Easy Paleo Pecan Bars (gluten and grain free)

Ingredients:

For the crust:

  • 1/4 cup coconut flour
  • 1 cup almond flour
  • 1/2 cup softened butter, salted

For the topping:

  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1 tbsp date syrup, maple syrup, or molasses
  • sprinkle of cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla
  • 2 cups pecans

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 375.
  2. In a small bowl combine flours and softened butter. Mash together until well incorporated.
  3. Using 2 sheets of parchment paper, roll the “dough” out flat. Transfer the bottom piece of parchment paper into a square baking tray.
  4. In a larger bowl mix eggs, honey, syrup, vanilla, and cinnamon. Whisk together.
  5. Add pecans to the bowl and mix until pecans are well coated.
  6. Pour pecan mixture over the crust.
  7. Bake 20-25 minutes or until set.

Thanksgiving Carrot Apple Pecan “Pie” (gluten and grain free)

This is a wonderful blend of nostalgic fall flavors mixed into one nutty, sweet slice. Everything easy, leftover, and extra, not already used in a recipe or set aside for something to be cooked later, thrown into one pan of magic. We made this for Thanksgiving breakfast. It can be dessert. It pairs wonderfully with a cup of coffee, although the kids preferred milk.

There is no crust. There is no fuss. Simply mix it all together, pour it in a pan, and bake!

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups pecans, chopped
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar/swerve
  • 2-3 carrots shredded
  • 1-2 large apple, shredded
  • 1 tbsp instant coffee
  • 1 tbsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp pumpkin spice
  • 3 tbsp oil, plus more for greasing
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tbsp molasses, 1 tbsp honey (optional)
  • 1/8 cup coconut or almond flour (to thicken)
  • 1 tbsp flaxseed

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 375.
  2. Shred apple and carrot with a food processor or cheese grater.
  3. In a large bowl mix carrot, apple, pecans, sweeteners, flour, flaxseed, spices, and coffee. Taste (make sure you like it!) Adjust to taste.
  4. Add oil and eggs. Mix well.
  5. Spread into greased pan or baking tin. Bake 40-45 minutes or until visibly set.
  6. Allow to cool and serve.

Stuffing with Sausage (gluten and grain free)

Thanksgiving is here, and this year some of us have extra time to play around with new recipes. Why not experiment with a fun, nutritious twist on a classic side? I have taken this to family gatherings and there is never leftovers! It’s now a family go-to for holidays.

Ingredients:

  • 4 pounds pork sausage–I like to blend 2 hot, 1 sage, and 1 country mild
  • 1 cup sweet peas, frozen
  • 2-4 large onions, diced
  • A few cloves of minced garlic
  • 1 pound cremini mushrooms–others are fine, I just like these
  • 2-5 large sweet potatoes, diced
  • 1 pound riced cauliflower (optional, I’ve been omitting it in recent years)
  • Oregano, paprika, rosemary black pepper, salt to taste
  • Cooking fat, such as avocado, olive, coconut oil, or tallow

Directions:

  1. Dice onions. In a large skillet, cook 1-2 lbs sausage and onions over medium high heat until meat is cooked thoroughly and onions have released their water and browned.
  2. Dice mushrooms and sweet potatoes.
  3. Transfer cooked sausage into large bowl or container. I like to use a huge sheetpan for the oven to mix everything evenly.
  4. Fry next 2 pounds of sausage over medium high heat. Add to pan.
  5. Add fat to pan and fill with vegetables. Fry over medium high heat until cooked through and starting to caramelize. Add desired spices. Add to larger pan.
  6. Repeat step 5 until all ingredients are cooked. Combine in large dish, mix together, and enjoy!

Festive Dried Flower Mason Jar Fall Centerpieces

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone! If you’re like me and prepare everything for the holidays at the last minute, then this is for you.

I tend to buy flowers, change the water a few times, and then leave them dying in the vase. Today this tendency actually proved itself useful when I decided to make fall decorations for Thursday:

You can do this alone or with your kids, up to you.

Supplies:

  • A mason jar (or many of different sizes)
  • Fresh, dried, or dying flowers
  • Optional: coordinating ribbon

Steps:

  1. Cut the flower heads off of stems. Discard stems.
  2. Pluck the petals from most of the flowers. Leave some intact for variety and dimension. My kids liked this part!
  3. Arrange flowers and petals in mason jars. Have fun! Top with a large flower.

Easy Halloween Trick-or-Trio

Blurriest picture ever

I really enjoy encouraging the kids to get into upcoming holidays. Madi doesn’t know what Halloween is yet, but Karissa seems to remember! We are going to be attending Boo at the Zoo! at the LA zoo dressed as 4 characters from My Little Pony (Matt is Princess Twilight Sparkle, I’m Applejack, Karissa is Pinkie Pie, and Miss Madilyn is Rainbow Dash). I like to plan little craft activities during the week to entertain them that are themed around whatever we do for the upcoming weekend. Aquarium week we made our own construction paper fish tanks and fish, zoo week we do animals, arboretum week we do plants. It logically follows that Halloween week we do Halloween.

These are constructed for very young children where focusing on the end result isn’t as important as the activity.

Craft #1: Spooky Sticker Tree

Supplies:

Computer paper or construction paper, color of your choice

Brown or black marker

Halloween stickers (I got a book of stickers at Dollar Tree)

Steps:

Prep: Draw a Spooky looking brown or black tree trunk. Older kids can do this part, or if you want to let your toddler do it that’s cool too. Mine will do a brown scribble, but I think she enjoys having an actual tree drawing to decorate too.

Simply give them the paper and some stickers and let ’em at it!

Craft #2: Halloween Collage

Supplies:

Construction paper

Glue

Colorful baubles and things to glue to paper. We are using torn up tissue paper, feathers, pom poms, and paper shapes. Foam Halloween shapes or sequins would be cool if I could find them in the closet.

Steps:

Give them their paper, some decorations, and some glue (maybe a small amount, Karissa goes nuts). See their creativity blossom.

Craft #3: Paint a Pumpkin

We don’t have time to carve a pumpkin this year, so today we are going to paint our own mini pumpkins. I am sure Karissa is going to love this!

Supplies:

A small pumpkin or multiple pumpkins

Paint (we use washable tempera right now)

Brushes

Something to cover your workspace

Apron to protect little one’s clothing

Glue, glitter, sequins, feathers, rhinestones, or whatever else seems fun

Steps:

1. Prepare workspace by covering it (if you’re the kind of person who is inclined. I’m not). Put an apron on kid (again, if inclined).

2. Give kid pumpkin and painting materials. Let them paint.

3. If you have a child that will let paint dry before trying to further decorate with glue and things then congratulations, thousands of us envy you. If not, just give them the sequins and whatever else. It will be messy, but they’re having a blast.

That’s it. I hope you have a fantastic holiday full of magic for the kids. Happy Halloween, everyone!

 

Mother’s Day Print Cards

My sister is visiting, so she gets to help with a special Mother’s Day project today! I love my mom–my sweet, far away, Texan mom. Sadly, the distance means that she doesn’t get to see the kids. She’s seen Kari three times and Madi once, so we have to let her know that we’re thinking of her on this special holiday! This card didn’t turn out as great as I wanted it to, but it incorporated more people and was still a ton of fun.

Difficulty: medium

Supplies:
8 1/2 × 11 thick paper or cardstock cut in half
Paint
Embellishments (feathers, sequins, glitter )
A little helper or two

Steps:
1. On the front of the card, write your sentiments. I have also added a few decorative feathers and sequins as embellishments.

2. Paint your hand green, turquoise, blue, or purple–some peacocky color. In the center of the inside press firmly, leaving an imprint. Have anyone else participating do the same thing on top of yours in a different color, creating layers of “peacock feathers.” My sister, husband and two girls are doing this with me, so we have 5 layers.

3. For the body, take blue paint and paint the body off to one side–let him show off that tail! I mixed dark blue, light blue, and lime green glitter in with my paint.

4. Put some white paint for an eye–I just did a dot with my finger. Once it dries, Add a pupil with black paint or a sharpie marker. Add a beak with a little bit of yellow or orange paint.

5. Against the top of the peacock’s head add a little feather tuft using a blue, green, or purple feather.

6. Label your handprints and send to moms and grandmas!