Fennel Tomato Soup

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This fast and flavorful soup has been a part of my winter repertoire for years.  Fennel is an amazing vegetable and this simple soup lets its delicious taste really shine.

I originally found a recipe for Fennel Tomato Soup from an issue of Vegetarian Times magazine and over time I tweaked it a little here and a little there (adding a healthy dose of greens was an obvious improvement, in my opinion) until it became a recipe I could call my own. Tomato and fennel go together so well; this soup is packed with flavor despite a short ingredient list and prep time.  It’s well-suited to a busy weeknight dinner or even a quick lunch, as it’s on the table in about 20 minutes.

Fennel Tomato Soup

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Difficulty: easy
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Did you know tomato and fennel are besties? It's true. One taste of this soup will convince you this flavor combo is a match made in garden heaven.

Ingredients

  • 1 tbs. avocado or olive oil
  • 4 Italian sausages of choice, sliced into half moons
  • 1 large fennel bulb, diced
  • 1 tsp. fennel seeds
  • 2 tbs. white cooking wine, mirin, or water
  • 1 large can (28oz.) or jar (32oz.) diced tomatoes
  • 4 c. vegetable or bone broth
  • Sea salt & pepper
  • 2 large handfuls baby greens (such as spinach, kale, chard or a mixture), chopped

Directions

  1. Heat oil over medium. Add sausages and sauté until browned, about 5 minutes. 2. Add diced fennel bulb & seeds and sauté for another 4-5 minutes, until fennel is softened.
  2. Pour in cooking wine or water and scrape all the yummy bits off the bottom of the pan.
  3. Add tomatoes, broth, and season with salt & pepper. Cover pot and bring to a boil, then reduce heat to simmer for about 10 minutes.
  4. Remove from heat and stir in chopped spinach.

Happy Food Making, Mamas! ❤

 


Spiced Parsnip & Pear Oats

I did it again. Yep, back to back oatmeal recipes – both with a serving of veggies lurking. Maybe I should change my name to Mama Makes Oats?

But seriously, there can’t be too many amped-up bowls of this staple breakfast. If you need proof, check out my Deluxe Pumpkin Oatmeal, Zucchini Bread Oatmeal and Chocolate Power Porridge. Oatmeal … oats … porridge — whatever you call it, it’s universally satisfying, fun to eat, and it keeps you full.

I’ve put zucchini in oatmeal, pumpkin, cauliflower and carrots; so a few days ago it hit me – parsnips in porridge would be amazing! And it is guys, it is! You gotta try it. This recipe is my favorite oatmeal I’ve made in a while.

Spiced Parsnip & Pear Oats

  • Servings: 3-4
  • Difficulty: easy
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Parsnips pair deliciously with nutmeg and cinnamon in this ridiculously nutritious bowl of oatmeal.

Ingredients

  • 1 parsnip, peeled & shredded (about 1 cup)
  • 3/4 cup rolled oats, gluten-free if that’s important to you
  • pinch sea salt
  • 2 scoops collagen peptides (I use Vital Proteins), optional
  • 1 tsp. Ceylon cinnamon
  • 3/4 tsp. freshly grated nutmeg, plus more for garnish
  • 1 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk
  • 1 1/2 cups water or coconut water
  • 1 pear, cored & chopped
  • 2-3 tbs. pure maple syrup
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla powder or 1 tsp. vanilla extract

Directions

  1. In a medium saucepan, combine parsnip, oats, sea salt, collagen, cinnamon, nutmeg, milk, and water. Stir to incorporate and heat over medium.
  2. Cook for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until parsnip has softened. Reduce the heat a bit if necessary to keep from sticking.
  3. Add pear, maple syrup and vanilla and cook for another minute of two.
  4. Portion into bowls and add whatever toppings you like.

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! ❤


Gluten Free Chickpea Nuggets

A few months ago I was eager to find a homemade, soy-free chik’n nugget (that’s a vegetarian “chicken” nugget) recipe to broaden my repertoire of wholesome finger foods for my son (who I refer to as Mister on my Instagram account). The first one I tried was from The Happy Herbivore and to say it was a huge flop would be an understatement. Those nuggets were stringy and flavorless and I KNEW I could find better.

A fellow Instagram mama, Terita, told me about her recipe (find hers here) and I knew I had to try it. Simple, approachable ingredients – game on. I couldn’t wait to try them. These nuggets were a snap to prep and came out of the oven crispy and golden and full of flavor. Better yet, Mister LOVED them. Bingo!

These have been in regular rotation in our household for months, and after baking up dozens of batches, I continued to tweak the recipe over time, finally changing it enough to make it my own.

What’s even more appealing than just making a plain ol’ wholesome nugget recipe (my toddler is quite content being served these as you would a traditional nugget – with ketchup for dipping), is that these are SO adaptable! They can be made into sliders or even crumbled and served in a tortilla taco style.  I’ve even added crumbled nuggets to pasta!  The seasoning can be switched out to suite your kiddos taste or to simply change it up and different kinds of cheeses work too (think mozzarella, monterrey jack, gouda, etc).


Gluten Free Chickpea Nuggets

  • Servings: approx. 20 nuggets
  • Difficulty: easy
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These protein packed chickpea nuggets are crispy on the outside, chewy on the inside, and have great flavor from the addition of fresh garlic and onion and shredded cheddar cheese.


Credit: Mama Makes Food

Ingredients

  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1/2 small onion, roughly chopped
  • 1 1/2 c. cooked chickpeas (either homemade or from 1 15oz. can, drained & rinsed
  • 3/4 c. shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1/2 c. quinoa flakes (I use Ancient Harvest brand; although bread crumbs or oat flour work too)
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. poultry seasoning (or seasoning blend of choice)
  • 1 c. roughly chopped baby greens* (spinach, chard, beet greens, kale or a mixture of all)
  • *optional but totally recommended

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 400 and line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Place garlic clove into the bowl of a food processor and pulse until minced. Now, add the onion and pulse again until finely chopped.
  3. Add remaining ingredients and process on high until incorporated, stopping to scrap down the sides as needed. The texture will be similar to hummus.
  4. Spoon heaping tablespoonfuls (or larger if you like) onto lined baking sheet about an inch apart. One batch usually yields roughly 20 nuggets for me.
  5. Bake at 400 for 15 minutes. Remove from oven, turn nuggets over and flatten slightly with a wooden spoon or spatula. Return to the oven and bake 10 minutes more.
  6. Store baked nuggets in the fridge for about 5 days or in the freezer for 3 months (they freeze great!).

Happy Food Making, Mamas!