Butternut Squash + Bone Marrow Applesauce for Moms and Babes (Paleo, Gluten-free, Whole-30, Kid-friendly)

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In terms of nutritionally dense foods for growing healthy brains and bones in kids and babies, I would put bone marrow right up there at the top of the list along with all the veggies, liver and bone broth. It is not only a fabulous source of heme iron (easily absorbed), but also an incredible source of healthy fat (at a whopping 97% fat ratio), good for satiating hungry tummies, nourishing a growing brain and keeping blood sugar levels stable. It’s also full of essential amino acids that literally help to grow strong teeth, hair, bones, skin, muscles and help with energy production.

Growing brains (and all brains, for that matter) need and thrive off of fat. Fat is what makes up the myelin sheath of nerve cells, which is what allows nerve cells to fire and send messages (to think, talk, process and do).

If you know me at all, you know I’ve had a long love relationship with bone marrow ever since I first tasted it at some trendy restaurant on the streets of Manhattan. What’s not to love? It tastes like the butter of heaven, after all! Spread it on crackers or some warm bread with some honey and you’re pretty much good to go!

After loving it for its incredible taste, I was so intrigued by it and I had to know everything about it. Learning how it was actually an incredibly nutrient dense food, according to the Weston A. Price foundation, made me fall even more in love. The Weston A. Price foundation touts bone marrow as an extremely nourishing food, found in almost every traditional culture around the globe. Contrary to the western world, where we eat mostly muscle meat, traditional cultures have long valued and cooked the entire animal, including the organs and bones and marrow and mostly feed the muscle meat (which has the least amount of vitamins/minerals) to the dogs.

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Ok, enough fat and nutrition talk.  Let’s talk about this glorious food recipe discovery, Butternut Squash + Bone Marrow Apple Sauce! 

You need this in your life, trust me on this one.

It has it all in my book.  Sweet AND savory AND a fruit, a veggie and a healthy source of fat and iron.  You literally couldn’t make a more healthy dessert for you and your little people if you ask me.  A great food for babies and kids of all ages and also a great snack for anyone who is on the Whole30 diet. 

It is It is literally SO easy to make you won’t believe it!  Heres how to make it.
**Affiliate links below.

Ingredients:

  • 5 beef marrow bones (organic/grass-fed bones are important)

  • 5-6 apples (skin removed)

  • 1/2 butternut squash (cubed)

  • 1 tsp cinnamon

  • 1 tablespoon coconut sugar

  • a pinch of lemon juice

  • 1 tsp ghee

  • 2 tsp agave (optional)

Instructions:

  1. Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees.

  2. Add marrow bones to a pan and roast for about 15 minutes or when it begins to bubble around the edges.

  3. When its finished roasting, scoop out the marrow with a butterknife.

  4. In a crockpot or Instapot, add the marrow and all the other ingredients.

  5. For a crockpot cook on low heat for 6-8 hours.  In the Instapot, set on high pressure for 10 minutes.

  6. When it is finished, use an immersion blender to combine all the ingredients and enjoy!  Feel free to add extra agave if you want to sweeten it up a bit more.

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-Ashley

Thai-Style Sweet Potato Sliders (Paleo, Gluten-free, Kid-Friendly, Whole-30)

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If you’re vowing to give up gluten and dairy walking into the New Year, you’re probably worried you’re going to have to sit on the bench eating salad while everyone else gets to enjoy delicious food. Well, I’m here to tell you that just doesn’t have to be the case. No sir. Not even one bit.

Not when you start to get creative and throwing in some curve balls like these flavor-full Thai-Style Sweet Potato Sliders. They are tangy and sweet and bursting with flavor. Add your favorite green veggie on the side and my Five-Minute Guac as a topper and you’re basically in gluten-free heaven.

We love them so much I’ve been keeping them on the weekly rotation around here. Mostly because they cook up in under 30 minutes time but the other factor that always weighs in are that my kids love them too.

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Making them is super simple and pretty darn quick if you ask me.  You’re going to bake up some sweet potatoe chips in the oven and in the meantime you’re going to pan fry your meaty, veggie mixture and then add in some guac for good measure. 

Here’s how to make them:


Ingredients:

  • 1 lb grassfed beef

  • tablespoon ghee or coconut oil

  • 1 medium onion, diced

  • 3 carrots, shredded

  • 2 garlic cloves, diced

  • 1 large sweet potato, sliced lengthwise into chip shaped discs

  • 3 tsp coconut aminos

  • 1 tsp onion powder

  • 1 tsp ground ginger

  • splash of Worcestershire sauce

  • 2 tsp agave

  • salt and pepper to taste

For the Guacamole:

  • 2 ripe hass avocados

  • 1 tbsp chopped cilantro

  • 1/8 of a medium onion diced finely

  • a squeeze of lime juice

  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder

  • 1/2 tsp onion powder

  • 1 tsp cumin

  • Salt and pepper to taste 

Instructions:

  1. Heat oven to 400 degrees.  On a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, lay out sliced sweet potato discs side by side until you covered the pan (using an extra pan if needed). Dab/brush a bit of coconut oil on each side and sprinkle them with some salt and pepper.

  2. While oven is heating, dice up your onion, garlic and shred your carrots.

  3. Over medium heat on the stovetop, heat up ghee or coconut oil until hot.

  4. Begin to saute all the veggies for 3-4 minutes or until onions soften. 

  5. Once they soften, add the beef and begin to use your spatula to break it up evenly.  Add in the salt and pepper, onion powder, ginger powder, agave, coconut aminos and Worcester and cook and combine together while the beef cooks (about 8-10 minutes).

  6. Meanwhile, put the sweet potatoes in the oven for about 12-14 minutes or until they begin to crisp (turning them half-way through).

  7. Once the beef mixture is cooked and sweet potato chips are done crisping, serve it by adding a spoonful of the beef mixture atop a sweet potato chip and add one more to the top to make it sandwich style.

  8. Whip up some Five Minute Guacamole and your favorite veggie on the side.  Top the sliders with some guac and some spicy chipolte mayo or sriracha sauce if you want an extra kick.

Enjoy!

-Ashley

Soft + Chewy Ginger Cinnamon Christmas Cookies (Gluten-free, Paleo-friendly)

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If you’re looking for a SUPER simple healthiesh gluten-free cookie recipe that you can make with your kiddos, look no further! These were seriously the easiest cookie recipe ever, despite the “cooking with kids” part, that’s always a bit challenging.

These little guys are loaded with natural sugar from coconut, some healthy omega’s from grass-fed butter and some healthy fats and protein from the almond flour.

Don’t get me wrong, they’re still cookies! But just a not-have-to-worry-about-food-dyes-and-preservatives type of Christmas cookies.

Being the health-freak that I am, I cringe when my kids are offered cookies and cupcakes loaded with colored frosting on top. Why? You may ask. Because of the food-dyes. Food-dyes like red 40, blue 1 and yellow 5 + 6 have been linked to behavior problems, ADHD, cancer and food-allergies. So yeah, I avoid them like the plague around here. My son has enough boy energy as it is to fill his tummy with that junk.

Personally, I think its healthy to teach kids at a young age what is healthy and what’s not for your body. We openly talk about food dyes in our house and why we don’t eat things that are brightly colored, unless we know its organic or without chemicals.

Ok, back to the cookies. They were so fluffy and chewy and the PERFECT texture for the kiddos to help cut out with the cookie cutters.

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Ingredients:

  • 2 large eggs

  • 1 tsp vanilla

  • 1/2 stick room temperature grass-fed butter or ghee

  • 2 cups almond flour

  • 1 cup coconut sugar

  • 2 tsp cinnamon

  • 1 tsp ginger

  • 1/2 tsp baking powder

  • 1/2 tsp cream of tartar


Directions:

  1. Heat the oven to 350 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

  2. Beat the eggs until fluffy and add the vanilla and the butter and combine well with a mixer.

  3. In a separate bowl, combine the dry ingredients: the almond flour, coconut sugar, cinnamon, ginger and baking powder and cream of tartar.  Stir and combine well. 

  4. Pour the wet ingredients over the dry and combine well.

  5. The cream of tartar should help the dough bind into a pizza like dough.  If you’re is still sticky, you can sprinkle a tad more until it forms one cohesive unit.

  6. Pour the dough onto the parchment paper and coat your hands in a little bit of almond flour to keep your hands from sticking to the dough. 

  7. Knead and roll the dough until its one flat rectangle, about 1/2 inch thick.

  8. Bake in the oven for 20-30 minutes or just until the top begins to fluff and the bottom barely begins to brown (you don’t want the bottom to get too crispy)

  9. Set on a cooling rack for 10-15 minutes until it’s ready to cut the dough with cookie cutters.

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Enjoy!



-Ashley

Magnesium + ADHD

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) have become so commonplace on therapy caseloads and in classroom settings around the globe.

As an occupational therapist with years of experience working with children affected by ADD and ADHD, I have seen how this diagnosis can challenge every aspect of ones life. I believe it would be a tragedy and great disservice to children and families affected by this condition, if we didn’t first evaluate the current research on effective alternative treatment methods for these children before we continued to recommended the continued disbursement of pharmaceuticals.

After an afternoon spent delving into the research of common nutrient deficiencies among the Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) population, it became clear as day to me that an overhaul and re-evaluation of current medical practices are in order for this overdiagnosed and over-medicated childhood behavioral disorder. 

Research shows and undeniable link between magnesium deficiency and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder.  A brief review of research not only showed a strong indication that children with ADHD show remarkably lower blood-serum levels of magnesium and other key vitamins and trace minerals (like zinc, B6 and copper) than typical peers, but also revealed that supplementation of magnesium can have a significantly positive impact on behavioral performance and cognition status.

Since magnesium is vital for healthy brain function, involved in over 300 biomechanical reactions in the body, it is easy to see why a deficiency in this key nutrient could negatively impact brain function in children. 

The bioavailability of magnesium affects the function and binding of neurotransmitters to their receptors, such as serotonin and dopamine. (8)  We know that dopamine plays a crucial role in executive functioning skills, such as the ability to self-regulate and control impulses.  Magnesium also supports the calming actions of GABA (8)

By some estimates, 80 percent of Americans are deficient in magnesium.  Poor dietary habits and magnesium depletion in soil are known culprits.  If the general adult population is this deficient in magnesium, one could imply that among children (who often eat a less varied diet), the deficit would be slightly more.

One study (1) that assessed the magnesium levels in children diagnosed with ADHD, concluded that out of 116 children, 95% of them were deficient in magnesium.

A prospective population-based cohort study of 684 adolescents at the 14- and 17-year follow-ups found that higher dietary intake of magnesium reduced behavioral problems by 95% (reduced attention problems, aggressiveness and delinquency). (2)

One study (3), published by the Egyptian Journal of Medical Human Genetics, was conducted in order to assess the magnesium level in ADHD children and compare it to the normal levels in children.  It also assessed the effect of magnesium supplementation as an add on therapy, in magnesium deficient patients.  Out of 25 patients with ADHD, 18 of them (or 72%) were determined to have magnesium deficiency.  After supplementation with magnesium, the group improved as regards cognitive functions as measured by the Wisconsin card sorting test and Conners’ rating scale.   Little to no side effects were noted with supplementation.  The study concluded that magnesium supplementation in ADHD, proves its value and safety.

Another study (4) , also published in the Egyptian Journal of Medical Human Genetics, found that magnesium, zinc and copper deficiencies were found in (65%), (60%) and (70%) of ADHD children respectively. Magnesium and zinc deficiencies were found to be correlated with hyperactivity, inattention and impulsivity, while copper was not.

Another study (5), that looked at 50 hyperactive children that met criteria for the DSM IV diagnosis of ADHD, concluded that 6 months of supplementation with magnesium significantly decreased hyperactive behaviors.

As a pediatric occupational therapist, who has worked with hundreds of children and families impacted by a diagnosis of ADHD, this research is quite alarming and has serious implications in the therapy profession.

Firstly, a diagnosis of ADHD, which is more often than not treated with serious brain-altering pharmaceuticals (Ritalin, namely), is typically based on simple behavioral observations from a teacher within a structured classroom setting.

Pharmaceuticals are too quickly administered to children as young as 4 years old, without first looking at other possible factors and methods of treatment.

Since Ritalin is classified by the Drug Enforcement Administration as a Schedule II narcotic, the same classification as cocain, morphine and amphetamines, it would be foolish for pediatricians and parents of children with ADHD to not first assess and address nutritional deficits and environmental issues first before medication is administered.

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Food As Medicine for ADD + ADHD

Fortunately, there are many foods you can start incorporating into your child’s diet to help improve their magnesium levels which can significantly impact their attention and impulse control. 

However, it is important to first recognize that only 30-40% of magnesium is actually absorbed through our food. The implication here is that supplementation, in combination with dietary changes, would be the most effective method for treatment.

The current RDA for magnesium for adults and children ages 4 and older is 400 mg.

This list below, from the Cleveland Clinic (10) shows the top Magnesium Rich Foods:



How much magnesium is in your food?

  • Pumpkin seed - kernels: Serving Size 1 oz, 168 mg

  • Almonds, dry roasted: Serving Size 1 oz, 80 mg

  • Spinach, boiled: Serving Size ½ cup, 78 mg

  • Cashews, dry roasted: Serving Size 1 oz, 74 mg

  • Pumpkin seeds in shell: Serving Size 1 oz, 74 mg

  • Peanuts, oil roasted: Serving Size ¼ cup, 63 mg

  • Cereal, shredded wheat: Serving Size 2 large biscuits, 61 mg

  • Soymilk, plain or vanilla: Serving Size 1 cup, 61 mg

  • Black beans, cooked: Serving Size ½ cup, 60 mg

  • Edamame, shelled, cooked: Serving Size ½ cup, 50 mg

  • Dark chocolate -60-69% cacoa: Serving Size 1 oz, 50 mg

  • Peanut butter, smooth: Serving Size 2 tablespoons, 49 mg

  • Bread, whole wheat: Serving Size 2 slices, 46 mg

  • Avocado, cubed: Serving Size 1 cup, 44 mg

  • Potato, baked with skin: Serving Size 3.5 oz, oz, 43 mg

  • Rice, brown, cooked: Serving Size ½ cup, 42 mg

  • Yogurt, plain, low fat: Serving Size 8 oz, 42 mg

  • Breakfast cereals fortified: Serving Size 10% fortification, 40 mg

  • Oatmeal, instant: Serving Size 1 packet, 36 mg

  • Kidney beans, canned: Serving Size ½ cup, 35 mg

  • Banana: Serving Size 1 medium, 32 mg

  • Cocoa powder– unsweetened: Serving Size 1 tablespoon, 27 mg

  • Salmon, Atlantic, farmed: Serving Size 3 oz, 26 mg

  • Milk: Serving Size 1 cup, 24–27 mg

  • Halibut, cooked: Serving Size 3 oz, 24 mg

  • Raisins: Serving Size ½ cup, 23 mg

  • Chicken breast, roasted: Serving Size 3 oz, 22 mg

  • Beef, ground, 90% lean: Serving Size 3 oz, 20 mg

  • Broccoli, chopped & cooked: Serving Size ½ cup, 12 mg

  • Rice, white, cooked: Serving Size ½ cup, 10 mg

  • Apple: Serving Size 1 medium, 9 mg

  • Carrot, raw: Serving Size 1 medium, 7 mg



Some easy ways to incorporate these magnesium rich foods in your child’s diet:

  • A slice of sprouted toast with a tablespoon of almond butter or sunflower seed butter (I top mine with raw honey for extra taste and nutrition)

  • A handful of roasted pumpkin seeds or sunflower seeds for on the go snacks

  • A side of 1/2 of an avocado with lunch or with eggs breakfast

  • Adding nut butters like sunflower seed butter to morning oats

  • A large scoop of organic cacao in a breakfast smoothie

  • Spinach cooked in ghee with a sprinkle of sea salt as a dinner side

  • Banana + almond butter + date + collagen protein shake (I use almond milk as the base)

  • Banana + Avocado mash (for babies learning to self-feed)

  • Banana + Avocado smoothie

  • Serving Salmon and other oily fatty fish 1-2 times a week

  • Roasted potato fries as a dinner side

*Affiliate links below

Supplements we use to ensure healthy magnesium levels:

As always, I am not a physician, nor can I prescribe specific medical advice. Always consult with your pediatrician first before beginning any new supplements. These supplements are only for ages 4 and up.

Another way to improve magnesium levels in young children is through the skin or transdermally. Epsom salt baths and dips in the oceans are effective ways to absorb magnesium this way.

-Ashley




Sources:

1) Kozielec & Starobrat-Hermelin. (1997). Assessment of magnesium levels in children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Magnesium Research: Official Organ Of The International Society For The Development Of Research On Magnesium, 10(2), 143-148. (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9368235)

2) Black et al. (2015). Low dietary intake of magnesium is associated with increased externalising behaviours in adolescents. Public Health Nutrition, 18(10), 1824-30. (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25373528)

3) Farida El Baza, Heba Ahmed AlShahawi, Sally Zahra, Rana Ahmed AbdelHakim,
Magnesium supplementation in children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder,
Egyptian Journal of Medical Human Genetics, Volume 17, Issue 1, 2016,
Pages 63-70, ISSN 1110-8630, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ejmhg.2015.05.008.(http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1110863015000555)

4) Farida Elbaz, Sally Zahra, Hussien Hanafy, Magnesium, zinc and copper estimation in children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), Egyptian Journal of Medical Human Genetics, Volume 18, Issue 2, 2017, Pages 153-163, ISSN 1110-8630, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ejmhg.2016.04.009 (http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1110863016300283)

5) Starobrat-Hermelin B1, Kozielec TMagnes Res. 1997 Jun;10(2):149-56.  The effects of magnesium physiological supplementation on hyperactivity in children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Positive response to magnesium oral loading test. (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9368236)

6) National Institutes of Health Office of Dietary Supplements. Magnesium Fact Sheet for Health Professionals Accessed 12/8/2018

7) United States Department of Agriculture. Food Data Base Accessed 12/5/2018

8) U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Guidance for Industry: A Food Labeling Guide (14. Appendix F: Calculate the Percent Daily Value for the Appropriate Nutrients). 2013.

9) Greenblatt, James. Finally Balanced: Mineral Imblalances & ADHD. The ZRT Labratory Blog. May 25, 2017. (https://www.zrtlab.com/blog/archive/mineral-imbalance-adhd-magnesium/#_ednref5)

10) Magnesium Rich Foods. Cleavland Clinic. (https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/articles/15650-magnesium-rich-food)

Therapist Picks Christmas Gift Guide

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If you’re worried about getting it right this Christmas with gift buying for your littles, dont worry, I’ve got you covered! I created this Therapist Approved Christmas Guide to help you weed through the junk and find the best, most durable, loved on and of course developmentally appropriate toys!

This Christmas Gift Guide is everything! My hope was to be able to bring to you a condensed, researched and pre-approved list of all of my favorite toys that are developmentally appropriate for each age group (0-2 years and 3-5 years). After working as a pediatric occupational therapist for almost 10 years, I have become quite a toy fanatic. Not really in the storage of bucketloads of toys all over my house sort of way but more in the extremely selective, sturdy, age-appropriate, long-lasting sort of way. In my house that typically means getting rid of a lot of things we don’t use frequently and keeping toys that still serve an educational, developmental, sensory or skill-enhancing purpose (like music/art toys).

I am not a big fan of over-stimulating, musical toys with lots of gadgets and sounds. I look for simple, basic and straightforward. The younger the age, the simpler the functions of the toy should be.

I am, however, a huge fan of open ended, high quality (usually wooden) toys that encourage creativity and child development! Open-ended toys are great for so many reasons..

  • They inspire creativity, pretend-play, spatial and size awareness, problem solving skills, etc

  • They never get old meaning they stay “age appropriate” for longer

  • The simplicity of open ended toys aren’t over-stimulating to the child

  • The simplicity of the design doesn’t make a lot of sounds that drive me crazy

    These toys below are all toys that I have personally used before in a clinical or personal way that I know kids love and benefit from developmentally. I did my best to choose toys that offer the entire rainbow of developmental skills, including: visual-motor skills, fine motor skills and hand skills, sensory integration, strengthening/gross motor skills, oral motor skills/feeding, socialization, pretend play, problem solving, etc.

    Most of these items are on amazon so they can be at your doorstep in just a few days but I’ve included a few specialty items from small business shops on ETSY which may take more time in transit. Keep in mind that many of the open ended and sensory toys can be used for either the 0-2 or 3-5 age group.

    Disclaimer: I never want to encourage materialism and buying more than you need, so if you can’t afford some of these goodies or don’t actually NEED them, then don’t buy them! *Affiliate links below



Ages 0-2


Ages 3-5

Christmas Tree Kits -Sensory Play Travel Boxes for Kids

Help your child get into the spirit of Christmas with these fun, Christmas tree making playdough kits! They are the perfect mix of sensory and fine motor fun to keep littles hands busy on any given occasion but especially good for car rides, airplanes, restaurants or plain old toddler quiet time.

Your child will love using these items to create and decorate their own mini Christmas trees using handmade playdough and lots of fun decorations!

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Double-Chocolate Superfood Cookies (Gluten-free, Grain-free, Paleo)

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When I crave chocolate, I REALLY crave chocolate.  The real deal too, none of this watered down added milk and sugar stuff.  Straight up dark chocolate.  Luckily for me, I get it every day so I leave no room for much craving.  I put the real deal cacao in my smoothie every morning (did you know it is an out of this world antioxidant superfood?)

Back to the point, I was craving lots of chocolate in the worst way so after browsing through pintrests never ending chocolately ideas, I decided to whip up a batch of Double Chocolate Chip Cookies, superfood-style of course!

This weeks superfood winners were: Cacao, Spirulina & Flax Seed!

I wasn’t sure I could make this recipe work with all three superfood additions and I was a bit nervous but I was obviously THRILLED when they turned spectacular and I obviously wanted to share them with you all. 

I think these would make a great addition to any Thanksgiving Dessert Spread and a good way to feel not so guilty in indulging in holiday sweets!

The reasons I’m obsessed with superfoods is I absolutely LOVE making something that I used to feel I couldn’t enjoy because it was just too darn unhealthy and turn it into something that tastes JUST AS GOOD but is also ridiculously good for me too.  I want to teach my kids that eating healthy doesn’t mean having to miss out on the good food life has to offer.

I have been adding flax seed to everything lately, after learning of its powerful capabilities to help escort excess estrogen out of the body, preventing against breast cancer.  Not to mention how powerful it is also at helping to clean out the gut lining and improve digestion.

Spirulina
is another powerful superfood I’ve been working with a lot in the kitchen.  Given that it is naturally high in the vitamin B category (including B12), contains a healthy ratio of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, essential amino acids, iron, iodine AND its a powerful antioxidant, it has very much earned its name as a superfood.

My kids (and husband) were trying to eat the ENTIRE bunch so I had to hoard them in the top cuppard (you know the one I’m talking about) so that they couldn’t reach and I could have one of these every day!

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Ingredients:

  • 8 ounces mega chunk chocolate chips (4 ounces melted, 4 ounces chopped)

  • 1 ripe banana (smashed)

  • 1 1/2 cup almond flour

  • 1/2 cup all natural cocao

  • 3 eggs

  • 2 tbsp coconut oil

  • 2 tbsp Spirulina

  • 2 tbsp flax seed

  • 1 cup coconut sugar

  • 3 tsp baking soda

  • 1/2 tsp sea salt

  • 1 tsp vanilla


Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

  2. Melt half the chocolate in the microwave or on the stovetop.

  3. In a large bowl, combine the almond flour, cocoa, baking soda, salt, smashed banana, Spirulina, flax seed and sugar; combine together thoroughly.

  4. Add the coconut oil, vanilla and eggs and combine with a whisk thoroughly.

  5. Use a heaping tablespoon to form cookie balls onto the parchment paper a few inches apart.

  6. Bake until just set, about 8 to 10 minutes. Make sure to not let the bottoms of the cookies become to crispy.

  7. Transfer onto a wire baking rack to cool and enjoy!

 

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-Ashley

Nature Boxes to Inspire Outdoor Play + Sensory Exploration

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Sometimes our kids need a little inspiration when it comes to outdoor play, am I right? I used to tell my kids all the time, “Just GO OUTSIDE and PLAY!”

But the more I pushed them to play outside, the more they pushed back and resisted it and it drove me crazy.

As a pediatric occupational therapist, I know the importance of outdoor play for brain development, mental health, development of health sensory regulation skills, etc. I also want them to use their creativity and imagination and to get their healthy daily dose of vitamin D.

A child playing outdoors in nature isn’t all just fun and games. Play is the most crucial occupation of a child. And through play, a child establishes developmental motor skills (such as fine and gross motor), cognitive abilities (such as executive functioning skills and problem solving), social skills, sensory processing skills and emotional regulation.

Play is the most crucial occupation of a child. And through play, a child learns and establishes developmental motor skills (such as fine and gross motor), cognitive abilities (such as executive functioning skills and problem solving), social skills, sensory processing skills and healthy emotional regulation skills.

Physical activity even boosts a child’s self-confidence and research has shown its benefits on improving mental health as well.

A 2011 meta-analysis looking at exercise—an important component of active play—hinted that it could have benefits for anxiety, depression, and self-esteem in adolescents.

Back to me and trying to get my kids to play more outside.

There was just something about me telling them they needed to ‘go play outside’ that made them resist the idea.

It wasn’t until I started to give them little ideas that I saw their eyes light up and they finally began to enjoy and even request outdoor time themselves (hallelujah!)

”Let’s build a fairy nest!”
”Let’s collect all the colorful leaves you can find in baggies!”
”Can you find all the sticks and build a fire pit?”

These are all little ideas we’ve used to inspire outdoor play in nature/aka usually our backyard.

It seems like such a little thing but I cannot tell you how much it has helped mine and my kids sanity. They need the sensory input and the physical activity and sometimes us mamas just need a break. You know, to clean up from the 7,000 meals we served that day or maybe just drink that cup of tea and take 3 deep breaths.

Anyway, we created these little rainbow colors nature play inspiration boxes to go on a Rainbow Scavenger Hunt and I wanted to share them with you all since they have been such a big hit.

If you cant find a compartmentalized container (I found these at the dollar store) you can use an egg crate or a divided lunch box container.

Simply place something from each color of the rainbow (Think: ROYGBV) into each compartment and ask your kiddos to go outside and see how many things they can find outside to put in each color department. You would be amazed at how much their imagination and excitement will rev up about the idea of being outside with this activity.

Anyways, I hope your littles enjoy this activity as much as we do!

Leave me a comment or a picture if you end up doing this sweet nature activity!

-Ashley


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Hulk Powers Pancakes (Kid-friendly, Gluten-free)

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Am I right that there’s nothing like pancakes on Saturday morning?

And when all your kiddos want is pancakes, you better believe I’ll be finding a way to add some greens into the situation.

The biggest qualm I have with pancakes is that they’re typically made from processed white flour, which translates into pure sugar in how its absorbed and assimilated into the bloodstream and digestive track.  In other words, it spells out major kid blood sugar spike followed by an inevitable crash of emotions.  Also, they’re pretty lacking in the nutritional department.

These Hulk Powers Pancakes, on the other hand, won’t leave you with a sugar crash 10 minutes later and they also won’t leave you hungry either.  They’ve got some true superpower ingredients including flax seed, spinach and even barley grass powder if you dare to be brave!

Barley grass is high in many vitamins and minerals, including vitamin C and it can help aid the liver in detoxifying.  It’s also been used to help reduce excess acidity in the body.  You can find it in powder form and add it to smoothies or whatever else you can think of!

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To be quite honest, pancakes have been quite a challenge to me lately.  Partially because I’m always trying to add some obscure ingredient (see above) and partially because I’m a tad challenged in the flipping department.

BUT I’m so happy and a smidge proud to say I finally found the right ingredients and the right method to make healthy breakfast pancakes.  Cue my inner mini-celebration.

I hope you all like them as much as we do! 

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Here’s how to make them:

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup gluten free oats (processed in a food processor)

  • 1/2 cup almond flour

  • 1 tsp baking soda

  • 2 eggs

  • 1 tsp vanilla

  • large handful or two of spinach

  • 1 scoop of barley grass powder (optional)

  • 1 tablespoon ground flaxseed

  • 1 tsp agave

  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon

  • 1 + 1/4 cup almond milk

    Coconut oil for cooking

     

Instructions:

  1. Process the oats in a blender or food processor until finely ground.  Add the almond flour and the other dry ingredients (cinnamon, baking soda, barley grass powder).

  2. Beat the eggs separately.

  3. Add all the ingredients (wet and dry) into a high-speed blender until pureed.

  4. Heat a cast iron skillet on medium heat with coconut oil.

  5. Add the pancake batter in batches of 4-5 at a time until the batter is finished.

    Note: They tend to be a smidge on the thin side so if you like them thicker; add your first batter to the pan and wait a second for it to cook a bit around the edges and form before adding a bit more batter for thickness.  Also if you don’t have barely grass powder, you can totally skip it (it’s optional) and the recipe works fine without it.




    -Ashley




Thankful Tree - A Thanksgiving Activity Booklet for Kids

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I know it sounds cliche, but with the hustle and bustle of the holidays quickly approaching, it is SO easy to get wrapped up in the business of it all that we forget to even enjoy this time with our families and forget the reasons for the seasons.

And the true meaning of Thanksgiving is gratitude and spending quality time with family.

I am of the mindset that a little bit of gratitude can truly change everything. Whiney kids, grumpy sleep deprived moms, a negative attitude, stress, you name it. It only takes a few minutes to thank God for the top 10 things you’re grateful for to help shift your mindset from worrying about the things that don’t matter, to just being grateful for what you have.

It doesn’t have to be elaborate either. I think God is pleased when we thank him for the little blessings in life too.

I wish my kids would sleep at night
Changed Mindset: God, Thank you that my kids have a safe place to sleep at night
I want that new Toy for Christmas, Mom
Changed Mindset: God, I’m thankful for how many toys I already do have
Why are my kids always getting sick?
Changed Mindset: God, Thank you that I have access to healthy food and medical care

Get yourself and your kids into the spirit of Thanksgiving with this fun Thankful Tree Activity Booklet and Poem.

You can tape this big tree up on the back of the door or in an open wall space and have your kiddos practice their cutting skills while choosing what they want to give thanks for each day. You can have them cut them all out at once or just choose one a day to put on the Thankful Tree. This package comes with an extra page of gratitude leafs for your child to think of any extra things they’re thankful for.

The Activity Booklet also comes with this cute poem to read out loud with your kids thanking God for all of their blessings.

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-Ashley

No-Bake Pumpkin Sunflower Butter Treats (Gluten-free, Dairy-free, Nut-free, Vegan, Paleo)

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As you guys likely already know by now, I’m pretty obsessed with trying to incorporate pumpkin in EVERYTHING when it turns into fall. I’m also always trying to make healthier versions of everything for me and my kiddos to have around the house for healthy yummy snacks.

The other main criteria for me, with two young kids around is that it must be EASY.

These No-Bake Pumpkin Sunflower Treats definitely fit the mold for that criteria! They are literally SO ridiculously easy, you and your toddler can totally make them together in under 10 minutes.

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Here’s how to make them:

Ingredients

1 cup Sunflower butter (or nut butter of choice)
2 tbsp agave
1/2 cup pumpkin purée
1 tsp vanilla
1 + 1/2 tbsp dark chocolate chips

Instructions:

1. Melt all the ingredients (except the chocolate chips) on low heat and stir until well combined.

2. Spread mixture onto parchment paper evenly, sprinkle chocolate chips and freeze for three hours before breaking it into pieces and enjoying for a midday healthy sweet!

Five Minute Guacamole

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As we walk into this month of gratitude and thanksgiving, I am trying to incorporate some new and fun ways to cultivate gratitude in our home and even though they’re young, my kids totally understand thanksgiving! Its so sweet to hear the things they’re thankful for that it makes me even more thankful!

Mostly, it’s the little things I thank God for, like happy kids and year round guacamole! But we have SO much to be thankful here in the United States, for safety and freedom and more than enough food and water (even if we may have to filter it thoroughly to remove all the nasty chemicals)

Did you know that verbally expressing gratitude and thanksgiving can cultivate physiological mental and physical health changes and essentially RE-WIRE your brain for wellness?! That blows me away! If you don’t believe me, watch some lectures on YouTube by neuroscientist Dr. Caroline Leaf!

Dr Caroline Leaf: Bringing Toxic Thoughts Into Captivity

It just reminds me of how awesome God is and how he designed us for thanksgiving and wellness and our bodies are truly such a masterpiece of artwork

What little things are you thankful for walking into this month of Thanksgiving? Let me know in the comments below!

Anyway, here is mine and my kids FAVORITE Five Minute Guacamole that we use on the daily around here. It’s so tasty with a bag of tortilla chips, a great party dish or just for enticing kids to try new veggies with (as a dip!)

Ingredients:

2 ripe hass avocados
1 tbsp chopped cilantro
1/8 of a medium onion diced finely
a squeeze of lime juice
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp onion powder
1 tsp cumin
Salt and pepper to taste
Optional: 1 tbsp dairy free sour cream

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Directions:

  1. Smash 2 ripe avocados with a fork

  2. Add in the remaining ingredients and combine with the fork until you reach your desired consistency. I like to leave some big chunks here and there!

    Enjoy!





-Ashley

Chia Almond Flour Pumpkin Muffins (Gluten-free, Paleo)

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Well, its October, and even if that doesn’t necessarily mean cool weather here in Miami, it still means my husband will be watching endless hours of football on weekends and I will be baking Pumpkin flavored everything, obviously!

Pumpkin muffins, pumpkin pancakes, pumpkin cookies, pumpkin pie, you name it, I’m determined to try to make a healthier version of whatever it is.

My criteria for healthy in our household means cutting out the flour and fast acting sugars and carbohydrates and replacing them with blood sugar stabilizing proteins and fats.

I was searching Pinterest for a pumpkin muffin recipe that met those criteria but couldn’t find the right one, so I decided to make my own version. I was so excited about how wonderful they turned out that I just had to share them with you all.

These sweet Chia Almond Flour Pumpkin Muffins are the perfect breakfast on-the-go or a healthy midday snack and they are super kid friendly. Not only are they moist and delicious, they are packed full of protein and blood-stabilizing healthy fats/omega-3’s from the almonds, chia seeds and eggs.

They are quick and easy to whip up, coming together in only a few minutes! What are you waiting for?? Get your baking mitt on and get in the kitchen!

Here’s how to make them!

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Ingredients:

  • 1 large banana, mashed

  • 1 cup pumpkin puree

  • 2 tbsp honey or agave

  • 3 eggs, lightly beaten

  • 2 tablespoon coconut oil, melted

  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

  • 1 tablespoon chia seeds

  • 2 cups almond flour

  • 2 tsp pumpkin pie spice

  • 1 tsp cinnamon

  • 3 tsp teaspoon baking powder

  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

Directions:

  1. Line muffin tin and set oven to 350 degrees.

  2. Smash a ripe banana in a large mixing bowl with a fork.

  3. Add in the eggs and beat and combine well.

  4. Add all the other wet ingredients: vanilla, honey/agave, coconut oil and pumpkin purée. Mix and combine well.

  5. Toss in the remaining dry ingredients, making sure to distribute the baking powder evenly. Combine well.

  6. Pour mixture into muffin tins about 3/4 of the way full.

  7. Bake for 25-30 mins at 350 degrees or until the edges began to brown. Let cool for 10 minutes.

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-Ashley

One Pot Cauliflower Rice Egg Roll in a Bowl - Gluten-free, Paleo, Whole-30, Kid Friendly

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I am a big fan of one pot meals, like really really big fan. Hence why I’m constantly posting about my life-long passion for soups. The main reason is that I make way less of a mess dirtying multiple pans but the other reason is because mixing everything together in one big pot just gives me more reason to add in as many veggies as possible.

I mean, I guess I don’t really even need to explain much further about the beauty of one pot meals. You weren’t born yesterday. You get it. If you’re a busy mom like me, you get it fo sho.

I’m also a big fan of egg rolls except for I don’t eat them anymore. Why? Because they’re made with flour (gluten) that I don’t eat, SOY (which has been linked to breast cancer), probably deep fried in canola oil and packed with MSG.

I might be exaggerating a tad on how bad fast food egg rolls are but you get the point. There’s always a way to make something delicious that you LOVE but can no longer eat anymore, healthy.

This One Pot Cauliflower Rice Egg Roll in a Bowl is SO good you guys. I promise you will feel like you’re eating old-school Chinese takeout and feel victorious since you knew it was all wholesome healthy foods for your body and brain.

And you’ll feel even more victorious when you realize you don’t even have to clean more than one pan.

To make this recipe even easier I use riced cauliflower that I buy in the frozen section of Whole Foods, because who has time for dicing up cauliflower anyways? Truthfully, its really not that difficult it just makes a bit of a mess in my experience.

It is SO SO easy to make too!

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Here’s how I made this scrumptious Chinese-wanna be delight.

Serves: 4-5

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cooking Time:  20-30 minutes

Ingredients:

1 bag of riced cauliflower (frozen section)
4 medium carrots (shredded)
1 medium onion
3 chives
2 cloves garlic
1 lb grass fed ground beef
2 large eggs
1 tbsp coconut aminos
1 tsp ghee
1 tbsp coconut oil
2 tsp fresh ginger (grated or you can use the spiced version)
1 tsp onion powder
salt and pepper to taste

Instructions:

  1. Chop onion and garlic.  Grate the carrots (or us a food processor).

  2. Heat the two oils in a pan over medium heat on the stove-top.  Once heated, add the onions for about 5 minutes or until they begin to soften. 

  3. Add the garlic, cauliflower rice, carrots and chives (save a few to season on top) and stir.  Cook for about 3 minutes.

  4. Add the ground beef and begin to break it apart with a spatula into the mixture as it begins to cook.

  5. Stir in the ginger and coconut aminos with the beef.

  6. As it cooks, season the mixture with salt, pepper and onion powder and stir.

  7. From here, cook on medium-low heat for about 10 minutes or until beef is cooked and veggies are all semi softened.

  8. Open up a spot with your spatula inside the pan mixture for the eggs.  Scramble the two eggs right inside the same pan (in its own space) until cooked.  Then mix the egg into the mixture.

  9. Add the remaining chives to season on top.

  10. If the mix needs a little more seasoning, just add more coconut aminos right on top or to individual bowls. 
    **You could definitely add some rice or quinoa into this mixture to add a bit more bulk to it and you could always eliminate the eggs if you are egg-free!

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-Ashley

Identity Cards for Moms

As wild and beautiful as it may be, the challenges that come with motherhood often leave me second guessing myself and feeling as though I have lost a bit of my identity along the journey. The challenges that some days bring can leave me feeling overwhelmed and very much unable. Motherhood often brings me to this irrational place of self-doubt and self-criticism and if I’m not careful, even self-loathing.

Something huge that I have learned along the way is this - if we don’t intentionally find out the truth about who we really are and speak it over ourselves D A I L Y, we’re just leaving an open door for the enemy to come in and fill that void and tell us all the things we’re not.  For mom guilt and negative thinking about our parenting skills to override the truth and steal our joy and peace.

We are challenged physically and emotionally every single day.  We are pushed to our breaking point, we are exhausted beyond measure, sleep deprived, we have a million and one things to juggle and people to manage, meals to make, hearts to tend to, children to teach, lunches to pack, houses to clean, play dates to make, countless dates and obligations to remember.  

It’s hard work.  Good, wonderful, meaningful work, but hard work, nonetheless.  

Its almost always in those moments of being emotionally and physically drained when those negative thoughts will creep in to invade our peace, telling you all the things were just so darn bad at.  

I’m not good enough.
I’m not like the other moms at school.
I’m not pretty or skinny enough.
My kids aren’t well behaved (and its probably all my fault)
My house isn’t clean enough.
My kids aren’t healthy eaters like all my friends kids.

And then the mom guilt to top it off! 

I didn’t listen enough.
I yelled too much.
I didn’t play enough.
I lost my temper too easily.
I wasn’t there enough, etc etc. 

The list goes on and on.  The thoughts go in and out all day long if we are not careful.  And if we’re really negligent of our thought life, we begin to believe these things are actually true.

And this is exactly where the enemy wants us to be.  He wants us wallowing in a pile of self-guilt and doubt and self-condemnation about who we are so deep that we forgot who we even are and how to even live and enjoy our lives.  He’ll even take a good quality about you and make you believe its a quality we need to feel bad about.  Let me give you one example of how this was playing out in my own thought life; For a long time I was thinking I was too organized and I cleaned too much and that would somehow make my kids perfectionists and I needed to change that about myself.  I believed this for many years until I wrote down the truth: I like things to be clean and organized and it makes me feel good when things aren’t messy and chaotic.  Its also a good skill to teach my children to be organized and tidy too.  I don’t have a housekeeper so I do have to clean a lot when my kids are around but I still love on them unconditionally and spend as much time with them as I can.

When negative thinking tells us we are unable and unworthy of our jobs as moms, God tells us he uniquely designed us this way and he can use our gifts in the lives our children.

But for Jesus, who says we are chosen, forgiven, called, perfectly designed by him for a purpose.  He uniquely designed us to be the mother of our children.  He chose us for this job.  He sees past ALL of our mistakes, he only sees the good.  We just have to figure out what that good is and hold tight to it.  (The belt of truth - Ephesians 6:14)

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It is time, mama.  To end this relentless mom guilt, negative thinking, constant self-doubting and self-critical self talk.  I am challenging you today to re-frame your thought life and grab a hold of your identity, in three ways:

  1. Write down a list of every single negative thought about yourself and call it out as a LIE and challenge it with the opposite, the TRUTH.  And don’t just stop there.  But go one step further and promise yourself that the next time this lie or negative thinking comes into your head, you will replace it with the truth that you wrote down on that piece of paper.

  2. To print out these truth affirmations somewhere where you will see them every single morning and read them out loud to yourself, even if you don’t believe them to be truth in the moment

    I am Loved, Enough, Seen, Good, Able through Christ, Forgiven, Chosen, Called, Beautiful, Perfectly Designed, Righteous, Approved, Whole

  3. On the back, I challenge you to write down at-least TEN things about yourself that are good identifiers of you.  Descriptors that make you uniquely you!  (i.e. good mother, daughter, lover of cooking or fashion, a visionary, etc)


    The mind is a powerful place, my friends! If we can shift our thinking, we can experience more freedom in joy and peace in our parenting of our kids.

    Identity Scriptures:
    “Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.”  Proverbs 4:23
    ”Casting down imaginations (thoughts), and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ” 2 Corinthians 10:5
    "Death and life are in the power of the tongue.”  Proverbs 18:21
    ”I have set before you LIFE or DEATH, blessing or cursing, therefore CHOOSE LIFE so that both you and your descendants may LIVE.”  Duet 30:19
    ”For as a man thinketh in his heart, so is he.” Proverbs 23:7



    I have uploaded this FREE IDENTITY CARD to my website just for your, mama! You can find it
    right here in the Helping Hands Shop.

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-Ashley

Healthier Chicken Soup (Gluten-fee, Dairy-free, Paleo, Gaps Friendly, Kid Friendly)

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You guys, I have been wanting to update my chicken soup recipe for some time now. I wanted to bring this lovely healthy comfort food to a whole new level of healthy by adding in some of my favorite superfoods. I was a little nervous it might change the flavor too much and be a turn off to my kids, but it was a huge hit with them too. In fact, my son told me it was the “best chicken soup he ever had.” I can’t promise I didn’t tear up a bit. It’s not too often this mama get’s much love and appreciation around here.

So what super-foods did I add to this already delectable meal, you might ask? I added a huge bunch of kale, some turmeric root, parsley and lots of garlic!

Myself and every other health conscious person has probably blabbed your ear off already about the anti-aging, anti-inflammatory, gut healing and immune boosting benefits of collagen in bone broth. But if you have been living under a rock or avoiding Whole Foods at all costs, you can check out all the reasons I love bone broth here.

But seriously, if you are struggling with any gut-health issues, I strongly encourage you to see if adding some homemade bone broth to your regular daily routine would be beneficial for you!

Sure, you can make this recipe with store bought bone broth to save time and there are some really good options out there these days. But I’m telling you, friend, you will be missing out on that homemade feel-good comforting flavor if you do. And plus, its super cheap and easy to make! To make the broth, if you want to skip many ingredients to save time, you can do that too and it will still be better than store bought! Just slow cook some organic bones for 12-24 hours with some onion, salt and pepper and a dash of apple cider vinegar (for nutrient extraction) and viola!

Just one more note - I used ghee and coconut oil instead of olive oil due to all I’ve been reading about how extra virgin olive oil is an unstable oil and how heat can destroy the healthy Omega-3 content of it.

Okay, you’ve waited long enough! Thanks for your patience, friends. Here it is!

Ingredients:

  • Organic + Grass-fed bones **1 whole organic chicken carcass and bones will do but the more bones, the higher gelatin yield.  Chicken feet and beef leg bones typically yield the most gelatin

  • 1 lb shredded chicken

  • 1 large yellow onion, diced finely

  • 4 stalks celery, chopped

  • 4 carrots, chopped into small 1/2 inch squares

  • 3 cloves garlic, minced

  • 2 tsp apple cider vinegar - I use Bragg's

  • 1/3 of 32 fl oz container chicken or turkey bone broth - I use Pacifico

  • 2 tbsp chopped parsley

  • 1-2 turmeric roots (peeled and chopped)

  • 1 handful of lachianato kale, de-stemmed and chopped

  • 2 tsp onion powder

  • 2 tsp garlic powder

  • 1 bay leaf

  • salt and pepper to taste

  • 1 cup cooked quinoa or rice

  • 1 tablespoon organic grass-fed ghee or butter

  • 1 tablespoon organic coconut oil

Instructions:

  1. Place the carcass (chicken removed) and all the bones into a large crockpot with a lid.  Cover with water, add apple cider vinegar and bay leaf and cover.  Cook on low for 12-24 hours, adding water if necessary. Water should only slightly cover the top of the contents.

  2. After 12-24 hours, strain and remove bones and carcass for delicious homemade bone broth. Season if preferred.

  3. In a large pot, heat the ghee and coconut oil over medium heat.  Add onions for about 4 minutes until they begin to soften, then add garlic, celery, carrots and turmeric root and cook for about 4 minutes or until they begin to soften.

  4. Once veggies began to soften, add the parsley, the chicken broth (plus 1/3 of the store bought container), the chicken and fresh parsley.

  5. Add all the seasonings and cook on low heat for about 30 minutes.

  6. Add the chopped kale in the last 3 minutes of cooking time.

  7. Add a few remaining sprigs of fresh parsley on top and season with salt and pepper to your taste.

  8. Add a tablespoon or 2 of cooked quinoa or rice to a bowl and then pour the soup over top to serve.

  9. Enjoy!

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-Ashley

Veggie-Loaded Meat Sauce (Gluten-free, Paleo, Kid-friendly)

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This Loaded Veggie Meat Sauce is the R E A L
D E A L, you guys!
I can’t even explain to you how it has changed my life. It is so delicious and so ridiculously loaded with nutrition that you will be wanting to keep it in the meal rotation for every week. The greatest part is your kids wont even think anything differently about it, they will just see noodles and sing a shout of praise.

No, I’m not saying you should necessarily hide whats in the sauce from them. Actually, I feel quite the opposite. Sneaking veggies into foods without your kids’ knowledge has been known to only further distrust and anxiety around the dinner table with picky eaters. I’m just saying that they won’t be able to really taste the difference and sooner or later this will just be what comes to mind when they think of spaghetti.

My kids sometimes like to help me throw the veggies into the food processor and watch them be ground up for going into the sauce. Cooking with kids prepares them for the smells and sights of the meal to come.

If only it was easy and mess free!

Okay, back to the awesome sauce. So I call this Loaded Veggie Meat Sauce because it is literally LOADED with veggies. S I X veggies and T W O powerful superfoods! It has onions, garlic, kale, celery, carrots and tomatoes. It also includes fresh basil and turmeric, both potent super foods packed with nutritional value. It is also packed with iron and tons of healthy fats.

You may be thinking, great for you, but my kids would NEVER EAT THAT! Here’s why I think you should at least try:

  • The veggies are all tender and ground up into tiny pieces which is usually a win for picky eaters

  • The noodles (and optional Parmesan cheese) is placed strategically on top to lure them into the plate (kids are typically very visual beings and if they spy their favorites on top, they’re more likely to try it)

  • Um, did I mention NOODLES?!

Ok enough yapping, here’s how to make it!

Ingredients:

  • 1 large yellow onion

  • 4 cloves garlic

  • 4 carrots

  • 10 leafs of lacianato kale (stems removed)

  • 4-5 stems of celery

  • 1 root fresh turmeric (skin removed)

  • handful of fresh basil, chopped

  • 1 lb grass-fed ground beef

  • 2 tablespoons ghee

  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil

  • a drizzle of EVOO

  • 1 24 oz jar of organic tomato sauce + 1/3 of another 24 oz jar

  • 3 tsp himalayan sea salt

  • 3 tsp onion powder

  • 1-2 tsp garlic powder

  • 1 tsp powdered turmeric (optional)

  • 1 tsp paprika

  • black pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. Rinse and dry all the veggies.

  2. Add the onion and garlic to the food processor and process until finely minced. Meanwhile, heat the ghee and coconut oil mixed in a large pot over medium heat.

  3. Add the minced onions and garlic to the oils and let cook for a minute or too until soft while you puree the other veggies.

  4. Add the carrots to the food processor and finely mince. Add to the pot and mix into the onion mix.

  5. Do the same with the kale, celery and turmeric root and add the minced veggies into the pot and stir.

  6. Drizzle a few drizzles of EVOO over the top of the veggies and cook on medium low heat for about 5-6 minutes until they begin to soften.

  7. Add the spices and salt and pepper.

  8. Add the ground beef and chop it with a spatula while it browns. Stir it in well and make sure to break up any large chunks. Cook the beef and veggies together for about 7 minutes or until meat is almost all browned.

  9. Add the tomato sauce. Turn the heat back to about medium heat or until it simmers and leave it this way for about 5 minutes.

  10. After 5 minutes of simmering, turn the heat down to low and cover to simmer for 30 minutes. When its finished, throw in the fresh basil while its still hot and stir in to combine.

  11. Serve this meat sauce over gluten-free quinoa spaghetti noodles or plain quinoa. Make sure to place a few noodles on top (and maybe even a little Parmesan cheese) for all those visual picky eaters.

Enjoy!


-Ashley