Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Easter Egg Hunt Ideas Without Candy

A friend of mine posed a question the other day about non-candy Easter Hunt Ideas so I thought maybe I would share a few of my ideas but would love to hear yours. Easter in our home is really about the gift that Jesus gave us and this is not to be overshadowed but bunnies, eggs and candy. Our home, church and their school really surround them with the true celebration for Easter and I can't give enough thanks for the love we have been given.
Since Easter is such a celebration, we do enjoy having a little fun with the girls.  Every year we have set up an egg hunt for the girls and their cousins.  They may find one or two pieces of dark chocolate in an egg but for the most part there are filled with other fun ideas.
 

Here are a few ideas of things that we have put in our eggs:

  1. coins (who doesn't like adding to a piggy bank)
  2. tattoos
  3. barrettes
  4. hair elastics
  5. lip gloss
  6. nail polish
  7. socks 
  8. shoe laces
  9. band-aids
  10. beads
  11. glow sticks
  12. lego
  13. play-doh
  14. seeds for the garden
  15. pieces of a puzzle
  16. notes of things to do (give out a hug, jumping jacks, act like a tiger etc.)
  17. questions about the Easter story
  18. notes of where to find another egg
  19. pieces of a treasure map to find a larger treasure (I tend to use practical ideas for the treasure ie. night light, crafts, markers, outside toys, games, books, new bathing suit)

 

Monday, March 30, 2015

Creamy "Ceasar" Dressing (Dairy Free)

After a busy weekend and having eaten not a typical diet for us, I decided to make a hearty salad for lunch.  Salads are great meal when combined with a lot of greens, some protein and fresh vegetables and herbs.  It is the dressing that can often make salads, not so great anymore.  This dressing is rich and creamy, yet lower in refined fats and higher in fibre.  Go ahead enjoy!   
Ingredients (makes approximately 1 cup)
  • 1 cup soaked raw cashews*  
  • 1 cup water 
  • 1 lime juiced
  • 1 clove garlic 
  • 1 tablespoon chopped onion or 1 teaspoon onion powder
  •  teaspoon dried parsley or use 1/2 tablespoon fresh parsley
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil or use 1/2 tablespoon fresh basil
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon curry powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1-2 drops liquid stevia (optional)
  • black pepper to taste
  • cayenne pepper to taste


Directions
  1. Combine all ingredients and blend until smooth.  
  2. Place in a sealed container.  Will last at least a week in the fridge.

*cashews can be soaked 2 cups water for 1-7 hours to soften, this may be helpful if using a less powerful blender in order to get a creamier texture. 



Friday, March 20, 2015

Lemon Poppy Seed Buckwheat Pancakes (Dairy, Gluten and Refined Sugar Free)

We love pancakes in this house.  They are not just a weekend thing over here but we generally have them one other time during the week as well.  I like to make a variety of flavours using whatever is around; pumpkin, sweet potato, apple, and banana pancakes.  Recently we have added lemon poppy seed to the rotation. I love the fresh flavour of the lemon in these pancakes, it makes a great start to the day.

Ingredients (makes 8-10 pancakes)
  • 1/2 tablespoon lemon zest or 1 drop lemon essential oil
  • 1 lemon juiced
  • 1 1/2 cups unsweetened almond, coconut or cashew milk milk*
  • 1 cup buckwheat flour
  • 1/2 cup tapioca or arrowroot starch
  • 1/2 cup sorghum flour
  • 2 tablespoons sifted coconut flour
  • 2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 tablespoon poppy seeds
  • 2 beaten eggs or 2 chia/flax egg replacer
  • 2 tablespoon pure maple syrup or other natural sweeteners (optional)
  • for cooking ( I used coconut or grapeseed oil)

Directions
  1. In a medium size bowl, combine lemon zest, juice and milk and set aside.
  2. In another medium size bowl combine buckwheat flour, starch, sorghum flour, coconut flour, baking soda, baking powder and poppy seeds.
  3. Add eggs and maple syrup as well as lemon milk to the flour.
  4. Stir to fully combine. 
  5. Heat skillet with oil and pour desired size of pancake.



Sunday, March 08, 2015

Chocolate, Chocolate Chip Cookies (Gluten and Dairy Free)

My youngest recently had a birthday and wanted to bring something into the class to share.  I sometimes struggle with finding treats other children will enjoy and aren't filled with too much refined sugar and food colouring.  I recognize cookies are not necessarily healthy but are a treat so we decided to make a chocolate cookie and decorate with one smartie.  These were fun to make.  My girls loved them and apparently they were well received by her peers :)

Ingredients (makes approximately 16 cookies)
  • 1/2 cup softened coconut oil 
  • 2/3 cup coconut palm sugar
  • 2 beaten eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/3 cup coconut flour, sifted
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 tablespoon psyllium husk
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/8 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/3 cup dark chocolate chips (optional)

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 F and prepare cookie sheet.
  2. In a small bowl combine coconut oil, palm sugar, eggs and vanilla.  
  3. In a medium bowl combine, coconut flour, cocoa, psyllium husk, baking soda, sea salt and chocolate chips.
  4. Add egg mixture into the flour mixture and stir until combined.
  5. Place batter in fridge (if you don't want flat cookies) for about 15 minutes.  I didn't put mine in the fridge but do be careful, they do spread.  
  6. Roll batter into 1 inch balls.
  7. Bake for 12-15 minutes.



Monday, March 02, 2015

Happy Birthday! Chocolate Cupcakes with Chocolate Icing (Gluten, Grain and Refined Sugar Free)

My youngest is now 5!  Happy Birthday to our cuddly little bear. 

Today we celebrated with a few of her friends.  It was a busy, bug themed day.  Our youngest is is our little creature collector she is always out looking for lady bugs, frogs, snails, worms and even grubs. Thanks to Pinterest, I did get a few ideas for the theme.  Lady bugs became the idea for the cupcakes. Since we try to limit the wheat in our home as well as sugar and food colouring.  It can make birthdays a little more challenging, but I am usually up for a little "trial and error."

I revised my original cupcake recipe and am much happier with the results.  For the icing I used Chocolate Date Icing and they turned out really well.  The icing was great coverage and for the details on the strawberries.
For the Cupcakes

Ingredients (makes 20 mini muffins and 14-15 large muffins)
  • 3/4 cup cocoa
  • 1 1/4 cup palm sugar (add more if you want a sweeter cupcake)
  • 1/4 cup tapioca or arrowroot starch
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 tablespoon psyllium husk
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 4 eggs
  • 1/4 cup non dairy milk milk 
  • 1/3 cup grapeseed oil
  • 1/4 cup melted coconut oil
  • 1 teaspoon gluten free vanilla
  • 1 1/2 cups cook quinoa (approximately 3/4 cup dry)* 
Directions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 F.  Prepare muffin cups/tray.
  2. In a large bowl combine cocoa, palm sugar, starch, baking soda, psyllium and salt.
  3. In a blender combine eggs, milk, oils, vanilla and quinoa in that order and puree until very smooth. 
  4. Pour liquid into dry bowl.  Using a wooden spoon, stir just until combined.
  5. Fill cups until 3/4 way full.  
  6. Bake for 25-30 minutes for large cupcakes and 12-15 minutes for mini cupcakes or until inserted toothpick comes out clean.
  7. Enjoy!
* to cook quinoa soak it for 1-2 minutes to remove the saponin residue which causes the bitter taste and then cook with double the amount of water to quinoa.   Cook for approximately 20 minutes on a medium to low heat.

For the Icing
Again, this is not my recipe my slight adaptation  from Kelly Brozyna at The Spunky Coconut.  

Ingredients (makes enough for single layer cake or 12 cupcakes)

  • 3/4 cup cashews
  • 1 1/2 cup dates
  • 1 can coconut milk
  • 1 teaspoon gluten free vanilla
  • 1 1/2 tablespoon arrowroot starch
  • 1/3 cup melted coconut oil
  • 1/2 cup raw cocao or cocoa
  • pinch sea salt
  • 1/4 cup ground palm sugar (optional-if you prefer it sweeter)

Directions
  1. Soak cashews in 1 1/2 cup water for 2-4 hours to soften.  Drain and then rinse with clean water.  Set aside.
  2. Soak dates in hot water for 1-2 hours to soften.  Drain water and set aside.
  3. Add all ingredients to a blender and puree until smooth.
  4. Set in refrigerator to harden for 1-2 hours.
  5. Pipe or spread over cake.  
A Few Pictures of the Day



Happy Birthday!  I Love You!