Baby Pouch DIY

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I don’t think there is anything wrong with buying pre-made baby food from the store. In fact, there are a lot of organic options nowadays for baby food. Like most other organic things, it’s usually more expensive. Luckily for my baby, my husband and I are slow produce eaters. Yes, we buy the finest organic produce, but we’re human, we’re going to grab for the bacon before we grab for some fruit in the morning. That being said, I really needed to find a way to get my babe to eat more leafy green AND use up all the produce we buy before it spoils.

You can buy reusable pouches online, but some of them come with some kind of filling contraption in order to get the food into the tiny hole at the top of the pouch. If that works for you, great, but I for one rarely use appliances that have more than 2 pieces, so I knew if this was some thing I was going to commit to doing on a weekly basis, it was going to have to be easy.

Hubs and I found these pouches that actually have a wide opening on the bottom of the pouch, so you can easily pour or scoop a puree into them. If you don’t want pouches that open at the bottom [I’ll admit I was skeptical at first] you can always use an icing/piping bag to fill your pouches with puree.

In any case, here’s what you need:
-reusable pouches
-food processor
-2 apples, peeled and chopped
-1.5 cups of spinach
-.25 cup of organic yogurt
-1 Tbs of ground flax [optional]

In a skillet over medium heat, cook the apples and spinach until both are tender. Add to food processor with remaining ingredients, and pulse until everything is smooth. Pour into pouches and refrigerate.

Did I mention the pouches we got can also be stored in the freezer? Like I said…. it’s a solution to using up produce before it goes bad!

Fasting Bread

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The tradition of fasting definitely has some deep Catholic roots. In Croatia, there are currently visionaries who claimed to have been visited by the Blessed Mother. I was lucky enough to have been able to visit the place where there have been sightings and visions of Mary. We stayed with locals, and according to the messages of Our Lady of Medjugorje, it is very important to offer up a fast every Wednesday and Friday, specifically for world peace. During our stay there, we depended entirely on what our host family provided for us to eat and on Wednesdays and Fridays, it was bread and water.

If you just google “Catholic Fasting” you’ll notice that the minimum requirement for a fast is that you give up 2 regular sized meals and replace them with 2 smaller snack, but you still get to have dinner. The more intense version is to only eat bread and water all day. If you intend to only eat bread and water, “you’re going to pass out if you only consume a loaf of wonder bread” [quote from my beloved Mariology professor in college] The bread needs to be hearty, and it must contain protein as well as other sustenance for one to be able to fast on it all day.

So, combining both my knowledge of Mariology and Medjugorje, I was able to come up with a recipe for “fasting bread”

What you need:
-3 c. whole wheat flour
-3 c. white flour
-1 c. oats
-1 pkg dry yeast & 1/2 c. warm water
-1 apple peeled and chopped
-1 egg
-2 TBS honey
-1 TBS cinnamon
-2 TBS olive oil
-1 TBS salt
-2 cups very hot water
-1 c. walnuts

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In a medium sized bowl, dissolve yeast in 1/2 cup lukewarm water. Cover with a plate and wait a few minutes until bubbly. In a large bowl, combine the flours. Make a well in the flour and add the yeast mixture. Mix a bit.

Reusing the now empty medium bowl, combine Salt, Sugar, Butter, Oil, Raisins, Nuts, 1 beaten egg, and the two cups of very hot water. Pour this over the yeast mixture. Mix/knead the dough, adding flour and or water as needed.

Knead the dough until it comes clean from the bowl. Cover with a plate or towel and let it rise ten minutes. (I often skip this step and the bread still tastes fine) Knead it again until it has spring to it. Place in well greased bowl and cover, letting it rise until doubled in size, 45 minutes to 1 hour, depending on room temp.

Form into desired shapes. This will make two large or three medium loaves.

Place in greased pan. Brush the top with remaining egg (if you did not use it in recipe) and sprinkle with sesame seeds, oats or poppy seeds, if desired.

Bake at 375 degrees for 35 minutes, until done and golden brown.

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This also makes a yummy snack on non-fasting days as well! Yummy with cream cheese and a slice of apple.

Healthy No-Bake Bars

So, my last post about the fluffer nutter bars? You know, that recipe that calls for a stick of butter? It’s the evil twin of this recipe. THIS recipe is healthy, AND doubles as dessert!

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Many of us know and love the no-bake cookies with their chewy texture, chocolately-peanutbutter-goodness…YUM. Well, if you really want the nutritional bang for your buck, you may want to nibble on these instead. This recipe makes 15 smaller bars for 180 calories a pop. That may seem like a lot, but I’d bet the cookies are around the same calorie-cost without the benefits these lil beauties give you,

The main ingredients are: dark chocolate, peanut butter, oats, and coconut oil. The antioxidants in dark chocolate help maintain a steady blood sugar and can even lower your blood pressure. Peanut butter contains healthy fats your body needs, as well as potassium, protein, and fiber. Speaking of fiber, rolled oats has a specific kind that lowers cholesterol and maintains heart health. Finally, coconut oil has a lengthy list of benefits some being: skin care, stress relief, cholesterol level maintenance, weight loss, boosted immune system, proper digestion and regulated metabolism. It also provides relief from kidney problems, heart diseases…. ETC

I mean seriously, these no-bakes will practically save your life. So toss out the left over Halloween candy and get yourself:

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What you need…

2 c. dry rolled oats
1 c. shredded coconut [organic would be best]
1/2 c. natural peanut butter
1/2 c. of PB2 [my small attempt to cut down your calories]
1/2 c. organic coconut oil
2/3 c. dark chocolate chips [60% cacao or more]
3 TBS of raw honey
1 TBS vanilla extract

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In a saucepan, over medium high heat, combine everything BUT the oats and shredded coconut. Place your oats and coconut in a separate bowl. Using a rubber spatula, mix together the ingredients in the saucepan JUST until they’re all melted and the mixture is runny. Pour the chocolatey mixture over your bowl of oats and shredded coconut, then fold the oats into the mixture until fully coated. Pour into a 9×11 pan lined with parchmetn paper, and refrigerate for at least an hour. Enjoy!

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Apple Bars with Maple, Cream Cheese Frosting

This is my variation on FitFoodieFinds recipe! As you know, I’ve already posted several apple recipes. Luckily, with the discovery of the past 3 recpies, I can say my apple repertoire has officially expanded! I love this recipe not only because of the fresh chunks of apples it call for, but because it calls for  my homemade applesauce as well! [not to mention this batch, was made gluten free!]

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Wet Ingredients:
-1 cup of applesauce
-1 tsp vanilla extract
-1 egg [large]
-3 TBS coconut oil [partially melted]
-1/2 cup, unsweetened almond milk

Dry Ingredients:
-1 cup all-purpose, gluten free flour
-1/2 cup oat flour
-1/2 white rice flour
-1/2 cup coconut sugar
-1 tsp ground cinnamon
-1 tsp baking soda
-2 apples, peeled, cored, and thinly chopped

Frosting Ingredients:
-8 oz. low-fat cream cheese
-6 oz. plain greek yogurt
-4 TBS maple syrup
-a lil’ bit of brown sugar and a sprinkle of cinnamon

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In a large mixing bowl combine all the dry ingredients, EXCEPT for the apple chops.

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I didn’t have oat flour, so I took a 1/2 cup of steel cut oats, and blended them in my nutribullet.

Next, add all of the wet ingredients to your dry ingredients in a stand mixer. alternate between speeds 2-4 until ingredients are all fully incorporated. Then add you apple chunks, folding them gently into the batter.

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Spray a 9×11 pan with coconut oil, or some other non-stick spray. Pour mixture into your pan and bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes.

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For the frosting: mix all ingredients in mixer on high, until light and fluffy, and all ingredients have been fully incorporated. Do not smear this delicious frosting on your bars, until they have completely cooled.

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Final touch: sprinkle some of that brown sugar on top, and add a little bit more cinnamon! The brown sugar may start to melt on top, depending on how cool your bars and the frosting are.

[For a more guilt free version: you may forego the brown sugar…]

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I recommend keeping these bars in the fridge if they are not all to be consumed in a day! Enjoy!