Gluten Free Banana Bread

I have a hard time keeping this in my house when I make it. I have been wanting to post my recipe for banana bread for a while, but it gets gobbled up before I get a chance to snap a picture of it.

Banana bread doesn’t get any better than this! Moist, light, sweet, and full of wholesome ingredients. It takes very little time to whip together and is great for either breakfast, a snack or dessert.

You could add some chopped up dark chocolate as an optional add-in. I have done that plenty of times. Of course I don’t have to tell you that it turns out amazing! If you like peanuts in your banana bread, feel free to add those as well. Raisins, dried cranberries or pecans are other great options.

2 chia eggs **

1/4 cup coconut palm sugar

3/4 cup unsweetened applesauce

1 tsp vanilla extract

2 cups oat flour **

1/2 tsp Himalayan sea salt

3/4 tsp baking soda

1 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp cinnamon

1 1/2 cups mashed banana

  1. Preheat oven to 350 and grease a loaf pan with coconut oil.
  2. Whisk together chia eggs, palm sugar, applesauce, and vanilla in a small bowl.
  3. In a large bowl mix together the flour, salt, soda, powder, and cinnamon.
  4. Add the wet to the dry ingredients and mix well.
  5. Stir in the mashed banana and any other add-ins you want.
  6. Pour into prepared loaf pan and bake for 50-60 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.

Notes:

To make 2 chia “eggs” (and keep this vegan) just mix 2 tbsp of chia seeds with 6 tbsp of water and let sit for a minute until it turns gelatinous. You won’t taste any difference in your loaf and it provides you the added (amazing!) nutritional benefits of chia seeds.

For the oat flour you can either purchase oat flour or you can make it by grinding oatmeal in a food processor until you get a flour. I grind my oats. You could also use any other gluten free flour if you wanted to. I like the heartiness and taste of the oats.

 

 

Goji Berry Chocolates

When you can have a treat that actually does your body good, why would you ever choose store-bought, sugar-laden, disease-causing chocolate??

I don’t even have to tell you how bad sugar is. It’s pretty much the enemy. Just read about it here.

To make this chocolate treat I used dark chocolate and goji berries. That’s it! Have you ever had goji berries? If not, then you MUST try some. Not only are they really good but they are incredibly good for you.

Here are a list of health promoting benefits attributed to the goji berry:

They:

 are a powerful antioxidant

maintain a healthy blood pressure

reduce cholesterol

improve vision

support healthy liver function

treat menopausal symptoms

improve fertility

alleviate stress/anxiety

support kidney function

strengthen muscles and bones

improve memory and recall ability

improve quality of sleep

improve disease resistance

And dark chocolate is good for you too. Just make sure it is DARK chocolate, at least 72% or higher. Dark chocolate has many of the same benefits as the goji berries including being rich in vital vitamins and minerals. It can also increase blood flow to your heart and brain. Who doesn’t want that?!

So go ahead, have a treat!

You’ll need:

A candy mold (I used a heart shaped mold for the ones pictured, but any shape you want will do)

A bar of dark chocolate

Handful of goji berries

  1. Place a few pieces of goji berries in each mold. Melt chocolate in a double boiler.
  2. Once chocolate is melted, carefully spoon the chocolate into each mold covering the goji berries.
  3. Place in fridge for 30 minutes to set.

Strawberry Oat Bars

Having nutritious snack options is a must in my house. Though I personally am not a big snacker, my two growing boys ARE. And with the amount of food they can put away in a day, I need to make sure they are making the most of those snacking opportunities. No empty calories here!

This recipe is similar to the raspberry bars but are made slightly different. The addition of the banana in this recipe changes it quite a bit.

I am categorizing this one under snacks and breakfast because they can be either. A nutrient dense breakfast or a nutrient dense snack. With the addition of chia seeds (you can read about why chia seeds are so amazing in this post here), plus the highly antioxidant power of strawberries, fiber from the oatmeal, and no processed sugar these strawberry oat bars are sure to please.

Making the jam:

2 cups frozen strawberries

2 tbsp maple syrup

2 tbsp chia seeds

1 tsp vanilla extract

Making the bars:

2 cups oatmeal (divided)

1 tsp baking powder

2 medium over-ripe bananas, mashed

1/4 cup maple syrup

1 tsp vanilla extract

  1. Make the jam first, because you need it cooled before baking the bars. In a medium sauce pan add the strawberries and maple syrup and heat until the strawberries break down and thicken. Keep stirring occasionally.
  2. Add in the chia seeds and vanilla and cook another 3-5 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool.
  3. You could make this ahead of time, maybe the night before or in the morning before baking the bars in the afternoon/evening.
  4. To make the oat bars put 1 cup of the oats in a food processor and grind into a flour. Pour the oat flour and remaining 1 cup of oats in a mixing bowl and mix in the baking powder.
  5. Add the mashed bananas, syrup and vanilla. Stir until combined.
  6. Transfer 2/3 of the oat mixture into a baking dish and gently press down tightly and evenly. Spread the jam on top. Crumble the remaining oat mixture on top of the jam and press down gently.
  7. Bake at 375 for 25-30 minutes. The top should be a light golden brown. Remove from oven and allow to completely cool before cutting.

These taste great using blueberries, too! Just substitute the frozen strawberries for frozen blueberries when making the jam. Everything else stays the same. You could even use 2 cups of frozen mixed berries, too!

   

Creamy Vegan Salad Dressing

I eat salad every single day. Caesar salad is my favorite. I skip the shredded parmesan on top but the traditional dressing doesn’t have the greatest nutritive value either. I can sometimes find a vegan variety in the store but I don’t feel as good about it as when I make my own. Then I know there are no additives and preservatives and damaging/unhealthy vegetable fats added in.

I do have one other dressing posted that I use but wanted to try my hand at another one made a little differently. This one is made using non-dairy milk rather than water so it has a bit more creamy taste to it. And with the addition of the kalamata olives it gives it just the zip I like in a dressing.

1 cup raw cashews

1 cup cashew milk

2 tsp dijon mustard

5 kalamata olives

Pinch of Himalayan sea salt

  1. In a high power blender add all the ingredients and give it a whirl until it is creamy. That’s it! A food processor wouldn’t work because you’ll still have chunks and pieces of cashews. I used a nutri-bullet.

Italian Soup

This is a great and tasty option for you when you are looking for a hearty meal but need it to come together quick. You can feel good that you are skipping the fast-food lane and filling yourself and your family full of nutrition. My kids LOVE this soup, and even ask for seconds!

1 small onion, chopped

1 cup carrots, diced

1 cup celery, diced

3 cloves garlic, minced

6 cups vegetable broth

14oz can fire roasted tomatoes (or you can use your own diced/seeded tomatoes, about 6-8 roma tomatoes)

8 oz gluten free pasta **

1/2 tsp dried thyme

1/4 tsp Italian seasoning

1/4 tsp dried rosemary

salt/pepper, to taste

1 cup fresh basil, chopped

  1. In a large pot, saute the onion until soft. Add the carrots, celery, and garlic and saute another 3-4 minutes.
  2. Add the vegetable broth, tomatoes, pasta, seasonings, and stir to combine.
  3. Reduce heat to medium low and simmer for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  4. Remove from heat then add the chopped fresh basil.

**I have also used 1 cup of brown rice in this dish and it is equally as delicious. You may need to let it simmer longer to cook the rice OR you can cook the rice ahead of time. Most of the time when I am making a rice dish, I cook my rice in a crock pot ahead of time so it is ready when I need it.

Vegan Spaghetti and Meatballs

A twist on a classic meal…gluten free, animal free, dairy free, yet ridiculously delicious. And really, it’s awfully simple to make, so it is worth it to keep the jar sauce IN the jar (it is filled with sugar and fillers you don’t need anyway) and the animals grazing in the fields.

Making homemade sauce is NOT hard, does NOT take a lot of time and you can customize it to your own taste. Add as many veggies as you want. Add as much variety as you want. If you think your kids won’t eat it if there are big vegetable chunks in it, puree them first and they won’t even know.

First I will give you the marinara sauce recipe then the meatball recipe. Once your meatballs are done, you can put them in the pot with the sauce to simmer and continue cooking together.

Marinara Sauce:

1 large onion, chopped

2 large carrots, finely chopped

1 1/2 cup finely chopped celery

4 garlic cloves, minced

4 tsp Italian seasoning

1 tsp Himalayan sea salt

12 roma tomatoes, crushed (** see below)

  1. In a large sauce pan over medium heat add onion, carrot and celery and saute until soft. About 5-7 minutes. Add garlic, Italian seasoning, and salt. Cook for another 2-3 minutes. Add in the tomatoes and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer uncovered for 15 minutes, or until the sauce thickens.

Meatballs:

1 onion, finely chopped

8 oz cremini mushrooms, trimmed and sliced

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 cup cooked and cooled brown rice (I always make this ahead of time, the day before or morning of works fine)

1/2 cup gluten free bread crumbs (you can always toast your own bread and make crumbs from that to avoid toxic fillers in store bought varieties)

1/4 cup gluten free flour

1 tsp dried basil (OR 2 drops Young Living Basil essential oil)

1 tsp Himalayan sea salt

1 tsp freshly ground pepper

  1. In a large skillet over medium heat saute the onion and mushrooms until soft and lightly browned. You can add a splash of water or vegetable brother to keep from sticking. Add garlic and cook another minute. Add onion, mushroom and garlic to a food processor. Reserve the skillet for later use.
  2. Add to food processor the cooled brown rice, bread crumbs, flour, basil, salt, pepper and pulse until the mixture comes together.
  3. Form the mixture into 1-2 inch balls.
  4. Heat your skillet back up over medium heat with a splash of vegetable broth or water and pan-fry the meatballs. Gently rolling them to brown all sides. Once browned, transfer to the sauce to warm/cook them further.
  5. Serve over gluten free spaghetti.

** To make crushed tomatoes: dip tomatoes into boiling water for 30-60 seconds, then dip into ice water. Allow tomatoes to stand for 2 minutes. Peel skin and remove core. Place a few tomatoes in a pot and crush with a potato masher while heating them. Continue to keep adding a few tomatoes at a time. Stir constantly. Boil for 5 minutes. Remove from heat, and use in your recipe

** Making your own crushed tomatoes ensures you are not getting canned varieties as the cans are generally lined with BPA, which leeches into your food. The aluminum from the can can also leech into your food. Crushing your own tastes better and it is really easy. An easy way to avoid toxic heavy metals and known carcinogens!

Superfood Trail Mix

I love a good trail mix. It’s the perfect snack when you combine the right mix of foods. The perfect trail mix must have a combination of nuts, dried fruits and a touch of sweetness.

“Superfood Trail Mix” has all of those things. But with SUPER foods. Not processed, sugary junk. It is a mix of nuts, dried cranberries, goji berries and chopped dark chocolate.

If you have never heard of the goji berry (also called wolfberry) then you are in for a treat! They are delicious and one of the most healthy foods you can eat. Goji berries have been used medicinally for thousands of years because of it being an adaptogenic herb. Adaptogens are a natural ally in dealing with persistent stress and fatigue because they work with regulating important hormones. Goji berries have been shown to prevent fatigue, calm the nervous system, nourish the blood, fight free radicals, boost the immune system, promote healthy eyes and skin, protect the liver and they are even a complete protein source.

So as you can see, it’s a pretty powerful little food. I, for one, think it is pretty amazing that you can eat a trail mix for a snack and be doing something incredibly good for your body, rather than damage and stress it out. I’ve said it before, I am on a mission to prove that you don’t have to deprive yourself (or your taste buds!) to live a vibrant healthy life. Healthy, delicious and, most importantly, nourishing food can’t be found at the bottom of a bag or package. It’s growing on Earth!

1/2 cup goji berries

1/2 cup dried cranberries

1/2 cup cashews, unsalted

1/3 cup almonds, unsalted

1-2 bars dark chocolate, chopped (I never use less than at least 72% cacao)

  1. Mix all ingredients in a bowl. That’s it! Store in an airtight container for up to a week, if it lasts that long!

Gluten Free Hamburger Buns

Burger buns have been real tough for me. I have tried SO many different ways to perfect it and it just never worked. They would either be too dense, too flat, too hard, too crumbly, or just plain taste awful. I was almost ready to give up and just buy the crazy expensive varieties in the store, but I wanted to give it one last ditch effort.

I am so glad I did! These buns are better than any white-flour, gluten-filled bun you could ever buy, yet they aren’t white-flour filled nor do they have any gluten!

Not only can you use these as burger buns but you can make make them a bit smaller and use them as a roll alongside your meal. I know in my house, you can’t have a pasta dish without having bread to soak up all the sauce so these make the perfect bun for the job!

(Here is a picture of this bun recipe where I made them a tad smaller than the size of a burger bun and served them as rolls along our meal)

There are just a few steps to making these buns but they are easy and it’s really quick. I promise.

First step: Yeast Mixture

1 cup warm water

1 packet of dry active yeast (not instant)

  1. In a small bowl combine yeast and water and let the yeast dissolve for a few minutes while you get the rest of the ingredients ready. It should be foamy on top when you are ready to use it.

Second step: Dry Ingredients

1 cup brown rice flour

1 1/2 cups tapioca flour

1/2 cup millet flour

1/2 cup sorghum flour

1 tbsp xanthan gum

1 tsp Himalayan sea salt

  1. Mix all dry ingredients in a mixing bowl or stand mixer.

Third Step: Wet Ingredients

3 chia eggs

1/2 cup water

3 tbsp raw local honey

1 tsp apple cider vinegar

  1. In a small bowl, whisk all wet ingredients together.

Fourth Step: Putting it all together

  1. Using a mixer, pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and mix well. Then add in the yeast mixture.
  2. Keep mixing until a dough forms.
  3. It is a sticky dough, so I use a spoon or measuring cup to scoop out the size buns I want and place them on a cookie sheet. When making burger buns I use a 1/2 cup scoop. For making rolls I use a medium sized serving spoon.
  4. Optional: sprinkle sesame seeds on top and gently press them into the dough before placing in the oven.
  5. Bake at 375 for 18-20 minutes.

Essential Oils – 101

There are a lot of essential oil companies out there. It would be easy enough to just go to your local health food market and pick up a bottle of oil and give it a shot. So why should you choose Young Living Essential Oils? What makes them superior to other essential oils on the market? One word….QUALITY.

 

In America, only a small percentage of an essential oil has to be in the bottle for it can be considered pure.  There are a lot of companies that dilute and/or add in impure chemicals to their bottles of essential oils and still call them “pure”. With Young Living you know you are getting 100% pure, therapeutic grade essential oil. Suitable and safe for topical application, internal use, and diffusing.

 

There are real health benefits from essential oils. They are always my first line of defense when my immune system is out of whack. Sure, maybe a pharmaceutical could mask the symptom of whatever ails you. But there are damaging side effects. Side effects that could, and usually do, impair your internal organs. I don’t know about you, but that scares me! With essential oils, you get side benefits.

 

So what are essential oils anyway? Essential oils have been used for thousands of years for medicinal and health purposes. They are used for aromatherapy, household cleaning, personal products and more. We get essential oils by distilled parts of the plant, either the root, leaves, flower, bark, resin, or peels. They’re coming right from the plant. All the nutritional and essential benefits from the plant are concentrated right into that wonderful little bottle of oil. So whatever that plant’s health benefits are, you reap the reward from the oil.

 

Young Living is the ONLY essential oil company to own and operate their own fields. They do their own harvesting and distilling. They do their own packaging. They are involved every single step of the way. This is their Seed to Seal promise.

 

By signing up with a Premium Starter Kit, you sign up for a membership with Young Living and they will send you 11 of the top 20 most popular essential oils. You will also get sample packs, sharing bottles (because I promise, you will want to share!), product information and a diffuser! The diffuser is the icing on the cake and the cherry on top! There isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t have my diffuser running. It’s practically a steal that they include it in the Premium Starter Kit for you.

 (This photo shows the Dew Drop diffuser. You have 4 options of diffusers when purchasing your Premium Starter Kit. Home Diffuser, Dew Drop, Rainstone or Aria. Choosing the Rainsone or Aria will increase your starter kit price slightly)

 

Let’s talk about the oils that come in the kit:

Lavender: has the ability to eliminate nervous tension, aid is restful sleep, relieve pain, improve quality of skin and scalp, reduce headache pain, and alleviate symptoms of seasonal annoyances.

Peppermint: has a cooling sensation so can therefore induce a calming effect to the body which can also help with headaches and muscle pain, freshen breath, helps alleviate symptoms of seasonal annoyances, and soothe digestive issues.

Lemon: this oil is remarkably cleansing both to you and in use for cleaning, great for skin, also alleviates symptoms of season annoyances (I like to use peppermint, lavender and lemon together for this reason), great addition to your water because of its cleansing properties, and can remove stains and grease when used in cleaning.

Thieves: this is a blend of rosemary, lemon, clove, cinnamon, and eucalyptus that combine to knock out the germs that are keeping you down. I diffuse this oil every night at bed time to ward off the germs we come in contact with daily and I also apply it for added benefit.

Purification: in a word: DEODORIZING! It’s a powerhouse when it comes to eliminating smells, freshening and cleaning.

Frankincense: is powerful in wound healing and has incredible immune support powers. You can use frankincense for oral health, also used to deodorize, incredible for skin health/appearance, and to help relieve pain.

Panaway: speaking of pain, panaway is the go-to for relief from discomfort. And with wintergreen being a main oil in this blend, it smells amazing, too!

Digize: Tummy troubles no more with this blend. It will help provide relief to whatever ails you in your digestive system. And when used along with peppermint, you get a dynamite double whammy! J

RC: has the ability to reduce symptoms of cough and congestion, also a good one for season annoyances, RC supports a healthy lung function, immune support, and respiratory system.

Stress Away: an amazing calming oil to help with nervousness, mental and emotional stress, and restlessness.

 

Those are just SOME of the documented uses/benefits for those oils. There are so many oils and so many uses for each one. That’s what I love about them. They aren’t limited just to what I mentioned above. In addition to those oils, you can pick a diffuser you want to accompany the oils they send you.

 

Essential oils have helped my family live our best/healthy life. I have trusted Young Living oils, supplements, and personal care items and have not been disappointed. Take back your control of your own health.

 

I don’t know if you have priced out the cost of being sick, but the cost of being healthy and maintaining health is by far a better deal.

 

When you are ready to get a membership, sign up here. And I will be there with you every step of the way. With me you will get an advocate, coach, mentor, and cheerleader. If you live near me or not, if you are a friend, family or stranger, you become part of my essential oil family.

 

This information is not intended to cure any disease. Essential oils are used to enhance and support the body’s own power to heal itself.