The High Cost of the Value Meal

value meal titles

A few weeks ago I shared the picture below on the Well Fed Family Facebook page. It received a lot of comments ranging from those who were disgusted to those who really wanted to know how it was possible to eat well when you didn’t have a lot of money.

too poor to be healthyWhen I mentioned that I had once blogged about how if someone was willing to just cook for themselves they could eat organic potatoes and grassfed beef burgers for less than the price of a fast food meal. Several people asked if I’d repost the article. So here it is, updated with current prices and including some recipes. I’m also going to post more budget-friendly recipes here on Well Fed Family that are healthier and cheaper than eating off the $1 Menu.

The High Cost of the Value Meal

It’s been 10 years since filmmaker Morgan Spurlock released his documentary Super Size Me where he eats 3 meals a day, 7 days a week, exclusively from McDonald’s. It’s doubtful anyone really thinks they are getting a healthy meal this way, however we still choose it all too often, eyes wide open to the detriment to our health and our children’s health. Why? Because often we perceive these foods to be inexpensive, a good value for the money and time spent. Some go so far as to say they cannot afford any other kind of food; that they are victims of the food industry. I’m here to show you nothing could be further from the truth.

Is a value meal really as cheap as it seems?

Let’s look at two common meals from two familiar fast food chains. Then we’ll compare costs with what we’d spend if we prepared these meals at home. I’m using restaurant prices from Fast Food Prices and grocery prices from my own personal grocery receipts from stores here in the metro-Orlando area where I live.

 

chickfila 1Meal 1:
Chick-fila original 8 count nuggets plus waffle fries and a sweet tea:
Items purchased individually total $6.59, purchased as a meal combo $5.95

The Chick-fila chicken nuggets are a favorite with most of the little kids I know. It’s the same chicken recipe as the original chicken sandwich, but cut into finger food sized pieces. Reading the actual ingredients might shock a few playgroup moms to discover they are seasoned with mostly MSG (monosodium glutamate – a known neurotoxin ) and sugar plus over 15 other ingredients. By the way, if you order the sandwich instead of the nuggets you might want to know there’s no actual butter on the “buttered bun” and the pickle chips contain 9 more ingredients in addition to cucumbers including two chemical preservatives and two petroleum-based artificial colors.

The waffle fries are made with potatoes but also include GMO canola oil, TBHQ, anti-foaming agents plus a little dextrose (sugar) and some color enhancers. All total it looks like about 8 ingredients not counting the salt.

Thankfully the sweet tea is simply water, sugar and tea. whew!

Cost breakdown for Chick-fila meal:
4oz of chicken nuggets for $3.25 is $13/lb.
4 oz of waffle fries for $1.65 is $6.60/lb.
15 oz of sweet tea for $1.69 is $14.36 per gallon

Mcdonalds 1Meal 2:
McDonald’s Quarter Pounder with Cheese, medium fry, medium soft drink:
Items purchased individually total $7.17 or purchased as a combo meal $6.39

The Quarter Pounder with cheese is a McDonald’s staple. I have to say the burger itself isn’t bad – 100% beef, salt and black pepper. The bun, however, has the usual suspects in any factory-produced bread, things like GMO soybean oil, yoga mats, and several other chemical conditioners and preservatives. The burger toppings add more chemical preservatives, plus a hearty serving of high fructose GMO corn syrup in the ketchup.

The fries are worse here than at Chick-fila with three kinds of GMO industrially processed oils including trans-fat filled hydrogenated soybean oil, plus the usual chemical preservatives and anti-foaming agents. Interestingly these fries are vegetarian, but they contain “natural beef flavor” made from hydrolyzed wheat (a hidden source of msg) and milk.

trivia mcdonalds fries

As for soft drink ingredients… Do I really need to tell you what’s in these? Do yourself a favor and just order water.

Cost breakdown for the McDonald’s meal:
Quarter pounder with cheese is $3.89 which is $15.56/lb
4oz fry is $1.79 or $7.16/lb
21oz soft drink is $1.49 or $9.07/gallon

Here’s the “I told you so” part:

Making chicken nuggets or hamburgers isn’t rocket science. If you can follow the directions on a box of Easy Mac, you have the cooking skills to make these things at home.

Easy Nuggets or Chicken filet:
Cut your boneless/skinless chicken breast into whatever size/shape you want, stick it in a ziplock bag along with ½ cup flour, 1 tsp garlic salt, 1 tsp black pepper and shake it up. Fry the chicken in a skillet over medium-high heat with some melted butter until it’s brown all over and done on the inside – about 8-10 minutes per side. Voila! Chicken nuggets!

Fries are super easy as well if you make them in the oven. Use one large potato for each person being served. Cut the potatoes lengthwise into 8-12 wedges. Toss with melted butter or olive oil and sprinkle with salt. Bake at 475 degrees in a cast iron skillet for best browning and crunch, or just use any baking pan or stoneware pan. It takes about 20-30 minutes. If you want to kick up the flavor of your fries then crush a clove of garlic into a couple of tablespoons of olive oil. When the fries come out of the oven drizzle this garlic oil over the hot fries with a little more salt. Wow!

Sweet tea: Bring 1 quart of filtered water to a boil. Add two teabags and allow to steep for ten minutes. Sweeten to taste and serve over ice.

Hamburgers: Use 1 pound of ground chuck to make four burgers. Each burger will be ¼ pound pre-cooked weight. Mix 1 teaspoon of sea salt and 1 tsp of black pepper into a pound of ground chuck. (preferably grassfed or antibiotic-free) weigh out ¼ lb of the ground beef mixture and use your hands to shape it into a pattie. My mom likes to use the plastic lid from a quart yogurt container to help make the right size and shape to fit a bun. Grill or pan fry on medium-high heat for about 3-4 minutes per side until done to your liking.

Make your own buns with just flour, water, egg and yeast following this recipe from King Arthur Flour.

Soft drinks: like I said earlier, don’t even go there. Drink water. Learn to make kombucha or water kefir. Make your own lemonade if you want.

Ok, so what’s the bottom line on our homemade chicken sandwich meal?

Conventional boneless/skinless chicken breast is $5.49/lb. I like to buy the non-GMO verified/antibiotic-free chicken which is about $7/lb for breast meat or $5.50/lb for thighs (which I think taste better.) However if you have a little skill with a knife you can buy bone-in chicken and remove the bones yourself. This saves you money and gives you the side benefit of having bones leftover to make homemade broth (instead of buying those expensive cans of broth – more money saving!) Boning your own chicken saves you another $2-$3 per pound.

Organic russet potatoes are $1.79/lb
Tea bags are about $4 for 100.

Cost breakdown for homemade chicken nugget meal for one serving:

$1.75 for chicken meat
.45 for potatoes
.08 for teabags
$2.24 is the grand total.

This leaves you between $4-$6 less than the purchase price at the fast food restaurant. This leaves plenty of change with which to buy the extra ingredients to make it from scratch and still have some leftover money to put in the savings account. (You only use a fraction of the flour, salt or olive oil so the per-serving amount cost from those ingredients is still very small.)

Bottom line on the Quarter Pounder meal?
Grassfed beef prices are high, but going down as the demand for this healthy meat increases. Right now I can get it for $7/lb from my grocery store. (I also have access to bulk beef and can get ¼ of a whole cow for about $6/lb. meaning steaks, roasts and ground beef are all the same price. This doesn’t have bearing for this argument unless you have a deep freeze, but the fact remains that you can get good prices on this kind of high quality meat if you know how.) Regular feedlot grocery store ground beef costs even less, and is still better for you than meats processed with nitrites, msg or preservatives. I’m sticking with grassfed beef because it proves my point just fine for this argument. This means our quarter pound burger is about $1.75.

Cheese: if you own a knife you can make your own cheese slices. Buying pre-sliced cheese is a waste of money and usually you can get much higher quality cheese if you buy it in a chunk. A good grocery store brand is Cabot. 8oz for about $3 means .38cents for a 1oz slice. (btw you can get Cabot for about half that price if you have a Sam’s or Costco membership. The big warehouse membership stores often have high quality cheese, even raw cheese, for very reasonable prices.)

Soda – remember, we aren’t drinking this, but for comparison’s sake you can purchase a 2 liter of soda for $2 or less. 2 liters = roughly 64 oz. That’s about 3 cents per ounce making your grocery store soda roughly 48 cents per 16oz glass.

Cost breakdown for the hamburger meal for one serving:

burger 1.75
cheese .38
soda .48
fries .45
$3.06 is the grand total.

Making it at home saves you between $3-$4, that’s plenty of cash leftover to more than supply funds for pickles and ketchup.

Feeding a Family of four?
Using the prices on our example meals you would spend $25.56 for McDonald’s or $23.80 for Chick-fila. Food for thought – feeding a family of four from Chipotle is $26.60 even if you ordered the most expensive thing on the menu for everyone, but it is quite a bit healthier with all of the vegetables, beans and quality meat choices. Feeding this family homemade organic/antibiotic-free versions of the fast food meals would cost between $8.96-$12.24. Now tell me you don’t have enough money to eat healthy.

determination to eat well quoteSave even more money by preparing Taco Stew, Rosemary Garlic Grilled Chicken, Cheesey Parmesan Fish, or Creamy Turkey and Brown Rice Soup for your family.

Here at Well Fed Family we post recipes all the time. Frequently they are very budget friendly, because that’s how we eat in our own homes, too! Subscribe to our newsletter (use the link at the upper right of this page) and we’ll send you more recipes and tips for healthy living each month, plus you get a bonus free e-book on how to make your own homemade ice cream! Follow us on Facebook or Pinterest for even more recipes and ideas.

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How to Start a Bulk Food Co-op

How-to-Start-Bulk-Food-Co-Op-GNOWFGLINS-mainBig chain warehouse stores aren’t the only ones to offer the power of buying in bulk. Individuals and families can harness this power when they join with other like-minded people to form a private buying club: a co-op. The age of internet commerce and communication makes buying even nutrient-dense foods, chemical-free personal care products, and non-irradiated spices easier than ever.    Read more on my October guest post for Traditional Cooking School by GNOWFGLINS.….(click here)

Taco Stew

taco stew titlesThe whole family loves this recipe. I made it a few months ago when we had several teens over for dinner and they all raved about it. One sweet young lady even asked for the recipe – I love it when kids feel empowered to cook!

The ingredients are simple. This is a great example of how you can take inexpensive real food and make something delicious, nutritious and not break the budget. You can splurge on the grassfed ground beef because the rest of the soup costs so little. I’d estimate the cost per serving, if you soak and cook your own beans from dried and make your own homemade broth, to be less than $3 per serving. Definitely a meal you can be happy about!

Taco Stew

Ingredients

1 lb. grassfed ground beef

1 medium onion, chopped

3 cloves garlic, pressed

olive oil or butter for the pan

2 Tablespoons no-MSG taco seasoning (make your own and save even more)

4 cups homemade chicken or beef broth

2 small zucchini or yellow squash, diced

2 cups cooked black beans

2 cups (or one 15oz can) diced tomatoes

1 cup frozen corn kernels

1 cup salsa

1/2-3/4 teaspoon sea salt (depending on how salty your taco seasoning is)

For topping:

shredded cheese

diced avocado

sour cream

non-GMO verified tortilla chips

Preparation

Heat oil or butter in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add onion, garlic and ground beef and saute until beef is browned. Sprinkle with the taco seasoning and stir well to blend. Add the broth, squash, beans, tomatoes, corn and salsa and simmer, covered, stirring occasionally for about 20 minutes or until the vegetables are tender. Taste and add the remaining salt if needed. Serve with the cheese, avocado, sour cream and chips if desired.

Taco Stew
Author: 
Recipe type: soup
Cuisine: Mexican
Serves: 4-6 servings
 
Healthy and family-friendly, this soup is easy on the budget while remaining nutrient-dense.
Ingredients
  • 1 lb grassfed ground beef
  • 1 medium onion, choped
  • 3 cloves garlic, pressed
  • olive oil or butter
  • 2 Tablespoons no-MSG taco seasoning (homemade is best)
  • 4 cups homemade chicken or beef broth
  • 2 small zucchini or yellow squash, diced
  • 2 cups cooked black beans
  • 2 cups (or one 15oz can) diced tomatoes
  • 1 cup frozen corn kernels
  • 1 cup salsa
  • ½-3/4 teaspoon sea salt (depending on how salty your taco seasoning is)
  • shredded cheese
  • diced avocado
  • sour cream
  • non-GMO tortilla chips
Instructions
  1. Heat oil or butter in a large pot over mdeium-high heat.
  2. Add onion, garlic and ground beef and saute until beef is browned.
  3. Sprinkle with taco seasoning and stir well to blend.
  4. Add the broth, squash, beans, tomatoes, corn and salsa and simmer, covered, stirring occasionally for about 20 minutes or until the vegetables are tender.
  5. Taste and add the remaining salt if needed.
  6. Serve with cheese, avocado, sour cream and chips if desired.

 

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Cheesy Chili Chicken Salad

cheesy chili chicken salad titlesIt was the 80s – Girls Night Out meant dressing up in punk rock and mini skirts with big hair and blue eyeshadow. For us it also meant going to Ryan’s on Opelika Road for Cheesy Chili Chicken Salad. This was back when chicken fingers were a new thing, so you know it was a long time ago! The salad was huge. It came in a giant bowl ringed with tortilla chips and filled with chunks of chicken fingers, kidney beans, cheese, olives, lettuce and Ryan’s special creamy chili dressing. This recipe is my rendition of that awesome meal-in-a-salad that takes me back to those crazy nights with the girls.

Cheesy Chili Chicken Salad

Dressing:

1/3 cup full fat sour cream (I like Daisy)

1/3 cup mayonnaise (I usually buy Hain’s)

1 chipotle chile, canned (save the rest in a ziptop bag in the freezer for next time)

1 teaspoon ground cumin

2 teaspoons chili powder

juice of one lime

1 teaspoon sea salt

Salad:

4 cups shredded crisp lettuce such as romaine

3 cups chopped roasted chicken

1 cup grape or cherry tomatoes, halved

2 cups cooked red beans

1 cup shredded cheddar or colby cheese

1/3 cup sliced ripe olives

1/3 cup thinly sliced red onion

1 cup frozen organic corn kernels, thawed

sliced avocado for garnish

non-GMO tortilla chips

Dice the chipotle chili very finely (wear gloves and don’t touch your eyes!) Combine the dressing ingredients in a medium bowl, stirring well with a whisk.   To prepare the salad, combine the lettuce and remaining ingredients except avocado and chips in a large bowl. Pour the dressing over the salad just before serving and toss gently to coat. Garnish with avocado slices and serve immediately with tortilla chips.  Mini skirts and big hair optional.

Cheesy Chili Chicken Salad
Author: 
Recipe type: main course salad
 
Spicy creamy cool dressing coats this meal-in-a-salad filled with chunks of chicken, beans and cheese.
Ingredients
  • Dressing
  • ⅓ cup full fat sour cream such as Daisy brand
  • ⅓ cup safflower mayonnaise such as Hain's
  • 1 canned chipotle chili in adobo, reserve other chiles for another recipe
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • juice of one lime
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • Salad:
  • 4 cups shredded romaine
  • 3 cups chopped roasted chicken
  • 1 cup grape or cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 2 cups cooked red beans
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar or colby cheese
  • ⅓ cup sliced ripe olives
  • ⅓ cup thinly sliced red onion
  • 1 cup frozen organic corn kernels, thawed
  • sliced avocado for garnish
  • non-GMO tortilla chips for serving
Instructions
  1. Finely mince the one chipotle pepper.
  2. Freeze the remaining peppers for another recipe.
  3. Combine the dressing ingredients in a medium bowl, stirring well with a whisk.
  4. To prepare the salad, combine the lettuce and remaining ingredients (except avocado and chips) in a large bowl.
  5. Pour the dressing over the salad just before serving.
  6. Toss gently to coat.
  7. Garnish with avocado slices and serve immediately with tortilla chips.

 

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3 Things You Can Do for Your Kids (including talking about this uncomfortable topic)

Here are three tips from Jordan and Steve to make your kids stronger and healthier on the inside:

1. Share this chart with your kids

Get the conversation going about “going” in your house. Change the meaning of “potty talk” and open up a dialog about healthy bathroom habits at an early age. Your kids can track their own health just by knowing what to look for when they potty. It’s normal and healthy to poop, and kids are naturally curious, help to focus them in a healthy direction.

Does your Poop Stack Up?
Source: SolvingLeakyGut.com

2. Eat an abundance of fermented foods.

Serve them everyday. Make it normal at your house to have them around, and lead with your example as you eat them every day. Start with SCD yogurt, kimchee, kefir, sauerkraut, and pickles. Let your kitchen be a place of exploration.

3. Let them play in the dirt.

Soil contains millions of beneficial microbes, especially near the top where the plants grow. Plants need a healthy, diverse probiotic community just like we do. In addition to contact with a wide range of immune-strengthening microbes, getting outside to play in the dirt gives kids sunlight (vit D) exposure, exercise and fun.

Which tip is your favorite? Tell us about it in the comments!

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What You Need to Know About the Most Common Cause of IBS

digestive small and large intestine titlesThis blog is for informational purposes only. Some links may be monetized.

An estimated 60 million people in the U.S. have something called Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), the symptoms of which can include anything from bloating, pain and discomfort, diarrhea and/or constipation, heartburn, and nausea. . IBS is not so much a disease as a “catch all” term used by doctors to categorize people with similar symptoms. According to Dr. Allison Siebecker as many as 84% of all people with IBS have Small Intestine Bacteria Overgrowth (SIBO) as the underlying cause of all their troubles. Interestingly, as many as 70% of people with fibromyalgia also have some form of IBS, and so it isn’t surprising that a study done at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles found that 100% of fibromyalgia patients (42/42) studied also had SIBO.

What is SIBO?

It is becoming much more common knowledge that people need beneficial bacteria to keep healthy, in fact these beneficials outnumber our own cell 10:1.  Just exactly where these helpfuldigestive system image with little bugs critters are isn’t quite as clear to most people. A small amount can be found all throughout the entire digestive tract from the mouth to the other end, but the majority should be in the large intestine and colon. The small intestine, whose job is to host most of the digestion of our food, shouldn’t have a large bacteria population. Having too many bacteria in the small intestine would get in the way of all of the digestive enzymes and other digestive chemicals while slowing down the whole process of absorbing the nutrition and moving along the leftovers.  The small intestine uses powerful muscle contractions, called peristalsis, to mix digestive enzymes with the food and to keep it all moving along smoothly into the large intestine. When this is slowed or halted bad things can happen.

The small intestine is super-important because it is technically the first place where your food actually enters into your body. Your mouth, esophagus and stomach are actually still part of the “outside” since all they do is crush and mix the food with chemicals to break it down. Only in the small intestine does our dinner begin to filter into us giving us energy and nutrition. So the small intestine has a huge responsibility – it has to figure out exactly what part of our food is safe and healthy, and what part needs to get passed along and eliminated. Proteins and fats are the main things digested in the small intestine, this includes all the fat soluble vitamins like vitamin A, D & E; and the protein-related vitamins like zinc and many of the B vitamins. It is critical that your food is broken down correctly and then continues to move on through instead of slowing down or stopping there in the small intestine.

Anything that slows down the movement, or motility, of the small intestine brings with it the potential to cause SIBO.  When your small intestine gets overrun by bacteria that aren’t supposed to be there you feel bloated; you also don’t absorb the nutrition from your food no matter how organic or healthy it is.

Dr. Siebecker explains that there are many events which could bring on SIBO including a bout with food poisoning, stomach flu or traveler’s diarrhea. Other triggers can be scleroderma (where you skin or connective tissue hardens), Type II diabetes, hypothyroidism, abdominal tumors or any kind of abdominal surgery that produces scar tissue around or on the small intestine. On her website, SIBO Info.com, Dr. Siebecker gives an extensive list of symptoms and related diseases to help you figure out if you might have SIBO. There are also medical tests you can have your doctor give you, one is the Lactulose Breath Test. Another is a urine organic acids test.

So what do you do if you have SIBO?

Dr. Siebecker, as well as functional medicine practitioners like Chris Kresser, use four different approaches to healing depending on the age of the patient and the severity of the symptoms. The first strategy is to go on a carbohydrate-restricted healing diet such as GAPS or SCD. This is because carbs, especially sugars, grains and beans, are favorite foods for the SIBO bacteria. It is especially important to be gluten-free while you are trying to eliminate SIBO.

Next, depending on how severe the overgrowth is, there are special antibiotics, such as rifaximin, that target primarily the SIBO bacteria. If someone doesn’t want to take antibiotics, or if their overgrowth is not severe, there are also specific herbal remedies that have antibiotic effects. Some of the more common ones include cats claw, wormwood, goldenseal, pau d’arco, olive leaf extract, garlic, barberry, and Oregon grape. If the overgrowth is extremely severe practitioners might recommend something called an elemental diet which is a liquid formula of free amino acids to keep any stress off the small intestine while also eliminating anything that would feed the bacterial overgrowth.

Treatment doesn’t work overnight. You may feel relief from your symptoms very quickly, but you have to keep going with the treatment, especially the GAPS or SCD diet, for several months until your body has time to heal. After undergoing treatment for SIBO it is also common to relapse unless you fix the underlying problem that caused it in the first place. (such as a diet of refined carbs and processed foods) It is very important to stay in tune with your body, monitor your digestion and make sure you don’t get constipated or have diarrhea again. Dr. Siebecker gives her patients special supplements to keep motility going smoothly. Taking ginger each day to keep food from just sitting in the stomach is one of her recommendations.

What about probiotics?

Everywhere you look you see probiotics added to all kinds of things. Probiotics are definitely important to supplement, especially from lacto-fermented and naturally cultured foods, but people with SIBO need to read labels carefully and not choose any probiotic that also contain a PRE-biotic. Pre-biotics can aggravate SIBO because they are made from the same kind of carbohydrates that feed the unwanted bacterial overgrowth. According to Chris Kresser you also want to avoid taking any probiotics that have D-lactate-forming species like Lactobacillus acidophilus. Unfortunately those are some of the more common species in many probiotics. Saccharomyces boulardii, on the other hand, is a good strain to look for when taking probiotics for SIBO. All of this is why it is always important to work with a practitioner and not try to self-treat SIBO. It’s tricky to kill off some bacteria while supporting others and also not do any more damage to your digestive tract.

For some people staying on a permanent low FODMAP, gluten-free diet can keep them SIBO-free.

Dr. Siebecker has a new book coming out soon. Visit her website and sign up for her newsletter to receive news on the book, and to learn lots more about SIBO. She also recommends A New IBS Solution by digestive disorders researcher Dr Mark Pimentel as a great resource for further reading.

Maybe SIBO is part of your puzzle. Ask your doctor or practitioner to find out more.
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Peach Almond Breakfast Cookies (GF)

peach almond breakfast cookies titleI goofed this week with my menu planning and grocery shopping – I never got anything for breakfast and now the kids have been foraging every morning for something to eat, never thrilled with my suggestions to just eat the leftovers from dinner the night before.  My son will make himself eggs, but my daughter doesn’t like them, she’s more of a sausage or muffin kid. On top of all that I ended up having to empty and defrost the refrigerator trying to find a mystery water leak. So this morning as I was tossing unidentifiable baggies of this and that I uncovered some almond flour and some frozen peach slices. It’s the little discoveries that get my creativity going. These breakfast cookies are what we ended up eating. I fed some to the contractor who is here working on the guest bathroom (did I mention that mom, dad and two teenagers – including a teenage girl – are all sharing one bathroom right now?) I had intended for them to be scones, but they ended up more like batter than dough so soft cookies it is.

Peach Almond Breakfast Cookies

2 1/2 cups blanched almond flour

2 eggs (preferably from pasture raised hens)

1/4 cup maple syrup

1/3 cup melted butter

1 tsp vanilla extract

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp sea salt

1/2 tsp ground ginger

1 peach, diced

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease or parchment line a baking sheet.  I like to use a food processor to whirl everything up, but you can certainly do this by hand in a bowl. Place the almond flour, eggs, maple syrup, vanilla and melted butter in a food processor and process until mixed. Add the soda, salt and ginger and mix again. Finally add the peaches and pulse just until combined. You don’t want to chop them so much that you don’t have little juicy bits of peach left in the cookie.  Spoon the batter onto the prepared baking sheet using about 2 Tblsp for each one. Leave some space between them as they will spread more during baking. Bake for 18-20 minutes or until golden around the edges. Remove to a cooling rack. Freeze any leftovers and you can heat them up in a toaster later.

Peach Almond Breakfast Cookies
Author: 
Recipe type: breakfast
 
Soft almond flour cookies with peaches and vanilla, all real food ingredients and plenty of protein for a quick breakfast.
Ingredients
  • 2½ cups blanched almond flour
  • 2 eggs
  • ¼ cup maple syrup
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • ⅓ cup melted butter
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • ½ tsp sea salt
  • ½ tsp ground ginger
  • 1 peach, pitted and diced
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350. Grease or parchment line a baking sheet.
  2. Place almond flour, eggs, maple syrup and vanilla in a food processor or mixing bowl.
  3. Mix well, and then add in the baking soda, salt and ground ginger.
  4. Mix well again, and then add the peaches and pulse gently to just mix.
  5. Spoon onto prepared baking sheet using about 2 Tblsp of batter per cookie.
  6. Leave space between each one as they spread more during baking.
  7. Bake for 18-20 minutes or until the edges are golden brown.
  8. Remove to a cooling rack.
  9. Freeze leftovers and reheat in a toaster.

 

peach almond breakfast cookies

 

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Plantain Pancakes (GF/DF)

plantain pancakes title

So I was driving from Orlando up to Georgia to pick up my kids after a weekend with their grandparents, and I was listening to a podcast with Chris Kresser (functional and integrative practitioner and author of Your Personal Paleo Code).  His co-host was asking him what was for breakfast that morning. Chris started describing these plantain waffles he’d eaten and I just started salivating – I love plantains, green or ripe, and they also just happen to be a really good carb for just about anyone – so I decided I would look for that recipe when I got home.  I bought two nicely mottled-brown plantains at the store and then checked out Bing for the recipe.  I was pretty bummed when all I could find were recipes using plantain flour instead of just ripe plantains. But that didn’t stop me for long, because after all of the GAPS cooking, gluten-free cooking and Paleo cooking I’ve been doing lately I can pretty much make a pancake out of anything; maybe not a waffle, but definitely a pancake.

plantain vs banana

plantain vs. banana

If you’ve never had a plantain, they are similar in appearance to a banana, but a good bit larger. When you cook them green they taste a lot like potato. When you wait until they are nearly black all over and kind of squishy you can bake them or slice and fry them in butter for a sweet, warm, caramelized banana/tropical treat.

For the pancakes I peeled the riper of the two plantains and cut it into chunks and stuck it in the blender.  I added two Lake Meadow eggs, a 1/2 cup of full fat coconut milk, aluminum-free baking soda, sea salt and a little coconut flour and blended it all up until it was smooth.  A little coconut oil on the hot griddle and it was time to see if it worked.

plantain pancake cooking on griddle

the bubbles will tell you when it’s time to flip it over

One thing about non-traditional pancakes is they are sometimes tricky to flip. I waited for the classic signs of pancake flipping readiness….little bubbles that form all over the batter then pop and stay popped.  After one fail (still tasty, but not really a good pancake shape) I discovered I needed to be swift and confident making the metal spatula scoop and flip in one quick movement.  A few seconds to finish the other side and then onto the plate.  I used a 1/4 cup of batter per pancake and got about 8 pancakes. Slathered with some Kerrygold butter they didn’t need anything else in my opinion.  My husband enjoyed a little raw honey on the one I save for him. These are good hot or cold. I could see them used as a wrap for some cream cheese sprinkled with chopped walnuts, or maybe with a little sliced ham and Swiss.  I enjoyed them stacked on a plate hot off the griddle.

Plantain Pancakes (GF/DF)
Author: 
 
Naturally sweet these pancakes are high in protein, good fats and good carbs.
Ingredients
  • 1 ripe plantain
  • ½ cup coconut milk
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • ¼ tsp sea salt
  • 2 eggs, preferably from pasture raised hens
  • 1 Tblsp coconut flour
  • coconut oil or butter for the griddle
  • any toppings such as butter, fresh berries, or raw honey
Instructions
  1. Preheat a griddle on medium-high heat.
  2. Peel the plantain, cut into chunks and place in a blender.
  3. Add the remaining ingredients into the blender and blend on high speed until smooth.
  4. Grease the griddle with a little coconut oil and pour the batter onto the hot griddle using approximately ¼ cup batter or less per pancake.
  5. Cook until bubbles appear on the batter that do not disappear when they pop.
  6. Quickly turn the pancakes over to finish cooking the other side, about 1 minute or less.
  7. Serve hot or cold with desired toppings.

 

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Going Gluten-free: Fad or Necessity?

Gluten Free

I went gluten-free a little over a year ago. More than one person thought I was crazy, but since then I no longer have brain fog (that feeling of rusty steel wool scratching around my head while I’m trying to think), bloating, heart palpitations, or dizziness after eating things like pancakes, French toast, and pizza.

I’ve heard gluten-free eating called a “fad”. One recent article in a well-known traditional foods journal called it a “gluten-free craze” that lacks common sense, hurts the wheat industry, and randomly condemns an entire food group. The article also came pretty close to accusing parents who put their children on gluten-free diets of committing dietary child abuse…..(read more here)

You can read the rest of this article at my GNOWFGLINS guest post! Please leave a comment on whether you agree or disagree, or where you are in your own gluten-free journey.

Bananas Foster Toby’s Corner Style

bananas foster title

Toby’s Corner was one of those “special occasion” places where you took someone you wanted to impress. It was a swanky restaurant in the historic district, the old Sun Center building, in downtown Gainesville, FL.  Since we were living on a beginning teacher’s salary and a graduate assistant stipend we didn’t eat there very often. But when we did we always ordered the Bananas Foster – it was their signature dessert prepared tableside with great panache. I waited for the perfect opportunity to get the recipe, all I had to do was pay attention when the waiter rolled the linen-covered cart up to the table to give us the show whose grand finale involved flaming the brandy for dramatic effect. Scribbled quickly on a scrap of paper from my purse I treasured that recipe and quickly transferred it to a notecard and stashed it in my recipe file. Now we could have that special dessert at home!

For those of you who’ve never had Bananas Foster it’s a warm caramel sauce with ripe bananas poured over vanilla ice cream for a hot-cold-creamy dessert sensation. I haven’t changed the recipe very much at all from the original, just tweaked the sweeteners so it doesn’t use quite so much refined sugar, so even if the restaurant isn’t there anymore you can still get a taste of what it was like when you make this dessert for you own special occasion. Much of the alcohol does burn off during preparation, but if you don’t want to use it then simply leave it out. The fresh orange and lemon still give it plenty of flavor. Serve this over homemade vanilla ice cream from our free ice cream e-book. To get your copy just click the link on the right hand side of this page, sign up for our newsletter, and we’ll send you the e-book with 10 delicious homemade ice cream recipes right away!

Bananas Foster Toby’s Corner Style

Have the ice cream portioned into four bowls and keep them chilled while you make the sauce. Melt together 3 Tablespoons each of butter, sucanat and real maple syrup in a wide, flat pan. Continue cooking and stirring until the mixture gets bubbly and thickens. Add the juice of 1/2 of an orange and 1/2 of a lemon plus 1/2 teaspoon of ground cinnamon. Stir and heat until bubbly again. Then add 3 Tablespoons each of Creme de Banana liqueur and brandy, flambe if desired, and then slip two bananas that have been peeled, sliced lengthwise and then again in crossways to form 8 total pieces into the warm caramel mixture. Coat the bananas with the sauce stirring to let them get warm, and then spoon the mixture over bowls of vanilla ice cream.

Bananas Foster
Author: 
Recipe type: dessert
Serves: 4
 
warm citrus infused caramel and bananas over vanilla ice cream
Ingredients
  • 3 Tablespoons butter
  • 3 Tablespoons sucanat
  • 3 Tablespoons real maple syrup
  • ½ orange
  • ½ lemon
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 3 Tablespoons Creme de Banana Liqueur
  • 3 Tablespoons brandy
  • 2 ripe bananas, peeled and slice lengthwise and again across
  • 4 bowls vanilla ice cream
Instructions
  1. In a wide but somewhat deep pan (or a flambe pan), melt together the butter, sucanat and maple syrup stirring until melted and bubbly.
  2. Squeeze in the juice of half an orange and half a lemon, plus ½ tsp cinnamon stirring well.
  3. Return to bubbling.
  4. Add the banana liqueur and brandy (if desired) and flambe.
  5. Add the sliced bananas stirring to coat the bananas in the sauce as they warm.
  6. Divide the sauce between the bowls of ice cream and serve immediately.

 

This blog is for informational purposes. Some links my be monetized.