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I’m sharing with you a recipe from my e-cookbook The Kid’s Daily Plate today for two reasons:

  1. It is currently Gay Pride Week, and I wanted to show my support for the LGBTQ community by posting a recipe that mirrors the rainbow flag. #loveislove #lovewins
  2. These skewers are a fun way to get your kids to eat a colorful array of healthy produce.

My kids devour a wide variety of fruit at an alarmingly fast rate, but I know some kids are hesitant to venture past their comfort zone of one or two different kinds. These skewers feature a rainbow of fruits with a naturally sweetened dipping sauce on the side, which will hopefully motivate even the pickiest of eaters to try something new.

Rainbow Fruit Skewers with Banilla Dipping Sauce from The Kid’s Daily Plate

by Lauren Zembron

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 0 miutes

Ingredients (varies)

    Ingredients for the skewers:

    • Hulled strawberries or raspberries, preferably organic
    • Cubed peeled mango or cantaloupe
    • Cubed peeled pineapple (or pineapple canned in 100% juice) or peeled sliced banana
    • Peeled & sliced kiwifruit, preferably organic
    • Blueberries, preferably organic
    • Purple grapes, preferably organic

    Ingredients for the banilla dipping sauce:

    • 1 peeled very ripe banana
    • 2 Tbsp milk, preferably organic
    • 1 cup plain Greek yogurt, any fat percentage, preferably organic
    • 2 tsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
    • ½ tsp pure vanilla extract

    Instructions

    Instructions for the skewers:

    Carefully thread the fruit onto wooden skewers or chopsticks in the order listed to make a rainbow pattern.

    Serve with banilla dipping sauce (recipe follows).

    Instructions for banilla dipping sauce:

    Combine all ingredients in a blender or food processor and blend/process until very smooth.

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    Although as a kid I always chose ice cream over slushies, and as an adult I always choose margaritas on the rocks over the frozen variety, I’m currently crushing hard on wine slushies. A boozy fruity treat that cools you off and is super fun to drink… what’s not to love?!

    I started off with my current favorite rosé wine, which is dry (I’m not a fan of sweet wines) and moderately priced. Feel free to use whatever rosé you prefer.

    To the chilled wine, I added some frozen blueberries and a couple of these frozen pitaya dragon fruit packs. If you’ve never heard about, seen, or tried dragon fruit, let this recipe be your reason to do so! Naturally a vibrant hot pink color, and delicious without being cloyingly sweet, dragon fruit is a great addition to smoothies, and – as it turns out – wine slushies.

    Blend up the three ingredients, and you’re rewarded with this gorgeous beverage:

    Happy unofficial start to summer!

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    Blueberry Dragon Fruit Frosé (frozen wine slushie)

    by Lauren Zembron

    Prep Time: 2 minutes

    Cook Time: 0 minutes

    Ingredients (2 servings)

    • 2 cups dry rosé wine, chilled
    • 2 (3.5 oz) packs frozen dragon fruit (pitaya) puree, preferably organic
    • 2 cups frozen blueberries, preferably organic

    Instructions

    Place all ingredients into a blender and blend until smooth. Serve immediately.

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    I didn’t stick with Girl Scouts for very long as a kid, but I was a brownie long enough to sell cookies for a couple of years. Samoas (or, as I knew them, Caramel deLites), were not a favorite of mine back then, (due to my childhood distaste for coconut), but as I got older and my taste buds changed, they became my absolute favorite Girl Scout cookie to purchase (and eat, obviously!). However, It’s been years since I bought Girl Scout cookies because I’m not a fan of the ingredients used.

    You can imagine my deLite (I had to, sorry) when I stumbled upon a recipe for a homemade version of my favorite GS cookie using only clean ingredients on the Eating Bird Food blog!

    These cookies are pure perfection, and because I didn’t change one thing about Brittany’s recipe, I’m going to link her recipe instead of posting it here.

    The kids and hubs all love these cookies as much as I do, so it’s safe to say they’ll become a frequent treat in our house!

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    Despite it being the second day of Spring, New England is on the brink of yet another snowstorm. I’m savoring a slice of this cake/bread hybrid as I go between typing and glaring out at the menacing gray sky. Yep, I am 100% done with winter, but at least I have a delicious snack to help me bear an additional foot of snow on the ground.

    This dessert-worthy, (but breakfast-appropriate), loaf is the perfect marriage of banana bread and carrot cake. It’s just sweet enough, warmly spiced with cinnamon, flecked with carrots, and crowned with a creamy maple syrup-sweetened frosting. I’ve said it here before and I’ll say it again: I prefer my carrot cake simple and unadulterated; but if you like walnuts, coconut flakes, and/or pineapple in yours, feel free to toss whatever you want into the batter.

    This bread would be perfect as part of an Easter breakfast spread, as an afternoon snack alongside a cup of coffee or tea, as a healthy dessert… or enjoyed throughout the day as I’ve been doing!

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    Carrot Cake Banana Bread

    by Lauren Zembron

    Prep Time: 15 minutes

    Cook Time: 50 minutes

    Ingredients (1 loaf)

      For the Bread:

      • 1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour (or whole wheat pastry flour, or white whole wheat flour)
      • 1 tsp baking soda
      • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
      • 1/4 tsp Kosher salt
      • 1 cup mashed overripe bananas (about 3 medium-sized bananas)
      • 1/3 cup neutral-flavored vegetable oil (I used safflower oil)
      • 1/4 cup coconut sugar (or brown sugar)
      • 2 Tbsp pure maple syrup
      • 1 large egg, preferably organic
      • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
      • 3/4 cup lightly packed shredded carrots (about 1 large carrot)

      For the Greek Yogurt Cream Cheese Frosting:

      • 4 oz cream cheese, at room temperature
      • 2 Tbsp plain Greek yogurt (any fat %)
      • 2 Tbsp pure maple syrup (or more, to taste)

      Instructions

      Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a 9 x 5 inch loaf pan with unbleached parchment paper, leaving a bit of overhang to aid in removing the bread.

      In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt.

      In a large mixing bowl, whisk together mashed bananas, oil, coconut sugar, 2 Tbsp maple syrup, egg, and vanilla extract until well-combined. Stir in the grated carrot.

      Add dry ingredients to wet and stir just until combined.

      Bake for 50-60 minutes, or until a wooden tester (or toothpick) inserted into the center of the loaf comes out mostly clean. Let sit in pan for 10 minutes before turning out onto a wire rack to cool completely.

      While the bread cools, make the Greek yogurt cream cheese frosting: combine softened cream cheese, Greek yogurt, and 2 Tbsp maple syrup in a mini food processor and process until smooth (you can also do this in a bowl with a spoon, but it will take longer). Taste, and add an additional 1-2 Tbsp of maple syrup if desired. Spread on cooled loaf. Refrigerate the frosted bread for 1 hour to allow the frosting to set.

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      If you think that delicious brownies without flour, refined sugar, or butter sounds too good to be true, then let this recipe be the one that changes your mind.
      Although not quite as rich and dense/fudgy as traditional brownies, this healthier version is the perfect antidote to any chocolate craving, and the batter is quick and simple to whip up (in one bowl!).
      I made these in a 7 x 11 inch rectangular pan because I’ve been without my trusty 8 x 8 inch square pan for a while now… without any memory of what happened to it (hmmm: mom brain is real, my friends). When baked in an 8 x 8 pan, the brownies will turn out thicker.
      If you’re looking for a chocolatey, but more heart-healthy, dessert to treat your loved ones to on Valentine’s Day, then look no further!

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      Healthy One Bowl Flourless Brownies (Gluten-free, Grain-free)

      by Lauren Zembron

      Prep Time: 5 minutes

      Cook Time: 15 minutes

      Ingredients (9 brownies)

      • 3 large eggs, preferably organic
      • 1 cup well-stirred creamy/smooth all-natural unsweetened almond butter, (the only ingredients should be almonds and salt)
      • 2 Tbsp pure maple syrup
      • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
      • 1/3 cup coconut sugar
      • 1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder, sifted
      • 1/2 tsp baking soda
      • 1/8 tsp Kosher salt
      • 1/2 cup dark chocolate chips

      Instructions

      Preheat oven to 350°F and line an 8 inch square (or 7 x 11 rectangular) baking pan with parchment paper going both ways (leave a bit of excess paper hanging over the sides of the pan to allow for easy removal).

      Whisk the eggs in a large mixing bowl until lightly beaten, then stir in almond butter, maple syrup, vanilla, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt with a rubber spatula or spoon until smooth. The batter will be very thick and sticky.

      Fold in chocolate chips.

      Spoon the batter into the prepared pan, and spread it into an even layer.

      Baking for 15-17 minutes (or 14-16 minutes if using a 7 x 11 pan), or until a toothpick inserted into the middle of the brownies comes out mostly clean. The brownies will rise in the oven, but then deflate while they cool.

      Let brownies cool completely before lifting them out of the pan using the overhanging parchment paper. Cut into squares.

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      My 3 Ingredient Peanut Butter & Honey Cereal Bars are by far my most popular recipe on Pinterest. I’ve been wanting to make a different version for a while now, and adding chocolate was a no-brainer.

      I went back and read through a bunch of the comments on Pinterest, and although the overwhelming majority of them were positive, every once in a while I saw one that said the bars were too sweet and/or too gooey/sticky. For this version, I increased the amount of cereal and decreased the amount of honey. The chocolate layer helps to hold the bars together, but be forewarned: if not chilled, the bars WILL fall apart easily, so they are best eaten straight from the fridge or freezer.

      When chilled, the cereal base stays crunchy with a lightly sweetened peanut butter flavor, and there’s just enough chocolate blanketing the top to deem the bars dessert-worthy.

      Check out the subtle marble-like swirled effect of the coconut oil running throughout the chocolate!

      If the classic chocolate & peanut butter combination is your weakness, (like it is mine), then these bars are a healthy way to indulge.

       

      5 Ingredient Chocolate-Covered Peanut Butter Cereal Bars

      by Lauren Zembron

      Prep Time: 10 minutes

      Cook Time: 0 minutes

      Ingredients (16 bars)

      • 1/2 cup natural unsweetened peanut butter (the only ingredients should be peanuts and salt), preferably organic, well-stirred
      • 1/4 cup honey
      • 4 cups toasted whole grain oats cereal (I used Cheerios)
      • 2/3 cup dark chocolate chips
      • 2 tsp unrefined virgin coconut oil

      Instructions

      Line an 8 x 8 inch square baking pan with parchment.

      Combine peanut butter & honey in a large saucepan and set over medium heat. Heat until the ingredients melt, then remove from heat and stir until mixture is well combined. You may also melt the ingredients together in the microwave for 20-30 seconds.

      Stir in cereal until evenly coated. The peanut butter & honey mixture will clump up, so make sure you thoroughly stir until the cereal is evenly coated. I found a metal spoon to be helpful.

      Pour mixture into prepared pan, cover with parchment, and press firmly. A pastry roller will help to firmly and evenly pack down the mixture so the bars hold their shape. Make sure to really press down to ensure the mixture sticks together.

      In a small microwave safe bowl, combine the chocolate chips and coconut oil. Heat for 30 second, stir, then heat for another 30 seconds. If still not melted, heat for an additional 15 seconds. Stir until fully melted and smooth. Evenly spread over the cereal mixture. The chocolate will form a thin layer.

      Chill in the refrigerator for 1 hour or in the freezer for 30 minutes. Carefully cut into bars. Store individually wrapped in the refrigerator or freezer. If left at room temperature, the bars will not stick together as well as if they’re kept chilled.

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      Puffy, soft, and chewy in the center with a bit of crunch from a cinnamon sugar coating, snickerdoodles are a perennial favorite, especially during this time of the year when platters and tins of cookies abound. Altering the traditional version into a healthy cookie is simple, and if you’re well versed with paleo baking, you most likely already have all of the necessary ingredients in your kitchen.

      One of the many perks of vegan baking is that your kids (and you!) can safely lick the bowl and eat as much raw dough as you want. Jack, (who turned two last month!), was given the honor of licking the spatula, and kept saying “yummy!”.

      Agreed, kiddo, agreed.

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      Paleo & Vegan Snickerdoodles

      by Lauren Zembron

      Prep Time: 15 minutes

      Cook Time: 10 minutes

      Ingredients (15 cookies)

      • 1 1/2 cups blanched almond flour
      • 2 Tbsp coconut flour
      • 1/4 tsp Kosher salt
      • 1/4 tsp baking soda
      • 6 Tbsp melted coconut oil (make sure to melt before measuring)
      • 1/4 cup pure maple syrup
      • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
      • 2 Tbsp coconut sugar (you could also use evaporated cane juice)
      • 1 tsp ground cinnamon

      Instructions

      Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a large cookie sheet with a silicone baking mat or parchment paper.

      In a large bowl, combine almond flour, coconut flour, salt, and baking soda. Whisk, making sure to break up any clumps of flour.

      In a small microwave-safe bowl, whisk together the melted coconut oil, maple syrup, and vanilla extract. If your maple syrup is cold, the coconut oil might begin to solidify when you mix them together. If this is the case, simply microwave the mixture until liquified.

      Add wet ingredients to dry and stir with a rubber spatula or spoon until combined.

      In a bowl, whisk together the coconut sugar and ground cinnamon,

      Using a cookie scoop (or spoon), scoop out the cookie dough, roll into balls, and then roll in the cinnamon sugar. Place cookie dough balls on prepared cookie sheet. Using the back of a spoon or your fingers, gently press down on the scoops of cookie dough so they form discs.

      Bake for 10 minutes, or until cooked through and lightly golden brown around the edges. Cookies will be very soft. Let cool on the baking sheet for 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

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      As I sit here typing up this post, the first snow of the season is slowly blanketing our neck of the woods. Unlike many New Englanders, I actually love snowfall… at least the first half dozen of the winter; come March, I’m done with the heaps of snow. For the time being, though, I’m vacillating between quiet content and childlike excitement as I gaze out of the window at the accumulating snow.

      Just as I equate snow with the holiday season, so I do with candied nuts: crunchy, a bit salty, and sweet, I can (and do!) happily eat handful after handful of the tasty little jewels. My go-to recipe features a simple cinnamon-sugar flavor profile, but for this version, I wanted to toss in some unexpected flavor elements. Enter maple, rosemary, and cayenne: a flavor trifecta that might seem odd at first, but actually works beautifully.

      A modest amount of maple syrup is the only sweetener in this recipe, making it much healthier than traditional refined sugar-laden candied nuts. The rosemary lends a pleasant earthiness and the cayenne pepper adds a welcomed kick of spice.

      These addictive mixed nuts make for the ideal hostess (or teacher) gift or addition to any appetizer/cheese plate. They’re also perfect as a mid afternoon snack.

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      Spicy Maple Rosemary Mixed Nuts

      by Lauren Zembron

      Prep Time: 5 minutes

      Cook Time: 60 minutes

      Ingredients (2 cups)

      • 2 cups raw nuts (I used pecan halves and almonds; cashews would be a nice addition)
      • 1 egg white
      • 2 Tbsp pure maple syrup
      • 1 tsp dried rosemary, crushed between your palms (or finely chopped if you don’t like big pieces)
      • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper (or 1/2 tsp for a spicier kick)
      • 1/4 tsp Kosher salt

      Instructions

      Preheat oven to 250°F.

      Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat.

      In a medium bowl, whisk the egg white until foamy and thick, about 1 minute. Add the nuts and stir until they are evenly coated.

      In a small bowl, stir together remaining ingredients (maple syrup, crushed dried rosemary, cayenne pepper, and salt) until well-mixed.

      Pour the maple rosemary mixture into the bowl with the nuts, and stir until the nuts are evenly coated.

      Spread the coated nuts in an even layer on the prepared baking sheet.

      Bake the nuts at 250°F for 60 minutes, stirring about every 20 minutes.

      Let nuts cool completely before storing in an air-tight container.

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      This right here, my friends, is a quick, easy, and seriously delicious breakfast, lunch, or snack that is perfect for the fall season.

      These toasts start with whipped cinnamon goat cheese, which sounds fancy but is super easy to – ahem – whip up. Whipping the goat cheese results in a fluffy, silky texture that spreads easily. The cinnamon adds a lovely spiciness and a touch of sweetness.

      I couldn’t decide between topping the whipped cinnamon goat cheese with fig jam or pumpkin butter (my two favorite autumnal spreads), so I chose both!

      Pears are divine right now, thus making them the perfect finishing touch to these toasts.

      Both versions are delectable on their own, but to really put these toasts over the top, I suggest you sandwich both of them together. Pear & Cinnamon Whipped Goat Cheese Sandwiches with Pumpkin Butter & Fig Jam? YES.

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      Pear & Whipped Cinnamon Goat Cheese Toast (two ways)

      by Lauren Zembron

      Prep Time: 5 minutes

      Cook Time: 0 minutes

      Ingredients (1-2 servings)

      • 4 oz goat cheese, at room temperature
      • milk to thin, if necessary
      • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
      • 2 slices of your favorite bread, (preferably whole wheat) toasted to desired preference
      • 1 Tbsp fig jam
      • 1 Tbsp pumpkin butter
      • 1 ripe (but firm) pear, (I used Anjou), preferably organic, very thinly sliced

      Instructions

      Place the goat cheese in a mini food processor and process until creamy (about 3-5 minutes). You may add a bit of milk – 1 tsp at a time – to thin it out if necessary (I used 2 tsp milk in total). If you don’t have a mini food processor, you can mash the goat cheese in a bowl with a fork until creamy. Add in the cinnamon and process (or mash) until fully combined. Set aside.

      Spread about 2-3 Tbsp of the whipped cinnamon goat cheese on each slice of toast. Top one slice with fig jam, and the other with pumpkin butter. Evenly divide the sliced pear between the two slices of toast.

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      Now that the sugar rush of Halloween has passed, I bet you’re either a) done with sweets for a while or b) looking for a healthier way to satisfy your sweet tooth. If your answer is a), then I can’t help you because I have a daily desire for sweets… which obviously means if your answer is b), then this recipe is for you!

      These bars start with a shortbread-like base…

      which is topped with a sweet apple pie filling…

      and then crowned with more of the shortbread crust.

      There’s no butter, refined sugar, or wheat flour in these bars, yet they really do taste like apple pie.

      You really must chill the pie if you’re to have any success cutting it into bars; and even then they tend to be pretty crumbly. Thus, I suggest serving the bars with forks to cut down on the messiness factor.

      Whether your sights are set on a delicious Thanksgiving dessert (which guests with an array of food allergies or intolerances can enjoy) or on a healthy seasonal treat…

      these apple pie bars fit the bill perfectly!

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      Apple Pie Bars {Gluten-Free & Vegan}

      by Lauren Zembron

      Prep Time: 20 minutes

      Cook Time: 25 minutes

      Ingredients (12 bars)

      • 3 Granny Smith apples, (preferably organic), peeled, cored, and finely chopped
      • 1/4 cup pure maple syrup
      • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
      • 2 cups blanched almond flour
      • 1/4 tsp salt
      • 1/2 tsp baking soda
      • 6 Tbsp melted & cooled coconut oil* (make sure to melt before measuring)
      • 3 Tbsp pure maple syrup

      *I always use unrefined virgin coconut oil, but if you can’t stand even the faintest flavor of coconut, you can use refined coconut oil for this recipe.

      Instructions

      Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a 9 x 5 inch loaf pan with parchment paper going both ways (be sure to leave a bit of overhang to help you remove the bars).

      In a large skillet set over medium-high heat, combine the chopped apple and 1/4 cup maple syrup. Cook, stirring, until the apples have softened, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in the cinnamon. Set aside to cool.

      In a mixing bowl, whisk together the almond flour, salt, & baking soda. Add in the melted coconut oil and 3 Tbsp maple syrup, and mix with a spoon until fully combined. Reserve half of the mixture for the topping.

      Pour the remaining half of the mixture out into the prepared baking pan, and spread out into an even layer using slightly damp fingers or the back of a spoon. Bake for 10-12 minutes, until the edges are starting to turn golden brown, then remove from the oven.

      Spoon the apple mixture over the top, very lightly pressing down to create an even layer. Evenly sprinkle the remaining crust ingredients over the apple layer, again very lightly pressing down and out to create an even layer.

      Return to the oven and bake for 18-20 minutes, or until the topping is golden brown.

      Let cool completely to room temperature, then cover pan with foil or plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 4 hours or until fully chilled (this step makes it much easier to cut the pie into bars). Lift the bars out of the pan and cut into squares. Serve with forks, as the bars tend to be crumbly.

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