Easy Cake Pops

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My best friend is hosting a sprinkle for the new baby and I though I’d try my hand at making a little something special that I had never made before: Cake Pops. I know these hardly qualify as “real food” but we’ll try our hand at converting to a crunchier alternative once we get the fundamentals down! I watched about a dozen tutorials on how to do it and this is what I came up with to make it the most simple experience. I completely ruined the first half of my cake pop batch through trial and error, so it looks like there won’t be enough pops to take to the event. But, hey! I know how to do these puppies from here on out.

You need:
One boxed cake- baked
One tub of pre-made frosting
30 pop sticks
2 bags of Wilton’s Candy Melts
Piece of styrofoam
Mini ice cream scoop

Start with baking and cooling the cake.
Once the cake is completely cooled use your fingers to crumble it into a fine grain.

hand-crumbled cake

hand-crumbled cake

Next, spoon in a little less than 1/3 of the container of frosting. This is essentially two giant spoonfuls. DO NOT use too much frosting. Mix in the frosting to the crumbled cake with your fingers. It becomes a dough-like blob that you can shape.

Frosting and cake mixed

Frosting and cake mixed

Now use the mini ice cream scoop to measure out uniform amounts of the mixture. Use your hands to roll into tight, solid balls.

Cake balls

Cake balls

Melt about a quarter cup of the candy melts in a glass cup.

Candy melts

Candy melts

Melted candy

Melted candy

Dip about 3/4 of an inch of the ends of the pop sticks in the melted candy.

Pop stick dipped in melted candy

Pop stick dipped in melted candy

Insert into cake balls. Freeze for half hour. This will keep the sticks from coming out of cake balls when you candy coat them.

Cake balls with sticks

Cake balls with sticks

Melt a tall glass full of the candy melts. I did this in the microwave – took about a minute and twenty seconds. I did this in twenty second increments. I originally tried to use white chocolate chips and this was a disaster. They melted too thick and thats how I ruined half of these cake pops.
Remove cake balls from the freezer and dip one at a time in the melted candy.

Dip cake balls

Dip cake balls

Dip them down far enough in the tall cup that the candying on the stick is covered. Gently twist the cake pop as you bring it out of the melted candy. Poke the cake pop stick into the styrofoam block and allow the candy to harden. Super easy cake pops! The next time I make these I plan do do so baking a cake from scratch with Real Food ingredients and using stevia-sweetened cream cheese for the “frosting”. I’m at a loss for what to do to reduce the refined sugar content in the candy melts. I’d love to hear ideas on good substitutes!

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BREAKFAST OF WELLNESS: Raw Kefir Smoothie

Raw Kefir Smoothie with organic strawberries, bananas & chia seeds

Raw Kefir Smoothie with organic strawberries, bananas & chia seeds

In the dreariness of January we sometimes need a cup of sunshine to perk us up. Enter raw kefir smoothies! We cultured our raw goats milk with a kefir culture we purchased at Grains, Beans & Things. After bringing our milk up to room temperature, we inoculated a quart jar of it with our chosen culture and allowed it to sit out on the counter for 48 hours. Our end product was slightly sour and not too thick. I would prefer to make my kefir with kefir grains as opposed to the cultures. If you live in the Southern Oregon area and have extra grains you’d like to share please comment!
So, using the beloved Magic Bullet we blended our kefir with organic strawberries, bananas, chia seeds and a few drops of liquid stevia. Oh, so good smoothie of probiotic goodness!!!
Say "hello" to millions of my "little friends"!

Say “hello” to millions of my “little friends”!

Grain Free, Sugar Free Chocolate Brownies

A little bit of grain-free heaven

A little bit of grain-free heaven


Here’s a recipe for my grain-free, sugar-free brownies. These goodies are seriously fabulous! When eaten warm they are gooey like regular brownies. But if you chill these “brownies” they are almost like eating chocolate cheesecake in their consistency.
Ingredients:
3 eggs
1 Can Coconut Milk (Full Fat)
1 Cup Coconut Oil
2 Cups Almond Flour
1 Tsp Baking Soda
1/2 Tsp Salt
6 Droppers Liquid Stevia
1/3 Cup Unsweetened Cocoa
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PREHEAT OVEN TO 350

Directions:
1.) Melt the coconut oil
2.) Mix the cocoa into the melted oil till the cocoa has melted thoroughly into the oil
3.) Add the stevia to the chocolate/oil mixture
4.) In a different bowl combine coconut milk and eggs – mix well
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5.) Combine coconut milk mixture with cocoa mixture
6.) In ANOTHER bowl mix the salt and baking soda with the almond flour
7.) Combine wet ingredients with dry ingredients


8.) Grease an 8×8 pan with coconut oil & pour in “brownie” batter
9.) Bake at 350 for 45 minutes
10.) EAT!!!!

Real Food Supper ~ sneaking greens into your kids’ meals ~

Coconut-fried chicken thighs, brussel sprouts and cilantro rice

Coconut-fried chicken thighs, brussel sprouts and cilantro rice

If your kid is like mine, there is a lot of negotiation that goes on at the dinner table. Mainly on the topic of vegetables….especially GREEN vegetables. While I can coax my son to eat a few brussels sprouts, I have to find creative ways to integrate larger amounts of veggies into his food that he will eat with gusto. Cilantro Rice is one such creative method. The Bean loves rice. Rice and beans are his favorite foods – ones that he will ALWAYS eat – no ifs, ands or buts about it. So I have come up with clever ways to add large amounts of greens to the Bean’s rice. Enter The Magic Bullet… Blend up a cup of organic cilantro, 2 Tbsp water, 1 tsp lime juice and 1/2 tsp salt. Pour the mixture over cooked rice (I cooked my rice in bone broth). The Bean loves it. It seems that he doesn’t mind the TASTE of greens, just the texture…
Blending the cilantro

Blending the cilantro

Rice with the cilantro mixture

Rice with the cilantro mixture

Here’s a Real Food dinner recipe from the other night.
Cilantro Rice – as prepared above.
Coconut-fried chicken –
1 lb of boneless, skinless organic chicken thighs cut into inch-sized bites. Drench chicken in beaten egg and toss in a mixture of organic rice flour, sea salt and pepper. Fry in coconut oil.
Brussels Sprouts – Slice 2 lbs of brussels sprouts in halve and saute with a half cube of butter.

Dinner was a success and the Bean ate all of his food – getting a great does of detoxifying cilantro in the process!!

All Gone!

All Gone!

You Can Do It – Raw Chèvre

Homemade Raw Chèvre

Homemade Raw Chèvre

For many, many years I have half joked that my lifelong ambition was to be a goat farmer and grow to 300 lbs by subsisting off my own artisan goat cheese. Today I became a few steps closer to making that dream a reality…HA! I made my own raw goat cheese. After a few weeks of my family going through the raw goat’s milk from our herdshare like Grant took Richmond I purchased another share of milk from Willow-Witt Ranch. Then I went out looking for some do-able small-batch cheese recipes. After scouring the web for recipes and techniques, I settled on a very simple chèvre recipe. And me being me, I had to tweak the recipe a little – because (God forbid) I just can’t follow directions exactly.
I bought my culture, rennet and cheesecloth at our local supply store, Grains, Beans & Things.

Here’s the ingredients you need:
1 quart of raw goat’s milk
1/4 cup sterilized water
1 drop of single strength Animal Rennet
1/16 teaspoon Mesophilic Culture
1/4 Sea Salt

Rennet & Culture

Rennet & Culture

Here’s the equipment you need:
2 medium squares of fine cheesecloth
Stainless steel colander
Stainless steel bowl
Wooden spoon
Large glass bowl
small glass bowl or cup
– You want the colander to be able to be suspended over stainless steel bowl

Firstly, make sure all your equipment is sterilized. Wash it with soap, rinse, pour boiling water over it all and then thoroughly dry it all.

Sterilized equipment

Sterilized equipment


– this includes the cheesecloth.
Sterilizing cheesecloth

Sterilizing cheesecloth


Pour quart of raw milk into the large glass bowl and sprinkle culture on the top of the milk. Give the culture a few minutes to re-hydrate and then mix gently but thoroughly with a wooden spoon. In the small glass bowl combine sterilized water with one drop of rennet. Add 2 tablespoons of rennet solution to milk mixture, mixing with the wooden spoon.
Combine ingredients

Combine ingredients


Cover bowl of milk with a towel and allow to culture at room temperature for 24 hours.
Place colander inside of stainless steel bowl and line with cheesecloth.
Pour cultured milk into cheese cloth – it should be a mixture of curds and whey at this point.
Cultured milk

Cultured milk


Tie up the ends of the cheesecloth to make a little bag for the cheese. The whey will drain through the cheesecloth and colander and be caught in the bottom of the stainless steel bowl. I slipped the wooden handle of a spatula through the top knot to further suspend the draining cheese.
Draining the cheese

Draining the cheese


Let drain for 24 hours for moist cheese – longer for dryer cheese. Even though many recipes said to allow the cheese to drain in the kitchen, I – being a paranoid first-time-raw-goat-cheese-maker – let my cheese drain in the ‘fridge.
When the cheese has drained, free it from it’s cheesecloth shroud.
Drained cheese

Drained cheese


I saved the drained whey in a jar to be used in another project and scraped the new cheese from the cheesecloth into the stainless steel bowl.
Add the sea salt.
Seasoning cheese with sea salt

Seasoning cheese with sea salt


Mix in the sea salt with a wooden spoon.
Store the finished raw cheese in clean (preferably glass) container.
Delicious Raw Chèvre

Delicious Raw Chèvre


This chèvre is seriously good stuff! I am SO excited to try new cultures for different cheese. If I can do this, anyone can do this.

Our Herdshare – Raw Goat’s Milk

Raw Goat's Milk...Mmm

Raw Goat’s Milk…Mmm

This year I decided to treat the family to a raw goat’s milk herdshare. Essentially, for about thirty bucks a month (no pun intended) my family receives 1/100th of the milk produced by ten Alpine dairy goats at the Willow-Witt Ranch of Ashland, Oregon. That translates to an average of a half gallon a week. Buying into a herdshare gets around the ridiculous red tape of purchasing raw milk.
The ranch brings the milk to central location in Medford once a week for pick up. It’s super convenient.
I have loved goat’s milk and goat’s cheese since I was a kid and it looks like the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree in regards to Bean’s affinity for the stuff. I had originally planned to turn the majority of our weekly milk into yogurt but we just keep drinking through it too fast – we may have to buy another share to meet our yogurt and cheese needs!
Raw goat’s milk is a wonderfully alive and nutrient dense food. Natural news published a great to-the-point article on beneficial properties of the milk. And if you live in the Southern Oregon area and are interested in raw goat’s milk, please check out Willow-Witt Ranch!

A Day is as a Thousand Years…or: Cooking with a Preschooler

the Beans makes pizza

the Beans makes pizza

Man! My boy loves to do everything with me and I love including him. But, GEEEEEEEZ! Doing some things with Beans takes forever. Tonight I had some simple pizzas planned for dinner. You know, pre-made crust (Vicolo organic spelt & cornmeal) so just prep some veggies, throw some cheese on and, voila, dinner in ten! However, this evening The Bean just HAD to help. He gathered the produce, I chopped, he sprinkled and spilled, smeared and sneaked. Thirty five minutes and a disastrous kitchen later we put the pizzas in the oven. Fifteen minutes after that we took the pizzas out. Beans: I’m not hungry, Mama.