Monday, April 21, 2014

Coconut Mango Ice Cream (Paleo, Dairy Free, Refined Sugar Free)

Coconut Mango Paleo Ice Cream

Does that not look like the most delicious bowl of ice cream?  Yeah, I know, there’s no chocolate.  I live in a world of chocolate and prefer it most often.  But this ice cream is delicious and basically health food.  You’ve got to make this!

I started with a couple mangoes.  Then I added a little raw honey and some lime zest and lime juice.  Mango and lime are a match made in heaven.  Instead of dairy cream, I used a full fat coconut milk.  That’s it.  So easy, fresh, healthy, delicious.  This ice cream is Paleo, dairy free, and void of refined sugars, but you’d never know it isn’t there and you won’t miss it.  I happened to have some toasted unsweetened coconut, so I sprinkled that on the ice cream and drizzled it with a little honey.  Love the texture and flavor it added!

Coconut Mango Ice Cream, Dairy Free 2

Course, it’s good “plain”, too.  The first photo is right out of the ice cream maker.  The second photo is after it hardened in the freezer.  Both are good!  the mango flavor comes through, the lime is there and you can taste the coconut, even without the toasted coconut on top. 

Coconut Mango Ice Cream, Dairy Free, Paleo, Refined Sugar Free, by Katrina, Baking and Boys!

2 mangoes, peeled and cubed

1-14 ounce can of full fat coconut milk

2 tablespoons raw honey ( a little more to taste)

zest of half a lime

juice of 2 limes

*optional topping—toasted coconut and honey

Put all the ingredients in a blender (or a food processor would work, too).  Blend until smooth.  Put the mixture in the bowl of a frozen, prepared ice cream maker and churn according to manufacturer’s instructions.  Serve as soft-serve ice cream with toasted coconut and a drizzle of honey if desired.  Put ice cream in an airtight container in the freezer.

Coconut Mango Lime Honey Paleo Ice Cream 4-10-14

Mmmm, you’ve got to try this!

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Ghirardelli Spring Impressions Chocolates

Ghirardelli Spring Impressions

Thanks once again to Ghirardelli for the wonderful box of chocolates!  If you haven’t tried these, you need to.  I can’t take a decent picture and do them justice, but they are so cute and fun and delicious as well. 

I’d love to have given them away as gifts, and some I did here and there to a few friends, but the biggest reason why is because my ten year old loves them and wouldn’t leave them alone.  He keeps snitching them from my cupboard!

So I’m telling you, run out and get some of these for your Easter celebrations, Easter baskets, or for your own indulgences.  I’ve seen them in lots of stores wherever Easter/spring goodies are sold!

Ghirardelli Spring Impressions Chocolates

Can you guess by the photo which ones my son likes the best?  The white chocolate of course, since when I took this picture, there were only two of those left.   They would be so fun to just open and add to any dessert tray for the holiday!  Thanks again, Ghirardelli.  Love these!  Hope to see them around for every holiday. 

Sunday, April 06, 2014

Snickerdoodle Granola Bars, Gluten Free—Secret Recipe Club

Snickerdoodle Granola Bars, Gluten Free

Gluten Free Snickerdoodle Granola BarsT

These are sure tasty!  I know they look kind of plain and boring, but I assure you, there is some great flavor there!  Do you like Snickerdoodles, those cinnamony, chewy cookies?  These taste like those cookies, but in no bake granola bar form.  And of course, I made them gluten free with gluten free oats and a glluten free flour blend and used raw honey and organic sugar.  I decided to splurge a little on the sugar, I consider organic cane sugar not to be a 100% natural, unrefined sugar, but sometimes I use it—so sue me. ;  )  I also don’t use butter much anymore as I’ve been using coconut oil for the most part, but these called for butter and I decided to splurge there, too, and use real butter.  Mmm, I thought the butter flavor came through nicely with these.

Hey, I found these bars over at my Secret Recipe Club blog assignment for this month.  I really enjoyed Aimee’s blog, See Aimee Cook.  New to me, but I sure spent a lot of time there.  I had the hardest time deciding what to make.  Check out Aimee’s awesome Recipe Index.  I love that she posts weekly menus and browsing through some of those I wanted to make everything I saw.  Let me correct that, I wanted Aimee to cook everything I saw for me.  There is a lot of good stuff there.

Snickerdoodle Granola Bars

These are making for a great little snack for me the last couple days.  I have this silly little trick—when my boys ask what certain things are, I tell them they are gluten free or sugar free and they cringe their noses and won’t even try most things.  Little do they know, they taste great and they’d never know if I didn’t tell them.  Makes them all for me that way and they last a lot longer, too.  Hehe

Snickerdoodle Granola Bars, Gluten Free, by Katrina, Baking and Boys!, adapted from Aimee at See Aimee Cook

1/2 cup unsalted butter

1/2 cup (168 grams) raw honey

1/4 cup (35 grams, not packed) organic light brown sugar

1/4 cup (45 grams) organic pure cane sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 tablespoon ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

3  1/2 cups (315 grams) gluten free quick cooking oats

3/4 cup gluten free blend flour (I used Premium Gold Ancient Grains blend)

Line a 9 inch square pan with nonstick foil, enough to use the edges to remove the bars easily from the pan.  Spread a light coating of butter or coconut oil over the foil. 

In a medium sized saucepan over medium heat, combine the butter, honey, brown sugar, and sugar until melted and smooth.  Let it come to a boil for 3 minutes.  Don’t let it boil to fast and high, if it is, turn the heat down slightly.  Remove from heat and add the vanilla, cinnamon, salt and cream of tartar.  Stir to combine.  Add the oats and stir well.  Add the flour a little at a time until well combined.  Spread the mixture evenly in the pan.  Press it down firmly (I like to use a potato masher for even pressing.)  Refrigerate for about 2 hours until bars are set.  Lift them out of the pan using the foil edges.  Cut into desired sized bars on a cutting board.  Store in an airtight container for up to a week at room temperature or for a month in the refrigerator.  They also freeze well.

Gluten Free Snickerdoodle Granola Bars 2

These are perfectly soft and chewy at room temperature and obviously more firm out of the fridge.  They wouldn’t take long to come to room temperature, but after enjoying them room temperature for a few days, I have the rest stored in the fridge.  They have great cinnamon flavor and the butter really comes through.  I actually thought they’d be a little greasy, but they are not.  Great job on these Snickerdoodle Granola Bars, Aimee.  I’m totally thinking I’ll trick the boys and make other flavors of these.  We buy a lot of granola bars around here and I’d love to make them instead!

The night I made these, I decided to make this Blackened Chicken and Cilantro Lime Quinoa for dinner.  Course, I had to make it for the boys with rice and let them put it all in a flour tortilla like a burrito, blah, blah.  If I’d have just made quinoa with chicken, they probably would have all complained.  Whatever.  It worked just fine for me to make cilantro lime rice and some cilantro lime quinoa.  I followed Aimee’s recipe pretty much exactly.  I just didn’t make as much rice or quinoa so we wouldn’t have a huge abundance.  It worked perfectly.  I love quinoa and this was a great meal!

Blackened Chicken with Cilantro Lime Rice and Avocado Sauce 4-2-14

Check out Aimee’s blog, See Aimee Cook and all the other goodness from the Secret Recipe Club!



Friday, April 04, 2014

Cranberry Almond Date Balls, Grain Free (Paleo), Refined Sugar Free

Cranberry Almond Date Balls

Love how simple all the different grain free, refined sugar free treats I’ve been making are, as well as they are often no-bake.   I love that you can often just put together any nuts with dates you want, add any other flavors and end up with so many different tasty treats.

I recently made a couple different kinds for my sister-in-laws’ baby shower.  She requested nothing with chocolate and grain free, as well as no sugar.  I made a couple different versions of these.  Of course, you can probably tell in the photo that these particular ones do have chocolate.  It just seems strange to me to not have chocolate in there, so after taking a couple versions of these with no chocolate to the shower, I made some for myself a couple days later with chocolate. ;  )  There isn’t very much chocolate, but just enough for me.

Cranberry Almond Date Balls 4-3-14

Cranberry Almond Date Balls, Grain Free (Paleo), Refined Sugar Free, by Katrina, Baking and Boys!

1 cup almonds (I don’t toast them, but since I store them in the freezer, I put them on a baking sheet in the oven for a few minutes just to take the chill off them)

1 cup dried cranberries (sweetened with apple juice)

1 cup pitted dates (I always cut them in half to check for pits and I always find at least one)

2 tablespoons raw honey

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

pinch of salt

2 tablespoons Enjoy Life mini chocolate chips (optional)

2 tablespoons unsweetened shredded coconut (optional)

In the bowl of a food processor, pulse the almonds until they start becoming nicely chopped.  Add the dates and cranberries.  Blend until all ingredients are starting to be well combined.  Add the vanilla, salt and honey.  Pulse until it is all clumping together.  Add the chocolate and/or coconut and pulse a few times.  Form into walnut sized balls, squeezing it together and rolling it in your hands.  Set on waxed paper lined baking sheet/plate.  Store in an airtight container.  Makes about 18, depending on how many bites you snitch while rolling into balls. ;  )

Cranberry Lemon Pecan Date Balls, Grain Free (Paleo), Refined Sugar Free, by Katrina, Baking and Boys!

1 cup pecans

1 cup dried cranberries (sweetened with apple juice)

1 cup pitted dates

zest of one lemon

pinch of salt

1-2 tablespoons unsweetened shredded coconut (optional)

Follow the same directions for the above recipe, if it is not all sticking together in well in the food processor, add a little honey until you like the consistency.  I didn’t add honey to this version.  Pecans may have more moisture.    I also rolled about half of these in coconut, which you can do to any of the date balls.

Cranberry Lemon Pecan Date Balls

Cranberry Lemon Pecan Date Balls

I love having a couple different treats like these stored away for me to snitch on now and then and I don’t feel one bit guilty!

Monday, March 17, 2014

Oreos Pretzel Frogs

Oreo Pretzel Frogs

Are these not the cutest little frogs you’ve ever seen?  And they are edible, made with one of America’s favorite cookies, Oreos.  And pretzels.  Almost too cute to eat.  Almost.

These are a fun, super easy treat that kids (big and small) will love.  I thought they’d be fun since today is St. Patrick’s Day, but you could find all kinds of perfect reasons to make them.  Spring is coming up.  Easter.  Heck, you could make these for no special reason at all. 

My mom sent me a picture of them a couple months ago, then I looked them up on the world wide web again and they are found in many places with each one made slightly different.  You can easily do them however you wish.  I used some candy eyeballs and Fruit by the Foot candy that I cut for the tongues.  These are fun because you can use any flavor of Oreos you’d like.  You could even live a little on the edge and do all different colors of frogs. 

Oreo Pretzel Frog

Oreos Pretzel Frogs, by Katrina, Baking and Boys! adapted from all over the web

12 Oreos cookies, any flavor

24 pretzel twists

7 ounces (half a bag) of green Wilton candy melts

24 candy eyeballs

1 strawberry/red Fruit by the Foot candy roll up, or any other candy that can easily cut/shape

green sugar sprinkles, optional

Unroll the Fruit by the Foot and cut into small tongue shapes.  Line a baking sheet with waxed paper.  Melt the candy melts according to package directions.  Dip each pretzel in the candy, using a fork to lift them out of the bowl.  Tap the excess melted candy off the pretzel by gently tapping the fork that is holding the pretzel on the bowl.  Lay them on the baking sheet, laying two next to each other so they are just touching.  After dipping all of the pretzels, dip each Oreos cookie one at a time, also tapping the extra candy off the cookie and lay each cookie on top of the pretzels. 

Sprinkle the back of each cookie with green sprinkles if desired.  Stick a cut out tongue in the center of each cookie.  Let the candy melt harden slightly.  Once it is starting to set, put the candy eyes on the tops and hold in place for a few seconds.  If they aren’t staying upright very well, wait until the candy melt is hardened a little bit more.  If it has hardened too much, carefully dip the bottom of each candy eye into the candy melt to use as “glue”.  Let all the candy frogs set completely.  Easily double the recipe.

Oreos Pretzel Frogs and Shamrock Shake

Served these cookies with a simple “Shamrock” Shake.  Filled the blender with vanilla ice cream (about 4-5 cups), added milk (about 3 cups), about 10 drops of green food coloring and 1/2 teaspoon peppermint extract.  Blend until smooth.  This made about 6 eight ounce cups.

Sunday, March 09, 2014

Banana Apple Bread (Gluten Free) and Rachel’s Chocolate Chip Cookies—Secret Recipe Club

Apple Banana Bread

I was SO happy to find this banana bread recipe on my Secret Recipe Club blog assignment for this month.  I’ve been dying to find a banana bread recipe that looked like it would be easy to make gluten free and refined sugar free and decided this was it.  Thank you Chris and Rachel from The Keenan Cookbook (my secret blog).  This is perfect.  NO ONE would ever know this is gluten free.  I also made it with coconut sugar and you can’t tell.  Perfect for me.  My silly boys, who love banana bread, turned up their noses and wouldn’t even try it when I told them it was gluten free.  This is my way of hoarding the loaf for myself.  I savored it for days.  Because of the bananas and the apple and some applesauce, this bread is nice and moist and the walnuts I added were a perfect crunch. 

Banana Apple Bread 2

Banana Apple Bread (Gluten Free, Refined Sugar Free), adapted by Katrina, Baking and Boys! from The Keenan Cookbook (Check out the link for their “unadapted” recipe.)

1  3/4 cup gluten free flour blend (I used Premium Gold ancient grains blend, found at Costco)

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

1  1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

1 cup coconut sugar

1 teaspoon unsulphured molasses

1/3 cup coconut oil

2 large eggs

1/3 cup unsweetened applesauce

3 tablespoons almond milk

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 large bananas, mashed

1 medium apple, peeled and finely grated

1/2 cup walnuts, chopped and lightly toasted

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Spread some coconut oil evenly in a 9x5 bread pan (I also love putting nonstick foil in the pan first, but still usually coat it with coconut oil, you can spray with cooking spray, too).  You can also make this batter in to muffins, spread oil in each muffin cup.  Set aside.  In a bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, salt and cinnamon.  Whisk together.  In another bowl, combine the sugar, molasses and coconut oil.  Stir together until well combined.  Add the eggs and applesauce and stir to combine.  Stir (or whisk) in the almond milk and vanilla.  In a another bowl with a fork, or small food processor, add the bananas and pulse until mashed into a puree.  Add the bananas to the wet ingredients and grate the apple into the bowl.  Stir to combine.  Fold in the walnuts.  Pour the batter into the prepared pan and spread evenly.  Bake for 50-60 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.   Let bread sit on a wire rack for about 10 minutes, then carefully turn the bread out onto the wire rack to cool completely. 

Banana Apple Bread 3 (Gluten Free, Refined Sugar Free)

I love banana anything.

Apple Banana Bread March SRC

Instead of bread, I usually make muffins because they bake so much faster, which means you can be eating banana bread sooner.  So I tried that with this recipe.  Great muffins!

Apple Banana Muffins

I made the bread weeks ago and the muffins just last week.  I have more bananas on the counter, ready and waiting to make this bread again soon!

Apple Banana Muffin

Mmmm!  THEN just because I like looking at cookies on blogs and because my family is “suffering” with my new health changes with my baking less (poor, poor family), I saw the Keenan’s also posted their favorite chocolate chip cookies recipe and I had to make that—for my family and because it was chocolate chip cookies.

Rachel's Chocolate Chip Cookies

I didn’t even taste them, but they were gone in a day or two.  They are definitely simple to make.  Rachel has taken the original Nestle Tollhouse chocolate chip cookie recipe and added an extra cup of flour, which is think is brilliant because I’ve never cared for the Nestle recipe (still love the company and Ruth Wakefield and her invention of the chocolate chip cookie).  I’ve always thought the cookies turn out too flat and a bit greasy.  I know many like their chocolate chip cookies that way, and that’s fine.  But what a simple idea and an easy way to make a thicker, soft and chewy chocolate chip cookie—just add a little more flour.

Rachel's Chocolate Chip Cookies March SRC

Thank you, Rachel, for that idea.  I didn’t change a thing from her adapted Nestle recipe, so get it at The Keenan Cookbook.  I really enjoyed their blog.  They both share in the cooking and baking, she photographs the recipes and he writes up the posts, sharing their yummy recipes and their thoughts about being parents to two little boys.  Hey, I know a thing or two about that times two.  ;  )

I love being a part of the Secret Recipe Club.  Check out all the yummy stuff below!


Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Lime Honey Almond Cookies—Six Years of Blogging!

Lime Almond Cookies--Grain Free, Refined Sugar Free

I started my little old blog six years ago today!  So hard to believe and while my blog hasn’t evolved into the great food blogging websites that some have in that time, I’m happy to still be here.  I have discovered that baking and cooking and blogging and sharing are truly some of my passions in life and combining them all here on my little spot on the internet have been one of the greatest things for me. 

Yes, life is certainly crazy with four boys and I certainly could not be who I am in that part of my life without my amazing husband and all the wonderful family and friends around me.  I have found that I have needed and love being a small part of the food blogging world.  Times have certainly changed.  Six years ago, food blogging was still a rather new thing.  There were those already known.  When I started my blog, I actually didn’t even know about food blogging.  I just wanted to start keeping a written account of things going on with my family so I could share it with the rest of my family and friends. 

Just a few short weeks after starting to blog things that were going on, my youngest son, Sam, turned one and I posted about the lame cake I made for his birthday.  (How cute is my baby!  This picture is a lot better than the ridiculously not-that-great turtle cake I made for him.)

All my boys are growing up too fast!  Here they are almost six years ago.


Scott is now almost 16, is at least six inches taller than me, and has his driver’s permit.  Parker is 12 and finishing up the sixth grade accelerated program and getting ready for junior high (Yes, I know, for some reason it’s not called junior high anymore and is called middle school.  I was just telling Parker yesterday I will always call it junior high.  It’s kind of like how hard of a time I’ve had calling them flip flops now, they will always be that other word to me.)  Taylor is ten and lighting up our lives with his awesome talents of origami and balloon twisting that he has taught himself.  And little Sammie, he’ll be seven soon.  I can’t believe my baby is almost seven!  We need a new family picture!  That is on the list of things to do in the next year!

A lot has happened in these six years.  When I started my blog, we lived in Kansas as Kevin taught accounting at the University of Kansas.  We lived there for a total of five years, but when he did not get tenure there in 2010, we moved back home to Utah where he got a job at Utah Valley University and got tenure a year later.  We are here in Utah to stay and are happy to be near family.

Another change in our lives—in April 2012 I was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis.  Can’t tell you how much I hate saying those words.  My grandmother died in 1947 at the age 24 from MS.  My mother was only about two years old.  We have always been told she had MS.  Not enough was known in 1947 to fight the things that come along with it.  It is believed she had an unknown infection that took her life.  THEN, in 1999, my sister, Mandi,  passed away at age 33 after being diagnosed at age 19 and having quite the big trials MS inflicted in her life.  We watched the disease take things from her as the short years went by.  It was definitely totally unexpected and a big shock to also be diagnosed. 

It has definitely changed my life and my family’s life.  But I plan to fight this little annoyance in my life with all I’ve got.  Right now, my biggest issue is that I always just feel tired and fatigued.  It wasn’t until all of this hit me that I really understood the difference between being tired and feeling fatigue.  Fatigue takes more out of you, you feel weak, like you just can’t do as much even if you want to.  I feel happy and blessed that I have never had to stay in bed and that I can’t take care of my family.  It has been hard for me to right how give up exercise as I was doing it before.  I will be making more adjustments, but know that getting back to some form of daily exercise for my body will be helpful.

Another thing I’ve changed is my diet.  I know it kind of stinks for a food blogger who loves baking goodies to have given up gluten and refined sugars (as well as most processed foods and some dairy).  That said, I am enjoying finding new things in the gluten free world and how enjoyable things still are using honey and dates and coconut palm sugar instead of refined sugars.  I consider it a fun challenge.  Does that mean all you’ll find on my blog now are those things?  No, I still love baking for my family and friends and do plenty of that.  I just no longer eat it.  Do these diet changes help with MS and other auto immune diseases?  Well, for myself, I don’t really know.  Everyone asks.  I made those changes last June.  I don’t know.  But I don’t really want to find out that I’d be a lot worse by trying to go back.  So here I am.

Six years later.  Happily plugging along.  This is the main reason why—Thank you, Kevin, for EVERYTHING!


Can we move on to cookies already?  I thought it would be so hard, almost impossible, to give up sweet things.  It hasn’t been that hard.  What do I really miss the most?  Sometimes I just want a good whole grain peanut butter and honey sandwich.  I have yet to find a gluten free bread as good.  I will keep searching and so far all the ones I’ve made are pretty good.  And you know what, I’m not gluten intolerant, so when really “necessary”, I do cheat.  A few times when Kevin and I have gone to dinner, I have taken a bite of one of our favorites—molten lava chocolate cake or some heavenly battered and fried artichokes we had once.  Delicious.  But I have found a bite or two and I’m okay, it’s not going to hurt me.  I’m sure I could even cheat more than that.  But I’m fine eating the things I do and don’t feel deprived.  Maybe that’s helped by not giving up chocolate.  I switched from my favorite 70% dark chocolate to eating 85%.  Now when I eat even 70%, it’s SO sweet to me.  Gotta have a little bite or two of my 85% just about everyday. 

Sometimes I don’t even have to have chocolate.  Like when I come up with cookies as good as these Lime Almond Cookies I am sharing today.  They are SO good.  And the are not only gluten free, but grain free (Paleo) as well.  They are sweetened with just a little raw honey—in other words—they are good for you! ;  )

Lime Almond Cookies--Grain Free, Refined Sugar Free 2

Lime Honey Almond Cookies, (Grain Free, Paleo, Gluten Free, Refined Sugar Free) by Katrina, Baking and Boys!

1  1/4 cups (120 grams) almond flour

1 tablespoon arrowroot powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 cup (84 grams) raw honey

zest of 2 limes (about 1 tablespoons)

1 teaspoon lime juice

1/4 cup almonds, toasted and chopped

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Line baking sheets with parchment paper.  Set aside.  Combine the almond flour, arrowroot, salt and baking soda in a food processor.  Pulse until combined.  Add the honey, zest and lime juice.  Pulse until well combined and the dough is all moist.  Add the chopped almonds and pulse a few times.  (You can also just stir them in if you want the nuts in bigger chunks.)    Form the dough into balls with a cookie scoop.  Press the dough firmly into the scoop with your fingers.  When the dough is released from the scoop, it should stay in its shape.  (You could also just form balls of dough with your hands.)  Bake for 10 minutes.  Let cookies sit on baking sheet for a couple minutes before moving them to a wire rack to cool completely.  Makes about 16.

Paleo Lime Almond Cookies 2-13-14

When I first tasted these, I thought they weren’t sweet enough and wasn’t all that thrilled with them.  After tasting more than one and having a few the next day, I’ve decided they are delicious.  They have a perfect chewiness to them and the lime and honey are great with the almond nuttiness.  I like them so much I came up with another version that doesn’t have lime but includes chocolate.  Stay tuned for those—and more—as I continue sharing all the things that make my life what it is.

And thank you so much to all my readers over the years.  I have made some of the greatest friends of my life, and it seems so silly to say since many I haven’t even met face to face yet.  How awesome is that!  It has been such a joy to actually meet some as well.  Kindred spirits, all of us food bloggers—what could be better than food, family and friends.