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grain free veggie pizza

So we have had an overabundance of broccoli at our house. My husband and I mixed up items on our grocery list and on the same day I bought a few heads of organic broccoli from Earthfare  (they have had it on sale all month for $0.99) and he bought two huge bags of organic broccoli florets at Costco.  Our family loves it and we eat it just steamed as a side for dinner a lot, but steamed broccoli at every meal was getting old.  So I decided to recreate one of my favorite childhood foods that my mom always made for get-togethers.  Vegetable pizza, you know they type made on packaged Crescent rolls.  Well, seeing that our family is gluten-free and pretty low grains, I decided to try a grain free version.  It turned out yummy…only thing I would change is to spread the dough thinner.

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grain free veggie pizza
author: 
prep time: 
cook time: 
total time: 
 
Ingredients
  • 2 c. almond flour
  • 1 c. arrowroot
  • ½ c. water
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 T. olive oil
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • ½ tsp. celtic sea salt
  • chopped veggies of choice (i used broccoli, red bell peppers, black olives and carrots)
  • 1 package of organic cream cheese 8oz. (I used organic valley)
  • ½ cup organic full fat sour cream
  • 2 T. gluten free ranch mix (i used Penzey's ranch blend which is just spices, simply organic also makes one)
Instructions
  1. Mix all the dough dry ingredients in a bowl (almond flour, arrowroot, baking soda, sea salt).
  2. Add in eggs, water and olive oil and mix by hand.
  3. It will be a wetter dough.
  4. Spread evenly on a baking stone or a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
  5. I used a spatula and then put a little olive oil on my hand to help even press the dough.
  6. Bake at 425 for 15-20 minutes until dough is starting to brown up (cooking time will vary a little with dough thickness).
  7. Remove from oven and let cool.
  8. Prep veggies while dough is baking, by chopping into small pieces.
  9. Mix the sour cream, cream cheese and ranch mix.
  10. Once dough is cool, spread cream cheese mixture evenly on top of the crust and then top with veggies.
  11. Enjoy!

 

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Kitchen Essentials – Items I use Everyday.

I was asked a few weeks ago about my kitchen. Specifically, what tools could I not live without? And what would my dream kitchen look like?

I actually love my kitchen. It’s an open concept and I don’t feel like I am stuck in a room away from people while I am cooking. When we built our house, we specifically choose this because we knew it would be a gathering place. It never fails when we have friends over, people will just gather around the island talking and snacking on food. I absolutely love that!

But what would I change? Well, I am pretty sure I saw my dream kitchen the other day…but seeing as that isn’t anywhere in the near future, I would actually only make one small change. I would rip out the microwave above our cooktop. I don’t like my microwave and rarely use it, but even more so is that it is obnoxiously huge. I would love a range hood that opens up my cooking area (especially when I am canning and always bumping stuff into the microwave.) I love this hood in the image below!
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In my ultimate dream kitchen my cook top would have twice as many burners and even more counter space with a larger island, but I would be more than happy to simply just replace my microwave with a fun range hood.  I am pretty sure this range from BlueStar Cooking is my ultimate dream one.

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As for the question, what items do we use every day? My first thought goes immediately to my Vitamix and my Le Creuset cookware. Both of these were purchased in times of our lives when we were tighter on cash and they were big splurges. Our Vitamix is over 5 years old and has lived a really good life…literally it is used multiple times a day in our house. I remember when I was trying to convince my husband of why we “needed” one and his response was “isn’t it just a blender?” I borrowed a neighbor’s and had my husband make hummus and from that point on he was convinced.

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As for my cookware, when we started purging all Teflon and aluminum pans, I slowly began collecting pieces of Le Creuset. For Christmas one year, my husband found a collector who was selling her entire lot… they are over 25 years old and are in incredible condition. So I went from a few prized pieces to my entire kitchen be stocked for an incredible deal. I love them and they are also used every single day in my kitchen.

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But, what is used the most and could I absolutely not live without? My answer is sort of a random item. Not in the least bit expensive or hard to find, but we use them everyday and for multiple things. I could not live without the simple Mason jar.

We ferment in them. We store all our pantry items in them. They are our drink glasses. We can fresh produce in the summers in them. When I am prepping meals early in the day, my chopped veggies always get stored in them. I literally have mason jars in every area of my kitchen. Such a simple item, but wow, our kitchen would not run smoothly without them.

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Protein Breakfast Bites

By the time I get to Friday mornings, I have pretty much run out of inspiration for breakfast.  While I typically eat a protein smoothie, I am always looking for ideas to feed my growing boys, that are loaded with healthy fats and fiber, but eggs get boring quickly and my oldest doesn’t love protein smoothies.

I am fairly adamant that my kids eat a hearty breakfast (not sugar and carbs), like the typical SAD (Standard American Diet) of cereal, toast, bagels etc.  So finding variations can be challenging. One of their current favorite breakfasts are my little protein bites.

They are loaded with gluten free oats, pumpkin seeds, coconut flakes, dried blueberries, flax seed, chia seeds, sliced almonds and coconut oil.  While they look like little muffins, they are actually dense, almost crumbly little bites, that pair wonderfully with coffee.  Because of the fiber and fat, they are incredibly filling and can easily keep you fueled until lunch.

A few benefits are that they are easy to make, freeze well and can travel well as snacks. I almost always have all the ingredients on hand…besides the dried blueberries, but I live super close to our local Earth Fare and they always have them in their bulk food section. You can also easily substitute ingredients: chopped up dried apricots or dates, sunflower seeds, pecans etc. Be creative with them!

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Protein Breakfast Bites
author: 
 
Ingredients
  • 1½ cups gluten-free rolled oats
  • 1½ cups gluten-free oat flour
  • ½ cup wild blueberries
  • ⅓ cup raw pumpkin seeds
  • ⅓ cup shredded coconut
  • ¼ cup sliced almonds
  • ¼ cup + 1 Tbsp. ground flax seed
  • 2 Tbsp. chia seeds
  • ½ cup melted coconut oil
  • ½ cup maple syrup
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • ½ tsp. celtic sea salt
Instructions
  1. Preheat Oven to 350º F
  2. Lightly grease a mini muffin pan with coconut oil (mine holds 32 muffins)
  3. Add all the dry ingredients into a food processor and pulse a few times to incorporate them
  4. In a separate bowl mix together remaining wet ingredients (coconut oil, vanilla & maple syrup)
  5. Pour slowly into food processor and pulse until everything is well combined
  6. Fill mini muffin pans and press mixture until it is well compacted and just below the top of the pan
  7. Bake at 350º for 12-15 minutes, until lightly brown
  8. Cool before removing from the pan
  9. *If they are hard to remove, twisting them around in the pan in a circle typically releases them

 

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A Snapshot of Life: Packing Lunches

This year one of my goals is to share more about our daily lives.  From the little things, like where I shop, how I buy in bulk, what school lunches look like, what snack time looks like etc.

So today, I thought I would share a quick picture of my 1st graders school lunch.  I actually hate packing lunches…you know all those cute Pinterest images of cheese and sandwiches cut into cute shapes…yeah, never happens in our house.  To simplify the process of  lunches in our house, I always make a large enough dinner for leftovers.  As I am putting away/cleaning up dinner I fill all the boys lunches boxes, making morning’s so much easier.  The mornings I didn’t pre-pack lunches or didn’t have leftovers to use, just makes me feel like I am scrambling.

We have chosen to use the Goodbyn System for our lunches.  I love them because they seal really well, don’t have multiple components for my boys to keep track of and they are the perfect size for their lunches.

Pictured below:  leftover sauerkraut & meatballs, green beans with coconut oil and sea salt and an orange.

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Our Favorite Cookie – Paleo Chocolate Chip Cookies

One of my favorite childhood memories was making chocolate chip cookies with my mom. We used to make the traditional Toll House recipe off the back of a bag of Nestle chocolate chips.  While things have changed dramatically in our house from those day (no flour, no white sugar and I use organic, fair trade dark chocolate chips) I still cherish those memories,  and l love sharing that tradition with my three little boys.

I have both of Danielle Walker’s Paleo Cookbooks: Against All Grain & Against All Grain: Meals Made Simple and to this day, they are two of my favorite cookbooks that I own (I have a slight cookbook addiction).  I originally started making her real-deal chocolate chip cookies, but over time, just adapted it to better suit our families taste and to simplify – in my world, less steps and less dishes are always better.  If you have never checked out her cookbooks, you should.  She has lots of fun recipes and they are great inspiration.

A few of the changes I made was that I use coconut oil instead of palm shortening (which I don’t typically have on hand). I cut out the honey (you can add it back in if you want sweeter cookies, but if you do, omit the extra tablespoon of coconut oil – it was only added to add in a little extra moisture).  I have made them adding in an extra egg, and no honey or extra tablespoon of coconut oil, and that variation works well also. I like this version best with just the coconut sugar, because it is just lightly sweetened. I also just mix the cookies by hand, my food processor is dying, and I found that I didn’t need to pull out an extra appliance.

Another thing to note is that these cookies don’t have a great self life, so if you plan to keep them a few days, throw them in the fridge.  They do freeze well though.

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Our Favorite Cookie - Paleo Chocolate Chip Cookies
author: 
serves: 24
 
Ingredients
  • ½ cup + 1 Tbsp of melted coconut oil
  • ½ cup of coconut sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3 teaspoons vanilla
  • 3 cups blanched almond flour
  • 4 Tbsp. coconut flour
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • ½ tsp. celtic sea salt
  • 1 cup dark chocolate chips
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Mix together the melted coconut oil, coconut sugar, vanilla and eggs, until smooth.
  3. Add in the almond flour, coconut flour*, baking soda and sea salt and mix again until combined.
  4. Once well mixed, stir in chocolate chips
  5. Roll into balls and slightly flatten on a baking sheet covered with parchment paper.
  6. Bake 9-12 minutes until slightly brown on the edges.
  7. *with coconut flour, I use a spoon and swirl mine through a mesh strainer to eliminate any clumps.
  8. **if you would like to make your cookies sweeter, you can add in honey, (1 - 2 Tbsp). If you do add honey, omit the extra tablespoon of coconut oil.

 

One of the great things about these cookies is that they are simple, quick and I literally always have all the ingredients on hand (most of these ingredients I buy from bulk sources anyway)

Where some of my ingredients come from:

 

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