Almond Flour Chocolate Chip Cookie Cups

 

I am pretty excited to say that today’s recipe was co-developed with my little chef, almost four year old Elizabeth. She’s such a rock star!

Grain Free Choc Chip Cookies.jpg

The whole cookie baking idea was all her. I was all about being lazy tonight and going for a pre-made bar of Theo Dark Chocolate (the sea salt brand is A-mazing!).

But then there was this sweet little face and it reminded me that it’s about time to restart the preschool cooking classes in February and I need to add new recipes.

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So, it was cookies tonight. Plus it was a super easy recipe I think you can appreciate. Let’s just jump into it:

Ingredients:

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3 Tbs of soft coconut oil

1/4 cup of maple syrup

1 egg

1 3/4 cup of almond flour

1/4 cup of coconut flour

1/4 cup of coconut mill (from a can works great as long as you mix it well so it’s not just one big clump of cream)

1/2 cup of dark chocolate chips (I use Enjoy Life)

Directions:

1.) Preheat oven to 375.

2.) Get your favorite muffin cups. We loved these colorful ones pictured. They are easy to use and reusable. Stick them in your muffin pan.

3.) In a large bowl, whisk the egg with the maple syrup.

4.) Stir in the coconut oil until it is not longer clumpy. You can even heat it slightly but don’t let the oil get runny.

5.) Add the almond flour slowly and keep stirring.

6.) Add the coconut oil. Keep stirring.

7.) Finally add the coconut milk which will help with the dryness of the coconut flour.

8.) Add you chocolate chips, more or less if you prefer.

9.) Fill each muffin cup about half way.

10.) Bake for 10 minutes. Don’t let it bake too long or it loses the soft awesomeness.

11.) Best enjoyed warm. Trust me.

That’s all. My last tip is DO NOT bake these at 7:30 pm with your 3 year old. Big bedtime mistake.

Enjoy and share your versions of the recipe.

 

 

Save over $100 on healthy food by slowing down

Eat Healthy For Less 2

I was sitting in the parking lot of my favorite grocery store yesterday. I realized I was there to buy one thing: my favorite ooey gooey cashew bars.

I also needed groceries and was about to break my own guidelines of shopping with a plan.

I showed up without a list or an idea of what exactly I needed, and I knew that almost always resulted in two things:

1.) Buying an excess of food.

2.) Wasting a lot of food by the end of the week.

I’m in the middle of publishing the book on eating whole, healthy foods on a budget while feeling nourished and having lots and lots of fun with food. I still make mistakes.

I PAUSED. SLOWED DOWN. And, this is how I planned out the whole week in my car in fifteen minutes, saved over $100, and ended up feeing pretty awesome. 

On the back of an envelope . . .


When I ran out of room, I realized I had to take the creating to my phone. You can do this using the note app. Super simple. (Don’t mind the typos, I was typing on a phone.) It looked something like this . . . 

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Notice that I note if I already have the food. For example, for kale, I knew I had a TON in the garden still. For almond milk, we still had more than half a carton full at home.

By the time I was done, I had the grocery list. I had an idea of the portions needed. I saved a TON of money and time wasted roaming up and down aisles trying to figure out dinner. 

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Example List and Groceries:  

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It’s not about being tight and restricted.I still ended up with a few, unplanned bonus snacks. That’s okay.

It’s about leaving that store feeling pretty damn empowered that you CAN do this.

You can feed your family, provide healthy food, have pleasure with food, and have your treats too without busting the bank.

Everything in there was picked strategically based on sales, seasonal deals, what went well with our tastes, what was already left in our kitchen at home, and how it fit in with a meal plan based on cooking in bulk to save time for other pleasures the rest of the week.

You can go home with the peace of mind that dinner is almost done and you have time to kick back and relax . . . as much as you can with kids. 🙂

>>>If you want a customized experience and help planning the details of your pantry that will suit you and your family, there are FOUR WEEKS to sign up for the Custom Pantry Makeover session at the really reduced price. It’s a rare special I’m running as part of the upcoming book launch, so you’d have to sign up soon.

You can also get the free 7 step email training to cut your whole food grocery budget in half here

Have an amazing, empowered day!

Sarah Wood

L.E.A.N. Start Health Coach

Certified Eating Psychology Coach

Mind Body Nutrition

Peanut Almond Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies (Gluten Free)

gf choc chip cookie 1

I had an intervention with myself this year.

The grocery bill was little bit out of control, to say the least.

I was shopping on a whim. Shopping while hungry. Buying every new and interesting looking natural food snack. I was piling up foods we already had in the pantry.

I spent so much time at the grocery story and still had no idea what to eat when we got home.

I needed a plan, and a big intervention. I encourage everyone to test out the whole food lifestyle in a way that works for them. Yet, what I was doing was not working as well as before, not on my wallet.

So, intervention time happened. It wasn’t just about slicing down the bill a bit. It was reconnecting with my food in the first place. Mindless buying really doesn’t feel that good. Knowing what to expect, having mouthwatering meals figured out ahead of time, anticipating exciting snacks and knowing things are ready when I need them . . . that feels good.

So, I didn’t necessarily need to learn what to do. I had to get present again and have fun with food like I used to.

After consulting many people, testing out a few methods here and there, I finally got back on track. Meals are now prepped, planned, and I know snack and meal time is taken care of. With a teensy bit of planning, the grocery bill easily dropped (in half!) and I have the comfort of healthy feel good food for the whole family without overdoing it with meal prep. It all pretty much happens at once. The rest of the week is easy peasy.

If you want to find out what’s worked for us, to still eat organic and gluten free, while cutting the grocery bill in half, take the challenge to cut your grocery bill in half while jumping on the whole food, nourishment train. Sign up here.

Today I want to share a recipe with you that resulted from using what I had in the kitchen and sticking with the awesome plan to always have tasty, healthy snacks on hand. Except, this is more like dessert. It’s still snackworthy.

These are . . .

PEANUT ALMOND BUTTER CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES (Grain Free, Dairy Free, Gluten Free)

pintrest peanut almond butter chocolate chip cookies

Ingredients:
1/2 Cup of Organic Peanut Butter
1/2 Cup of Almond Butter
1/4 Cup of Coconut Flour
2 Organic Free Range Eggs
1/2 Cup of Coconut Palm Sugar (Or Maple Syrup of a maple taste)
1/2 Cup of Dark Chocolate Chips (I use Enjoy Life)

Directions: chocolate chip cookies 3

1.) Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease a baking sheet with coconut oil.

2.) In a small bowl, whisk the eggs with the coconut palm sugar or maple syrup until frothy.

3.) In a second bowl, use an electric hand mixer to mix the almond butter, peanut butter, and coconut flour until well blended.

4.) Pour in the egg and sugar mixture and blend well with the hand mixture.

5.) Add the chocolate chips and mix well.

6.) Spoon out cookie size portions of the dough onto the baking sheet and flatten down with a fork into the six you want.

7.) Baked 8-10 minutes and enjoy! You can store the leftovers for the rest of the week. . . or make more.

Let me know what you think and if you tried the recipe. Make sure to sign up for the healthy food on a budget challenge.

Cheers!

Sarah

5 Easy Guideline to Feeding Your Family the Best Foods

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There’s a lot of buzz about the best foods. Superfoods, super shakes, super supplements, everything seems to be super something when it comes nutrition.

Let’s simplify it a bit because, really, something like eating deserves some simplicity and grace.

With access to world foods all year long and the advent of more and more overly processed and even fake foods, health has hit a crisis when it comes to nutrition.

We want to make sure our families get the best. Our kids deserve the growing power of good nutrition and your body deserves the natural energy and longevity that comes from a well-balanced, nutritious diet.

So, there’s a lot of hoopla about what is the best, most ideal diet out there. Is it raw foods only? Is it vegan? Vegetarian? Paleo?

I’ll be honest and say I have been down every one of those roads. And, I came out with the best lesson in nutrition to date: there is no one ideal diet. In fact, no one person or child needs to eat one way only for the rest of their lives. 

As your child’s body develops and grows, so will her nutritional needs. If allowed the guidance of her natural appetite, her body wisdom will help her determine what works for her body.

Your body also continues to develop and change. It is affected by the seasons, your mood, your stress, your lifestyle, and age. Naturally, what foods serve your body best will also change over time.

How do you figure it all out? First, let go of needing to know what’s the perfect way of eating. Here are the top 5 guidelines I share when it comes to feeding your family and yourself the best foods. 

Five Guidelinesto Feeding Your Family

1.) Fresh is best: Fresh foods are those that have travelled little, have not been modified greatly, and can mostly be eaten in their whole form. You will find most fresh foods in the produce section of your grocery store, at farmer’s markets, and in the bulk section. They are fruits, vegetables, nuts, and seeds. They smell good, they have flavor, and they are appealing.

Just imagine if you were a wild human, are these the foods you would find most attractive in the wild? Would you be able to find them in nature at all? You’ll be pretty hard pressed to find a box of a Trix cereal, right? Following the fresh rule automatically encourages you to avoid some red flag ingredients such as high fructose corn syrup, refined sugar, refined flours, preservatives, food colorings, and fake sugars.

Fresh foods are best because they retain their most nutritious properties. They don’t go through a lot of processing and they have the most phytonutrients that will help your body and your children’s’ bodies fight off illnesses and colds.

2.) Seasonal Foods: Closely related to fresh is best is the general principle of eating what’s seasonally available. Just as the weather changes, so does your body’s nutritional needs. You probably notice a shift in your cravings when the dark winter days roll around. Cooked vegetables, soups, and warm comforting foods feel best. When spring arrives, your palate might perk up again. You feel drawn toward fresh vegetables, salads, sweeter fruits, and smoothies.

Letting the season guide your eating is a step closer to following body wisdom. It also means you generally eat fresher foods that had very little distance to travel before landing on your plate. Personal gardens and local farmer’s markets or CSAs are a great place to start.

3.) Variety: Whatever season it is, the next general guideline is to mix it up. Continuously eating the same foods day in and day out limits the nutrient potential for your body. Kale smoothies are wonderful. However, if you’re drink the same banana kale smoothie every single day, you limit yourself to only the nutrients available in those foods. If you can mix up your breakfast menu from time to time, you expand the amount of vitamins and minerals and macronutrients available to your family. It also keeps things interesting. It helps to avoid health food fatigue. Healthy food should not be bland and uninteresting.

4.) Palatable Recipes: That’s why it’s extremely important to give effort to enjoying healthy whole foods in palatable, stimulating, mouth watering meals. If you only had a meek salad of cut up veggies to look forward to every lunch, you might find it hard to feel interested in food.

Strive for some Vitamin P for pleasure with most meals and snacks. Pin some interesting recipes on Pintrest, save and print off your favorite food blog recipes, and even invest in some cookbooks or cooking classes. If you have the option, research restaurants in your community that already serve amazing, fresh foods. Try some of their dishes for inspiration and ideas.

This is a great rule for children. They are greatly guided by the what looks appealing. That’s why cake and ice cream usually wins out to cut up carrots at most Birthday parties. However, that doesn’t always have to be the case. Invite them to try all foods in different ways. If a salad didn’t win them over, how about a smoothie? If they won’t eat avocado alone, what do they think of a warm quinoa, avocado bowl? Or an egg baked into an avocado? This goes back to the third guideline on variety.

5.) Eat for Nourishment: Finally, model more than eating healthy foods. Demonstrate to your family, and to yourself, the pleasure and benefits of eating mindfully, slowly, and for nourishment. Sit down for meals. Breathe between bites. Smell, taste, and savor each time. Turn off distractions and make meal time about meal time. Don’t stuff food in your face while working, driving, or watching TV.

Digestion is a whole experience and the more you make eating about eating and enjoyment the better you will digest foods. Your body will naturally relax, assimilate more nutrients, and you easily avoid eating too much. It takes twenty minutes for the brain to catch up and figure out if the belly is full. Slow it down and let your mind and body work together.

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Like with most advice I offer, these are guidelines, not rules. Guidelines are flexible, customizable, and can flex with the seasons just like you. If you do anything, relax. The more you relax the better your body will be able to digest, burn calories, burn fat, and get the most out of every meal.

Let me know what you’d add to the list. Which guideline do you think is the most difficult?

Summer Strawberry Salad and Vinaigrette

strawberry salad angle

 

There’s just something special about hot weather and fresh, juicy, colorful food.

Salad’s are no exception. I think salads get pushed aside when it comes to kiddos because, well, they’re usually just green and bland.

But, if you think about it, the possibilities of a salad combine creativity and flavor. It’s just an invitation to take some of the best foods out there and put them all together in a big bowl, or plate, or whatever.

This salad came compliments of our garden and some local produce. We have a bunch of strawberries doing their own thing in the garden right now and we’re competing with the birds to get there first.

SarahWood_Large-8 working in garden with elizabeth

Not that I have anything against birds, but they can be a bit wasteful when it comes to finishing their meals! It’s a battle to get there before those little beaks come in and just peck off tiny pieces of strawberry before moving on to some other crumb, seed, or maybe my blueberries! I’m not big on eating birdie leftovers.

So, our three year old heads down to the garden with me and she collects as many big, juicy, red strawberries, often in her mouth. The strawberries that survive made for an amazing summer salad and vinaigrette.

strawberry salad and vinaigrette

As far as the salad goes, you can mix up the ingredients. This is part of an Eat By Colors recipe you can put together with your little chefs included in the free printable coloring cookbook for little chefs. Print off the book, get out the crayons, and have some fun in the kitchen.

Get the book here:

Printable Cookbook Picture

Here’s the recipe without the book:

First make the salad. You will need . . .

1 cup of fresh strawberries, sliced

1 chopped carrot

6 grapes sliced in halves

1/4 cup of cashews

1/4 cup of blueberries

1 cup of spinach.

Put the spinach in a big bowl or on a plate. Top on the strawberries. Add the carrots, grapes, blueberries, and cashews. You can beautify it up as much as you’d like.

Next . . . .

strawberry vinaigrette

Make the vinaigrette. You will need:

1 cup of strawberries

1/2 cup of olive oil

1/4 cup of balsamic vinaigrette

2 tbs of raw honey

2 tbs of apple cider vinegar

Blend it all together! That’s seriously it. Store whatever you don’t use in a sealed container or jar.

Enjoy!

Also . . .

Make sure you get this plus 4 other interactive recipes to print for your little chefs by signing up below. It’s all free, of course.

Printable Cookbook Picture

Triple Layer Dark Chocolate Flourless Birthday Cake

Flourless Triple Layer Chocolate Cake

Our littlest baby turned 1 this week! Whoop whoop! That’s one crazy fast year of growth, for us all.

This girl knows how to smile. Seriously, are you kidding me. How cute is she?
Abigail birthday horse

She is one wild, cute, charming handful. Keeping up with her and her equally as wild older sister is more humbling than I care to admit sometimes.
E running with balloon

Naturally, then, for her first Birthday my first instinct is to fill them up with chocolate cake at 7pm and just see how it plays out. Wouldn’t you?

Chocolate is a popular flavor around our house. I have my dark chocolate treats stashed away and Elizabeth knows exactly where to find them. Abigail, the Birthday girl, had not, up until this point, had a taste of chocolate (that I know of).

Here’s what we did. Chocolate was the cake requested. Our family does not tolerate gluten well and you know I’m going to “wholefoodify” any recipe as much as I can. Not only because it’s healthier, it just tastes better. You can feel the difference the next day.

I took this already pretty amazing recipe from Yammieglutenfreedom.com and adapted it to our tastes. You will notice some different oils, less sugar (it seriously does not need that much), and some raspberry additions to compliment the richness of this cake.

LET ME WARN YOU. This cake is RICH. It is delightfully rich. It also requires just a small piece to get the full enjoyment. (Although my dad had two big pieces) It would pair awesomely with something creamy like coconut milk or something bitter like dark coffee. You decide. You can also use smaller cake pans to make more layers or just a smaller cake. I used three different sizes which I’ll explain in the directions below.

Give the cake a try. And, if you haven’t already, make sure you sign up for the newsletter to receive your free printable cookbooks that you can save, print, and use with your little family chefs:

printable cookboolets binder

Now for the recipe!

Flourless Chocolate Cake Pintrest

Kitchen Tools Needed:

Electric handmixer

Large bowl

Saucepan

Oven/Stove

Three cake pans: I used a 12 inch, 8 inch, and 6 inch to make a staggered look. You can use all one size. I suggest going on the smaller size for thicker pieces.

Parchment paper

Spatula and Large Cooking Spoon

Ingredients:

1 cup of unrefined coconut oil

1/4 cup of grass fed butter (or just more coconut oil)

1 1/2 cups of 60-70%f dark chocolate chips (I use Enjoy Life)

6 eggs

3/4 cup of coconut palm sugar or 100% maple syrup

1 tbs of vanilla

1/2 cup of cocoa powder

Pinch of sea salt

For the “frosting” between layers:

1 1/2 cups of dark chocolate chips

1 cup of frozen raspberries

1/2 cup of coconut milk

Garnish:

Shredded coconut and blueberries (Optional, it’s just what I did.)

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

2. Place parchment paper in cake pans and set aside.

3. Melt coconut oil, butter, and dark chocolate chips together on low in a saucepan until fully melted and combined.

4. In a large bowl mix together the 6 eggs, coconut palm sugar or maple syrup, and vanilla.  Slowly add in the cocoa powder and dash of sea salt.

5. Pour melted oils into the large bowl with the egg mixture. Use hand mixer to combine well.

6. Evenly distribute batter between the three pans. Bake 10-15 minutes until a toothpick can be cleanly inserted and removed.

7. While the cake bakes, melt the dark chocolate chips for the frosting with the coconut milk. Add 1/2 cup of the frozen raspberries. Stir well and remove from heat.

8. Warm the remaining raspberries in a saucepan to add to the top of the cake with the garnishes.

9. When the cake is done baking, remove from the oven. Let cool a bit. Carefully remove each cake layer from the pan. Frost each layer and stack the cake as desired. You can now top the cake however you’d like. I slapped on quite a bit of the frosting and topped with shredded coconut and blueberries. Good choice, I must say. 🙂

How was it received?

Well . . . my oldest LOVE LOVE LOVED it, of course .My dad, as I mentioned, snuck in TWO BIG pieces. Pretty much EVERYONE in the room loved it except . . . the Birthday girl. Womp Womp . . . Actually, she didn’t really try it. She had a huge dinner and by the time the cake arrived, she only mustered the energy to pick off the blueberries. 🙂

birthday dinner

abigail eating cake sort ofGive the recipe a try and adapt it as needed. Be sure to sign up for your weekly(ish) updates and free printable cookbooklets:

printable cookboolets binder

How to Invite Your Toddler to Eat More Veggies

You want your toddler to eat more veggies, right? I’m right there with you!

But, let me start out by saying that I’m not perfect. Everything I’m sharing are lessons I continue to strive to practice as best I can. We can’t be angel parents and grandparents at all times. 🙂

invite your toddler to eat veggiesWhen it comes to food, toddlers are all over the place. Siblings of the same upbringing and parents can have completely different tastes. I can’t even begin to tell you how different our two daughters are in this department.

I have had friends with kids who just LOVE up on fruits and veggies. One friend reports that asparagus is her 3 year-old’s favorite dinner food! In the same way, some kids just love up on other foods. They’re not right or wrong, They have different tastes that will evolve over time to meet their needs to  reflect their experiences around food.

When it comes to veggies, you want to invite your toddler to experience the food. It’s a welcoming to a world of colors, crunches, textures, and tastes. They won’t always like what they try. However, you can subtly guide them in giving it a better shot each time.

Here are my best tips from experience with my kiddos and the kiddos who come to the cooking classes:

NUMBER ONE: Let go of coercion tactics as much as possible.

I am definitely guilty of this strategy. It usually looks like this:

“Eat your vegetables and you’ll get (fill in blank with coveted dessert or snack.)” Or there’s the sneak attack method of putting vegetables in the least expected foods (smoothies, baked goods, cut up small in noodles).

There’s nothing right or wrong about that method. However, it isn’t an invitation as much as it is a bribe. It can be inherently stressful. It sets you against your toddler. Both of you come to the table in war mode. Kiddo problem solves around how to get out of eating as much as possible before getting dessert and parents (or grandparents) strategize how to get more vegetables in kiddo’s body.

In order to expand your toddler’s interest in continuing to pursue these foods, try to open the door a little more and let them walk in on their own.

NUMBER TWO: Invite your toddler to participate in the process of preparing the food. 

Most toddlers get pretty excited about an invitation to play big kid or even act like an adult. Making room for them to cook alongside them gives them a pretty amazing sense of empowerment.

It also connects them more to the food. They get to participate in the process of chopping, blending, stirring, and so on. They can smell the food, feel it, and maybe take a curious nibble here and there. Even if you are preparing foods like smoothies that tend to hide or blend in veggies, they see the process unfold. They know what’s in their food.

That right there is a big advantage going forward. They have a better chance of evolving in to more well-rounded, conscious, and connected eaters.

You can even print off some cookbooks for them here:

Printable Cook Booklets picture

NUMBER THREE: Play eat by colors.

Anytime you can incorporate games and learning into eating, big KUDOS to you! What better way to peak a toddler’s interest? They are probably hearing a lot about colors at this stage. They see them in their picture books and have had to identify them here and there. Bring the color game to the table.

Eating a variety of colors of veggies is important. You can send that message  early by making it fun to mix it up. For snack time, I might grab some strawberries, broccoli, carrots, and cauliflower. I ask Elizabeth to pick a color and I take a big bite of her choice. Seeing you participate makes a big difference.

Even if they are apprehensive, just keep it light hearted and fun. Take big bites yourself and show how much you enjoy it! You know that makes it even more tempting.

NUMBER FOUR: Role play with your food!

Now a lot of you may or may not like the idea of encouraging food play. Just remember, kids love and learn by play. Role playing or fantasy flexes their imagination muscles. And, don’t they just love it when you come down to their level and play along?? What better treat than to speak their language by playing with their food!

We play a game called “Little Baby Dragon.” It started when I sang “Little Bunny Foo Foo” one day. My oldest daughter, who LOVES dragons and dinosaurs transformed it into “Little Baby Dragon.” We pretend the piece of food (aka vegetable of some sort) is a baby dragon flying through the sky while singing to the tune of “Little Bunny Foo Foo.” Along the way the dragon gets gobbled up by a big cave, aka her mouth! Then, along comes mama dragon (another piece of food), and papa dragon, and so forth.

You can customize to your kiddo’s interests. Let the direct as much as possible and keep it fun!

NUMBER FIVE: Stay relaxed.

Trust your child’s inner body wisdom. It has been shown that babies and toddlers, when not overly influenced by dietary interventions, will guide their appetites to what they need. In one particular study, a group of babies (orphans) grew up together being offered a variety of healthy whole foods. They were able to select what and how much to eat. Interestingly, they all selected varying ways of eating. Some preferred lots of carbs and sugars. Some required more protein. The same kids varied depending on the day. But, they all turned out very healthy and met all their nutritional requirements with NO INTERVENTIONS!

This is great! It empowers you and your kids to tune into the body wisdom they (and you) already have! Ease toward more whole food snacks and let them evolve into trying new foods as organically as possible.

Trust and relax as much as you can. It will serve you and your kiddos in the long run.

Coconut cream is fun!

That’s all I have for now. What would you add? What are your favorite veggie eating tricks?

Also, if you haven’t downloaded your printable picture cookbooklets yet, you can do that here (click the picture):

printable cookboolets binder

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