Mother Earth Living

Food Matters

All about fresh, flavorful food

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A grain-free diet is becoming increasingly popular. It’s common to also be dairy-, soy- and refined sugar-free. Some make the full leap to the Paleolithic diet. There are dozens of reasons why people hop on this wagon: autoimmune disease, autism, mental health, fitness goals—the list goes on. Recently, I told my story about a health battle and my decision to go grain-free, as well as my commitment to raise my daughter the same way.

Coming from a classically trained chef, former pastry chef and bread-lover, going grain-free sometimes has its disadvantages. I’ve been restricting gluten from my diet for years now. But going-grain free is one step further and I found myself missing certain items. The hardest to give up at first were the gluten-free breads and pastas that had already found a permanent spot in my pantry. While experimenting with grain-free baking is as thrilling as “regular” baking, it does tend to exclude familiar tastes and textures.

I began to think of staples I could create, make at home and have on hand. “Granola!” I thought to myself, knowing a good granola doesn’t last long in my house. There are a few grain-free granolas on the market out there today that are excellent, but they are hard to find. Also, granola is always something I suggest people make at home, as you can customize it to your liking and add ingredients that benefit you and your personal condition.

Grain Free Granola
Photo by Malorie Davis

This is the recipe I created and find myself recreating again and again. The recipe makes a brown-bag full and I breeze through every batch. It pairs nicely with almond milk, or your choice of yogurt and fruit. I even enjoy it as a snack on its own, or on top of almond milk ice cream. Mine includes chocolate, because I’m a chocoholic. You can substitute berries, if you’d like. It’s also loaded with healthful nuts and seeds, which always makes me feel my best. Try this one or make your own version. Either way, it’s a healthful and simple homemade recipe you can keep going back to.

Granola With Berries
Photo by Malorie Davis

Chocolate and Coconut Grain-Free Granola Recipe

• 1 cup sunflower seeds
• 2 tablespoons chia seeds
• 1 cup chopped walnuts
• 1 cup coconut flakes
• 1/2 cup Enjoy Life chocolate chips
• 2 teaspoons cinnamon powder
• 1/3 cup raw honey
• 1/2 teaspoon salt
• 1/4 cup ground flax seeds

1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. 

2. Toss ingredients in a bowl to thoroughly combine. Make sure the honey is distributed evenly.

3. Spread out the mixture on a baking sheet in a thin layer. 

4. Bake for 10 minutes, or until coconut flakes begin to slightly brown.

5. To store, this will keep in a brown bag or glass jar for several weeks. 

Malorie DavisMalorie Davis is a classically trained chef, holistic nutrition counselor, wife and mother. She created the True American Diet and has a passion for natural homemaking. Malorie offers up recipes and nutrition tips on her new blog, Malorie Davis Nutrition, as well as online nutrition counseling services.


There’s something about cooked plums that makes me weak in the knees. Sure, biting into a ripe plum at the peak of the season, with the juices running to your elbows and the tartness hitting the front of your tongue, is a blissful experience. But something about the richness and depth of a cooked plum makes it a whole new and delightfully thrilling eating experience. It still reminds me of a beautiful stone fruit freshly picked from a tree, yet it takes on a more luxurious texture and taste. Cooking with plums offers a smooth, rich and sweet taste, along with a tart flavor that comes at the end. When paired properly with spices, the bar gets raised even higher. 

I have an aunt in Northern California who grows her own plum trees. She’s also a wiz at canning and preserving foods. Wouldn’t you know, she makes the most delicious plum jam I’ve ever tasted. That jam is perhaps what made me fall in love with plums. I don’t attempt plum jams or jellies because I know I won’t come close to how I remember hers. But I cook with plums any other way I can.

I’m coining the term “Butter Baby”. It’s a combination of a Dutch Baby and a Tart Tatin. It’s also gluten-free. Essentially a pancake batter baked in the oven, it begins with a generous amount of butter, which reminds me of the French technique. I make these at home often and they’re always a hit. A “Butter Baby” can be made with any fruit and alternate flours. The “traditional foods” lifestyle is gaining a large amount of followers and bringing health enthusiasts back to butter. This recipe is an excellent way to make use of your pasture butter or ghee.

Since it’s the peak of plum season, I bought a large amount of plums at the farmers market with the intention of making more than one recipe. I made stewed plums with the rest, which is quite similar to my aunt’s plum jam but simpler and made with honey instead of sugar. I like to keep various stewed fruits in my home. If I have leftover seasonal fruit, I make a small jar of stewed fruit to use in place of jam. I use it to top oatmeal, porridge, yogurt or breads. It’s healthy, easy and always a great addition to my weekly menu.

Plum Butter Baby
Photo by Malorie Davis

Plum “Butter Baby” Recipe

• 1/2 cup brown rice flour (You can substitute wheat flour or buckwheat flour.)
• 2 tablespoons cornstarch or potato starch
• 2 tablespoons honey
• 1/4 teaspoon salt
• 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
• 2 eggs
• 1/2 cup almond milk (You can substitute whole milk.)
• 2 tablespoons coconut oil, melted
• Zest of 1 lemon
• 5 to 6 small plums (or any other fruit), sliced
• 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
• Pinch ground cloves
• 6 tablespoons butter or ghee
• 1/2 cup pure maple syrup

1. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.

2. In a medium-sized bowl, whisk together brown rice flour, cornstarch, honey, salt, vanilla extract, eggs, almond milk, coconut oil and lemon zest. Set aside.

3. In a separate bowl, toss the sliced plums with the cinnamon and ground cloves. Set aside.

4. In a cast-iron skillet, dollop the butter or ghee around and drizzle on the maple syrup. Arrange the plums in a single layer over the butter and syrup. Heat the skillet over medium until the butter is melted and the syrup begins to bubble. Turn off the heat, and pour the batter over the plums.

5. Bake for 20 minutes or until the edges are bubbling and looking crisp. Cut into pie slices and serve.

Stewed Plums
Photo by Malorie Davis

Stewed Plums Recipe

• 6 plums, sliced
• 2 tablespoons water
• 3 tablespoons honey
• Pinch of salt
• 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
• 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
• 1/4 teaspoon ground clove
• 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger

1. Place all of the ingredients in a cast-iron or heavy-bottom pot and stir with a wooden spoon. Heat over medium-high with a lid on, and cook until the plums become tender, about 10 to 15 minutes.

2. Remove the lid, stir and cook for 5 minutes more, or until all of the liquid has been absorbed and the consistency is fairly thick.

3. Store in a glass jar. It will keep for up to 2 weeks.

Malorie DavisMalorie Davis is a classically trained chef, holistic nutrition counselor, wife, and mother. She created the True American Diet and has a passion for natural homemaking. Malorie offers up recipes and nutrition tips on her new blog Malorie Davis Nutrition, as well as online nutrition counseling services.


Editors PickPopcorn can be a healthful snack that is low in calories and chock full of nutrients, including fiber. But not all popcorn is alike. That extra-large tub of heavily buttered popcorn from your local movie theater will not offer such health benefits. In fact, a medium tub at Regal—the country’s biggest movie theater chain—has 1,200 calories and 60 grams of saturated fat, according to a recent report from the Center for Science in the Public Interest. So much for low calorie!

Other problems surrounding popcorn are the nasty culprits known as genetically modified organisms, or GMOs. Studies have shown GM foods to cause allergies in some people, and a more recent study showed that GE (genetically engineered) foods may have detrimental effects on immune function. The majority of GM foods end up in processed foods, which can make avoiding them difficult—especially for corn. Corn is one of the five most-common GM crops (beet sugar, canola, soy and cotton are the other crops), as it’s estimated that 90 percent of the corn grown in the U.S. is from genetically modified seed.

To help you healthfully get your popcorn fix, we’ve taste-tested a wide variety of natural popcorn and selected six of our favorites. Whether you’re a stovetop purist, prefer the ease of microwavable bags, or simply want a bag of pre-popped corn for traveling purposes, we’ve got you covered. Hit play on your DVR, grab a blanket and cozy up on the sofa with a bowl of popcorn from one of these popcorn companies.

Best Natural Popcorn Products

Bob’s Red Mill Yellow Popcorn

Best old-fashioned popcorn: Many microwaveable bags of popcorn are loaded with partially hydrogenated oils and artificial flavorings. Ditch the microwave and embrace the superior flavor of air-popped popcorn. Using a store-bought popcorn machine or simply your stovetop, preparing these kernels is easier than it may seem: here is a great instructional article. We recommend swapping peanut oil with flax seed or coconut oil, and adding in a little sea salt. These GMO-free popcorn kernels from one of our favorite companies pop evenly and are fresh tasting. Best of all, it has a high nutrition score of 10 from GoodGuide, an organization that rates hundreds of companies on their health, sustainability and social attributes.

Cost: 1 pound bag; $3

Farmer Steve’s Microwave Popcorn

Best microwaveable basic: No need to worry about preservatives, artificial flavorings or hydrogenated oils with this GMO-free product. Produced on a small family farm in Hunterdon County, New Jersey, Farmer Steve’s popcorn is certified organic. Lightly salted for extra flavor, these microwaveable bags are easy to use, and the popcorn makes a great base for any seasoning combinations you can come up with.

Cost: three 2.8-ounce bags; $5

Quinn Popcorn Parmesan & Rosemary

Best microwavable flavor: Like Farmer Steve’s, Quinn produces GMO-free microwaveable popcorn sans artificial ingredients. The bag is also compostable. Simply pop the bag in the microwave then, after it has popped, sprinkle it with the handy little seasoning packages that come in the box. We particularly like the Parmesan & Rosemary flavor. It’s addictively salty with just a hint of rosemary.

Cost: two 3.5-ounce bags; $5

Popcorn Indiana Sriracha Popcorn

Best pre-popped flavor: Spicy and satisfying, this bag of popcorn really captures the sriracha flavor with seasonings green pepper, red pepper, garlic powder and paprika. Best of all, this product scores fairly high on the GoodGuide nutrition scale (7.5) and is made with non-GMO canola oil. Full disclosure: Even though the company is committed to the Non-GMO Challenge by providing a transparent listing of ingredients, this particular flavor is not made with GMO-free corn. For a completely non-GMO treat from Popcorn Indiana check out their Fit Popcorn with sea salt, which is also delicious.

Cost: 6-ounce bag; $5

BoomChickaPop Sweet & Salty Kettle Corn

Best kettle corn: Crunchy with the perfect blend of sweet and salty, this lightly flavored kettle corn is a great snack for any on-the-go outing. You can also keep it in the pantry for an easy-to-reach snack for the kiddos. This Minnesota-based company makes this product with whole grains, vegan, gluten-free and non-GMO.

Cost: 7-ounce bag; $4

Earth Balance Vegan Aged White Cheddar Puffs

Best take on popcorn: If you are craving something that seems a little sinful, then grab a bag of these vegan, gluten-free, non-GMO cheddar puffs. This puffy concoction is a cheesy delight—just make sure to wash your hands afterward! Pack them for lunch, take them with you on a road trip, or bring them along on a picnic.

Cost: 4-ounce bag; $4


Food sustains us, quite literally. We have to feed our physical bodies, of course. But real food is so much more than that—we also want to nourish our family bonds by eating meals together. We want to tend to our land, caring for it to reap the bounty of produce in return. And we want to provide sustenance to our souls, by observing—and participating in—the cycle of life right in front of us as we move through the seasons.

Quick Fix Foods
Photo by Thomas Gibson

1. Mix It Up

Antioxidant Trail Mix

High Antioxidant Trail Mix stars a yummy blend of organic, non-GMO pumpkin seeds, almonds, goji berries, raisins and mulberries.

TO BUY: 1-pound bag: $13.50 from GrandyOats

2. Sesame Street

Whole Wheat Sesame Sticks

Switch up your snacking with Whole Wheat Sesame Sticks, free of synthetic flavors, colors, preservatives and additives.

TO BUY: $3.50 from NOW Foods

3. Choice Chips

Green Mojo Chips

Mild yet bursting with flavor, Mild Green Mojo chips are the perfect salty snack. Late July is a family-owned business and its chips are organic and non-GMO.

TO BUY: $3.50 from Late July Organic Snacks

4. Lil’ Sprout

Sprouted Wheat Bagels

With organic whole-wheat berries and no added sugar, protein-rich Sprouted Wheat Bagels make for a satisfying breakfast.

TO BUY: 6 bagels: $3.50 from Alvarado Street Bakery

5. Glorious Grains

Organic Grains

Table-ready in 60 seconds, these pouches of tasty organic grains, legumes, vegetables, spices and herbs are nutrient-dense, ideal for a weekday lunch.

TO BUY: $4 from Made in Nature


As the summer season winds down, harvest your herbal bounty and use its fresh leaves in a tasty vegan dip. This Creamy Herb Dip is simple to make—and difficult to stop eating! Filled with protein-rich cashews and the health wonder coconut oil, this raw vegan dip can be ready in under five minutes. Use a high-speed blender, food processor or immersion blender to mix, then serve as a dip with Mary’s Gone Crackers Curry Pretzels or another one of your favorite gluten-free pretzels or crackers. This recipe can also be used as a spread for rice cakes, toast, pita bread or flat bread for wraps. Best of all? It’s gluten-free!

This recipe comes courtesy Mary’s Gone Crackers.

Creamy Herb Dip 

Creamy Herb Dip Recipe

• 1/2 cup cashews, soaked for 3 hours and drained
• 1/3 cup almond milk
• Juice of 1/2 lemon
• 1/2 teaspoon raw apple cider vinegar
• 1 tablespoon coconut oil, melted
• 1 tablespoon fresh parsley
• 1 tablespoon fresh chives
• 1 tablespoon fresh basil
• 1 garlic clove, peeled
• Salt and pepper, to taste

1. In a high-speed blender, combine cashews, milk, lemon juice and vinegar until smooth.

2. Add coconut oil and blend. Then add herbs, salt and pepper, and pulse briefly.

3. Refrigerate for several hours or until set.

Mary’s Gone Crackers is committed to manufacturing the best-tasting, wheat-free and gluten-free baked goods using the highest quality, organically grown ingredients.


Dhaniya, more commonly known as cilantro, is a very popular garnish in Chinese, Mexican and Indian cooking. Versatile and pungent, this culinary herb can temper the spice of sauces, salsas and dips. Use it in this green, gluten-free chutney dip. Chutney is like the Indian salsa, and makes a great accompaniment with many snacks and meals. Whip up this gluten-free dip for guests who can handle the spice, and serve with Mary’s Gone Crackers Curry Pretzels or another one of your favorite gluten-free crackers or pretzels. Alternatively, you can use this dip as a spread for sandwiches.

This recipe comes courtesy Mary’s Gone Crackers.

Dhaniya Chutney 

Dhaniya Chutney Recipe

• 1 bunch fresh cilantro
• 1/2 bunch fresh mint
• 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
• 1/4 cup chopped almonds
• 3 small, fresh hot chilies (such as jalapeño or serrano), stemmed and seeded
• 1 large clove garlic
• 2 teaspoons sugar
• 1/4 cup water
• Salt, to taste

Place all ingredients in a high power blender or food processor. Blend until smooth. If too thick, add more water.

Mary’s Gone Crackers is committed to manufacturing the best-tasting, wheat-free and gluten-free baked goods using the highest quality, organically grown ingredients.


If you’re looking for a sweet and salty snack, try this travel-savvy recipe. These Sweet and Salty Trail Mix Bars make a perfect snack by the pool or on a picnic in the summer. They even fit nicely in your backpack for long hikes. Filled with nutritious ingredients such as quinoa, sunflower seeds and yogurt, this light and crunchy—and a little nutty—recipe is a healthier alternative to prepackaged, high-sodium snacks. Best of all, it’s gluten-free!

This recipe comes courtesy Mary’s Gone Crackers.

Sweet Salty Trail Mix Bar 

Mary's Sweet and Salty Trail Mix Bar Recipe

• 1 3/4 cups chocolate chips, divided
• 1 1/2 cups Mary’s Gone Crackers Sea Salt Pretzels, broken into small pieces
• 1 1/2 cups quinoa flakes
• 1 cup dried cranberries
• 1 cup toasted sunflower seeds
• 1/2 cup toasted almonds, chopped
• 1/4 cup brown rice flour
• 1/4 cup almond flour
• 1/2 cup plain, non-fat Greek yogurt (or any plain vegan yogurt)
• 4 tablespoons palm oil
• 3/4 cup sunflower seed butter
• 1/2 cup palm sugar
• 1/3 cup honey (or brown rice syrup, or tapioca syrup)
• 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
• 1/2 cup toasted coconut flakes

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

2. Lightly coat a 9-by-13-inch pan with an organic nonstick cooking spray. In a double broiler, melt 1 cup chocolate chips and pour evenly into the pan to create a chocolate base.

3. In a large bowl, combine pretzel pieces, quinoa flakes, cranberries, sunflower seeds, almonds, brown rice flour, almond flour and yogurt. Set aside.

4. Melt palm oil in a small saucepan over medium-high heat. Add sunflower seed butter, palm sugar, honey and vanilla. Stir until smooth.

5. Pour palm mixture into the dry pretzel mixture and stir quickly to thoroughly coat. Transfer mixture to prepared baking pan and press firmly and evenly. Bake until lightly browned, about 12 to 15 minutes.

6. After baking, immediately sprinkle toasted coconut flakes over bars. Melt remaining 3/4 cup of chocolate and drizzle over bars. Let the bars cool completely in pan on a wire rack in the refrigerator before cutting into bars. Keep bars in the refrigerator as they contain yogurt. Makes 35 to 45 bars.

Mary’s Gone Crackers is committed to manufacturing the best-tasting, wheat-free and gluten-free baked goods using the highest quality, organically grown ingredients.

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