Review: Paleo on the Go

POTG Chicken Burger
I was recently contacted by (affiliate link) Paleo on the Go, a company that provides fully cooked meals (and real deal bone broth) all in compliance with the Paleo diet, asking if I would review two of their entrees. I wouldn’t normally pay attention to such a request, as my diet is so limited, it’s nearly impossible for me to find AIP compliant meals – that is, until they happily informed me I could choose two options from their AIP menu if I would like. Oh that would be a “yes!”.

Funny thing about receiving this request, was that back in January it was my birthday and I was JUST saying how nice it would be if on special occasions, such as MY BIRTHDAY, I could have a meal that is completely AIP compliant, cooked by ANYONE OTHER THAN MYSELF. Prior to autoimmune disease and AIP, my husband used to take me to my favorite local restaurant. Of course, since AIP diet came into play, I simply cannot eat a thing there. (I miss you white bean fondue with toast points and cultured veggies…sniff.)

As I began to peruse POTG’s website and menu plans, I became pleasantly surprised – shocked actually – that the food not only looked really, really good but that I could eat with confidence, not fearing a reaction or autoimmune flare.

There were several items I wanted to try, but I decided to order something a little swanky that I might enjoy for a special occasion, and something a little more down-to-earth that I could eat every day. I have to say – both were quite delicious. The POTG delivery came in a large box with a styrofoam cooler inside. It contained dry ice with clear warnings on how to handle (or not handle) the dry ice. The food was packaged in vacuum sealed bags labeled very clearly with the ingredients and how best to reheat.
POTG Duck
Duck Confit with Sour Cherry Compote
I ordered the duck as my swanky entree. One of the things about POTG that really impresses me, is their use of pastured meats. The ingredients for this entree are: pastured duck quarters, duck fat, onion, garlic, thyme, sea salt, dried cherries, maple syrup, balsamic vinegar and arrowroot. They give a few options on how you can reheat. I chose to thaw my entrees in the refrigerator, then the following day I took the contents out of the bag, placed it in a glass oven-proof dish, and baked it on a low temperature in my toaster oven to heat through.

The flavors in this dish were amazing! The sweetness of the cherries and maple syrup coupled with the savory of the garlic and thyme were nothing short of genius. My only regret is that the fat hadn’t completely rendered on the duck quarters and the skin wasn’t crispy. I think I could achieve this on a reheat at a higher temp, or perhaps a lower temp to start, and then finishing with a higher temp or broil it, watching carefully that it not burn or overcook.

Bacon-Apple Chicken Burger with Maple-Cranberry Sauce
The next entree I chose was labeled “from the Kitchen of The Paleo Mom.com” (whose Perfect Paleo Pancake recipe is the base for my Chicken and Waffles).

The ingredients were as follows: ground chicken, bacon, onion, apple, rosemary, sea salt, bacon fat, frozen cranberries, maple syrup, and water. I used the same method to reheat as I did for the duck listed above.

Again, the flavors in this dish were so amazing. I love the savory/sweet thing that it had going on but I wish I would have reheated it on a lower oven temp for less time. I dried the patties out just a tad.

I “allowed” my teenagers to taste both of these entrees and they were very enthusiastic that both were delicious. My son went on and on about the chicken burger especially.

Final Thoughts
I come into contact with a lot of people who are being introduced to either a Paleo lifestyle or the AIP diet for specific health concerns. Many of them have the same distraught groanings “I’m in the kitchen all the time!”. I can see POTG being a really great option for people like this who are either overwhelmed at new lifestyle changes and need a back up or “fill-in” to some weekly meals, or a person who works outside of the home, is on the go or traveling a lot, but would still like to stay on track with their diet.

I’m in a place where I’m used to the cooking, the fermenting, the bone-brothing, so I would be more inclined to use POTG as a night off or special occasion go-to meal option. Keeping some entries on hand in the freezer would be really nice so when those opportunities present themselves, I’m already prepared.

Lastly, I have to mention something POTG does that I think is absolutely wonderful. BONE BROTH. And not just ANY bone broth – they have Grass Fed Beef Bone Broth AND Certified Organic Free Range Chicken Bone Broth, both of which are cooked 48 hours to get the most nutrient density possible. Bone broth is a rock star for healing the gut lining as well as strengthening and building the immune system. What a great option to have this on hand during an autoimmune flare (does anyone ever feel well enough to make bone broth during a flare?) or to use in soups, stews, or to drink straight up.

Finally, I would like to mention I was not paid or compensated in any way to write a review for POTG. They did provide two meals on them – much to my delight. After enjoying said meals, I decided to become an affiliate with them. POTG links and widgets are affiliate in nature.

More of the story…a/k/a “Cancer Part Deux”

The last time I posted, I came out of the closet and shared that I was diagnosed with breast cancer the week before Christmas, 2104. Thank you for all of the encouraging comments and well wishes. God has been very gracious to me on this journey.

I’m not sure how comfortable I am at this point going into all of the gory detail (and not sure you really want to know that much about me anyways), but I do want to share a few musings and memories I’ve had regarding it all.

I was recently shopping at my favorite local health food store when a memory of shopping there the week I was diagnosed stopped me in my tracks. This store is very familiar to me.  I’ve been frequenting the store since the family opened it at least ten years ago. The faces there are very familiar.  They know me – they’ve watched my kids grow and our youngest added to the nest – but they don’t really know me.

I felt as if this life-changing, earth-shaking weight was pressing in on me and no one there knew. I couldn’t bring myself to tell anyone.  But every “How are you today?” that the cashier or juice bar barista asked left me floundering.

My thoughts bounced “How do I answer? Do I lie and say ‘Doing well! How are you?’ as I usually would?” I knew if I said something like “It’s actually been a very difficult week for me. I was diagnosed with breast cancer.” a flood of tears would overtake me and I wouldn’t be able to stop. It also seemed like it could make that sweet juice bar barista who knew me, but didn’t know me, feel helpless or uncomfortable.  So, I choked back the tears and replied “Hangin’ in. How are you?” and shuffled on. Never had so much thought gone into such a simple, even robotic, phrase that I had heard and responded to my entire life.

As I began to leave the store, it started to pour down rain. If you’re at all familiar with Florida, you know rain is just par for the course.  It could last five minutes and be eye-squintingly bright directly following, OR it could be a downpour that lasts much longer (like a whole 15 minutes – just kidding).  This day, it was the latter and seemed to never end. As the rain pelted the pavement of the parking lot and the roof of the store, it seemed as if the weather was expressing what my heart felt at the time. I remember seeing people scurry in and out of the store and watching some sprint to their vehicles with heads covered. Time stood still.  I didn’t feel like running.  I didn’t care if I got wet. I had cancer. What did it matter?

So I took my buggy full of groceries and walked (not trotted, not scurried, just walked) to my van, unloaded the bags, and walked back to the store to return the cart. I was drenched. Rain was soaking my hair, clothes, and running down my face. I got into my van and just sat there for awhile. One thought kept playing over and over in my mind “I have cancer.”

As I think back on that day, I’m reminded of the huge picture window they have that faced my parking spot that day. I’m sure if anyone saw me, they thought I was certifiably insane.  It’s Florida after all, and rain and humidity for a presentable hairdo do not make. I wonder what people must have thought, if anything at all.

“Crazy!” “What is she doing?” “Maybe she wants attention.” “She must enjoy getting wet.”

Perhaps no one even noticed.

I wonder if anyone thought “She could have had some life-changing news or be going through a trial. I’ll pray for her.”

The old adage is true, “You never know what someone else is going through.”

I’m guilty of not noticing as well, and the truth is – we really don’t know many of the people we interact with on a regular basis, nor can we. I hope the memory of that rainy day in the health food store sticks with me as a reminder to be more sensitive to those around me – the strangers I see (and too often don’t see).

Not wanting to end this on too serious of a note, I thought I’d share this video my son and I put together for some young friends getting married. We wanted to give the bride-to-be a formal “welcome to the family” video true to my BIG FAT style.

My Untitled Story (and recipe for gingerbread snack cake)

I’ve been in a battle for quite some time now.  Actually multiple battles. I’ve written and rewritten this post in my mind countless times. What do I say? How do I say it? How in the world do I title this kind of blog post? Quite frankly, I’d rather stay in a realm of posting recipes for the Paleo and autoimmune community along with funny videos and my humorous take on life, autoimmunity, food, and survival without gluten, dairy or grains (that’s the short list).

Having a daughter with inflammatory bowel disease, and my own autoimmune diagnoses, I realize autoimmunity is serious and can be frightening at times too. That said, I’ve never wanted this blog to be taken too seriously.  I wanted it to be an encouragement to others but also make people laugh – because if you can’t eat really good (bad) food, laughter is essential to survival.

But frankly, the last year of my life hasn’t been very funny. I haven’t wanted to blog about it, or even talk about it much for that matter.  In December 2014, the week before Christmas to be exact, I was diagnosed with breast cancer.  I found a large round tumor in my right breast about the size of a bouncy ball (three-and-a-half centimeters) and the months that followed were nothing that I wanted to share with my readers.  To be perfectly honest, I wanted it to all go away.

I’ve loved the autoimmune community. It’s a close-knit group of people wanting to overcome varying degrees of health issues who encourage each other to keep pressing on, share recipes that are actually delicious (Without gluten? Who knew!), and are generally very supportive as a whole. AI peeps – you got my back and vice versa.

Now enter the cancer community.  I’m sorry to say this, but I’m going to be painfully honest here.  It’s not a community with whom I’ve ever wanted to identify. I think it’s safe to say we’ve all been affected by cancer in one way or another. Dearly loved family members or friends have gotten the dreaded diagnosis and we watched. We watched it all unfold. As difficult as all of that is, it’s another realm entirely when the person in the white coat looks YOU dead in the face and says “It’s cancer.” I wanted to be the person on the outside helping or ministering in some way to the person with cancer, but to be the “cancer patient” was horrifying to me to say the least. Even now, one year later, I cringe when I tell someone I had breast cancer or when I’m filling out a medical history form at a doctor’s office and have to check the box next to “cancer”.

I remember thinking I just wanted to be past it – a year down the road and doing well, if, in fact, I could get past it.

So here I am – one year later.  This is the week that I was diagnosed last year. Perhaps in future posts I will recount the tales of the journey.  But for now, I just want to say that I’m here and I’m thankful. Dear Heavenly Father who heard many cries for help as I huddled on the floor of my bedroom crying and paralyzed by fear – I am thankful.  For the many friends across the country who prayed to God on my behalf and walked through this trial with me – I am thankful.

Christmas isn’t the same and I don’t believe will ever be the same for me. The lens of a cancer diagnosis has changed the way I see life. Little things have greater meaning. I notice how stark white fluffy clouds look against a brilliant blue Florida sky. I laugh harder at the funny things my toddler says and thank God I am here to enjoy her. I marvel that in less than a year so many prayers have been answered and I can sleep again.

I couldn’t bear my soul and not, at the very least, post a recipe for you to enjoy. So here’s my gingerbread recipe.  I included the frosting that is in the picture, but personally, I think the cake is great on it’s own or maybe with a dusting of a homemade powdered sugar (just pulverize organic cane sugar or coconut sugar in a coffee grinder or mini food processor until powdered).

Enjoy your Christmas and New Year’s with your families and friends.

Mangia

5.0 from 1 reviews
My Untitled Story (and recipe for gingerbread)
 
Ingredients
  • For Gingerbread
  • 1½ cups cooked navy beans
  • 5 eggs
  • ½ cup coconut oil
  • 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
  • ⅓ cup organic pure maple syrup
  • ¼ cup organic unsulphured molasses
  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
  • ½ cup coconut flour
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 tablespoon ground ginger
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • ¼ ground cloves
  • Frosting:
  • ¾ cup palm shortening
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • ¼ cup organic pure maple syrup
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350F. Grease an 8" round or square pan.
  2. Place all wet ingredients for gingerbread into a high-speed blender and blend until very smooth.
  3. In separate small bowl, combine all dry gingerbread ingredients with a fork.
  4. Add dry ingredients to wet in the blender and blend until smooth and well combined.
  5. Pour ingredients into greased pan and bake 25-30 minutes.
  6. For frosting, combine all ingredients in small bowl and mix with an electric blender until fluffy and well combined.

 

Mother’s Day BIG FAT grain free style

Hello All,

I wanted to put a few recipe suggestions out there for Mother’s Day, in case you’d like to bless your lil’ mama’s heart by making her a grain-free treat for her special day – the day that reminds her she brought you into this world (back when you were cute and cuddly and couldn’t talk back). Come to think of it, you probably owe her a five-course grain-free meal (or maybe that’s just my conscience talking).

Let’s start with the treats and work our way backward to the main dish…because that’s what mothers really want to do deep down inside.  Keeping up that “eat your vegetables first” facade for the littles can be quite challenging.

Banana Cake

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Carrot Cake Muffins

Luscious Lemon Torte

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World’s Best Fruitcake (gluten free)

I had to sneak this one in though it’s not Christmas, and this isn’t a grain-free recipe (just gluten-free) but it’s one of my absolute favorite and I’m a mother of three and I’ve earned my stripes…

Chocolate Torte with Chocolate Mousse and Salted Pecans

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Mini Lemon “Cheesecake” with Gingered Date Crust

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Now for a few main dish ideas.
Paleo Chicken and Waffles  (Watch out Gladys Knight!)
AND last but not least, in tribute to my own dear mother – HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY MA! (The last picture captures what she really thinks of the four of us my brothers.  Aaaaand, don’t mind my oldest brother – he might be saying a cuss word.  We’re such a classy group.)
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A Temporary Adieu

Dear Readers,

Thank you for your support over these last few years I’ve shared my BIG FAT grain free life with you.  There have been ups…and boy, have there been some downs.  My health has taken a downturn, and though I hope and pray the Lord will restore it to me, I need some time to devote to myself and my family.

I know many of you have been, or are right now, in that same boat and will understand the need for clearing the plate, simplifying life and turning inward.  I pray it will be only a season, and that I will be able to share what I’ve learned through this trial to encourage someone else, maybe even you.

I hope the recipes on this blog will still be a blessing to you.  I have more in my arsenal, but just not the strength to get them photographed and posted.  I hope to do so in the future.

I wish you all well and hope I will be able to return with new insight, new vigor, and be a blessing in some way.

Mangia-

Jen

Paleo Chicken and Waffles (gluten free and grain free) and link to my very FIRST webcast!

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Waffles…something I never thought I would sink my teeth into again.  Thanks to The Paleo Mom, Sarah Ballantyne, her Perfect Paleo Pancakes opened up a whole new world to my family and me.  After trying the pancakes, I wondered how the recipe would do in my  antique cast iron waffle iron in the hopes (but quite skeptical) that it would yield a waffle I could “tolerate” on AIP (I’ve been able to successfully introduce eggs that are not fed soy, wheat or corn).  I was more than pleasantly surprised (actually ECSTATIC) to find this recipe yielded a waffle BETTER than anything glutenous I’ve ever had.  Even friends (without food allergies) who taste-tested had the same exclamations of surprise and…well…utter food love.

This waffle is crispy on the outside and chewy on the inside.  I’m still absolutely amazed.  The trick is making sure your waffle iron is really HOT.  Make sure you preheat the iron, and if you have an option for a “high” or “low” mode, choose the high.  I used coconut oil to lube up the iron so the batter didn’t stick.  Make sure you reapply the oil before pouring on more batter.

Besides a waffle for breakfast, I decided to use this recipe for a spin on southern chicken and waffles.  This recipe is so good, I’d even serve it up to Gladys and one of her Pips! Before I share the recipe, I wanted to invite local peeps in the Jacksonville, Florida area to an event in which I’m so excited to participate!  It’s called the Gluten & Allergen Free Wellness Event and it’s happening on Saturday, November 15th from 10:00 to 3:00.  I’m giving away FOUR tickets on two Facebook pages that I have.  One is called Blue Bottle Bootlegger (I teach local classes on water kefir) and the other is Jen Tilly Tea – a small cottage business I started selling artisan organic loose-leaf tea blends and also tea cakes that are gluten free, grain free, dairy free, soy free, and refined sugar-free.  I’m currently operating under the Florida Cottage Food Law, so I am unable to sell over the internet at this time.  Jen Tilly Tea will have a booth at the event, however, so if you’re in our area, please come by and see me!

I’ll also be speaking on the benefits of water kefir, how easy it is to make yourself and have flavors available for tasting.  I sell kits to get people started and will have those available for purchase at the event. Please visit my Facebook pages and click on link with the gold ticket to enter the drawing.

LASTLY, but not leastly (huh?), I participated in my very first webcast featuring all of the speakers at the upcoming Gluten & Allergen Free Wellness Event.  Click on the link below (fast forward to minute 14) to hear our discussions on functional nutrition, poultry and food sensitivities, reactions to Jennifer Lawrence’s criticisms on gluten-free eating, and me opening up and sharing my heart on being a beauty queen with celiac…oh wait…that wasn’t me…it was Miss USA, Shannon Ford…we look so much alike I get confused…

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Enjoy the recipe!  Mangia!

Shared on Allergy Free Wednesdays.

Paleo Chicken and Waffles (gluten-free, grain-free, dairy-free, refined sugar free)
 
Serves: serves 4
Ingredients
  • Recipe for Perfect Paleo Pancakes
  • 8 boneless, skinless chicken thighs
  • ½ cup coconut flour
  • ½ teaspoon onion powder
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt
  • 12 oz. package of uncured bacon (I use Applegate Farms Sunday Bacon)
  • coconut
  • maple syrup or honey
Instructions
  1. Follow the recipe for Sarah Ballantyne's Perfect Paleo Pancakes. I personally leave out the vanilla for this savory dish. Set batter aside.
  2. Preheat oven to 350F.
  3. Prepare a pan with aluminum foil and set a stainless steel wire rack on top or inside of the pan.
  4. Fry bacon until crisp. (I use a cast iron skillet for this.) Set aside on paper towels to drain.
  5. Meanwhile, in a shallow bowl, mix together the coconut flour, onion and garlic powders and sea salt. Set aside.
  6. After frying the bacon, scoop some of the fat out of the pan, but leave about a tablespoon in the pan.
  7. Salt the chicken thighs on both sides. Then dredge into the flour mixture.
  8. Heat the frying pan on medium (make sure it's good and hot to sear the chicken). Add the tablespoon of coconut oil.
  9. Fry the dredged chicken in the bacon grease until golden brown. Flip and brown on other side.
  10. Remove chicken from pan and place on stainless steel rack. Finish frying all of the chicken.
  11. Place rack with chicken into the oven to finish cooking for about 15-20 minutes, or until juices run clear.
  12. While chicken is in the oven, start making waffles according to your waffle iron's directions. (Remember to use hotter heat setting if you have that option.)
  13. To Serve: Plate waffle, top with two chicken thighs and two pieces of bacon. If you want to cry with joy, drizzle the whole thing with pure maple syrup...sniffle...

 

BBQ Pizza with Chicken, Bacon and Cilantro…(AIP)

P1050130Let’s be honest, when you make a life-changing decision to do an autoimmune protocol diet (a/k/a AIP), the feeling of deprivation sets in at some point… Allow me to remind you…

3uzjkrMy feelings on this subject have not changed.

Dear Tomatoes. My love for you has never waned.  I hope to enjoy you in Heaven some day…along with butter, figs, brie and flaky pastry. (sniffle)

Just when my daughter and I were dreaming about the days when we ate pizza, (somehow those daydreaming moments always forget the horror film bathroom scenes) I see this recipe for a plantain pizza crust by Simple and Merry – who, I might add, is a culinary GENIUS.

Who knew that plantains could morph into such goodness as plantain wraps and pizza?  This recipe has become our Friday family night tradition and one I hope you will enjoy.

Here’s my take on AIP pizza.  Mangia!

(Shared on AIP Recipe Roundtable and Allergy Free Wednesdays)

BBQ Pizza with Chicken, Bacon and Cilantro...
 
Ingredients
  • 1 recipe plantain pizza crust
  • Glaze:
  • ½ cup unsweetened apple butter (I use Kime's brand)
  • 3 tablespoons coconut aminos
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup
  • ½ teaspoon cumin (omit for strict AIP - I've made both ways and each is delicious)
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon onion powder
  • ½ teaspoon smoked salt
  • Toppings:
  • 12 oz. chopped bacon, cooked until crisp and drained
  • 2 cups cooked chicken
  • ¼ cup diced red onion
  • ½ bunch fresh cilantro, chopped
  • NOTE: If desired, saute the red onion in coconut oil. I prefer it raw.
Instructions
  1. Make the plantain pizza recipe according to the directions. I prefer my pizza to be thin and crispy, so I've been making one recipe for four individual pizzas. The toppings above are enough for one larger pizza or two small individual pizzas. (My kids prefer pizza sauce, uncured pepperoni and Daiya cheese for their pizzas. All I can say is "Yuck".)
  2. While the crusts are on the first bake, mix together the ingredients for the glaze.
  3. Pull out the pizza crust(s) and spoon a heavy layer of glaze on top. Next, layer the cooked chicken, bacon and red onion.
  4. Return to oven for the second bake.
  5. Once pizza is hot and edges crispy, remove and top with fresh cilantro.

 

Bacon Wrapped Honey Mustard Chicken

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Hello All! I’m so excited to have written my first guest post!  Please join me at Living Without Magazine’s blog, My Life with Food Allergies, for my post featuring this yummy recipe for Bacon Wrapped Honey Mustard Chicken.

Mangia!

Chocolate Torte with Chocolate Mousse and Salted Pecans (grain free, dairy free, refined sugar free)

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I’ve been on a mission to make a deliciously moist, grain free chocolate cake for some time, specifically for my older daughter’s birthday.  I have this terrible tendency to just “wing it” sometimes, so I decided to throw together what I thought would be a delicious chocolate cake – on her actual birthday – like, T-H-E  D-A-Y  I-T-S-E-L-F.  You would think I’d be concerned about serving a cake I hadn’t tested to a bunch of people coming to a party.  You would think…

Long story short, it ended up looking (and tasting) like a big chocolate hockey puck – not exactly one of my trophy mom moments.

To redeem myself, I went to work on this cake to get it juuuuuust right.  And, thankfully, I think I’ve succeeded.  I was able to perfect it by the time our youngest daughter had her second birthday.  I’ve served it several times now – to SCD dieters, Paleo eaters as well as gluten-loving “normal” people and it’s gotten raves so far.

Not being much of a frosting fan, I actually love this cake plain with no topping.  I admit, I’m in the minority on that one, so I topped the cake with this delicious dairy free, refined sugar free “mousse” by Tasty Yummies.  It’s actually her Creamy Chocolate (Avocado) Fudgesicle recipe wherein she indicates it can be served as a pudding or frozen into fudgesicles.  (I’ve done both and have always gotten compliments from kids and adults alike.)

Mangia!

Shared on Allergy Free Wednesdays, Whole Food Fridays, Healing with Food Friday, and Gluten Free Fridays.

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Chocolate Torte with Chocolate Mousse and Salted Pecans (grain free, dairy free, refined sugar free)
 
Ingredients
  • one batch of chocolate mousse, made ahead and chilled
  • 1½ cups cooked navy beans (I use Eden Foods brand in the BPA free can)
  • 3 eggs
  • ½ cup honey
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla
  • 2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
  • ⅓ cup coconut oil, (or butter or ghee) melted
  • 1 cup blanched almond flour
  • ½ cup raw cacao powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ⅓ cup Enjoy Life chocolate chips (optional)
  • SALTED PECAN GARNISH:
  • ¾ cup pecan halves (optional)
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil (or butter or ghee), melted
  • ½ teaspoon salt
Instructions
  1. NOTE: navy beans need to be soaked 24 hours, drained, cooked until soft and then drained again. Eden Foods canned beans uses this method for their beans.
  2. Preheat oven to 350F.
  3. Grease a 9 inch baking pan with coconut oil or palm shortening and, if not using my favorite pan, line the bottom with parchment paper.
  4. In food processor, process the first six ingredients (beans through ⅓ cup melted coconut oil) until smooth.
  5. In medium bowl, whisk together the almond flour, cacao powder, baking soda and salt.
  6. Add dry ingredients to food processor and process again until smooth. Scrape down sides and process again.
  7. Add in chocolate chips and stir in by hand.
  8. Pour batter into prepared pan. Give the pan a tap on the counter to remove air bubbles.
  9. Bake 20-30 minutes, being careful not to over bake. Top should spring back when touched.
  10. Meanwhile, make pecans.
  11. In small bowl, toss pecans with 1 tablespoon melted coconut oil and salt.
  12. Lay pecans on parchment-lined baking sheet and bake at 300F until fragrant. Test in 5 to 10 minute increments to prevent burning. Allow to cool.
  13. Process nuts in nut chopper or mini food processor. Set aside.
  14. TO ASSEMBLE:
  15. Allow cake to cool completely then top with chocolate mousse, spreading to the edge of top layer (not on sides).
  16. Finally, sprinkle edges (or entire top) with ground salted pecans.

 

 

Creamy Potato and Chicken Soup (AIP, nightshade free, dairy free)

P1040698 Have you ever had one of those friends?  You know the kind.  The Wonder Woman kind.  (Yes, I had the Underoos as a kid.) Dripping with beauty, strong, talented, great fashion sense, hysterically funny, really great hair and able to do virtually anything she puts her mind to and do it well.  Yeah.  That kind of friend.  Well, I have a few of those.

The particular friend I’m thinking of right now is an amazing person.  Maybe you can relate.  She’s one of those friends you are so thankful for because you love her dearly and enjoy her company, but she’s so talented and gorgeous that you kind of want to ditch her…but you can’t…because you’ve known her since your single days…and, quite frankly, she knows too much…

This particular friend is an artist, singer, interior designer, but these things don’t define her, at least not fully.  She’s a devoted wife and mother.  She’s a faithful Christian.  She’s passionate as well as compassionate, caring, tender-hearted, encouraging, a servant, and makes me laugh out loud…a lot.  And if that’s not enough, she’s one of the most amazing cooks I know.  She texts me pictures of dinner and every time, I wish I was eating at her house.

One of the reasons this friend is so amazing (besides God just making her that way) is that she works her little tushie off cooking and caring for her son with Crohn’s disease.  In fact, this is how an old friendship got rekindled.  I ran into my friend whilst shopping (on Black Friday last year) and noticed she had a look of desperation about her.  A look I knew all too well.  Her son had been in the hospital and the diagnosis was Crohn’s.  Heavy-hitting drugs were all they could do for him – even going so far as to admit the drug they wanted to switch him to “has been known to cause cancer in boys”.

“I can’t sign my son up for that.  What’s the name of that nutritionist you recommend?” My friend knew we had been through the wringer with our daughter who has inflammatory bowel disease and that we had great results working with our certified nutritionist, Julia McRae.

Well, long story short, they started him on the Specific Carbohydrate Diet (SCD), then switched him to Autoimmune Protocol (AIP a/k/a Autoimmune Paleo).  And my friend went to work.  She totally threw herself into his new dietary changes, which can be quite difficult I might add, especially when you’re new to it all.  My friend has utterly amazed me.  Her creativity has taken AIP to a whole new level.  In fact, I frequently tell her that she’s the one who deserves to have a blog.

So, all that to say, this recipe is really the result of my friend’s creativity and talent in the kitchen.  I gave it a little tweak, but she deserves the credit, as the brainchild is hers.  I hope you enjoy it as much as we have!

Mangia!

Shared on Allergy Free Wednesdays, AIP Roundtable and Healing With Food Friday.

Creamy Potato and Chicken Soup (AIP, nightshade free, dairy free)
 
Serves: 6-8
Ingredients
  • 12 oz. package nitrate free bacon, diced
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 carrots, chopped
  • 3 stalks celery, chopped
  • 1 leek (see note on preparation below)
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 6 cups white sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed
  • 6 cups parsnips, peeled and cubed (or rutabaga or combination of both)
  • 8 cups chicken bone broth
  • 5-7 cups cooked chicken, shredded
  • juice of one large lemon (maybe more)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • sliced green onions, optional
Instructions
  1. NOTE: to prepare leek, slice in half lengthwise then thinly slice. Take sliced leeks and wash in a large bowl of cold water. Using both hands, lift leeks out of water and drain. If very dirty, repeat with fresh water.
  2. Heat large dutch oven to medium. Add diced bacon and stir until cooked through and crispy. Scoop out bacon and drain on paper towels, set aside.
  3. Add onion, carrot, celery and leek to bacon grease in pot. Stir and cook until softened. Add garlic and stir for 30 seconds.
  4. Next, add white sweet potatoes, parsnips and/or rutabagas, bone broth and bay leaves. Bring to a boil, then turn down to a simmer. Cook until root vegetables are tender.
  5. Remove bay leaves. Using great care, ladle about one-third to one-half of soup into Vitamix or high powered blender, making sure to get both root veggies and broth. Puree until smooth. Alternatively, you may use an immersion blender right in the pot.
  6. Add pureed soup back to pot and stir. It should thicken the soup and become creamy.
  7. Next, add salt and pepper to taste and lemon juice. Stir well and taste. This soup really needs the tang of the lemon juice to balance the sweetness of the root veggies. Add more to taste if needed.
  8. Lastly, add the shredded chicken and give a stir. Just allow it to heat the chicken through.
  9. Serve topped with bacon and green onions.

Matthew 4:4

But he answered, "It is written, "'Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.'"