Eppli Cakka Recipe

Eppli cakka, a simple Faroese dessert or breakfast!

One of my very favorite fall traditions is making applesauce with my mom and sisters… and now with my own kiddos. I love the tart sweet smell of apples baking and bowls of fresh sauce sprinkled with cinnamon.

But one of my very favorite uses for applesauce (homemade or not) is Eppli Cakka. It’s a simple Faroese dessert that’s healthy enough we sometimes eat it for breakfast. The original calls for a type of sweetened breadcrumbs that we haven’t found in the U.S., but granola makes a perfect substitute.

Eppli Cakka Recipe

Layers of granola and applesauce

Ingredients 

Layer applesauce and granola. You can make it in a big serving dish, but I prefer serving it up individual bowls, since leftovers get soggy and I despise soggy food.

Eppli cakka with cream on top

Top with cream and garnish with chocolate shavings.

For variety, add peeled diced apples in between the applesauce and granola layers. So simple, but so yummy!

This simple Scandinavian dessert pairs applesauce and granola for a healthy treat!

Rosemary Salmon Baked in Foil

Savory rosemary salmon baked in foil for a super fast and healthy meal. (Frozen fillets work great, making it more affordable too!)

This meal has saved us from a last minute pizza run countless times. It’s my go-to friend on busy days when I don’t really feel like cooking, and am about to call Josh and see if he’ll pick up pizza on his way home.

Trouble is, I don’t really like pizza and especially don’t like how unhealthy it is. But I love this salmon recipe and it’s super easy to throw in the oven, crazy healthy, and (if you keep frozen fillets from Aldi in the freezer at all times) cheaper than pizza.

It’s also simple to dress up for company or to take to a friend who could use a meal.
Super simple salmon recipe with consistently flaky and juicy results.

Often I’ll just do salmon and onions, but a medley of fresh vegetables makes it extra delicious. 

Rosemary Salmon Baked in Foil

Ingredients

  • 4-6 Salmon fillets (frozen and thawed works great!)
  • 4 T olive oil
  • 2 T lemon juice
  • Salt & pepper
  • 4-6 sprigs rosemary, optional
  • 2-4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1-2 onions, thinly sliced
  • Other vegetables, optional (mushrooms, squash, potatoes, etc.)

Salmon and veggies baked in foil. So easy and SO delicious!

I’ve tried making individual fillets of salmon baked in foil, but when you’re serving six, this is WAY faster and you still get the juicy results. 

Instructions

Thaw salmon according to instructions, if frozen.

Mix together the oil, lemon juice, rosemary, and garlic. Salt and pepper the mixture to taste. Add salmon (after taste testing, of course!) and let marinate in the fridge for 1 to 4 hours. If you’re in a hurry (like I often am), skip the marinating.

Thinly slice the onions and place them on the bottom of a Pyrex pan. Salt generously.

If adding other vegetables, wash and chop them. Toss them in with the salmon to coat with oil. Arrange the salmon (and veggies) over the onions. Drizzle any extra oil on top.

Cover tightly with foil. Bake at 400° for 15-25 minutes (depending on the thickness of the fillet), or until the fish flakes easily. The foil keeps in the moisture and helps make the salmon juicy and flavorful.

It goes well with rice or sweet potato hash browns and salad, but is very versatile.

Delicious and healthy, this rosemary salmon is baked in foil for quick clean up and consistently juicy salmon.

Fruit Juice Jello

A few weeks ago I attended an excellent meeting on gut health. The speaker encouraged us to include more bone broth into our diets because the gelatin from bone broth helps heal and protect the lining of the gut.

Though her arguments were quite compelling, I had a problem: it’s getting hot here. The last thing I feel like making for dinner every night is soup. Thankfully, there are two summer-friendly ways to get more of the gelatin from broth into our diet: cook foods like rice or lentils in bone broth and eat fruit juice jello.

Homemade fruit juice jello only takes two simple ingredients and is a great kid-approved way to include more gelatin in your diet.

Homemade jello is by far the most kid-approved method, at least at our home. Plus, it’s so simple that I taught Rose (almost eight) how to make it because she’s been begging for more independence in the kitchen. (I just stay close by and oversee since there’s a stove involved!)

Fruit juice jello recipe

Ingredients

  • 4 cups fruit juice
  • 4 Tbsp. unflavored gelatin (Use less if you want a runnier consistency, more if you want it extra firm.)
  • Added nutrients, optional. You can add herbal extract, vitamin C powder, etc. I try to add just enough so that it doesn’t affect the taste.

(We love this grass-fed beef gelatin. If you can get a group of friends to buy with you, it’s much cheaper by the case!)

You can use just about any flavor of juice. I buy frozen concentrate which lets me control the sweetness. We’ve made apple, kiwi, raspberry apple, white grape and pineapple fruit juice jello. The kids loved all of them.

Transform a childhood favorite into a high-protein, gut-friendly treat!!

Instructions

  1. Pour one cup of cold juice into a heat-proof mixing bowl. Sprinkle the gelatin on top of it and let is sit.
  2. Bring the three remaining cups of juice to a boil.
  3. Pour the hot juice into the gelatinous glob.
  4. Stir until completely dissolved, about two minutes.
  5. Pour into a 9×13 pan and refrigerate. It should be solid in 8 to 12 hours.

Once it has gelled, cut into squares and serve. Fruit juice jello makes the perfect dessert or snack on warm spring and summer days!

Once you’ve started playing with unflavored jello, the possibilities are endless. My friend Amanda makes herbal vitamin C jello and Elise from Frugal Farm Wife makes gummy treats with kefir water.

Do your kids love jello? Have you ever made your own?

Weekly Breakfast Menu

“Goodnight Mama. I love you! What’s for breakfast in the morning?” Almost every night, one of the children asks for the breakfast menu as I tuck them into bed.

Since breakfast is such an important meal, I try to make sure that it is sustaining and (mostly) healthy without spending all morning in the kitchen. After fielding the breakfast question for the 873rd time, I decided it was time to sit down and put a weekly menu on paper.

Not only will a healthy breakfast menu help me answer their question easily, it will help my foggy morning brain!

Weekly breakfast menu

Hootenanny-- a breakfast favorite!

Hootenanny hot from the oven! 

Sunday: hootenanny

Almost every single week, Joshua lets me sleep in while he makes up a big batch of delicious hootenanny. The outside is always the best, so he had the brilliant idea of baking the hootenanny in (non-stick!) muffin tins. Deliciousness! Topped with real maple syrup and lightly dusted with powdered sugar, it makes a lovely Sunday breakfast.

Yogurt and granola: a simple, healthy breakfast

Homemade yogurt topped with homemade granola

Monday: yogurt & granola or oatmeal

I don’t know what Mondays are like at your place, but if there’s any chance of starting the week out on a good footing, I need something easy and sustaining for breakfast. Homemade yogurt topped with homemade granola fits the bill.

Cooked oatmeal or cooked seven-grain cereal are also good options. (My silly kids ask for sugar on their Lucky Charms, but also love soaked seven-grain “cereal.” I have yet to figure out their wacky tastebuds.)

Easy, delicious, freezer-friendly breakfast burritos!

Freezer-friendly breakfast burritos

Tuesday: breakfast burritos

On Tuesday, we have our weekly classical academy which means we ought to be out the door at 8:00. Which is not when we are usually ready to walk out the door. Freezing a big batch of breakfast burritos for Tuesday mornings has made getting out the door much less hectic. Plus, they are yummy and filling!

Mocha muffins with a fruit and yogurt shake

Hot mocha muffins with fruit-sweetened homemade yogurt shakes 

Wednesday: muffins with yogurt shakes

Every few weeks, I make up a big batch of muffins (mocha muffins are our favorite!) to freeze. Served with a homemade yogurt shake, they make a delicious healthy breakfast.

Thursday is "official" cereal day at our home!

I don’t for a moment consider this healthy, but at least Aldi used purple carrot extract as a food coloring. Just one more reason why I love Aldi

Thursday: Cereal Day

Thursday is official cereal day at our place. Yep, it’s even marked on Rose’s calendar. You see, the kids love cereal. I don’t. I think it’s way overpriced, generally unhealthy, and totally not filling. As a compromise, I told them they could have cereal every Thursday morning… after they eat a bowl of oatmeal. (If all they eat is cereal, it only takes about 27 minutes for them to start complaining that they are starving.)

Friday: eggs & toast

Even through the winter, our little flock of chickens has been faithfully providing us with beautiful fresh brown eggs, which makes serving eggs and toast way more fun!

(My little sis Bekka accidentally stumbled on the secret to perfect scrambled eggs: butter. When the eggs are almost finished cooking, add a dab of butter and let it melt over the eggs. Butter makes everything better.)

Pancakes

(These buckwheat pancakes make a good gluten-free variety!)

Saturday: waffles or pancakes

Homemade waffles or pancakes have been a Saturday morning tradition for as long as I can remember. They are a perfect for a nice leisurely breakfast.

A good breakfast can make a world of difference in a day! Here's our simple, varied and (mostly) healthy breakfast menu.

Our (mostly) healthy breakfast menu

On special occasions we substitute a fancier breakfast option. Crepes are always my children’s breakfast of choice, Joshua loves biscuits and gravy, and traditional Faroese smorkaka is my favorite.

The rest of the time, having a weekly healthy breakfast menu will help me avoid morning stress while feeding the family a healthy, varied breakfast.

What are your favorite breakfast foods? Do you have a set breakfast menu?

Hearty Breakfast Burritos

Looking for a hearty breakfast that you can grab and go? Breakfast burritos are a perfect choice. They are yummy, filling, and easy to eat in the van.

Plus, there are so many different fillings you can add to keep them interesting: eggs, sausage, bacon bits, different kinds of cheese, hash browns, sautéed onions and peppers, mushrooms, salsa…. The variations are practically endless.

Whip up a big batch and freeze them for busy mornings.

Breakfast burritos are a perfect choice for busy mornings. Whip up a big batch and freeze them for days that start out crazy.

Hearty Breakfast Burritos

Ingredients

Makes 24 breakfast burritos

  • 24 tortillas (Normally, I make homemade tortillas because we love them so much. Homemade tortillas don’t freeze well though, so for breakfast burritos I buy tortillas.)
  • 2 1/2  dozen eggs
  • Shredded cheese
  • Sausage, optional
  • Sautéed onions, optional
  • Whatever other toppings you want!

You’ll also need a big frying pan or skillet, freezer bags, and foil (if you want them individually wrapped.)

Instructions

  1. Scramble the eggs and season with salt and pepper to taste.
  2. Fry other toppings, if necessary.
  3. Form an assembly line with the eggs, cheese, and favorite toppings.
  4. Scoop a little of each one onto each tortilla.
  5. Fold in both ends of the tortilla, then it roll up. Wet your finger and rub it across the outer flap of the tortilla to help it stick better when you fold it.
  6. Individually wrap each breakfast burrito, if desired. (Normally I do about half individually wrapped. It makes it easier to pull out in the evening and stick in the fridge for Joshua if he needs to leave before I get up.)
  7. Store in freezer bags.
  8. If you know you are going to have a busy morning, pull breakfast burritos out the night before and let them thaw in the refrigerator. Otherwise, just pop them in the microwave or oven and heat till hot.

Breakfast burritos are just perfect for busy mornings: yummy, filling, and easy to freeze ahead!

Breakfast burritos for busy mornings

Having a freezer stocked with breakfast burritos has rescued my morning so many times! Whip up a big batch and have a handy, hearty breakfast when your mornings are just too busy.

Greek Tuna Lentil Patties Recipe

Lentils and tuna make a delicious and simple meal  that's packed with protein!

“Party days” are one of the highlights of getting to teach history at our weekly classical academy. The children dress up in period costumes (aka Daddy’s t-shirts, sheets, and ribbons) and learn about the culture of long-distant civilizations. Last week we studied the ancient Greeks.

While I scoured the internet trying to find simple, authentic-ish finger food recipes, I had an idea. I was afraid most of the students probably wouldn’t like them, but since others brought dates, fruit drizzled with honey, and pita bread with olive oil, I wasn’t too worried about pleasing everyone.

Living by the Mediterranean, fish was a staple for ancient Greeks. Often it was mixed with cheese in recipes. Lentils were also a staple. So, how about melding all three staples into tuna lentil patties?

Much to my surprise, almost all the students liked the patties. The fact that we had a mock Olympics earlier that morning might have helped, but I was still pleasantly surprised. Rose liked them so much she asked if we could have them again that night for dinner.

These Greek-inspired tuna lentil patties are super simple, packed with protein, and frugal to boot! Not only did we have them for dinner that night, they are getting added to our revolving monthly menu  for a simple weeknight meal.

Greek Tuna Lentil Patties Recipe

Inspired by the ancient Greeks and Kristen’s delicious salmon rice cakes

Ingredients

  • 2-3 cups cooked lentils
  • 2 cans of tuna, drained (Canned salmon is also delicious in this recipe, though not found in the Mediterranean. I was surprised to find that a type of tuna is.)
  • 1 onion, finely diced (optional)
  • 1/2 cup shredded cheese
  • 2 eggs
  • Salt & pepper to taste
  • Garlic powder, optional
  • Butter (or olive oil) for frying
  • Parsley, optional

You can fry these in a pan on the stove, but after Joshua finally convinced me we ought to get an electric skillet, I have used it multiple times every week. This is the one we got and I love how portable it is!

Frying a panful of tuna lentil patties for an easy, healthy lunch.

Sizzling away in butter. Yummy! 

Instructions

  1. Cook the lentils in water according to the instructions on the bag. Sprinkle liberally with salt, pepper, and garlic powder.
  2. Combine lentils with the rest of the ingredients except butter and parsley.
  3. Heat frying pan to medium
  4. Lather butter in the pan
  5. Scoop the batter and drop onto the melted butter
  6. Fry the first side until it is golden brown and the egg is mostly set.
  7. Flip and finish frying.
  8. Sprinkle with salt, pepper, and parsley, if desired.

Serve hot with salad, sweet potato fries, or pita bread dipped in olive oil.

Inspired by an ancient Greek homeschool study, these tuna lentil patties are easy, delicious, and so healthy!

If you want to be really authentic, don’t serve tomatoes. They were introduced to Greek cuisine from “The New World” only a few centuries ago. They sure pair well though! 

Greek-inspired tuna lentil patties

I never would have guessed that a concoction put together solely for an ancient Greek party would end up a welcome addition to our menu. Not only are these tuna lentil patties a little taste of ancient Greece, they are healthy, filling, and delicious.

[Full disclosure: links to products in this post are my referral links.]

Cuban Bread Recipe

Whip up this delicious no-knead Cuban bread and have it on the table in just over an hour!

[Full disclosure: links to products in this post are my referral posts.]

Back when I was tutoring a Western Civilization class, I came across this random tidbit that about made my head spin. Especially with the whole gluten-free diets that have swept the country.

The daily ration for monks in Carolingian society was 3.7 pounds of bread! (from Spielvogel’s Western Civilization)

3.7 pounds. Can you imagine? That’s like several loaves of whole wheat bread every single day! 

When my friend Candace introduced me to this Cuban bread recipe I thought, hmmmmm, I probably couldn’t eat 3.7 pounds of this bread, but I probably could polish off a whole loaf on my own. 

Don’t worry, I didn’t. But it is awfully tasty. It doesn’t need to be kneaded and it only takes about an hour from start to finish, including baking time! Talk about easy!

Cuban Bread Recipe

Modified from the Tightwad Gazette (I almost always modify any new recipe using these simple strategies to make it healthier.)

Ingredients

Quick and delicious, this {almost} whole-wheat cuban bread is a must-try recipe!

Instructions

Grease a cookie sheet.

Combine the first five ingredients. Add enough white flour to make a soft dough. Let the dough rise for 15 minutes. Divide and shape it into two round loaves, brush with water, and sprinkle with sesame seeds.

Place a pan of hot water on the lowest rack of a cold oven.

Place the loaves on the middle rack and then turn the oven on to 375. Bake for 30-45 minutes or until a light golden brown. Once it’s done, lightly spray with cold water for a nice soft crust. Serve warm with butter.

See, isn’t that easy?!

Easy and delicious, this Cuban bread recipe only takes about an hour from start to finish!

Make some Cuban Bread

As you can see, this is one of the easiest bread recipes ever, and it’s ever so moist and delicious. Whip up a batch and have it on the table in just over an hour!

How to Make ANY Recipe More Healthy

You don’t have to buy the latest health food cookbook to serve your family high-quality foods. Transforming your own favorite recipes to make them as nourishing as possible (without compromising on taste) is an adventurous kitchen challenge.

Practically any recipe can be make more healthy just by reducing the sugar, using higher quality ingredients, adding hidden vegetables, and making your own staples.

Want to make your favorite recipes more healthy, without compromising on taste? Here are four smart and simple strategies to healthify any recipe.

photo credit

Decrease the Sugar & Increase the Flavor

If a recipe was created in America, chances are it calls for too much sugar. As a culture we’re addicted to the stuff. Sugar (or corn syrup) makes it onto the grocery store shelves in all sorts of hidden ways and helps mask cheap ingredients.

If you want to healthify a regular recipe, begin by decreasing the sugar/sweetener by a fourth and adding more flavor.

So if your pumpkin muffin recipe calls for two cups of sugar and 1 1/2 cups of pumpkin, reduce the sugar to 1 1/2 cups and add extra pumpkin puree or a nice dash of homemade vanilla extract.

[This pumpkin muffin recipe is pre-healthified, just for you!]

Each time you make the recipe, gradually reduce the sugar even more until you find the perfect balance of flavor and sweetness. I usually end up decreasing the sweetener by a third to a half.

The goal is delicious, rich flavor and not just sugar overload.

Substitute Better Ingredients

One of the simplest ways to “healthify” any recipe is to swap out the standard ingredients for higher quality ones. Many times there is no affect at all on the taste, but better ingredients often cost more. To avoid budget-overload, pick one or two items at a time to “upgrade” and find the things that seem most worthwhile for your family.

A few weeks into our marriage, I arrived home from shopping with a pound of margarine. When Joshua got home, he asked, “Where did you get that stuff babe?!” I read the label and agreed with him that we’d be a butter-only family from then on.

Depending on what I have in the pantry or fridge, sometimes my substitutions get pretty crazy. When a recipe calls for canola oil, I might substitute part homemade yogurt, part olive oil, and part coconut oil.

To keep it simple, here are a few very basic substitutes:

Salt —————-> Sea Salt

Cornstarch ————> arrowroot powder

White sugar —————-> raw sugar, honey, or even ripe bananas (like in these mocha muffins)

Vegetable oil —————> olive oil or coconut oil or part yogurt

Margarine ——————–> butter

Bleached white flour ————-> unbleached flour and/or freshly ground wheat flour

Part of the fun of homemaking is getting to experiment and find what works in your kitchen. There’s a substitute for practically every food under the sun!

(Of course, what qualifies as the healthiest food one generation often gets demoted in the next. Which is just one more reason to use wisdom and humility when making food choices.)

Add Hidden Vegetables

Camouflaged vegetables are a great way to “healthify” recipes and get more nutrients into your family.

The key is to start small.

  • Add a half cup of pureed vegetables to your cream sauces, soups, and smoothies.
  • Use fresh garlic and onions to increase the flavor in your favorite savory foods. (Read more ideas here)
  • Toss a teaspoon of chia seeds into smoothies, energy bites, or cookies.

If your family likes vegetables, openly add them in small quantities to your favorite meals. Turn Chicken Alfredo into Chicken & Spinach Alfredo or toss a small handful of spinach into your lasagna.

Make Your Own Staples

Staples like cream soups, seasoning mixes, and condensed milk make their way into many recipes. The trouble is, the prepackaged variety often includes unwanted ingredients too.

Start with just one or two base ingredients that you normally by pre-packaged and try making your own. Many are super simple and can be made in huge batches for later. (Here’s a Pinterest board of ideas.)

Just remember to start small. Even if most ideas aren’t worth the added effort, chances are you’ll find one or two items that are easy and enjoyable to make yourself.

Make ANY Recipe More Healthy

I’d be lying if I told you my cupboard is free of junk food. Nutella has a prominent (and permanent) place in my kitchen. I firmly believe you can serve your family Twinkies and still be a wonderful mother.

But trying to tweak your family’s recipes to make them as nutritious as possible is a fun and worthwhile challenge.

Thankfully, it’s pretty simple. You can make almost any recipe more healthy if you just reduce the sweetener (and increase the flavor!), use high-quality ingredients, sneak more vegetables in, and make your own base staples.

What are your favorite ways to make meals more nutritious? (And are you a fellow Nutella fan?) 

[Full disclosure: links to products in this post contain my referral links.]

Recipe: Homemade Granola

Granola was a staple in our house growing up. My mom rarely bought cereal, but we had granola at least twice a week. Homemade granola is simple to make, cheaper than cereal and much, much more nourishing which is why it’s one of our favorite healthy frugal breakfasts.

We eat it topped with raisins, chocolate chips, or craisins; with homemade yogurt; or as a layer in Eppli Cakka (a delicious Faroese dessert or breakfast).

Homemade Granola

Family’s Favorite Granola Recipe:

Ingredients: 

4 1/2 cups oatmeal (I prefer old fashioned oats)
1/2 cup whole grain flour
1/2 cup coconut flakes
1/8 cup ground flax seeds
1/2 cup oil (or melted butter)
1/2 cup honey (or agave nectar)
1 tsp vanilla (homemade is delicious!)
2 T water

Instructions: 

  1. Mix dry ingredients.
  2. Combine wet ingredients and add to dry ingredients. Mix thoroughly.
  3. Bake in a 9×13 pan (glass seems to heat more evenly and avoid burning as easily) at 300° for about 1 hour.
  4. Stir after 20 minutes, then 15, then 10, then 5 until evenly golden brown.
  5. Cool thoroughly and enjoy!

  May be linked up at Mama MomentsGrowing HomeHealthy 2Day ,Works for MeWalking RedeemedGraced SimplicityFabulously Frugal & Simple Lives

Favorite Fruit Popsicles

The first real waves of summer heat are upon us and it’s popsicle season again (not that my kids would object to popsicles in the dead of winter.)

I have been doing my best to keep the freezer stocked with homemade, real food popsicles. The kids love helping make them, and I love knowing their favorite summer snack is not pumped full of sugar and food coloring.

Here are a few of our favorite fruit-sweetened popsicles.

Fruit juice popsicles

One of my favorite garage sales finds of the season was a set of old-fashioned popsicle holders that are just like the ones I loved as a kid! Need popsicle molds? Amazon has a great selection!

Fruit juice popsicles

Fill popsicle holders with leftover fruit juice: apple, orange, grape, mixed, etc. Freeze and enjoy. (I can’t think of many simpler ways to get happy grins from my kiddos!)

Creamy fruit popsicles

Mix plain yogurt with freshly mashed strawberries OR orange juice concentrate. Sweeten lightly, if desired (I use agave nectar, but sugar or honey would work great too) Freeze and enjoy.

Fresh fruit popsicles

Aren’t these just amazing looking? Freeze fresh fruit in watermelon puree or fruit juice for a gorgeous and delicious summer treat! Usually I’m not that fancy though.

What are you favorite hot-weather snacks? 

 May be linked up at Mama MomentsGrowing HomeHealthy 2Day ,Works for MeWalking RedeemedGraced SimplicityFabulously Frugal & Simple Lives

[Full disclosure: links to products in this post are my referral links.]