Summer Sippers – Easy Summer Drink Recipes with Essential Oils

Summer is here! And you know what that means, fun fancy drinks on the patio on those hot summer days. Yum!

Don’t you love sitting out on the patio, socializing with friends and enjoying that yummy drink? But a few yummy drinks later and usually your sugar intake is good for the week!

I love incorporating some easy seasonal natural flavors combined with my essential oils and not only have I reduced the sugary intake, I now have more healthy options to enjoy on those summer days.

Which Oils Can I Use?

Citrus oils are a good bet in any summer drink. Lemon, Lime and Wild Orange all go very well in drinks and add that little extra punch to whatever your drinking. Plus they are great in a pinch when you don’t have those fresh lemons or limes on hand.

You can also use oils like Lavender, Basil or Celery Seed to create unique or spicier drinks for some of those classics (if you’re a Caesar fan Celery Seed here I come).

Whether you are creating your own or trying out a recipe, using your oils gives you great versatility and options to create those yummy refreshing summer drinks.

A Few Recipes to Try

Whether you are looking for just a summer refresher or something with a little more punch, all these recipes can either be made as mocktails or with a splash of your favorite spirit.

Orange Martini

This yummy martini is lovely and creamy with the fresh orange juice and Wild Orange essential oil. Easy to make without the alcohol if you choose and just as delicious.

Lavender Lemonade

A twist on the classic lemonade, adding Lavender to this recipe gives it a softness and unique taste that’s pleasing to the palate.

Classic Mojito

This virgin version of your classic mojito from Jill Haverstock Nutrition is so easy and refreshing. I adopted her original recipe using 2 drops of Lime essential oil in place of lime juice.

Raspberry Limo-nade

Raspberries and lime are so good together. The lime really enhances the flavors of those already delicious berries. And I love that it’s naturally sweetened with honey (use local and get even more health benefits)

Of course the possibilities are endless! and you could basically take any of your favorite drinks and substitute essential oils in place of your fresh lemons, limes, mints etc. Why would you want to you ask?

Well one is convenience. Your essential oil is always on hand, you don’t have to worry about having the fresh stuff or having it go bad. It is also great for when you go camping, so hard to keep the fresh stuff from going bad!

Two, it saves money. When you buy that fresh basil for that drink and you either a) use it once and then the rest goes to mush in the fridge b) you have good intentions but then forget to use it all together and it goes to mush in the fridge. Plus your 15 ml bottle has 250 drops of oil in it, and when you use 2-3 drops per drink you can use it up to 83 times and works out to about 14 cents, which is less than what you would purchase fresh for.

Fresh is wonderful of course and adds so many things to your food and drinks, but your essential oils are great alternatives and so handy when it works!

So which Summer Sipper are you going to try first?


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Sugar Free Whoopie Pies

sugar free whoopie pies

Moist soft chocolate cake type cookies with a massive amount of creamy white filling inside…. these are whoopie pies and OMG are they delicious! Absolutely Divine!

Growing up these were a special treat in my house and needless to say they didn’t last very long. I could easily pop 3 in a sitting and unless you doubled the recipe there were only about 16 in a batch, so really in a house of 5 that didn’t make for many in your tummy unless you were fast!

When we made the switch to a sugar free household, sadly whoopie pies were one recipe that I didn’t make anymore because I had no idea how to modify the recipe. Being new to the whole sugar free world and substitutions I was at a loss. So they were left unmade for years. Until this weekend….

My youngest son and I decided to take the plunge and modify the recipe to see if we could create these whoopie pies successfully. We debated between using honey or coconut sugar as the sweetener, and decided we’d try one and if it didn’t work out, we’d try the other one later. I am happy to report we got it right the first time and now I can share these delectable sugar free treats with you! (I would suggest just doubling the recipe right from the start, I mean really why deny yourself?)

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Sugar Free Whoopie Pies

Cookie:

1/2 cup shorteningsugar free whoopie pies
1 cup coconut sugar
2 egg yolks
2 cups flour
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. sea salt
5 tbsp. cacao powder
1 cup almond milk (or non dairy milk of choice)
1/2 tsp. vanilla
1/4 tsp. almond extract

Cream shortening and coconut sugar. Add egg yolks and beat. Add cacao powder and salt, vanilla and almond extract. Stir in dry ingredients, alternately with milk. Let dough sit for 10-15 minutes.

Drop by teaspoon onto a cookie sheet. Bake at 350F for 10-12 minutes.

When done remove from cookie sheet and place on cooling rack to cool completely.

Filling:

2 egg whitessugar free whoopie pies
1/2 cup shortening
2 cups sugar free icing sugar*
1-2 tsp. of honey
1 tsp. vanilla
dash of salt
1 drop Peppermint essential oil (optional)**

Put all ingredients, except honey, into a bowl and mix together. Beat well and taste for sweetness. Add 1-2 teaspoons of honey to taste. Beat until light and fluffy.

**A mint filling would be delicious with these. If you’d like a mint filling, then add 1 drop of Peppermint essential oil. Measure 1 drop onto a spoon and stir into filling. Measuring onto a spoon helps prevent putting too much in! If you get two drops on your spoon instead of one then you can just wash your spoon and start again. If you measure it straight into the bowl and get too many drops then you’ll have too much mint and have to make your filling over again.

Put cookies together by taking 2 completely cooled cookies, add desired amount of filling on one side (and you can put a lot), then place the second cookie on top like a sandwich. Repeat this until you have all the cookies put together. Place in an air tight container and store in the fridge.

Note: The recipe makes a lot of filling so feel free to be generous with the amount of filling that you use for each cookie.

My kids loved these so much they are now requesting that their birthday cake simply be a giant Whoopie Pie! I’ve never done it in a big cake before but I think it can be done. I’ll keep you posted…

PS –  these also make awesome treats for Valentine’s Day! Satisfy that chocolate fest and treat those you love with these delectable treats. Maybe you could even make them heart shaped? Hmmm… I bet it could be done 🙂

sugar free whoopie pies

*Sugar Free Powdered Sugar (replacement for regular icing sugar)

1 cup nonfat powdered milk (for dairy free use powdered coconut milk)
1 cup cornstarch
2/3 cup Krisda Stevia for baking

Combine all the ingredients in a food processor or blender and whip until blended and powdered. Store in an airtight container.

This replacement can be used in any recipe calling for icing sugar.


Raw Organic White Chocolate

white chocolate

When I first learned how to make my own chocolate I never even considered that making white chocolate would also be an option. I was so excited about just making the regular chocolate that I didn’t even think about white.

It wasn’t until years later, when I was looking at making white chocolate macadamia nut cookies that I wondered if I could somehow create white chocolate? Of course it had to be possible, it existed, so someone somewhere would have had to have figured out how to do it.

So I poked around a little bit, did a little googling and had my answer within minutes. Of course when I read what needed to be done it made perfect sense. Why I had not thought of it myself, who knows. But you know how sometimes you need someone to point out the obvious to you….

The basic trick in making raw organic white chocolate was that you need to use another powder than cacao powder, that was white. You need to use the powder to thicken it and bring it all together, because otherwise you would literally just have the cacao butter, though the right color, on it’s own is kind of oily and tasteless, which kind of defeats the purpose.

white chocolateThe magic answer is simply, milk powder. It is the right color and consistency and the good news is, ANY milk powder will do. If you want to keep your chocolate dairy free, there are non-dairy milk powders such as soy or coconut to make that work. It was so easy!

Another thing to keep in mind when creating white chocolate is using a fresh vanilla bean will no longer work, unless you want little black dots in your white chocolate. Even regular vanilla extract is brown in color, so to keep it purely white, use clear vanilla extract instead.

Otherwise go to it! If you have already tried the regular raw organic chocolate recipe you’ll be able to white with ease. And if you are new to chocolate making, it really is easy, so you’ll be a pro in no time!

Raw Organic White Chocolate

3/4 – 1 cup cacao butter

2-6 tbsp Soy milk powder or Coconut milk powder (just a caution if choosing soy milk powder, it is not pure white and has a slight tan tinge to it, so if you want it more of a caramel color perfect! but if you want white then I would choose coconut milk powder instead)

1-2 drops of clear vanilla extract (use a pipette if using vanilla extract as you only need a tiny bit, adding too much can ruin your chocolate)

2 tsp. to start Natural Sweetener of choice (again consider color I find clear stevia drops are best or even white stevia powder – honey and pure maple syrup will make your white chocolate more tan or caramel)

  1. In a medium metal bowl add boiling water about halfway up the bowl. *a metal bowl is best as it retains the heat well but can get hot to the touch Place second smaller metal bowl on top of large bowl so that it sits on top of the rim of the first bowl.
  2. Put desired amount of cacao butter into top bowl. Cacao butter will start to melt.
  3. While cacao butter is melting, add clear vanilla extract. Drop 1-2 drops at the most into cacao butter and stir.
  4. Once cacao butter is completely melted add 2-4 tablespoons of coconut milk powder. Taste for desired level of chocolatey-ness. If you’d like it richer add more milk powder.
  5. Once satisfied with amount of coconut milk powder add natural sweetener of choice. Start with 10 drops of clear stevia drops. (You may choose another sweetener but be aware that if you choose something like pure maple syrup this may darken your white chocolate, if so start with 3 teaspoons to sweeten). Taste, if desired level of sweetness has not been reached, add 2-5 drops of stevia and taste again (1-2 teaspoons if using another natural sweetener). Once level of desired sweetness has been reached you have your base chocolate.
  6. For plain white chocolate, spoon your white chocolate into molds and let set in freezer or fridge.
  7. white chocolateIf desired, before setting add additional ingredients such as nuts, dried fruit, coconut, essential oils such as Wild Orange, Peppermint, Lavender, etc. Ensure that the essential oils you are using are safe to ingest, as not all essential oil brands are created equal and many have synthetics and fillers in them that you definitely don’t want in your body! Also if oils are naturally colored they may change the color of your chocolate slightly (like Wild Orange). Pour white chocolate onto a cookie sheet or into a pan to let set for bulky additions, like fruit and nuts. If using essential oils you can pour into molds to set if desired.
  8. Put pan or molds into the freezer for about 5 minutes. Check to see if firm. If firm you can pop them out of your molds or break it up from the pan. If not leave in the freezer for a few more minutes and check again. Chocolate is best set in freezer (and ready faster!) but may also be set in fridge.

More Tips for Making White Chocolate

*Be very careful not to get any water into your chocolate as it will not work if you do. If your second bowl sits nicely on top, this should not be an issue as you do not need to lift the second bowl off the one with the water in it until you are done making your chocolate.

**you could use a vanilla bean in this recipe if you wanted, but because it is white chocolate you will see small black dots in the chocolate. If you would prefer solid white stick with the clear vanilla extract.

***when adding essential oils to your chocolate, measure 1 drop onto a teaspoon and stir it into your chocolate. This way if 2 or 3 drops come out instead, it’s on your spoon and not in the chocolate with the flavor way too strong!

****when popping out the chocolate from your molds, use a cutting board on parchment paper or plate. Popping them out directly onto the counter not only makes it hard to pick up, but it also may start to melt as often times the counter is warm.

*****You could also make the chocolate with fillings such as caramel, nuts or other desired filling, in the middle. For this you simply put a bit of chocolate in the bottom of your mold, let it set then add your filling and top up the mold with chocolate and let set completely. If you wanted to get really fancy, make a batch of regular chocolate as well and make layers – have them be white and dark. White chocolate is also great to use for Chocolate Dipped Strawberries! In fact, I discovered a cute Halloween treat this year that are strawberry ghosts. What a great idea! Fun and healthy.

sugar free valentines treats

Making white chocolate opens up a whole new world of possibility and is just as fun as making regular chocolate. And now you can get even more creative with it! Who knows maybe next you can make swirls!

Mini Bites that Delight – Macaroni Bites

mini bitesI love mini bites! You know those cute little bite size foods that you pop into your mouth in one bite and are often bursting with flavor? How do they get all those ingredients into that tiny little compact dish anyway?

I had often wondered why people would want to take the time to make these itsy bitsy bites, other than the fact that they are cute and look pretty (and may possibly even impress your guests when you’re hosting a party). Making them looked like a lot of work and that I thought I would need to eat at least 5 or 6 to feel full.

Then I discovered how fun they were and came to the understanding that they are meant to be served as appetizers, which you are not supposed to fill up on anyway, and not full meals. They are also great for kids, especially ones who have smaller appetites as they can have one or two and feel full without having any waste – instead of having a bigger portion and not eating it all. It is also a great way to introduce new foods to kids as you are giving it to them in a fun way and again with the smaller portion size, if they do not like it the waste is minimized.

mini bitesAnd there are so many different mini bite recipes to try you’ll never run out of ideas. You can come up with almost any combination and likely be successful. So I’ve been on the lookout this month for mini bite recipes to try. Looking for combinations that I knew would work and then considering how I might create one on my own.

This week I started with macaroni bites, which are one of the more popular and common mini bite recipes out there, and usually a hit with kids. I loved this recipe as it has a super cheesy sauce and is simple to make. Also easy to make dairy free, these delicious bites will have you easily gobbling two or three!

Macaroni Mini BitesDairy Free (can be made gluten free if you use brown rice or other gluten free pasta)

1 c. elbow macaroni

2 tbsp. Earth Balance Vegan Spread

2 tbsp. flour

1 1/2 c. almond milk (or non dairy milk of choice)

mini bites2 c. Daiya cheddar shreds

1/4 c. vegan cream cheese

1/2 tsp. sea salt

1/4 tsp. pepper

1 egg beaten

Optional additions: bacon, cayenne, paprika

Grease well your mini muffin tin (like really well. This is the one downside of mini bites is those muffin tins, they stick and are hard to clean. Greasing it well does help but sometimes you have to scoop around them very carefully to get them out. If you can find mini cupcake liners you could use those and it would make getting them out and clean up a little easier. This may not work though if you want a certain look without the papers on them).

Cook pasta according to package directions, rinse and set aside. In a medium size pan whisk the vegan spread and flour together until melted and smooth.

Slowly add non dairy milk and bring to a simmer. Once simmering, add 1 1/2 c. of the cheese, vegan cream cheese, salt and pepper. Stir until smooth and creamy. Remove from heat.

mini bitesIn a large mixing bowl carefully stir pasta, cheese sauce and well beaten egg until pasta is evenly coated and mixed in.

Using a teaspoon, spoon mac and cheese into prepared mini muffin tin, topping each with a small bit of cheese.

Bake bites at 400F for 15 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from oven and allow to cool 5 minutes, then gently remove bites from tin.

The first time I made these I made the original plain recipe but I felt that they were missing something. So I would highly recommend adding in real bacon bits, or a dash of cayenne or paprika to add a little zest.

These are also a fun and easy recipe to make with kids. They can easily help with mixing it all together and scooping the pasta into the muffin tins. Kids love to help and research shows that if they help make it they are more apt to eat it!

Don’t miss next week’s recipe Quinoa Pizza Mini Bites.

What is your favorite mini bite recipe? Share in the comments below.

How to Create a Hot Chocolate Bar

hot chocolate barDecadent hot chocolate, topped with yummy whip cream, drizzled with chocolate…. something you usually only see at your local cafe or coffee shop.

But imagine creating this in your own home, or creating some other tasty combination. Chocolate orange, Lavender White, Peanut butter… oh so yum! This is the beauty of a hot chocolate bar – a simple but yummy idea that enables you to create these wonderful, delicious combinations to enhance your hot chocolate experience.

The basis of a hot chocolate bar is that you make a plain hot chocolate and then have a number of different toppings and combinations to choose from to add to your hot chocolate that make it… oh, just a little more. Good hot chocolate can certainly be enjoyed plain and definitely warms you all the way down to your toes, but these additions make it a little more lavish, make it a little more fun.

hot chocolate barIt is also super easy to set up. It does not take a lot of time or effort, the most effort you’ll have to make is to decide what yummy toppings you are going to use! I did this twice over the holidays, once for a ladies only night at my place and second as a fun treat for my kids and nieces while away over Christmas. Everyone loved it! It was super fun. We all had half cups at a time experimenting with different tastes and flavors. I had created a list of suggested combinations but of course you could pick and choose whatever you liked. Plus just looking at the spread set out was not only nice to look at but made you want to try them all!

We had chocolate pieces, peanut butter, orange zest, hazelnut sticks, homemade marshmallows (mint and cinnamon), cinnamon sticks, coconut and some essentials oils like peppermint and lavender. We even had a little ‘adult’ version – a splash of Frangelico, if desired for those over 18.

How to Set Up Your Own Hot Chocolate Bar

Start out with your own base hot chocolate – you can either do this by the cup therefore creating and meeting people’s dietary needs, like dairy free, sugar free or use the just add water powder mix. Or you can make a big batch of your favorite hot chocolate in the slow cooker. I have done it both ways and both have their advantages.

Pick your toppings – there are so many to choose from!

  • chocolate chunks
  • orange zest
  • peppermint stickshot chocolate bar
  • 1-2 drops of peppermint extract or essential oil (if using essential oil you’ll need to use very little but depends on your brand. Also make sure the oil is ok for taking internally
  • coconut cream (for the dairy free) or whip cream
  • peanut butter – word to the wise if using this topping advise your guests that less is more with this one as too much pb makes it sink to the bottom and essentially gets wasted
  • shredded coconut
  • marshmallows
  • cinnamon sticks
  • hazelnut sticks
  • dash of cinnamon
  • cardamom
  • cayenne
  • lucuma
  • mesquite
  • or….

Add desired toppings and enjoy! Use suggested combinations or mix and match to make your own.

A hot chocolate bar literally takes about 5 minutes to set up. When I hosted the ladies it was the easiest and shortest prep I ever had to do for a party. And I loved how visually appealing it looked before everyone dug in.

hot chocolate barThis is also something you can set up in your home on the counter somewhere and leave for a bit for people to enjoy. Of course you’d have to put some of the items into the fridge when not in use but for the most part many of them can stay out.

The thing I love about the hot chocolate bar is it can easily be sugar free dairy free and be very yummy and enjoyable. When my kids participated out of all the choices I set out there were only 1 or 2 that they had to avoid. The rest was far game. So it was easy for them to try different things, experiment and enjoy the full experience.

I also love the versatility of it. You can create one for parties, after tobogganning, weddings, birthdays, after skating – and because of the variety of toppings there’s something for everyone!

If you love hot chocolate then you’ll be super excited for the upcoming YYC Hot Chocolate Fest which I am proud to be a part of this year! Watch for more details to come!

10 Yummy Sugar Free Christmas Recipes

sugar free christmas recipes

Christmas is that time of year when delicious treats and baking abound. Everywhere you go, there is something else to indulge in, something else that tempts you. You try to resist, but …

The good news is there’s no need to deny yourself. You can enjoy delicious sweet treats guilt free this Christmas by creating one (or more) of these yummy sugar free Christmas recipes. Super easy to make and all naturally sweetened they are actually healthy and good for you – so you can feel good about what you are eating and indulge guilt free.

sugar free Christmas recipes

Coconut Balls – Healthy Christmas Truffles

sugar free Christmas recipes

Peanutty Blondie Bars

sugar free Christmas recipes

Chocolate Quinoa Cupcakes

sugar free Christmas recipes

Chocolate Peanut Butter Cereal Squares

sugar free Christmas recipes

Gingerbread Cookies – A Traditional Cookie

sugar free Christmas recipes

Classic Sweet Butter Tarts

sugar free Christmas recipes

Best Paleo Buckeyes

sugar free Christmas recipes

Easy Homemade Paleo Mint Dark Chocolate

sugar free Christmas recipes

Festive Gingerbread Protein Bites

sugar free Christmas recipes

Hermit Cookies – A Soft Delectable Christmas Cookie

Do you have a favorite sugar free Christmas recipes? Share in the comments below.

10-yummy-sugar-free-christmas-recipes-pinterest

Gingerbread Smoothie – A Christmas Smoothie to Indulge In

 

gingerbread smoothieI love gingerbread and thoroughly enjoy all the different possibilities during the Christmas season. Last year I discovered this yummy gingerbread smoothie!

Last Christmas I had the unique opportunity and pleasure to spend it with my parents all by myself. No kids, no siblings, just me and Mom and Dad. It was a real treat to just spend time with them and not have to compete with everyone else. Because no offense I love and enjoy the company of all those other people but the visit becomes different.

gingerbread muffinsDuring this relaxing and enjoyable time with them I decided to get creative and experiment with a few festive smoothies. Many of the favorite holiday flavors like orange cranberry, peppermint, gingerbread. Why not? I had the time and it was the holidays after all.

This is when I discovered this yummy gingerbread smoothie! I had already explored gingerbread waffles and gingerbread muffins and knew that a smoothie would be a wonderful addition to my compilation.

So as I do, I hopped on the net and researched some gingerbread smoothie recipes. I found a few that I liked and in the end ended up combining ideas and creating my own.

Gingerbread Smoothie

1 cup non-dairy milk (almond, coconut, etc.)

1-2 tbsp. barley malt

1/2 tsp. cinnamon

1/4 tsp. fresh gingergingerbread smoothie

1 tsp. vanilla

1 banana

1 tbsp. chia seeds

sprinkle of nutmeg

Place all ingredients except the barley malt into the blender. Blend until smooth. Now add the barley malt a little bit at a time. If you like the flavor add closer to 2 tbsp.; if you want it more sublte then just add 1. Blend well, pour into glass and enjoy.

Note: Make the smoothie and allow it to sit for about 30 minutes. This allows the flavors to infuse and gives you a much stronger flavor than if consumed right away.

Serves 1

The smoothie was a hit! My parents and I enjoyed it quite a bit and I love the fact that you have chia seeds in there. They have many health benefits such as high in nutrients such as fiber, protein, antioxidants and low in calories!

I did not drink mine quickly as I was multi tasking at the time doing a bunch of different things and this is how I discovered that if you let it sit the flavors become stronger. Because honestly at first sip I thought it was a bit weak in the gingerbread flavor area.

orange cranberry smoothie

Of course after the time at my parents I came home and made it for the kids. Also a hit with them as well – though their favorite was the Orange Cranberry Smoothie I had created.

Glorified Turkey – Quick Easy Turkey Leftovers

turkey leftoversOne of the many things I love about Thanksgiving is all the turkey leftovers! There are so many yummy recipes out there to use up my turkey. In fact, I usually buy a turkey that’s a little bit larger than we need just to make sure we have some leftover.

First of all I love just having leftover turkey, gravy and mashed potatoes for meals during the week. I also love turkey sandwiches, especially hot turkey sandwiches (smothered in gravy – yum!) Then there’s all the fabulous turkey recipes I have to use up the rest.

Our absolute favorite turkey leftover recipe is definitely Turkey Crepes, which we usually make a on Christmas Day in lieu of the big dinner. We decided to do this years ago when we experienced a super simple Christmas and re-examined what we really wanted at Christmas – what was the most important. Making a simple yet yummy meal frees me up in the kitchen and allows me to play and enjoy on Christmas Day. But I digress, we also love Glorified Turkey which is a quick easy turkey leftover recipe that’s ready in 30 minutes. Just add rice or mashed potatoes and your favorite veg and you have a fast healthy meal.

Glorified Turkey

Glorified Turkey is a creamy hearty meal that uses mushroom soup, onion and cheese and creates a delectable meal. I have created a dairy free version, which is super yummy, but you can easily substitute dairy in if you wish.

turkey leftovers2 c. cubed turkey

1/4 c. flour

1/4 c. Earth Balance Vegan Spread

2/3 c. almond milk (or non dairy milk of choice)

1 – 10 oz. can *mushroom soup

1 c. Daiya shredded cheddar

3/4 tsp. salt

1/8 tsp. pepper

1/2 grated onion

1 can or sliced fresh mushrooms

sprinkle of paprika

Coat turkey pieces with flour. Put coated turkey into medium sized casserole dish with melted Earth Balance and heat in 325 F oven while preparing the rest.turkey leftoves

In a medium bowl mix together almond milk, soup, cheese, salt and pepper.

Grate onion and slice mushrooms. Add onion and mushrooms to heated turkey and stir well. Pour liquid mixture over turkey and sprinkle with paprika.

Bake at 325 F for 30 minutes. Serve with rice or mashed potatoes and your favorite vegetable for a perfect meal.

Serves 4

*I usually make my own mushroom soup, which is dairy free and fabulous btw – 3 kinds of mushrooms, creamy and thick. I also love that the recipe has lima beans in it. But you certainly don’t have to. Canned soup works just as well depending on your own dietary needs.

The kids love this dish! In fact we had it the other night and Luke expressed how he “Loved this dish!” and asked for some more. He even hoped there was leftovers and was asking if he could have that for supper the next day.

You can also get a little creative with this dish by using a variety of cheeses – mix of dairy free mozza, cheddar and even gouda. If you enjoy mushrooms you can increase the amount to suit your desire. The thing I love about this recipe is that it is a totally different taste from the regular turkey dinner and leftovers and how quick it is to make!

A Plethora of Apples – Yummy Apple Recipes for Your Fall Harvest

apple recipes

Each Fall we end up with an abundance of fresh apples. Whether it be from our own tree or given to us by the grandparents we usually have large buckets of them. As a result over the years I have created and tested many different apple recipes to make use of all these delicious apples. Of course we make the traditional apple crumble and pie, but as yummy as that is, we do like a little variety. And I do like to experiment.

The kids love just coming home and grabbing a fresh apple from the bucket to enjoy. In fact they eat so many apples that you would think that we might actually make a dent in them. Unfortunately this is not the case – so baking it is! (and other creative uses)

I found and/ or developed a number of dairy free, sugar free and even some gluten free recipes that use apples. Giving us lots to choose from and enjoying whatever suits us on any particular day. I am still on the hunt though for a recipe that uses a large quantity of apples at once, as many of these recipes use maybe 4 apples at once. That’s a super long process of getting through our bucket! Even when I double the recipe.

If you have a plethora of apples this Fall or are just looking for some yummy apple recipes – here’s what I’ve discovered and tested so far:

Yummy Apple Recipes

Muffins:

Cakes:

Crumble:

Pie:

Pancakes:

Smoothies:

Snacks:

  • Apples & Peanut Butter (simply slice your apple and dip in peanut butter)
  • Apples & Caramel Dip (don’t be deceived this is a sugar free healthy dip)

I have yet to try an apple cookie – but it’s on the list! and when I am getting towards the bottom of the bucket I usually start to make apple juice with our juicer, or even apple sauce (just boil the apples til soft, drain and puree in blender, add a little cinnamon and voila!).

What are some of your favorite apple recipes? Share in the comments below

Easy Afterschool Snacks

easy afterschool snacks

It’s that time of day when the kids arrive home from school ravenous and hungry, ready to eat anything in sight! They are poking their heads in the fridge, looking for an easy afterschool snack. Eyeing things hopefully on the counter, hoping to grab a quick bite to fill their tummies. You’d like them to have something healthy and with sustenance what do you do?

Afterschool is one of those key times when kids need something nutritious and healthy, but not something that will fill them up so much they won’t eat their supper. You also want a combination of options that they can just grab and go or something that they can easily make themselves, so you don’t always have to pause what you’re doing and make it.

I love that my daughter will come home and grab her own yogurt, simply asking me for a bowl (and if I just move those into a bottom cupboard I wouldn’t even have to do that) and she scoops it up herself. This allows me to continue either working or making supper without having to stop and get her a snack.

The best afterschool snacks are ones that provide essential nutrients and that energy boost – so snacks that include protein, healthy fats and are rich in vitamins are important. Even a little of sweet or salty to please the palate.

Easy Afterschool Snacks

Some of the snack recipes and suggestions below are make ahead, but once made go into the fridge or freezer ready for the kids to help themselves. They are also easy recipes that you can make with the kids (so they can help), or depending on their age, may even be able to make it themselves.

Peanut Butter & Apples

easy afterschool snacksMy kids came home one day asking for this. I have no idea where they got the idea but it makes a great snack. Gives you your protein and sweet. For an extra added boost add in raisins or pumpkin seeds.

apple, sliced

big dollop of unsweetened peanut butter

Put peanut butter into a small bowl. Slice apple. Dip apple slices into peanut butter and enjoy.

Granola

Pumpkin seeds are a great energy food. High in magnesium, zinc phosphorus and omega 3’s they are also a great source of protein. Honey, a natural sweetener, has a long history of fighting infections and being good for colds, to name a few.

1 tbsp. honeyeasy afterschool snacks

1 tbsp. Earth Balance Vegan Spread

1/2 c. large flake rolled oats

2 tbsp. pumpkin seeds

1/8 tsp. ground cinnamon

1 tbsp. coconut

In a small saucepan on medium heat, melt Earth Balance and cook with honey for 2 minutes. Add remaining ingredients and cook until golden. Let mixture cool for 5 minutes until dry. Break apart and enjoy.

Store in an airtight container to enjoy later.

Kale Chips

Kale is a superfood that is high in fiber, iron, vitamins (such as A, C, K), filled with antioxidants and a great anti-inflammatory food. This is a basic kale chip recipe but you can play with the flavor by using different spices.

easy afterschool snacks1 bunch of kale, stem cut out and chopped

olive oil

sea salt

Place chopped kale into medium size bowl. Drizzle with olive oil and massage the oil onto the leaves, making sure they are well covered. Sprinkle with sea salt.

Place onto a large bar pan or cookie sheet. Bake at 250 F for 3-5 minutes. When kale is crisp take them out and let cool.

Keep an eye on your kale as it may not take long depending on your oven and they can easily burn. 

Other Delicious Easy Afterschool Snack Ideas

tropical green smoothieSmoothies – power pack with your favorite fruits and throw in chia seeds, hemp seeds or flax for protein and fiber. You can even add in some vegetables like carrots or a handful of spinach. The kids won’t even know it’s there.

Yogurt Parfaits – 3 simple ingredients (fruit, granola, yogurt) this fun snack is something the kids can easily make themselves.

Veggies & Dip – my kids love veggies, but when there is dip, they eat them even faster. What kid doesn’t like to dip stuff?

Raw Chocolate Pudding – made with avocado (a great healthy fat and high in vitamin E), this yummy chocolate pudding will fill the kids up and replenish their energy.

Energy Bites – a favorite at our house, this peanut butter and honey in a ball is a quick easy treat that is packed with all kinds of good stuff. It is also a great recipe to make ahead with the kids that they can just grab and go.

Fruit & Yogurt – simple easy and fun to make, choose your favorite fruit and top with yogurt. And if you’re looking for non dairy there are some great non dairy brands out there like Yoso Coconut Yogurt.

energy bitesCoconut Truffles – another great make ahead and super easy. This yummy healthy sweet treat is made with dates, coconut and chocolate all rolled into one.

Honey Roasted Nuts & Fruits – this yummy sweet treat is rich in vitamins, antioxidants, healthy fats and protein.

Strawberry Banana Ice Cream – no dairy added to this ice cream and super easy to make! Just pop frozen strawberries and bananas into the blender and voila.

Afterschool is a time when you want the kids to be able to help themselves to nutritious healthy snacks that will fuel them without ruining dinner. And it’s a great way to start giving them a little independence. Make it easy, make it fun and get them to help create!

It’s also a perfect time to introduce some new foods by incorporating foods that they like with new ones. Make it fun and encourage them to try it. You can foster a loving and supportive environment to try it in; and with them having making it themselves and gaining a little more independence, you’ll have even more success.