smallroundupblueberry

roundupblueberry

I simply LOVE blueberries.  When I can, I stock up on fresh organic berries in the summer and freeze them so I can enjoy them all year long. Not only do blueberries taste great but they rank the highest of any fruit for antioxidants and also contain a high amount of fiber and Vitamin C. Studies are finding that blueberry consumption is benefitting just about every system in the body. Blueberries have been shown to reduce damage to muscles after exercise, reduce the risk of neurodegenerative diseases, protect both the digestive tract and entire nervous system from oxygen damage and contain anti-cancer benefits. That’s a lot of punch for such a small fruit!

Blueberries can be used in savory recipes as well as desserts and baked goods. I have gathered some amazing recipes from REAL FOOD bloggers that feature this small powerhouse fruit. Enjoy and please let me know which recipes you try out!

Blueberry Recipes

 COCONUT BLUEBERRY PUDDING by Real Food Forager
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BLUEBERRY BARBEQUE SAUCE by Low Carb One Day
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PROBIOTIC SUMMER BERRY SMOOTHIE by Rethink Simple
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BLUEBERRY BAKED OATMEAL by Natural Family Today
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COCONUT BLUEBERRY FROZEN YOGURT by Home Grown and Healthy
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QUINOA BLUEBERRY MINI LOAVES by Scratch Mommy
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CHOCOLATE BLUEBERRY MUFFINS by Eating it Real
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BLUEBERRY SUPER SMOOTHIE by Grass Fed Girl
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BLUEBERRY YOGURT MUFFINS by Home Grown and Healthy

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GRAIN-FREE COCONUT BANANA BLUEBERRY BARS by Real Food Forager
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One of many great posts shared on Homegrown & Healthy’s Mostly Homemade Mondays

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CordonBleu

What I absolutely love about Chicken Cordon Bleu is that it looks complicated but it is so easy! It’s a great dinner to serve when you have company over as it’s flavors please almost every palate. I personally love serving it with a side of freshly cooked and/or steamed vegetables, but feel free to get creative!  The trick for a truly successful chicken roll is to pound the chicken breast as evenly as possible. It will lend to the best ‘roll’ and will allow for the chicken to cook evenly. I also do my best to soak the chicken roll in the broth mixture and really dredge it in bread crumbs to help maintain all of the moisture. This is a must try recipe and I ensure you that you will be impressed with yourself!

 Ingredients:

– 1/4 cup chicken broth
– 5 tsp butter [melted]
– 1 large garlic clove [minced]
– 1/2 cup brown rice bread crumbs [gluten-free]
– 1 tbsp grated fresh Parmigiano cheese
– 1 tsp paprika
– 4 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
– 1/4 tsp sea salt
– 1/4 tsp dried oregano
– 1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
– 4 thin slices prosciutto
– 1/2 cup baby spinach
– 1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 350°.
2. Place broth in a small pot and warm on low heat. Stir in butter and garlic.
3. Combine breadcrumbs, oregano, parmigiano cheese and paprika in a medium shallow bowl; set aside.
4. To ensure that the chicken bakes evenly, place each chicken breast half between 2 sheets of chlorine-free [unbleached] parchment paper and pound to 1/4-inch thickness using a meat mallet. Sprinkle both sides of each piece of chicken with salt and pepper. Top each breast half with 1 thin slice of prosciutto, baby spinach and 2 tablespoons mozzarella. Roll up each chicken breast and dip in broth mixture. Immediately dip into breadcrumb mixture and cover completely. Place rolls, seam side down, in an 8-inch square baking dish coated with a bit of melted butter. Pour the remaining broth mixture over chicken. Bake at 350° for 28 minutes or until juices run clear and tops are golden.

GingerCookies

WebGingerCookiesThese sweet and spicy gluten-free ginger cookies are ones that my sister has been making for a while now. They are SO delicious and always appreciated at pot-lucks and holidays. They use 3 gluten-free flours, but you can also use 2 cups of an all-purpose gluten free mix if you would prefer.

Ingredients

– 1/2 cup quinoa flour
– 1/2 cup tapioca flour
– 1 cup brown rice flour
– 1 tbsp ginger
– 2 tsp baking soda
– 1 tsp ground cinnamon
– 1/2 tsp sea salt
– 3/4 cup butter [room temperature]
– 1 cup cane sugar  + 1/4 cup cane sugar
– 1 egg
– 1/4 cup fancy molasses

Directions

1. Preheat the over to 325degrees F
2. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, ginger, baking soda, cinnamon and salt.
3. In a large bowl mix butter and 1 cup of sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in egg. Add molasses, beat well.
4. Bit by bit, beat in the flour mixture.
5. Shape dough into balls (each about 2 tbsp). Roll balls in a bowl with the remaining 1/4 cup sugar.
6. Bake 15-17 minutes.
7. Enjoy!

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WebSmoothieThis fruit smoothie is not only a great drink to enjoy on a hot summers day, but a great way to get in those ever important probiotics that many people are missing in their diet! Probiotics are friendly bacteria which aid your already existing good gut bacteria to stay at full strength. Studies suggest that eating probiotic foods may help prevent and/or treat some digestive problems. They may also help regulate the immune system and protect against some common respiratory infections. Unfortunately, sugars, antibiotics and pesticides all increased the likelihood of an imbalance in your gut, increasing the number of unfriendly microorganisms which your body has difficulty handling. Popular probiotic foods include yogurt, sauerkraut, kefir, sourdough bread and soured pickles.

I have recently switched over to eating only sourdough bread, and I make my own yogurt weekly. Since I wanted to increase my kefir intake, I thought I would try including it in my smoothies. It works great! Kefir is a fermented milk drink made with kefir grains. While that may not sound appealing, it actually tastes just like a drinkable yogurt, I promise! If you are new to kefir and do not enjoy the bitterness of plain yogurt, I would start with a strawberry or honey flavored kefir first. Kefir is full of vitamins and minerals, and is easily digested. Many people who are lactose intolerant consume kefir because the yeast and bacteria consume most of the lactose during the culturing process. Learn more about the importance of this probiotic here.

Ingredients
– 1/2 cup organic blueberries
– 1/2 cup organic strawberries
– 1 large banana, peeled and sliced
– 1 cup Kefir [or substitute with whole milk yogurt]
– 1/4 cup freshly squeezed orange juice

Directions

1. Put all of the ingredients into a blender and blend until smooth. Optional: freeze berries ahead of time and blend together for a thicker smoothie.

PepperQuicheCups

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This simple twist on a traditional quiche gives you an easy way to eat eggs without relying on flour crusts. I do my best to eat a few organic and free-range [pastured] eggs a day to get in much needed healthy fats, anti-oxidants and vitamins. I needed to find a new way to eat eggs, as I can only scramble, fry and poach so many per week. These Pepper Quiche Cups are a no-brainer. They look and taste delicious. Below is the recipe that I put together, but feel free to put whichever vegetables [and meat] within the cups that you would like! If you are making substitutions, try and keep the ratio of egg:milk:cheese:veggies similar to below for best results.

Ingredients:
makes 4 pepper cups ( 2 whole peppers)

– 2 peppers
– 3 eggs [I use organic and free-range]
– 1/4 cup of tomatoes
– 1/4 cup of onion
– 1/4 cup of broccoli
– 1/4 cup of shredded cheddar cheese
– 1 tbsp of butter
– 1/8 cup of milk
– 1/8 tsp of cayenne pepper (optional for heat)
– pinch of black pepper
– pinch of sea salt

Directions:

1. Cut and core the peppers to prepare them for the filling. Preheat the over to 375degrees.
2. In a medium mixing bowl, mix together the egg, milk and cheese.
3. Over medium-low heat melt butter in a large saucepan. Add vegetables. Cook slowly, stirring occasionally until the vegetables are soft. If you are using meat, ensure that you cook it first.
4. Mix vegetables into the egg mixture and add a pinch of pepper and sea salt.
5. Place on a baking sheet and bake for 35 minutes or until the filling is cooked (you should be able to cleanly pull out a tooth pick from the middle of a pepper cup.

A helpful hint: Do your best to use peppers that are as symmetrical as possible so when cut in half they can sit fairly flat on a baking dish.

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This post is featured on Natural Family Friday, Real Food Wednesdays, Unprocessed Friday’s and Holistic Squids’ Party Wave Wednesday.

grain-free muffins

grain-free muffinsI’ve fairly recently tried to decrease my overall grain intake which has been extremely difficult. I LOVE bread, pasta and pastries of all sorts. When I came across this recipe shared by the Cheeseslave, I decided I just had to try a grain-free muffin to see what the hype was all about. To be very honest, I was a little skeptical of how it would turn out. My very first batch turned out perfect, as well as every batch since! This truly is a great recipe. The only thing I will warn you is that, as with most gluten-free and grain-free baking, the muffins will stick to the muffin cups. You can try one of two things to solve this problem. Depending on the quality of your pan, you can forgo the paper muffin cups all together. If you are not gluten-free and can tolerate a bit of wheat, I suggest very lightly dusting the cups with whole wheat flour before you pour the batter into the pan.

Grain-Free Blueberry Muffins

Ingredients:

– 3 Eggs [pastured]
– 2 tbsp Butter [grass-fed]
– 2 tbsp Coconut milk or whole milk
– 2-3 tbsp Raw Honey
– 1/4 tsp Baking powder
– 1/4 cup Coconut Flour
– Blueberries [organic]

Directions:

1. For full directions visit the Cheeseslave’s page here.

The recipe is from Bruce Fife’s new book, Cooking with Coconut Flour: A Delicious Low-Carb, Gluten-Free Alternative to Wheat.

airfreshener

airfreshener

Who doesn’t love a fresh-smelling home? I know I do, and it’s not always the easiest to attain. We are an extremely active family, which means lots of smelly sporting equipment and camping gear. We also have a dog who loves to join on all adventures and splash in every puddle, creek and river we come across. I’m sure you can imagine what my house smells like after a great summer weekend!

Years ago I would solve this problem by buying the oh-so-popular Febreze, an air freshener made by Proctor&Gamble that ‘traps and removes odor’. Little did I know that Febreze has been found to contain OVER 80 KNOWN AIR CONTAMINANTS. Yes, you read that correctly. According to EWG (Environmental Working Group) who independently tested Febreze, it contains 89 air contaminants, including acetaldehyde, propylene glycol, limonene and methyl pyrrolidone ethylacetate, which is toxic to the the brain and nervous system. These contaminants are linked to cancer, are toxic to the reproductive system and cause allergies. Read the full reports here and here.

That was more than enough for me to look into making my own air fresheners. Even with the potential health risks aside, the pure simplicity of this DIY project, plus the cost savings makes it great for everyone!

The average 14oz commercial spray will cost you between $2.99-$5.99 depending on the brand. This simple, natural and safe air freshener will cost approx. $.30 for 14oz (depending on the essential oils you decide to use).  How can you turn that down! The following recipe includes only 3 ingredients! It’s quite simple; the baking soda deodorizes the space while the essential oils provide a beautiful aroma.

How to Make your own Air Freshener

What you need:

– 2 cups water
– 1 tbsp of baking soda
– 15-20 drops of essential oil (depending on the strength of the oil you are using)

You can use just one scent (for example 20 drops of Lavender) or mix scents together ( 10 drops of Lavender and 10 drops of Chamomile).  I prefer using a Lavender/Chamomile blend for bedrooms and a citrus blend of sorts for the kitchen and living room. The possibilities are endless!

Directions:

1. Pour the baking soda into a medium sized bowl. Drop the essential oil(s) over the baking soda and mix well. This will ensure that the oil is ‘carried’ in the powder and does not separate from the water.
2. Add the water and stir well until the baking soda has disolved. Use a funnel and transfer into a spray bottle.
3. Spray away knowing that you are filling your home with natural safe scents!

Ketchup

Ketchup

Ketchup is a staple condiment in my household and while we have tried to cut back knowing the sugars and artificial flavors in commercial condiments, it still seems to creep back at every egg breakfast or BBQ we serve or attend. Since cutting ketchup out of the picture just doesn’t seem to be an option, I thought I would try to make our own. I played around with a few recipes I came across online and tried to balance the ingredients until I came up with something that, if I didn’t tell my husband I switched the ketchup, he wouldn’t know!  I kid you not when I say that this recipe tastes VERY similar to the store bought ketchup we were using.

Homemade Ketchup

Ingredients:

– 7oz tomato paste (homemade or store bought- only ingredient should be tomatoes)
– 1/2 cup water
– 2 tbsp raw apple cider vinegar
– 2 tbsp raw honey
– 1/2 tsp sea salt
– 1/4 tsp onion granules
– 1/8 tsp all spice
– 1/8 tsp ground cloves

Directions:

1. Whisk together all ingredients, BUT the water, into a mixing bowl.
2. Slowly add the water until you reach a desired consistency.
3. Keep refrigerated and enjoy!
If you were working with a very smooth/watery paste to begin with, you may need to simmer the ketchup on the stove top to remove excess water from the paste. If you are not gluten intolerant, a 1/4tsp of flour should also do the trick if you are looking for an even thicker ketchup.

bathsalts

bathsaltsI don’t know about you, but I don’t live in a remote area with easy access to natural hot springs or the sea… I wish!  These ‘baths’ found in nature contain mineral salts and have been used as healing and relaxation mechanisms for centuries. Each mineral salt found in nature possesses specific health properties. The recipe I have included in this post contains high levels of Magnesium, a mineral that many of us are deficient in today. Magnesium plays an important role in over 350 biochemical reactions in our bodies. When deficient, these reactions will occur very inefficiently, or maybe not at all. Over the last half a century, our magnesium levels have dropped significantly. Our soil is now depleted of many minerals and nutrients that were once in abundance years ago.

Dr. Carolyn Dean, M.D., naturopathic doctor, and author of The Magnesium Miracle notes:
“The real miracle is that that modern man gets by as well as he does with so little of this essential nutrient. A hundred years ago — before we depleted our soil with greedy agricultural practices — the average person received at least 500 mg of magnesium a day, according to the US Department of Agriculture. Without supplementation, in 2009, even on a pure organic diet, you’re looking at only 150 mg at best. Those on a pure McDonald’s diet may be lucky to get 50 mg. And we may need between 600 and 900 mg… per day!”

So with all that, you might be wondering how taking a bath at home can help? Well, according to Naturopath Dr. Hazel Parcells, hot water draws toxins to your skin’s surface, and while the water in your tub cools, it pulls the toxins out from the skin. The bath salts aid in this extraction while also relaxing your muscles. The added Lavender Oil will soothe and calm you while promoting growth of new skin cells. Not sure you believe this all? Just try it! I promise you it’s worth it.

No-Brainer Bath Salts

What you will need

Preparation

  1. In a large bowl, measure out the salts and mix them together well. Slowly add the drops of essential oils and continue to stir, making sure to break up any clumps.
  2. Place your new Bath Salts in an airtight container (preferably glass). Store in a cool, dark place. Essential Oils will slowly lose their medicinal qualities when if kept in a warm location and exposed to sunlight.
  3. To use, sprinkle 2 tablespoons of mixture into your bath. Relax, and soak for 30 minutes.
photodeckpicflower

photodeckpicflower

If you peaked into my pantry or various cabinets in my kitchen you would see dozens of mason jars, in all different sizes. There is something about drinking out of a mason jar that makes me feel connected to the great outdoors, even if I am living in the middle of a city. By simply taking a mason jar, some ground coffee [to look like soil] and fresh cut flowers from the garden, you can create a beautiful flower vase that not only looks great, but smells great too! The coffee grounds [whether dry or just brewed] will naturally deodorize the room in addition to the beautiful scent that will be given off by the flowers you have selected.

Air Freshening Flower Vase

You will need:

– a mason jar of any size
– fresh cut flowers (to freshen the air)
– ground coffee (to look like soil and to freshen the air)
– small sandwich bag or flower tubes to increase the life of your flowers
– elastic band

Directions:

Flower directions1. Cut flowers from your garden or buy some from a local farm/nursery
2. Cut the corner of a sandwich bag and fill with water. Secure the bag to the stems with an elastic band. You can also purchase flower tubes online or at a local flower shop to reuse each time.
3. Place the flowers in a mason jar and fill in with coffee grounds. If you are a coffee drinker, you can save your grounds after each brew in a mason jar and reuse them for this project! Or check out this great post about 10 Ways to Reuse Coffee Grounds!
4. Enjoy a beautifully scented room!