Easy Apple Puff Pancake

easy Apple Puff Pancake

MMM… there’s nothing better than warm buttery apple pancakes in the morning!

For those mornings you need something savory but not heavy, apple puff pancakes are perfect!

This is my new favorite go to for a warm breakfast. It’s not as heavy or sweet as traditional pancakes or other pastries. But fills the belly and satisfies the taste buds!

As important as breakfast is, it’s easy to reach for the already made stuff. Muffins, cereal, bagels, all delicious, but not so good for you when store bought and time consuming to make at home. If you’re going for a real food breakfast, quick and easy makes all the difference.

Scrambled eggs and sauteed kale are quick and easy, but sometimes the savory flavor is what you need. An apple puff pancake is a crowd pleaser and semi-entertaining with its fresh out of the oven puffiness. The apple-y goodness is delicious!Apple Puff Pancake

I adapted this recipe from The Prairie Homestead. There are a few differences, but I didn’t create this all on my own. I’m not that creative in the kitchen! Pinterest is my best friend for finding new meals.

Easy Apple Puff Pancake

Ingredients

  • 3 Tbsp butter
  • 2-3 apples, cored, peeled, and sliced thin
  • ½ tsp cinnamon
  • 3 Tbsp rapadura (or unrefined sugar), divided
  • ½ cup whole wheat flour
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ cup milk
  • 3 eggs, beaten
  • 1 tsp vanilla bean extract

Instructions

  1. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Melt your butter in a cast iron skillet over medium heat. Once the butter is bubbling, add in your sliced apples, cinnamon, and 1 Tbsp of rapadura. Stir occasionally until apples are starting to soften.
  2. Meanwhile, combine remaining rapadura, flour, and salt in a large bowl. Mix in milk, eggs, and vanilla. Mix well until combined. You may have some small lumps, but this won’t affect the final outcome.
  3. Flatten your apples in your skillet and pour in the batter. Place the skillet in your oven and cook for 15-20 minutes until cooked through. The edges may start to brown slightly and the center will be nice and puffy!
  4. Let rest a few minutes and then slice and enjoy. It pairs well with bacon and coffee. Mmmm.
http://neverlackingzeal.com/2016/04/05/easy-apple-puff-pancake/

Apple Puff Pancake on a plate

For an easy weekday breakfast, or a leisurely weekend, an apple puff pancake is a great choice! It’s quick to whip up and bakes while you make your coffee. (Or chase toddlers around.)

What are you making for breakfast this week?


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5 Reasons to Eat Kale For Breakfast

5 Reasons to Eat Kale for Breakfast

Did you say kale for breakfast?

Well, yes I did!

It’s no secret that kale has been labeled a superfood. In recent years, it has gained popularity and become the crux of many jokes surrounding healthy eating. But with any joke, there is some truth to it!

Kale is full of vitamins, minerals, and even compares to beef with its high iron content. I know!  Per calorie, kale has more iron than beef. And more calcium than milk. Let that sink in for a minute.

Breakfast is often considered to be the most important meal of the day. Not only is it the first food you eat for the day and a chance to start your body off with nutrient dense foods, but it can help set the tone for the types of food you eat later on. When you eat a healthy breakfast, you are more inspired to make healthier choices through the day. I know that’s true for me.

So why should you consider kale for breakfast?

  1. Kale is high in fiber. It’s important to get your digestive system rolling in the morning. Fill your stomach with a fiber rich food and let the process begin. A strong start will help your body throughout the day. The high fiber content helps your body detox as well.
  2. Kale is high in minerals such as iron, calcium, folate, and magnesium. As I mentioned before, per calorie, this leafy green has more iron than beef and more calcium than milk. That blows my mind. It is low in calories too so you’re gaining more nutrients with less calories.
  3. Kale is high in vitamins. In just one cup of kale, you can get well over your suggested daily amounts of Vitamins K, A, and C. Vitamin K helps maintain bone strength and blood flow. Vitamin A is good for vision and skin. And Vitamin C boosts your immune system and metabolism.
  4. Kale is anti-inflammatory. High in omega-fatty acids, this leafy green is excellent in helping a variety of body functions affected by inflammation such as, arthritis, cardiovascular, and autoimmune disorders. Omega-fatty acids also help build cell membranes in the brain.
  5. Kale tastes amazing. This might be debatable. But I think it’s all in how you prepare it. I’m not necessarily suggesting you need to eat a huge kale salad for breakfast. I’m not too excited about that either. But a little side of sautéed kale is super simple and delicious.

This is only touching the surface on the benefits of kale. A little bit of kale goes a long way in regards to your health. I don’t think it can be argued that starting your day with a superfood isn’t a good idea. I can tell you, I always feel better when I’ve had my kale for breakfast.

If you’re worried about the time it would take to make a hot breakfast, kale cooks faster than scrambled eggs. And you know that’s a quick breakfast! Seriously, it doesn’t take a lot of time to make a good healthy breakfast.

A quick tip on streamlining breakfast if you are headed out the door or short on time, prepare things ahead. Cut your kale up ahead of time and store it in the fridge so you can easily cook it in the mornings. Or add it to an egg muffin (pinterest has zillions of recipes) that can be made ahead and even eaten cold.

My favorite method is to sauté kale in butter or ghee in a stainless steel pan. Then I cook up some eggs in that same pan. (No one needs extra dishes.) I add a side of roasted sweet potatoes to my kale and eggs for a complete meal! That could even be dinner some nights. Yum!

Kale for breakfast may seem strange. (I haven’t convinced my husband yet.) You may have to change your mindset as to what breakfast means. Is it time for sweet “breakfasty” foods? Or time to eat real food to fuel your day? Start your day off right with some hearty kale for breakfast.

Have you started eating kale for breakfast yet?

 


 

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How to Make Lavender Simple Syrup

This post contains affiliate links. 

How to Make Lavender Simple Syrup

Have you ever tried lavender in your coffee?! AMAZING!

I would not have thought that lavender would pair well with the rich earthy flavors of coffee, but it does.

Just imagine the sun is rising, you are sitting in a rocking chair on a beautiful porch overlooking the serene beauty of the forest. You’re sipping on a lovely cup of goodness that brings into your soul all the wonderful feelings of joy and joyness. Add into that mix the delicious floral aromas of lavender. Calm, sweet, heavenly lavender.

Now, before I lose my non-coffee drinkers, this isn’t just about the coffee. You too can enjoy the delicious taste and flavor of lavender in a variety of ways. Keep on reading!

You might say I have a thing for lavender. I rarely go to sleep without rubbing a bit of lavender essential oil on my wrists before bed. I love using lavender in my homemade soap and body oil. The soothing scent combined with the sweet aroma lifts and calms me.

I honestly didn’t care for lavender before I discovered the essential oil and the dried flowers. Most commercial uses of lavender always had an off scent to them that I couldn’t place. Now I’m assuming it was the artificial aspect of lavender scented things. They tried, but you just can’t beat the real thing.

Lavender Simple Syrup 2

Back to the subject at hand, lavender simple syrup is a treat. It uses refined sugar, which I know is not a real food item, therefore, I really only use this recipe for special occasions. (Or on occasion because I made this batch up for the sole purpose to enjoy it and share with you.)

Lavender simple syrup is of course delicious in coffee. Just add a dash of milk and there you go. Sweet, floral, and yummy. But it also tastes amazing in lemonade, orange juice, tea, and steamed milk. I’m thinking of trying a bit of it in some oatmeal with a little cream!

You could definitely come up with some delicious ways to use lavender simple syrup. The key thing to remember is you only need a little bit. You might be surprised at the amount of flavor it adds.

Lavender Simple Syrup

Ingredients

Instructions

  1. Heat ingredients in a small saucepan on high until boiling. Reduce heat and let simmer about two minutes. Let cool. Pour into an airtight jar or container. (These work really well.) Store up to two weeks in the refrigerator.
http://neverlackingzeal.com/2016/01/27/how-to-make-lavender-simple-syrup/

Have you tried lavender in your coffee?

 


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20+ Real Food Fourth of July Recipes

20 Plus Real Food Fourth of July Recipes

The Fourth of July is around the corner!! I cannot believe July is almost here.

I’m ready and I’m not.

This year we need some seriously healthy options for our family Fourth of July celebration. I’m all about some good food that’s good for you too!

I haven’t completely decided on a menu yet, but here are some of the ideas I’m pulling from. I hope you can benefit from this great list too!

Fourth of July Picnic!

Main dish:

Sides:

Desserts:

 What are you cooking for this celebration?


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Easy Cold Brewed Iced Coffee

easy cold brewed iced coffee

Sitting on the front porch on a warm summer morning with a glass of Cold Brewed Iced Coffee is the best way to start the day! Or get your mid-morning perk during nap time… Or a feeble attempt to survive the afternoon…

Regardless your reason for needing Iced Coffee, it is a delicious treat!

It’s no lie that I’m probably considered a coffee snob. I’m not a fan of cheap coffee that tastes bitter and stale. I need a strong fresh ground dark cup of joe to get my day started. It probably stems from my Coffee Master days at Starbucks.

A hot cup of fresh coffee is usually how my day starts. And sometimes I’ll go for a second one mid-morning or early afternoon. But in the summer heat a cold-brewed iced coffee is much more appealing!

Perfecting the cold-brew is a little tricky. You have to plan ahead just a bit. But like most Real Food meals planning is just a part of the routine! This little cup of heaven is an easy addition to your kitchen routine and the rewards are delicious.

ground coffee

I’ve tried making iced coffee by just pouring regular brewed coffee over ice. But the ice melts quickly and the coffee gets watered down. Instead, the trick is to brew the coffee cold and very strong so that the ice and milk (if desired) don’t dilute the roasty coffee taste.

Choosing the type of coffee for your iced coffee is a personal preference. Some prefer a lighter roast, one that comes from Latin America and has citrus or caramel notes (a lot of the inexpensive coffees like Folgers or Maxwell House are Latin American blends). Those tend to taste bitter to me so I generally prefer a darker roast from the Asia/Pacific region, which has rich earthy flavors. Herbal and floral notes tend to come from the African region.

Once you know your flavor preference, it’s time to make some Cold-Brewed Iced Coffee!

Easy Cold Brewed Iced Coffee

Ingredients

    Ingredients:
  • ¾ cup fine ground coffee
  • 3-4 cups water
  • Milk (optional)
  • Unrefined Sugar or Stevia Extract (optional)
  • Vanilla Extract (optional)
  • Supplies:
  • 2 – 1 qt Mason Jars (wide mouth preferably)
  • Lid and ring
  • Coffee filter and brew basket OR strainer and cheesecloth

Instructions

  1. The first step is to grind your coffee very fine. You can do this from whole bean or you can take already ground coffee and grind it finer.
  2. Place the grinds in one of your mason jars and fill the rest of the way with cold water.
  3. Put the jar in the refrigerator for 8-12 hours (or overnight).
  4. Once the coffee is done cold-brewing, filter it out into your other mason jar. I had trouble using a filter and brew basket because of the fine grind so cheesecloth worked a little better because I was being impatient.
  5. You will end up with a VERY STRONG cold-brewed coffee.
  6. Fill your favorite Iced Coffee cup with ice and fill about 1/3 of the way with milk or cold water. Add your cold-brewed coffee on top. You may need to test the milk/coffee ratio to your taste. I prefer mine pretty strong! If desired add a little sweetener and vanilla extract for flavor.
  7. Store remaining Cold-Brewed Iced Coffee in the refrigerator.
http://neverlackingzeal.com/2015/06/22/easy-cold-brewed-iced-coffee/

brewing coffee

You can brew a second or third batch with the used grounds, but it won’t be quite as strong. I usually go for it since it takes a lot of coffee to make cold-brew and I want to be frugal with my fancy coffee.

Cold-Brewed Iced Coffee is a favorite summer drink around my house. I love to sip on it while rocking on the porch with a good book. (Or have it nearby while chasing my toddler.)

iced coffee on the porch

It’s a great beverage to sip on during the warm days to get a little boost of caffeine. It’s debatable whether coffee is good for you or not because of the caffeine, but in my opinion, drinking it within reason is fine. I know my limits and don’t go for more just because it tastes good. Although..that is difficult with this iced coffee!

How do you like your coffee? Strong? Hot? Iced? Light?


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Simple Tuna Salad

Simple Tuna Salad

One of my favorite go-to lunches is Tuna Salad.

It’s quick and easy to make, full of good protein and good fat. And best when paired with a plateful of veggies!

My secret ingredient to Tuna Salad is raisins. For some reason I really love raisins in my tuna. It adds a bit of sweet to balance out the savory flavor.

I also make sure to use my homemade mayo. This adds incredible flavor and good fats to your diet!

Simple Tuna Salad

Simple Tuna Salad

Ingredients

  • 2 cans wild-caught tuna
  • ¼ small onion, chopped
  • 1 rib celery, chopped
  • Small handful of raisins
  • ¼ cup (or less) of homemade mayo

Instructions

  1. Drain the tuna and put in a small bowl. Add in onion, celery, raisins, and mayo. Stir until well combined.
  2. Serve with your choice of veggies! I like sliced cucumber and bell peppers, carrot sticks, and green onions.
http://neverlackingzeal.com/2015/06/11/simple-tuna-salad/

Super simple! Yet super delicious. This size batch will feed me for a couple days, plus a sandwich or two for the hubby.

Do you have a secret ingredient for your Tuna Salad?


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Real Food Camping: Hobo Packs

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Camping is THE BEST summer activity.

There is nothing like getting outdoors, away from electronics, out exploring the world around you. Whether you tent camp, car camp, or stay in an RV or rustic cabin, camping is just plain fun!

One aspect makes camping fantastic is the food. Planning your camping menu is exciting and challenging at the same time. The excitement comes from the variety of foods and change in cooking method while camping. It needs to be portable, easy to cook, and nourishing (hiking can take a lot out of you!).

The challenge can be in avoiding processed filler foods and sticking to real foods that will keep your energy up. It would be easy to throw in a bag of chips for a snack, but how will that help you succeed on your epic hike? Cut up those carrot sticks and pack the hummus!

Our favorite camping dinner is what we call a Hobo Pack. It’s very easy to prep ahead of time and could be frozen if needed to last a couple days in a cooler. There is a lot of flexibility in the recipe. Be creative!

Before we head out, I chop up a variety of vegetables (onions, carrots, potatoes) and mix it together with some raw ground beef in a foil pack. Add some spices and butter and close up the packs. (I usually put the packs in a plastic bag as well just in case they leak.)

When you are out at the campsite get your fire going before dinner and let it die down just a little bit. Place your Hobo Packs on the coals and let it cook! You’ll want to rotate the packs around every five minutes or so for it to cook through. Your cook time will vary depending on how much food you have in your packs. I’d say 15-20 minutes and check that the beef has no more pink.

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Hobo Packs

Ingredients

  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 1 small onion
  • 4-5 carrots
  • 2-3 small potatoes
  • (other veggies as desired)
  • 2-3 Tbsp butter per pack
  • salt and pepper
  • favorite spices

Instructions

  1. Divide meat evenly onto 2 sheets of foil.
  2. Chop vegetables and distribute on top of the ground beef.
  3. Sprinkle with salt, pepper and desired spices. (I like Thyme or Savory. But any single spice or combination will work!)
  4. Add butter.
  5. Fold up foil to enclose the food. Add an extra sheet of foil around the outside if necessary.
  6. Place packs in a plastic bag for transportation or until ready to cook.
  7. When cooking over an open fire, you can use a grate if one is available or you can let the fire die down a little and place the packs on the coals.
  8. Turn the packs every five minutes until the meat is no longer pink and the veggies are at desired doneness.
http://neverlackingzeal.com/2015/04/13/real-food-camping-hobo-packs/

Super simple! You can eat straight out of the packs or divide up onto plates for the kiddos. Remember the foil is HOT so bring tongs and a hot mitt or towel to handle the packs.

Eating real food while camping CAN be done. It takes a little bit of planning and usually a little prep ahead of time. But it is well worth it. If you usually eat real food at home, you don’t want to switch it up just for convenience when camping. Everyone wants to have fun while camping so feed your body well!

What is your favorite camping food?

 

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