Creating Healthy Family Recipes

Montessori-Inspired Arctic and Antarctic Unit
Montessori Monday – Montessori-Inspired Winter Activities
Christina Making Vegan Fudge during the Holidays

Christina Making Vegan Fudge during the Holidays

My kids and I have been experimenting with creating healthy versions of recipes for years. In my post “Happy Families Can Have More Than One Diet,” I told about my husband’s and my vegetarian diet (for 38 years now) and our adult children’s lifelong vegetarian diet.

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links (at no cost to you).

Vegetarian and Vegan Recipe Posts

“Activity of the Week – Homemade Ice Cream Right Now! No Machine Required!” has a vegan version I discovered through experimenting. “Vegetarian Thanksgiving Recipes and Family Cookbook” has a vegan nut-loaf recipe and vegetarian fruit salad that have been part of my family’s favorite Thanksgiving meal.

Gluten-Free Recipe Experiments

My latest experiments have been with creating natural, gluten-free recipes. Although no one in my family has celiac disease, books such as Wheat Belly: Lose the Wheat, Lose the Weight, and Find Your Path Back to Health by William Davis, MD, give compelling reasons to try healthy, gluten-free recipes.

My adult daughter, Christina, in particular, might have a sensitivity to gluten. So, for a couple of months, Christina and I have been experimenting with gluten-free recipes. While some gluten-free flours are still unhealthy, we’ve especially tried to use brown-rice flour as a substitute for wheat flour. Christina seems to feel healthiest and has an extra glow when she eats natural, gluten-free foods.

Terry, Tom, Will, Chea, Christina, and Deb enjoying time together for a meal in the New Year.

Terry, Tom, Will, Chea, Christina, and Deb enjoying time together for a meal in the New Year.

Gluten-Free Chocolate Oat Bran Muffins

Natural, Gluten-Free, Chocolate Oat Bran Muffin

Natural, Gluten-Free, Chocolate Oat Bran Muffin

I’m a real fan of chocolate muffins (and chocolate anything!), so I’ve been  working to create a healthy chocolate muffin. I do use regular oat bran, which might have a slight amount of gluten. You can find certified gluten-free oat bran.

To make the recipe both healthy and gluten-free, I used vegetable oil instead of butter, brown-rice flour instead of processed flours or whole wheat flour, honey instead of sugar, and unsweetened dark chocolate. Because I raised athletes, I like to add protein powder to baked goods. I typically use whey powder, although soy powder (and egg substitute) can be used for a vegan recipe. I use natural, vegan chocolate chips as well.

Here’s a printable recipe I created for natural, gluten-free, chocolate oat bran muffins.

Gluten-Free Chocolate Oat Bran Muffins

To download recipe (without watermark), click here, then right click on the image and choose “Save Picture As . . .” (Note: If you’re wondering what scrapbooking software I used, check out my post about My Memories. I LOVE it … so quick and easy to use!)

Enjoy! And if you find a way to improve the recipe, please let me know! 🙂

Linked to The Mommy Club Resources and Solutions at Milk and Cuddles and Crystal & Co.


This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Carnival of Natural Parenting with the theme “Experiments in Natural Family Living.” This month our participants have reported on weeklong trials to make their lives a little greener and gentler. Please read to the end to find a list of links to the other carnival participants.

Carnival of Natural Parenting -- Hobo Mama and Code Name: MamaVisit Hobo Mama and Code Name: Mama to find out how you can participate in the next Carnival of Natural Parenting!

Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants:

  • Make your own moisturizer! — Megan at boho mama whips up a winter skin-friendly moisturizer.
  • Cold Water Only — Brittany at The Pistachio Project talks about how you do not need hot water to wash laundry.
  • Family Cloth… Really?? — After lots of forethought and consideration, Momma Jorje finally decides to take the plunge with family cloth.
  • Reduce, Reuse, Recycle : 5-5-5 Things A Day — Luschka from Diary of a First Child writes about decluttering her home in an attempt to create a gentler living space. She takes on a new project where she sets a goal of reducing, reusing and recycling every day.
  • Pros and cons of family cloth — Lauren at Hobo Mama would love to continue replacing paper products with family cloth … if she could only get over how damp she feels.
  • Craftily Parenting — Kellie at Our Mindful Life finds that crafting makes her a better parent.
  • Changes — Laura at Pug in the Kitchen couldn’t choose just one area to experiment with, so she wrote a long post about all the fun changes initiated in her life!
  • Life without Internet: Not all it’s Cracked up to Be — Adrienne at Mommying My Way tries to go a week without the Internet, only to realize a healthy dose of Internet usage really helps keep this stay-at-home mom connected.
  • My Progression to Raw Milk — Kerry at City Kids Homeschooling shares her natural parenting progression all the way to trying raw milk.
  • mama’s new little friend. — Sarah at Bitty Bird tries a menstrual cup to “green her period,” and is pleasantly surprised when she falls in love with the product!
  • Before you throw it out, try homemade laundry soap! — Jennifer at Practical OH Mommy shows visual proof that homemade laundry soap is cheaper, easier, and works better than the store-bought chemicals!
  • Oil, Oil, No Toil, No Trouble — K from Very Simple Secret talks about her foray into the oil-cleansing method.
  • I Need a Hobby — Amanda at Let’s Take the Metro couldn’t decide which experiment to run, so she did them all.
  • 7 days of macrobiotics for a balanced family — The Stones make a [successful] attempt to release the “holiday junking” with 7 days of macrobiotic meals to balance their bodies and souls. Elisabeth at Manic Mrs. Stone includes an explanation of macrobiotics.
  • Chemical Free Beauty Challenge — Jenn at Monkey Butt Junction turned to natural alternatives for her daily beauty and cleaning routine, with great results.
  • Greening my Armpits!? My Green Resolution — Shannon at The Artful Mama talks about how she decided to give up her traditional antiperspirant and make the switch over to crystal deodorants and definitely isn’t looking back!
  • Going Raw (for a while) — Jenny at Chronicles of a Nursing Mom shares her family’s experience with raw food.
  • Do we get to eat gluten today? — Sheila at A Gift Universe has been trying to figure out if her son does better with or without gluten in his diet … but it’s really hard to tell for sure.
  • Hippies Can Smell and Look Fabulous Too! — Arpita of Up, Down And Natural details her experience of going shampoo-free and overhauling her cosmetics to find the balance between feeling beautifully fabulous and honoring her inner hippie.
  • Our cupboards are full…but there’s nothing to eat — Lucy at Dreaming Aloud takes on the challenge of chomping through the contents of her storecupboard rather than going shopping — but there’s something that she just can’t bring herself to do …
  • Elimination Experiment 3.0MudpieMama recounts the messy adventures of her baby daughter trying to be diaper free.
  • Family Cloth Trial — Amyables at Toddler in Tow talks about making and using family cloth wipes in the bathroom for the first time.
  • Taking a Hiatus — Amy at Peace 4 Parents shares how her experience of much less internet interaction affected her family and how it will change her approach in the future.
  • Trying Out the Menstrual Cup — Lindsey at an unschooling adventure ditches the tampons and gives menstrual cups a try.
  • Managing Food Waste in Our Home — Tired of the holiday waste, Robbie at Going Green Mama takes a weeklong focus on reducing food waste in her home, and learns some lessons that can take her through the new year.
  • Going Offline, Cloth Tissues, and Simplicity — Jennifer at Hybrid Rasta Mama muses over her time away from blogging and social networking. In addition, she shares her newfound love of cloth tissues and simplicity.


Montessori-Inspired Arctic and Antarctic Unit
Montessori Monday – Montessori-Inspired Winter Activities
For Small Hands - A Resource for Families
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