Category Archives: Breakfast

Blueberry Banana Grain-free Muffins

The kids and I went blueberry picking with some homeschool friends recently. It is becoming a spring time tradition for us, one that I look forward to as much for the time with friends as for the juicy berries!  I managed to get 9 quarts of big fat blueberries frozen which I hope will mean smoothies and blueberry muffins for several months.

I’ve been using almond flour and coconut flour a lot more lately. We’ve gone gluten-free at our house. No one has celiac, but I’ve found that without gluten we have less brain fog and people are less grumpy.  Before you say it’s the hybrid wheat, or it’s the phytates or some such other aspect related to wheat understand that I had been grinding my own spelt (a non-hybrid ancient form of wheat) and soaking/fermenting/souring it before making our breads from scratch and still it was causing some problems.  So we’re taking a break from it for awhile.

blueberry banana almond flour muffins

I’ve found all sorts of great muffin and scone recipes from websites, e-books and friends so we haven’t been lacking too much for breakfast breads. The Paleo community is a great resource for anyone going grain-free by the way. This recipe uses almond flour which can be expensive. I discovered my local health food store, Hoover’s, carries bulk packages of almond flour for about $2/lb less than the brand name packages. If you have a Vitamix or other very high powered blender you can even make you own from directions here.

Blueberry Banana Grain-free Muffins
 
Author:
Recipe type: muffin
Cuisine: breakfast
 
Grain-free blueberry muffins with a hint of banana, full of good fats and proteins to get your day started right.
Ingredients
  • 2¼ cups almond meal/almond flour
  • ⅓ cup melted butter or coconut oil
  • 1 ripe banana, mashed
  • ¼ cup finely shredded unsweetened dried coconut
  • 4 eggs, preferably from pastured hens
  • ¼ cup honey
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • ½ tsp sea salt
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • 1 cup fresh or frozen blueberries
Instructions
  1. Butter 12 muffin tins and preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. In a bowl or food processor, mix together the almond flour, coconut, cinnamon, baking soda and sea salt breaking up any lumps.
  3. Add the mashed banana, melted butter, eggs, honey and vanilla and mix well until mixture is lump free as much as possible.
  4. Gently stir in the blueberries.
  5. Divide the batter evenly among the 12 muffin cups.
  6. Bake for 20-23 minutes or until golden and set.
  7. Allow to cool in the pan for 2 minutes and then remove to a cooling rack.
  8. Serve warm or cold.

 

These aren’t very sweet, we have gotten to where we like things less sweet. Be sure your banana is very ripe, the riper the banana the sweeter the muffins. You could use a little more honey too, up to 1/3 cup, without changing the batter too much.

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Homemade Turkey Secret Superfood Breakfast Sausage

Dr. Sarah Ballantyne, author of The Paleo Approach: Reverse Autoimmune Disease and Heal Your Body, advises that we need to be eating more than just the typical muscle meats like steaks, roasts, or filets.  She says we need the nutrition that can only be found in places like organ meats, bones, cartilage and other less well known portions. Dr. Cate Shanahan, author of Deep Nutrition: Why Your Genes Need Traditional Food, has two entire categories in her Four Pillars of ancient cuisine dedicated to Organ Meats and Meat on the Bone. Liver and other organ meats contain essential nutrients like omega-3 fats plus vitamins and minerals like B vitamins, folic acid, iron and CoQ10 deficient in our modern society. Dr. Weston Price himself was the pioneer over 75 years ago promoting the necessity of including organ meats in our diet. His book Nutrition and Physical Degeneration shared vivid illustrations showing exactly what happens when we neglect this storehouse of nutrition.

But I don’t like liver!  I don’t know how to cook heart! My kids won’t touch that! It tastes weird!

I hear you. But I have an organ meat recipe for you that doesn’t look gross, doesn’t have a strange texture and best of all it tastes delicious!  In fact my kids were at that awkward, picky stage when I first started feeding it to them, and they loved it!  So give it a try, I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised.

I buy frozen grassfed beef liver or heart from a local rancher who delivers to our area once a month. I thaw them only enough that I can cut them up into 1/4 lb chunks and then wrap them in wax paper and freeze in ziploc bags. The night before I want to make the sausage I pull out a chunk and let it thaw in the refrigerator overnight. You can use 1/4 lb of pork, chicken, duck or goose liver or heart as well. The important part is that the organs came from animals who were raised outdoors in the sunshine eating grass and forage, because access to sunlight means the organs will be good sources of vitamin D and access to green grass means plenty of vitamin A.

Homemade Turkey Secret Superfood Breakfast Sausage
 
Author:
Recipe type: sausage
Serves: 10
 
Finally a tasty way to incorporate nutritious organ meats into your family's diet!
Ingredients
  • 1 lb ground turkey, preferably raised outside and without antibiotics
  • ¼ lb liver or heart, preferably from grassfed beef, lamb, chicken or duck
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1 heaping tsp dried sage
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • ¼ tsp freshly ground nutmeg
  • ¼-1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
Instructions
  1. Place the heart or liver in a food processor or blender and process until finely minced (liver will often puree into nearly liquified).
  2. In a large bowl mix together the organ meat and all of the remaining ingredients.
  3. Portion the sausage mixture into patties, about two tablespoons of meat per each.
  4. Gently fry on a griddle with coconut oil, butter or lard to keep it from sticking.
  5. Turn to cook both sides, serve warm.
  6. If desired you can place the uncooked patties on waxed paper and freeze them, then place the frozen patties in a ziploc bag and take out only what you need for each morning.
  7. Frozen patties take about 4 minutes per side on a hot griddle.
  8. This recipe doubles or triples easily.

 

sausage ingredients

sausage ingredients

sausage patties ready to fry

sausage patties ready to freeze

sausage cooked crop

sausage patty all ready to eat

 

 

 

 

 

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Breakfast Pizza

Breakfast Pizza makes a fun change of pace for a leisurely weekend brunch, or you can do much of it ahead on the weekend to have it ready for a quick and portable weekday breakfast.
The crust uses durum or semolina flour to add a nice crunchy texture, but you can substitute all-purpose flour if you like. A printable recipe appears below, but I’ve written it out step by step with pictures to illustrate here.

Breakfast Pizza (makes 8)
For the crust:

1 3/4 cup white whole wheat flour
1 1/4 cups durum or semolina wheat flour
1 Tblsp pizza herbs (I used Frontier Pizza Seasoning)
1 tsp instant yeast
1 tsp sea salt
2 Tblsp extra virgin olive oil
1 1/4 cups filtered water

For the topping:

4 eggs, preferably from pastured hens
2 cups (8oz) shredded cheese – your choice of cheddar, swiss, colby or Monterey Jack
4 slices of nitrite-free bacon OR 4 oz. of homemade pork or turkey sausage

For the dough, combine all of the crust ingredients in your mixer, bread machine or a large bowl. Mix until the dough comes together and then knead for about five minutes until you have a somewhat shaggy dough.  Place the dough in a large, well oiled bowl and cover it with a clean tea towel or oiled plastic wrap.  Let the dough rise at least two hours but as long as overnight on the countertop OR you can refrigerate the dough for up to 7 days.
This long rising time allows the flavor to develop as the yeast feeds on the carbohydrates in the flour. This also lets you prepare the dough the night before or even earlier giving you less prep time at breakfast.

For the topping, combine the eggs and cheese in a medium bowl.  Cut the bacon into small squares or crumble the sausage into little bits (uncooked) and stir it into the egg mixture.  Cover and refrigerate the topping until you are ready to assemble the pizzas.

To bake the pizzas, preheat the oven to 450 degrees and then divide the dough into eight pieces about 3 oz each. (You can make them larger but you’ll get fewer pizzas) Roll the dough into a circle about 5 or 6″ in diameter. Larger circles make thinner crispy crust, smaller circles make thicker chewy crust. To keep the topping from oozing off pinch a little edge around the rim of the circles.  Place the circles on lightly greased or parchment lined baking sheets.

Bake the empty crusts for 7-8 minutes. Remove from the oven.* Divide the topping evenly among the crusts and return them to the oven for 14-16 more minutes. The topping should be golden and bubbly. Remove from the oven and serve hot or let them cool on a cooling rack until you are ready to eat.

*You can stop at this point and let the par-baked crusts cool and freeze them in a zip-top freezer bag. To use later just let them thaw a bit, top them and bake as directed for the second baking with the topping.

These little pizzas are very portable. They are full of healthy proteins and fats and make a fun way to get more eggs into your kids.

Breakfast Pizza
 
Author:
Recipe type: breakfast
Serves: 8
 
Personal size pizzas filled with hearty proteins, healthy fats and whole grain goodness great for breakfast and easy to make ahead.
Ingredients
  • 1¾ cup white whole wheat flour or regular whole wheat flour
  • 1¼ cups durum wheat flour (substitute semolina or unbleached all-purpose flour if you don't have durum)
  • 1 Tblsp Italian seasoning or Pizza Herbs such as Frontier Pizza Seasoning
  • 1 tsp instant yeast
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 2 Tblsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1¼ cups filtered water
  • 4 eggs from free-range hens
  • 2 cups (8oz) shredded cheese such as cheddar, swiss, Colby or Jack
  • 4 slices of nitrite-free bacon OR 4 oz of homemade pork or turkey sausage
Instructions
  1. For the crust combine the flours, herbs, yeast, salt, olive oil and water in a mixer, bread machine or food processor bowl.
  2. Mix until the dough comes together and then knead about 5 minutes.
  3. Place the dough in a large, well-oiled container and cover loosely with a towel or plastic wrap.
  4. Let the dough rise 2 hours and then proceed with baking, or you can refrigerate the dough for up to 7 days and use as needed.
  5. To make the pizza topping combine the eggs and cheese in a medium bowl.
  6. Cut the raw bacon or sausage into small pieces and stir it into the egg mixture. Cover and refrigerate the topping, as long as overnight, until you are ready to assemble the pizzas.
  7. To bake the pizzas preheat your oven to 450 degrees and divide the crust into 8 pieces about 3oz each.
  8. Roll the dough into circles about 5-6" in diameter with smaller being chewy and larger being crispy.
  9. Place the crust circles on lightly greased or parchment covered baking sheets.
  10. Bake the empty crusts for 7-8 minutes, then remove from the oven.*
  11. Divide the topping evenly among the crusts and return to the oven for 14-16 more minutes until the topping is golden and bubbly.
  12. *You can let the partially baked crusts cool and then freeze them to use later, just remove from the freezer and allow to thaw a bit before topping and baking as directed.
This post is part of the Sunday Social Blog Hop – thanks for hopping by! Please check out the rest of our contributors on the Sunday Social page for this week.
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chocolate chocolate chip muffins 3

Chocolate Muffins

chocolate chocolate chip muffins 2Chocolate for breakfast!     Now that I have your attention… :)

When we got rid of boxed cold breakfast cereals at our house it could have been a really big change with lots of drama and complaining. But it ended up not being that big of a deal.  I chose breakfast to be the first meal to commit to preparing with real, whole foods when we started our journey to healthy eating.  My kids enjoyed having a different kind of muffin each morning and they never really noticed the lack of Peanutbutter Bumpers until several weeks later, and by then they had gotten out of the habit of cold cereal.

These chocolate muffins are a delicious homemade alternative to those white boxes of junk-filled pastries lining tables near grocery store checkout lines. Start the batter the night before. It will help to save time in the morning plus you will get a nutritional boost from the overnight soak which helps eliminate anti-nutrients in the wheat.  Use the best quality chocolate chip you can find. Try to find one with chocolate instead of sugar as the first ingredient, and always avoid anything made with hydrogenated oils or corn syrup. I like to use mini chips because they distribute better throughout the muffin. I only use 1/2 cup of the minis.

Chocolate Muffins
 
Serves: 12
 
Ingredients
  • 1¾ cup whole wheat pastry flour (preferably freshly ground)
  • 1 cup buttermilk OR kefir OR yogurt thinned with water
  • ⅔ cup Dutch process cocoa
  • 1 cup sucanat
  • 2 eggs (preferably from pastured hens)
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • ¼ cup melted or very soft butter
  • ¼ cup melted coconut oil
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • ¾ tsp sea salt
  • ½ to ¾ cup semi-sweet or bittersweet chocolate chips
Instructions
  1. The night before you plan to bake combine the whole wheat pastry flour and the buttermilk to form a sticky dough.
  2. Cover the bowl with a plate or plastic wrap and let it sit out on the counter overnight or at least 7 hours.
  3. Measure out the rest of the dry ingredients (keep the soda, powder and salt in a separate bowl) to save extra time in the morning.
  4. The next morning preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
  5. Butter a standard muffin pan or line with muffin papers.
  6. Then transfer the soaked dough to the bowl of a food processor or electric mixer.
  7. Add the cocoa, sucanat, vanilla, melted butter and melted coconut oil. (You can use all butter or all coconut oil but I like the flavor of the combination.)
  8. Pulse the mixture a few times (or mix on the lowest speed taking care not to splash) until the ball of soaked dough begins to smooth out and the ingredients begin to incorporate.
  9. Add the eggs, processing in between each one, and mix until the dough becomes more of a batter consistency.
  10. Combine the baking powder, baking soda and salt in a small bowl and then add to the batter.
  11. Process until combined. The batter will begin to puff up as the leavening starts working.
  12. Quickly add in the chocolate chips and pulse just to get them mixed in but not chopped up.
  13. Scoop the batter equally into the twelve muffin cups. They will be fairly full. Bake in the preheated 375 degree oven for 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center of a muffin comes out clean.
  14. Remove from the oven and let them sit in the tins for about 3 minutes then remove to a cooling rack.
  15. If you have used muffin papers you will want to let them cool an additional 15 minutes before peeling off the paper.

chocolate chocolate chip muffins 1

These muffins are chocolatey and tender and delicious just as they are. But if you want to gild the lily you can split them and smear on a little butter or homemade raspberry jam.
If you find yourself in need of cupcakes to take to a church party or school activity you can make these muffins and top them with homemade butter frosting for a much better alternative to the store bought bakery cupcakes.

To learn more about baking all kinds of breads made more nutritiously with soaking the flour check out Well Fed Family’s Breads DVD!
chocolate chocolate chip muffins 3

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This blog was shared on Wellness Wednesdays.

Grain-free Cranberry Orange Muffins

cranberry orange muffin‘Tis the season for all things cranberry! It’s also the beginning of citrus season which means fresh oranges should be available in stores or, if you’re lucky, in your backyard.  This recipe uses both the juice and the zest so you are better off choosing unsprayed oranges from a friend or buying organic.

These muffins come together quickly, especially if you use a food processor. Almond flour instead of wheat flour keeps these both gluten-free and grain-free for those of you trying to avoid that.

Grain-free Cranberry Orange Muffins

2 cups almond flour

1/4 cup finely shredded unsweetened coconut (if yours is big shreds, pulse it a few times in the food processor or blender to make it smaller)

1 tsp baking soda

1/4 tsp sea salt

zest and juice of 1/2 fresh orange

2-3 Tblsp raw honey

1 egg (preferably pastured or organic)

2 Tblsp melted butter

1 tsp vanilla extract

1/2 cup chopped fresh or dried cranberries

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Butter 11 muffin cups. (I can’t get this to stretch to 12, so grease 11 and put a little water in the bottom of that 12th muffin cup to keep it from scorching.)  Mix together almond flour, coconut, baking soda, salt and orange zest in a food processor or mixer.  In a separate bowl, mix together the honey, butter, egg, orange juice and vanilla.  Pour the liquid ingredients into the dry ingredients and mix well. Add in the cranberries and pulse just until mixed. Spoon the batter evenly into the 11 buttered muffin cups. Bake in 375 oven for 15-18 minutes or until golden brown and set.  Remove from oven and allow to cool still in the muffin tins for 2 minutes. Remove and cool on wire rack.  cranberry orange muffin 2

 

 

 

sourdoughwaffleswebsmall

Waffles! Make-ahead breakfast for busy mornings

School day mornings are often hectic and many children head out the door with nothing more than a pop-tart and a juice box to fuel their bodies and brains. Whole grain sourdough waffles, on the other hand, can be a convenient toast-and-go breakfast or enjoyed at a leisurely pace when you have time for a family breakfast.

For a long time I was intimidated by sourdough. I had heard it was difficult to maintain, time consuming to use and a lot of work all around, but from a healthy eating standpoint it was tops. Sourdough is a very ancient method of breadmaking. It requires minimal ingredients. It does a wonderful job of neutralizing the phytates in grains so that the end products are very digestible and very nutritious. The bottom line for me, though, was that my daughter loved the taste of sourdough and kept asking me if I could learn how to make it.

My guide and resource on my sourdough journey was the King Arthur Flour Whole Grain Baking cookbook edited by P.J. Hamel.  It was the summer of 2009 when I decided to take the plunge.  I read through the book’s sourdough section several times, gathered together the ingredients and equipment and gave it a try. Making the starter wasn’t hard at all, it took about a week to really get going and nearly all of that was just wait time, very little hands on effort was needed. By the end of the second week I had tried my first loaf of bread – a sourdough rye – and everyone in our house thought it was terrific. The whole loaf was eaten up within the first day!  After that I slowly worked my way through most of the sourdough recipes in thw book and then started looking around for more. My goal was to gain experience using sourdough; I tried not to let perfectionism into the picture. With many of my bread baking experiments in the past I would get discouraged if the finished product was ugly to look at, and I would get downright irritated if it wasn’t absolutely delicious. Sourdough was a journey rather than a means to an end. The journey has been going on now for four years! Many of my attempts have been delicious, some have been bakery beautiful, some have been total disasters. All have been learning experiences.

Making a sourdough starter is a great learning experience and when you’re done with your lesson you can make delicious bread! Being a homeschool mom I’m always on the lookout for ways to incorporate learning into daily activities. I love fellow food blogger and homeschool mom Wardeh Harmon’s video “What, How & Why of a Sourdough Starter”.

So what does all of this have to do with waffles?  While on my journey I discovered, like manysourdoughwaffleswebsmall sourdough bakers, I felt a little guilty just dumping out the leftover starter every time I fed it. What if you don’t have time to bake bread? You make waffles!!  This waffle recipe came from an old King Arthur catalog that came in the mail  years ago. I cut out the recipe and gave it a try one weekend when I had some time to experiment.  The whole family loved them! I made a few adjustments to the basic recipe to reflect my desire to use all whole grains, and now these waffles have become a family favorite. Following the Weston A Price Foundation‘s suggestions we use plenty of butter on these waffles plus 100% maple syrup or raw honey drizzled on top. I like mine with crispy walnuts or pecans, and my daughter loves blueberries!

Make a double batch of these waffles and enjoy them fresh on a lazy summer vacation morning,sourdoughwaffles2websmall then freeze the rest between sheets of wax paper to use on busier mornings to come. Pop one in the toaster and then spread with natural peanut butter and bananas and fold for a to-go breakfast.

Here is my version of the recipe for sourdough waffles:
(by the way, if you don’t have a waffle iron this recipe also makes great pancakes)

Sourdough Waffles:

2 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
2 Tblsp sucanat or honey
2 cups kefir (you could also use buttermilk or thinned yogurt too)
1 cup sourdough starter (not yet fed, just as it comes from the refrigerator or discarded from a feeding)
2 large eggs, preferably free range
1/4 cup melted butter or coconut oil
3/4 tsp sea salt
1 tsp baking soda

At least 12 hours before or overnight: Combine the flour, sugar, kefir and sourdough starter in a large bowl. Cover with a clean towel or loose lid and let it sit at room temperature.
12 hours later or the next day:  Combine the eggs, butter, salt and soda and stir into the big bowl of batter. Stir well to blend it all together.  Pour a heaping 1/3 cup of batter into your preheated, greased waffle iron.  Cook as directed by your waffle iron instructions. Serve hot with plenty of butter and maple syrup, raw honey, fresh berries or homemade applesauce.
If you have waffles leftover you can let them cool on a wire rack then freeze them separated by squares of wax paper in a freezer bag. Reheat one in the low setting of your toaster for a quick weekday breakfast.

 

Customize Your Smoothies – Immune Boosting Superfoods

 

mango smoothie with titles

Smoothies are easy to make, healthy to eat and a great way to use fresh, seasonal fruit.  They are a tasty vehicle for your daily dose of probiotics as well as healthy fats.  Use your own homemade yogurt, kefir or coconut milk and they become quite economical, too.  What a great package! Eating in season, boosting immunity and thrifty too!

To make one generous serving gather your ingredients and a blender. I’ll show you how to make a basic version. Once you get the hang of it you can alter the ingredients to suit the season and your tastebuds.  I like to use frozen fruit or a mixture of frozen and fresh to give the end result a milkshake texture.

smoothie1Put one cup of plain whole milk kefir (coconut milk kefir for dairy free) or plain whole milk yogurt (preferably raw) into your blender.  I’ve found my hand blender works for a single serving but if I’m doubling or making more I use the large blender.  Add one frozen banana and a cup of sliced frozen or fresh strawberries.  I keep blueberries in the freezer and like to add a few of those too.  This plus an optional squirt of raw honey is all you need for a basic smoothie.

But don’t stop here – take the nutritional profile up a few notches by adding in a few other extras.  Use a half-cup of full fat coconut milk and/or a tablespoon of unrefined coconut oil in your smoothie to get some healthy medium-chain fatty acids.  Add a spoonful of flax seeds for an omega-3 boost and extra fiber. A tablespoon of raw cream gives a silky texture and more fat soluble vitamin A and D. A sliver of raw ginger adds a zippy flavor and helpful anti-inflammatory properties.  Substitute an avocado half for the banana to reduce the carbohydrate count.  Add a raw egg yolk from a pasture-raised fresh egg too boost nutrient-density with B vitamins, choline and vitamin D as well as protein for healthy nervous system and cell repair. A tablespoon of nut butter or coconut manna makes it thicker plus adds more healthy fats.  A tablespoon of plain gelatin powder adds extra protein plus collagen for healthy digestion, joints and skin.

Customize your smoothies with your favorite fruits and change them with the seasons. Melons and ginger are refreshing for summer, pumpkin puree and a dash of cinnamon and spice keep things lively in autumn, you can even add a handful of parsley or kale for some super-green nutrition any time. Experiment and find your own favorites. I love pitted fresh/frozen cherries and a scant tablespoon of raw cacao powder or vanilla extract for a chocolate cherry or cherry vanilla treat. Or get that island feel with mango, pineapple and fresh coconut.

Customize Your Smoothies - Immune Boosting Superfoods
 
Author:
Recipe type: smoothie
Serves: 1 serving
 
smoothies are an easy, delicious way to pack a lot of nutrition into a portable meal
Ingredients
  • 1 cup plain full fat kefir, yogurt, or coconut milk
  • 1 frozen banana
  • ½ cup fresh or frozen berries
  • 1 Tblsp raw honey (opt.)
  • Optional additions:
  • 1 Tblsp extra virgin coconut oil
  • 1 Tblsp flax seed
  • 1 Tblsp plain gelatin
  • ½" slice fresh ginger
  • 1 egg yolk from a pasture-raised egg
  • 1 Tblsp nut butter or coconut manna
Instructions
  1. Place all ingredients in a blender and blend on high until smooth and creamy.
  2. Optionally - substitute a half an avocado for the banana to reduce carbs.
  3. Customize with your favorite fresh or frozen fruits such as chunks of melon, sliced mango, pineapple chunks, peach slices, pitted cherries, etc.

Share your favorite flavor combinations or your best superfood add-ins in the comment smoothie2section! We love trying new ideas!

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