8/7/19

Strawberry Lemonade Cupcakes | SCD, Gluten-Free

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I certainly never imagined my children enjoying the tart flavor of lemon curd, but this classic culinary delight has been a staple in our kitchen since we started the Specific Carbohydrate Diet (SCD) over four years ago. The very first Easter my son was diagnosed I wanted to make several options for desserts, and lemon curd filled pastries happened to be one of them. The wonderful thing about lemon curd is it is very versatile. You can serve it alone, with fresh berries, in a tart or pastry, or, in this case, as a filling for cupcakes. I took my basic vanilla cupcake recipe and added a hint of lemon zest for a summery flavor. Pair this with a lemon curd filling and a strawberry icing and you have the perfect summer treat!

Strawberry Lemonade Cupcakes
yield: about 9 cupcakes

Cake Ingredients:
1 3/4 cup almond flour
1/4 cup coconut flour
1/2 tsp. baking soda
pinch of sea salt
6 Tbs butter, melted
3 large eggs, seperated
1/2 cup honey
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 tsp. lemon juice or apple cider vinegar
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 Tbs. lemon zest (optional for a burst of lemon flavor)

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 325°F and add cupcake liners to muffin tins.
2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flours, baking soda and salt.
3. In a separate bowl, whisk the egg yolks, butter, honey, vanilla and lemon juice or ACV to combine. Add to the flour mixture and whisk until smooth. Stir in lemon zest if using.
4. Using your standing mixer, beat the egg whites until soft peaks are formed. Using a spatula, fold in 1/3 of the egg whites into the batter. Then gently fold the remaining egg whites, careful not to over mix.
5. Fill the cupcake liners about 3/4 full and bake for about 25-30 minutes, or until golden brown and a toothpick inserted comes out clean.

Lemon Curd Filling
In a medium saucepan, whisk together until light in color:
3 large eggs
1/4 cup honey
grated zest of 1 lemon
Add:
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
6 Tbs. unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
Cook, whisking over medium high heat until the butter is melted. Then whisk constantly until the mixture is thickened and simmering gently for a few seconds. Using a spatula, scrape the filling into a medium sized mesh sieve set over a glass bowl. Stir in 1/2 tsp. vanilla. Let cool, cover and refrigerate to thicken.

Buttercream Frosting
1 cup palm shortening
1/2 cup butter
4 Tbs honey
4 Tbs freeze dried strawberries, ground to a powder

In your standing mixer, beat together the ingredients for the frosting until light and fluffy.

To assemble the cupcakes:
Use a small paring knife to cut a small cone out of the center of each cupcake, about 1 inch deep. Spoon a small amount of lemon curd into the hole and replace the cone. Gently press the cone into place and smooth away any crumbs. Frost the cupcakes as desired. For these I used a large round tip and the swirl method. Hold your piping bag perpendicular to the cupcake. Start at the outer edge of the cupcake and pipe a circle around the outer edge. As you complete a full circle, move the piping bag slightly inward to create the next circle rotation. Continue piping, moving inward for three full rotations, plus a small one on top. Release the pressure and pull the bag away. **Make sure cupcakes are completely cooled before icing**

*I originally created this post for Babiekins Magazine and you can see that post HERE. I adapted this recipe for my family so it is SCD compliant for my son's health and our lifestyle.

7/17/19

GINGER COOKIE & PEACH ICE CREAM SANDWICH | SCD, Paleo

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And just like that, we are beyond midsummer.
The air is humid, and most days we linger around in our bathing suits until well past dinner. We are bare foot and skin kissed. And if you look close enough, you can see a sprinkle of freckles dance across my children's faces. We are in the heart of Ohio's summer and I am filled with joy. Our local produce stands are abundant with fresh peaches, vine-ripened tomatoes and endless ears of sweet corn. I want to savor these flavors of summer forever, I want to hold onto every moment, I want to live in an eternal bliss of summer. But for now, we embrace and appreciate each day we have. We avoid looking at the calendar and make every minute count.

These ginger cookie, peach ice cream sandwiches are a delicious summer treat! They are a blend of mild summer flavors and best enjoyed with friends and family! I also love this recipe because it's easy to make and once they are assembled you can hold them in the freezer for a couple days.

GINGER COOKIE & PEACH ICE CREAM SANDWICH
SCD, Paleo, Gluten-Free, Refined Sugar-Free
yield: about 6-8 servings, depending on size of cookies

Ingredients
For the cookies:
1.5 cups almond flour
1/4 cup coconut flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
2 tsp ginger
1 tsp. vanilla
pinch of salt
2 eggs
⅓ cup raw honey
¼ cup coconut oil, melted

Directions for the Cookies:
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Mix the dry ingredients in a bowl: almond flour, coconut flour, cinnamon, ginger, baking soda, and salt.
3. In a separate bowl, mix the wet ingredients: eggs, honey, coconut oil, vanilla. Whisk until blended.
4. Pour wet ingredients into dry ingredients and mix.
5. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and drop tablespoon sizes of dough spaced 2 inches apart.
6. Bake cookies for 10-14 minutes. I always check at 10 minutes and then let them go another minute or two if they need. For this recipe, I slightly undercooked the cookies for a softer texture.
7. Let cookies cool completely.
8. Take ice cream from freezer and add a scoop between two cookies. Place on a cookie sheet lined with parchment and keep in freezer until ready to serve.
9. Enjoy!

Ingredients For the Peach Ice Cream:
1 can full fat coconut milk
2 cups fresh peaches, cut into pieces skins removed
1/3 cup of honey
pinch of salt

Make ice cream:
1. Mix the coconut milk, honey, peaches and a pinch of salt together in a blender or Vitamix until combined.
2. Transfer to your ice cream machine and mix until it reaches a thick consistency.
4. Transfer to a container and keep in freezer until the cookies are baked and cooled.

*TIPS:
I use this ice cream maker and we use it ALL the time! It's well worth the investment.
When assembling the cookies, I gently press them together to flatten the ice cream slightly.
Use parchment to separate the cookies when storing in an airtight container.
I use Native Forest Simple Organic Milk which you can find HERE.

5/7/19

Broccoli Cheddar Casserole | SCD, Gluten-Free

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I know I am not alone when I say that sometimes, and by sometimes I mean a few times a month, we resort to breakfast for dinner. I always feel like it is a mom fail when the day has slipped by and I have nothing prepared for dinner. Yet, every time I announce it's breakfast for dinner the kids are beyond excited. In fact, more excited about that meal than when I spend hours slaving away on a new dish. Go figure!

Obviously, scrambled eggs or omelets are the easiest go-to for this simple dinner option, but I prefer to make a casserole so we have leftovers for our actual breakfast the next day or school lunches. This Broccoli Cheddar Casserole is super simple to make and chances are you may already have these ingredients on hand. When organic frozen vegetables go on sale, I like to stock up because I know I can use them in soups, casseroles or kids' lunches. I used frozen broccoli for this recipe and simply unthawed it before baking. You can also use any SCD compliant bread, but we used Liberated Specialty Foods. Again, I always take advantage of sales and stock up so our freezer is loaded with healthy, clean options.

Broccoli totes a lengthy list of benefits. This vibrant, green vegetable is full of phytochemicals which contain anti-cancer properties. It is rich in fiber, which aides in digestion, and high in vitamin C to help boost the immune system. And because it is high in fiber, chromium and potassium broccoli can help lower cholesterol and high blood pressure.

This casserole cuts easily into small squares and can be stored in an airtight container for several days.

BROCCOLI CHEDDAR CASSEROLE
SCD, Gluten-Free, Refined Sugar-Free
yield: about 10-12 servings

INGREDIENTS
2 cups frozen broccoli, unthawed
1/4 cup diced onion
12 eggs
1/2 cup almond milk
1 cup cubed SCD compliant bread (I used Liberated Specialty Breads for this dish)
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
1/2 cup grated sharp cheddar
4 strips cooked bacon (optional)
1 tsp coconut oil
salt & pepper

DIRECTION
1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
2. Grease a casserole dish with coconut oil, I used a 9x12 baking dish.
3. In a bowl, whisk the eggs together, then whisk in the almond milk. Add the black pepper and salt, adjust to your liking, and then mix in about a third of the cheese.
4. Place the broccoli florets and bread crumbs in the casserole dish, crumble the bacon over the broccoli and sprinkle 1/3 cheese over the mixture.
5. Pour the egg mixture over the broccoli and sprinkle the casserole with the remaining cheese.
6. Bake for about 25-30 minutes, or until golden brown on top.
7. Allow to cool and cut into squares.

5/2/19

Crunchy Vanilla Granola | SCD, Paleo, Gluten-Free

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There was a point in time, when the kids were smaller, that we would fully embrace our mornings. We would find ourselves lulling around the kitchen and lazily cooking a large and lavish brunch. I distinctly remember the lack of rush and the ability to finish an actual cup of coffee. Fast forward to present day and it is a different scene. School mornings are rushed and chaotic and there is nothing calm about our kitchen. The counter tops are usually a site of destruction, the dog is barking to go out, someone can't find something (always) and we make our mad dash to the garage so we can get into the carline at a decent time. As for the weekends, sadly, brunch is a rare sighting these days. I am usually on the road with one of the boys for soccer, traveling out of town or out of state. And if we happen to be home, we are forced to conquer and divide our games and field locations.

With all this being said, my children are to an age where they are capable of making their own breakfasts and I encourage them to do so. However, if I don't give guidance, chances are my oldest would make a smoothie every day or oatmeal, which happens to be a very special treat. After four plus years of following the SCD diet, we have successfully introduced organic oats. While my son could eat this every single day, it's important to remember these new foods should only be consumed in moderation. To make it easier for the family, I like to have simple breakfast foods prepped in advance.

Granola is a great option for breakfast and can be served several different ways; add it to yogurt and fruit, pour almond milk over it, or layer it into a berry parfait. You can even add it to homemade ice-cream for a sweet treat! (You can find my easy vanilla ice-cream recipe HERE, but it's from a very old post so the cookies are not SCD compliant.) In the photos above, we used homemade vanilla yogurt, added thinly sliced Bosc pears, granola and a homemade date syrup drizzle.

CRUNCHY VANILLA GRANOLA
SCD, Paleo, Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free
yield: about 5 cups

INGREDIENTS
1 egg white
1 cup cashews
1 cup almonds
1 cup pepitas
2 cups shredded coconut
1/4 cup golden raisins
1/4 cup dried cherries
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
pinch of salt
1/3 cup honey
2 Tbs coconut oil

DIRECTIONS
1. Preheat oven to 275 degrees.
2. In a food processor, combine all the nuts and coconut. Pulse until desired texture.
3. Transfer to a large bowl and add the spices, honey and coconut oil. Mix together and then stir in the egg white. Add the raisins and cherries and stir to combine.
4. The dough will be slightly sticky. Press evenly into a pan lined with parchment paper.
5. Bake 30-40 minutes or until golden brown. Allow to cool completely, at least for a 1/2 hour.
6. I like to break mine apart into large chunks, but the kids like it broken into smaller pieces. Store in an airtight container for up to one week.

**When purchasing your raisins or cherries make sure they don't have added sugar. We like THESE cherries.

4/12/19

Healthy Hair | Phillip Adam Apple Cider Vinegar Shampoo + Conditioner

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"Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food."
Hippocrates

We've been hearing about the benefits of apple cider vinegar (ACV) for some time now and it turns out this trend it not new. Vinegar has been used medicinally for centuries and during biblical times, vinegar was used to flavor foods, as a preservative and for medicinal purposes, plus it is mentioned in both the old and new testaments. In ancient Greece, around 400 BC, Hippocrates, the father of modern medicine, prescribed apple cider vinegar mixed with honey for a variety of ailments. Throughout history, there are numerous references to ACV both for medical purposes and beauty intentions. Today, we still reap the benefits of apple cider vinegar and can easily incorporate this healthy aid into our daily routines.

Proven Benefits of Apple Cider Vinegar For Skin, Hair and Health
Hair:
1. It has properties that balance your scalp and hair pH levels.
2. Its anti-fungal and anti-bacterial properties help combating scalp dryness, itchiness and dandruff.
3. Applying apple cider vinegar, with its acidic properties, may improve the condition or appearance of hair.

Body:
+ It can prevent premature aging with its powerful antioxidant abilities.
+ It balances the pH level of your skin and is best to use it as a daily toner.
+ It is great for treating warts, sunburn, age spots and acne.
+ Vinegar is well-known for its antibacterial properties and has been shown to be effective against many strains of harmful bacteria.
+ Soak a washcloth or cotton ball with ACV and water and apply to the face as a toner or apply to sun spots for 30 mins and rinse.
+ Add one cup apple cider vinegar to your bath.

Health:
+ Some evidence suggests that taking apple cider vinegar could help lower both total cholesterol and triglycerides.
+ ACV works to detoxify your liver for better overall health and bodily functions.
+ Drinking apple cider vinegar may help provide relief from acid reflux symptoms by introducing more acid into the digestive tract to prevent acid back flow.
+ ACV adds a healthy dose of beneficial bacteria into your diet and improves the health of your digestive system.
+ Dilute one to two tablespoons apple cider vinegar with 8 ounces of water and drink, do not exceed 16 ounces in one day.
+ Note, its high acidity can damage tooth enamel so make sure to dilute with water and use a paper straw to drink.

One thing I am striving to pass on to my children is how to take care of our bodies and I want them to understand it goes beyond what we eat. The products we use on our skin, the body's largest organ, have a direct impact on our health. We strive to use clean products that are free from parabens and phthalates and are eco-friendly and cruelty-free. We recently had the chance to partner with Phillip Adam and sample their apple cider vinegar shampoo and conditioner. Phillip Adam prides themselves in producing nature infused hair and body care products with carefully chosen plant-based ingredients. Their products contain vital nutrients derived from botanical extracts which are proven to have favorable effects on hair and skin.

Gentle and nourishing, their ACV shampoos are suitable for fine to normal hair types including colored hair, making their products the perfect fit for my hair type and my children. They add natural shine and help maintain a healthy pH balanced scalp and are family and pet friendly! They are available in several different scents such as Green Apple, Verbena Sage, Orange Vanilla or Unscented. I can't wait to try their Curly Hair Shampoo formula, I don't show my natural curls too often, but when I do wear my hair curly I like to embrace its natural state and use products designed for curly hair.

Phillip Adams hair products are the perfect fit for our eco-conscious, clean living family and I highly encourage you to check them out.

Phillip Adams | Website | Instagram | Facebook | Pinterest

*This post was created in partnership with Phillip Adams.
**The adorable rattan earrings pictured here were purchased in Mexico, but you can buy similar ones HERE.
***Jessica's dress is courtesy of Tea Collection".