Peppy Persimmon Smoothie

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Persimmons are often overlooked with the turning of the seasons as we scamper to make all things pumpkin and apple, but they are a true gem of autumn.

There are two widely available kinds of persimmon in the US – Fuyu and Hachiya.  It’s important to tell them apart because they’re eaten differently.  Fuyu are squatty and somewhat flat.  They’re typically eaten while still firm either peeled or unpeeled.  I’ve only purchased Fuyu a handful of times because we much prefer Hachiya.

Hachiya are oblong and acorn-shaped.  They must be really ripe and really, really soft before they are enjoyed (actually, if you try to eat one too soon it likely WON’T be enjoyed as its high levels of tannins can leave you with the feeling of a dry mouth – this subsides as the fruit ripens).  Since we’re in the midwest, the Hachiya we come across at the grocery store are typically unripe and hard and I bring them home to sit on the counter for a week or more before they’re ready to be used. Their soft, custard-like insides are perfect for a smoothie!

We love this simple concoction as it really allows the subtle persimmon flavor to shine! Speaking of the flavor, it can be hard to describe, but I feel like it tastes something like a muted blend of apricot and mango.

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Peppy Persimmon Smoothie

  • Servings: 2-3
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A satisfying and subtly sweet smoothie that really showcases the wonderful flavor of persimmons, complete with a serving of vegetables.


Ingredients

  • 2 c. cold water
  • 2 very ripe Hachiya persimmons
  • 1 c. frozen, sliced zucchini (steamed and frozen cauliflower works well too)
  • 1 1/2 frozen bananas, broken into chunks
  • 1 tbs. cashew butter

Directions

  1. Pour water into blender jar.
  2. Slice tops off of persimmons and squeeze the insides into blender. Discard the tops & skins.
  3. Add zucchini, banana, and cashew butter to blender and blitz until smooth.

I strongly recommend cashew butter here.  Other nut butters can have too strong a flavor that can easily overpower the persimmon. Cashew butter is pretty neutral, but still lends a nice substance to the smoothie and adds some healthy fats in there too.

Happy Food Making, Mamas! ❤


Pumpkin Pie Bites

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These Pumpkin Pie Bites are our new favorite way to enjoy pumpkin pie! They’re fun to eat, great for large get-togethers, and there’s no messing with cutting a pie into wedges and fearing the whole thing falls apart as you try to plate it.

I’ll be the first to admit that these do take a little longer to put together than most of my recipes.  BUT, they’re still easy and WAY healthier than traditional pumpkin pie.  I can also attest that they are toddler, daddy, and neighbor approved.  There is no yucky cane sugar.  They’re gluten-free and vegan.  So many wins!

The crust is crispy, the filling is gooey, and if you choose to top with whipped cream (and you totally should!), that just takes these little babies over the top.

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Pumpkin Pie Bites

  • Servings: 12-15
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These fairly healthy mini pumpkin pie bites pack all the traditional flavor: crispy crust, gooey filing, and decadent coconut whipped cream.


Credit: Megan @ Mama Makes Food

Ingredients

    Crust:
  • 3/4 c. pecans
  • 3/4 c. buckwheat flour (the light colored kind)
  • 1/2 c. rolled oats (gluten-free if necessary)
  • 1/4 c. hemp hearts (I use Manitoba Harvest)
  • 1/2 tsp. ceylon cinnamon
  • pinch sea salt
  • 1/4 c. melted coconut oil
  • 3 tbs. pure maple syrup
  • Pie Filling:
  • 12oz. package soft silken tofu, rinsed and drained
  • 2 c. pumpkin puree
  • 1/2 c. pure maple syrup
  • 1/2 c. coconut sugar
  • 1/4 c. arrowroot powder
  • 1 tbs. pumpkin pie spice
  • 1/2 tsp. sea salt
  • 2 tbs. chia seeds
  • Toppings: toasted pecan halves, hemp hearts, cinnamon, and either coconut or regular whipped cream

Directions

    Prepare the Crusts:
  1. Preheat oven to 350. Place pecans on a baking sheet and toast for 7-10 minutes, until you can smell them (if you’re topping your bites with pecan halves, put them on the baking sheet to toast now too. Just remember to keep them separate from the pecans needed for the crusts and set them aside when you remove them from the oven).
  2. Grease two 24 count mini muffin tins with coconut oil and set aside.
  3. Combine buckwheat flour, oats, hemp hearts, toasted pecans, cinnamon, and sea salt in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the S blade. Pulse until the mixture is crumbly. Pour in coconut oil and maple syrup and pulse again until combined.
  4. Press one teaspoon of the crust mixture firmly down into each hole of the prepared muffin tins. Bake for 8-10 minutes or until golden and starting to brown around the edges, then set aside to cool. Leave oven on.
  5. Prepare the Pie Filling:
  6. In the bowl of your food processor (I simply wipe mine out and reuse without actually washing), combine tofu, pumpkin puree, maple syrup, coconut sugar, arrowroot powder, pumpkin pie spice, and sea salt. Process until smooth and creamy, stopping to scrape down the sides as necessary. Add chia seeds and pulse to incorporate.
  7. Spoon pumpkin pie mixture (it will be pretty runny at this point) over prepared crusts, still in the mini muffin tins, and fill to the top.
  8. Bake for about 10 minutes, until the pie filling starts to noticeably firm (they may still look soft in the center of each bite and this is normal; they will continue to firm as the cool).
  9. Remove muffin tins from oven and place on wire rack to cool completely, usually about an hour.
  10. To remove, carefully run a butter knife around each bite and lift out of muffin tin. Swirl with whipped cream, sprinkle with hemp hearts and cinnamon, and top with a pecan half.

As always, if you try my recipe, please share on Instagram by tagging me @ mamamakesfood and using #mamamakesfood so I can see it!

 

Happy Food Making, Mamas! ❤


Homemade Tomato Soup

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We crave tomato soup year round, so this healthful, veggie-loaded version really comes in handy and it uses ingredients I feel good about feeding my family.

This soup is equally delicious whether fresh or canned tomatoes are used.  It’s super simple and likely uses ingredients you keep on hand.  I like to make it in summer with fresh basil or in the fall with rosemary, thyme, and sage.  Sometimes we just have it au naturale, with no added herbs.  It’s yum any which way.

Another great thing about this soup is how adaptable it is.  It’s vegetarian as written, using homemade vegetable broth (find out how I make it on this Instagram post), or you could use bone broth if you prefer.  I love the flavor of roasted garlic here, but fresh grated garlic could be added before the tomatoes are stirred in.  This recipe also calls for two cups of carrots, but roasted squash, pumpkin, or cauliflower would be lovely swaps. The herbs can be changed up or left out altogether.  You get the idea!

Homemade Tomato Soup

  • Servings: 6-8
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A quick-to-prepare, healthy tomato soup that'll make enough for leftovers - well, probably!


Credit: Megan @ Mama Makes Food

Ingredients

  • 1 tbs. avocado, olive, or coconut oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 c. carrots, roughly chopped
  • pinch sea salt + 1 teaspoon, divided
  • 1 large head garlic, roasted*
  • 1/4 c. fresh herbs of choice, finely chopped
  • freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 8 c. fresh tomatoes, cored and roughly chopped OR 2 32oz. jars diced tomatoes (2 28oz. cans will work too), undrained
  • 2 c. vegetable broth
  • 1 15oz. can lite coconut milk
  • 1 tsp. raw honey

Directions

  1. Preheat large soup pot over medium and add the oil. Once hot, stir in onions & carrots along with a pinch of salt. Sauté for 5-7 minutes or until onions are translucent and carrots are softened.
  2. Add garlic, herbs, remaining 1 tsp. salt, and black pepper to the pot and stir to combine. Pour in tomatoes. Cook for another 5 minutes until tomatoes start to break down.
  3. Add vegetable broth and increase heat slightly to bring to a boil. Once boiling, cover the pot and reduce heat to a simmer. Cook for 10 minutes more.
  4. Remove from heat and puree the soup with an immersion blender. Alternatively, the soup can be transferred to a blender and pureed in batches. Be sure to vent the lid as necessary to let steam escape. Soup pureed in a traditional blender will result in a smoother texture, especially if fresh tomatoes are used. If you don’t want to leave any tomato skins intact, I suggest blending this way, not with an immersion blender.
  5. Once soup is blended, stir coconut milk and honey.

*To roast garlic, preheat oven to 400.  Remove the outer papery bulb wrapper with your fingers, then cut about 1/4″ of the top of the bulb off, revealing the cloves. Cut a square of aluminum foil and place garlic in center.  Drizzle a teaspoon of avocado or olive oil over the top of the bulb, then wrap the foil and and around the garlic to seal shut. Place wrapped garlic bulb on a baking sheet and roast in the oven for 30 – 45 minutes.  Check for doneness after 30 minutes, but continue to roast until the cloves are golden and soft.  The time will vary depending on what variety of garlic you are using and how big the cloves are.

Happy Food Making, Mamas! ❤


Zucchini Bread Oatmeal

You know summer is here when you start putting zucchini in all the things. Zucchini oatmeal, or Zoats 🙂 , is an awesome way to get veggies in at breakfast (another yummy, kid-approved option is my Cocoberry Pancakes).

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These creamy oats are cooked in almond milk and flavored like traditional zucchini bread, only there’s no refined sweeteners or other unhealthy ingredients.  This hearty oatmeal will keep you full till lunch. I shared this recipe on our farm website earlier this spring and it was a hit!

Zucchini Bread Oatmeal

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
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Credit: Mama Makes Food

Ingredients

  • 2 c. almond milk (or preferred milk), plus more for desired consistency
  • 1 c. rolled oats
  • 1 tbs. chia seeds
  • pinch sea salt
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp. freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1 c. shredded zucchini (about 1 small)
  • 1 ripe banana, mashed
  • 1/4 c. walnuts, finely chopped
  • 1 tbs. pure maple syrup, optional (if your banana is really ripe you might not need this)
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla powder (or 1 tsp. vanilla extract)
  • Toppings Ideas: raisins, more freshly grated nutmeg & chopped walnuts, bee pollen, hemp seeds, blueberries, pepitas, sunflower seeds, a spoonful of nut butter, etc.

Directions

  1. Warm almond milk in a small saucepan over medium heat. Add oats, chia seeds, sea salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Stir to combine.
  2. Let the oats cook for a couple minutes, then add zucchini, mashed banana, and walnuts. Cook and stir occasionally, for about 5-6 minutes, or until the oats are soft and creamy.
  3. Add another splash of milk to thin if desired and warm through. Taste for sweetness and add maple syrup if you like. Stir in vanilla.
  4. Portion into bowls and pile on the toppings. Serve warm.

Happy Food Making, Mamas ❤


CocoBerry Pancakes

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Pancakes are such a great vessel for getting nutrition into our kiddos, aren’t they? Making them from scratch with wholesome, real ingredients is super simple. Clearly I love a good pancake recipe (find two more of my recipes here and here)!  This one checks all the boxes though: good source of protein, grain-free, naturally sweetened, AND they’re studded with fruits & veggies (yep, veggies – I’m a big proponent of eating vegetables at breakfast!).

Why veggies at breakfast? Did you know that a 2-3 year old child’s daily intake of vegetables should be one cup? A child aged 4-8 years should have 1.5 cups (source).  Making the most out of every meal and snack is key to reaching these requirements … so veggies for breakfast it is!

If you think your child would reject these pancakes because of the flecks of grated green zucchini, you can certainly toss the batter into your blender or food processor before adding the berries so that the texture is relatively smooth.  I haven’t tried that, but there’s no reason why it wouldn’t work.

I’ve included an option below for adding honey or maple syrup in the pancake batter so that there’s no need to top them with that sticky (and messy) goodness – unless you just want to!

Other delightful topping ideas include: hemp seeds,  chopped nuts & seeds, bee pollen, ground flax, raisins, more berries, berry chia jam, and/or nut butter.

This recipe makes a fairly large batch; roughly 24 3″ pancakes (measuring the batter with a tablespoon and flattening it out slightly).  We love to repurpose them as “sandwiches” with nut butter or just reheat them to enjoy as snacks or an easy out-the-door breakfast.  Pro Tip: reheat the pancakes in the toaster!  It warms them up nicely and the edges get kinda crispy.  Yum!

CocoBerry Pancakes

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Difficulty: easy
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Grain-free, naturally sweetened pancakes that are studded with berries & shredded zucchini!


Credit: Megan @ Mama Makes Food

Ingredients

  • 2 large, really ripe (spotty) bananas
  • 5 eggs
  • 1 c. shredded zucchini (about half of one medium-sized zucchini)
  • 1 tbs. chia seeds, optional
  • 1-2 tsp. honey or pure maple syrup, optional
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1 tsp. vanilla powder or extract
  • 1/4 tsp. sea salt
  • 1/2 c. coconut flour
  • 1 c. blueberries
  • coconut oil, for greasing skillet/griddle

Directions

  1. Preheat large skillet or griddle over medium low.
  2. In a medium bowl, mash bananas with a fork. Add eggs and whisk to combine.
  3. Add zucchini, chia seeds (if using), honey (this completely depends on your child(ren)’s taste – we find the pancakes sweet enough from the bananas and usually do not add additional sweetener), cinnamon, vanilla, & sea salt and whisk again.
  4. Add coconut flour, stirring until incorporated.
  5. Spread a small amount of coconut oil over preheated skillet or griddle (how much depends on the size of your cooking surface – just a thin layer is needed, so a teaspoon or two should do the trick).
  6. Using a tablespoon or small cookie scoop, dollop the pancake batter (it will be thick because of the coconut flour) onto the skillet/griddle. Using the back of your spoon, spread out the batter so that the pancake thickness is about 1/4″. Continue dolloping and spreading out batter until your cook surface is full, leaving about an inch in between each pancake (my griddle holds about 8 pancakes at a time).
  7. Place 5 berries onto the top of each pancake, pushing them down into the batter.
  8. Cook pancakes until golden on the underside, about 5-7 minutes. Carefully flip and flatten the pancake a little with your spatula. Cook until golden again, another 5 minutes or so.
  9. Place pancakes on cooling rack while you cook the next batch(es). A cooling rack keeps the pancakes from getting soggy on the underside.

Notes:

  • You can substitute other fruit in your pancakes – other berries or kiwi, thinly sliced, work well.
  • If you would like to try these pancakes using a different flour, the recipe will likely need twice as much.  I tested these with buckwheat flour and spelt flour, and each time, I needed 1 cup of flour instead of the 1/2 cup that is called for when using coconut flour.  Coconut flour is unlike other kinds of flour because it absorbs a lot of moisture.  We preferred the taste and texture of these when coconut flour was used, so that’s how I wrote the recipe.  They were still good with the other flours too though.
  • Instead of adding the blueberries to the top of each pancake, you can add them to your batter when you put in the coconut flour. I like to make sure that each pancake has plenty of berries though, so I prefer to add them later.
  • If you think your child might be weary of zucchini in their pancakes, consider blending the batter so that the texture is relatively smooth.

Happy Food Making, Mamas! ❤


Maple Tahini Chocolate

Did you know you can MAKE chocolate with ingredients you likely have on hand right now?  No, I’m not fooling you! Crave-worthy, wholesome chocolate can be yours with about 5 minutes of prep time and half an hour in the freezer to set.  Amazing!

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I’ve made a batch of this yummy chocolate for my son’s Easter basket.  No junk, no refined sugar.  Cacao powder.  Virgin coconut oil.  Sea salt.  Tahini.  Pure maple syrup.  That’s it.

There’s only one downside: since the base is coconut oil, it’ll soften considerably at room temperature.  It’s best to store this in the freezer or fridge.

There’s a fun silicone mold you can use to actually make a bar of chocolate.  You can find the one I have here.  You can also use silicone muffin liners and just fill them about 1/2″ to make little chocolate cups.

The addition of cacao nibs is completely optional, but it gives the chocolate a little crunch that we find really satisfying.  Try it! 🙂

Maple Tahini Chocolate

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
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Delicious chocolate made from real food ingredients - dreams DO come true!


Credit: Mama Makes Food

Ingredients

Directions

  1. Sprinkle cacao nibs, if using, over the bottom of the mold(s) you are using.
  2. In a small saucepan, melt the coconut oil over medium low heat. Add cacao powder, tahini, and sea salt. Stir until smooth.
  3. Pour chocolate mixture into mold(s) and transfer to the freezer to set. I like to place the molds onto a baking sheet before I pour the chocolate in so that its easier to move to the freezer without spilling any.
  4. Store hardened chocolate in the freezer or fridge and enjoy!

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Happy Food Making, Mamas! ❤


Chicken Noodle Turmeric Soup

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When using whole food ingredients, it doesn’t get more basic or wholesome than chicken noodle soup.  Everybody knows it, almost everybody loves it.  It’s THE quintessential comfort food.  I slow-cooked a whole chicken the other day (my favorite way to do that is The Natural Nurturer’s recipe for Slow Cooker Lemon Thyme Chicken – it’s so simple and delicious). I had the shredded chicken and the bone broth I made from it afterward hanging out in the fridge.  I knew when I woke up this morning and there was a chill in the air that they were destined to become soup.

Traditional chicken noodle soup has celery.  I didn’t have any, but I did have some zucchini.  I thought that would make a fun change.  That got me to thinking what other changes I could make … turmeric.  Yes!  I love incorporating turmeric into the foods we eat because it is such a superfood spice.  Its list of benefits is extensive; in short, turmeric is an awesome anti-inflammatory, an anti-oxidant, and it’s considered a “brain booster”.  As I always say though, do your own research! While I am passionate about healthy cooking and eating, I am not a dietitian or a doctor.  The final change I knew I had to make was a no-brainer – I HAD to add some greens.  Always greens.

This soup comes together quickly if you already have cooked chicken on hand, making it the perfect weeknight meal.  Serve with a salad or with some crusty buttered toast.  Mm mmm.  Toddler approved, parent approved.  Healthy.  Flavorful.  What’s more – with a couple yummy and simple substitutions, it can be made vegan.  Sub chickpeas for chicken and switch out vegetable broth for the bone broth.

Chicken Noodle Turmeric Soup

  • Servings: 6
  • Time: 30mins
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Chicken noodle soup with some fun & flavorful twists – zucchini, turmeric, and greens!.

Ingredients


– 1 tbs. olive oil
– 1 onion, finely chopped
– 2 carrots, diced
– pinch sea salt
– 5 cloves garlic, minced
– 1 medium zucchini, chopped
– 1 tsp. turmeric
– 1 tsp. poultry seasoning
– 6-8 c. bone broth (vegetable broth for vegan option)
– 3 c. cooked shredded chicken (sub chickpeas for vegan option)
– 1 c. uncooked elbow pasta
– 2 large handfuls baby spinach

Directions


1. In a large soup pot, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add onion, carrot, and a pinch of sea salt. Stir occasionally and cook for 5-7 minutes, or until onion is translucent and the carrot is softened.
2. Add garlic, zucchini, turmeric, and poultry seasoning and stir to combine again. Let spices toast for a minute.
3. Pour in just a splash of the bone broth to deglaze the pan; scrap all the yummy bits from the botton of the pan to reincorporate. Add remaining broth and shredded chicken.
4. Increase heat to medium high to bring to a boil. Once boiling, add pasta and cook until pasta is tender (read package instructions – it will likely be 6-8 minutes, depending on what type of pasta you’re using).
5. Once the noodles are tender, turn off the heat and add spinach. Stir to combine until spinach is wilted.

Happy Food Making, Mamas! ❤