Maple Pepper Butternut Squash Fries

Tonight for dinner I wanted to try something new. So instead of making sweet potato fries to go along with our fabulous Fools Gold chicken nuggets (almond flour crusted deliciousness from Eat Like a Dinosaur), I used butternut squash. The result was really tasty and got 2 thumbs up by 2 of my 3 kids. I consider that a majority vote, and a victory!


1/2 of an average sized butternut squash (I diced and stored the unused half for an easy roasted veggie side dish later in the week)

1/2 Tbsp grass fed ghee or coconut oil, melted

Maple pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

Peel and cut butternut squash lengthwise, remove seeds (little hands love this part!), and then into fry sized pieces

Combine squash fries and oil in bowl and toss. Add maple pepper or your favorite seasoning (I actually put aside a batch for me with curry and they were amazing)

Bake at 425 for 10-15 mins, flip with a spatula and bake an additional 10-15 mins.


And heres a shot of the kids plate with their nuggets and apple slices. My (Whole 30 compliant-more on that later) plate is a chicken burger with fresh mango salsa, avocado, steamed broccoli and curried fries

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Monster Smoothie Ice Pops

Something my kids can not get enough of is ice pops.  Even in the dead of winter here in New England, they are chomping on them OUTSIDE while they play in the snow!  There are a few brands in the store that have no added sugar but offer no major benefit besides good taste and some vitamins from real fruit (if they even have fruit).  So while I was browsing Amazon for unbreakable kid bowls (for obvious reasons), I saw the completely adorable monster push up pop molds.  I couldn’t resist.  I clicked “buy it now” and in 2 days, I was holding them (I love the magic of Amazon).


Because probiotics are so important in gut health, especially in people with Inflammatory Bowel Disease, I decided to make these yogurt based.  I fermented  organic cows milk yogurt myself last week (incubated 12 hours to ferment out all the lactose). I use it in smoothies for the kids and basically used a smoothie base and poured into the mold. Voila! Beautiful monster smoothie push up pops!  This is a great one to let the kids help with.


1 cup almond milk (we used unsweetened almond milk I made at home from raw almonds but grocery kind would work too)

3-4 kid sized handfulls of frozen fruit (strawberries, pineapple, mango, blueberries)

2-3 Tbsp of plain unsweetened yogurt (we used 12 hour home fermented yogurt)

1/2 cup of Orange juice or other juice (we did orange with a splash of black cherry)

In blender, combine all but the orange juice.  Blend well until it starts to thicken. Add as much OJ as you need to get a thick, but pourable consistency.Pour into ice pop molds.  Freeze 2 hours.  Makes 4 monster push pops and 1 kid snack sized smoothie.

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Baby Steps

In order to make transitioning the kids to Paleo easier, I decided to focus on what would cause us to fail and work from there. What I came up with was a short list. Working from that angle, I think we have the biggest chance at success.  The biggest things (aside from my oldest being a carb-addict) that I see could trip us up are being unprepared (ie. appropriate snacks unavailable, meals last minute) and taking too big a leap and having them throw a hissy about adjusting to new stuff.  The first one is easy. Be my best girl scout (ok, I was not a girl scout–I went to like one meeting and quit).  Be prepared.  Plan, plan, plan.  Outline a meal plan for the week, prep early, and stock the car.  My kids love to snack in the car.  This is what I have been doing for myself and my husband for about 2 years.  We have a white board on the refrigerator and I plan out 5-6 meals at a time. I make sure that we have what I need on hand.  I try to stick to the days but life often gets in the way and I mix it up.  Now what I am doing (as of Jan 1) is adding the kids in the mix, making it easier on me to make meals that either all of us eat, or we eat and they get a variation of.


The other problem I foresee is me moving too fast, too soon.  Adults have trouble going from a standard diet to Paleo. I can not imagine kids would find it easy.  Still, I am a type A, need to get stuff done type gal, so I fear I could move too fast for him.  My strategy on this was to come up with goals, by month.  Realistic goals.  I spend 75% of my day in the kitchen so I put them on the refrigerator (do you sense a theme here?).  This is to keep me focused on now.  Do I want him to eat kale?  Yes.  Should I expect them to eat it immediately? No.  So for January we are keeping it simple. Get rid of gluten, talk a whole lot about food, and ditch most dairy.  Easy peasy….we have done that in the first week.  The challenge is living and maintaining this for the rest of the month so we can reach the next months plan.


I am proud to say that after 1 week, they are all doing great.  B is 8 now so he really understands how food and his body relate.  He knows what makes him feel junky.  We went to our local breakfast spot this weekend where he usually scarfs down a giant bagel and cream cheese.  I was assuming I would be up for a fight.  So before we went, I talked to him about what options would be the best choice from there and he could pick.  He had scrambled eggs, bacon, and gluten free toast.  Not an ounce of whining, complaining or negativity.   The two littles are sausage and fruit boys so they just got the usual.

Heres a pic of our pantry clean out.  The box of contraband went to the garage (and will be dropped at the local shelter).  And, of course, the new self serve snack drawer!


Some great Paleo kids snack ideas for when you are pressed for time or in the car:

Tanka Bites, baby food pouches and squeezy apple sauces, trail mix, apple chips, larabars, fruit leather