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Ground Turkey Larb – Fast and Easy Kid Friendly

Ground Turkey Larb – Fast and Easy Kid Friendly

Larb (aka Laab) is a Thai dish that can be modified nicely for young eaters: It’s not too spicy (unless you up the heat), it can be fast and easy to make, and it has a good profile for protein and minerals, thanks to turkey or pork and a line up of fresh herbs. The generous garlic is a good gut health helper, with antimicrobial action and ability to bust up biofilm. Traditionally, larb is a spicy ground pork dish crafted into an aromatic salad and served with toasted rice and sticky rice. If you get a chance, enjoy it at an authentic Thai restaurant soon.

For your home table, make this fast version inspired by the real thing. Even babies learning pincer grasp feeding can enjoy it, provided they are sitting well, and have skills settling in for chewing, swallowing, along with some baby teeth. Older kids can enjoy this with brown rice, sticky rice, congee, or in lettuce wraps. It’s shown here with congee and a side of roasted zucchini.

Ground Turkey Larb - Fast and Easy Kid Friendly
Print Recipe
A simple fast savory dish that can be enjoyed across ages. Use organic ingredients for best flavor and health.
Servings Prep Time
4 adult size servings 15 minutes
Cook Time
10 minutes
Servings Prep Time
4 adult size servings 15 minutes
Cook Time
10 minutes
Ground Turkey Larb - Fast and Easy Kid Friendly
Print Recipe
A simple fast savory dish that can be enjoyed across ages. Use organic ingredients for best flavor and health.
Servings Prep Time
4 adult size servings 15 minutes
Cook Time
10 minutes
Servings Prep Time
4 adult size servings 15 minutes
Cook Time
10 minutes
Ingredients
Servings: adult size servings
Instructions
  1. Heat oil in a 12″ skillet over medium heat. Add garlic and cook on medium heat, stirring, until fragrant, about 2 minutes; do not burn. Add turkey, smoked paprika, chili flakes( if hotter spice is desired, omit if not), salt, and pepper. Stir and cook until turkey is browned, about 2 minutes.
  2. Stir in tamari, and chicken broth, simmer for a minute. Then add scallions, mint, and cilantro. Cook until turkey is done, about 5 minutes.
  3. Add lime juice and stir evenly throughout the skillet.
  4. Serve with hearty lettuce leaves like butter lettuce or romaine for lettuce wraps, or over sticky rice, congee, or any side your kids like.
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What Is Congee and Why Should Your Kids Eat It?

What Is Congee and Why Should Your Kids Eat It?

What is congee, and why do I recommend it to my clients? Congee is a great way to ease a delicate gut and evolving biome toward diversity and improved digestion. Long revered as a salve for digestion in Traditional Chinese Medicine (earliest reference dates back to about 1000 BC), congee is a low cost, versatile, delicious food that’s easy to add your weekly recipe staples. I am a huge fan and here is why:

  • Congee starts with rice – the main ingredient – and is cooked with much more liquid than usual (such as bone broth or chicken stock). It is also simmered much longer, until the texture is like porridge. This makes it very easy to digest.
  • When the body isn’t preoccupied with digesting complex meals, it can better absorb nutrients.
  • This can be incredibly healing for children who are coping with reflux, loose stool, gas, and leaky gut – even kids who are moving off of elimination diets due to FPIES, a condition which often strictly avoids rice. Congee however is more digestible, and may work well.
  • Since the rice grains absorb a high volume of collagen-rich liquid during the cooking process, the porridge is hydrating and nourishing to the lining of the GI tract.    
  • Congee works as a savory dish or a sweet soother. Use it as a breakfast porridge: Just omit the garlic from the recipe. Stir in raisins, which you can soften as well by microwaving with water for 1 minute before adding to congee. 

Typical congee recipes use long grain rice and animal protein based broths in a slow cooked method, and need hours for the starches in the rice to break down and absorb the cooking liquid. I recently discovered an Instant Pot recipe which cuts the cooking time down considerably. Try it and share your comments below!

Instant Pot Congee
Print Recipe
You will need an Instant Pot for this version of congee. Bonus - that means it cooks in 20-30 minutes instead of 2-4 hours with traditional stove top simmering (which is also great, just slower). Use organic ingredients, and don't forget to rinse and drain the rice before cooking.
Servings Prep Time
4 servings 15 minutes
Cook Time Passive Time
30 minutes 30 minutes
Servings Prep Time
4 servings 15 minutes
Cook Time Passive Time
30 minutes 30 minutes
Instant Pot Congee
Print Recipe
You will need an Instant Pot for this version of congee. Bonus - that means it cooks in 20-30 minutes instead of 2-4 hours with traditional stove top simmering (which is also great, just slower). Use organic ingredients, and don't forget to rinse and drain the rice before cooking.
Servings Prep Time
4 servings 15 minutes
Cook Time Passive Time
30 minutes 30 minutes
Servings Prep Time
4 servings 15 minutes
Cook Time Passive Time
30 minutes 30 minutes
Ingredients
For Savory Congee...
For Breakfast Congee...
Servings: servings
Instructions
  1. Rinse rice under cool water.
  2. Combine all ingredients in the Instant Pot, except honey or maple syrup. Add that to taste after cooking, if you are making a breakfast congee.
  3. Close and lock the lid. S
  4. Set the pressure cook / manual setting on high for 30 minutes.
  5. When ready to serve, add in any extras you like: For savory congee, try minced scallions, minced cilantro, or minced pork or chicken. For breakfast congee, try raisins (cooked with the congee or added after), berries, bananas, maple syrup, or honey.
Recipe Notes

For traditional stovetop cooking, place all ingredients with rinsed rice in a large pot on stove. Cover rice with broth and bring to boil. Reduce heat to steady simmer and add liquid throughout the next two hours, whenever the liquid cooks down to expose the rice. Stir to keep from sticking to bottom of pot.

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Portuguese Kale Soup

Portuguese Kale Soup

Kale may seem like a trendy food your kids might never eat, but Portuguese Kale Soup is… not. It’s a traditional staple along New England’s south coast. Massachusetts and Rhode Island have the highest concentrations of people with ancestry from Portugal than any other states in the US. These are regions where Portuguese first landed ashore possibly as early as 1511. From the late 1800s into the 1960s, waves of Portuguese immigrants were literally the backbone of coastal New England’s economic booms in whaling, fishing, textiles, and farming. Cape Cod, Buzzards Bay, and Rhode Island are home turf for me, and this means Portuguese Kale Soup has always been on the menu rotation at my house.

Land-locked as a Colorado resident since 2005, this also means if I want Portuguese Kale Soup, I have to make it – nobody here serves it. And it means nobody here makes a good linguica, the spicy smoky Portuguese sausage essential to this recipe (not too many Portuguese bakeries or Portuguese family sausage operations around Boulder!). I improvise with a serviceable hot Italian sausage from Natural Grocers, a market chain with strict policies for no GMO products, organic wherever possible for everything in the store, and organic-only produce. Other than getting a good rustic and spicy sausage in the mix, recipes vary with whether or not to include red kidney beans (a pared down version called Caldo Verde excludes them) or tomatoes – both of which I call keepers.

We serve this with a hearty gluten free bread from Kim and Jakes Bakery, which, luckily for me, is a small family business right in my neighborhood. The peasant bread from this gluten free facility is perfect with this soup.

Portuguese Kale Soup
Print Recipe
A full meal soup perfect for cold blustery days. Makes about 3 quarts of soup. The longer this soup simmers the better it will taste, but you can enjoy it as soon as the vegetables are cooked soft. In any case, don't simmer longer than two hours.
Servings Prep Time
3 Quarts 30 minutes
Cook Time Passive Time
45 minutes 45 minutes
Servings Prep Time
3 Quarts 30 minutes
Cook Time Passive Time
45 minutes 45 minutes
Portuguese Kale Soup
Print Recipe
A full meal soup perfect for cold blustery days. Makes about 3 quarts of soup. The longer this soup simmers the better it will taste, but you can enjoy it as soon as the vegetables are cooked soft. In any case, don't simmer longer than two hours.
Servings Prep Time
3 Quarts 30 minutes
Cook Time Passive Time
45 minutes 45 minutes
Servings Prep Time
3 Quarts 30 minutes
Cook Time Passive Time
45 minutes 45 minutes
Ingredients
Servings: Quarts
Instructions
  1. In a large pot, heat olive oil to medium with 1-2 Tablespoons of chicken fat or chicken broth. Add minced garlic and chopped onion. Sauté about 2 minutes, til they become soft but not browned.
  2. Next add carrots and potatoes. Cover with remaining chicken broth. If you have homemade chicken broth with some of the fat in it, this is ideal. If not use boxed organic chicken broth such as Kirkland brand (Costco) or Imagine brand. Bring to simmer on medium heat, and cover.
  3. While the vegetables are simmering, prepare your sausage. Place links in a skillet with a little olive oil, water, or extra broth to prevent sticking. Cover and cook on medium high heat til cooked through, and browned on all sides (turn as needed after 2-3 minutes per side). Set aside to cool enough to handle them.
  4. Add canned tomatoes, tomato soup, parsley, and kale. Stir well to mix everything. Cut the sausage into small chunks once they are cool enough to handle, and stir those in also. Cover and simmer gently for 30-45 minutes, stirring occasionally to mix.
  5. If you are including kidney beans, stir these in long enough to heat through, ahead of serving.
  6. Once all veggies are soft and beans are heated through, enjoy with crusty GF bread.
Recipe Notes

You can use tomato paste in lieu of Imagine Organic Tomato Basil soup: Mix 2 Tablespoons paste with 1.5 cups water and add to the soup.

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Super Easy Ratatouille

Super Easy Ratatouille

Ratatouille seems exotic, but it’s easy to make, especially with this stackable-ingredient recipe. Don’t overlook this simple skillet version of ratatouille for chilly nights. Organic veggies will be worth the flavor boosts they give, so spring for those – they’ll make this dish much tastier. Kids who like pizza and the flavors of Italian herbs can enjoy this over their favorite pasta. Add a side of authentic hot Italian sausage to make it a hefty meal. Go grain free by serving with Paleo rolls like these made from quick mixes by Chebe. This reheats well and is even more yummy with time.

Super Easy Ratatouille
Print Recipe
Warming and delicious, savory goodness. Use a big skillet and stack ingredients in the order listed below. If you have it, a cast iron skillet is a great choice for even-heat simmer, and it will add iron for kids needing that boost - the acidity of the tomato pulls iron into the food. Peeling the eggplant is optional.
Servings Prep Time
6 servings 20 minutes
Cook Time Passive Time
30 minutes 30 minutes
Servings Prep Time
6 servings 20 minutes
Cook Time Passive Time
30 minutes 30 minutes
Super Easy Ratatouille
Print Recipe
Warming and delicious, savory goodness. Use a big skillet and stack ingredients in the order listed below. If you have it, a cast iron skillet is a great choice for even-heat simmer, and it will add iron for kids needing that boost - the acidity of the tomato pulls iron into the food. Peeling the eggplant is optional.
Servings Prep Time
6 servings 20 minutes
Cook Time Passive Time
30 minutes 30 minutes
Servings Prep Time
6 servings 20 minutes
Cook Time Passive Time
30 minutes 30 minutes
Ingredients
Servings: servings
Instructions
  1. If you prefer, peel the eggplant before slicing it. This is optional.
  2. Heat 3 Tablespoons of the olive oil in a large skillet. Add garlic and soften over medium heat for one minute.
  3. Layer in the vegetables in the order listed, leaving them to lie flat. Between each layer, sprinkle salt, oregano, and black pepper. Drizzle remaining olive oil (1 Tablespoon) on the top. Don't stir it. Leave it stacked just as you laid it all in
  4. Cover the pan and cook over low heat for 30 minutes.
  5. Uncover the pan and let 10 minutes longer to reduce liquid.
  6. Gently turn and tumble the veggies, and serve with crusty bread of your choice, over pasta, or on its own for a lighter meal.
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Cauliflower and Broccoli Chowder

Cauliflower and Broccoli Chowder

A standard from many Paleo recipe sites and cook books, this recipe is one to add if you don’t already have it in your repertoire. It truly is reminiscent of the smokey chowders I loved growing up in Massachusetts, without ingredients most kids I work with can’t eat. A super easy recipe with good odds that your kids will like eating vegetables this way. As always on my blog, this recipe is free of gluten, dairy, or soy; it also happens to have zero sugar or sweeteners, nuts, or eggs. A nourishing, restorative food.

Cauliflower and Broccoli Chowder
Print Recipe
Easy to fix on short notice. You'll need a food processor or large capacity high speed blender.
Servings Prep Time
6-8 servings 20 minutes
Cook Time
20 minutes
Servings Prep Time
6-8 servings 20 minutes
Cook Time
20 minutes
Cauliflower and Broccoli Chowder
Print Recipe
Easy to fix on short notice. You'll need a food processor or large capacity high speed blender.
Servings Prep Time
6-8 servings 20 minutes
Cook Time
20 minutes
Servings Prep Time
6-8 servings 20 minutes
Cook Time
20 minutes
Ingredients
Servings: servings
Instructions
  1. Chop fresh broccoli and cauliflower to small pieces. Steam the broccoli and the cauliflower to soft texture without overcooking. For broccoli, this will be about 10-15 minutes on medium high heat (longer if you've included stem pieces). For cauliflower, this may be 8-10 minutes. Test for doneness with a knife; it should easily poke into the vegetables. Remove from heat and drain.
  2. While vegetables are steaming, mince the garlic fine. Saute over low-medium heat in melted ghee til soft, about 3-5 minutes. Don't let it become dark or crisp. Set aside.
  3. Using your food processor or blender, liquefy the broccoli with half the broth until smooth. Continue this process with cauliflower and remaining broth until all are smoothly blended.
  4. Add in the sautéed garlic, bacon mince, salt and pepper, and liquid smoke (optional). Pulse and blend til smooth. Add more broth, if the consistency is too thick. Garnish with bacon sprinkles and serve warm.
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