Easter Treats – With none of the junk! (no refined sugar, preservatives, or artificial colors)

Easter collage 40resizeAs I mentioned in a previous post, I’ve been kind of worried about the upcoming Easter holiday. This will be our first Easter being “junk free” and eating Real Food and I can tell I’m not the only one who’s been a little concerned about how the “Easter Bunny” is going to pull this off this year. My kids are very aware of all the Easter candy being promoted in the supermarket, on commercials, on billboards, etc., and have been loudly – randomly -calling out to thin air (presumably to the invisible Easter Bunny who I think they might be confusing a little with Santa Claus, not sure, but I get the sense that they think the Easter Bunny is watching over them and listening to what they want in their Easter baskets), “Easter Bunny, I’ve been good! Please bring me _____!” (whatever candy they just happened to see on tv, in a magazine, at the store, etc.

So, I’ve been hard at work coming up with some “Real Food Easter Treats” and I think I have some real winners here! In fact, the only treat that had a mixed reaction in our family was the chocolate egg which does have a dark chocolate flavor to it, so it probably wouldn’t appeal to all kids. The other night I cut one egg in 1/4s to let them each try it and I got the following reactions: Continue reading

Marshmallow bliss!

marshmallow collage.resize

With Easter right around the corner, I’ve been spending a lot of time thinking of how I’m going to turn this usually extra sugary holiday into a real (fun) food occasion.  I can tell my kids are getting anxious about how our “Junk Free Journey” is going to be impacting their day of hopping down the trail of jellybean joy.  Every time we enter  the supermarket we walk smack dab into Easter candy land and as I push the cart past as fast as I can the kids start calling out to the invisible Easter Bunny, “please bring me those chocolates! Easter Bunny please bring me those yellow things!” and whatever else they can catch a glimpse of as we go speeding past.

It recently occurred to me that “those yellow things” ( the Peeps) are really just marshmallows, so I started my own Easter hunt to track down a recipe to make these with real food.  I am so happy I did because I found the most delicious, easy, recipe on anorganicwife.com that is not only junk free, but is also a million times tastier than the packaged version.  

And speaking of the packaged version, have you ever taken a minute to look at the ingredients label?  yuck!  They are little squares of sugar, corn syrup (another word for sugar), dextrose (more sugar), a chemical I can’t pronounce and that I definitely don’t have in my pantry, and food coloring.  Since when did we start thinking of these things as special treats for our children?!

jet-puffed

Why buy this when you can make your own in 15 minutes? And if you have a stand mixer, they basically make themselves! You do need to let them set for 8 hours, which is a major challenge in my house. At the end of 8 hours our pan of marshmallows had several tunnels in it made by impatient little fingers, but they were still delicious and got a thumbs up from everyone in the house (which never happens). I also discovered they’re delicious on top of my coffee instead of the usual honey and milk I usually put in. Who says you can’t have a “treat” in the morning if it’s made with real food?

 

Marshmallow bliss!
 
Author:
Recipe type: dessert
 
Ingredients
  • 1 cup water
  • 4 Tablespoons gelatin
  • 1 cup honey
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
Instructions
  1. Boil 1 cup of water and pour ½ of it into the bowl of a stand mixture.
  2. Add the gelatin and whisk to combine then set aside.
  3. To the remaining hot water add 1 cup of honey and heat over medium heat to 230 degrees F. Use a candy thermometer for this and don't stir it, just let it slowly come to the right temperature.
  4. When the honey mixture is ready, turn your stand mixture on medium speed and pour the honey into the mixing bowl to combine with the gelatin. When the honey is all in, turn the speed up to high and let it mix for 5 - 10 minutes until it turns white with soft peaks.
  5. Add the vanilla in for the last minute or two.
  6. When the marshmallow fluff is ready spread it out in a 9x13 pan that's lined with parchment paper.
  7. Set the pan aside somewhere dry (and out of the reach of little fingers!) for about 8 hours. Don't put it in the 'fridge or it will get sticky.
  8. Once fully set, turn the pan out onto a cutting board lightly greased with coconut oil (or butter) and cut into squares with a greased knife or pizza cutter.
  9. I smeared coconut oil on little duck and bunny cookie cutters and cut out marsmallow shapes.
  10. enjoy!

 

 

A birthday cake disaster and small victories

liam bdayThis week our youngest, Liam, turned 4, our first birthday party since starting our real food journey.  The plan was simple: go to the bouncy house and then back home for lunch and cake.   Luckily he only wanted to have his brothers and one friend at his “party” so I didn’t have to make a lot of food (just some quick, all-natural pizzas), but I did have to make the most important food of the event – the cake!  I spent hours online trying to find a sugar free recipe and even made a few cupcakes days before the party to test out the flavor.  Not bad!  Unfortunately, somewhere between the cupcakes and doubling the recipe for the cake something went wrong and the cake went from” not bad” to “very very bad”!  On top of it all, the frosting was, as the birthday boy put it, “just weird!”. Continue reading