Guacamole Dip

I used to be one of those people that didn’t like guacamole, or avocados at all. If it had the green stuff, I wasn’t touching it. I never really gave it a chance. It just looked gross. After we started eating organic/healthier foods, my taste buds changed for sure. I started trying things that I hadn’t tried in so long and it all tasted so good! Two things I still do not like for sure are mushrooms and fish. I do like clams, baby shrimp, lobster, crab, and smoked salmon is pretty good. And my husband likes tuna fish. Other than that we are not really seafood people. I know that’s weird living in WA. And it took me a long time to start liking crab and smoked salmon. As for the mushrooms, we don’t mind cream of mushroom soup as long as the mushrooms are chopped small. Okay, I have really gotten off topic here. ūüėČ So it is just¬†estimated amounts in this recipe. Just taste and add more if you need to. I never really measure. Guacamole¬†is good on a burger or in a burrito too. When I use it as a dip, I buy organic tortilla chips and I usually try to get gluten-free. This would be a great New Year’s Eve appetizer! I would double the recipe though. ūüôā

guacamole dip

 

Guacamole Dip
 
Author:
Ingredients
  • 2 large avocados
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • ½ tsp onion powder (or 1 TB chopped white/yellow onion or red onion)
  • ½ tsp cumin
  • 1 TB chopped cilantro
  • 2 small tomatoes-chopped
  • a few squirts of lime juice
  • salt & pepper (sprinkle desired amount)
Directions
  1. Mash up the avocados first. Cut around the avocado lengthwise and they usually peel apart easily. Then you can scoop out the seed and scoop everything out. And I found it easier to scoop if they are at room temperature (they should be kept at room temperature anyway unless they are ripe and you don’t want them to ripen more). I use a potato masher to mash up the avocados.
  2. Then add all the other ingredients and stir it up.

 

A Healthier Frozen-Themed Birthday Party

We usually have to worry about snow on my daughter’s birthday because there have been several years where it snowed and people couldn’t make it to the party. This year, we had to worry about a power outage! It was only out for about 24 hours or so but it felt like forever. Much better than our week-long-adventure without power though! So a December birthday…¬†perfect for a Frozen-themed birthday party! In case you don’t know what Frozen is, it’s a very cute Disney movie that just about every girl is obsessed with (my daughter included). Fair warning, once they watch the movie the songs will be sung numerous times and stuck in your head for days, months, years! ūüėČ Anyway,¬†I started researching Frozen-themed party foods. Of course most of it was dye-filled to match the blue colors from the movie. I continued to research and started looking up winter-themed parties too to get as many healthy¬†ideas as I could.

Here’s what I came up with (below). For full disclosure, I ended up ordering a regular cake because our power was out. Wow, I realized I used to have it pretty easy when I just ordered a cake or cupcakes and went to pick it up! Oh well, definitely wouldn’t want to go back to eating the way we used to even though it’s more work now. I decided to make the cupcakes later on that week since I already bought all the stuff anyway. So, why not experiment with making blue frosting since I had the time and wasn’t preparing them for a party?? Too bad it didn’t turn out. ūüôĀ I wasn’t going to experiment before a birthday party. There’s enough stress and pressure to get everything just right. I get a lot of anxiety before my kids’ parties. I want them to have great parties but with Fibro it is very difficult. I try my best and that’s all I can do! This year I decided to let Kailey pick one friend outside of our usual group of family/friends that go to all the parties. She picked a friend from school. So then I had a little more stress of making it a good party for her friend and parents. I have met her friend many times but not the parents. We are skeptical about letting Kailey stay the night with friends because she has had several seizures during her sleep. She could have a play date but it just hasn’t come up.

Frozen Party

 

Snacks
We made the cards to label the food using old cards that I had (they just had birds on the other side), paper that was cut using special crinkle-cut scissors, a blue marker, and Frozen Stickers. And we made them by candle light during our power outage, haha.

Olaf Noses (carrots with ranch dip)
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Olaf Cheese Sticks (cheese sticks with Olaf faces drawn using black pen, black marker, and orange marker)
cheese sticks with olaf the snowman drawn onIMG_5546

 

 

 

 

 

 

Frozen Hearts (yogurt covered pretzels)
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Sven & his friends (crackers covered with peanut butter, a pretzel for the antlers, raisins for eyes & a chocolate chip for the nose)
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Snowballs (popcorn)
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Reindeer Snacks (yogurt covered raisins) – I wanted to label this ‘snow-covered reindeer poo’ but my daughter wasn’t going for it, lol.
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Melted Snow to drink (water bottles)
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Other ideas: Snowman Parts (marshmallows for the body, pretzel sticks for the arms, raisins for the eyes, tiny pieces of carrot for the nose, etc. Marshmallows aren’t really healthy but you could get these that are better: Dandies Marshmallows) – they could be put together in baggies labeled ‘snowman parts’ or laid out on the table for everyone to build, Homemade Sugar Cookies Shaped like Snowflakes (with or without homemade frosting), Yogurt Covered Strawberries (frozen hearts), Snowflake or Snowman Shaped Sandwiches, Broccoli with Ranch Dip for Snow-Covered Trees (or use cauliflower),¬†Pretzels¬†(Sven antlers),¬†Banana Snowmen¬†(banana slices on a stick with pretzel sticks for the arms, raisins for the eyes, tiny pieces of carrot for the nose,¬†Crackers with Snowflake Shaped Cheese (just use a Snowflake Cookie Cutter for the cheese),¬†Lemonade (Olaf in Summer),¬†Snowman Shaped Melon (just use a Snowman Cookie Cutter), and there’s many more ideas out there.

 

IMG_5686Cupcakes

Funny story about the cupcakes. So I planned on making yellow cupcakes with pink frosting (because I didn’t want to experiment with blue before the party), and then our power went out. I just went in to a nearby grocery store and ordered a cake. Not what I would normally do these days. Well since I already bought all the stuff to make the cupcakes, I decided to make them a few days after our power came back on. But I wanted to experiment with making blue naturally colored frosting. The blue didn’t turn out. It turned out an ugly purple tint! I think it really could have worked, I just need to do some more experimenting. The cupcakes turned out though and were really good! My family says they are similar to cornbread but I don’t think so. They are more like¬†a cupcake to me. Definitely sweeter than the cornbread I make! And everybody still loved it and gobbled them down. To make the cupcakes, I used this recipe¬†but skipped the step on separating the eggs and just put them in whole, beating in one at a time. I also sifted the flour.¬†I was really hoping to have successfully made this and have a picture to show but unfortunately I was following a different recipe that was missing one of the steps in the blue coloring. So mine didn’t turn out. If I am successful one of these days then I will post a picture here and share the info. So for now, it’s just a picture of the cupcakes. ūüôĀ And I¬†usually tape stickers to toothpicks for the cupcake toppers but you could also do Rings. Or a cake topper if you are making a cake. You can also do just white frosting! That would totally work for this kind of party.

And here’s the inside of the cupcake:¬†
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Decorations

There are Frozen-themed party supplies at different stores like Toys ‘R Us, Target, etc. You can make paper snowflakes to hang. My daughter wore her Anna dress from Halloween and brought some of her frozen toys to setup. You can make labels for all the food. Blue and white balloons would work¬†great. Or here’s some items to purchase:

 

 

Games

There are many games you could play but we were at a bowling alley, so bowling was part of the party and I decided not to do games. Ideas: ‘Let it Go’ snowball toss (toss cotton balls into a bucket or bowl on the table), ‘Do you want to build a snowman?’ (pin the snowman parts on the snowman, or pin the nose on Olaf, like pin the tail on the donkey), and many more. Here’s some ideas:

 

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. If you purchase a product through an affiliate link, your cost will be the same, but Organic Fibro Mommies will earn a small commission (which helps to offset web hosting fees, maintenance, etc.). Your support is greatly appreciated!

Gingerbread Pancakes

Last year I experimented with different kinds of pancakes using organic ingredients. I made pumpkin, zucchini, apple cinnamon, regular, and gingerbread, to name a few. I think we started a new family tradition too, Gingerbread Pancakes on Christmas morning! ūüėÄ ¬†You could even make Gingerbread Man shapes using a Gingerbread Man Cookie Cutter¬†(make sure it’s not a plastic one). Scroll down to see ours, although we didn’t use a cookie cutter and just made the shape on our own. I think a cookie cutter would be much better, haha.

gingerbread pancakes

Gingerbread Pancakes
 
Author:
Serves: 5-6
Ingredients
  • 1½ cups flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • ¼ tsp baking soda
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp ginger
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • ¼ cup molasses
  • 1 cup milk
Directions
  1. In a large bowl whisk the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, ginger, and cinnamon.
  2. Make a well in the middle of the bowl (or use a separate bowl) and add the egg, vanilla, molasses, and milk.
  3. Whisk up the wet ingredients in the middle, then start mixing up the wet and dry ingredients together just until combined (lumps are okay). If the batter is too thick, add a little water to thin it out.
  4. Grease your skillet and set to medium (I use coconut oil to grease it). Once it is heated, add a big spoonful of batter to each area on the skillet, depending on how big your skillet is and how big you want your pancakes.
  5. When bubbles form in the batter, you can flip them. Cook a couple more minutes, remove from the pan and repeat until all the batter is used up. Best served with real butter and 100% pure maple syrup, or raw honey.

You could make the pancakes into Gingerbread Man shapes.
We didn’t use a cookie cutter for this one but would be much prettier if we did. ūüėČ ¬†gingerbread man pancakes

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. If you purchase a product through an affiliate link, your cost will be the same, but Organic Fibro Mommies will earn a small commission (which helps to offset web hosting fees, maintenance, etc.). Your support is greatly appreciated!

A Healthier Thanksgiving – Tips & Recipes

Last year we had our first organic Thanksgiving dinner. It was just our little family and my dad but I wanted to go all out and try to make all our favorite dishes using organic real food ingredients. Everything turned out great! I know organic foods are expensive and when you are trying to buy a complete Thanksgiving meal, it really adds up. While I do think organic is best, I want to share my 5 Simple Tips for a Healthier Thanksgiving (without having to go completely organic): 

Healthier Thanksgiving Tips

 

Here are some recipes for healthier Thanksgiving appetizers, ideas for drinks, what we put on our turkey, recipes for side dishes, biscuits/rolls, and desserts. (Sorry if some of the pictures aren’t the best quality. Those were taken last year before I got better with my photography.) ūüėȬ†

 

healthier thanksgiving

 

appetizers

Appetizers

Make it simple with chips & dip, fruit/veggie tray, meat/cheese/cracker tray, and/or pickles & olives.
(I use organic tortilla chips, a refried bean & cheese dip, salsa (with or without sour cream), Late July crackers, uncured pepperoni. A guacamole and ranch dip recipe is listed below.)

Party Appetizers: http://organicfibromommies.com/2013/12/party-appetizers/.

guacamoleGuacamole: The recipe is included in the Party Appetizers link above, and I’m totally estimating on the amounts because I don’t really¬†measure. But it was so good!¬†1 tsp garlic powder, salt & pepper (sprinkle desired amount), 1/2 tsp onion powder (or 1 TB chopped white/yellow onion or red onion), 1 TB chopped cilantro, 1/2 tsp cumin, a couple small tomatoes-chopped, 2 large avocados, a few squirts of lime juice. Mash up the avocados, then add all the other ingredients and stir it up.

Ranch Dip Recipe (by 100 Days of Real Food): http://www.100daysofrealfood.com/2011/12/01/recipe-ranch-flavored-dip/.

Pumpkin Fluff Dessert Dip (by 100 Days of Real Food): http://www.100daysofrealfood.com/2013/11/14/recipe-pumpkin-fluff-dessert-dip/.pomegranate

Pomegranate – great as an appetizer or it would be beautiful on a salad to serve with your Thanksgiving meal!
(Mama Natural’s¬†video on how to open a pomegranate easily)

 

Drink Ideas

eggnogEggnog – Organic Valley has a tasty Eggnog (pictured on the right), if you can find it. We got it earlier in the month and since then it has been selling out so fast so we had to go with the Horizon brand which is good too but not AS good.

Sparkling CiderR.W. Knudsen has a good brand with all different flavors.

Kombucha – There is a little organic store by us that sells this but I’m sure you can find it other places like Whole Foods. Or, there are a lot of recipes out there to make it.

Wine – There are organic wines. I found a whole section at Fred Meyer.

 

turkey1The Turkey

We use butter, rosemary, thyme, parsley, basil, garlic powder, salt an pepper as a turkey rub. We do not measure and it would depend on the size of your turkey anyway. (You can use the herbs that you like but we thought these were really good together.) Cook @ 325 degrees, 3 – 3 1/2 hours for a 12-14 lb turkey. (Increase or decrease the time by an hour for a bigger or smaller turkey.) Of course you will want to temp it to determine if it’s done, and baste the turkey along the way (it’s all about that baste, ’bout that baste…. sorry, got a little crazy there). ūüėČ After the turkey is done it will need to rest for about 20 minutes before slicing. While it’s resting start cooking other foods that need to cook in the oven. Usually green bean casserole, then the stuffing, then the rolls. Any pies should be baked ahead of time, unless you’re lucky enough to have more than one oven of course.

 

Mashed Potatoes & Turkey Gravy

Here’s my cheesy garlic mashed potato recipe that you can do with or without the cheese and sour cream (I would double the recipe for a larger crowd):¬†http://organicfibromommies.com/2014/01/cheesy-garlic-mashed-potatoes/.
turkey gravy in a pan

For the gravy:
Use the turkey juice after the turkey is done, pour into a large saucepan and add 2 cups of chicken broth. Turn up the heat to medium-high and after it starts to bubble, whisk in 1/2 cup of flour. Just keep whisking until you get the right consistency. (Some people like to separate the fat out of the pan drippings and cook the fat in the pan with the flour, then add the broth. This is just extra work to me so I skip that step. It is kind-of hard to get the flour clumps to mix up but it works.)

 

green bean casserole

Greenbean Casserole

12 oz. organic cream of mushroom soup, ¬ĺ cup milk, 1/8 tsp black pepper, 1 clove minced garlic (or 1/2 tsp garlic powder), 2 – 9 oz. packages frozen green beans thawed, and 1 1/3 cups fried onions (plus extra for topping – I found some at Trader Joe’s or there’s a recipe to make them by 100 Days of Real Food). In a 2 1/2 QT casserole dish, mix soup and milk. Then add pepper and garlic. Mix thoroughly. Add green beans and fried onions. You can have this ready in the fridge until after you pull the turkey out to rest, and that will give the green beans time to thaw. Bake at 350 for 30 min. Stir, top with remaining fried onions and bake another 5 min.

 

stuffing

Stuffing

10 oz bag of organic herbed bread cubes, 1 ¬Ĺ cups of chicken broth, 1/3 cup of butter, 1 cup of chopped onion, 1 cup of chopped celery, ¬Ĺ to 1 lb of ground sausage. Brown sausage in small chunks (drain if needed). Then add celery and onion to saut√©. Bring broth and butter to a boil in a medium saucepan. Turn off heat and add bread cubes,¬†mix thoroughly. Cover, let stand for 5 min. In a 9 x 13 baking dish, add bread cubes¬†and sausage/celery/onion mixture. Mix thoroughly and bake at 350 for 10 min to develop a golden crust. (You can pop this in the oven after you pull out the green bean casserole.)

 

biscuitsBiscuits/Rolls

You could make biscuits/rolls ahead of time and then just warm them up after the turkey is done and resting.¬†Real Fit Real Food Mom’s sandwich buns would work great as rolls. Or my Easy Drop Biscuit recipe. I haven’t posted it to the blog yet but the recipe is:

Easy Drop Biscuits:
*Makes about 18 biscuits (depending on the size)

2 cups flour, 1 TB baking powder, 1/2 tsp cream of tartar, 1/4 tsp salt, 1/2 tsp thyme (or parsley), 1/2 tsp garlic powder, rosemary (optional), 1/2 cup melted butter, 1 cup milk (I use organic whole)

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. In a large bowl combine the flour, baking powder, cream of tartar, salt, garlic powder, and thyme/rosemary. (I put the rosemary as optional because my kids don’t like the stick-like texture of the rosemary in their biscuits, but I like the flavor. So it’s up to you. Still good without it.) Stir in the melted butter and milk just until moistened. Lightly grease a cookie sheet (I use coconut oil) and we also add a little flour to cover the pan. Just kind-of bat the pan to get the flour completely covered. This seems to be the best way for the biscuits not to stick. Drop batter on the cookie sheet by the tablespoon. Bake in the preheated oven for 8-12 minutes, or until golden on the edges.

 

Thanksgiving Desserts

Desserts

Fruit Salad:¬†Add the different kinds of fruit you want (canned or fresh), chopped. We usually use satsuma oranges, grapes, pears, pineapple, cherries – basically the fruit cocktail fruits. And maybe some apples would be good in it. Add whip cream (see homemade recipe below). You can also add shredded coconut if you want. We don’t measure, we just basically take half of the whip cream that we make and add to a large bowl with different kinds of fruit. Then use the other half of the whip cream for the pie. For a healthier fruit salad, I like this recipe from My Whole Food Life.

Blackberry Cobbler Recipe (you can do other kinds of fruit too): http://organicfibromommies.com/2014/08/blackberry-cobbler/.

Pumpkin Pie (my Easy Homemade Pumpkin Pie): http://organicfibromommies.com/2014/11/easy-homemade-pumpkin-pie/. 

For Whip Cream we use this recipe: http://www.organicvalley.coop/recipes/show/whipped-cream/ (of course, you can reduce the amount of sugar).

 

turkey brothWhat To Do with Leftover Turkey & Making Turkey Broth/Turkey Noodle Soup:

When Thanksgiving is over, why not make your own broth using the turkey bones?? You can follow my recipe for making homemade chicken broth. I recommend doing two separate batches because the turkey carcass is so large. You could separate all the bones and split them up between two batches, or freeze half the bones to make more broth at a later time.

Uses for¬†Leftover Turkey: Just use the same ideas in the following post on¬†uses for leftover chicken –http://organicfibromommies.com/2014/09/whole-chicken-crockpot-homemade-broth/.

Turkey Noodle Soup: Use my chicken noodle soup recipe and just substitute the chicken for turkey.

If you have any leftover pumpkin puree left when everything is all over, here are my pumpkin recipes: http://organicfibromommies.com/2014/10/pumpkin-recipes/.

Easy Homemade Pumpkin Pie

I have made pumpkin pie before but I would usually just buy a pie crust already made, and use that can of Libby’s pumpkin and Carnation evaporated milk. Last year I made a pie crust from scratch but had to roll out the dough. Which is fine but I personally would rather not roll out the dough if I don’t have to. Guess what? You don’t have to. This way is so easy! You just mix up the ingredients in the pie dish, form the dough, and press the dough all around the bottom and up the sides of the dish. Then you just have to mix up your filling ingredients in a bowl, pour into the crust, and bake in the oven. So easy and so good. This year I am using my homemade pumpkin puree¬†for the pie. Some of it is a little stringy but it works just fine.

easy homemade pumpkin pie

 

easy pie crust
The Crust:

  • 1 1/3 cups flour
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 8 TB unsalted butter (1 stick), melted
  • 1 TB coconut oil

Mix ingredients into a 9″ pie plate and stir until a dough forms. Then press the dough evenly throughout the bottom of the pie plate, and up the sides. Chill in the fridge until the filling is ready and oven is preheated. (Note: You can make it without the coconut oil if needed.)¬†See step-by-step instructions below with pictures.

 

The Filling:

  • 1 1/2 cups heavy cream – see a picture of what I use below (you can use a 12 oz can of evaporated milk instead, and I heard you can use half & half or whole milk but I haven’t tried those yet)
  • 1 ¬Ĺ cups pumpkin puree
  • ¬ľ cup sugar (or raw honey can be used but it will come out very moist)
  • ¬Ĺ tsp salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • ¬ľ tsp nutmeg
  • ¬ľ tsp ground cloves

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Whisk all the ingredients in a bowl, then pour into the crust.¬†You can put foil over the edges of the crust or brush with water so it doesn‚Äôt burn. I haven’t tried the foil trick but brushing the edges of the crust with water did work. Bake at 425 for 15 min, then change to 350 for 45 min. A knife inserted should come out clean. Cool for 2 hours. See step-by-step instructions below with pictures.

Tip: You can use 1 TB pumpkin pie spice instead of the cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and cloves.

For Whip Cream we use this recipe and Organic Valley Whipping Cream shown below:
http://www.organicvalley.coop/recipes/show/whipped-cream/ (of course, you can reduce the amount of sugar). 

Organic Valley Heavy Whipping Cream (just 1 ingredient – cream)heavy whipping cream

 

Making the Crust

Mix up the ingredients in your pie dish:IMG_4960

 

Form the dough:IMG_4961

 

Push the dough throughout the pie dish and up the sides.
I use my measuring spoon to help flatten it.IMG_5054

 

You can form your dough a few different ways. Regular (on the right), use a knife to make slits (on the left),
or you can even pinch the edges of the dough together to make a decorative pie crust.
Then chill in the fridge until the filling is ready and the oven is preheated.

pie crust1pie crust2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Making the Filling

Add all the ingredients to a large bowl:IMG_4964

 

 Whisk up the ingredients:

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Pour the filling into the pie crust, brush edges of the crust with water (to prevent burning), 
bake @ 425 for 15 min, then 350 for 45 min.

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Done! Let the pie cool for 2 hours.

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You can put either whip cream or vanilla ice cream on top! I have even eaten a piece plain for breakfast
(that was a pie I made with honey instead of sugar though). ūüėȬ†

pie1

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Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. If you purchase a product through an affiliate link, your cost will be the same, but Organic Fibro Mommies will earn a small commission (which helps to offset web hosting fees, maintenance, etc.). Your support is greatly appreciated!

Organic School Lunch Ideas – Part I

This year my daughter is taking a lunch from home every-single-day. We are trying some new ideas but for the most part she likes a selection of items – see The Lunch Rotation. I have taken a picture of her lunch just about every day and this is Part I of what we have put together so far this year. She helps pack her lunch and yes, she could make it all herself but we are both pretty foggy in the morning. It’s bad at night too (I swear she has Fibro too). I try to make sure she can focus and get all her homework done after dinner, shower and read. That’s hard enough in itself so we usually put together her lunch in the morning. Sometimes we do some prep the night before. Do whatever works best at your house. ūüôā

School Lunch Collage1Why do we make a lunch from home every day? Well because it’s organic and better for us, of course. ūüėČ School lunches are not only non-organic, but some of the items they have are really bad and I am just shocked they are allowed in a lunch (or breakfast). For just a few examples of the school lunches: Nachos with processed cheese, teriyaki chicken with MSG, breakfast for lunch with a strawberry syrup that has refined sugar and red dye in it, hamburgers, fries, and chicken nuggets – with meat from factory farms using antibiotics, hormones, and GMO grains. Not good. I really like this post by Juggling Real Food & Real Life on how nutrition helps kids in school. She talks about how what the kids eat effects their learning and what problems the bad foods cause. Kailey has shown huge improvements after we switched to organic foods. She had some behavioral problems (that still pop out sometimes) and after eliminating the refined sugar and dyes, she is doing much better, most of the time.

Some of the lunches we make are different and some are pretty close to the same. We just use whatever we have around, or make something that is pretty quick to make, like a sandwich, quesadilla, etc. All that matters is that they are getting healthy foods. They don’t have to be different every single day. She always takes ice water (with lemon sometimes) but there is the occasional juice and I think of that as a special treat. Most juices have added sugar, even the organic ones. I try to give her something from each of the food groups. She always has a fruit, veggie, protein like meat or nuts, a grain, dairy, etc. Hopefully this gives you some ideas for side items as well. And these lunches fit into a regular size lunch pack that you find in places like Walmart or Target.

Sandwiches without Mayo
Sandwiches are the traditional cold lunch choice but my daughter will go a week without having one. Here are some options that she likes, or that her brother likes. And just to be clear, I don’t think Mayo is unhealthy, as long as you buy organic. But organic Mayo is expensive! And my daughter doesn’t really like mayo anyway. My son does though so he will have a ham or turkey sandwich sometimes.

PB & Jelly – served with animal crackers, bell pepper, tomatoes, kiwi; or
PB & Honey – with cheese, cucumbers, carrots, pomegranate, grapes.

(Details: We like the Trader Joe’s creamy peanut butter that has just one ingredient – organic peanuts. I buy raw honey, and the jelly is usually from Trader Joe’s, sweetened with juice. Animal crackers are the Simple Truth brand found at Fred Meyer or Kroger. I make a loaf of bread each week in my Bread Machine. And there’s a video by Mama Natural on opening a Pomegranate under water in a large bowl. The seeds sink to the bottom while the white stuff floats to the top and the seeds don’t rupture so easily.)

PB & JellyPB & honey

BLT – served with animal crackers, mango, carrots.

(Details: We put butter on the sandwich instead of mayo. I buy either Applegate uncured bacon or Simple Truth brand. I like to cut our mango using this handy tool: Mango Splitter.)

BLT collage

Hummus & Cheese – served with Annie’s bunny crackers, almonds, cucumber, tomatoes, grapes.

(Details: I buy Lilly’s roasted red pepper hummus found at Fred Meyer. And I freeze grapes sometimes when they aren’t getting eaten fast enough. This works great. You can just pull them out of the freezer and add to their lunch.)

hummus sandwich collage

Chicken & Cream Cheese or PB & Banana (these are my son’s choices, although on the PB & Banana sandwich he likes to have honey & cinnamon too).¬†Even though I make homemade bread once/week, I do also buy Dave’s Killer Bread sometimes. So you will see that one on the left. My daughter doesn’t like that kind. I buy Organic Valley cream cheese, on occasion.

sandwich Collage

 

IMG_4691

Soup
So these are the same kind of soup (Chicken Noodle), but I wanted to show that the one on the right is before we got our Soup Thermos. On Fridays they eat in the classroom and her teacher lets them use her microwave. Then we got the Soup Thermos and now she takes soup or other foods we want to keep warm (i.e. leftovers). I usually give her crackers (Late July brand) and some kind of fruit with it. In the picture below, on the right, we put peanut butter on the crackers.

Soup Collage

 

Leftovers – Rice/Noodles
My daughter loves rice and noodles. We buy the basmati white rice but also mix in some of the brown rice sometimes. And sometimes I put in dried parsley or thyme. She likes butter, salt & pepper. Sometimes we add a little parmesan cheese. For noodles I have started buying gluten-free quinoa noodles. We are in the transition period for that. Otherwise I was buying white organic noodles. Nobody really cares for the whole wheat noodles. I also buy the tricolor noodles sometimes.

Rice – served with ants-on-a-log, frozen applesauce, cheerios & chocolate chips; or
Rice – with a boiled egg, salad, Drew’s ranch dressing, grapes.¬†

(Details: I buy Mom’s Best Cereals for the cheerios usually, frozen applesauce is in a smoothie-pop-mold, details about the rice in the paragraph above. Ants-on-a-log is celery sticks with PB & raisins. I got¬†the little bowls with lids at Target back when my kids were little. And the Drew’s ranch dressing does not have the best ingredients but I only give her a little. One day I will start making my own.)

riceboiled egg, salad & rice

Spaghetti Noodles & Peas – served with pomegranate, carrots, pistachios, homemade PB chocolate chip cookie; or
Tricolor Noodles mixed with chicken, shredded carrots, broccoli, tomatoes (yellow) – with a string cheese, and peaches.

(Details: Trick on opening pomegranate found above, under Sandwiches. Details on the noodles in the paragraph above. Sometimes I buy canned fruit so that if we run out of fresh fruit we will have something. I buy the Trader Joe’s or Simple Truth brand. We do have frozen fruit too but like to use that for smoothies.)

noodles nutschk pasta salad

Here’s another option for lunch that we did try one time. It’s by Applegate and you can find it in the same section as Lunchables. This is a much better option than a lunchable but I still recommend making your own lunches. It is much cheaper that way. Besides that, I still had to pack some things to make this a complete lunch (fruit/veggies and water).

IMG_4282

Here are some of the lunch box items from above:

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Pumpkin Recipes

I love pumpkin! It is one of the many reasons I love Fall. We grew our own pumpkins this year and I made pumpkin pure√© for the first time! I got 11 cups of puree so I definitely had to start making everything with pumpkin, and I was okay with that. ūüôā Pumpkin is so good for you. It’s an antioxidant, and an anti-inflammatory food (which means it is good for joint health and stress relief, among other things). It is a significant source of Vitamin A, and has high levels of Vitamin C which helps your immune system. It’s great for your skin and a good source of Fiber, potassium, calcium, and zinc.

I just don’t think we need sugar in everything so I only put sugar in the cookie recipe below. Because let’s face it, when you have a cookie you really aren’t intending for it to be healthy. It is usually considered a special treat. But for the bread, I used honey instead of sugar. For the pancakes, I didn’t use anything to sweeten them because we are already adding syrup, honey, or jam. You can add sugar to these recipes if you prefer, or chocolate chips! ūüôā

pumpkin recipes

 

IMG_4647Pumpkin Pancakes

  • 1 1/4 cups flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • dash of ground ginger (1/8 tsp)
  • dash of ground cloves (1/8 tsp)
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup pumpkin pure√©
  • 1 egg
  • 2 TB Coconut Oil or melted butter

In a large bowl whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and cloves. Set aside. In another bowl (or make a well in the middle of the large bowl) whisk the milk, pumpkin pureé, egg, and oil (or butter) together. Combine wet ingredients to the dry ingredients. The batter may be slightly lumpy and that’s okay. Grease your skillet and set to medium (I use coconut oil to grease it). Once it is heated, add a big spoonful of batter to each area on the skillet, depending on how big your skillet is and how big you want your pancakes. When bubbles form in the batter, you can flip them. Cook a couple more minutes, remove from the pan and repeat until all the batter is used up. Best served with real butter and 100% pure maple syrup, or raw honey.

Tip: you can use pumpkin pie spice instead of the cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, & cloves – about 1 1/2 tsp.

 

pumpkin cookiesPumpkin Cookies (makes 2 dozen cookies)

  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 cup raw cane sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • dash of ginger
  • dash of cloves
  • 1 cup pumpkin pure√©
  • 1/2 cup Coconut Oil
  • 1/4 cup melted butter
  • 1 egg
  • 1 TB vanilla
  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips and/or chopped nuts (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl, mix up the dry ingredients with a spoon. Make a well in the middle, add the remaining ingredients and use a whisk to mix it up. Then combine the wet and dry ingredients and stir in the chocolate chips. Drop by the spoonful onto a greased cookie sheet. (I use coconut oil to grease it.) Bake for 10 minutes, or until brown around the edges.

Tip: you can use pumpkin pie spice instead of the cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, & cloves – about 2 tsp.

pumpkin bread

Pumpkin Bread

  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • dash of ginger
  • dash of cloves
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup pumpkin pure√©
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) melted butter
  • 1/3 cup raw honey (or pure maple syrup)

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Grease a Loaf Pan (I use coconut oil) and set aside. In a large mixing bowl whisk together the flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, cloves, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Make a well in the middle and whisk the eggs, pumpkin pure√©, melted butter, and honey. Then whisk¬†in the dry ingredients until everything is combined. Add the batter to the loaf pan and bake for 45 to 55 minutes. You can test with a toothpick (insert into the bread and it should come out clean when it’s done).

Tip: you can use pumpkin pie spice instead of the cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, & cloves – about 2 tsp.

 

Pumpkin MuffinsPumpkin Muffins (makes 12 muffins)

  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • dash of ginger
  • dash of cloves
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup pumpkin pure√©
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) melted butter
  • 1/3 cup raw honey (or pure maple syrup)

Preheat oven to 350¬†degrees. In a large mixing bowl whisk together the flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, cloves, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Make a well in the middle and whisk the eggs, pumpkin pure√©, melted butter, and honey. Then whisk in the dry ingredients until everything is combined. Add the batter to a muffin pan with muffin cups and fill each one almost to the top. Bake for 20¬†minutes. You can test with a toothpick (insert into the muffins¬†and it should come out clean when it’s done).

Tip: you can use pumpkin pie spice instead of the cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, & cloves Рabout 2 tsp. 

easy homemade pumpkin pie

 

Pumpkin Pie Recipe: http://organicfibromommies.com/2014/11/easy-homemade-pumpkin-pie/.

Other Ideas for Using Pumpkin Pureé: Add to soups, smoothies/milkshakes, pumpkin fluff dip (by 100 Days of Real Food), pumpkin brownies, pumpkin bars, pumpkin cheesecake, pumpkin cream cheese, pumpkin fudge.

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. If you purchase a product through an affiliate link, your cost will be the same, but Organic Fibro Mommies will earn a small commission (which helps to offset web hosting fees, maintenance, etc.). Your support is greatly appreciated!

Cheesy Chicken Enchiladas

After forgetting to add my leftover shredded chicken from my whole-chicken-in-a-crock-pot to our stir-fry the other night, I needed to figure out what to do with it. Well ever since we had Real Fit, Real Food Mom’s condensed cheddar cheese soup I haven’t stopped thinking about it. It was THAT good! We were very impressed with how it turned out and it’s pretty easy to make too. There’s a dish we used to make back when we were eating processed food and used the Campbell’s pepperjack cheese soup or fiesta cheese soup. It was chicken enchiladas with the cheese soup, chicken, and maybe some salsa rolled up in tortillas and baked in the oven. Now we can have that dish again! My husband was so thrilled. ūüėČ For a vegetarian option, use cooked broccoli instead of chicken.

cheesy chicken enchiladas

Ingredients:

Directions:
Make the cheese soup first. Then preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease an 8 x 11″ dish with butter or coconut oil. Fill tortillas with chicken, cheese sauce (soup), and if you want pepperjack cheese and/or salsa add that in too. You can also add cooked broccoli, which I thought was really good. Fold up the tortillas and place in the greased baking dish. Add the rest of the cheese sauce to the top and sprinkle on some shredded cheese (optional). Bake for 15 minutes. Let sit for about 5 minutes before serving. It’s really good with a little sour cream on top!

Homemade Cheddar Cheese Sauce:cheese sauce

Filling the tortillas with all that yumminess (is that a word?):chk enchiladas2

Tortillas all filled and ready to go in the oven!chk enchiladas

Homemade Pumpkin Pureé & Roasting The Seeds

IMG_4371We tried growing¬†our own pumpkins this year for the first time and….. ¬†we got four¬†perfectly orange round little pumpkins! (See the picture to the right.) We decided to carve two and use the other two for pumpkin pure√©.¬†I have never made pumpkin pure√©¬†before and discovered there are two ways to roast the pumpkins. I definitely prefer one way over the other. I’m not gonna lie, it is definitely work either way but I felt good knowing that we are using what we grew. And of course I had to roast the seeds too! ūüėČ Check out the pumpkin pure√©¬†recipe below (in a step-by-step process) and then some ideas on roasting the seeds. And here are my recipes for using the pumpkin pure√©:¬†Pumpkin Recipes.

homemade pumpkin puree

Homemade Pumpkin Pureé

There are two ways you can roast a pumpkin (that I know of). 1)¬†You can put the whole pumpkin in the oven, or 2) Cut it in half or quarters, remove the insides, place on a baking sheet. Personally, I like just putting the whole pumpkin in the oven because it is so much easier to cut after it has been roasted. When I cut the pumpkin before cooking, I thought I was going to slice my finger off! No joke… I also hurt my back trying to do it. It was definitely a pain and I recommend roasting the whole pumpkin if it can fit in the oven (I pulled the stem off mine). It did seem like the ones that were already cut up came out softer but you can just cut up the whole pumpkin and stick it back in the oven to soften more. Anyway, I will show both ways to do it so you can make your decision. I got about 11 cups of pure√© total from our two pumpkins. ūüôā

IMG_4699Step 1. Preparing for the Roasting: If you are cooking the whole pumpkin then the only thing you need to do is rinse off the pumpkin really well and you might need to pull off the stem to fit it in the oven. If you want to do it the other way, cut up the pumpkin either in half or in quarters. Remove the insides (save the seeds to cook later if you want and toss the rest), and then place the pumpkin pieces on a baking sheet. For the whole pumpkin, I put a baking sheet on a rack below it just in case it dripped. It didn’t but I didn’t want to take any chances.IMG_4700

Step 2. The Roasting:¬†Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes for a small/medium pumpkin. A larger pumpkin may need more time. You will know it’s done if you can cut into it easily. Cut off the stem of the whole pumpkin and then cut it either in half or in quarters. If it doesn’t seem like it’s done after you have cut it, you can always put it back in to roast longer. Then let all the pieces cool a little.

Step 3. Preparing for the Pureé: For the whole pumpkin, you will have to remove all the insides still but it should come out pretty easily (save the seeds to cook later if you want and toss the rest). Then you will need to peel off the outer skin from all pieces of the pumpkin(s). The skin should come off pretty easily too (see picture below). If not just scrape the pumpkin off the skin using a spoon. Toss the skin and cut up the pumpkin (like shown below).

prepping for the puree

Step 4. Pumpkin Pureé: There are a few ways you can make the pureé. You can use a Food Processor, Blender (add a little water), Potato Masher, or you can even use a NutriBullet (or similar device) but you also have to add water to this one. I tried a couple different methods, the blender and the NutriBullet. Honestly I was about ready to start mashing with a potato masher! Just having to continue to add water and try to get it to blend up was a pain and then had to do several different rounds of it. It probably would have been much easier in a food processor or just mashing yourself with a potato masher. You can see a comparison below between the NutriBullet & my old blender. The NutriBullet pureéd it quite well. A little too good! It looks like baby food, lol. And the blender seemed to be the right consistency. I had to work with both quite a bit to get it to blend up.

pumpkin puree

IMG_4707Step 5. Storing the Pure√©: The pure√© is good in the fridge for up to a week, or you can freeze it for 6 – 8 months. I prefer to freeze it in 1 or 2 cup increments. You can use ziploc freezer bags or¬†mason jars. I did some of each and prefer the mason jars because it isn’t so messy. Trying to fill the freezer bags was a pain and I can only imagine trying to get the pure√© out of them when I go to use it. It will be a lot easier with mason jars but of course, more dishes to wash. (And you can reuse the¬†lids and rings¬†for the freezer as long as they aren’t rusty or bent (but you cannot reuse lids for canning unless you have the reusable kind)). If you use mason jars, make sure to leave some room at the top for expansion.

roasting seeds

Roasting the Seeds ~ Spicy, Sweet, & Salty

There are a few different recipes we like. Well, I should say that I like them. Kailey likes a couple of them but the boys aren’t¬†as crazy about pumpkin seeds as we are. Anyway, here are a few recipes for you.¬†You can double the recipe too if you have a lot of seeds. We like to make them different ways so we do 1 cup at a time.

spicy roasted pumpkin seedsSpicy:

  • 1 cup of pumpkin seeds (dried)
  • 2 tsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp salt (I use sea salt)
  • 1 pinch of cayenne pepper
  • 1 TB olive oil

Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Add the olive oil to a medium bowl and mix up the seeds to coat them. Then mix up the seasonings in a small bowl and add the coated pumpkin seeds. Mix up well. Lay them out on the baking sheet in a single layer and bake for 20 Р25 minutes, or until golden brown.

sweet pumpkin seedsSweet:

  • 1 cup of pumpkin seeds (dried)
  • 1 1/2 TB Sugar (I use raw cane sugar)
  • 1 tsp Cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg (optional)
  • 1 TB olive oil

Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Add the olive oil to a medium bowl and mix up the seeds to coat them. Then mix up the seasonings in a small bowl and add the coated pumpkin seeds. Mix up well. Lay them out on the baking sheet in a single layer and bake for 20 – 25 minutes, or until golden brown.

salty pumpkin seedsSalty:

  • 1 cup of pumpkin seeds (dried)
  • salt (sprinkle desired amount)
  • 1 TB olive oil

Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Simply mix up the seeds with the olive oil in a medium bowl to coat them, and lay them on the baking sheet in a single layer. Sprinkle with desired amount of salt. Bake for 20 – 25 minutes, or until golden brown.

Another Option – Dill Roasted Pumpkin Seeds:
Just follow the same recipe as above but sprinkle the dill on top of the salt. I really didn’t taste the dill too much but just wanted to put the recipe out there if you like dill. ūüôā Picture below:

dill pumpkin seeds

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. If you purchase a product through an affiliate link, your cost will be the same, but Organic Fibro Mommies will earn a small commission (which helps to offset web hosting fees, maintenance, etc.). Your support is greatly appreciated!

Freezing Summer Squash

My Aunt gave me this huge patty pan squash and I started looking up ways to use it up. Well then my husband told me that he absolutely does not like squash and didn’t want me to add it to our dinners or anything. ūüôĀ So, I figured I would probably add it to my soup that I make for lunch sometimes and needed¬†to freeze it to make it last longer. This was pretty easy to do. It’s just all the chopping and then the dishes when I was done but at least they were easy to wash! ūüėČ

The reason squash cannot be just chopped and added to the freezer is because it contains enzymes and bacteria that, over time, break down and destroy nutrients, change the color, flavor, and texture during freezing. To destroy the enzymes, squash requires blanching. Blanching (in this case) is a cooking process using a quick plunge into boiling water to remove enzymes and bacteria, and then a quick plunge into ice water to slow the cooking process.

freezing squash

Step 1: Wash the Squash – Just rinse really good in cold or lukewarm water.IMG_4674

Step 2: Chop the Squash – If it’s yellow squash or zucchini, cut off the ends and chop the rest at 1/2″ thick slices. If it’s a patty pan squash, I just cut out the stem and chopped up the rest into chunks like in the picture to the right. Note: You don’t want to leave the squash sitting (after it’s cut-up) for more than 1/2 an hour, otherwise it will start to discolor.¬†

IMG_4675Step 3: Bring Water to a Boil РFill a large pot 2/3 full of water and bring to a boil.

Step 4: Blanching РAdd the chopped squash to the boiling water and cook for 3 minutes, covered. I left it on high and stirred occasionally. Note: If you have a ton of squash, you may need to blanch it in batches. You can use the same water each time.

Step 5: Cooling the Squash – Get a large bowl and add ice and cold water. Remove the squash from the hot water using a slotted spoon and add to the ice water. Allow to cool for about 5 minutes. Cooling the squash quickly prevents overcooking. Add more ice as needed. Drain the water using a colander and let sit for a few minutes. I then spread the squash out over the cutting board to let dry for a bit.

cooling squashIMG_4680

Step 6: Freezing – I just used ziplock freezer bags. I put about 1 cup (or maybe a little more since I didn’t measure) per bag and marked the bags. It should be good for up to 9 months in a regular freezer. Make sure to get as much air out of the bags as possible before closing them up.

When you pull the squash out of the freezer it will be mushy after it thaws, so it’s best to use when cooking instead of raw. You can let it sit out to thaw or just use it frozen with what you are cooking. I plan to just add it to my homemade soup I make for lunch sometimes with my homemade chicken broth.

This picture gives you an idea of how big this patty pan squash was!IMG_4371

Here is all the squash I got from the patty pan squash. I¬†gave the two big chunks to a neighbor who likes squash. The picture doesn’t do it justice for sure. It was a lot!IMG_4672