Caramel Pears (aka my whole food Netflix treat)

Okay, so I am not even going to tell you this is healthy, but it’s one of my favorite treats that I save for times I’m really tempted to fall off the bandwagon. You know the days that you collapse on the couch and barely have the energy to reach for the remote to watch a West Wing rerun? Tough life. I know.

But for real, after a long crazy day, I crave quiet and a sweet treat. It’s important to me to keep to my 80/20 philosophy. Since giving up refined sugar, I truly don’t enjoy junk filled treats anymore. One night after a particularly rough day, my sweet husband came home with gluten-free wedding cake cupcakes. I was so excited, but after about halfway through the cupcake, I realized it tasted overly sweet and I just wasn’t really enjoying it. I didn’t want to say anything because it was such a sweet gesture, but he noticed it too. Afterward, we both decided it just wasn’t worth it. Not to mention, I felt pretty crummy.

Sure I could have an apple as a dessert or nothing and some nights that works great, but when we want something that feels decadent and special here’s our go to treat!

Caramel Sauce over Pears (aka my clean eating netflix treat)

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons of coconut sugar
  • 2tablespoon of salted butter
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla
  • 1/4 cup of half and half
  • 1 can of pears in pear juice

Instructions

  1. Melt the butter and coconut sugar together.
  2. Add vanilla and cream.
  3. Bring to a boil while stirring over medium low and whisk until it's dark brown and creamy.
  4. Serve the caramel over sliced canned pears.

Notes

If you use unsalted butter add a small dash of salt. Be sure not to buy the pears with artifcial sugar that's no good and I hate when I accidentally do that!

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Healthy Strawberry Shortcake + An Honest Review of Bob’s Red Mill Paleo Flour Review

Real Foodie Family Strawberry Shortcake Picture

So I am all about sweet treats that are good for you. I know that sounds like an oxymoron, but they totally exist! My goal is to make delicious desserts that I don’t have to think twice about seconds! This strawberry shortcake is gluten free, grain free, soy free, and refined sugar free. The crazy thing is it does not taste healthy. It tastes totally indulgent.

Picture of Bob Red Mill's paleo flour

I think the secret is that I used Bob’s Red Mill Paleo Baking Flour. Bob’s Red Mill was super generous and sent me a bag of their Paleo flour blend to try out.

Here’s my Honest Review:

Pros:

  • I’ve been mixing my own “flours” to create grain free blends, but I was really drawn to the idea of not having to mess with that!
  • I also loved that you can use it cup for cup in most recipes! I was pleasantly surprised by how easy it is  to work with and the neutral flour-like taste it has with only a hint of coconut flavor.
  • My mind is spinning with all the fun recipe possibilities that this flour brings. I want to rework a bunch of my favorites by subbing in this flour. I am thinking Homemade Chicken Strips are in our future!

Cons:

  • It’s pricey ranging from $9-$13 depending on where you buy it.
  • There’s a bit of a coconut taste to the flour  flavor that you might find you want to work around if you are making a savory dish (salt and spicy spices like chili help with this!).

Grain Free Shortbread

Okay, enough gushing about my new favorite flour blend.

Here’s what I liked about this strawberry shortcake dessert:

  • It came together super quickly and required only one bowl. That’s winning in my book.
  • It was such a hit with my entire family! I served it to my parents when they came over for dinner and they loved it. My mom even said, “you should tell them we don’t eat like this and we loved it!” My son’s eyes were shining when he saw the whip cream, “Thank you, Mama, for making icing WITH strawberries.”  And almost almost two year old wanted thirds…
  • It was Grain Free, Gluten Free, Soy Free, and Refined Sugar Free without tasting like it!

Healthy Grain Free Strawberry Shortcake

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 17 minutes

Total Time: 37 minutes

Yield: Serves 6 people

Serving Size: one small slice

Ingredients

  • 1 ripe banana (mashed)
  • 1 cup of Bob's Red Mill Paleo Baking Flour
  • 1 teaspoon of baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon of cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon of lemon juice
  • 1 egg (whisked)
  • 1/2 cup of milk
  • 1 tablespoon of coconut oil
  • 1 cup of heavy whipping cream
  • 2 teaspoons of honey
  • 1/2 pint of strawberries hulled and sliced
  • Butter for Greasing
  • Parchment Paper

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350.
  2. Grease 6 x 2 inch cake pans add parchment paper and grease the parchment paper as well.
  3. Mash the banana.
  4. Mix in the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, lemon juice, egg, milk, and oil.
  5. Bake for 15-17 minutes until a tooth pick comes out clean.
  6. Slice Strawberries.
  7. In an electric mixer whip cream and honey on high for about three minutes.
  8. Watch closely and stop whisking when you have soft peaks.
  9. Add whip cream to the first layer of cake.
  10. Add a layer of strawberries.
  11. Add the rest of the whipped cream to the top layer of the cake and add the rest of the strawberries.
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Banana Nut Muffins

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If you have bananas and almond flour in your refrigerator, I am going to bet you have the all the items to make this delcious muffin. It’s a very forgiving recipe, so if you don’t have coconut sugar use brown sugar or if you are totally sugar free just leave it out! These are such a treat, but are packed with protein,  vitamin E, magnesium, potassium, and fiber.

I adapted the recipe from Elana’s Pantry‘s basic almond flour muffin. She’s amazing and really one of the leaders in Paleo Cooking. Elana is a wonderful resource. Check out her blog.

I was most impressed with the texture of these. Frankly, it’s hard to get great flavor and have a normal texture when you aren’t cooking with all- purpose flour. However, these muffins are basically fail proof. I made them once and forgot the vinegar and baking soda (I should never multi-task) and we still gobbled them all up.

Banana Muffins

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 15 minutes

Total Time: 20 minutes

Yield: 9 muffins

Serving Size: 1 muffin

Ingredients

  • 1 cup of almond flour
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 cup of coconut sugar (or brown sugar)
  • 1/4 teaspoon of baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon of apple cider vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla
  • 1/4 teaspoon of cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon of nutmeg
  • Dash of salt
  • 1 banana mashed

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350.
  2. Line cupcake pan with parchment liners.
  3. Mash banana.
  4. Whisk in eggs.
  5. Stir in flour and remaining ingredients.
  6. Scoop dough evenly into 9 cupcake parchment cups.
  7. Bake for 15-20 minutes.

Notes

If you are totally sugar free, omit the coconut sugar and lean on the banana to lightly sweeten.

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I highly recommend using these Parchment cupcake liners as they keep the muffins from sticking! They are also great for making mini egg bites to reheat during the week like I did here. P.S. My kids eat these but won’t eat eggs anymore. What on earth? But, it makes for very little clean up in the morning, so I am thrilled about that!

Strawberry Thumb Print Cookies

These cookies are the bomb! They are delicious and are a cross between between kitchen sink cookies and my favorite Pioneer Woman Strawberry Oat Bars. I wanted my littles to have something sweet for Valentine’s Day that was low glycemic and I could enjoy too, which  meant they would have to be gluten-free. I succeeded. These are truly delicious. The only draw back is that they are crumbly, so I’d pick these for a rainy afternoon treat with a glass of cold milk or hot tea, but they aren’t made for traveling 🙂

Valentine’s Day Thumb Print Cookies

Ingredients

  • 1/2 teaspoon of salt
  • 1/2 cup of butter melted
  • 2 teaspoons of vanilla
  • 1 egg (slightly whisked)
  • 1 cup of old-fashioned oats blended in your blender to create oat flour (use gluten-free oats if you have celiac)
  • 1/2 cup of old-fashioned oats
  • 3/4 cup of almond meal (You can use the cheaper stuff here. It doesn't have to be blanched)
  • 1/4 cup of unsweetened coconut (don't use sweetened it will be too wet)
  • 1/4 cup of agave
  • Strawberry Jam Unsweetened (I buy the kind that says simply fruit)

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350.
  2. Melt Butter.
  3. Make oat flour by blending in a blender.
  4. Stir butter, oat flour, almond meal, agave, and vanilla.
  5. Whisk in an egg, but be sure the dough isn't still warm from the melted butter.
  6. Add in the old-fashioned oats, coconut, salt, and baking powder.
  7. If you are going for the traditional thumb print cookies, roll the dough into small balls and place on an un-greased cookie sheets.
  8. Next, make an indention with your thumb and fill the well with about 1/4 teaspoon of strawberry jam.
  9. Bake for 9-12 minutes until slightly golden.
  10. If you want a heart shaped cookie, roll the dough into a ball and then squish it down flat onto the cookie sheet.
  11. Next, get your cookie cutter and use it almost like a mold, wiping away excess dough. This dough is very wet (due to no flour) and doesn't roll out like traditional cookie dough.
  12. Then make an indention with your thumb and fill the well with about 1/4 teaspoon of strawberry jam.
  13. Bake for 9-12 minutes until slightly golden.
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