Paleo Granola Bars with Dates and Berries

Sometimes I feel guilty about posting recipes like this. It’s so customizable that sometimes I wonder if it’s even worth calling a recipe. It’s more like a suggestion of how to start, and then you can pretty much add whatever you want. Allergic to almonds? Substitute with cashews. Don’t like coconut? Leave it out. Have dried cherries on hand instead of mixed berries? Perfectly fine. Amounts, too - only have a cup of nuts on hand? Do it.

Pulse the nuts in the food processor until they are smaller than whole pieces. Basically whatever size sounds good to you.
Add the remaining ingredients (except the chocolate chips) and process in food processor until well combined. Remove from food processor and work in chocolate chips.
Put a sheet of wax paper on a cookie sheet. Dump the “granola” mixture on the wax paper and flatten.
Clean method: put a second piece of wax paper on top of the mixture and roll out with a rolling pin.
Hands-on method: wash your hands, then work the mixture flat with your hands. Spread out until 1/2 to 3/4 inch thick. Or maybe you want them a bit thicker. It’s really a matter of taste.
Keeps bars refrigerated.

Quick Summer Pickles

These pickles are basically instant - just boil the vinegar mixture, douse the cucumbers, and cool it off in the fridge. Super easy and super delicious.

Add the vinegar, honey, water, sea salt and mustard to a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil.
While waiting for the pot to boil, slice the cucumbers and pack tightly into two quart jars (if using dill or garlic, put in jar prior to packing in the cucumbers).
When the honey has dissolved in the boiling mixture, pour over the cucumbers until the jars are full.
Refrigerate until cool.

Vanilla Honey

I cannot wait to share this with you! I made this a week ago and I don’t know why I waited this long to share it! I think it’s because I didn’t get around to taking pictures that day, and by the time I wanted was all eaten! My mom and sister LOVE vanilla and honey, so this quickly turned into their favorite. We use it in everything we would put honey it, It is that good!! Enjoy 🙂

Cut open 1 vanilla bean. You will have to push firm to open the skin, but not too firm that you cut the whole thing in half!
Peel away the sides of the vanilla bean with your knife and fingers.
Scrape out the vanilla bean seeds with your knife. Don’t worry if you can’t get all of them out, because you are putting the whole pod in the honey jar anyways.
Set your scraped vanilla pod seeds off to the side. I got about 1/2 a tsp out of 1 plump vanilla bean.
Chop or cut (with kitchen scissors) your hollowed vanilla bean into thirds.
Drop your hollowed chopped vanilla pods into your honey jar. I used and old (pint size) honey jar for this recipe.
Pour 2 cups of honey into your honey jar.
Carefully drop your pile of vanilla bean seeds into your jar filled with honey.
Stir, stir, stir. I stir my honey and vanilla with a kabob stick. I use an up and down motion because the seeds like to float to the top.
To get maximum flavor, infuse your honey in the sunlight for 1-2 weeks. After 1 week, the flavor and scent will be much stronger. When the vanilla flavor is strong enough for your taste, put it back where you usually keep the honey. It will keep just as long as a jar of regular honey will.
*Before using, stir because the vanilla pod seeds tend to migrate towards the top.
Use vanilla honey in anything you would normally use honey and vanilla in. Get creative! We put ours in raw milk kefir, coconut butter, coconut milk ice-cream, pancakes, and tea lattes!

Simple Homemade Peanut Butter

Real peanut butter, as smooth or crunchy as you like, is easy and economical to make in 5 minutes or less using your food processor. There is no need to add additional oil. Unsalted or salted, with or without added flavorings, you will never want to go back to “store bought” again!

Pour your peanut halves into the bowl of a food processor.
Process, stopping to scrape down the sides of the bowl occasionally, until your butter is quite smooth.
If you prefer “chunky” peanut butter, just put in a handful of peanuts when the peanut butter is smooth and let the processor run just long enough to chop them up a bit.
You may, of course, add some good sea salt to taste, if you wish.
You can add sweetener or other flavorings, if you like.
If you will be storing your peanut butter for any length of time, it may be refrigerated or frozen. I leave a small amount out at room temperature and refrigerate the rest, as it is too stiff right out of cold storage.

Healthy Soaked Whole Wheat Cherry Clafoutis

This subtly sweet cherry clafoutis is a perfect breakfast dish with hints of maple syrup and buttermilk laced throughout the batter and beautiful sweet black cherries adding a burst of sweetness and beautiful coloring along the top of the clafoutis. This dish will please even the littlest members of your family.

Mix the flour and buttermilk in a small bowl. Cover the bowl and set in a warm place over night.
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.
Mix the eggs, maple syrup, milk, applesauce, vanilla and sea salt in a small bowl.
Slowly incorporate the egg mixture into the flour mixture. Do not over mix.
Pour the batter into a greased pie pan or medium cast iron skillet.
Arrange and place the cherries in the batter. Press down gently to make sure the cherries are fully incorporated into the clafoutis.
Bake the clafoutis for 20-22 minutes or until the edges are golden brown and separating from the edge of the pan and a toothpick comes out clean from the center of the clafoutis.

Peach Pie Fruit Leather

Peaches are now in season and bountiful. Similar to the plum recipe, this one is made using some cinnamon which gives this a unique flavor profile.

Pit peaches (peels and all) and place in med. sauce pot. Add water and cook until tender. Place in a blender or food processor and puree until smooth adding honey during the process. Spread over lined dehydrator sheets and dehydrate for 6-8 hours. Cut to desired shape.
**My children loved “Fruit by the Foot.” So now I lay them on unbleached parchment, cut them into 1 in. strips, and roll them up.**

Sweet and Sour Pickled Beets

My husband’s favorite! These beets are pickled using raw vinegar, rapadura, and fresh spices. A delicious treat for anyone who likes beets.

In a med sauce pan, place beets and water cook until beets are tender. This should take anywhere from 15 -20 min. Drain and reserve liquid. In a small pan add 2 C of reserved beet liquid, rapadura, vinegar, and spices. Bring to a boil until sugar dissolves. Place beets back into med. pan and add hot pickling liquid, bring to simmer for another 10 minutes. Place beets in cleaned and prepaired canning jars, and can accordingly. Do not open for 5-7 days.

Plum Fruit Leather with Honey

This time of year I purchase large quantities of fruit from my CSA. I then make lots of jam, and this. The bright red color is beautiful, and the slight tartness really is a palate pleaser.

In a 2 qt. pot, heat plums, water and honey. Once the fruit is tender puree in a blender or food mill. Spread out on lined dehydrator sheets. Dry in dehydrator for 7-8 hours. Remove and cut to desired shape.

Better-Than-Nutella Creamy Chocolate-Hazelnut Spread

What’s better than Nutella? A homemade chocolate-hazelnut spread made of real food ingredients in your own kitchen, of course. This creamy chocolaty spread is perfect when paired with fresh berries, in raw desserts, or right off the spoon with a glass of raw milk. Absolutely delicious, and quite healthy too!

Soak the hazelnuts overnight. This step is pretty important to make the hazelnuts more digestible, and get rid of some of the phytic acid that can inhibit the absorption of other nutrients. Cover 2 cups of raw hazelnuts with warm water and a dash of salt. Leave to soak overnight, or for as long as 24 hours. Rinse well before use.
Toast the hazelnuts. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Spread the hazelnuts on a baking sheed and roast for about 15 minutes, or until fragrant. Make sure to roll the nuts halfway so all sides can roast evenly.
Peel the hazelnuts. When hazelnuts have cooled, place in a bowl, add another bowl on top and shake vigorously between the two bowls so the skins can come off. You can also try rubbing the nuts between paper towels, but I have found the bowl method to be easier.
Blend hazelnuts to a nut butter consistency. Add the peeled hazelnuts to your food processor and blend on and off for about 3-4 minutes, scraping the sides of the processor container throughout, until the nuts have become completely smooth.
Add other ingredients and blend. Add sweetener (I prefer maple syrup), unsweetened raw cocao powder, coconut oil, heavy cream, whole milk, vanilla, and salt, and blend for 2-3 minutes on and off until all ingredients are very well integrated. Taste test the mixture, and adjust ingredients to your liking.
Refrigerate and enjoy. Add blended spread to a glass jar and refrigerate. It will keep for a couple of weeks (if it stays that long!)
*To make this vegan, use coconut manna instead of the heavy cream and homemade (unflavored) almond milk or coconut milk instead of the dairy milk. I will not lie - the one with dairy is much tastier than the vegan version (at least it is to me), but the vegan version is pretty good too.
**Adapted from Nutmeg Nanny with my own modifications.

Kettle Corn

If you like Kettle Corn like I do but don’t want it made with nasty rancid oils and white sugar this is the way to go. Quick easy and oh so good! Great for a snack or a night of popcorn and a movie. Also great for kids lunches.

Put coconut oil and popcorn in a large heavy bottom pot. Turn heat on Medium/High.
When the popcorn just barely starts to pop put in the Sucanat. Shake pot constantly while it finishes popping so the Sucanat won’t burn.
Put in bowl and add salt to taste if desired.

Homemade Almond Meal and Almond Butter

I began making almond meal at home so that I could soak the almonds before. Making almond butter was an afterthought, because there were leftover almond bits that were too big for almond meal, at least in my opinion. The price of the almond butter becomes cheaper than buying it at the store, plus you get the added benefit of the nuts being soaked.

Start with soaking your nuts, for every 4 cups of nuts with 1 tablespoon of sea salt and then cover with plenty of water. Let this soak overnight. They will plump up a bit while soaking so make sure there is water enough to account for that. The next morning, drain the water from the almonds and dehydrate them. There are two ways to dehydrate them, first, place then on a cookie sheet and place them in a warm (150 degree) oven for 12 – 24 hours, or alternatively you can do this in a dehydrator at the same temperature. You will know that they are done because they will be crispy/ crunchy like regular nuts again.
Pull out your food processor (you may even be able to use your blender but I’ve never done it this way. If you do let me know if it works or not.) Take about half of your almonds and place them in the food processor.
Pulse for about 10 seconds at a time, 3 or 4 times, until the nuts are pretty well chopped up. You don’t want to go to long or all you will get is almond butter and no almond meal.
Pour the chopped almonds into a sifter (I use a fine mesh strainer) that is over a large bowl and sift to get all the meal out.
Once all the meal is out, return the larger pieces to the food processor and repeat these steps again.
After you do it this time most of the left overs will be pretty small, and you will be able to feeling the oil on them. You can do it one more time if you would like but chances are you won’t get much more meal.
Place what is left in the strainer in a separate bowl and do the second batch of nuts the same way. When you are done making the meal you should have about 4 – 5 cups. When you have finished making your almond meal place it in the container of your choice, label, and keep in the refrigerator.
Now take all the leftovers and place them back in the food processor and turn it on high and let it go. It won’t take as long to turn into butter as it would from whole nuts because it is already half way there, but will still take a while.
Keep it going until it all starts to clump together. That is how you know you are almost there, you may be tempted to stop here, but don’t, it’s not done. After this it will spread out and cover the bottom. Now it is done, add some salt towards the end if you would like. Place this in a container of choice and store in the refrigerator. Pull out a few minutes before you would like to use to help it soften up a little and make it easier to spread.
Editor’s Note: Soaking nuts for several hours makes the nutrients in the nuts more available for your body to use and also helps to make digestion much easier.

Crunchy Kale Chips

This crunchy-delight is a staple in our house. If you’ve got a hankering for salt (or you’re trying to wean yourself from potato chips), try giving this nutritious snack a try! Warning: they can be addictive.

Tear kale into desired size pieces (3-4″ in size; larger is better), removing the thick and crunchy stem.
Place in a mixing bowl. Drizzle with olive oil and toss with salt.
Place on a SINGLE LAYER onto a cookie tray (no need to grease).
Bake 350* for 10-15 minutes until desired crispness is reached. Cool. Store in an air-tight container at room temperature.
Makes a perfect snack for a packed lunch!