Homemade Whole Wheat Pasta

Homemade Whole Wheat Pasta

Delizioso! Nothing like homemade pasta! Grandma DiDi and the cub took on the task of making homemade whole wheat pasta and boy was it worth it! All the while, the cub learned about the time and energy it takes to prepare and cook noodles.

Pasta

The cub was feeling brave today and decided to work with the food processor. In goes the flour.

Pasta1

Then the eggs and a little water!

pasta2

The cub watches while Grandma DiDi mixes the dough. The cub stands back, but isn’t as intimidated this time around.

pasta3

Grandma DiDi rolls out the dough.

pasta5

Now it’s the cubs turn to pat the dough and shape it so it can rest for an hour.

Pasta6

The cub delicately wraps the dough with plastic wrap.

pasta7

Time to feed the dough through the Kitchenaid pasta attachment.

pasta8

After a few passes, the dough stretches out nice and long! Almost time to feed through the noodle press. The cub enjoys her duty of helping hold the dough with her hands.

pasta9

The cub got to pick between fettuccini and spaghetti… she chose Fettuccini and was eager to help feed it thought the roller.

pasta10

All done and the cub wants me to see her finished work!

pasta11

Fettuccini!

pasta12

And we had enough dough to make spaghetti!

pasta13

Lunch is served! Our version of Caccio e pepe! We added oil, butter, salt, pepper, parmesan and peas! Make your own creation and share it with us!

 

Whole Wheat Homemade Pasta

(adapted from Small Victories)

Ingredients

  • 2 1/4 cups whole wheat flour
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • Water, as needed

Directions

  1. Combine in bowl or food processor the flour, eggs and salt. Run machine until it forms ball of dough and it doesn’t stick to fingers or blade. Add water, teaspoon at a time, until this occurs (took more water with the whole wheat flour than with all-purpose). When dough has formed, pat into flat disk and dust with some extra flour. Wrap in plastic wrap and let rest at room temp for one hour.
  2. Line baking sheet with parchment paper.
  3. Using a kitchenaid mixer with correct attachments:  After dough has rested for an hour, cut dough into about 6 equal pieces (keep the rest covered).  Press one piece of dough down with the heel of your palm until it flattens,  then run it through the pasta machine on level one. I needed to do level 1 several times with the whole wheat pasta, folding over once or twice to get the consistency correct. Run dough sheets through every level (up to6 or 7) at least once or twice until you have achieved desired consistency.  Towards the end, sheets become very long and it’s necessary to gently carry them on the backs of your hands.  If dough becomes sticky dust with a little flour.
  4. You can use the flat sheets for lasagna – no pre cooking needed. We changed the attachment and fed the sheets through to make fettuccini and spaghetti.
  5. Cook noodles in boiling, salted water for about 3 minutes  and serve with your favorite sauce/toppings.
  6. All pasta should be cooked right away or refrigerated in an air tight container for up to 3 days.

 

Strawberry Spinach Wrap

Strawberry Spinach Wrap

Staying creative with meals can be a challenge, allowing us to easily fall into the same routine – I’m very guilty of this! This wrap is easy and uses items you probably already have in your refrigerator.

The cub loves sour foods, i.e., lemon, vinegar, etc. So when thinking of something that would fit her palate, we decided to make a sweet and sour tasting wrap! The perfect balance in flavor and nutrition.

wrap

The cub began by helping Grandma DiDi cut up the strawberries.

wrap1

Next up, Grandma DiDi made the ricotta spread. She used regular ricotta cheese and added honey .

wrap2

The cub loves lemon, so we zested a lemon and added it to the ricotta spread to create a light balance that was slightly sweet with the zesty brightness of the citrus.

wrap3

The cub must try it to make sure it’s just right! She approves!

wrap4

Grandma DiDi grabs a lavash wrap and spreads the ricotta on one side.

wrap5

Next, the cub layers spinach leaves on the ricotta.

wrap6

On go the strawberries!

wrap7

Strawberries go really well with a balsamic dressing so we added that to give it a bit more flavor. The cub helps drip it on the strawberries. It’s almost time to eat!

 

wrap8

Such fun watching it roll up. Some of the ingredients fell out the side and the cub helped push them back in as Grandma DiDi rolled it up.

wrap11

Dig in! A perfectly balanced snack or lunch that is sure to satisfy your sweet and sour cravings!

 

Spinach Strawberry Wrap

Ingredients for 2 wraps

  • 1 12 x 9  whole wheat Lavash cut in half
  • Handful of spinach/or arugula
  • 1/2 cup strawberries, sliced
  • 1/2 cup ricotta cheese
  • 1 tsp lemon zest or to taste
  • 1 tsp honey or to taste
  • 1 tsp balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Directions

  1. Cut the lavash in half, crosswise.
  2. Mix the ricotta cheese with honey and lemon zest and set aside. Wash the strawberries and slice.
  3. Make dressing by mixing vinegar, oil and salt and pepper.
  4. To assemble, spread half of the ricotta on top half of the lavash as well as the one inch portion on other end to create a glue when you roll it into a wrap.
  5. Cover the ricotta with a thin layer of spinach.
  6. Cover the spinach with a thin layer of strawberries.
  7. Drizzle with as much balsamic dressing as you would like and roll up.
  8. Cut in half at an angle or into two inch rings.
  9. Remaining dressing can be used for dipping on the side.

 

Deviled Egg Bunnies

Deviled Egg Bunnies

Easter is upon us, and before you run out to the store to grab everything you need for the celebrations, consider jazzing up your deviled egg recipe by adding some bunny faces to them.

bunny3

After the eggs had been hard-boiled and cooled, the cub got right into rolling and peeling them. It took a few tries until she understood how to roll them under her palm. On this particular day she woke up feeling like a princess, so, of course, she needed to dress the part.

bunny4

Grandma DiDi then demonstrated how to cut them in half. With a little bit of help, the cub did an excellent job.

Bunny

Grandma DiDi showed the cub how to pop the yolk out of the egg white. The cub watched intently.

bunny1

She did it! Yay!

bunny5

Now it’s the cubs turn. This took patience and practice.

Bunny6

One for you, one for me. The cub is always tasting the food we make.

bunny7

Now for the additions to the deviled egg mix. The Cub and her knife skills went to work. Chopping the celery to add to the mix was easy.

bunny8

This Cinderella princess is right at ease stirring up a batch of deviled eggs.

bunny10

Pausing to smell the ingredients is a MUST. The cub helps us chop some dill for the deviled egg mix and I think we will also use some for whiskers.

bunny9

Next up the cub chopped up some olives for the deviled egg bunny decorations. We think we will use them for eyes and maybe a nose!

bunny11

We let the cub design her own, but for our finished product, Grandma DiDi took over the assembly of the bunnies.

bunny13

HOPPY EASTER!

bunny15

We hope you enjoy the day with friends and family!

Deviled Egg Bunnies

Ingredients

  • Dozen hard-boiled eggs
  • 1 -2 Tbsp Chopped celery (to taste)
  • 1-2 Tbsp mayonaise
  • 2-3 Tbsp greek yogurt
  • 1 tsp dijon mustard
  • Salt and Pepper
  • 1 Tbsp dill, chopped
  • Toppings: radish, carrots, chives, olives, dill, and capers

Directions

    1. Bring eggs to a gentle boil for about 10 minutes then let them sit in the hot water for about another 5, covered. Cool them completely in an ice bath for 10 minutes.
    2. Peel eggs and slice them lengthwise in half.
    3. Remove yolks and place in a medium size bowl. Smash well with a fork.
    4. Add yogurt, mayonnaise and mustard  to the egg yolks and blend well. Add more or less depending on the consistency you prefer.
    5. Add chopped celery, salt, pepper, and dill to the egg yolks (we kept the eggs pretty simple. Feel free to add other ingredients like onions, pickles etc.)
    6. Fill the egg white halves with prepared yolk mixture using a small spoon or pastry bag.
    7. Decorate the eggs with eyes, nose, whiskers and a smile using  your choice of toppings.
    8. Eat and enjoy!

Baked Blueberry Lemon Glazed Doughnuts

Baked Blueberry Lemon Glazed Doughnuts

In honor of the cubs birthday this week, we made DOUGHNUTS!!!

She was thrilled to say the least and it was a new experience for Grandma DiDi. As much as she’s cooked in her day, she’s never made doughnuts.  We found the recipe on Flick of a WhiskDonuts

The cub started by greasing the doughnut pan.

Donuts2

Then she helped by mixing the dough ingredients.

Donuts3

Watching Grandma DiDi measure the ingredients. In goes the vanilla.

Donuts4

Eggs are so fun! Especially when Grandma DiDi cracks them super high and lets the egg slip out.

Donuts5

“Grandma, what’s that?” The cub gets her first lesson in zesting!
Donuts6

Time to add the flour. The cub was up for this task.

Donuts7

The dough become too thick so Grandma DiDi took over stirring.

Donuts8

Grandma DiDi shows the cub how to make a DIY pastry bag. The cub doesn’t know what to think…

Donuts9

Grandma DiDI cut just one corner of the ziplock bag.

Donuts10

And squeezes the dough into the doughnut baking sheet.  See Note*

Donuts11

They are ready for the oven!

Donuts12

While the doughnuts bake, the cub and Grandma DiDi make the icing. Of course, it’s lemon flavor! One of the cubs favorite flavors!

Donuts14

After the milk and powdered sugar were added, the cub enjoyed the leftover powdered sugar. Yum, yum, extra yum!

Donuts16

The doughnuts are ready and the cub dips them into the icing!

Donuts15

And quickly sneaks a bite! Cub approved and such a special treat for a special girl!

Donuts17

Happy Birthday, Cub!

Baked Blueberry Lemon Glazed Doughnuts

Recipe from Flick of the Whisk

Ingredients

For the doughnuts:
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
  • 1/4 cup canola or vegetable oil
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 tsp grated lemon zest
  • 1 cup plain greek yogurt
  • 2 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 cup fresh blueberries
For the glaze:
  • 2 cups powdered icing sugar
  • 1-2 tsp lemon zest
  • 7-8 tbsp fresh lemon juice or milk(or little of each depending on taste)
  • Optional: sprinkles(Cubs favorite!)

Directions

Make the doughnuts:
    1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F and grease your doughnut pans with butter or non-stick spray.
    2. In a large bowl, combine butter, oil and sugar and whisk until smooth and fluffy, about 2 minutes.
    3. Add in eggs, vanilla, lemon zest and yogurt and whisk until smooth.
    4. Add flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt, and stir until combined. Stir in blueberries. Batter will be thick.
    5. Spoon batter into a large disposable piping bag or freezer bag. Cut off the end of the bag so your opening is about ½-3/4” wide (big enough for the blueberries to get through). Pipe batter once around each doughnut hole – the batter shouldn’t quite fill the hole as they’ll expand and rise.
    6. Bake for 7-8 minutes until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Let cool 10 minutes before removing from the doughnut pan to cool completely.
Make the glaze:
  1. In a shallow, medium bowl, combine sugar, zest, and 6 tbsp of juice or milk. Add an additional 1-2 tbsp of liquid if needed. You want your glaze to be thin enough to evenly coat your doughnuts, but thick enough that it will set and become dry to the tough.
  2. When doughnuts are completely cool, dip tops of doughnuts into the glaze and overturn so the glaze runs down the sides. Set aside for the glaze to set.

*Note: We purchased a mini doughnut pan and found that piping the dough into the little molds was difficult and that the blueberries were almost too big for the mini doughnuts. A larger doughnut baking sheet would work better.

Strawberry Nice Cream

Strawberry Nice Cream

The cub had a friend join us this week! The wildly talented vegan blogger Sophia DeSantis of Veggies Don’t Bite stopped by with her youngest son to make some Nice Cream.

Fun facts: Sophia and I met through a moms group when the cub and her son were just a few months old and the two of them are just 5 days apart.

Ice Cream8

The two started off by helping remove the leaves from the strawberries. Team work at its finest!

Ice Cream7

Now time to chop the strawberries. The cub goes first while her friend watches.

Ice Cream6

Now it’s his turn. The cub started sneaking strawberries and eating them.

Ice Cream9

Earlier in the day, we had cut up a few bananas in 1/2 inch pieces and put them in the freezer. We added the frozen bananas to the blender, but someone thought they needed to eat a few, too.

Ice Cream3

In go the chopped strawberries. I see you!

Ice Cream2

I think handling two toddlers in the kitchen has Grandma DiDi a little nervous. 😉 Next up, the Califia Almond Milk. This is not a sponsored post, but we really love their unsweetened almond milk.

Ice Cream1

Grandma DiDi helps with the blender – the nice cream is almost ready!

Ice Cream

After pouring the mixture into a freezer-safe dish, we served up their very own creation – “Nice” Cream! They wanted more, and more, and more!!!

Ice Cream10

It’s as good as it looks! So easy, vegan, refined sugar-free, gluten-free and delicious! A must try! Use our combination or try your own flavor – peanut butter/chocolate; coconut/pecan; blueberry/lemon… the possibilities are endless.

Strawberry Nice Cream

Ingredients

  • 10 Strawberries, chopped (about 1/2 cup)
  • 3 Bananas, cut into 1/2in pieces and frozen
  •  1 tsp good vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup almond milk

Directions:

  1. Cut bananas into inch pieces and freeze in a plastic bag for a few hours.
  2. Once bananas are frozen, place all ingredients into blender or food processor and blend until thoroughly mixed. Poor into a 9 X 5 bread pan and freeze about 1 hour.   Scoop and serve.

Note: If frozen too long just let it sit out for about 10 minutes until it is scoop-able.

Veggie Alphabet Noodle Soup

Veggie Alphabet Noodle Soup

Anyone else on an endless cycle of colds with their little ones this season? The cub has had her fair share of sickness. A balanced, healthy diet can help boost your immune system, so we are doing all we can to help the cub during this season.

For centuries soup has been regarded as a cold fighting food. To back up this theory, we dive into the nutritional benefits of each ingredient.

alphabet1

The cub learns about thyme and how to strip it. Grandma DiDi models and the cub follows along.

Alphabet2

The cub always smell new ingredients she uses. It activates more than one sense in the cub helping her to fully understand it.

Thyme: The flowers, leaves, and oil of thyme have been used to treat bedwetting, diarrhea, stomach ache, arthritis, colic, sore throat, cough, including whooping-cough, bronchitis, flatulence, and as a diuretic, to increase urination.

Thyme to eat up!

Alphabet3

Next up, the cub chops the zucchini. If you have been following along, you will notice the cub has improved on her knife skills. We’re so proud!

Zucchini: Already being an outstanding source of manganese and vitamin C, zucchini is also contains vitamin A, magnesium, folate, potassium, copper, and phosphorus.

Alphabet5

The cub moves onto chopping the bell peppers. Check out those knife skills!

Alphabet6

Along with smelling our ingredients, we eat them, too, to make sure they are delicious.

Bell peppers: are rich in many vitamins and antioxidants, especially vitamin C and various carotenoids.

Eat up, Cub!

Alphabetkiss

Grandma DiDi helped chop the rest of ingredients with a quick kiss to show love and appreciation for one another.

Onion: An onion contains fiber and folic acid, and B vitamin that helps the body make healthy new cells.

Carrots: Most of the benefits of carrots can be attributed to their beta-carotene and fiber content. These root vegetables are also a good source of antioxidants, vitamin A, C, K, and B8, as well as pantothenic acid, folate, potassium, iron, copper, and manganese.

Potato: Potatoes offer the body fiber, vitamin B6, vitamin C and iron, and are an excellent source of potassium.

Celery: The benefits of celery begin with it being an excellent source of antioxidants and beneficial enzymes, in addition to vitamins and minerals such as vitamin K, vitamin C, potassium, folate and vitamin B6.

Tomatoes: Are a good source of Dietary Fiber, Vitamin A, Vitamin E (Alpha Tocopherol), Vitamin K, Thiamin, Niacin, Calcium, Magnesium and Manganese, and a very good source of Vitamin C, Iron, Potassium and Copper.

Alphabet7

Once again, the cub tests out how celery leaves taste. Eat your antioxidants, little one!

Alphabet8

We added all the yummy ingredients to a pot to cook. Can you smell the aroma? Delicious!

Alphabet11

Grandma DiDi made her own vegetable broth and added it to the soup. You can also use store-bought. The cub watches with curiosity.

Alphabet12

Time to add our noodles. We decided to use Eden Organic Pasta Vegetable Noodles for our soup. Bonus points for adding a learning component to the soup!

Alphabet14

In they go from the loving arms of Grandma DiDi.

Alphabet15

The final product that’s filled with so much goodness. Add fresh lemon for added Vitamin C – a proven way to help boost your immune system and a brightened flavor in whatever you’re eating!

Alphabet16

She’s so proud of her dish. Extra credit: Happiness is also known to lead to better health! 😁

 

Veggie Alphabet Noodle Soup

Ingredients

  • 1 cup onion, diced
  • I cup celery, chopped
  • 1 cup carrots, diced
  • 1 cup zucchini, diced
  • I cup bell peppers – whatever color you want, diced
  • 3 – 4 small yukon gold or red skinned potatoes, diced
  • 1 tbsp fresh thyme leaves
  • 1 15 oz can of diced tomatoes
  • approximately 4 cups of vegetable broth (or chicken if you wish) *see note
  • 1/2 – 3/4 cups alphabet noodles *see note
  • Salt and pepper to taste (note that canned tomatoes have a lot of salt)
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • Add whatever veggies you want, spinach, Swiss chard, turnips, parsnips, etc.

Directions:

  1. Put oil in large dutch oven pot or pan.
  2. Add onion, celery,  and carrots and saute until softened (about 5 – 10 min) over medium heat.
  3. Add peppers, zucchini and potatoes with thyme and cook another 5 minutes.
  4. Pour in tomatoes and broth and let simmer for about 5 minutes.
  5. Add noodles and cook about 10 minutes (or per package direction of noodles).
  6. Season with Salt and Pepper to taste.

Note: I have found that packaged vegetable broths taste terrible. So as I cook I throw all leftover trimmings of veggies I have (carrot ends, stems of parsley, and other herbs, etc) into a plastic bag and put them in the freezer. I add to them and then put them in a pot with water and some fresh garlic, onion, peppercorns, bay leaves etc)  and simmer for a while then strain.  Freeze and use when needed.

Also noodles in broth will continue to soak up the water/broth until there is no more liquid. It’s best to eat soup with pasta first couple days.   You can freeze, but the noodles don’t always hold up well structurally, although they still taste wonderful.

 

 

Artichoke Hummus and Whole-Wheat Poppy Seed Crackers

Artichoke Hummus and Whole-Wheat Poppy Seed Crackers

Crackers and dip – pretty much the epitome of snack time. We try not to snack too much in our house in order for the cub to focus on eating meals. But when we do eat snacks, we try to make them wholesome and nutritious.

hummus3

The cub began by helping prep our ingredients. In this case – butter! Her knife skills are improving! Practice makes perfect.

hummus4

Colorful, large measuring cups make it easy for little toddler hands to hold. From the look on her face, you know she’s proud of herself. Mission accomplished.

hummus5

A bit more difficult of a task, but she executed perfectly. Measuring herbs and spices always has an additional step – stop and smell the aroma!  She was picking the spices this time by smelling curry and garam marsala.  She picked curry!

hummus7

In goes the agave syrup. “I can do it grandma,” explained the cub.

hummus8

The cub enjoys using her pink piggy spatula to stir all the  ingredients for the crackers. We needed to mix it until it became a ball of dough. The cub started and then grandma DiDi took over.

hummus9

After the dough is formed, roll the dough into a log, wrap in plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator. While the cracker dough chills, we started the hummus.

hummus13

Grandma DiDi heard that boiling your canned garbanzo beans first will help them blend into a creamier hummus. So after the beans boiled, the cub helped add them to our blender. Another fun task for her was watching the liquid separate from the beans.

hummus14

Measuring and smelling all the yummy ingredients into the blender. The cub dumped everything in and then stood back for the blending part. She doesn’t like how it makes such a loud noise.

hummus10

Cracker dough is ready. Slice into 1/8 inch rounds and place on a lined baking sheet.

Hummus12

After placing them on a prepared baking sheet, sprinkle the tops with poppy seeds. The cub took this task very seriously and kept asking us to look at her work. “Good job, honey!” Pop them in the oven and then it’s time to eat!

hummus15

As soon as the crackers cooled, the cub dove right in!

hummus16

So yummy!

Hummus17

Make some for your cub at home and feel confident you are feeding them whole ingredients, with no crazy additives you find in so many products these days. Dive in!

Artichoke Hummus and Whole-Wheat and Poppy Seed Crackers
(Cracker recipe adapted from Vegetarian Heartland )

Artichoke Hummus

Ingredients

  • 1 can garbanzo beans
  • 1 tbsp. tahini
  • 1/4 tsp cumin
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 lemon juiced –  or more to taste
  • 1/4 cup marinated artichoke hearts
  • 1 clove garlic or more to taste
  • 1/2 bay leaf
  • salt to taste
  • olive oil

Directions

  1. Heat garbanzo beans in juice with garlic and bay leaf at a simmer for 20 mins
  2. Remove bay leaf
  3. Strain beans and garlic into blender, reserving 1 Tbsp or more liquid for blender
  4. Add all other ingredients to blender and mix well until creamy
  5. To serve drizzle with good quality olive oil

Note: Store in air-tight container for up to a week in the fridge.

Whole-Wheat Pumpkin and Poppy Seed Crackers 

Ingredients

  • 1 cup whole-wheat flour
  • 1/2 tsp poppy seed, plus more for sprinkling
  • 1/2 tsp ground spice of choice – we chose curry but you can use spice of choice, even cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp fine sea salt
  • 1 Tbsp agave
  • 4 Tbsp cold unsalted butter, cut into small cubes
  • 1/4 cup canned pumpkin puree

Directions

  1. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees
  2. Measure all dry ingredients into bowl.  
  3. Work cubes of butter into dry ingredients with pastry cutter or fork until they are incorporated well into dry small particles
  4. Add pumpkin and mix well into ball
  5. Wrap in plastic wrap and form into log about 6 inches long.  Refrigerate for 1 hour
  6. Slice with sharp knife into 1/8 inch slices and place on a parchment covered baking sheet
  7. Sprinkle with more poppy seeds
  8. Bake 15 – 20 min until edges start to brown

Pear Chips

Pear Chips

In ancient China, people believed that pears represented immortality and prosperity because pear trees live for a long time. We couldn’t think of a better post to start off 2018 than a recipe symbolizing prosperity in the new year.

Pear1

The cub started off by cutting up the pear. Her slices weren’t exactly perfect, but she was able to practice her cutting skills and she felt engaged in the process.

Pear2

Next up is her favorite part, measuring and smelling the spices! This girl loves flavor on her food.

Pear3

And we always stop to smell them.

Pear5

And snack on our ingredients…

Pear6

This particular day was special because we had G-ma in town for the holidays. The cub enjoyed showing G-ma how she brushed the maple syrup on each pear slice. Some may have had a bit too much maple syrup. 🙂

Pear8

Quick break to taste the maple syrup. Finger-licking good.

Pear9

That wasn’t enough so she decided to lick the brush. *No double dipping occurred in the process.

Pear10

After the pears had been brushed with maple syrup, we sprinkled the spices over the pears. This is the cubs best “salt bae” impression. I’m pretty sure that this could also become an internet sensation for this “spice bae” signature move.

Pear11

Dusting complete. Some more than others, but that’s ok. Embrace the imperfections of cooking with a little one.

Pear12Slow baked to perfection. Delicious, wholesome, flavorful and prosperous! The cub wishes you a happy new year filled with endless possibilities in the kitchen.

 

Pear Chips
(recipe adapted from Vegetarian Heartland)

Ingredients

  • 3 ripe, firm Bartlett pears, unpeeled and thinly sliced
  • 1 Tbsp. maple syrup
  • 3 different toppings can be used – see note
    • 1/2 tsp. garam masala
    • 1/2 tsp. cinnamon with or without pinch of cayenne
    • 1/2 tsp allspice and 1/4 tsp. black pepper

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 225ºF.
  2. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
  3. Thinly slice pears.
  4. Prepare the chosen dry spice ingredients.
  5. Arrange pear slices in a single layer on the baking sheets lined with parchment paper. Brush with maple syrup on both sides and sprinkle with spice mixture.
  6. Bake, flipping once halfway through the baking time until all moisture is removed and they are brittle and not spongy – about 3 hours.
  7. Remove from the oven and let cool. They should be the consistency of a chip when cooled.
  8. Store in resealable bag at room temperature for up to 3 months.

Note: We used the cinnamon without the cayenne for the cub but the other mixes are delicious for more adult/sophisticated taste or your adventuresome cub).

Paleo Peppermint Brownies

Paleo Peppermint Brownies

I have to be honest, I would not have thought to make a paleo style brownie a few months ago, but we have been exploring alternative ways to make sweets with healthier ingredients and I must say I’m completely blown away. These are just as good as regular brownies. Ooey gooey and delicious!

I also have a new obsession with Cheryl Malik’s blog 40 aprons. I found these delicious brownies on her site and knew the cub would love them!

brownie1

We started off our cooking session with a little snack – raisins! And an excuse for me to post a cute photo of the cub!

brownie2

In goes the dry ingredients. The cub has mastered this skill!

brownie3

After all the dry ingredients have been added, the cub likes to take a moment and observe the texture, color and smell.

brownie4

The cub observed how the coconut oil went from a solid, then a liquid after heating it. Fascinating!

brownie5

We always stop to smell our ingredients. Peppermint is a new smell for the cub and she approves.

brownie6

“It wont come out Grandma,” the cub explains! Grandma DiDi helps scoop out the almond butter from the measuring cup. “It’s thick, isn’t it,  explains Grandma DiDi?

Grandma DiDi and the cub completed mixing all the dry and wet ingredients and now its time to pour it into our 8 x 8 baking dish.

brownie7

“Grandma, am I doing this right” the cub asks? Grandma DiDi encourages the cub and lets her know she’s doing a fantastic job.

Grandma DiDi helps spread the mixture evenly in the pan and then it was time to put the brownies in the oven.

brownie8

While the brownies bake, it’s time to make the frosting!  The cub may or may not have eaten a few.

brownie9

There is a first time for everything. This was the cubs first time using a can opener. With a little help, she did it!

brownie10

After they opened the can, Grandma DiDi added the coconut cream into the frosting ingredients and popped it into the microwave.

brownie12

Once heated and stirred, the cub thought it would be nice to dip her bread stick in the frosting to make sure it was just right. “Delicious,” the cub yells!

brownie13

After the brownies have cooked, remove from the oven and let cool for 10 mins.  Pour over the frosting and add crushed candy cane! Almost time to eat. Let them cool completely before cutting into squares.

brownie14

I brought these to a dinner party and everyone thought they were sooo good. As good as a regular brownie and have a rich and gooey texture.

Paleo Peppermint Brownies
(recipe adapted from www.40aprons.com)

Ingredients

Brownies

  • 2 eggs 
  • 2/3 cup blanched almond flour
  • 2 Tbsp. tapioca starch
  • 2/3 cup Cocoa Powder 
  • ½ tsp. baking powder
  • pinch salt
  • 1/3 cup coconut sugar
  • 1/3 cup Refined Coconut Oil melted
  • 1/2 cup Pure Maple Syrup
  • 3 Tbsp. almond butter
  • 1/2 tsp. peppermint extract
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • Spray Coconut Oil

Frosting

  • 3/4 cup + 2 Tbsp. dairy-free chocolate chips
  • 2 Tbsp. Refined Coconut Oil
  • 1 Tbsp. Pure Maple Syrup
  • 1/4 cup Coconut Cream
  • 1/4 tsp. peppermint extract
  • 1/2 tsp. Vanilla Extract
  • vegan peppermint candies or candy canes crushed, for topping

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 325ºF.
  2. In the bowl of a food processor, combine almond flour, tapioca starch, cocoa powder, baking powder, pinch of salt, and coconut sugar. Pulse a couple times until well mixed. Add in 2 eggs, melted coconut oil, maple syrup, almond butter, peppermint extract, and vanilla extract. Process until smooth. Alternately, to mix by hand, combine dry ingredients in a medium bowl and whisk well, then add in egg, melted coconut oil, maple syrup, almond butter, and extracts, and stir until very smooth.
  3. Line an 8×8” baking pan with parchment paper and spray with coconut oil. Scrape brownie batter into prepared pan, push batter into edges, and smooth surface. Bake 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out close to clean. Don’t overbake! You don’t want the toothpick to be perfectly clean, but it should not be coated in what looks like frosting.
  4. Make frosting: combine chocolate chips, coconut oil, maple syrup, and coconut cream in a medium microwavable bowl. Microwave 60 seconds then stir well. Continue microwaving in 30-second bursts, stirring very well between each burst, until chocolate is just melted. Stir in peppermint and vanilla extracts, then pour over still-warm brownies. Let cool slightly then top with crushed peppermint candies. Let cool completely before cutting. If frosting is not solidifying, chill for about an hour to harden. Cut into 16 square and keep in an airtight container about 4 days.

Apple Granola Bars

Apple Granola Bars

Kids are always looking for a sweet treat, so what better way to fill that craving then with one of these yummy apple bars. Low in sugar and high in nutrients! The cub thinks they are pretty great!

Apple 1

But first, a cracker! Grandma DiDi recently took a trip to Boston to walk the Boston Marathon Jimmy Fund Walk that raises money for the Dana Farber center and their fight against cancer. While enjoying the city, she stopped in to the famous Eataly and couldn’t resist this cute apron for the cub. Thanks, Grandma DiDi.

Apple 2

The cub helped by chopping up the apples for the apple sauce.

Apple 3

Grandma DiDi showed the cub all the spices that needed to be added to the apple mixture. In went the apples, too.

Apple 4

As always, we must stop and smell the ingredients. It’s part of what makes a great cook!

Apple 5

Stir it up! Then, Grandma DiDi moved it to the stove to heat until the apples become mushy and soft.

Apple 7

While the apple mixture heats on the stove, the cub works on the crust. To be honest, we didn’t add enough sugar to the first recipe and it was lacking in flavor, so we upped it and now it’s delicious. Nothing wrong with a little trial and error until your recipes are just right!

The cub added all the dry ingredients, plus jarred  apple sauce to form the crust. Once it forms, we transferred it to the baking dish.

Apple 8

We used parchment paper under the crust to make clean up and serving easier. Grandma DiDi shows the cub how to press the crust into the bottom of the pan in a nice even layer.

Apple 9

Over on the stove, Grandma DiDi mashed up the apple mixture and poured it over the crust. Spread it thin and it’s time to add the granola.

Apple 11

We used Purely Elizabeth Granola, maple flavor, but you can use any granola you wish.

Apple 12

After it baked for 20-25 mins, we allowed it to cool, then pulled it out of the pan with ease thanks to the parchment paper.

Apple 13

Slice into squares and Voila! Easy and healthy and perfect for a grab and go breakfast or snack.

 

Apple Granola Bars

Ingredients

  • 4 Gala apples
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp of cardamom
  • 1 tbsp lemon
  • 1/2 cup jarred unsweetened apple sauce.
  • 1 c. almond flour
  • 1/2 gluten-free flour + 2 tbsp
  • 3 tbsp coconut sugar
  • 1 c. Purely Elizabeth Granola (We used maple walnut flavor)

Directions

  1. Pre heat the oven to 325 degrees and line the 8 X 8 pan with parchment paper so the bars can be easily lifted out of pan to make it a breeze to cut.
  2. Make the applesauce by washing, peeling and cutting up the apples and placing them into a saucepan.  Add the cinnamon and 1/2 tsp. cardamom and cook over low heat until soft and mash with a potato masher.  Add the lemon juice and let cool.
  3. Make the crumb crust. Mix Almond, gluten-free flour, salt, 1/2 tsp. cardamom and sugar into a bowl and mix well with 1/2 cup of jarred applesauce.
  4.  Once mixture becomes more like a dough, press into bottom of 8 X 8 pan.
  5. Pour apple mixture from pan over the crust.
  6. Sprinkle the granola over the top and cook for approximately 20 – 25 minutes.

Cool and cut into squares. Enjoy