Toddler Snacks: Homemade Sour Fruit Gummies

/ Tuesday, August 11, 2015


Sour Fruit Gummies

One thing that Helen seems to have inherited from her parents is her insatiable hunger. At least, it seems insatiable to me. Almost as soon as she wakes up in the morning (or from her nap), she's asking for food. 

Trying to think of healthy snacks for her can be a challenge sometimes, because when she's hungry, she's hungry NOW. I can't really fault her, because Reuben and I are the same way. 

So I like to keep a stash of snacks on hand that I can give to Helen when needed. I try to make sure they're really healthy so I can feel good about her eating them. Making them myself is a great way to control the ingredients.

These sour gummies have only 4 simple, real-food ingredients. To really give these a nutritional punch, it's important that you use high-quality gelatin. I used the Great Lakes beef gelatin, but I'll be switching to the Vital Proteins gelatin once my can runs out.

Homemade Sour Fruit Gummies
recipe from Thank Your Body | PRINT

  • 2/3 cups lemon juice (you can use orange if you don't like your gummies sour)
  • 2/3 cup fresh or frozen fruit (I used frozen blueberries)
  • 1-2 tablespoons honey (the amount depends on how sour your fruit is, and if you used lemon or orange juice)
  • 5 tablespoons high-quality gelatin


Line an 8x8 or 9x9 square pan with parchment paper and set aside.

Place the juice and fruit in a medium saucepan set over medium heat. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the fruit becomes soft. Add the honey.

Remove from heat and gradually add the gelatin, one tablespoons at a time, whisking intensely, until it's mostly dissolved. You may have a few little lumps of gelatin, but that's okay.

Allow the mixture to cool until you can touch it, then transfer to a blender (you could also use a stick blender if you have one). Blend until smooth.

Pour into prepared pan and place in the refrigerator until firm, about 30 minutes or so. Pull the parchment paper out of the pan and place on a cutting board. Slice into little squares using a big, sharp knife. Store in the refrigerator. 

You could also pour the gelatin into silicone molds if you have any.
If you use a fruit with seeds (such as raspberries), you may want to strain the mixture before you add the gelatin.

Sour Fruit Gummies

Tiramisu Ice Cream

/ Tuesday, August 4, 2015


Tiramisu Ice Cream
Tiramisu Ice Cream
Tiramisu Ice Cream
Tiramisu Ice Cream

Ah, the things toddlers say.

The hard question start early.

The other day, Helen wanted to know, "Who made God, Mommy?" She asked this question again and again, no matter if I answered her or not.

We took her to the county fair last weekend. I was talking about getting an "Uffda-Taco" (this is a fry-bread taco with a Scandinavian name). Helen picked up on it and kept chattering away about a "Woofda-Taco!" I didn't end up getting one.

We also took her on her very first ferris wheel ride. She really enjoyed it, but was quiet afterwards. When we got home, she wanted to see the video I took of the "ferris-go-round" -- it had been a choice between going on the merry-go-round and the ferris wheel, and she got the names mixed up.

Anyways, if you're looking for a lovely ice cream recipe for the last days of summer, you should check out this Tiramisu Ice Cream.


Mixed Summer Fruit Cobbler

/ Tuesday, July 28, 2015


Mixed Fruit Cobbler - Buttered Side UpMixed Fruit Cobbler - Buttered Side Up
Mixed Fruit Cobbler - Buttered Side Up
Mixed Fruit Cobbler - Buttered Side Up
Mixed Fruit Cobbler - Buttered Side Up
Mixed Fruit Cobbler - Buttered Side Up

A couple of weeks ago, Reuben's family went on vacation and asked if we'd be willing to look after their chickens and harvest their ripe produce. Well, of course we agreed. There's nothing quite like freshly laid eggs and raspberries eaten right off the bush.

Helen and I walked the half mile (or so - I'm so bad with distances) to Reuben's family's place and picked three berry baskets of raspberries. There were also a few precious blueberries ready to be plucked. This was more than we could eat fresh, so I decided to put the fruit into a cobbler.

That turned out to be an excellent plan. There's something marvelous about warm berries covered with a sweet, hearty topping. It's even better with cream, though (shockingly enough) Reuben thought it was good without. Crazy man! ;)

This cobbler is really stupid easy. Just melt butter in a pan, toss some berries with fruit, whip up a (very simple) batter, and shove it into the oven. I think you'll be quite pleased with the results. We were!

Mixed Summer Fruit Cobbler
adapted from A Couple Cooks

A super simple but delicious cobbler using whatever soft summer fruits you have on hand.

Serves 6

3 tablespoons butter,
4 cups summer fruit (I used half raspberries and half blueberries here, but I've also used peaches. Use whatever soft fruit you have!,
1/8 cup organic can sugar,
1 cup organic all purpose flour (you could definitely use whole wheat here as well),
1/2 cup sucanat,
2 1/4 teaspoons baking powder.
1/2 teaspoon real salt,
1 cup whole milk,
1/2 of a vanilla bean, just the seeds, or 1 teaspoon vanilla extract,
1/2 tablespoons demerara sugar, optional,


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 C). About 5 minutes before the oven is finished preheating, put the butter in a 1 1/2 quart casserole dish (I've used a glass pie dish and another odd-sized round pan I've had for years) and place in the oven to melt. Don't forget about it or it will burn!

In a large bowl, toss the fruit with 1/8 cup of sugar. Set aside.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, sucanat, baking powder, and salt. Add the milk and vanilla. Whisk just until everything is moist. 

Pour the batter over the melted butter in the pan. Dump the berries on top and spread around a bit. Place in preheated oven and cook until golden brown and set, about 45-60 minutes. About 20 minutes into the baking time, pull the cobbler out and sprinkle with the demerara, if desired. Continue cooking until done. The berries will sink to the bottom and the batter will form a lovely crust on top.

Cool slightly and serve with whipped or liquid cream.

How to Saute Garlic Scapes + Scrambled Eggs

/ Sunday, July 19, 2015


Garllic Scapes
Garllic Scapes
Garllic Scapes
Garllic Scapes
Garllic Scapes

Before this week, I had never cooked or eaten garlic scapes. I overheard some relatives talking about how delicious they were, and of course I wanted to taste them. So when Reuben's family offered us some fresh from their garlic plants, I accepted them readily. 

I knew I wanted to keep things simple and just fry them in some butter and season them with salt and pepper. 

I did a bit of digging on the old internet because I was confused as to how to prepare the scapes. Some places advocate cutting off the entire bulb, and others say you should just cut off the stringy portion above the bulb. I opted to save the bulb, and I'm glad I did.

They were a lovely, mild side dish. Don't worry about the garlic flavor being too powerful - it's quite subtle.

The leftovers were amazing in softly scrambled eggs. It was so good that I ate two whole eggs. Which is a big deal for me - I'm not a huge egg fan (though Whole 30 helped a bit).

The recipes I'm sharing below are super simple, but sometimes it's nice to see how someone else cooks with an ingredient that I've never used before. I've also heard that garlic scapes are great made into a pesto.

How to Saute Garlic Scapes | PRINT

  • butter
  • garlic scapes, trimmed just above the bulb and a bit off the cut end, cut into 2-inch pieces
  • salt & pepper to taste

Heat a skillet over medium heat. Add some butter. When it's melted, add you garlic scapes. Saute on medium to medium-low for 5 minutes, or until tender crisp. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve immediately.

Soft Scrambled Eggs with Garlic Scapes

  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tablespoons whole milk
  • salt and pepper
  • butter
  • leftover sauteed garlic scapes

Whisk the eggs with the milk until very uniform. Season with a couple of pinches each of salt and pepper.

Heat a skillet over medium-high heat. Add about a tablespoon of butter (you need more for a stainless-steel skillet, less for a cast iron skillet). Once it's melted, pour in the eggs. Immediately start pushing the eggs around in the skillet with a metal spatula. 

When the eggs are nearly set, push them to one side and add the garlic scapes. Let them warm up a bit, then mix in the eggs and cook just until set. Serve with extra salt and pepper if needed.

Blueberry Dutch Baby

/ Sunday, July 12, 2015

Blueberry Dutch Baby - Buttered Side Up
Blueberry Dutch Baby - Buttered Side Up
Blueberry Dutch Baby - Buttered Side Up
Blueberry Dutch Baby - Buttered Side Up
Blueberry Dutch Baby - Buttered Side Up
Blueberry Dutch Baby - Buttered Side Up
Blueberry Dutch Baby - Buttered Side Up

This past week, Reuben and I were away from each other overnight for the first time in our married life. Waaaah! It wasn't so bad during the day since Reuben is gone at work during that time normally. But at night, after Helen was in bed, it kind of sunk in. It's something I'm glad we were able to avoid for so long, and I hope we won't have to do it often. 

While Reuben was gone, I made this Blueberry Dutch Baby for Helen and I. It's one of her favorite things to eat. She would probably eat a third of a pan in I let her. 

One of the reasons I like this "pancake" is because is calls for less flower and more eggs than regular pancakes. It's a fun way to get some eggs into your diet.

I have used both sprouted wheat and white flour for this recipe - both work well. Of course the sprouted flour will be less light and airy, but I'm willing to compromise a bit for the added nutrients.

Have you ever been away from someone you love for an extended period? How did you deal with missing them?

Blueberry Dutch Baby

adapted slightly from Always With Butter | serves 3-4 | PRINT

  • 3 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract, or 1/2 of a vanilla bean, cut in in half and seeds scraped out
  • 1/2 cup sprouted wheat flour or organic all-purpose white flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 2 tablespoons melted butter
  • 1/3-1/2 cup blueberries, fresh or frozen
  • butter, maple syrup, and/or powdered sugar for serving


Preheat oven to 425 F (218 C). Butter a 12-inch cast iron skillet.

Put the eggs, milk, and vanilla extract into a blender and blend until smooth (you can also do this in a bowl with a whisk). Sift in the flour, salt, and cinnamon; blend until smooth. Add the butter and blend.

Pour the batter into the prepared skillet. Sprinkle the blueberries on top. Bake at 425 for 15 minutes. Lower the oven temperature to 325 and bake for an additional 5-10 minutes, or until golden brown. Serve hot with lots of butter and a drizzle of maple syrup or a sprinkle of powdered sugar. 

Warm Strawberry Bacon Orzo Salad

/ Monday, June 29, 2015


Warm Strawberry Bacon Orzo Salad
Warm Strawberry Bacon Orzo Salad
Warm Strawberry Bacon Orzo Salad
Warm Strawberry Bacon Orzo Salad
Warm Strawberry Bacon Orzo Salad

Shopping with Helen can be a bit of an ordeal. Thus, Reuben and I TRY to do the grocery shopping together. 

Last week we were going through the self-checkout at Walmart (as we do). Some brilliant marketing person has decided to put lollipops at each checkout station. Thankfully it's so far out of Helen's mind that she would actually get to eat a lollipop that she doesn't ask to buy one. But she always has plenty to say about them. 

She was asking me again and again where the lollipops were, and I was dutifully answering her. Then she said (not at all quietly), "Her big girl undies!" I turned to see where Helen was looking and, sure enough, the lady behind us was ringing up some underclothes. Of course I was horrified at the situation, but I couldn't help but laugh. Thankfully Reuben was finishing up paying so we could make our exit. But not before Helen mentioned the "big girl undies" a few more times. Kids just have no sense of propriety. 

But about this salad. 

It's the kind of dish where you take the first bite and fall instantly in love. The mix of flavors is quite lovely. 

And please don't be turned off if you don't like goat cheese. You could easily leave it out or substitute another cheese (I think feta would be a good choice).

Our Anniversary Trip

/ Tuesday, June 16, 2015

For our fourth anniversary, we decided to take a trip to the cities (that's what we Minnesotans call the Minneapolis/St. Paul area). Reuben's family graciously agreed to watch Helen so we could have a just-us-two outing. This was the first time we had ever been away from Helen overnight!

Here are some of the things we did and food we ate:

First time at Chipotle.
Starting things off right: we had supper at Chipotle. This was our first time eating there. It wasn't out-of-this-world delicious, but I really appreciate the fact that they are GMO-free.

That evening we did some thrift shopping and stopped by World Market and Whole Foods. I was really impressed by the selection at the Whole Foods in Maple Grove. Their cheese section was huge!

The Copper Hen
The next day we did more thrift shopping, and then I forced convinced Reuben to go to The Copper Hen for lunch (it's really not his kind of restaurant).

The Copper Hen
I ordered The Perfect Marriage cheese and meat board. I was quite impressed with the variety: house-made mustard, dates stuffed with blue cheese and wrapped in bacon, cheddar with veins of blue cheese, house-made strawberry jam, goat cheese with micro greens, fig jam, thinly sliced apples, prosciutto, another cheese, the name of which I can't remember, and thin slices of toast. It was fun trying out different flavor combinations. 

The Copper Hen
Reuben had the BLT with smashed potato "fries." He, of course, was disappointed by his meal. He said the potatoes were falsely advertised as fries. And there was only one slice of bacon on his sandwich.

I really wanted to try one of their Bacon Blueberry Breakfast Cupcakes, but I knew I would be way too full if I did.

Spyhouse Coffee
I also convinced Reuben to take me to Spyhouse Coffee, which was just down the street. I didn't particularly enjoy the atmosphere. The door was open, and someone was smoking outside. The building seemed kind of run down. And the bathroom had a funny smell (needless to say, I skipped it).

Spyhouse Coffee
My vanilla breve had a very interesting flavor. I appreciated that it wasn't sickeningly sweet, but it could have used a hair more syrup (and I don't like my coffee very sweet). It was very smooth, but it had a different flavor to it. Reuben said that it tasted burnt. 

I don't think I would go there again - next time I want to try out Five Watt Coffee.

After lunch/coffee we went to IKEA and The Mall of America. Then we stopped by Reuben's favorite store: REI.

Red Lobster
For supper we went to Red Lobster. We ordered a seafood plate and seafood stuffed mushrooms. Cheesy biscuits. What more can I say?

On our last day, we decided to divide and conquer. I went to a shopping center (The Shoppes at Arbor Lakes), and Reuben went to more guy-oriented stores.

Of course I had to roam through Anthropologie. I drooled over their amazing dishes and left with two.

Trader Joe's
And I stopped by Trader Joe's. Their flower section was just wonderful - such variety and amazing prices. I really wanted to buy some sushi, but we had other lunch plans, and I didn't know how it would last in our cooler.

Five Guys
Our last meal in the cities: Five Guys Burgers and Fries. This was another first for us. The burger was yummy, but our fries were soggy. Overall, I don't think the taste justified the price. Culver's is just as good, and less expensive.

It was fun to get away for a few days, but I really missed my Helen. We were so glad to be home and hug our little girlie. 

If there are any Twin Cities residents reading this, please let us know if you have any must-try places to eat!

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