Home Made Marshmallows (GAPS, Paleo, SCD)

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In this last month before Husband returns home from his deployment I’m visiting my parents in North Carolina, letting them get in another visit with Little Man. This of course means that I’m away from my kitchen- sad face. In lieu of my own experimentations, I figured I could share some of my favorite posts from other bloggers I’m inspired by. So, I absolutely love this blogger, Mommypotamus (a.k.a. Heather). She is such an inspiration for taking care of your family by doing the research and making things from scratch. She just did a “Top 10” post for 2013, which is where I found her home made marshmallow post (see today’s photo and recipe). If you’ve landed on my blog, you’re sure to like hers too- I highly suggest you check her out! Happy holidays!

Ingredients:

• 1 cup filtered water (split into half cups)
• 3 Tbls Grass fed beef gelatin
• 1 cup organic honey
• 1 tsp organic vanilla extract (or other) gluten free organic extract
• 1/4 tsp sea salt

Equipment:

• Pan, 8×8 or larger
• unbleached parchment paper
• stand mixer or hand mixer
• candy thermometer
• mixing bowl

1. Grease an 8×8(or larger) pan and line with unbleached parchment paper in both directions.  Leave some length to use as handles when removing your finished marshmallows.

2. In your mixer bowl, add the gelatin with 1/2 cup of water

3. While the gelatin is softening, pour the other 1/2 cup of water in a sauce pan along with the honey, vanilla and the salt. Turn the burner to a medium high heat, bringing the mixture to a boil. Place a candy thermometer in the sauce pan and continue to boil the mixture until it reaches 240 degrees (the soft ball stage). This will take approx. 7-8 min. Immediately remove from the sauce pan from the heat.

4. Turn your standingmixer to low/med. Slowly pour the honey mixture into the bowl combining it with the softened gelatin. Turn the mixer to high and continue beating the mixtures until it becomes thick like marshmallow creme (about 10 min).

5. Turn off the mixer and transfer the marshmallow creme to the prepared pan. Remember, if using a coating, add it to the bottom of the pan first before transferring the marshmallow creme. Smooth the top (add more coating if using one). Pat to smooth again.

6. If you are not using a coating then lightly grease your hands with oil and pat smooth. This will keep it from sticking to your fingers. Alternatively you can press it down with parchment paper, leaving it there till the marshmallows are completely set.

7. Coating options: Try all kinds of crushed nuts, coconut, almond flour mixed with spices, cocoa….

Also try adding spices, coca and different flavored extracts to your boiled mixture.

The possibilities are really endless!

When set, remove the marshmallows by lifting from the parchment paper flaps.  Cut to desired size and enjoy!

Healthy Baby? Common Toxic Chemicals You’re Probably Using

e66b15b2dc943594c15bf1614cb736cdMany parents purchase products specifically made for babies in an attempt to shield their child from unnecessary harsh chemicals that may harm their baby’s skin or eyes, or do so in an attempt to just be “healthier”. Unfortunately, many companies capitalize on a parent’s desire for healthy baby products without similar motivation themselves. Many products marketed for children contain chemicals that have been proven in many studies to contribute to cancer, organ toxicity, neurotoxicity, endocrine disruption, and many other ailments. Many of these chemicals bioaccumulate, meaning that they build up in the body over time, stored in fat cells. The longer these toxins build up, the more they effect one’s health. The graphic above shows the six most popular baby bath and body products along with the chemicals to check your labels for (and their associated health risks). A couple of my favorite products for little man are Natracare Organic Cotton Baby Wipes and Natural Way Organics | Organic Baby Powder Lavender– both of which I get on Amazon.

Make sure to do the research when looking to try out new products for your baby. Even when you’re at the store, it takes a quick Google search from most phones to find out which chemicals are a risk to your child’s health.

Pumpkin Spice Latte Cupcakes w/ Chocolate Cinammon Buttercream

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Woo! That title is a mouthful, but so are these cupcakes! I decided to get a little experimental and it turned out to be a great idea. These cakes are absolutely devine and this light, flavorful frosting is the perfect match. I changed both of the original recipes, but the cake recipe came from Annie’s Eats and the base for the frosting recipe came from Food Network. These are a great holiday treat, with all of the seasonal spices that makes you need just one more bite.

Why do I bother to make my own frosting? I do it to avoid all of the unnecessary ingredients that are harmful to our health. Look at this list of ingredients for

Duncan Hines Creamy Home-Style Milk Chocolate Frosting: Sugar, Water, Vegetable Oil Shortening (Partially Hydrogenated Soybean and Cottonseed Oils, Mono- and Diglycerides, Polysorbate 60), Corn Syrup, Cocoa Powder Processed with Alkali. Contains 2% Or Less Of: Corn Starch, Salt, Nonfat Dry Milk, Cream Powder (Cream, Nonfat Milk, Soy Lecithin), Preservatives (Potassium Sorbate), Citric Acid, Sodium Acid Pyrophosphate, Sodium Citrate, Natural and Artificial Flavors, Lactic Acid.

No thanks! I think I’ll stick to this version with 6 ingredients 🙂

Ingredients:

Cupcakes

  • 2 2/3 cup flour
  • 3 tbsp espresso powder
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • heaping 1/2 tsp grated nutmeg
  • heaping 1/2 tsp ground cloves
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 (15 oz) can pumpkin puree
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 cup canola or vegetable oil
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup coffee or espresso for brushing

Frosting

  • 3 cups confectioners’ sugar
  • 1 cup butter (room temperature)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons whipping cream
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon cocoa powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Instructions:

1. To make the cupcakes, preheat the oven to 350°F. Line cupcake pans with paper liners. In a medium bowl, combine the flour, espresso powder, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, clove and salt. Stir together and set aside. In the bowl of an electric mixer, mix together the pumpkin, sugars, and oil. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. With the mixer at low speed, add the flour mixture in two additions, mixing just until incorporated.

2. Fill the cupcake liners about 3/4 full. Bake until the cupcakes are golden and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, 18-20 minutes. Transfer the pans to a wire rack and let cool for 10 minutes, the remove the cupcakes from the pans. While the cupcakes are still warm, brush them 2-3 times with espresso or coffee, allowing the first coat to soak in before repeating. Let cool completely.

3. To make frosting, in your electric mixer, mix together sugar and butter. Mix on low speed until well blended and then increase speed to medium and beat for another 3 minutes.

4. Add vanilla, spices and cream and continue to beat on medium speed for 1 minute more, adding more cream if needed for spreading consistency.

Parmesan Chicken Minis

-2I found this recipe from Six Sister’s Stuff on Pinterest the other day and decided it sounded like a great idea. Chicken parm made in a muffin pan- genius. Though Little Man hasn’t quite made it to nomming on chicken yet, I’m pretty sure that this would be great for kids. It’s an easy dish to put together and doesn’t dirty up a ton of dishes- woohoo!

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound of raw ground chicken
  • 1/2 of a red pepper, diced
  • 1/2 onion, diced
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon of oregano
  • 3 mozzarella cheese sticks, each cut into 4 pieces
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup of marinara sauce
  • 1/2 cup of Italian bread crumbs
  • 2 Tablespoons of Parmesan cheese
  • 1 Tablespoon of olive oil

Instructions:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  For the topping, mix together the Italian bread crumbs, one tablespoon of the parmesan cheese, and one tablespoon of olive oil; set aside.  In a bigger bowl, lightly beat the egg, and add chicken, red pepper, onion, garlic, oregano, 1 Tablespoon of Parmesan,  salt and pepper. Mix until well combined.  Spray a regular sized  muffin tin with non-stick cooking spray.  Spoon heaping spoonfuls of the chicken mixture into a muffin tin. Place a cheese cube (one of the pieces of cheese stick) down in the center of the mixture.  Put one more spoonful of chicken mixture on top, making sure the cheese is covered completely. Sprinkle the bread crumb mixture on top of each chicken mini. Put the muffin tin in the oven and cook for 30 minutes or until cooked through.  Serve with marinara sauce under the minis or in a cup on the side.

Makes 10 Chicken Parmesan Minis

Ingredients:
1 pound of raw ground chicken
1/2 of a red pepper, diced
1/2 onion, diced
3 cloves of garlic, minced
1 teaspoon of oregano
3 mozzarella cheese sticks, each cut into 4 pieces
Salt and pepper, to taste
1 egg
1 cup of marinara sauce
1/2 cup of Italian bread crumbs
2 Tablespoons of Parmesan cheese
1 Tablespoon of olive oil

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  For the topping, mix together the Italian bread crumbs, one tablespoon of the parmesan cheese, and one tablespoon of olive oil; set aside.  In a bigger bowl, lightly beat the egg, and add chicken, red pepper, onion, garlic, oregano, 1 Tablespoon of Parmesan,  salt and pepper. Mix until well combined.  Spray a regular sized  muffin tin with non-stick cooking spray.  Spoon heaping spoonfuls of the chicken mixture into a muffin tin. Place a cheese cube (one of the pieces of cheese stick) down in the center of the mixture.  Put one more spoonful of chicken mixture on top, making sure the cheese is covered completely. Sprinkle the bread crumb mixture on top of each chicken mini. Put the muffin tin in the oven and cook for 30 minutes or until cooked through.  Serve with marinara sauce under the minis or in a cup on the side.
Makes 10 Chicken Parmesan Minis
Read more at http://www.sixsistersstuff.com/2013/08/chicken-parmesan-minis.html#5ImIR8srXttYkYdF.99

Sante Fe Soup

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So, I made this amazing soup/chili after my friend, Kaitlin, chief-beauty-blogger at Orange Lipstick, raved that it was the best soup ever and sent me the recipe. This is another great cold weather recipe, though I make it all year round. This is my favorite kind of recipe- it goes in the crock pot. It’s one of those “you probably already have everything you need in the pantry and refrigerator” meals, so it makes a great fix for those days that you just can’t (or don’t want to) spend too much time in the kitchen. (If you’re in a hurry, after browning the meat, just simmer all ingredients together for 30-45 minutes.)

While the recipe says to use packets of seasoning, you know I like to mix my own. 1 traditional packet is 1 ounce. I use this recipe for ranch dressing mix (makes 1 cup, so about 8 “packets” worth- I just break it up into 8 Ziplock bags for later) and this one for taco season (makes 1 ounce, so 1 “packet” worth).

Also, when possible, I like to use beans from Fig Foods because they’re available in bags instead of cans, helping avoid the scary stuff they put in metal can liners.

Ingredients

  • 2.5 lbs ground beef
  • 1 Vidalia onion
  • 2 packets of ranch dressing mix
  • 2 packets of taco seasoning
  • 1 can of black beans
  • 1 can of light red kidney beans
  • 1 can of pinto beans
  • 1 can of corn
  • 1 can of tomatoes w/ medium green chiles
  • 1 can of diced tomatoes
  • 1 cup of water
  • shredded cheese (fresh herbs, sour cream, etc.) for topping*

Instructions

1. Chop up onion and combine with beef in skillet. Be sure to break up the meat. Brown meat and drain off fat.

2. Mix together all ingredients in the crock pot- do not drain any of the beans or corn.

3. Cook on low for about 4 hours. Top with cheese, tortilla chips, corn bread, or sour cream.

*I use cilantro on top and absolutely cannot stop eating it.

Homemade Hot Chocolate

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During the holidays it’s easy to slip into fixing pre-made goodies. When it comes to hot chocolate, there’s no reason to! Your homemade version will be 10x better than the store bought stuff. Make up a jar of the powder mix and add in the finishing touches whenever you’re ready to warm up like I was today! Here in Colorado Springs it’s 2° with about 4 inches of snow on our patio. After getting our fabulous Christmas tree up last night, it just seems like time to break out the hot chocolate and really get into the holiday spirit with some Christmas tunes while I finish putting up the rest of the decorations. Also, my mug is a shameless shout out to my alma mater, Berry College!

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Ingredients
  • 2-3 tbs unsweetened cocoa powder (depending on how rich you want it)
  • 1 tbs granulated sugar
  • ⅛ tsp salt
  • 1 truffle
  • mug 3/4 full with hot water
  • 2 tbs of heavy cream
Instructions
  1. Combine the cocoa, sugar, salt and truffle in mug.
  2. Fill mug 3/4 full with steaming hot water.
  3. Finish with 2 tbs of heavy cream.
  4. Enjoy!