My son loves smoothies, this is my super simple go-to blend when I need a meal for him in a minute.
I love cooking for my family. I love knowing exactly what we are eating and knowing that I am filling our bellies with good food. I hate doing dishes, but that is a story for another time.
Typically I cook nice balanced healthy meals. Sometimes I completely throw caution to the wind and make something just because it is delicious. Fancy French Toast certainly falls under the category of delicious. It is made with good wholesome ingredients so it is incredibly filling!
First up is the French Toast:
For the bread I used a Challah loaf from Zingermans. Yes it is pricey, but it is local and absurdly delicious. For a budget friendly option you could certainly make your own or use another bread. We don’t make this very often, so the Challah is totally worth the splurge.
French Toast Batter: (may need to be doubled or tripled, I make one “batch” at a time because ingredients are expensive, don’t want any waste!)
2 eggs 2/3 cup milk 1/4 tsp cinnamon 1/4 tsp nutmeg 1 tsp vanilla extract
Cook french toast on a greased skillet over medium heat until cooked through. Coconut oil is an excellent cooking medium, we love the extra coconut flavor!
“Bananas Foster” Topping:
(Confession: I have never eaten bananas foster, but it sounded like an appropriate name)
In a small skillet I combined 2 Tbsp butter and 2Tbsp honey (raw local honey is the only honey as for as I am concerned). I let them melt down over medium heat for about 10 minutes until nice and bubbly. Add a sliced banana or two to your sauce and cook over low-medium heat for a few minutes until the bananas are heated through. Serve over French Toast to your favorite people!
We paired ours with some sliced strawberries and Grahams Organics sausage.
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Bear with me, I know that making your own almond milk sounds a little “ain’t nobody got time for that.” I promise that with the right tools, making your own almond milk is quick, easy and so delicious. Bonus is that there is no waste and you know every single thing in your milk.
First up is the tools.
You need a blender and a nut milk bag. (Yes, I giggle every time I say nut milk bag because I am a 13 year old boy trapped inside a 32 year old woman.) While I am sure a fancy high speed blender makes this job super easy, I have used both my (now died of old age) magic bullet blender and now my Cuisinart. I purchased my bag at a local health food store, or it can be found on Amazon. You could substitute cheesecloth, but this bag is worth every bit of the $10 I paid for it because it is easy to use and clean.
Now, lets get nutty!
For this recipe I am using some whole, raw unpasteurized almonds that are imported from Italy. I picked them up at a local health food store. There is a lot of current controversy about “raw” almonds grown in the USA right now. All US grown almonds must be pasteurized using either steam or a chemical process, but they are all listed as raw. For me, I’m trying to stay away from added chemicals so I picked up these imported almonds. I have more research to do to find out what brands use which method, because I like to buy homegrown products. If anybody knows a good source for this information I would love to hear from you!
Soak your almonds
I add about 1 cup of raw almonds to a quart size canning jar and fill with water. I have no idea if this should sit at room temp or in the fridge, so I opt for the fridge (side note: I also store all my nuts in the fridge to help keep them fresh) The water soak will help plump up the almonds and get them ready to blend.
After an overnight soak, rinse and drain the almonds. Add the rinsed almonds to your blender with 3-4 cups of fresh water. Blend blend blend. How long will depend on your blender. I probably do about 2 minutes total. Once I can see that all the almond bits are tiny and my blender doesn’t sound like it is chopping anything anymore.
Now you will pour the contents of your blender through the nut milk bag. I use a 4 cup Pyrex measuring cup for this and it works perfectly. Drain all the liquid out of the bag by squeezing. I’ve never milked a cow but I imagine the process is somewhat similar. Make sure you squeeze all the liquid out, the creamiest milk is in those last few squeezes.
I pour the milk into a quart size canning jar for storage. There will be some settling as it sits in the fridge so be sure to shake it gently before pouring a glass.
What will you add?
I use my almond milk pretty exclusively for smoothies so I don’t add any sweeteners or flavors. Your imagination is your only limit for what you could add. Try different nuts, add some coconut, maybe some vanilla or dates.
What about the leftovers?
You will be left with some almond pulp in your bag. This is basically wet almond meal. You could use it in muffins or granola. There are tons of Paleo recipes on the internet that call for almond meal. You can dry it for a few hours in your oven on the lowest setting and store it in the freezer. I always err on the side of caution for food safety which is why even after drying I suggest the freezer.
For some people, camping is a free for all of hamburgers, hot dogs and chips. Others may eat only beef jerky and dried fruit. My family falls somewhere in the middle. We like our junk, but we also love our veggies. For us, camping is a mixture of goodies and real food. This past weekend we camped at the beautiful Waterloo State Park. We arrived Friday evening and left Sunday afternoon. Here’s a rundown of our food:
Taco/Nacho Bar. My mother cooked taco meat prior to the trip and had it ready in her freezer. We also had some pre-chopped veggies, cheese, prepared guacamole, etc. My parents have a camper and heated up the meat and some beans in their trailer. If you are a tent camper (like me!) this would be just as good cold! It was an excellent first night meal because it was simple and we didn’t have to cook.
Breakfast was some cold cereal with almond milk, massive amounts of coffee, orange juice and some doughnuts. I think I gave local toddler a pouch of fruit puree and he had one of those shelf stable boxes of milk that Horizon Organic makes in addition to some cereal.
Lunch was a picnic.
We made sandwiches on whole wheat bread. Local toddler and I had turkey lunchmeat with guacamole. Other family members had peanut butter and some of our low sugar strawberry jam. We also had some melon that was cut up prior to the trip and some chips. Great Lakes potato chip company kettle chips to be exact. Oh My Yum.
Dinner was awesome.
My mom cooked potato pierogies in a crock pot. On the grill we had chicken kebobs (chicken was cut and skewered prior to trip) brushed with cherry BBQ sauce, along with some smoked sausage. In an electric frying pan I stir fried carrots, squash, broccoli, bell and banana peppers, green beans and onion. I seasoned with some season salt I found in my moms camper and after cooking I tossed with a little toasted sesame oil.
Late night snacks! We made smores and pie iron pies over the fire. We used some canned cherry pie filling and whole wheat bread. My dad and I combined our smores and pie irons with bread, chocolate peanut butter, and a few marshmallows. My grandmother also brought some brownies she made that we ate with a little coconut rum. Nobody in my family is a particularly big drinker but when we camp we always have our coconut rum brownies!
Sunday morning breakfast was the meal that I was in charge of planning and local hubby cooked.
I brought two packages of Smoking goose applewood bacon, all the chicken eggs I had in my house (my extended family isn’t as adventurous as us about turkey or duck eggs) and some frozen hash browns. We cooked everything in an electric frying pan. We also had the leftover veggies from the previous night and some leftover fruit. Oh and like 24 cups of coffee. Tent camping with a toddler automatically increases our coffee consumption x10.
It was a fantastic trip! I love the outdoors but I will be the first to admit I’m not terribly outdoorsy or rustic. I like modern conveniences like running water and electricity. Camping like this is a perfect vacation for me! One last photo! My mom just texted me a cute picture of my guys setting up our tent:
Hello there real foodies. Today I’m bring you two similar recipes that are not mine. There are many people practicing a Paleo or Primal eating plan, and many people who avoid gluten. Then, there are some of us (me) that are just a little lazy and headlines like “two ingredient pancake” make us jump for joy. Two lovely ladies; Jennifer from Wine to Weightlifting and Sarah from Less Sugar, More Spice, recently posted recipes for a simple pancake.
Jennifer admits that in the strictest sense, these are not Paleo because pancakes are a “bad” food, but all the ingredients (all two of them) are indeed Paleo. She also assures you these are easy because she is “lazy.” Because those crazy Crossfit people are definitely “lazy” in my book 😉
Sarah describes her pancakes as kitchen magic. She adds a third ingredient for some extra protein and makes healthy pancakes. Now, I think pancakes deserve their own food group, so add healthy to the label and I’m sold. I will be over for breakfast tomorrow Sarah!
These also make excellent toddler chow. Ever met a kid that didn’t like pancakes? I made a batch with a spoonful of peanut butter (he’s 2 and ok with peanut butter, follow your discretion about young children and nut products) and local toddler ate all three pancakes.
Substitutions: I know I have some readers that don’t do bananas. In my head, this recipe will work perfectly with a sweet potato instead of the banana. I didn’t have any sweet potatoes around (gasp!) to try it out. I tried it many, many ways with canned pumpkin and it didn’t work. At all… My dog, however, got her fill of pumpkin blobs. For the vegans, I’m not well versed enough on egg substitution to try this one. If you do, please let me know in the comments!
I got into juicing after watching “Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead.” Great documentary, and gave me the final push I needed to take the leap into juicing. Many people do juice fasts, but in our house it is just a supplement to our diets. Great way to pack in a lot of micro-nutrients, we do a ton of juicing if anybody in the house is sick. Otherwise, we juice a few times a week to use up produce and get some extra fruits and veggies in. Local toddler and I love green juices, but those are an aquired taste. Walking on Sunshine is a great into to juicing.
Making two servings of juice is my usual mojo. I usually drink some, save some for later, give some to local toddler, and make some popsicles with the leftovers. I have a cheap juicer from Aldi, I eventually will get this Breville Juicer. I really now have my eye on this Omega one on the recommendation of Grant. If you are using a cheap juicer, the best way to get the most juice is to re-run the pulp.
The delightful thing about juicing, is that there is no recipe. Just add whatever you like, but here is my basic recipe:
- two oranges, peeled and quartered
- two apples, cored and quartered
- 1/2lb carrots, chopped in half
- 1 red bell pepper
- 1 stalk celery, chopped in half
- juice of 1/2 a lemon
Throw everything in the juicer except the lemon. I don’t like the flavor of the lemon when it goes through the juicer, so I squeeze it into the juice.
Also makes wonderful popsicles
Local toddler loves fresh juice, but he might like popsicles just a little bit more.
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Don’t run away, I promise it is good.
But yes, I’m telling you to put handfuls of raw spinach in your smoothie. Such an easy way to get those greens in! There are tons of green monster “recipes” floating around the interwebs, here is my contribution.
- one or two frozen bananas. (see photo below for freezing instructions)
- two handfuls of raw spinach (when I cant get local, I buy organic baby spinach from Costco and freeze in portions, just shove two handfuls in a Ziploc bag and freeze)
- peanut butter (depends on how much you like, a spoonful gets the job done)
- milk, about a cup or so, depending on blender size. I use Almond milk
- add ins, whatever you like. I’m partial to ground flax seed and a little coconut oil
We have a Magic Bullet blender that I love (dishwasher safe!) so depending on what blender you use, your method might be slightly different
Place bananas and some milk in blnder cup
Add spinach, peanut butter and any additions
Add enough milk so mixture will easily blend.
Blend, blend, blend
I know, it looks a little crazy
I swear, it tastes like a milkshake
Clink glasses and say cheers with local two year old
Who will promptly demolish his and steal yours
Let me know how you like it. What do you add to yours?