occasionally, about 5 minutes.

    2. Chop pecans in a food processor.  Add pecans and coconut to chocolate mixture.  Stir to combine.

    3. Pour mixture into silicone molds.  Place in freezer until set.  Remove from molds and store in airtight container in freezer.


    -Amy

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