Zucchini Banana Nut Muffins

Zucchini Banana Nut MuffinsFrom experience, I would say that it’s difficult to find a good solid recipe for gluten free/paleo baked goods. Most I’ve tried have turned out mushy and not good. I recently tried a recipe I adapted from Paleogrubs.com and their Paleo Banana Nut Muffins were good. The second time I made them I was inspired to add zucchini and I think that solidified my very first tasty gluten free muffin success. I did use butter in this recipe. You can substitute the butter for coconut oil for a true paleo version. These are a great lunch box snack for school or a breakfast treat.

Zucchini Banana Nut Muffins

  • 4 bananas, mashed
  • 4 eggs
  • 1/2 cup creamy almond butter
  • 2 tablespoons melted butter (or coconut oil for paleo version)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/2 cup coconut flour
  • 1 cup shredded zucchini
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped pecans or walnuts
  • 2-3 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt

Preheat the oven to 350. Line a muffin pan with twelve paper liners. In large bowl, mix the mashed bananas, eggs, almond butter, butter and vanilla until well blended. Add the zucchini, finely chopped nuts, coconut flour and the rest of the dry ingredients. Blend well. Using a 1/3 cup measuring cup, fill the muffin liners about 2/3 full. You may have a bit of leftover batter and bake in another over safe dish. Bake for 20-25 minutes until a toothpick comes out clean. Eat warm with more butter and enjoy. Store the cooled muffins in the refrigerator in a sealed container.

Adapted from PaleoGrubs

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San Juan Island

Roche Harbor Resort

Our family took a Northwest vacation. I really love a local vacation. There’s something magical about packing the car and driving north 4 hours and hopping a Washington State Ferry from Anacortes to Friday Harbor on San Juan Island. The trip up was relaxing. We stayed at my husband’s cousin’s home on our way up so we could get to the ferry early. You do have to arrive an hour and a half early to actually get a car on the ferry but it’s painless, you just need time. And the waiting helps you get into the ‘island time’ mode.

We arrived at Friday Harbor by 2pm and found a great lunch spot at The Market Chef.  They had a grand selection of homemade salads, soup, sandwiches using local ingredients.

Roche Harbor Resort

After lunch we toured the island and went up to adorable Roche Harbor. I could just hang out on the docks and eat lunch and kayak or paddle board here for a week. The first day at Roche we toured the harbor and got a first hand look at what life in a 2 million dollar boat looks like. Then we got back to reality and drove back south.

American Camp Hike

Our second day on the island we decided to go on a hike in the beautiful American Camp National Park. The hike started off wooded and ended on the gorgeous grassland filled vista overlooking the Olympic Peninsula across the bay. I highly recommend this 1.5-2 hour hike.

The next afternoon we decided to kayak and paddle board back in Roche Harbor. There are kayak tours available to whale watch but we chose to kayak in the harbor. After that 2 of us took paddle boards out in the harbor. On this picture perfect day I spent the second hour relaxing and taking in the scenery in the Roche Harbor Resort’s garden.

Roche Harbor

The view from a mini city park above Friday Harbor let us take in the views while eating our dinner that night from Vic’s Drive In. I could watch the ferries go in and out of the harbor for hours.

Friday HarborFriday Harbor

Our last day we spent on the water whale watching. We were aboard the Odyssey with San Juan Excursions. It was a 3+ hour tour that offered a look at San Juan Island from the water and wonderful sighting of orca whale pods. We followed the pods for at least 2 hours. The orcas were amazing and the crew very knowledgable.

And the last night on the island we decided to return to our favorite Roche Harbor and dine at McMillan’s at the resort. We got a lovely table by the window with a view and we each had a few courses. I had a delicious crab bisque and house salad with their halibut small plate. My husband had duck and daughter a sirloin small plate. The meal was topped off by a berry cobbler and coffee ice cream sundae. Perfect! We were surprised by a flag ceremony at sunset and taps. Lovely.

View from McMillans, Roche Harbor ResortCoffee Ice Cream Sundae at McMillansSunset on Roche

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Raspberry Chia Jam with a Bit o Honey

Raspberry Chia Jam with a Bit o HoneyI have been jammin’ in my kitchen the last few days. I always over purchase raspberries and get a flat so I have lots to work with and this year I experimented. Traditional jams are so yummy but they come with baggage and that’s the excess amounts of sugar required but I must say if you follow the directions they are picture perfect and jelled to a T. I’ve seen recipes for chia seed jam and thought I’d try it to cut down on the sugar. I used Happy Healthy Mama’s recipe for a base and this recipe is so quick and easy and makes six – 8 ounce containers of jam. The jam is made of primarily fresh raspberries with a small amount of chia and honey and water. The flavor of the pure raspberries stands out. I love the flavor without the added sugars and feel really great to use raw honey as a sweetener. And you have the added health benefits of the chia like added protein, fiber and Omega 3’s, just to name a few. So enjoy your fresh raspberries on toast or a lovely biscuit.

Raspberry Chia Jam with a Bit o Honey

  • 4 cups fresh raspberries, rinsed and drained
  • 4 tablespoons chia seeds
  • 4 tablespoons warm water
  • 4 tablespoons raw honey

Blend all ingredients on LOW speed in your blender. If you have a powerful blender you may want to use the PULSE setting. Blend for a very short time (seconds) until the berries, honey and chia are a consistency you prefer for jam. Pour into six – 8 ounce jam jars and cover tightly. Let set for one hour in the refrigerator.

I have not tested this as a freezer jam but I am going to and will assume it will taste great after frozen and thawed. Happy jammin’!

Source: Adapted from Happy Healthy Mama’s recipe

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Grain Free Biscuits with Honey

Biscuits with Honey

I’ve been on a gluten free path since January of this year. I’ve pretty much steered clear of gluten free breads from even good quality stores because they often have potato starch and other additives which I know I don’t need. I have followed the Against All Grain by Danielle Walker and she posts Paleo, Gluten Free, SCD (Specific Carbohydrate Diet) etc and the comments are always grand. This is the first bread I’ve adapted of hers and for a wheat free biscuit I thought they were quite yummy. I did add in butter and milk instead of Danielle’s Paleo version without coconut oil and almond milk. They taste great with toppings like butter and jam and they are light just like a bread should be. You could double the recipe for your family of more than four.

Grain Free Biscuits with Honey

  • 1 1/2 tablespoons coconuts flour (plus a small amount for parchment paper dusting)
  • 1 3/4 almond flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 cup butter, room temperature
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tablespoons raw honey
  • 2 tablespoons milk

Preheat oven to 350.

Combine first 4 dry ingredients in medium sized bowl. In a separate small bowl cream together the butter, eggs, honey and milk. Combine the dry ingredients with the creamed ingredients until just moistened.

Rub small amount of coconut flour on your hands and spread the extra on a parchment paper on baking sheet. Roll the batter into four balls and flatten onto baking sheet. Bake for 15-17 minutes until top of biscuits are golden brown. Serve with your favorite toppings like butter, honey or jam.

Makes 4 biscuits.

Adapted from: Against All Grain

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Mango Pineapple Very Smoothie

Mango Pineapple Very SmoothieIt is the season for cool refreshing smoothies. And the season seems to run all year long in our home. I usually make smoothies ad-hoc in the morning and sometimes they are wonderful and sometimes not quite as good as others. But most of the time combining frozen fruit, bananas, coconut water and yogurt is a great combination. I like using mango in a smoothie because the texture of the fruit makes smoothies VERY smooth. The mango does for the smoothie what the avocado does for my Chocolate Almond Smoothie. If you haven’t tried the chocolate smoothie I would highly recommend it. The avocado makes it really smooth as does the mango in this yummers. So try this one out. Add a little more plain full fat yogurt if you want a creamier version. Add chia seeds if you’d like. Enjoy the sunshine and a lovely yellow frozen drink.

Mango Pineapple Very Smoothie

  • 1 cup coconut water
  • 1 banana
  • 1 cup frozen mango
  • 1 cup frozen pineapple
  • 1/2-1 cup plain full fat yogurt

Blend all ingredients until smooth and serve immediately. 2 servings.

Source: Jackie Mack, Lingonberry Lane

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Chicken Soup

Chicken SoupChicken soup is a good for the soul and the whole body. Check out this article by Dr. Mercola and you’ll be making chicken soup every week. Just one benefit is that it contains calcium and magnesium for strong healthy bones. And my personal favorite is that it tastes really good and gives me a feeling of home. Homemade chicken soup is a comfort food in many ways.

Here is an easy 3 hour soup to simmer and serve for a hearty and healthy dinner. This recipe can also be prepared in the crockpot and cooked on low all day.

Chicken Soup

  • 8 chicken thighs with bone and skin (can be skinless)
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • Thyme
  • Parsley
  • Sage
  • 2-3 cloves garlic, minced
  • Sea salt to taste
  • Pepper to taste
  • 2 cups carrots
  • 2 cups celery

Options: add 1 cup of rice or quinoa with the vegetables for last hour of cooking.

Put fresh or frozen chicken thighs in stock pot (make sure there are no plastic pieces/sheets on chicken if it’s frozen…)

Cover chicken with water in an 8 quart stock pot – about 3 inches deep. Add onion and garlic. Add all spices and salt and pepper to taste. I shake the dried thyme, parsley and sage so there is a nice covering of spice on the water.

Simmer the soup on medium to low heat for 3 hours. After 2 hours, add the vegetables (and rice if using) for the last hour. After 3 hours, remove skin, debone and chop chicken pieces. Return chicken to soup, stir and serve.

Crock Pot directions: Add chicken to large crock pot and cover well with water (about 3 inches deep). Add the rest of the ingredients. Cook all day on low. Debone, remove skin and chop chicken pieces. Return chopped chicken to crock pot. Add rice in last hour as option.

Source: Jackie Mack, Lingonberry Lane

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Oil and Vinegar Dressing on a Green Salad

Oil and Vinegar Dressing on a Green SaladI’m not sure when I stopped buying pre-made salad dressing but it was a while ago…one year, maybe two? I would always read the labels and undoubtedly there were in ingredients in them that were less than stellar – canola oil, vegetable oil, additives I didn’t recognize, sugar. So I started making my own on a regular basis. I often have dressing made up in the refrigerator ready to go but I’ve noticed lately that I really enjoy making a salad that’s dressed already for dinner. I like the opportunity to toss the dressing. The taste is lighter on the ingredients and I enjoy the salad being evenly covered, not smothered in dressing. So, this post is really about inspiration, it’s not necessarily a recipe to follow to a T. I’ll give you some guidelines as to how I simply (and maybe literally) throw together a vinegar and oil dressing on top of a salad I’ve just made.

Oil and Vinegar Dressing on a Green Salad

  • salad greens
  • chopped vegetables of your choice (i.e. peppers, cucumbers, snap peas, thin onions, tomatoes, avocado)
  • olive oil
  • vinegar (I use apple cider and/or balsamic)
  • sea salt and pepper
  • optional adds: squeeze of fresh lemon juice, fresh garlic for a kick)

In a large bowl with extra room for tossing, create your salad using bright colored vegetables. Sprinkle olive oil on top layer of salad. Follow up with about 1/3 the amount of vinegar. Add any optional ingredients like fresh lemon juice. Follow up with salt and pepper to taste. Toss well and serve immediately.

(Note – when starting out this method, go light on the olive oil and vinegar and do a taste test after all ingredients are added. If you need more, add a little more.) I promise this will get easy and it’s so simple and healthy!

Source: Jackie Mack, Lingonberry Lane

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Roasted Asparagus, Red Pepper and Quinoa Salad

Roasted Asparagus, Red Pepper and Quinoa SaladSpring and asparagus are here again and a light roasting of asparagus with red pepper really brings out the flavor of the vegetables. I topped the salad with avocado for a richer flavor and served it on a bed of spinach. The salad can also be served on it’s own as a side dish.

Roasted Asparagus, Red Pepper and Quinoa Salad

  • 1 cup prepared quinoa cooked according to package directions and cooled
  • one avocado
  • raw spinach

Prepare quinoa according to package directions. Cool.

  • 2 green onions, chopped
  • 1/2 bunch asparagus, cut into 1 inch pieces
  • 1 red pepper, cut into 1 inch pieces
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • sea salt and pepper to taste

Prepare green onions, asparagus and red pepper and mix with olive oil, salt and pepper in a 9×13 roasting pan.  Roast in a 350 degree oven for 10 minutes.

Dressing – Mix together:

  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • juice of one small lemon
  • sea salt and pepper to taste
  • garlic clove, minced

In a medium sized bowl mix the prepared quinoa and roasted vegetables. And dressing and mix to combine. Serve on a bed of raw spinach with avocado. Serves 4.

Source: Jackie Mack, Lingonberry Lane

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Broccoli Mozzarella Arugula Omelette

Broccoli Mozzarella Arugula OmeletteCreating new breakfast options can be a challenge. I happened to have arugula in stock and decided it would go well in an omelette. I tried the arugula and added broccoli for an extra kick of vitamins and flavor. It’s topped off with mozzarella and voila – I have a new omelette in the repertoire.

Broccoli Mozzarella Arugula Omelette

  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • one large pat of butter
  • handful of broccoli
  • handful of arugula
  • 2 healthy slices of mozzarella cheese or a handful of shredded
  • 1/2 an avocado
  • sea salt and pepper to taste

Using a small omelette pan, add the pat of butter to pan and melt.  Add the handful of rinsed and chopped broccoli pieces to the pan.  Cook broccoli on low to medium for a few minutes until broccoli is bright green stirring with a spatula a few times to cook evenly. Move broccoli to one half of the pan with spatula. Break eggs into bowl and beat with a fork until blended. Add eggs to the pan and pick up pan and angle it to spread the egg mixture to cover the bottom of the pan. Add the mozzarella cut in pieces or a handful of shredded cheese on top of the eggs. Cook until the eggs are firm to your personal preference and cheese is melted. Sprinkle a handful of arugula on top of the broccoli. With a spatula, take one side of the omelette and fold over to form a half fold traditional omelette. Slice the avocado and serve on the side. Salt and pepper to taste. Serve immediately. Serves 1.

Source: Jackie Mack, Lingonberry Lane

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Dark Chocolate Dipped Strawberries

Chocolate Dipped StrawberriesLooking for a quick easy dessert for your Valentines dinner? Chocolate dipped strawberries are simple and your kids can help you prepare them. They would be a great treat to have when you return from a night out with a glass of red wine, or they can be served alongside a bowl of ice cream. If you have leftover chocolate it can be used as ‘chocolate shell’ for ice cream. There are many uses for this recipe and one true fact – strawberries and chocolate just go together.

Dark Chocolate Dipped Strawberries

  • 6-8 ounces dark chocolate (I used 72% dark chocolate from Trader Joe’s – 17.6 oz bar…about 10 pieces)
  • 1 teaspoon coconut oil
  • At least a dozen fresh strawberries

Rinse and dry your strawberries well ahead of dipping time. Melt the dark chocolate and coconut oil in a heavy small saucepan under very low heat. Stir frequently until all chocolate is melted and combined well with oil. Prepare a cookie sheet or baking dish lined with waxed paper. Dip the strawberries one by one in the melted chocolate and place in waxed paper dish. Refrigerate at least an hour until chocolate has hardened. Leave the strawberries in the refrigerator until served. Serve same day and enjoy.

Source: Jackie Mack, Lingonberry Lane

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