My girl was invited to three birthday parties this weekend that ranged from a doughnut breakfast, to Fancy Nancy make-overs, to a 3-hour-round-trip-road trip for a special friend who has moved away. Being gluten free, we bring our own birthday treats so that the hostess does not have to improvise. My girl requested chocolate cupcakes for our main treat. I made the Healthy Hostess Cupcake recipe found here from Elena Amsterdam’s Gluten Free Cupcake cookbook. I topped it with a little homemade whipped cream and sprinkles linked below …
Since one of the parties was at Krispy Kreme doughnut shop, I decided to try a new recipe. One of my favorite healthy dessert blogs is Chocolate Covered Katie. The doughnut recipe I made can be found here. I changed it up a bit by using coconut sugar and substituted a gluten free flour mix for the spelt or all-purpose flour included in her recipe.
My favorite gluten free mix is equal parts coconut flour, tapioca flour, and white rice flour. I include 1/2 teaspoon of xanthum gum per one cup of this mixture.
A couple days before our party weekend, I announced to Matt I would make homemade gluten free doughnuts and
needed wanted to go by a doughnut pan so my girl’s doughnuts would look similar to all the other kids’. I saw the prophet look of disaster slowly creep across his face as he gently tried to refocus my energy and efforts into just trying the new recipe. He actually wanted me to just go to the store and buy gluten free doughnuts, which are like the price of 15 dozen regular doughnuts for four GF ones. Bless his heart. He is so patient and puts up with my crazy ideas when I turn our home into America’s Test Kitchen. So I dug around our pantry until I found a mini fluted pan by Pampered Chef that I have never used. I always thought those were really big molds for individual servings and it would take a LOT of cake batter to fill up each individual mold. However, my wheels spun furiously and I decided to repurpose my mini fluted pan into a swirly baked doughnut mold! Matt was so relieved. And so was his wallet. :)
I only filled each mold up to the top of the center “pole” in hopes it wouldn’t bake over the top. Doughnuts have to have holes, right? Unless of course they are doughnut holes, which I could’ve made per suggestion of Chocolate Covered Katie, but I like to do things the hard way. :) Or I could’ve tried to make them crème filled, but I think that would’ve sent Matt over the edge as I was already treading completely new baking waters in a very limited amount of time.
For the glaze, I used Chocolate Covered Katie’s recipe found here. I wanted to make a healthier version using something different than just organic cane sugar. BTW, did you know sugar is one of the main GMO crops in our country? Please always buy organic sugar or make sure the package is labeled GMO free, especially when feeding it to children. We just had a major organic sugar gorge fest at my girl’s birthday party a couple of weeks ago, so I was determined to try something healthier. First, I tried using organic coconut sugar for the glaze. It was SUPER yummy. But it was brown. Maple syrup brown. Not white that I could turn a pretty fun pink I knew my girl would enjoy while watching her friends devour brightly colored Krispy Kreme doughnuts. Matt actually claimed that this doughnut was his favorite gluten free treat he has tasted to date! My BIL swears by my gluten free version of Sprinkles Strawberry recipe. They will have to have a taste off sometime to give a final vote. :)
So I made a second batch of doughnuts and this time made a glaze with non-GMO Xylitol. I was concerned at first using Xylitol because it is a natural sweetener that is corn-based, another MAJOR GMO crop. But when I found a packaged labeled “non-GMO,” I knew this was our perfect, healthier version of powdered sugar! I threw it in our dry blade Vitamix and it spun into a beautiful white powder! I added a few drops of India Tree Natural Food Dye that is chemical free and added a few of their sprinkles for a little doughnut bling.
Here is my girl at the Krispy Kreme birthday party with her healthy gluten free doughnut …
This is our sweet friend from church who has Celiac Disease. Her mommy found gluten free doughnuts at a local natural food store. Smart Mama! Clearly they were yummy too!
Those eyes … they slay my heart! Gorgeous and so full of life and sparkle!! I could just squeeze her all day long. She and her family are moving soon and we will SOO miss them!! :(
The BIRTHDAY BOY!
This handsome little man is my girl’s Birthday Buddy: born the same day, in the same hospital, on the same hall. They’ve been in the same Sunday School class since they were toddlers and next fall, they will be in the same kindergarten class!!!! My girl says he is her best friend! Haha! This photo makes my heart go all a-flutter. Seriously … it almost brings tears to my eyes.
This is the look I get when I ask my girl to smile for the camera. Drives me nutso!!
Here is another batch I made with a more runny, thinned out glaze. I think I added just a bit over 2 tablespoons of milk.
Before glaze …
Runnier glaze this time …
Making it girly for my girly-girl …
A little sunshiney yellow …
And a little boy blue …
And a little confetti party fun …
And my favorite part about baking healthy treats …
Which one do you want? “I think I want that one.”
“No, I want that one!”
So in the wisdom of Solomon from I Kings 3:16-28, I do what Mommies do best …
I also experimented by replacing a little of the powdered xylitol sugar with a little organic raw cacao powder to make a chocolate glaze.
Hope you have a sweet and fun day!
And for those who want fresh, delicious gluten free/casein free doughnuts delivered straight to your door, check out the amazing Dorangela at Two Prince Bakery Theater! She has added doughnuts to her bakery business and is even in a Tampa Bay, FL local restaurant Daily Eats! Contact her for custom orders and delivery service through Facebook or her gorgeous website linked above! :)
The Easter Bunny stayed up really late to make these yummy 3 ingredient chocolate bunnies and eggs at my house this year. They were very much worth it. The recipe can be found by clicking here. He did substitute Maple Syrup for the Agave Nectar due to recent research that it may be just as bad a corn syrup. He was going to make organic peeps, but he ran out of gelatin at the last minute. Boo on the Easter Bunny. :( BUT, he did find some organic jelly beans and gummies that actually have a full 100% Vitamin C per serving. He found them in the whole bin section at Whole Foods, but you can also find them online here. This year was the first time my kids have actually had store bought candy, and for a healthier alternative, it was a huge hit.
The Easter Bunny also went through our garden and found a carrot to nibble on while he worked in our kitchen. All his bunny friends decided to join in on the party.
HAPPY EASTER & RESURRECTION DAY FROM THE MCCLURE FAMILY!
PS … The easy to use software and artwork I use to make these pages and party prints I feature here on my blog are STILL ON SALE TODAY ONLY! Click here for all the details and let me know if you have any questions! :)
I have been wanting to make homemade yogurt with raw milk for several years and I finally got the chance to do it this week! A friend of mine graciously picked up for us a couple of gallons of raw milk from a local dairy. It tastes amazing. Read here about the amazing nutritional benefits of raw milk, even for those who are lactose intolerant. :)
I was a little bit sad to use so much of it for this recipe, but I plan to visit the dairy farm myself this week to buy more. :) I used the recipe from this site and followed the directions using a crock pot.
Pour one pint of raw milk into a pot.
Slowly heat the milk until it reaches 110 degrees. Don’t over heat as this will kill the live enzymes and nutrients that make raw milk a SuperFood. :)
Remove raw milk from heat and whisk one pack of yogurt starter into the milk.
Pour raw milk into a mason jar. I had a little leftover, as you can see, so I used two. ;)
Heat a pot of water to 110 degrees and pour the warm water into a crock pot. Carefully place your jars of warm raw milk (secured with a lid) into the pot. The water should come up just below the lid of the jars. I placed a bowl on top of the small jar to hold it down in the water.
Cover crock pot with a towel and leave for 8 to 12 hours.
After 8 to 12 hours in the crock pot, place jars in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours.
We refrigerated ours overnight. The next day, I was so excited to open the lid, yet I felt nervous hoping I didn’t ruin an entire batch and waste all that precious raw milk!
It turned out a bit more runny than store bought yogurt, but it tasted even better.
We add ground seeds such as flax, chia, pumpkin, and sunflower seeds as well as nutritional yeast (Brewer’s yeast) to power up the nutrients.
My girl gave it two thumbs up.
My boy was too busy shoving it into his mouth. I’m pretty sure he liked it. :)
Every night before we go to sleep, one of the many things we pray for as a family is for God to “keep our bodies healthy and strong and protect us from illness.” By God’s grace, we have stayed free from flu viruses, stomach viruses, ear infections, colds, sinus infections, and everything else that is floating around. My kids are not in school yet, but they are in various classes and activities around other children 5-6 times a week. I know that our health is 100% in God’s hands and I am so thankful for the health He has given us thus far. However, I know He has also placed great responsibility in my hands for the health of my children and the food choices I make for them daily. I take their nutrition very seriously and purposely plan each meal with their health in mind. I am not a nutritionist, but I have learned a great deal from other experts and from much of my own research due to my health struggles over the past six years. Because I value knowledge and experience from others, I want to share a few things we are learning and doing to keep our family free from illness and to hopefully encourage you as well … .
#1. WHOLE FOOD, ORGANIC, NON-PROCESSED, GMO-FREE & GLUTEN FREE DIET:
As much as possible, we give our kids whole fruits and vegetables, mostly raw to not destroy any nutrients by cooking with heat. And we buy as much organic food as our little budget can afford. We either juice raw produce or make fruit and veggie smoothies almost every day to give them a wide nutritional variety, concentrating mostly on Super Greens such as kale, spinach, and chard, as well as carrots, celery, berries, lemons and limes. This ensures they get a balance of vitamin C, A, calcium and antioxidants. Being a gluten free family, we are also avoiding the inflammatory response grains produce that lead to many illnesses. We also avoid GMOs as much as possible.
#2. FISH OIL (COD LIVER OIL):
We have recently begun incorporating fish oil “gummies” with the most nutrient dense meal of our day, usually dinner. You can read the benefits of this by clicking here. Plus, my kids LOVE them and ask for them every day. :)
#3. BONE MARROW BROTH:
My freezer is full of homemade chicken bone broth and two batches of beef bone marrow broth are cooking right now in my oven. We try to give this to our kids once a day with their fish oil gummies. They LOVE it! Matt & I pour it in a coffee mug and drink it throughout the day, especially if we are fighting the sniffles. You can read the benefits of what we call “Liquid Gold” at our house by clicking here. A great chicken broth recipe can be found here. A great beef broth recipe can be found here.
#4. GOAT DAIRY &/or RAW COW’S MILK:
I’m so excited we have found a co-op that drives to a raw milk dairy regularly to provide us raw cow’s milk! You can read the nutritional benefits of raw milk by clicking here. We also give our kids goat dairy yogurt and add ground flax, chia, pumpkin, and sunflower seeds. You can read the benefits of this by clicking here and here. Dairy produces excess mucus and an inflammatory response which is linked to allergies, runny noses, sinus infections, ear infections, etc. We avoid all regular dairy and limit our intake to only goat and/or raw as much as possible.
#5. ESSENTIAL OIL THERAPY:
Every night we use Tea Tree Oil, Eucalyptus Oil, and Lavender Oil on our kids’ feet. This provides anti-viral and anti-bacterial protection you can read more about by clicking here. I try to remember to arm them with the oils before we leave the house for the day, but most of the time I forget or run out of time.
We try to provide our kids ample sleep each night and during the day when they need it. This is essential for a healthy, strong immune system.
Again, I am no expert. But by God’s grace and the little steps we are taking as a family to stay healthy, we have managed to avoid all the illnesses that have seem to plague this season so far. I hope you are encouraged and are staying healthy as well! I don’t have any photos related specifically to this post, so here is a little family portrait taken by the waiter at our annual Valentine Family Dinner Date. You can tell I took great lengths to
wad my hair in a knot fix my hair for the special occasion. :)
Hi there! I’ve been working hard in my kitchen to make a special treat for you …
Special organic gluten free treats for Valentine’s Day!
“Gluten free,” you say … “is THAT a yummy treat?” you ask …
My mommy’s gluten free and organic cookies are a VERY, YUMMY. MMM-MMM …
MMMM! A very yummmeeee treat!
Would you like me to share them with you?
This one looks good, right here …
I will pour you some tea too …
Now, take a bite … do you like it?
Ohhhh, Haley does! See her face? My mommy says that is her sugar-coma face.
Now, for the true test of the yum-yum factor … my baby brother will try one out.
Take a BIG bite, Bubby!
I think he likes it! He really likes it!
Here Daddy! I will share one with you …
‘Cuz you’re my REAL Valentine. :)
Yep. My gluten free organic sugar cookie treats are the best! My mommy will share her recipe with you at the end of this post. :)
Melissa speaking: These are MY Valentines. My Love Bugs. My True Loves.
Tomorrow I will share the finished project I made with the rest of the photos from this photo shoot and another I did last Saturday. :)
GLUTEN FREE SUGAR COOKIES
(adapted from EASY GLUTEN FREE BAKING cookbook found here)
2 1/2 cups of white rice flour, plus more for dusting
1 cup of sweet rice flour
1/2 cup of tapioca starch
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons xanthan gum
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) butter, softened
1 1/2 cups of granulated sugar (I used coconut sugar)
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/4 cup water, as needed
Icing (optional) I googled Martha Stewarts Royal Icing recipe
1. In medium bowl, whisk together dry ingredients.
2. In large bowl, cream (on medium speed) butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs, 1 at a time, blending well after each addition. Add dry ingredients and vanilla, alternating a little at a time; blend until a dough forms. (If a sandy mass forms instead of a dough all, add 1/4 cup water and mix for 30 seconds. If dough comes together on its own, omit the water from recipe).
3 .Divide the dough in half. Pat dough into rounds, wrap tightly with plastic wrap, and chill for 4 hours or overnight. (I usually put 1/2 of dough in the freezer for another time, wrapping tightly).
4. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Remove dough from the refrigerator and allow to stand at room temperature for 15 minutes. Get ready to work your arm muscles. Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper.
5. Generously dust a clean, dry work surface with rice flour. Roll dough about 1/4 inch thick. This is a great stress reliever and arm workout. Take a few deep breaths, do a few neck rolls, then beat that baby down to submission, until she rolls out a smooth, even cutting surface. See link posted below for an easy tip ensuring evenly rolled out cookies at 1/4 inch thick. Using assorted cookie cutters, cut dough into desired shapes. Place cookies on prepared sheets.
6. Put baking sheets in the refrigerator for 10-15 minutes. This ensures they keep their shape while baking.
7. Bake first sheet of cookies until lightly golden brown. (Baking time will vary depending on size of cookie and oven. Mine bake for 11 minutes).
8. Remove cookie sheet from oven and cool on wire racks, 3 to 5 minutes. Transfer cookies directly onto racks to cool completely. While first sheet is cooling, bake second sheet of cookies.
9. Ice cooked cookies, if desired.
For the cheater’s short version of how to put royal icing on the cookies, see this post.
Saturday, I hosted a baby shower for my baby sister. It was so much fun! I will share more tomorrow, but today I wanted to disclose how my “not so smart” decisions can turn out to be the best decisions ever. :)
I wanted to make the food something a 9-month-preggo-mama would really get excited about. Anything chocolate was out, because my sis doesn’t eat chocolate. Her favorite flavors are cinnamon, peanut butter, and caramel. I googled and searched my favorite healthy websites and cookbooks and didn’t find anything that excited me. My goal was to make something similar to Panera Bread Cinnamon Crunch bagel (see next Monday’s post) and a really yummy, gooey peanut butter or caramel cupcake. And of course, the finished presentation had to be cute! LOL.
So THE NIGHT BEFORE THE SHOWER, I “married” Elena Amsterdam’s Paleo Vanilla Cupcake recipe found here with her Macadamia Nut Caramel Cluster candy recipe found here, and morphed it a little to create this cupcake …
Peanut butter-caramel FILLED vanilla cupcakes … grain free, gluten free, Paleo, and HEALTHY! And yes, they passed the taste test. They were YUMMMMMEEEE. :)
Princesses can patiently wait for their delicious cupcake …
Busy, growing princes can not. :)
So here’s how I did it:
I made the Vanilla Cupcakes from this recipe (doubling the batch, but not together. I made 9 cupcakes, then repeated the recipe to make 9 more) and poured them into 18 lined cupcake wraps, then set aside (do not bake yet). You can find the adorable Chevron cupcake liners from CraftsbyJilly etsy shop.
Then from this candy recipe, I melted 1/2 cup of fresh honey roasted peanut butter from Whole Foods bulk bin and 1/2 cup of organic Agave Nectar over low heat in a medium sauce pan. I stirred in 1 tablespoon of vanilla and 1/2 teaspoon of sea salt. I dropped 1 heaping teaspoon of peanut butter mixture on top of each cupcake and baked at 350 degrees for 18-20 minutes.
The frosting recipe is Sprinkles Vanilla Frosting recipe found here. I left out the peppermint and doubled the vanilla extract, and used organic powdered sugar. You know, Sprinkles? The famous cupcake shop in NY, Dallas, LA, etc? It was so creamy and thick. Like ice cream. :)
The fondant buttons on top were made with this recipe and tinted with this natural food dye (Confession: I had already made the fondant from a previous event and it was frozen in my freezer. Fondant keeps a long time if wrapped properly in the freezer).
Now here is a sneak peak of tomorrow’s post about my sister’s shower … it was seriously the most fun shower I’ve ever attended … except for my own, of course! :) You can see that the food label wasn’t exactly honest, because I decided to “upgrade” the cupcakes at the last minute! LOL. :)
My sweet friend, Cameron, who is married to my husband’s cousin, has taught me so much. She is who I thank for introducing me to the concept of how certain foods can cause infertility. You can read more about that by clicking here. Because of her, I have discovered how exciting and fun nutrition and health can be, and how we don’t have to conform to the consequences the Standard American Diet (SAD) brings.
We spent our family vacation at their house last summer and she opened my eyes to a few more ways we can “live brighter” and make safer choices for our kids. One thing I knew, but didn’t quite understand fully, was how harmful plastic dinnerware, storage, and utensils were. She is careful to use only glass containers for food storage and uses special chemical free dinnerware for her kids. When I got home, I looked in our own cabinet and discovered this …
See how the coating has cracked and peeled? I certainly don’t want my boy or girl ingesting that. Other dinnerware pieces we have purchased from Pottery Barn also looked like this. So I found these on Amazon by Green Eats. This set is ultra-safe and has no melamine, BPA, phthalates, PVC, or external coatings. It is made of 100% recyclable materials, which save energy and greenhouse gas emissions. I love all their bright colors! They appeal to kids and adults alike. :)
I was inspired further by this post on Elana’s Pantry site to “de-plastic” our kitchen and replace our storage containers with glass containers. I received a few glass jars as Christmas gifts and then waited to purchase the rest until our local craft store, Hobby Lobby, had them on sale 50% off. Then I labeled them with this cute washi tape I ordered at a huge discount from The Company’s Boutiques. The bright colors and prints make me smile when I open my pantry, fridge, and freezer. :)
The glass containers are perfect for my gluten free flours I store in the freezer. Storing the flour in their bags was so messy as the flours would spill every time I used them.
Now here is the little cuteness that greets me every morning. He always has a big smile, so I’m not sure what this face is about … probably daydreaming about being a football player, his current obsession, besides playing the drums. :)
And just like Sissy has to have her baby dolls and princesses at the table for breakfast, Bubby must have his “Mawnster twucks and twactor” as his table companions …
This little boy cracks me up. LOL. :)
I had another topic planned for today’s healthy post, but after reading this article on The Nourishing Gourmet’s site, I decided her words were better than mine. :) It seems that she and I are on a similar path toward health and wellness and have had some of the same health struggles. In this article, she explains how food combinations are so important and supplements alone do not generate optimum health. Much of what she shares seems to make so much sense. I began this journey toward health and clean living after experiencing three years of infertility and reading Jordan Rubin’s, “The Maker’s Diet.” That was almost six years ago and I still have so much to learn! I love how she begins her post and could echo her words a thousand times over. I can totally relate … :)
I have had so many great questions from you all on my posts, Are you really eating a nutrient dense diet? and The Diet that Cures Cavities. It is hard to know which issues to address first. I decided to tackle the synergy of nutrients topic today. But before I go there I wanted to make two points. First, I don’t want to give the impression that I am a “know-it-all”. I am approaching this topic humbly because I know that not only is there so much more that we all can learn, I also know that I am still grabbling and weeding through just a small portion of the mountains of information out there on nutrition. Secondly, the reason that I am so excited about talking about this is because now that I am starting to feel better from my treatment for anemia, I am ready to do better in how I feed my family. I am not writing these in the vein of “everyone feel guilty because I am the perfect mom and feed my family nutrient dense food at every meal”. I am simply inviting you to join me in doing better, and making plans for that end. And I hope some of the resources we are working on behind the scene help you do that! I am so glad that my PDF of nutrient dense foods was helpful to so many of you. I can’t wait to share more.
To read more of this great article, click here.If you have never visited her site, she has great recipes, many which are gluten free. :)