Healthy, No-Churn Chocolate Ice Cream

Healthy, No-Churn Chocolate Ice Cream
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My eleven month old has a chocolate ice cream stash on her upper lip. Now, normally I’d agree that this makes me a bad parent, but this time, it’s actually healthy ice cream, so I don’t feel bad.

Gabriel and I like to go out occasionally and get ice cream, or a milk shake to share. It’s kind of been our default date night plan our entire married life. But we always seem to feel slightly crummy afterward, and more and more, we find that we like staying in and making our own ice cream. 

In fact, we even like the way our own healthy no-churn ice cream tastes better! And it’s awesome to be able to indulge in a guilt-free sweet treat that doesn’t make us feel crummy afterward.

All you need to whip up a batch of this healthy ice cream, is a blender or food processor, and about five minutes. 

We started out using milk to thin the frozen bananas, but lately I’ve been using eggs instead in order to boost the protein. I’ve even taken to using chocolate whey protein powder in place of the cocoa (shhh, don’t tell anyone, it might ruin my real-food reputation). 

I love all versions of this ice cream, but I do find that the eggs give a slightly smoother, creamier texture.

Healthy No-Churn Chocoalte Ice Cream

  • 1 large banana, frozen
  • 1/2 cup of milk, almond milk, or 2 eggs
  • 2 Tablespoons cocoa

Pour milk, or crack eggs into the blender or food processor. Add cocoa powder and blend for five seconds. Scraper down sides with a rubber spatula.

Add frozen chunked up banana, and blend until smooth, and the texture of soft serve ice cream.

Enjoy your delicious, healthy treat!

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Three Big Reasons Why You Should Grind Your Own Flour

Three Big Reasons Why You Should Grind Your Own Flour
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Why should you grind your own grain when there’s perfectly good flour available at the grocery store and online?

We’re all so busy that there has to be some seriously good incentive to warrant taking on another chore. 

So here the three main reasons why I own a grain mill:

1. Freshly Ground Grain Is Healthier

 Once the grain is ground, and the protective layer of germ has been broken, it begins to lose it’s nutritional value. You can store it in the freezer of course, but it’s already been ground for who-knows-how-long before you got it. If you grind your own, you know exactly how fresh it is, and you can have it either baking in the oven, or chilling in the freezer within minutes. 

Commercial grinding processes also generate a high level of heat which, of course, destroy much of the nutrition. 

See source.

2. Freshly ground grain tastes better

Flour doesn’t just lose it’s nutritive value as it ages, it loses it’s taste too! This is perhaps most pronounced with wheat, since it has the most flavor to begin with - and if you’ve ever had bread made from freshly ground wheat, you know what I’m talking about! - but it’s also true of gluten free flours. 

In fact, it can be argued that flavor loss is an even more important factor with gluten free flours, since they tend to be a bit on the bland side in the first place. In order to make the best gluten free baked goods, you need the best flour. And the best flour is freshly ground.

3. Grinding your own grain is Cheaper.

And we’re talking mega cheaper!  

The question may be asked, “how can you afford to buy a grain mill?” But the question really should be, “how can you afford not to?” Particularly for us gluten-free folks. You can buy whole rice at the grocery store many times cheaper than you can buy rice flour. I did an actual price breakdown a while back, and it’s pretty staggering! See Cutting the Cost: Grinding Vs. Buying

Essentially, I’m saving $2-3 per pound of flour! That’s pretty significant. 

Well worth the time it takes, and the square foot of cabinet space the grinder takes up, don’t you think? 

Related reading: Why I Bake With Guar Gum, and Easy, Inexpensive Gluten-Free Flour Mix

Gluten Free Chocolate Mug Cake

Gluten Free Chocolate Mug Cake
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Sometimes life calls for chocolate, and when it does, it’s usually an I-need-it-right-now-but-don’t-want-to-make-an-entire-pan kind of thing.

That’s why God made coffee mugs (I’m pretty sure he didn’t intend for them to be used for actual coffee *gag*). And it’s one big reason why I keep a jar full of gluten-free cake mix in my pantry. Not THE reason, but a big one. You never know when a chocolate craving’s gonna hit. 

This recipe is really allergy friendly because it contains no eggs, and you can substitute non-dairy milk where milk is called for. The ammount needed may vary a tiny bit depending on what sort of milk you use, or how humid the day is, but it’s not real important. Just go for a cake batter consistency. 

Gluten Free Chocolate Mug Cake Recipe

  • 1/4 cup gluten free cake mix (or 3T. gluten free flour, 1T sugar, 1/8t baking powder, plus a pinch each of salt and guar gum)
  • 1-2 T. cocoa powder
  • 1 T. vegetable oil
  • 4-5 T milk

Mix ingredients together in a coffee mug, and microwave on high to 90-120 seconds. By the way, you can also use a bowl, in which case, it may not take quite as long to cook. Be careful! It’s really hot and steamy when you take it out! 

This recipe gets bonus points from me because it’s eggless, and therefore is awesome for if you just want to eat cake batter. Not that you’d want to eat cake batter, I mean, we’re adults after all… I’m just sayin’.

Enjoy!

Why I don’t use Shaving Cream

Why I don’t use Shaving Cream
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I don’t use shaving cream. Is that weird? 

I guess it may seem weird at first, but it works out really well for me, because I’ve found something that works better.

Soap. 

Yes, really. 

But not just any soap. See, most of the bars and bottles you pick up at the store, are detergents. The big difference is that they’ve had the natural glycerin, which is the moisturizing and softening component, removed. 

So, if you’ve ever tried to use commercial soap in place of shaving cream, you’re probably thinking I’m crazy - and I don’t blame you! 

I use homemade soap - preferably goat milk soap, because I’m a goat milk soap nut, but honestly, any homemade/natural soap works. Like I said, it’s all about the glycerin.

 

I find that this soap works even better than shaving cream because it good for my skin, and I don’t get a razor full of foam (am I the only one who thinks that’s maddening?).

It also simplifies my bathroom routine because its one less product I have to stock, one less thing to worry about running out of, and one less thing to clean around.

Oh, and did I mention that it saves money? Of course, there’s the fact that I make my own soap, which saves money, but even if you buy homemade or natural soap, it’s going to be cheaper in the long run because you use so little of it. 

I’ve been using soap instead of shaving cream for years. In fact, I bought a little travel can of shaving cream one time to take on a trip and was appalled. Now I take soap, and only soap. 

Am I crazy? 

Chicken Processing Day On The Farm

Yesterday, we spent our entire morning processing chickens. I’m so very thankful for neighbors who trade processing days with us. It’s lovely to get together to work, while our kids play nearby.

With their help, we were able to have 25 cickens done and in the cooler by lunch time. It just wouldn’t have been possible without them! 

It may sound like a super gross job, and I suppose it is if you’re not used to handling meat, but really, it’s not bad! The blood is restricted almost exclusively to the killing area - and I pretty much stay away from there, killing’s not my thing - and after that, you’re handling meat. 

Have you ever seen a chicken plucker? 

It simply consists of a number of rubber “fingers” in a drum, the bottom of which spins to catch the feathers and pull them out. It turns chicken plucking from being a tedious affair, to 5 seconds flat. Done. Amazing! 

After the chickens have been scalded (to loosen the feathers), plucked, and rinsed, they go to the evisceration table.

I won’t describe the exact process, because it is gross, but it’s honestly not as super gross like you might think.

Things are constantly being rinsed and washed. There’s very little, if any blood.

Beofre you know it, the chicken is ready to be washed one last time, and placed in the ice chest.

We’ll bag and freeze them this morning.

It’s so good to have our freezer filled with delicious, home-raised pastured chicken! 

We’ve raised chickens to sell on a small scale in the past, and have toyed with the idea of doing it again, but chickens are an enourmous ammount of work, with a lot of upfront expense for the bird themselves, as well as for the feed. In fact, it costs us more per pound to raise them for our own use, than to buy them at Aldi. 

This is one of those deals that may not make economic sense on the face of it, but I look at it in terms of the future payback of nourishing ourselves with healthy meat. grin

Homemade sausage

Homemade sausage
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Gabriel and I really love sausage - and it’s becomming one of Haddassah’s favorites as well - but we gave up buying sausage from the store. Instead, we make our own.

If you’re concerned about all the nitrites and nitrates use to preserve commercial sausage, you’ll really love this recipe!

Sausage is really easy to make (We even make our own homemade lunchmeat!), and you’ll find that mixing sausage spices into a pound of ground meat adds very little to your meal prep time, and that extra minute is well worth knowing that your family is getting the best, most nutritious sausage you can get them.

You can use whatever ground meat works best for your family - we love pork, and occasionally use beef, lamb, or turky - and the best part is that you can play around with the leanness/fat content of the meat, and the amounts of seasonings to make it the perfect sausage for you! 

Homemade Sausage

  • 1 pound a ground meat
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried sage
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • pinch of thyme
  • pinch of marjoram
  • pinch of crushed red pepper

Place ground meat in a large bowl. Sprinkle with seasoning and mix, either with a heavy duty stand mixer, or your hands, until well incorporated - at least two minutes. 

Shape into patties and fry in a skillet over medium heat until nicely browned on the outside, and no longer pink inside. Transfer to paper towels to blot up grease.

Kitchen tip: Mix a quantity a spices together and store in an air tight container. When you’re ready to make sausage, simply add 2 1/4 teaspoons of mix to a pound of ground meat.

Enjoy! 

Healthy Kid Snack Recipes

Healthy Kid Snack Recipes
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Do your kids constantly beg you for snacks? Or are mine the only ones? wink

I have a tendency to get in a rut with making the same snack over and over again. To combat that, I’ve compiled a list of 27 healthy kid snack recipes from my fellow gluten-free bloggers to keep handy. These look so amazing! I’ve already tried several that we love, and can’t wait to try more! I think the crispy chickpeas are going to be a hit!

For the sake of space, not all of these links are accompanied by a picture, so be sure to read the titles!

If you have any healthy kid snack recipes you’d like to add, be sure to share the link in the comments section so we can add it to our repritoire. 

  1.  3 Ingredient Toddler Cookies.
  2. Vegan “Ice Cream” Popsicles.
  3. Homemade Orange Creamsicles.
  4.  Nut Buttery Popcorn
  5. Strawaberry Fruit Roll-Up.
  6. Allergy Friendly S’mores
  7.  Crispy Checkpeas
     
  8. Strawaberry Fruit Roll-Up.
  9. Allergy Friendly S’mores
  10.  Roasted, seasoned Carrot Fries
  11. Sunny Cranberry Cookies
  12. Gluten-Free Garlic Parmesan Crackers
  13. 5 Minute Healthy Chocolate Pudding
  14. Sugar-Free Raspberry Roll-Ups
  15. DIY Fruit Roll Ups
  16.  Paleo 5 Minute Muffins
  17. Smart Snacking (Snacks Your Kids Will Loves)
  18. Soaked Granola Muffins
  19.  Easy Sweet Potato Chocolate Pudding
  20. Watermelon Kefir Popsicles
  21. Raw Peanut Butter Coconut Bites
  22. Kid Snack Bin Ideas
  23. No Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Lara Bars
  24.  DIY Dehydrated Pears
  25. Pickled Asparagus Roll-Ups
  26. Frozen Yogurt Bites
  27. Gluten/Egg/Dairy Free granola Bars

April/May/June Date updates

You may have noticed that I dropped the ball on the whole monthly date post thing the last couple months.

So what happened? Well, the answer to that is pretty easy actually. 



Gabriel started going out of town for work, two of my sisters and my dad decided to get married this summer, making us über busy (that, by the way, is the reason you’re only seeing two posts per week over here these days), and well, life happened. 

I really thought April would be a no-brainer because my birthday is at the end of the month, but as it turned out, thanks to Gabriel spending most of the month in Texas working, it didn’t happen. 

Gabriel gets props for trying valiantly though. He drove all day, to get home at dinner time on my birthday and offered to take me out. Very sweet of him, but it doesn’t take a rocket surgeon to be able to tell that a guy who’s been driving for 12 hours straight doesn’t really want to get back in the car again to go to dinner. 

He went back to Texas again in the middle of May, but just before he did, we went out on a date. A real date. Dad babysat Garrett for us, and we went to a local restaurant. It was such a simple thing, but it meant so much to have Gabriel up and decide to take me out, and not let me talk him out of it (I often do because I tend to feel guilty about taking time away from other projects, and spending money we don’t to, yadda, yadda, yadda). 

Since Gabriel’s been back from his second Texas trip, we’ve more than made up for the lack of date nights earlier in the year. We went to a Greek restaurant for the first time in my life (it was delicious!), and left both kids home with my sister while we went to a live music event on our town square one night - and then took advantage of Sonic’s half price shakes after 8:00 deal. smile

It’s fun now that Haddassah’s getting older, to be able to leave the kids with a sitter and go do something together. Just the two of us. By ourselves. I feel like we’re starting to climb out of the “just parents” hole where everything we did kind of revolved around being parents, and there was no focus on us as a couple at all

Going out together, without the kids, is a little bit like stepping back in time to when we nothing but a couple. Allowing us to have a long conversation, and brainstorm, and make plans together uninterrupted, without stopping to help one child use the potty, or the other child get out of the toy box she’s stuck in, or break up a fight (yes, my kids fight - and one of them is less than a year old! raspberry)

Of course, we don’t mind those little chores. We love our children, we love helping them and being with them. But every once in a while, we need to take a step away from the person we are, as a parent, to spend some time together as the people who married eachother however long ago.

That’s what dating has become all about to me. 

Healthy Blender Drinks

Healthy Blender Drinks
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Hi all! Today I’m excited to bring you a recipe from Deborah of Journey to Natural Living. Deborah has been a friend of my family’s for many, many years, and while my blender gets used mostly for Easy Blender Mayonnaise, she takes blender recipes to a whole new level in her book Naturally Sweet Blender Treats. 

This recipe from the book looks perfect for this hot summer weather. I don’t know about, but I love watermelon… And blueberries… And limeade, so why not combine the three, eh? 

Here’s Deborah:

Your blender is the ideal kitchen appliance for preparing and serving the best of the season’s fruit flavors, without heating the kitchen.

Watermelon Blueberry Limeade

This refreshing limeade beverage combines fresh watermelon and blueberries to deliciously celebrate the arrival of summer.

Yield: 4 cups

  • 3 cups watermelon, chunks
  • ½ cup blueberries, fresh or frozen
  • 1½ cups chilled spring water
  • ⅛ cup lime juice
  • ¼ teaspoon stevia powder or liquid, to taste

Add all ingredients to a blender and mix, starting on lowest speed and quickly increase to high until berries are pulverized.  You can pour the beverage through a sieve to remove seed particles before serving, if desired. If you use frozen berries and chilled watermelon and water, your limeade is ready to serve, no ice needed. Serve or chill in refrigerator.

Kitchen Tip:

Use an ice cream scoop to easily remove fresh watermelon from a watermelon half when making blender beverages or fresh fruit salads.


Deborah Tukua is the author of Naturally Sweet Blender Treats: 55 Fresh-From-the-Blender Recipes, and is the editor of Journey to Natural Living. To learn more visit, http://journeytonatliv.com.

Homemade Itch Relief Spray

Homemade Itch Relief Spray
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I worked really hard memorizing poisonous plant and what they look like hoping to avoid getting poison ivy this year. 

Aaaand it didn’t work. 

Last week I somehow got into it, and I’m blaming the goats. I love my girls, but unfortunately, they love poison ivy the way I love chocolate and peanut butter (which is together, and a lot), and when they get it on their coats, they rub it off on me. 

My husband seems to have developed an imunity to poison ivy - lucky him, right? - but I just itch, and itch, and itch. Same thing with misquito, tick, and chigger bites. The itching makes me crazy!

Naturallly, I went looking for ways to control the itching naturally, and to my surprise, found that I already had quite a few of the most highly rated items. Why hadn’t I done this before! 

The result is my version of a natural homemade itch relief spray. It works. It really works! And I’m so, so happy.

I highly reccomend trying this for your itches that need attention!

Homemade Itch Relief Spray

  • 1/4 cup aloe vera gel (I love this one)
  • 1/4 cup witch hazel
  • 10-15 drops tea tree oil (I use this brand)
  • 10-15 drops lavender, chamomile, or other skin-soothing essential oil (optional)

Add all ingredients into an empty spray bottle, scew on cap, and shake gently to mix.

Swirl to mix before each use.

Apply as needed.

Note: If you use real, natural aloe vera gel, this mix will be only slightly thicker than water, and easily sprayable. If you use the really thick aloe vera gel that you see in Walmart, you way want to just apply this as lotion.