How To Make Sunbutter

There are two bouquets of flowers in my house currently. One is on our dining table, soaking up some rays and looking oh so beautiful. The other is brightly sitting right next to me while I type. It’s like having a piece of sunshine. The reason behind these flowers though is much more significant than the blooms themselves.

Sometimes I need a physical reminder that I am loved. It’s something I know down deep, but I’m human. Constantly needing a little more than a feeling to go by. My husband is one of the most loving people you’ll ever meet. He loves well. Part of what makes him good at this, is he gets creative about how to love. Years ago when we were first married, I told him I was the kind of girl who needed flowers once in a while. Not in a demanding diva sort of way, but more of a “you should know this about me” way.

He’s never forgotten, and is king of being sporadic enough that I feel genuinely loved. There have definitely days he brought home “I’m sorry” flowers, but that hasn’t happened in a really long time.

I’m of the opinion that everyone needs lovin’. Whether it’s between friends, family or the stranger behind you in line for coffee. There are so many ways to love.

This week my son and I chose to love a child in his class. We’ve never met him or her. A note came home from school stating a child at school has a peanut allergy and all children are asked to keep everything peanut at home. My son has devastated. Nuts and seeds are big part of our family’s diet. It’s one of his favorite ways to eat carrots and apples. Instead of allowing the focus to go towards my son suddenly feeling without – we got creative.

I’ve loved sunbutter for a few years now, but the cost has kept me from buying it regularly. Now I have a big reason for having this as a staple in our kitchen. To the girl or boy in my son’s class, I pray this allergy doesn’t keep you from anything you want to do. I hope you feel loved as your class is making a way for you to enjoy the cafeteria and not have to be afraid of certain foods. And if you ever need any sunbutter, don’t hesitate to ask us!

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Raspberry Swirl Zucchini Bread

Zucchini, zucchini everywhere – and way too much to eat. Summer in Northern California means vegetable gardens exploding with huge over-ripe food. In a world full of zucchini, where’s a girl to go?

My family loves zucchini – but during this time of year I start to get this, “If you grill zucchini for dinner one more time….😠” sort of look from them. I hate wasting food, so I get creative. 

The Zucchini Warehouse

Here is a list of all zucchini related recipes on Sweetest Lemonade. It’s such a diverse vegetable. More are sure to come!

Chocolate Zucchini Cake Your Kids Will Eat. Seriously, this one’s to die for. My oldest (now nine) asked me to make this recipe into cupcakes for his class when it was his birthday!

Time Saving Pasta Sauce. Ever heard of zoodles? Here’s a bomb sauce we love with zoodles.

Honey Sesame Pork Chops are not just amazing, but surreal with some fresh zucchini added to the sauce!

Savory Chicken Veggie Soup is ready for you as fall starts to appear!

And last but not least, our newest recipe 👇

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Yes this bread is gluten free and dairy free. You should know this about me by now! Unless specified otherwise, you’ll find we bake this way regularly. We like to use alternative sugars as well. This one features coconut sugar!




Homemade Jerky

Have you ever heard the saying, “time is money and money is time”? It’s a wise mantra when trying to prioritize. You can save time or money, not both. My issue is quality. There are some things in life that are worth the time and the money for the sake of quality. Food is one of them. While I’m all for a great deal, I want the food my family takes in to be what they need. Nutritious, full of vitamins and ridiculously tasty.

I’ve gradually incorporated more and more homemade foods into our diets as I’m always learning more and more about what foods have processed ingredients in them and which ones are still safe to purchase. Jerky is one that I thought I was good on for a while. I was buying a high-end quality jerky that the whole family enjoyed. The only problem was how quickly we ran out of it. That, and no matter what the sugar levels were kind of crazy for dried meat.

We purchase a 1/4 of a cow seasonally and store it in our deep freezer. This last time I spoke to the butcher and asked if he could do some jerky cuts for me. While I can cut my own jerky slices from steaks (and I have before) I’m not very good at getting the slices as thin as they need to be. Also, why not save a step?

This jerky was so easy to set up that I made homemade yogurt, homemade jello and granola bars that same day. Talk about being set on snacks for a while!

We made this with our homemade teriyaki sauce, but I’ve since found one at Trader Joe’s that has clean ingredients if you want to save even more time.

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Pomegranate Blueberry Overnight Oats

I’ll be the first to admit it. As a kid, oatmeal was not exactly on my request list for breakfast. Ever. If my mom made it, I ate it. That was it. Now as an adult and mom, it’s fun to get creative and find ways to make healthy food taste good. Oats are amazing for our bodies and a great filler when headed out for a big day. I now have 3 different ways my kids enjoy -that’s right enjoy- oatmeal.

Coconut Sugar & Raisins

A classic way to eat oatmeal is warm with brown sugar, butter and raisins. We change it up a bit by sprinkling coconut sugar and raising over our oats. We skip the butter entirely. Also, we cook them with water, not milk. This is because dairy broke up with me a couple years ago, and also because it’s not needed with a dish like this. When eating oatmeal, you won’t be leaving the table hungry wishing you had added a fatty ingredient to it. Trust me.

Apple Pie Overnight Oats

We add this to our meal prep at least once a month. I simply line up 4-6 jars, add the ingredients and shake! The jars go in the fridge overnight and are ready to go in the morning. Our family likes them cold or warm; pretty much whatever we have time for. This one’s great if you need to eat on the go like my husband does. He grabs it and runs out the door anywhere from 5-6am with a couple hard-boiled eggs. Perfect combo! Click here for the full recipe.

Pomegranate Blueberry Overnight Oats

Now for the newest creation in the Metzger house. This recipe features Skylake Ranch Pomegranate syrup. Believe it or not, pomegranate syrup has less sugar per serving than maple syrup does. Our whole house loves anything pomegranate or blueberry so this dish is a win-win. I added flaxseed and chia seed to really up the nutrition game for this meal. I’m a huge believer that breakfast really is the most important meal of the day, so start strong!

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Clean Carrot Cake

I love a good challenge. The kind that scares me slightly, makes me question my capabilities and forces me to do my best. It might sound ridiculous, but that’s what this cake did.

I love a good carrot cake, but a good carrot cake is hard to come by! I don’t quite understand it myself, but many carrot cakes turn out very dry. I also want to taste more than just carrots in my cake. There are so many flavors that compliment carrots. A carrot cake should be creative and fun!

I chose ginger and pineapple as my two complimenting flavors. The ginger leaves a tiny bite at the end of each mouthful. The pineapple draws out the natural sweet in the carrots and creates a soft textured “crust” underneath the cake.

This cake can stand alone without frosting. That was really important to me simply because it’s hard to make a cream cheese frosting without cream cheese, and a lot of people have a hard time with dairy (myself included). So while the cake can be frosted, it doesn’t have to be. How neat is that?!?

Biting into this cake, you’ll notice the consistency is spot-on for a regular cake. I love the idea of a cake that can bring people to the light-which is that eating real food doesn’t have to be gross. It can be delicious and nutritious! This cake is gluten free, dairy free and butter/oil free. I used apple sauce instead of any kind of fat. That also helped get the right moisture for a carrot cake. A carrot cake should be moist throughout, but hold itself well while cutting into it.

Invite some friends over, sway them to the dark light side of life and indulge in some carrot cake! This is a great starter dish for those skeptical about a healthy lifestyle. As always, I linked some of the ingredients to Amazon for quick purchasing. Enjoy!

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Pomegranate Sherbet

The heat was horrid. The kids and I were trying to make do, but we’d had enough. Every time the front door opened I could hear myself calling out, “Shut the door, you’re letting the heat in”. My husband was going through 6 gallons of water a day to keep from becoming dehydrated. The water in the pool was so hot we couldn’t even swim!

I did what any mom with 3 melting children would do. I put them in a cold bath and made sherbet.

Sherbet is great because it doesn’t require an ice cream maker. You can simply freeze it! This recipe makes excellent sherbet by freezing in 3 stages. First, you pour the blended liquid into a freezer safe Tupperware container. After an hour, use a fork and whisk it. This keeps the fat from separating with the sugar. In another hour to hour and a half, repeat this process. The sherbet will be mostly thick now, almost a thick milk shake consistency. Let the ice cream freeze for another 2 hours and serve! It scoops nicely right out of the container.

I just love the color of this sorbet too. The pomegranate flavor is cool and refreshing.

Try it yourself! Feel free to use this recipe in an ice cream maker if you have one, or just use your freezer.

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Strawberries in Balsamic Yogurt Sauce

Today I’m celebrating. Coffee in hand, kids at school, and complete silence are my party decorations. Something incredible happened this weekend. Our little family of 5 went hiking.

Hiking by itself is nothing new for my crew; what’s new is how we hiked. Minimal planning, and minimal child-holding on the hike. My kids are now 9, 5 and 2 1/2. As you can imagine, the last few years of parenting have come with lots of planning and LOTS of child-holding in order to maintain the life we love. That hike was magical. Our two boys hiked the whole way with no complaining. Our 2 1/2 year old daughter rode in the hiking back pack and only complained because she wanted to walk too. We let her down whenever we stopped to swim and that made her very happy.

My husband and I have been pretty ruthless in keeping what we love regardless of the kids. Meaning, we haven’t stopped hiking, going to concerts, camping, road-tripping, and all around adventuring. We’ve gone into countless activities with the attitude of “this is going to be even better than last time” as opposed to “we’ll just try to cope because the kids are with us this time”. This has become our life mantra.

Sweetest Lemonade was actually named after our intense focus to make not just lemonade out of lemons, but the sweetest lemonade. Life doesn’t have to be “less than” when kids enter your world. Or even when things start to turn sour for that matter. When life gets hard, you still have the choice to make it the best out of what you have.

Parenting is hard, and complaining about it is the easy way out. I choose to live every day enjoying my kids, my messy house and my knack for cooking.

That brings me to today’s recipe. A simple, surprisingly sweet yogurt balsamic sauce dolloped over strawberries.

Plain Greek yogurt gets a bad rap because of its strong tangy flavor and complete lack of sweet. I wish we weren’t all so addicted to sweet (myself included) and could appreciate foods that have other flavors. But, that topic is for another day.

I love the clear red color of this balsamic!

This twist on yogurt is superb. No one would guess a white pomegranate balsamic and a little bit of honey could transform plain Greek yogurt into a snack even your kids will request!

The best part is, this recipe is only 4 ingredients, and perfect for summer![amd-zlrecipe-recipe:91]




Honey Caramel Sauce

Ah, honey caramel sauce. The caramel flavor everyone loves with a light, airy taste. Honey can be used for a variety of things, not just food. I use raw, local honey in all my recipes. This stuff is too good to make into some sort of face mask or hair removal treatment. Some things simply must be eaten.

I am in love with raw honey. The taste alone gets me, but the way it holds its own in recipes has me sold out. I am not new to cooking with honey. When I used to buy generic honey from the store (gasp) I had no clue what was missing. The flavor wasn’t nearly as prevalent and the texture was slightly different.

Getting the ingredient portions right for this recipe was tricky, but definitely worth it. My kids hardly complained about “bad batches” either.😉

Uses For Honey Caramel Sauce

Honestly, I haven’t found a dud, but here is what I know works!

What do you love to do with caramel sauce? Whatever it is try this honey caramel sauce instead of your regular one. Looking for a darker caramel flavor? Click here to read about our caramel sauce using coconut sugar.

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Gorgeous Gluten Free Soft Pretzels

I’m sorry. I did that thing again. The thing where I made something so delicious, you decided you’d rather move in with me than try to make all this food on your own. I get it. I used to be that person too. While I have contemplated the pros an cons of having a huge piece of land my friends can all live on, for now you’ll have to look at these pictures long enough to convince yourself to make them.

Pretzels are incredible. I have yet to meet anyone who doesn’t like them. If that’s you, maybe just don’t tell me. I’m not sure I could handle that.

Having fun trying out various sizes!

Back in the day I worked at the gift shop in the mall. The pretzel place was the closest to me so naturally when on my breaks, I frequented it. I might also add that I was just over 300lbs at the time…. If you didn’t know that part of my story, you can read about it here.

Needless to say I generally stay away from pretzels because I love them too much. Until this recipe happened. Gluten free pretzels that only use coconut sugar. They’re dairy free too!

The Pretzel Process

Begin with by mixing the warm water and yeast. Then add in the dough mixture. Cover and let rise for 60-70 minutes.

Roll out the dough onto parchment paper. I sprinkled my parchment paper with brown rice flour to keep the dough from sticking.

Transfer the pretzels from the paper to the hot water bath. They only need to be in the water for 3-5 seconds, not much.

Olive oil is the key for these savory pretzels. Most recipes finish with a butter glaze, but I wanted a different zing-zing flavor. I used Buckeye Creek Farm Olive Oil for this recipe. Brush the olive oil on the tops of the pretzels. Sprinkle the rosemary and kosher salt on top. Bake for 18-20 minutes.

One batch can make 12 medium pretzels, or 6 large pretzels.

Dip them in your favorite sauce and enjoy!

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Banana Pecan Muffins

“Mom – she touched me!”

“Well he wouldn’t stop looking at me!”

“That’s because you won’t play with me.”

“I don’t wanna play with you. I’m not a baby anymore!”

“Mom – she called me a baby!”

Crying. Whining. Yelling. Don’t forget the fiery darts coming out of your child’s eyes.

If only whining could be neutralized. Will there ever be a cure?!?

I know what you truly want for Mother’s Day. It’s not breakfast in bed or a bouquet of roses. None of those little coupons promising dishes will be done for a week. You don’t want jewelry either. Okay, I should say you don’t want just jewelry. Sweetest Moms Tip: Don’t ever say no to jewelry.

What you really want is for your children to get along. To stop whining, nagging, tattling and everything else in between.

People, I’ve figured it out. It’s not a séance or new video game that teaches manners either.

There is something you should know. This recipe will calm your kids down. Mellow them out. Create a peaceful environment where everyone can hear themselves think. Can you picture it? I’m still in the stage of not being able to use the bathroom by myself- so you can imagine why I created this recipe.

The Trick

Muffins are a friendly enough food to kids at any age. From toddler to teen, a muffin is a welcome sight.

I’ve disguised these muffins to appear normal, slightly sweet & delicious. Kids will ever know your plan to keep them calm for an afternoon.

Cardamom is a natural anti-depressant and helps reduce muscle spasms. It’s also used for heart issues and stomach pains. Bottom line, by using this spice, you are taking care of multiple things that can make kids cranky. Have you ever experienced the horrors that come with a child having growing pains? Not fun. Or he ate too much at lunch and now everything is making him angry due to gas or a bloated stomach? My son has actually come home sick from school only to find the problem was an upset stomach from lunch time.

Cloves will surprise you. I use ground cloves quite often. Did you know cloves are an amazing remedy for headaches? So whether the whining is causing a headache or the result of one, cloves are important for calming the situation.

Pecans have a wealth of vitamins and nutrients. Possibly lesser known is that nuts have been proven to lower anxiety. No matter what started the whining sound, a lower amount of anxiety will definitely help!

Bananas are simply the best. The can level out your metabolism and be the perfect go-to snack when you’re on the run as a typical banana is only 90 calories. They are high in potassium and have natural occurring sugars in them.

 

So give yourself a treat, make some muffins and put the whole family in a better state of mind. This will be the best Mother’s Day yet! 😉

I am siting Organic Facts for the information listed above about spices and foods.[amd-zlrecipe-recipe:85]