Simple Game Day Sloppy Joe Sandwiches

Simple Game Day Sloppy Joe Sandwiches

Gameday simple sloppy joe recipe at your service. Whether it’s basketball, football, baseball, or table tennis, this is by far my favorite sloppy joe recipe. Not only is it super easy, but it has simple ingredients. It’s perfect after a long day at the field, and it’s excellent for watching the big game. Have a party or family get-together? These sandwiches are a great dish to serve! Try them in slider buns. Full of flavor and super easy to make.

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Come NCAA Final Four Basketball or Super Bowl Sunday, this recipe will be sitting in my Crockpot. Heck! Take this recipe to the summer cookout or the campground too! So what’s in it? First of all, let me tell you what’s not in it. My sloppy joe recipe doesn’t have any high allergen ingredients, that’s right, it’s gluten-free, dairy-free, wheat-free, grain-free, egg-free, nut-free, and soy-free.

My choice of protein is venison, but if you’re not a fan, go for beef. I haven’t tried it with turkey (because I am allergic to turkey) or chicken, but I think it would work minus the ketchup. You’ll have to experiment if you want to go the fowl route.

What’s so good about venison?

Venison is open-range, free-range, organic, plant-fed protein. Venison is lean, there is hardly any fat, and it’s low in calories. It’s full of iron, B6, B12, riboflavin, niacin, and thiamin…essentially many B vitamins. Which are super important for your body and brain to function properly.  

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Oh, if you didn’t know, venison is deer meat. Yes, yes, a “Bambi”, but not all deer are “Bambi’s”. In some parts of the country, the deer have destroyed habitats for other animals by eating foliage from the ground up. It’s a problem! Not to mention farmers’ crops and our simple home gardens.

Beef

For this recipe, you can substitute ground beef, which is very good. But! Be sure to get the lean ground beef, like 90/10. Plus, you’ll have to fork over some coins for the organic grass-fed kind. You pick, this recipe isn’t picky.

Perfect sides for this simple sloppy joe recipe

As for sides, I personally like a little crunch. My favorite side is low-salt potato chips. I also like something green on my plate, like steamed broccoli, green beans, coleslaw, pasta salad, or a fresh spinach salad. Adding a slice of cheese to your sloppy joe makes it more of the meal, but I’ve also had sloppy joe on its own, no bun included. When I do this, I combine my joe with roasted butternut squash! So yummy.

Sloppy Joes
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Simple Game Day Sloppy Joe’s

This recipe is passed down from my dad. He is a rock star at making this. And it's so delicious! Please note, my dad can only make pancakes, so if you can do that, you can do this recipe!
Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Keyword bbq, burger, easy meal, sandwiches, Sloppy joe
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 3 hours 30 minutes
Servings 12 people
Calories 645kcal
Cost $15.00

Equipment

  • Frying pan
  • Crockpot

Ingredients

  • 3 tbsp Olive Oil
  • 2 lbs Lean burger or vension
  • 1 large Sweet onion chopped About 2 – 3 cups worth
  • 1/4 cup Water
  • 3 tbsp Apple Cider Vinegar I usually only put 2 tablespoons in.
  • 2 cups Catsup I like the Simple kind without High Fructose Corn Syrup.
  • 2 tbsp Mustard
  • 1/4 cup BBQ sauce Use your favorite. I personally like the kind that doesn't have High Fructose Corn Sysrup.
  • 1/2 cup Brown Sugar

Instructions

  • Warm the frying pan and put the olive oil in the pan
  • Immediately put in the ground beef or venison and brown it.
  • Add the onion at the same time…I know it's weird, but that's how my dad does it.
  • Drain any excess fat and grease.
  • Add to the crock pot
  • Add the water and the vinegar
  • Add the ketchup, mustard, BBQ sauce, and sugar
  • Mix together
  • Cover and set to high for 2-3 hours
  • Stir occassionaly
  • Add bun and eat!
    sloppy joes

Notes

When the sloppy joe is done, you can eat it alone or with a bun of your choice! I personally like to add cheese…in my case, it’s fake cheese.Delish!
The calorie, cost, and servings are all an educated guess. 

Pull up a chair and let your Crockpot do all the cooking. This is a slam dunk, touchdown, and homerun of a game-day meal! Your kids will love it. Be sure to check out my other recipes and health tips!

Before you go, here are some of my family favorites!

Simple Bacon-Wrapped Chicken Leg Recipe

Better Belly Steak Recipe

Easy Dairy-free Nachos with Simple Ingredients

Fried Walleye Recipe

Salmon in a Skillet Recipe

By CT Copyright © 2021 Simplify Firefly. All Rights Reserved.
Food Combining Does What? Manage stomach acid now!

Food Combining Does What? Manage stomach acid now!

Tired, bloated, indigestion after you eat? Let me fill you in on a little secret, it probably has something to do with food combining. Our stomach is known for acid. Stomach acid, along with the help of enzymes, helps break down food. Not only that but it actually helps support the body in absorbing protein and vitamin B-12, which we only get from protein (meat). In this post, you’ll find tips on how to feel better and get more bang for your nutrition buck! How to reduce stomach acid, how to increase stomach acid, how to test which one you have, and why food combining has a lot to do with stomach acid is in this post. Plus! You can download my free easy to understand food combining chart!

Let’s jump into the stomach.

If you have high levels of stomach acid you’re probably experiencing one of these symptoms: acid reflux, burping, or you may even feel nauseated. If you have too little stomach acid you may feel bloated, experience diarrhea or constipation, have food intolerances, osteoporosis, leaky gut, malnutrition, and heartburn. It’s kind of confusing, eh?

If you have either too high or too low of stomach acid it puts stress on the digestive system which can lead to further problems down the road, for instance, if you have heartburn (GERDS) and don’t pay attention to it, it can cause permanent damage to the esophagus and upping your chances of precancerous cells. If the stomach acid is too low and left untreated it can lead to hair loss, GI infections, anemia, lupus, allergies, chronic autoimmune disorders, and thyroid issues to name a few. Yikes!

how to manage stomach acid

How do you know if you have high or low stomach acid?

First off, I’m not a doctor, nor am I trying to be. I share the information I have either experienced myself or am extremely interested in. I keep things simple and give you the nutshell version of what I’ve learned. *Consult your physician before jumping into new things.*

There are a number of things you can do to figure this out:

1) You could visit your doctor and have them order a test. Most likely it will be a CBC (complete blood count) and CMP (comprehensive metabolic panel). From the test they’ll look at a variety of factors, some include iron and phosphorous levels.

2) The other test is the Heidelberg Stomach Acid Test, this test requires fasting for 12 hours and swallowing a tiny electronic capsule. You will need to drink a baking soda solution and then the capsule will record how long it takes your stomach to restore normal acidity levels. Cool!

3) If you don’t like doctors or want to spend the extra cash, there is a simple at-home test is called the Baking Soda Acid Test. The accuracy of this test is not 100%, so it’s best to do this test regularly to get a better idea of where you are on stomach acid.

Here’s how to do it: Mix ¼ tsp of baking soda in four ounces of water. In the morning before you eat or drink anything else, drink the concoction. Next, start your timer on your phone and time how long it takes to burp. If it takes more than five minutes or you experience no burp at all, it’s a sign of low stomach acid.

IBD Triggers

Tips on how to reduce gastric juice:

1) Understand what food combinations cause high acidity. See my chart on freebies.

2) Eat smaller meals. Overeating can put pressure on the esophageal sphincter, which causes it to open and leak acid into your esophagus.

3) Try a low-carb diet. When our system can’t digest carbs well, we get gassy and bloated, which then leads to GERD. Numerous studies support this idea. Looking into amylase, a digestive enzyme that helps break down carbs may significantly help you when you can’t say no.

4) Limit the guilty pleasures of caffeine and alcohol. The alcohol relaxes the esophageal sphincter and the caffeine weakens the sphincter. They basically have the same effects on the sphincter. Try decaf coffee instead, that’s what I do and my body has adjusted well after the caffeine withdrawal ended.

5) Chew gum. This helps increase saliva production and helps clear the esophagus of stomach acid. It helps with symptoms but doesn’t solve the root cause. No wonder my son loves gum!

6) Cut back on carbonated drinks and citrus juice. Again both of these kinds of beverages weaken the esophageal sphincter.

7) Mint is a no-go. Mint chocolate-chip ice cream should take a backseat if you experience symptoms. This refreshing herb is so relaxing that it too relaxes the sphincter. Peppermint tea, peppermint chocolate or candies, and peppermint-flavored gum have the potential to fire back, literally up your esophagus.

Some other tips to help alleviate symptoms are not eating too close to bedtime, elevating your head while sleeping, and avoiding laying on your RIGHT side. These tactics help calm the acid and keep that pesky sphincter closed!

banana fact

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4 little ways to increase low stomach acid at home

1) I wouldn’t hit the meat & potatoes to fix your low stomach acid, instead, take a shot of Apple Cider Vinegar that includes the Mother. This is an easy way to help your stomach acid get ready to work before a meal. Mix one tablespoon of the vinegar in water and drink before a meal.

2) Like honey? Try Manuka Honey. This honey comes from New Zealand and has amazing antimicrobial properties. It helps with IBS, indigestion, stomach ulcer prevention, oral health, and like most honey, helps with wound healing and sore throats. Get more details on Manuka Honey here.

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3) Chew. “Chew, chew, chew.” When we’re hungry, we tend to eat fast and take big bites! It’s like a welcome mat for a stuck burp. Chew every bite so it turns into mush. There is no need to eat your food fast. Simply use a smaller fork to help with bite-size.

4) Digestive enzymes also do the trick. Unfortunately, the first time I tried these they gave me diarrhea. They can actually cause constipation in some people too. But don’t let this discourage you. Digestive enzymes play an important role in vitamin and nutrient absorption. As you age or if you have a digestive disorder, or have pancreas issues, your enzymes deplete and lead to uncomfortable symptoms. For instance, one sign is a change in bowels and/or seeing undigested food in your stool. Yes, you should look at your poop! So before I completely gave up on digestive enzymes, I gave them another try. This time I played with the dose. Instead of a whole pill before a meal, I only took a pinch and it worked a lot better. After your body gets used to them you can move forward from there.

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What are digestive enzymes?

In a nutshell, there are three main types of digestive enzymes: proteases, lipases, and amylases. Here is a list of the enzymes and what they do. Helpful Hint: Pancreatic enzyme names usually end in “-in” (like trypsin or pepsin), while other digestive enzymes usually end in “-ase” or “-ose” (like lactose, sucrose, fructose).

The trick for making digestive enzymes work for you is to first determine if you are a candidate for supplementation. Know your body, pay attention to how it reacts after you eat. Are you burping, bloated, having to run the bathroom, heartburn, stinky gas and a lot of it, or cramping?

The next step is to determine what kind of enzyme you need. Asking your doctor, a nutritionist, or a functional medicine doc for their recommendations is the way to go. Just note the FDA does not regulate digestive enzymes, so everyone will have their own opinion, but you know your body best. You want clear ingredients from a reputable manufacturer.

Third, you’ll have to experiment to find the right dose. Remember this post is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice. I’m not a doctor. Seek advice from a qualified health provider before trying something new. This post is to help you investigate how to help heal your body and ask the right questions to your healthcare provider.

digestive enzymes list

Stress can increase stomach acid?

Does stress increase stomach acid? That’s a great question. The answer is debatable but most likely. Stress affects our muscles, our immune systems, and our minds. All of those things work together to keep our bodies functioning. When one is off, it affects the other. If your muscles are tight around the stomach, it might push your stomach contents around and increase pressure. It doesn’t hurt to manage stress. For managing stress you’ll want to check out this post: How to Reduce Stress in your Life: 10 Breakthrough Tips.

Food Combining 101

Back to Food Combining. Yes combining food makes a difference with stomach acid. Food combining gives you a little bit of control. When certain foods are put together they can either wreak havoc on your stomach or can give you energy. For instance, the classic steak n potato with melted butter, well it’s going to spoil in your stomach. You will most likely have bloating, stinky ‘wind’, and indigestion. This combo could also contribute to weight gain. And the melon salad with grilled chicken, well that’s going to do the same thing. This is not to confuse you, it’s just the opposite.

Keeping a diet with a few simple rules will reap benefits in the short and long term. I made a simple, easy-to-understand food combining chart to help regulate your stomach acid. In my kitchen, I tape it to the inside of one of my cupboards. Don’t forget to head to Freebies to download yours today. All in all, remember to eat fruit alone on an empty stomach and only eat proteins with non-starchy vegetables. We’ve covered A LOT of information. Keep this post handy to reference for a quick guide.

Let’s end on a yummy note. Here’s a recipe to get you thinking in a low-acid direction: Better Belly Steak Dinner.

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By CT Copyright © 2020 Simplify Firefly. All Rights Reserved.

Salmon in a Skillet Recipe

Salmon in a Skillet Recipe

Salmon is one of those fish that can be prepared in various ways. It’s so versatile and delicious, not to mention, good for you! I’ve eaten salmon baked, broiled, grilled, poached, and pan-fried. What’s my favorite? For me, it depends on the time of year. And this time of year is a great time to use a skillet to cook your fish. Even though it’s in the dead of winter this fish will taste as if it came off the grill.

My salmon in a skillet recipe is super simple, clean, and easy to make. It only has three ingredients: olive oil, salmon, and salt (seasoning of your choice). That’s it! Unless you have a fish allergy, this fish is good for everyone.

salmon in a skillet recipe

What’s salmon got to do with it?

Before we get to cookin this salmon in a skillet, let’s look into this delicious fish. In the summer of 1995, my sister and I drove up to Alaska and spent the summer in a fish processing plant. Well, most of the summer. It was an amazing experience! We camped on the beach, worked in yellow slicker gear, and ate salmon cooked in foil, dressed with butter…baked over the campfire I must say. Besides eating halibut cheeks, this salmon was AMAZING!

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What I learned at the fish processing plant.

While at the fish processing plant, I learned a great deal of knowledge. For one, I learned that fish eyeballs can stick to you. The second lesson I learned was that you could make a box of macaroni and cheese in the microwave. Yes, it’s true! The third thing I learned was how to clean a fish! And probably the most important piece of knowledge I learned was the different types of salmon that I had to sort on the sorting table.

salmon processing
Me in my slicker gear

During this particular season, we had five types to sort: the King or Chinook, the Sockeye or Red, the Coho or Silver, the Chum or Dog Salmon, and the lovely Pink salmon. Each had its distinct features and, yes, we had to smell them. If the fish didn’t smell good, it got a bad grade and was probably sent to a pet food plant…I don’t really know.

Alaska salmon the best?

Good question. I have no idea. Salmon aren’t just in Alaska. They are in the Atlantic Ocean and even some freshwater lakes and rivers. For instance, every fall we go fishing in Michigan for Steelhead. They are not as tasty as Sockeyes, but they still have great benefits.

My son’s Steelhead. So HUGE! We did not eat this one…too old.

What about the health benefits?

The health benefits of salmon are amazing! They are filled with good fat. This kind of fat won’t make you fat. The omega-3 fatty acids in salmon help reduce inflammation in your body. And when inflammation is reduced, the less likely you’ll get sick, and I’m not talking colds, I’m talking about the big stuff. It’s also really good for Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) like Crohn’s or Colitis. Here are some other great benefits:

It’s high in vitamin D!

Helps improves your bone health.

It’s good for your heart.

Great for brain function…hello memory!

Helps us focus better.

Good for your weight.

High in B vitamins.

Good source of potassium.

Gives us a boost in hair and skin health.

Sources: Dr. Axe and Healthline
does a body good

Okay, that’s salmon in a nutshell. I didn’t cover everything about his amazing fish, just gave you a taste (no pun intended). Let’s get to the salmon recipe!

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Skillet Salmon

The is hands down one of the best ways to make salmon. Crusty outside, flaky inside, and served with easy mashed sweet potatoes. This recipe is super simple and amazingly delicious. One of my favorites!
Course dinner, Main Course
Cuisine Mediterranean
Keyword fish, panfry fish, salmon
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 8 minutes
Servings 1
Calories 400kcal
Cost 4.00

Equipment

  • Cast Iron Pan

Ingredients

  • 1 fillet Salmon Take the skin off if it isn't already, check for bones.
  • 1 tbsp Olive Oil Put this in the pan while it's heaing up
  • 1 tbsp Lemon Pepper Seasoning or Salt You can use any seasoning of choice.

Instructions

  • Warm up the cast iron pan on medium heat and put the olive oil in the pan.
  • Pat the salmon dry with a paper towel. This will prevent splattering when salmon is placed in the pan.
  • Gently place salmon in the cast iron pan and shake your seasoning on top.
  • Set timer for 4 minutes. Look for HALF of the salmon to turn a light pink.
  • Flip salmon over after the 4 minutes and let cook for another 2 minutes.
    salmon
  • After 2 – 3 minutes, removed salmon from the pan. Turn off the stove.

Notes

The calories are based on the salmon and the olive oil. This goes great with mashed sweet potatoes. Simply bake the sweet potato at 350 degrees for about 50 – 60 minutes. When they are soft, take them out and peel the skin off. Place in the bowl and mix them with butter. Add a pinch of salt and dive in!
 

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Why Cast Iron?

A cast-iron pan really does make a difference, plus it’s SUPER easy to clean, no soap required. Seriously, no soap, you’ll wreck the ‘seasoning’ of the pan if you use soap. I highly recommend getting one, even if it’s the small one. I use cast iron for everything! You can find them on Amazon.

Wrapping salmon in a skillet up

The wild-caught salmon is preferred over farm-raised. It’s just best to eat “organic” fish versus ones that are raised in a fish tank. Would you rather eat a fish from a large body of water or one from a small fish tank? Think about that for a minute.

Whether you want a different protein, want to balance out the weekly menu, or if you’re looking to get healthier, salmon is here to serve you. You can also check out my pan-fried walleye recipe. Enjoy!

Be sure to check out my other simple and delicious recipes!

Simple Bacon-Wrapped Chicken Leg Recipe

Better Belly Steak Recipe

Simple Game Day Sloppy Joe Sandwiches

Brat n Bacon Stew Recipe

Mark’s Spicy Shrimp Recipe

Warm Kale Salad

By CT Copyright © 2021 Simplify Firefly. All Rights Reserved.

Fried Walleye Recipe

Fried Walleye Recipe

This walleye recipe is a family favorite! Not all walleye recipes are the same. If you want a clean taste with no trans fats, you’re going to want to keep this great walleye recipe. Speaking of trans fats, if you missed my post about Omega, Oils, Why I’m Picky, you’re going to want to check it out.

Walleye has got to be one of the best fish to fry, well Crappies are good too. But walleye is definitely a special treat. This white freshwater fish is a hot item for any restaurant. Once you’ve had a good walleye, you’ll be hooked! Did you see what I did there?

More about Walleye

The walleye fish got its name from its eye. The eyes on a walleye are very big and they’re pearlescent, which helps them see and feed at night. With that said they are a nocturnal fish. Walleye live in freshwater and are related to the perch family. They like cold deep waters…this is a fishing hint if you head out on the water. You can find walleye in the Great Lakes region, Canadian lakes, Northwest Territories, and the Mississippi River Basin.

Walleye is one of the healthiest fish. It’s a great source of protein and omega-3 fatty acids, which are good for our hearts and brains. Walleye is also a good source of vitamin D. The fish has white flesh and a clean, succulent taste, it’s mild and sweet perfect for frying or baking. Yum! My mouth is seriously watering now. I should mention to not eat ‘walleye sushi’ so to speak. Always cook walleye before eating.

Tools needed for this dish

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Fillet the fish without skin. No fish skin allowed in this dish. You’ll need a good fillet knife to get a smooth cut. Watch those fingers, we don’t need any cuts.

After you have the fish filleted. My favorite tool for trying walleye is the good old cast-iron pan. Remember we’re pan-frying not deep-frying. A regular cast-iron pan will do. Cast-iron is super easy to use. This historic cookware brings more depth to the food. Cast-iron pan cooking is actually a super healthy way to cook!

A little bit more about cast iron. Don’t be afraid of it. Always use a hot pad for your hand when cooking with a cast iron pan. Never touch the handle without anything protecting your hand. As for clean-up, it’s SUPER easy to clean, no soap required. Seriously, no soap, you’ll ruin the ‘seasoning’ of the pan. You can find a variety of sizes on Amazon, even the small size works for this recipe.

Fried Walleye Ingredients

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As for other ingredients for this amazing fried walleye recipe, we use coconut oil. It has a high flash point, which is great for frying. It heats up quickly. Coconut oil is a clean oil. It doesn’t taste like coconut at all. Again, it doesn’t taste like coconut. And it’s good for you! All grocery stores should have it on their shelves, but we get our coconut oil through Costco because we go through quite a bit. If you don’t have a Costco Membership, no problem! You can get it on Amazon. I highly recommend this product and encourage the Virgin, Unrefined.

For the breading, since my family and I need to be gluten-free we use a gluten-free pancake mix. I personally like Trader Joe’s Gluten-Free Buttermilk Pancake Mix. We’ve tried Bisquick Gluten-Free too (that’s dairy-free). And I should mention we also tried Potato Starch. All work well! There are some mixes specifically for frying fish, and honestly, the gluten-free mixes are better than the regular. With this recipe we only want a dusting on the fish, we aren’t getting the pancake mix wet. Simply put the mix in a bowl and dust the fish with it, done!

Don’t want breading on the fish? That is totally okay! Simply heat up a tablespoon of coconut oil in your cast iron pan and pan-fry the fish. Cook until flaky, salt, and eat!

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Side dish for fried fish?

The star of this dish is the walleye, so keep the side dish simple. I have a great sweet potato hash recipe or go with a healthy coleslaw or kale salad. Fresh cut green beans or even macaroni & cheese can bring the kids coming back for more. Our family favorite is the infamous broccoli/bacon salad. Please note: If you’re going to have fruit, eat it while cooking your meal. You can check out my food-combining chart here to learn more about it.

What about other fish to fry?

Our second favorite fish to fry is salmon, again with the cast iron pan. The cast iron will give the salmon a nice crunch on the outside of the fish and a tender center. My Salmon in a Skillet recipe is one to check out.

Other tips for a winning walleye dinner

Who doesn’t like to save money? When getting ready to fish for your walleye dinner, be sure to have your fishing license before you drop a line in the water. No one wants an expensive ticket for not having a license; you can get your fishing license at sporting goods stores or Walmart.

If you’re not going to fish, watch your meat counter at the grocery store. Ask them when they’ll have walleye and what day they usually get their fish deliveries. If the fish smells SUPER fishy or the package is bubbled up with air…don’t eat it. You want clean fresh fish. Check out these posts on how to save money at the grocery store.

7 Surefire Ways to Save Money Grocery Shopping

Quick Healthy Meals On a Budget? 5 Criteria

On to the recipe!

Walleye
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Fried Walleye

Walleye fried in coconut oil.
Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Keyword egg-free, fish, gluten-free, nut-free, panfry fish, soy-free, walleye
Prep Time 12 minutes
Cook Time 4 minutes
Servings 1 person
Calories 229kcal
Cost $3.00

Equipment

  • Cast Iron Pan
  • Tongs
  • Filet Knife
  • Cuttingboard
  • Bowl
  • Papertowel

Ingredients

  • 3 oz. Freshly caught walleye Go by size, not weight, 1 large filet or so will work.
  • 2 tbsp Coconut Oil Enough to coat the botton of the pan with a bit to spare.
  • 1/3 cup Pancake Mix I use Trader Joe's Gluten-free Buttermilk Pancake Mix.
  • 1 tsp Salt Salt to taste. This is optional.

Instructions

  • Wash fish off in cold water, pat dry with a paper towel. Carefully remove any skin from walleye with a filet knife. Please be careful.
  • Turn the stove on to medium heat and heat cast iron pan.
  • Put solid coconut oil in the pan. After it melts, you may need to adjust how much. You want about 1/4 inch of melted oil. Do not let the oil smoke…this is too hot!
  • While the pan is slowly heating up. Place fish into the pancake mix and dust all sides.
  • Slowly insert dusted fish into the hot cast iron pan. The oil should sizzle.
  • When you see the outer edges of fish start to brown, about 2 minutes; flip the fish with the tongs gently and cook for another 90 seconds to 2 minutes.
  • Turn off the stove and transfer cooked walleye to a plate covered with a paper towel.
    walleye recipe
  • Salt the fish to your liking.
  • Eat within a few minutes.
    walleye

Notes

Calories are an estimate. Walleye is 79 calories per 3 ounzes. Consuming raw or undercooked meats, poultry, seafood, shellfish, or eggs may increase your risk of foodborne illness.
This recipe is also great without the pancake mix. Feel free to fry without breading. 

Before you go

Good eats don’t stop at fried walleye. Check out my other delicious and surprisingly gluten-free recipes! Simple ingredients, lots of flavor, and nutrition. You’ll learn about the ingredients and how to prepare an amazing treat.

Brat n Bacon Stew Recipe

Simple Bacon-Wrapped Chicken Leg Recipe

Mark’s Spicy Shrimp Recipe

Warm Kale Salad Recipe

Better Belly Steak Recipe

No-bake Cookies with Coconut!

Christy’s Gluten-Free Chocolate Chip Cookies

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By CT Copyright © 2020 Simplify Firefly. All Rights Reserved.

Versatile Grain-Free Pasta Salad Recipe

Versatile Grain-Free Pasta Salad Recipe

Try this amazingly simple grain-free pasta salad recipe. Only seven ingredients and easy to make. Plus it has bacon! I love this recipe because it is versatile. Going gluten-free is hard enough, but grain-free is even more challenging. The beauty of this grain-free pasta salad recipe is that you can have for the main meal, use it as a Meatless Monday recipe, or you can serve it as a side dish to your favorite protein.

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What’s so good about grain-free?

Let’s face it, grains can give your body inflammation. Yep. There is something about the grain that can wreak havoc on your digestive system, allergy response, skin, and even mood! If you have IBD, colitis, IBS, or Crohn’s disease, going grain-free might help your situation.

Chickpea pasta is simply chickpeas. There are no grains involved. My family uses Banza Rotini. The last time I looked, it was still available at Costco. Otherwise, you can look in your local grocer or get it online.

Some chickpea nutritional facts include being an excellent source of manganese and a great source of folate to name the top two. Manganese is important for your bone health, nerves, and is good for your thyroid to name a few. Folate is super important for red blood cell formation and healthy cell growth and function. It also helps reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s disease and lowers blood pressure. Chickpeas in general are a good source of plant protein.

Lunchbox Note Jokes
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Chickpea benefits

Some great chickpea benefits include helping to control blood sugar levels. They also help with weight loss by helping you feel full and to curb your cravings. Chickpeas are full of fiber which helps with digestion and to keep things moving! There are more benefits that you can find at Dr. Axe.

Grain-free Pasta Salad Recipe Go-to’s

This pasta salad recipe is awesome for lunches, camping meal ideas, main dishes, and side-dish. My family enjoys it with roasted chicken. Serve it warm or chilled, you could even add a dollop of hummus on top! This is a kid-friendly dish, meaning, there are not super bold flavors. Yet, you can make this dish you own by adding your favorite ingredients like diced cucumbers, cherry tomatoes, olives, or avocados.

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Let’s get to the recipe!

grain-free pasta salad
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Versatile Grain-Free Pasta Salad

Simple, delicious, and nutritious Grain-Free pasta salad recipe. Easy to make, only 7 simple ingredients, and a great side dish to compliment any protein. Serve alone as a "Meatless Monday" dish. This recipe gives you the flexiblity to be creative!
Course dinner, lunch, Main Course, Salad, Side Dish
Cuisine Mediterranean
Keyword gluten-free pasta salad, pasta salad, pasta salad no mayo, simple pasta salad
Prep Time 35 minutes
Cook Time 12 minutes
Total Time 47 minutes
Servings 6 people
Calories 410kcal
Cost $5

Ingredients

  • 2 cups Banza Rotini Made from Chickpeas Grain-free Pasta
  • 1/2 package bacon, cooked and chopped
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped broccoli
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 cup Greek salad dressing, your choice, but prefer "Ken's Simply Vinaigrette Greek"
  • 3/4 cup feta cheese or non-dairy feta cheese
  • 1 tsp salt to taste

Instructions

  • Boil pasta in a large saucepan and cook until noodles are soft. Drain pasta and wash cold water over it. Dump cooked pasta into a bowl.
  • Lay bacon strips on a lined cookie sheet and bake at 350 for 20 minutes. Remove cooked bacon and blot with paper towels, then chop into smaller pieces.
  • Chop washed broccoli. You may either leave broccoli raw or you can steam it, your choice.
  • Add broccoli and bacon to the pasta bowl and toss.
  • Add olive oil and salad dressing then toss.
  • Sprinkle salt on top, and add feta cheese. Tossing is optional.

Notes

This gluten-free pasta, grain-free pasta, is an excellent source of protein. It’s a fantastic main meal or side dish. Add tomatoes, olives, or diced avocados to make it your own. Use any kind of pasta to make for your family. Simple, delicious, and good for your body. Serve it with roasted chicken and you’ve got yourself a meal. 

Hope you enjoy this amazing recipe. I know your body will love you for it. Be sure to check out my other great gluten-free recipes to go along with this dish!

Simple Bacon-Wrapped Chicken Leg Recipe

Better Belly Steak Recipe

Simple Game Day Sloppy Joe Sandwiches

Fried Walleye Recipe

Kale Salad Recipe

By CT Copyright © 2021 Simplify Firefly. All Rights Reserved.
Kale Salad Recipe

Kale Salad Recipe

Oh my goodness, I am hooked on this kale salad recipe! Seriously, this is my new favorite lunch. I actually call this recipe Autumn Awesomeness, but I’ve been eating it all year round. There is something about all the flavors blending so well, crispy curly kale, roasted butternut squash cubes, dried cranberries, grilled chicken, and olive oil…and salt. And my mouth is watering once again. This is a super easy recipe with quick clean-up and packed with nutrition.

kale salad

More about kale

Curly kale is nutrient-dense. I don’t even know where to start, so I’ll just mention the big kale benefits. Per Healthline, curly kale is a huge source of antioxidants, antioxidants fight off free radicals in the body. It is an excellent source of vitamin C and vitamin K. Vitamin K is important for blood clotting. Kale is a source of calcium, potassium, and magnesium! And get this, it even helps us lose weight.

I’m not a big fan of it raw, but I LOVE it crisped up in a pan, especially with a little…do I even say it?…bacon. Be sure to buy organic. The non-organic is has pesticides on it and is one of the Dirty Dozen foods. You can read more about it here. Spend the extra bucks on organic. I know it’s hard but here’s a post on how to save money at the grocery store, so everything balances out!

Kale does a fantastic job in this kale salad recipe. Honestly, you don’t really taste it, your body will thank you for eating this delicious, vitamin-rich salad!

What’s up with Butternut Squash?

Butternut Squash is my favorite squash. It’s easy on digestion and has great flavor. This squash is a good source of calcium, potassium, vitamin A, E, folate, B-6. It helps lower blood pressure, cancer risk, and asthma. Butternut squash is also great for your hair, skin, and immune system.

Roasting it in the oven with a little olive oil and salt is my favorite way to cook it. I’ve also had it mashed, which is delightful, especially with a little butter or non-dairy butter. Yum!

This is a great recipe for us folks who have Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) like Crohn’s or colitis. With all the ingredients cooked, it makes it a lot easier for our systems to digest and absorb the nutrients.

IBD Triggers
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Tools needed for this dish

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The number one tool for this dish is the trusty cast-iron pan. It gives the food an extra layer of flavor. Believe me, I’ve done a lot of research on what pan is the healthiest to cook with. One that won’t leach chemicals, aluminum, or Teflon into my food and the cast iron wins every time! It may be heavy, but it’s extremely low maintenance. In fact, if you’re anemic (iron deficient) it helps put a little iron in your system.

One more thing about the cast iron pan, it’s SUPER easy to clean, no soap required. Seriously, no soap, you’ll wreck the ‘seasoning’ of the pan. I highly recommend getting a cast iron pan, even if it’s the small one. You can find them on Amazon.

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Other ingredients and variations

As for other ingredients, I recommend grilled chicken breast. You can opt for already cooked or make it yourself. When I’m in a hurry I’ll buy the already grilled chicken strips. Or if I’m in a BIG hurry I’ll just microwave gluten-free chicken nuggets.

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The piece that brings it all together for me is the olive oil. I use a little bit in the pan for the kale, and then at the end to finish the dish. I absolutely love the flavor it brings to each ingredient. My favorite, hands-down olive oil is California Ranch Olive Oil. It’s 100% olive oil. With that said, be sure you get an olive oil you trust is 100%. We don’t need no stinkin’ canola or vegetable oil fillers. For more on oils read my post about omegas.

Variations to the recipe. This is such a versatile recipe that any protein would work: brats, strips of steak, shrimp, or bacon. Adding a thinly sliced red onion also adds more depth. Enjoy!

On to the recipe!

kale squash recipe
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Autumn Awesomeness

This is an amazingly healthy yet tasty dish for lunch or dinner. The chard kale and roasted butternut squash complement each other, while the dried cranberries make it pop. This is gluten-free, dairy-free, egg-free, soy-free, and nut-free!
Course Main Course, Salad
Cuisine Mediterranean
Keyword dairy-free, egg-free, gluten-free, kale, low-fat, nut-free, soy-free, squash
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 7 minutes
Servings 1
Calories 598kcal
Author Christy
Cost 2.00

Equipment

  • small cast iron pan
  • baking sheet with parchment paper
  • knife and cutting board

Ingredients

  • 3 Organic Curly Kale Sprigs
  • 1 c Baked cubed Butternut Squash
  • 4 Strips of grilled chicken or 4 GF Chicken nuggets
  • 2 TBSP Dried Cranberries or Cherries
  • 3 TBSP Olive Oil 1TBSP for frying kale, 2 TBSP for topping at the end
  • 1 pinch Salt

Instructions

  • Heat cast iron pan on low.
  • Wash thoroughly, pat dry, remove stalks, and chop. Put chopped kale into the pan. Then add 1 TBSP olive oil. It might get messy and splatter if kale is not dried off. Be careful.
    kale
  • I pre-roast an entire cubed squash. 350 for 40 minutes. Just toss a little olive oil and salt in before baking. Tip: Costco usually has raw cubed squash. Do not use frozen squash! You can also peel and cube your own squash.
    butternut squash
  • After kale is charred and well cooked, wrap a dish towel around the cast iron panhandle and put kale on a plate.
  • Take leftover chicken, pre-cooked grilled chicken (Costco), or Gluten-free chicken nuggets. Microwave for the allotted time, or cook in your cast iron pan to warm. When done, put on top of kale.
  • Add squash to kale and chicken. Sprinkle dried cranberries on top. Drizzle olive oil and add a pinch of salt. Delish!
  • For added flavor, add thinly sliced red onion, roasted pecans, or crispy bacon!
    kale salad

Notes

Calories may vary on chicken type and the amount you use. 
Be sure to check out my other simple and delicious recipes!

All are gluten-free and dairy-free.

Simple Bacon-Wrapped Chicken Leg Recipe

Better Belly Steak Recipe

Simple Game Day Sloppy Joe Sandwiches

Fried Walleye Recipe

Salmon in a Skillet Recipe

By CT Copyright © 2020 Simplify Firefly. All Rights Reserved.
Gluten-free Molasses Cookie Recipe with Peanut Butter

Gluten-free Molasses Cookie Recipe with Peanut Butter

There is something about molasses cookies that I crave. When I grew up, every Christmas my grandma would bake molasses cookies. Her cookies were about the size of a silver dollar and so addicting! My grandma would always have them neatly packed in a wax paper-lined cookie tin. The cookies would literally melt in your mouth. As I grew older and found out she’d use grease from the meal before, I thought about making a healthier kind of molasses cookie.

Gluten-free Dairy-free Egg-free Molasses Cookie Recipe with Peanut Butter

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How Molasses Peanut Butter Cookie came to be

This past November I was messing around in the kitchen with molasses. I wanted a cookie but was having trouble figuring out an egg substitute. Since my body doesn’t like eggs, it’s been a challenge coming up with an egg substitute that works for the particular recipe you’re working on. When you have a specialty diet, you have to be creative and experimental. So that’s what I did and discovered molasses and peanut butter marry well together. The gluten-free molasses cookie recipe was born! I can now say egg-free too.

Molasses Benefits

Molasses was first around in 1582, some say 1600. In other words, it’s been around. There are many health benefits to molasses. On some mornings I will actually drizzle molasses on my peanut butter toast just to get the added molasses advantage.

A little touch of molasses has a big nutrition punch! What exactly is in blackstrap molasses? You’ll find it is a source of iron, calcium, magnesium, vitamin B6, potassium, copper, and selenium (antioxidant). Needless to say, blackstrap molasses is good for your red blood cells due to its iron content; and because of its potassium volume, it also helps lowers blood pressure. Get this! In case you missed it, blackstrap molasses contains calcium which we all know is good for our bones. And because it contains B6, blackstrap molasses can fight off stress. Blackstrap molasses may even help us folks who have Crohn’s disease and colitis. These are just a few benefits that it has. More benefits can be found here.

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What kind of molasses to buy?

To get these great benefits from molasses, you must get blackstrap molasses. Light molasses and Dark are not the same as Black. Blackstrap is the darkest type of molasses and it is the most concentrated form, hence, it has the most health benefits. After all, molasses is sugar. From what I understand it’s the leftover juice from sugar cane after they crush it to get sugar crystals. They boil it, then boil it again, and then again.

*Warning, if you eat too much of this dark syrup, you’ll probably get diarrhea. Know your limits.

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Peanut Butter Benefits

Peanut butter has been around since only 1904. It was introduced at the St. Louis World’s Fair. It was used as a protein source for World War I and World War II.

Not only is peanut butter a good source of protein, but it also contains omega-3 fats. It is a good source of vitamin E, vitamin B6, manganese, and magnesium. Believe it or not, it also has copper in it!

Peanut butter is good for your heart; it can help reduce the risk of diabetes, and it even has some anticancer properties.

What kind to buy?

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The best kind of peanut butter to buy is organic. Organic peanut butter doesn’t have any added trans fats, sugars, or other hydrogenated oils. When those extra things are added to peanut butter, there are no health benefits; in fact, it’s the opposite. Hydrogenated oils increase omega-6s, and when you get too much of a good thing (omega-6) it makes it bad for your body and may cause weight gain along with inflammation which could trigger all sorts of digestive issues. Yikes!

Spend the extra money and buy organic! Organic peanut butter is simply organic peanuts and salt. Please read the labels on your peanut butter, it makes a huge difference. I personally like Costco brand, Kirkland Organic Peanut Butter. Plus, I store my peanut butter in the refrigerator.

The marriage happens!

What happens when you put the two together? Talk about a B6 and magnesium powerhouse! The flavors work and complement each other. Your mind might be saying “Ew”, but your taste buds beg to differ.

Because my diet is limited, I made these cookies with gluten-free flour. They are also egg-free, soy-free, and dairy-free. They do contain peanuts. Baking egg-free can be tricky. One great substitute for eggs is…you guessed it…peanut butter!

molasses peanut butter cookie
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Gluten-free Molasses Peanut Butter Cookies

Add some depth to your molasses cookies with a little bit of peanut butter!
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Keyword cookies, dairy-free, egg-free, gluten-free, soy-free
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes
Servings 12 cookies
Calories 115kcal
Author Christy
Cost $5 for recipe ingredients and measures

Equipment

  • Bowl
  • Mixer
  • Cookie sheet
  • Parchment Paper

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup Coconut oil (solid form) You can use shortening as a substitute.
  • 1/2 cup Sugar White grandular or Organic Sugar Cane works
  • 3 tbsp Blackstrap Molasses
  • 3 tbsp Coconut Milk You can substitute any kind of milk alternative
  • 3 tbsp Organic Peanut Butter Heaping tablespoons, you can try it with Almond Butter or even Tahini.
  • 1 cup Gluten-free flour Heaping cup of Gluten-free flour
  • 1 tsp Baking Soda
  • 1/4 tsp Cloves
  • 1/4 tsp Ginger
  • 1/2 tsp Cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp Salt (optional)

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 350 and prepare the cookie sheet with a sheet of parchment paper on top.
  • Mix coconut oil, sugar, peanut butter, and coconut milk.
  • Add blackstrap molasses and mix.
  • In a seperate bowl stir flour, baking soda, and spices.
  • Gradually combine dry ingredients to wet with mixer. The dough will be thick. If it looks dry add a splash of coconut milk, if it looks wet add a tbsp of gluten-free flour.
  • Chill dough for 1 hour.
  • In a small bowl, put in 1/2 cup of sugar.
  • Make small 1 -1 1/4 inch balls and roll them in the sugar. Place them on the cookie sheet an inch or so apart.
  • Gently push the bottom of a fork into the cookie so it makes small groves.
  • Put the cookie sheet into the oven and bake for 8-10 minutes.
  • Let cookies cool for 10 minutes.
  • For an added bonus mix 2 tbsp peanut butter with 1/2 tsp of coconut oil and 2 tbsp of powder sugar. Put in the microwave for 20 seconds then stir, put it back in the microwave for another 15 seconds and stir. Then put a dollup on top of the baked cookie…kind of like a frosting.

Notes

The calories and price of the cookies are an educated guess. 

I hope you enjoy this tasty nutrition-packed gluten-free molasses cookie recipe. Happy baking!

Be sure to check out my other sweet treats!

All are gluten-free and dairy-free. Simple and delicious.

No-bake Cookies with Coconut!

The BEST Gluten-Free Granola Bar Recipe EVER!

Christy’s Gluten-Free Chocolate Chip Cookies

By CT Copyright © 2020 Simplify Firefly. All Rights Reserved.

Gluten-Free Dairy-Free Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe

Gluten-Free Dairy-Free Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe

When it comes to favorite cookies, the chocolate chip cookie is the best. The gentle crisp on the outside and soft center is the perfect texture to satisfy anyone…in my opinion of course. Oh, and then you get a chunk of chocolate that is slightly hard but surrounded by dough…oh, so good from a texture point of view.

However, when I was told I couldn’t eat gluten anymore due to an Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) my heart sank, to say the least. So if any of you have Crohn’s or colitis, I know you understand what I’m talking about. My pleasure of baking and having a fresh cookie out of the oven was a thing of the past. How am I going to live? Is there even a gluten-free dairy-free chocolate chip cookie recipe?

Gluten-Free Dairy-Free Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe

After I let that devastating news sink in, I was more determined than ever to recreate my guilty pleasure of chocolate chip cookies but gluten-free style. To the store I went to find gluten-free flour. I must say I was not only confused about all the flours but I was a bit sticker-shocked at the prices, which will do my body good because I won’t make them as often, but when I need a fix I’m making the da*n cookies.

Take note, I wrote a post that includes this recipe. If you happened to missed it and want to catch up on How Cookie Dough Gave Me Super Powers you’ll want to check’r out. It talks about stress and what I did to treat it.

chocolate chip cookie fact

Gluten-free Flour

This can be overwhelming. And I did get overwhelmed. There is so much information on the internet I honestly am not going to reproduce it, but I will give you some sources to check out. If you want to learn more about different flours Healthline has a good article. If you want to make your own blend, I recommend Sarah Bakes Gluten-free. She’s got some great recipes I’ve had before too.

As I said, gluten-free flour is not a spitting image of ‘normal’ flour, but it does the trick to satisfy your fix.

does a body good
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It’s important to note, that there are many gluten-free pre-made chocolate chip cookie mixes at the grocery store. I’ve tried a lot of these, and they’re okay. If you look at the ingredients on these mixes you’ll find that sugar is the first ingredient! And as with any ingredient list, the first ingredient is the most abundant ingredient and so forth. For my taste, those mixes are too sweet and there are some unwanted ingredients in them too, like soy. With that said, in the refrigerator section, there is a premade chocolate chip cookie that is quite good when you don’t have time to bake your own. It’s Sweet Loren’s Gluten-Free Chocolate Chunk. Here is her website to check things out.

Products I use for this gluten-free dairy-free chocolate chip cookie recipe

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To keep this recipe low on inflammation and allergens at bay I use Enjoy Life Mini Chips. These are super good. We like them more than the normal kind. They’re great in brownies, pancakes, melted over rice crispy treats, or on a spoon full of peanut butter! Great. Now I need to go eat some.

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To make it easy on me with the gluten-free flour I use King Arthur’s Gluten-Free Baking Mix. Note the MIX. They do have the flour, but you’ll want the mix. Watch out for this.

On to the gluten-free dairy-free chocolate chip recipe!

gluten-free chocolate chip cookie recipe
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Christy’s Gluten-Free Chocolate Chip Cookies

Gluten-free, Dairy-free, Soy-free chocolate chip cookies
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Keyword chocolate, cookies, dairy-free, gluten-free, low-fat, nut-free, soy-free
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 11 minutes
Total Time 23 minutes
Servings 10 cookies
Calories 145kcal
Cost $3.00 for batch

Equipment

  • Glass mixing bowl
  • Handmixer
  • Measuring cup
  • Measuring spoons
  • Cookie sheet
  • Parchment Paper
  • Wooden spoon

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup Coconut Oil do not melt
  • 1/4 cup Brown Sugar do not pack down
  • 1/4 cup Cane Sugar
  • 1 egg Prefer organic egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 tsp Apple Cider Vinegar
  • 1 cup King Arthur's Gluten-Free Baking Mix Baking mix. Use a heaping cup.
  • 1/4 tsp Salt
  • 1/2 tsp Cinnamon
  • 1/3 cup Enjoy Life Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips Mini These are allergy-free, read package.

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 370. Tear a sheet of parchment paper and put it over the cookie sheet.
  • Add the coconut oil, brown sugar, and cane sugar to glass mixing bowl and mix with hand mixer until mixed together
  • Add egg, vanilla, and apple cider vinegar. Mix until together
  • In a separate bowl, add a heaping cup of King Arthur's Gluten-Free Baking Mix, salt, and cinnamon. Hand mix with a fork.
  • Gradually combine both bowls while mixing with the hand mixer. Mix until all together.
  • Fold in Enjoy Life Chocolate Chips Mini with a wooden spoon.
  • Scoop dollops of dough about the size of the wooden spoon and place on the cookie sheet. Allow 1-2 inches between dollops.
  • Place the cookie sheet in the oven and set the timer for 11 minutes.
  • While cookies are baking, clean-up the dishes. Please don't eat raw cookie dough due to the egg. We don't need tummy aches.
  • When cookies are done, slowly transfer them to a cooling rack if you have one. Otherwise, remove the cookies from the cookie sheet in a minute.
    gluten-free chocolate chip cookies

Notes

Calorie count is a guesstimate for one cookie when baked. It depends on the size of the cookie. Also the cost of the batch of cookies is also an estimate.
Be sure to check out my other sweet treats!

All are gluten-free and dairy-free. Simple and delicious.

No-bake Cookies with Coconut!

Gluten-Free Molasses Cookies with Peanut Butter

The BEST Gluten-Free Granola Bars EVER!

By CT Copyright © 2020 Simplify Firefly. All Rights Reserved.

Gluten-Free No-bake Cookie Recipe with Coconut!

Gluten-Free No-bake Cookie Recipe with Coconut!

Hold on to your apron for this amazing gluten-free no-bake cookie recipe with coconut! You’ve had no-bake cookies before, but have you had healthy no-bake cookies with coconut? I seriously cannot tell the difference, making these cookies guilt-free! These are easy to make and are gluten-free, dairy-free, egg-free, and soy-free. With coconut oil, coconut milk, and shredded coconut you’ll be amazed at the flavor and texture they add to these tasty no-bake cookies with coconut recipe!

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no bake cookies

Gluten and cookies

Cookies are one of my absolute favorite food. So when I had to change my diet to gluten-free, you better believe I got a little depressed! Let’s face it gluten-free cookies are not the same as chewy gluten-filled cookies. But we gluten-free consumers need to work with what we got, right? It’s not worth eating gluten and suffering for hours.

What gluten does for cookies, is that it helps hold things together. There have been countless attempts to make the perfect gluten-free cookie when then it crumbles in your hand and jams up your mouth with an occasional crumb going down the wrong pipe. It boils down to the flour. In this gluten-free no-back cookie recipe with coconut, I just took out the flour!

Easy Peasy Making

This is probably my favorite gluten-free savory cookie. No baking is involved here, you could easily make these cookies camping, or even backpacking in the cool mountains. These decadent biscuits melt in your mouth and feel sinful to eat, but they aren’t! I don’t know if I’d say they’re good for you, but you can be the judge of that.

Peanut Butter Benefits

Peanut butter has been around since only 1904. It was introduced at the St. Louis World’s Fair. It was used as a protein source for World War I and World War II.

Not only is peanut butter a good source of protein, but it also contains omega-3 fats. It is a good source of vitamin E, vitamin B6, manganese, and magnesium. Believe it or not, it also has copper in it!

Peanut butter is good for your heart; it can help reduce the risk of diabetes, and it even has some anticancer properties.

Where to buy peanut butter

Get it on Amazon

The best kind of peanut butter to buy is organic. Organic peanut butter doesn’t have any added trans fats, sugars, or other hydrogenated oils. When those extra things are added to peanut butter, there are no health benefits; in fact, it’s the opposite. Hydrogenated oils increase omega-6s, and when you get too much of a good thing (omega-6) it makes it bad for your body and may cause weight gain along with inflammation. Yikes!

Spend the extra money and buy organic! Organic peanut butter is simply organic peanuts and salt. Please read the labels on your peanut butter, it makes a huge difference. I personally like Costco brand, Kirkland Organic Peanut Butter. Plus, I store my peanut butter in the refrigerator.

What’s up with Coconut?

Coconut is so incredibly healthy for you. These cookies have coconut oil, coconut milk, and organic shredded coconut. Coconut oil may be 90% saturated fat, but the highest in content of lauric acid, which in a twisted way can help improve the level of lipids traveling through the blood. That means it is likely it will reduce the risk of heart disease! That sounds pretty technical, but I wanted to share this with you because I eat this every day. Why not add it this gluten-free no-back cookie recipe.

15 Benefits of Coconut

1. It helps prevent heart disease and high blood pressure.

2. It can help treat Alzheimer’s.

3. It BE good for the ole liver.

4. Reduces Inflammation and Arthritis

5. It’s antibacterial, antifungal, and antiviral! Works well on cuts and skin issues.

6. Improves energy

7. It helps the gut heal by destroying bad bacteria and that nasty Candida (yeast overgrowth).

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8. Prevents Osteoporosis by helping to increase the absorption of calcium and magnesium.

9. It’s Anti-aging. Now we’re talkin’!

10. It helps balance hormones naturally. Now we’re really talkin’!

11. Thickens hair and helps with dandruff. It’s a natural hair conditioner.

12. It helps improve sleep when consumed every day.

13. It can help with environmental allergies if you rub the inside of your nose with it.

14. Speeds up the healing of sunburn.

15. It’s an amazing oil to make homemade popcorn with. Just sub coconut oil in place of your other oil. Yum!

Sources: Dr. Axe, Wellness Mama

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What kind to buy?

When buying coconut oil get the Virgin, Unrefined. We get our coconut oil from Costco because we go through quite a bit. If you don’t have a Costco Membership, no problem! You can get it on Amazon. I highly recommend this product, especially if you use a lot of it. If you don’t use a whole lot, get a smaller container at the store.

Let’s get to the gluten-free no-bake cookie recipe with coconut!

no-bake cookies with coconut
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No Bake Cookies with Coconut

Gluten-free, Dairy-free delicus no-bake cookies with coconut! Health snack filled with comfort.
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Keyword cookies, dairy-free, egg-free, gluten-free, no-bake, peanut butter
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 1 minute
Chill for at least an hour 1 hour
Servings 8
Calories 200kcal
Cost $3.00

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup Coconut Oil
  • 1/4 cup Maple Syrup
  • 3 Tbsp Honey
  • 1/4 cup Coconut Milk
  • 1/3 cup Creamy Peanut Butter
  • 1 tsp Vanilla
  • 2 Tbsp Cocoa Powder
  • 1+1/2 cup Gluten-free Rolled Oats
  • 1/3 cup Unsweetened Shredded Coconut

Instructions

  • Get all your ingredients out and ready to go. This goes kind of quickly!
  • Size a sheet of parchment paper or wax paper over a cookie sheet.
  • With a food processor or handheld pulser, process the oats with a few good pluses. This makes the oats easier to chew and digest. If you like the oats whole, skip this step.
  • In a saucepan, turn heat to medium and add the coconut oil.
  • Slowly add the maple syrup, honey, coconut milk, and peanut butter. Using a whisk, stir the mixture.
  • Add the peanut butter and continue to whisk. Then add the cocoa. Keep whisking!
  • Bring to a slow boil for 3 minutes, then remove from heat.
  • Stir in the oats.
  • Add the shredded coconut.
  • Using a spoon, scoop mixture onto the cookie sheet to desired size, cover with plastic wrap and put in the refrigerator.
  • After at least 60 minutes, remove and put cookies in a baggie for storage in the frig. Or, simply enjoy your amazing no-bake cookies!
    no bake cookies

Notes

no-bake cookies with coconut
Calories are an educational guess, this depends on how large you make your cookies. I based the calories on a cookie the size of the palm of a hand or 3-inch diameter. 
If you want to cool the cookies faster, put them in the freezer for about 30 – 40 minutes.Store cookies in the frig. for up to 10 days. 
NOTE: I experimented with organic sugar cane instead of syrup and honey, and it didn’t work for me. While in the saucepan it became frothy and gave the cookies a grainy texture and burnt-like taste. 

All in all

This gluten-free no-bake cookie recipe with coconut is a perfect 3:00 pm snack at work, after school, or even for breakfast. I’ve been known to eat one after a workout, why not? It’s healthy, full of protein, and has just the right amount of carbs and benefits from coconut. Note, I have not tried these with almond butter or cashew butter, but I’m sure it would work. Enjoy!

Be sure to check out my other sweet treats!

All are gluten-free and dairy-free. Simple and delicious.

The Best Gluten-Free Granola Bar Recipe EVER!

Gluten-Free Molasses Cookies with Peanut Butter

Christy’s Gluten-Free Chocolate Chip Cookies

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By CT Copyright © 2021 Simplify Firefly. All Rights Reserved.
The BEST Gluten-Free Granola Bar Recipe EVER!

The BEST Gluten-Free Granola Bar Recipe EVER!

This is by far the BEST homemade gluten-free granola bar recipe EVER! These granola bars are actually healthy for you. There is no added sugar other than natural honey. They are also gluten-free, dairy-free, egg-free, and nut-free! My gluten-free granola bar recipe delivers chewy with a little crisp, and the chocolate chunks are amazing!

no-bake gluten-free granola bars on a plate
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What to know about oats

My digestive system is pretty sensitive, so I need to be careful of what I eat and how much I eat. These granola bars are oat-based. I used verified gluten-free rolled oats. If you need to be gluten-free, make sure the oats say “gluten-free”. Many oats when processed can have cross-contamination with wheat and other grains; therefore, are not considered gluten-free. There are many oat-based cereals that claim they are gluten-free, but when you check out the ingredients, the oats are not certified gluten-free. Please be careful out there if you have celiacs or are super sensitive to gluten, oats might be a trigger for you.

For my granola bars I like to give the oats a little pulse in the food processor, it just helps me digest them easier. But, it’s totally okay with going the full oat route. Use whatever you like.

More about oats

Oats have tremendous health benefits. They are full of manganese, which is great for bones, muscles, and tendons. It also helps reduce inflammation and regulate blood sugar. For more benefits of manganese, you can check out Healthline.

Rolled oats also have phosphorus, magnesium, and copper to name a few big ones. All and all, oats are high in antioxidants and fiber, which help in weight loss, blood sugar levels, lower cholesterol, and they’re good for your heart. This grain is a good one. If you need to be gluten-free, make sure the oats say they are gluten-free.

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Gluten-free granola bar recipe add-ons!

These no-bake gluten-free granola bars are not only great snacks for the family, but if you’re running low on time, slab some peanut butter on them and you’ve got lunch! I did this today…so good. My husband prefers to put goat cheese on his. Really anything that spreads would be delicious on these yum yums.

There are a few other ingredients I want to bring to your attention. Of course, you can add a lot of different things to these, like dried cranberries, ground flaxseed, peanuts, almonds, walnuts, or diced dried apricots. If your budget allows you, definitely try dried cherries!

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Recipe secrets. Shhh!

The ‘No-bake” is super important for this recipe. I tried this recipe by baking it in the oven and it did not work! I actually made granola, so if you’re looking for granola, just bake the recipe on a cookie sheet at 350 for 20 minutes. However, if you want true bars, melt the wet ingredients in a saucepan then mix them all together!

For my recipe, to get that extra crisp, you must add the gluten-free crisp rice cereal. Yes, this is one of my secret ingredients. Please don’t tell anyone. 😊 The crisp rice really makes these granola bars come together. I use Malt-O-Meal Crispy Rice Cereal. It comes in a large bag, so if you’re a fan of rice crispy treats, you’ll be all set. The only place I’ve been able to find it is at Walmart. It’s a lot cheaper than the gluten-free crisp rice from health food stores.

Another secret ingredient is ground cloves. Don’t you just love the smell of cloves? When I was little my friend, Jill, would stick an apple full of cloves and hang it in their kitchen. It smelled SO good! Cloves give this recipe a warm comfort feeling, in fact, the cloves might be the culprit of why these are so dang delicious!

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One more ingredient that will make a big difference: chocolate chunks. Because of all my food sensitivities, I spend the extra money and get the Enjoy Life chocolate chunks. These chocolate chunks or chips are free from major allergens including dairy, gluten, soy, and nuts. The chucks in my gluten-free granola bars really give them amazing texture. You, of course, can use the chocolate chips or mini chocolate chips, but if you get a chance, try it with chunks!

More you should know about the recipe

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The trick to this gluten-free granola bar recipe is to add enough coconut oil. Coconut is not a tree nut, it is a fruit. My son has a nut allergy, and he can eat coconut. Think of it this way, if the coconut was a nut, wouldn’t the ‘nut’ be formed like walnut or pecan? Instead, coconut is meat that surrounds water. This, of course, is my opinion. I know some of you disagree with me. But in this recipe, coconut is not a nut. For the coconut oil, I use Kirkland’s from Costco. I always have it on hand.

Coconut has a slew of health benefits. I have another recipe that lists how good coconut is for you, if you want to check it out you can find that here.

As for the sweetness of the homemade gluten-free granola bar recipe, I chose honey to do the job. There is no other sugar added to this recipe. No brown sugar, no white sugar, and definitely no high fructose corn syrup! Just all-natural honey. Now. If you want to experiment with maple syrup, go for it! There are some recipes where I put half honey and half maple syrup. I just like to try to avoid white sugar if possible.

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The Most Amazing Gluten-free Granola Bars Ever!

Simple to make with natural ingredients, gluten-free, dairy-free, no-bake, and delicious. This is what a homemade granola bar should taste like!
Course Breakfast, Dessert, Snack
Cuisine American
Keyword dairy-free, dairy-free granola bars, gluten-free, gluten-free granola bars, granola bar, homemade granola bars, no-bake granola bars, nut-free granola bars
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 4 minutes
Total Time 14 minutes
Servings 12 servings
Calories 200kcal
Cost $6

Equipment

  • 8×8 pan
  • saucepan
  • large bowl

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cup gluten-free oats
  • 1 cup gluten-free crisp rice (cereal)
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp ground cloves
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup coconut oil – heaping 1/2 cup
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/4 cup + 2 tbsp Honey
  • 1/4 cup raisins or dried fruit
  • 1/4 cup nut-free roasted sunflower seeds
  • 1/2 cup dairy-free, nut-free chocolate chunks or chips

Instructions

  • Line your 8 x 8 pan with parchment paper
    lined pan with parchment paper
  • Pulse the oats a few times if you would like them in smaller bits…I prefer this. Otherwise, it's okay to keep the oats whole.
  • Grab a large bowl and put in the oats, cinnamon, cloves, and salt. Stir with spoon or clean hands. I prefer to use my hands.
    oats and spices in bowl
  • Add the dried fruit, crisp rice, sunflower seeds, and chocolate chunks to the bowl. Stir.
  • Combine coconut oil, vanilla, and honey into a saucepan over medium heat. Stir occasionally until the mixture is bubbling. Remove from heat.
  • Take the honey/oil mixture and pour over the dry ingredients. Stir using a wooden spoon or spatula.
  • Once everything is coated with the honey/oil mixture, dump it all into the lined 8 x 8 pan. PRESS FIRMLY INTO THE PAN. This is how they stay together. Super important!
    granola bars in a pan
  • Cover the pan with foil and place it in the refrigerator for at least an hour. Two hours+ is ideal. Once formed, remove the block of mixture from the pan and cut it into bars to the size of your liking.
  • Store the granola bars in a Zip-Lock bag or air-tight container in the frig. for up to 7 days.

Notes

Please note the calories and cost are estimated. These would be more expensive if you went the organic route. And the calories will differ depending on the size you cut them…not to mention other ingredients you may add.
These bars are excellent on their own, but feel free to add peanuts, almonds, walnuts, or other nuts for a meater bar. You can experiment by adding peanut butter, if you do, put it in the saucepan with the honey/oil mixture. Dried cranberries, chopped dried apricots, or dried cherries would be amazing in this granola bar recipe as well.  Enjoy! 

In Conclusion

Having a teenage son and trying to get him to make wise menu options can be challenging. However, having this gluten-free granola bar recipe on hand has really helped. I hope you enjoy these no-bake gluten-free granola bars as much as my family has. Enjoy!

Be sure to check out my other sweet treats!

All are gluten-free and dairy-free. Simple and delicious.

No-bake Cookies with Coconut!

Gluten-Free Molasses Cookies with Peanut Butter

Christy’s Gluten-Free Chocolate Chip Cookies

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By CT Copyright © 2021 Simplify Firefly. All Rights Reserved.


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