Nightshade-Free Ropa Vieja (Instant Pot)


paleo ropa vieja nightshade-free aip



Nightshade-free Ropa Vieja!? This classic Cuban comfort food has been created without any inflammatory tomatoes or peppers but is anything but light on flavor!



I’ve been dreaming of providing the AIP community with a true-to-Cuba version of Ropa Vieja. I’m so excited my experiment turned out favorably! Bonus: It’s made in the Instant Pot!



If you’re not familiar with Ropa Vieja, it is one of the most delicious recipes of Cuban cuisine. Traditionally it is made with flank steak, lots of bell peppers, paprika, tomatoes and sometimes green olives and capers. The steak is braised in the juices of all those tasty veggies and broth. My version is quite the departure in terms of ingredients but not in flavor!



How can I make Ropa Vieja without nightshades!?


This AIP-friendly version comes close to the real thing – it’s pretty amazing! You’ll need two elimination phase introductions for this recipe: cumin and black pepper. The black pepper adds some spiciness without the nightshades & the cumin is a MUST! I’m sure it’ll still be tasty if you leave those things out, but I wouldn’t call it Ropa Vieja – maybe just tasty shredded beef and olives.



Instead of flank steak, I use a more affordable cut of beef! Stew beef – I can find grass-fed stew beef for only 3.99/lb at my grocery store Earth Fare. Flank steak isn’t always available and it’s usually upwards of $8/lb! I also use kalamata olives because I love the robust taste of kalamatas but you could use the traditional green olives here too.



Now instead of using tomato sauce and tomatoes, all of this tasty goodness comes from simmering down the leftover juices from the beef, onions, fish sauce, coconut aminos and apple juice. You will be shocked at what an incredibly rich, savory and thick tomato-like sauce you will achieve with your Instant Pot! All of these ingredients come together to mimic the sweet umami flavor of tomato-based recipes.


Lastly, I suggest serving this delicious Ropa Vieja over a baked white sweet potato or a bowl of cauliflower rice with avocado, extra lime juice and cilantro. This is such a slap-you-in-your-face flavorful dish, you really can’t go wrong!




Making this recipe in a slow cooker?


While I haven’t done that, here are my best suggestions! Perform the first ** steps cooking for 4 to 6 hours in your slow cooker. Remove the beef to a serving bowl and transfer the liquid, onions and bay leaf to a small saucepan on your stovetop. Simmer uncovered until condensed into a thick, rich sauce.



Looking for more Paleo-friendly Cuban dishes?

Try my Nightshade-Free Cuban Picadillo & Vaca Frita!


paleo ropa vieja nightshade-free aip





1 review

Nightshade-Free Ropa Vieja

Preparation 00:10 2017-07-27T00:10:00+00:00 Cook Time :55 2017-07-27T00:00:00+00:00 Serves 4     adjust servings
paleo ropa vieja nightshade-free aip



  • 2 tablespoons avocado oil
  • 1 large yellow onion, sliced
  • 2 tablespoons chopped garlic
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1/4 cup coconut aminos
  • 1/4 cup apple juice
  • 1 tsp fish sauce
  • 2 lbs beef stew meat
  • 1 bay leaf
  • juice of 1/2 lime
  • 1/2 cup sliced kalamata olives


  1. Turn “Saute” function on your Instant Pot on Medium heat. Heat avocado oil. Saute onion for 5 minutes then add chopped garlic.
  2. Cook for another 2 minutes before stirring in the sea salt, cumin, pepper and turmeric. Cook the onions downs for 2 more minutes until slightly reduced.
  3. Add the beef, coconut aminos, apple juice and fish sauce. Set “Meat/Stew” function on to automatically pressure cook for 35 minutes. 
  4. When timer elapses, transfer the beef to a large bowl, leaving the onions and liquid in the Instant Pot. Turn the "Saute" function back on and add the bay leaf to the pot. Allow liquid to simmer and condense to a thick sauce for the next 15 to 20 minutes keeping a close eye on it. The sauce should be thick like tomato sauce and dark red. 
  5. Meanwhile, shred the beef with two forks and stir in the lime juice. When the sauce is ready, discard the bay leaf and stir sauce into the shredded beef. Mix in sliced olives and serve. 

Recipe Notes

 You may use other cuts of beef here but you may need to adjust the cooking time. See blog post for slow cooker suggestions. 




paleo ropa vieja nightshade-free aip

How to Use Your Instant Pot

If you haven’t picked up one of these ultra-handy modern day kitchen conveniences, you’re likely spending way too much time in the kitchen. Here are my best tips for how to use your Instant Pot and the best model for you!


I bought my first Instant Pot in 2013. I remember the day fondly…. a cloudy November in Chicago when all I wanted to do was cuddle up on the couch with my dog and a bowl of soup. Yet I had no broth nor a time machine to travel 24 to 48 hours prior to make broth in my slow cooker or *gasp* on my stovetop.


But I finally had what I affectionately refer to as my Silver-Haired Boyfriend: the Instant Pot 6-in-1 6 quart pressure cooker. He came to to the rescue like a knight in shining stainless steel. One hour later I had soup.


Ever since that fateful day, I have used my Instant Pot many times a week to speed up cooking, minimize prep and time standing over a stove. You know, so I can go out and enjoy life instead of being chained to the kitchen.


In today’s post, I want to share with you some easy ways to combat any Instant Pot anxiety (it’s a thing). PS Your Instant Pot will not explode. It is created with many safety features… just read your manual for additional safety tips for your model!



I now own the Lamborghini of pressure cookers… the Instant Pot Ultra Multi-Use Programmable Pressure Cooker listed below.  All models prepare your food up to 70% faster than using traditional cooking methods!







Here are the 3 most popular models…



Instant Pot 6-in-1 6 quart: This base model Instant Pot really does everything you NEED it to do… unless you want to make homemade yogurt. Which I still haven’t done. It has a Pressure Cooker, Slow Cooker, Rice Cooker, Sauté, Steamer, and Warmer function. It is easy to use, easy to clean, and pretty much dummy proof. 


PROS: It’s the cheapest of the line! It does all your basic pressure cooker functions listed above! FOOL-PROOF!

CONS: The 6-quart model is fairly small…. enough to hold a rack of ribs or a 3 pound whole chicken. If you want to fit a 5 pound pork roast though, you’ll have to cut it into smaller chunks.



Instant Pot 7-in-1 8 quart: This is the model up from the above 6-in-1. The 7-in-1 has the added feature of being able to make yogurt. It also is two quarts larger which is helpful for making larger batches of broth or larger roasts.


PROS: Larger pot size for bigger roasts, broths, chickens or soup bones. Yogurt function included.

CONS: It’s about $50 more expensive than the 6-in-1 with not a ton more functionality. I would recommend skipping this model unless you really want the extra space, and choosing either the base 6-in-1 or the Ultra 10-in-1 below!


Instant Pot Ultra Programmable 10-in-1 6 quart: This uber high-tech machine has a Delay button so you can program it to start pressure cooking up to 24 hours in advance. The Warming function keeps food warm for up to 10 hours! It also has a turn dial knob to quickly switch between functions. It has the most amount of functionality including: Soup/Broth, Meat/Stew, Cake, Egg, Sauté, Rice, Multigrain, Porridge, and Slow Cook. 


PROS: More functionality and much greater control of cooking temperatures and time. The Slow Cook & Saute functions have 3 levels (low, medium and high heat). Better for high altitude cooking (adjust for altitude). Great for on-the-go families – set it to start cooking while you’re at work or a soccer game! You can make yogurt in this one too.

CONS: This one is a bit less intuitive to use. You really need to read the manual to figure out how to properly set your functions. Once you get the hang of it, it’s a breeze though!



(instructions for base 6-in-1 model – “Manual” function is the “Pressure Cook” function on 10-in-1)



Broth is one of the easiest recipes to make in your Instant Pot. Start with at least 2 pounds of pastured beef, chicken or pork bones. To get the most gelatinous broth, choose chicken feet. To get the most flavorful broth, make sure you add carrots, onions, garlic, sea salt, and a bay leaf to your pot.


2 to 3 pounds pastured beef, chicken or pork bones (see note above)

Filtered water (enough to cover the bones)

Vegetables: 1/2 onion, 2 carrots, 8 cloves peeled garlic, 2 teaspoons sea salt, 1 bay leaf

1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar

Add all ingredients to Instant Pot. Set “Manual” function to at least 60 minutes (the more, the better flavor). Once timer has elapsed, set the “Saute” function for 30 minutes. Keep the lid off and let your broth simmer to reduce slightly and condense the flavor into a stock. At this point, you can add fresh herbs, lemon juice, or dried herbs. Keep a close eye on the liquid level to make sure it does not reduce too quickly (the full 30 minutes may not be necessary depending on liquid amount). 




You do not want to over-cook your cauliflower rice. It is best to set for no longer than 2 minutes or you risk winding up with a watered down mush. Use my recipe for Creamy Cauliflower Rice as a start. 


instant pot cauliflower rice




Soak uncooked rice by covering it with filtered water for 30 minutes in the pot. Discard all water and rinse rice again. Add an equal amount of liquid to the pot. For example, if you used 1 cup dry rice, use 1 cup liquid of choice (water, broth, coconut milk). Add 1 teaspoon oil for every 1 cup of rice as well as a generous pinch of salt. Cook using the “Rice” function on your Instant Pot model and release pressure as soon as the timer elapses to prevent over-cooking the rice. Stir immediately to prevent sticking.





My basic formula for making quick stews and soups is below. Note that you do not want to always add the vegetables at the same time as the meat. To get perfectly cooked components, you add them at separate times just like you would on the stovetop. The nice part is you don’t have to stand over the stove to watch for burning or over-cooking when using the Instant Pot. My 1-hour Pot Roast is a good example of this technique. 

instant pot pot roast

2 pounds grass-fed stew meat

1 onion, chopped

4 cloves garlic, minced

Seasonings of choice (sea salt, dried herbs *not fresh yet*, coconut aminos, etc)

Broth (amount dependent on how thick you want your stew – no more than 1/2 cup for thick stew, 2 cups for soups)

1 lb starchy vegetable of choice, peeled and cubed (sweet potato, parsnip, carrot, beet)

3 cups hearty leafy greens



Turn “Saute” function on. Saute beef until lightly browned (2 to 3 minutes) then add onion and garlic and sautee for another 2 minutes until fragrant. Set “Manual” pressure cooker timer to 25 minutes. NOW you add the starchy veggies to prevent overcooking them with the meat (which needs a longer cooking time). Cook meat & starchy veggies for about 7 or 8 minutes on “Manual” function. Release pressure, place on “Saute” function and stir in hearty greens until wilted and tender. 





When first introducing solids to my baby, I used the Instant Pot for a lot of her food. The first reason being it’s all I had time for…. secondly I didn’t have to stand over the steamer basket poking sweet potatoes obsessively to see if they were done.



Washed and unpeeled sweet potatoes

1/2 cup water

Fat of choice (ghee, lard, tallow, coconut oil)

Depending on size of sweet potato, cook for about 10 minutes on “Manual” setting. Release pressure when timer elapses, poke with a fork for doneness. You can always add a couple more minutes if you think your large sweet potato needs longer. Remove sweet potatoes to a cutting board, slice open and let cool. Mash with fat of choice until smooth. You can even use the cooked sweet potato make my Sweet Potato Fat Balls which are easy for babies to self-feed and pick up!



I have not made yogurt in my Instant Pot yet but thankfully by friend Laura has so check out her recipe! Coconut yogurt provides baby with real food probiotics, is easy to digest and full of healthy fats!



Unseasoned stewed meats are an excellent first food for babies! You can make the stew recipe above but keep any spicy spices out of it to be safe! Remove the meat and starchy veggies from your stew, let cool, and shred, mash or puree for your baby depending on their age and abilities. I also suggest making Broth of Stock out of marrow bones but first roasting the bones, scooping out half the marrow and reserving it for baby, and then making your family’s stew with the remaining bones and marrow!





Mushroom Risotto

Cilantro Chicken Chili

Shredded Chicken with Almond Satay

Pineapple Chicken

Caribbean Spiced Shredded Beef

Maple Bacon Balsamic Pulled Pork

Maple Tamarind Ribs

1-hour Pot Roast

Creamy Ground Beef & Potato Stew





Grilled Chicken Kabobs with Orange, Olives & Oregano (Paleo/AIP/Whole30)


grilled chicken kabobs paleo


Grilled Chicken Kabobs with Orange, Olive + Oregano will keep your summertime dishes fresh this summer. Orange juice tenderizes the chicken and adds a touch of sweetness while the garlic and oregano add a Mediterranean flair. Skewred with salty kalamata olives, these kabobs have a special touch to set them apart during your family BBQs.


I serve these with fluffy cilantro cauliflower rice and a cucumber salad. I found this Creamy Cucumber Salad that would pair perfectly with these grilled chicken kabobs. You can also use my Dairy-Free Tzatziki as a dipping sauce like I do!


I have many fond memories of my mom grilling us up kabobs after playing in the pool all day. Can I share with you a pool game I invented at age 6 that I thought was terribly exciting. It entertained me for hours on end. I would throw… THROW… an unwrapped Jolly Rancher from the shallow end into the deep end. I then would challenge myself to retrieve it under water before it sunk to the bottom.


If you’re wondering if my reward was eating the Jolly Rancher… no. I would continue this game until the chlorinated water whittled away the candy. I just don’t know what such an invention says about me. I guess that I’m self-sufficient and thrifty.


Oh childhood – I miss the simplicity and how every day was an opportunity to learn something new and create my own adventure. Do you still view summer this way? If not, I challenge you to find a hobby, event or social outing this summer that sparks that curiosity and excitement in you. Mine is to travel more this summer.


We took our first family trip with a 13-month-old to Boulder, Vail and Omaha last week. I have a bachelorette party in New Orleans, a wedding in St. Augustine and now I’m trying to figure out one more trip for early fall! Somewhere affordable I can take Grace to… she’s a pretty awesome travel partner. I mentioned on Instagram that I will put together a post of some baby travel tips soon!








grilled chicken kabobs



I did a Liver Detox + I’m sharing my results


I wanted to share my experiences with the completion of my first liver support program. It opened my eyes to the importance of a functioning detox and lymphatic system and proved to be the missing piece to my current diet and lifestyle post-partum. Meals aren’t always well-rounded and sleep is certainly interrupted which limits my detox ability.


I also know that I’m not a fantastic detox-er by nature thanks to some genetic mutations. I’ve known this for a long time – one alcoholic drink usually leaves me feeling hungover.


Previously, I mocked detoxes as get-rich-quick fads that just about anyone could throw together and sell. I rarely say “never”, but I would n-e-v-e-r do a juice cleanse or other extreme detox measures. I like to chew my food, and I find those programs to be more stressful than helpful.



The program I participated in seemed doable though. I could see how it fit into my life as a new mom. It’s called Love Your Liver Seasonal Detox


I didn’t have to drastically change my diet – It’s quite in line with AIP actually! I just had to ADD some detox tools and focus on certain foods and tonics. I can do that!


My major complaint post-partum was slow digestion and difficulty digesting fats.

I also wasn’t tolerating nuts, sweeteners and decaf coffee like I used to. I knew I needed some liver and gallbladder support after the hormonal demands placed on my body going from an autoimmune flare to pregnancy to extended breastfeeding.

I also find the seasonal breakdowns very interesting. For example, they state the purpose of a spring detox is the following:



SPRING: For optimal energy, beauty, mood, and weight loss, the gallbladder and liver must be working at their best. According to Chinese medicine, the liver is related to anger. Therefore, as you cleanse your liver and eat liver-loving foods, you notice a dramatic shift in your mindset. The liver has over 500 metabolic jobs, including the production of bile, a means of natural detoxification. If there are stones or blockages in the gallbladder from storing too much toxic bile, then you become tired, irritated, and constipated.


Safe, Guided Detox

The program includes eliminating particular foods known to cause inflammation or digestive distress. If you’re following an AIP diet, you likely won’t have to eliminate anything. I re-eliminated nuts, sweetener and coffee. I continued to eat seeds and spices since those are allowed, and they do not cause me symptoms.


Most importantly, you add their prescribed detox tools, teas and tonics into your daily regimen. They don’t take a lot of time and I was able to include them in my day without being overwhelmed.


A lot of the detox tools you’ve heard of or use from time to time, but the magic appears when you combine them into a daily routine I found. Some of my favorites: oil pulling, dry brushing and Epsom baths. 



What You’ll Get

A handy detox guide with everything you need to know about the program, helpful tips, the 3-phase process of detox, all about caffeine, stress and sugar addiction, insights on gut health and mindfulness practices like journaling and meditation.


A recipe ebook with detox and reintroduction-friendly recipes to get you started. You do not have to follow their recipes (some contain non-AIP ingredients like chia seeds) to participate though. I find the recipes targeted more towards a veganic or vegetarian lifestyle rather than Paleo. They do suggest you add your own protein to each meal, if you’d like (which is what I did).


Basically, it looks like you’re eating a very cleaned up version of Paleo or AIP. For example, you may have broiled lemon dill salmon, roasted broccoli, and sauteed sweet potatoes with whatever seasonings (except nightshades) that you prefer. You’re NOT including Paleo treats or processed foods like sweet potato chips.





1 1/2 cups dairy-free milk

1/2 medium grapefruit, peel removed

1/2 avocado

1 large handful kale or spinach

1-inch fresh ginger OR 1/2 teaspoon ginger powder



I also created this liver support smoothie for my blog readers…


beet berry smoothie

Drink this Beet + Berry Detox Smoothie once a day!


There’s a ton of recipes – and they’re all very simple. This is where you’ll find the tonics like the Cranberry Cleanser, Lemon Water Elixir & Black Beauty Drink. Remember, the recipes change up a bit each seasonal detox, so you may see different ones in your program.


You also receive online community support via a private Facebook group as well as daily support emails.


The best part about these seasonal detoxes is once you complete them, you have forever access to the recipes + guides. Bust it out in spring 2018. It pays for itself year after year!




Improved sleep. I slept more restfully, less restlessly, and felt like I had enough sleep when I woke up (average 7- 7 ½ hours a night.

More energy. With restful sleep comes more energy. I no longer need an afternoon nap or feel like I won’t make it the whole day.

Better mood. I can swing into anxiety pretty quickly and that is usually rebounded by feeling depressed. It may last only a few days, but it steals my joy. I feel much more even-keeled now. I suspect this mostly has to do with eliminating nuts and sugar (even honey) and keeping them out of my diet

No joint pain. As I mentioned, I no longer have pain in the morning upon waking. I no longer have plantar fasciitis discomfort either even though I’ve increased my physical activity (see “More Energy”)

Hormonal balance. There’s been a switch up in my hormones. My libido has increased and I’m still breastfeeding 5 to 6 times a day

Clear, bright skin. I’ve never had any major skin complaints like cystic acne but when we moved to Florida in December I developed eczema (or possibly perioral dermatitis) around my mouth and nose. The Beautycounter Cleansing Balm helped significantly but I noticed some days it would be worse than others without an obvious cause. I think it is related to pollen counts, but those reddened areas decreased 80% since starting the program.

Lowered stress response. I am less likely to get overwhelmed these days. While the program offers some mental health tools, I didn’t actually use them. The liver and digestive support helped me feel balanced enough. Now I’m the one telling my husband to chill out.



Ready to start your detox too? You can join HERE.






Cherry Pie Bars (Paleo, AIP, Vegan, No Sugar Added)


cherry pie bars paleo


These Cherry Pie Bars have become a classic summertime treat in our household. Perfect for the Fourth of July or any other summer holiday weekend.


The crust is made of sweet potatoes and coconut flour and has a buttery shortbread taste. The filling has that classic gooey, sticky fruitiness from cherries, dates and a bit of tartness from lemon. I also love how simple the ingredients are in this recipe!


I love how the crust is made from vegetables and the filling from fruit. These are a great option if you’re limiting your sugar intake but still want a little sweet treat to celebrate. I’ll be doing a blog post on a recent liver detox I did that eliminated sweeteners. It really reset my palate so fruit has become a dessert for me now (and one I enjoy every single day).


I have a lot of other sweetener-free desserts like my Caramel Vanilla Bean Ice Cream, Skillet Apple Crumble, Paleo Baby Birthday Cake, Banana Ice Cream and Frosted Carrot Cupcakes too!



Want to make this using another summer-y fruit?

Try an equal amount of blueberries, strawberries or blackberries! In fact, ripe mulberries would be awesome here too! We were just in Nebraska this past weekend and I was picking fresh ripe mulberries off the trees on my runs. A little dine and dash, if you will.



Grain-free crust made from sweet potato AND tastes like shortbread with a sugar-free cherry pie filling… sign me up, sign me up, sign me UP!



Find the recipe for free HERE



With 175+ AIP recipes in my cookbook

The Healing Kitchen






BBQ Pulled Pork with Tangy Carolina Sauce from The Healing Kitchen

bbq pulled pork paleo


I shared this recipe for AIP-friendly BBQ Pulled Pork with Tangy Carolina Sauce back in 2015, but it was seriously buried in a long post about The Healing Kitchen! It’s so delicious and perfect for your nightshade-free summer BBQ I wanted to bring it to the forefront.


If you haven’t picked up a copy of my cookbook, it’s full of 175+ Paleo/AIP recipes that are family and budget-friendly. I wanted you to be able to bring a lot of your comforting favorites along your healing journey. It’s a perfect cookbook for those starting out on AIP or those a little bit bored with their same old recipes.


Some of my other favorites I’ve shared here including Pesto Chicken Pizza, Toasted Coconut Cream Pops, Coconut-Crusted Chicken Tenders with Pineapple Dipping Sauce + Red Sangria.





You can still find The Healing Kitchen in book stores and on Amazon for the best price (usually about 40% off!) I’ve had a lot of friends and family members buy the book for their loved ones, clients and peers who struggle with autoimmunity and changing their diet.

As always, tag me on Instagram when you make a dish from THK and use the hashtag #thehealingkitchen so I can share your meals too!



1 review

BBQ Pulled Pork with Tangy Carolina BBQ Sauce

Preparation 00:10 2017-07-27T00:10:00+00:00 Cook Time 01:40 2017-07-27T01:40:00+00:00 Serves 8 to 10     adjust servings


  • 3 pounds boneless pork shoulder, such as Boston butt
  • 4 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 1 tablespoon coconut sugar or maple sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ginger powder
  • 1 teaspoon smoked fine sea salt or fine sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 cup beef, pork or chicken broth
  • 1 cup thinly sliced yellow onions
  • 3 slices bacon
  • 3/4 cup Tangy Carolina BBQ Sauce (recipe in notes)



1. Slice 4 slits in the top of the meat and stuff a garlic clove in each slit. Rub the entire surface of the meat with the sugar, ginger, salt, and cinnamon. Put the broth and onions in the pressure cooker insert, then lay the meat on top of the onions. Lay the bacon slices on top of the meat.
2. Seal the lid and set the pressure cooker’s manual timer for 90 minutes. When the timer goes off, release the pressure. If the meat does not shred easily with two forks, use a knife to cut the roast into large chunks and return them to the pressure cooker for an additional 15 minutes of cooking.
3. Transfer the meat to a cutting board. Drain the liquid from the cooking pot, but reserve the onions. Shred the pork and bacon by pulling two forks in opposite directions to pull the meat apart. Transfer the meat back to the pot with the onions and stir in the BBQ sauce, tasting and adding more sauce or salt as desired.


1. Slice 4 slits in the top of the meat and stuff a garlic clove in each slit. Rub the entire surface of the meat with the sugar, ginger, salt, and cinnamon. Put the broth and onions in the slow cooker insert, then lay the meat on top of the onions. Lay the bacon slices on top of the meat.
2. Cook on high for 1 hour, then on low for 6 to 7 hours, until the pork can be easily shredded with two forks.
3. Transfer the meat to a cutting board. Drain the liquid from the cooking pot, but reserve the onions. Shred the pork and bacon by pulling two forks in opposite directions to pull the meat apart. Transfer the meat back to the pot with the onions and stir in the BBQ sauce, tasting and adding more sauce or salt as desired.

Recipe Notes

Makes 2 cups | Prep Time: 5 minutes | Cook Time: 12 minutes | Total Time: 17 minutes

1 cup sweet potato puree (see Tip)
¾ cup apple cider vinegar
3 tablespoons bacon fat
2 tablespoons blackstrap molasses
1 teaspoon fish sauce
1 teaspoon fine sea salt
1 teaspoon ginger powder
½ teaspoon onion powder
¼ teaspoon garlic powder

Tip: Buy canned sweet potato puree for quick preparation.

Whisk together all the ingredients in a small saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a low boil and whisk continuously while maintaining a low boil for 2 to 3 minutes, until slightly thickened. This sauce is thinner than traditional BBQ sauce.

Beet & Berry Detox Smoothie


beet berry smoothie


This Beet & Berry Detox Smoothie is another recipe that turned me from a beet hater into a beet lover. My Beet, Grapefruit + Fig Salad is another delish option! I posted about this on Instagram + had a lot of you interested in the ratios! I’ve made this too beet-y in the past + barely got it down the hatch!


Since completing Zesty Ginger’s Spring Liver Detox program, I’ve been loving hard on beets though. They really are a superfood. Anything that has the potential to stain your hands, your countertops and your clothes, has got to be a nutritional powerhouse. Ahem, turmeric, you orange bastard.


Powerfully purple, this smoothie does a good job of covering up the earth-y taste of beets. It’s also incredibly budget-friendly! I get a bag of 3 organic beets for $1.99 at Earth Fare and that’s enough for 6 smoothies. Buy organic mixed berries in bulk (the large 2 pound bags) for extra savings.


Really the only splurge here is the Wild Foods Wild Vanilla Powder that I’ve been basically snorting. That ish is goooood. You can find it featured in my Caramel Vanilla Bean Ice Cream posted last week.


Here are some quick facts about beets to convince you of their super powers!



First and foremost, they may increase sex hormone production due to their boron content. If you’re feeling a little flat, try some beets (or slip them into your partner’s smoothie!)


They are high in antioxidants, vitamin C, folate, potassium + magnesium, and can calm inflammatory responses. If you’re pregnant and looking for a real food source of folate – beets are your answer!


Beets support Phase 2 detox pathways helping to flush toxins out of your body and may have anti-cancer effects according to preliminary studies. Overall, if you’re fighting inflammation, including beets in your diet may help restore some balance.



If that doesn’t change your mind – maybe this Beet Berry Smoothie will! Add collagen for bonus points!




2 reviews

Beet + Berry Detox Smoothie

Preparation 00:05 2017-07-27T00:05:00+00:00 Serves 1     adjust servings
beet berry smoothie



  • 2 cups packed baby spinach (or leafy green of choice)
  • 1 cup organic frozen mixed berries
  • 1/2 cup peeled and chopped beets
  • 1/2 cup coconut milk
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon organic cranberry concentrate (optional)
  • 1/2 teaspoon Wild Foods Wild Vanilla Powder
  • juice of 1/2 lemon


Combine all ingredients in a blender and blend on high speed for 60 seconds or until very smooth. Serve immediately.

Recipe Notes

 You may add 1 to 2 scoops Vital Proteins Collagen Peptides to make this a protein smoothie. 








Looking for more liver detox recipes?




cherry ginger lime smoothie

Caramel Vanilla Bean Ice Cream (sweetener-free!)

vanilla bean ice cream



I feel like I have some convincing to do in this post. Caramel Vanilla Bean Ice Cream without any sugar added whatsoever? It sounds sacrilegious and like total BS, I know. But really it’s real food MAGIC. And you’re going to be happily surprised! And you won’t believe what the caramel is made from (keep reading!)



 Caramel Vanilla Bean Ice Cream without ANY added sugar…. seriously!



vanilla bean ice cream



I love playing around with developing treats from fruits & vegetables without using sugars like honey or maple. I haven’t talked about it much but I participated in Ginger Newtrition’s Spring Liver Detox program last month + was so pleased with the results I’ve continued to keep sweeteners and nuts out of my diet. I’m also continuing with some of the detox tools as well.



I plan on doing a post either here or on Instagram about the positive changes I saw in my sleep, mood, energy, skin and digestion from their liver support program. It is designed to do 4x a year (every season) and the program changes slightly with each season passing.



So let’s get into the deets on this ice cream! Similar to my other delicious AIP homemade ice creams, I used white sweet potato to increase the creaminess. That’s a no-brainer these days! But simply combining coconut milk (this is my favorite brand), white sweet potato and Wild Foods Vanilla Bean Powder does not render you a sweet-enough treat…. even for someone who hasn’t tasted sugar in 6 weeks! Enter the SURPRISE ingredient!



vanilla bean ice cream



Want the creamiest homemade ice cream? I use the Whynter Stainless Steel Ice Cream Maker – it’s electric so you just place on counter, plug in, pour your mixture & churn in 30 minutes!



The Caramel color and flavor actually comes from…. DRIED APRICOTS! Crazy! I bought several bags of Made in Nature’s Dried Apricots the other day and they have the MOST delicious caramel, vanilla flavor of any dried apricot I’ve tried. Their prunes, dried figs + dates are also amazing.


When you blend softened dried apricots into sugar-free vanilla bean ice cream, it transforms into perfectly sweet Caramel Vanilla Bean Ice Cream.



If you don’t believe me, try it! But please, please use those delicious organic Made in Nature dark golden gems. Did you know those bright orange apricots only look like that because of a preservative called sulphur dioxide? Choose organic preservative free dried fruit! Specifically, choose this brand for the best result!




Most importantly, I recommend Wild Foods Wild Vanilla Powder for this AIP-friendly ice cream! I’m always worried about the alcohol in vanilla extract causing a gluten reaction + the alcohol-free versions include soy-based glycerin which I’m allergic.

This richly flavored unprocessed Wild Vanilla Powder creates the perfect traditional vanilla bean ice cream! I also add a pinch to my smoothies every morning!




Note: For best results, use my suggested brands in the recipe! Do not replace Vanilla Powder with vanilla extract or dried apricots with fresh apricots or you will be disappointed.


vanilla bean ice cream

1 review

Caramel Vanilla Bean Ice Cream

Preparation :10 2017-07-27T00:00:00+00:00 Serves 2 to 4     adjust servings



  • 2 cups full-fat coconut milk
  • 1 cup mashed white sweet potato (bake, microwave or steam and then mash)
  • 3/4 cup Made in Nature Dried Apricots
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons Wild Foods Wild Vanilla Powder


  1. Combine coconut milk, sweet potato and Vanilla Powder in a high powered blender until very smooth.
  2. Place apricots in a microwave-safe bowl. Cover with water and microwave for 60 to 90 seconds until soft. Drain the water.
  3. Add apricots to the blender and blend until pureed and caramel color.
  4. Transfer mixture to ice cream maker and churn according to manufacturer’s directions. Turn ice cream maker off once ice cream is thick and creamy.

Recipe Notes

 I prefer my ice cream on the softer side when freshly churned. Note that homemade coconut milk hardens significantly in the freezer and requires longer thaw time than store-bought ice cream made with emulsifiers. 




Looking for more dairy-free, low-sugar ice creams?


ginger cookie ice cream

Ginger Cookie Crunch Ice Cream


Low-Sugar Strawberry Ice Cream


Macadamia Cinnamon Cookie Ice Cream



caramel vanilla ice cream paleo


Paleo Poutine with Bone Broth Gravy


paleo poutine


Poutine is one of the national dishes of Canada. Canadians hold it near and dear to their hearts much like Americans do the cheeseburger. So I just had to bring a little piece of my childhood to this blog with some legit Paleo Poutine.


While I was born in Montreal, I’ve spent the majority of my life in the states. That’s over two decades of being deprived of true Canadian poutine (okay I used to visit at least once a year, so that’s a lie). Although poutine is making a debut in America these days as trendy bar food.

Classic poutine costs no more than $5 and is eaten at 2 in the morning after you’ve had more than your fair share of nightlife.


But if you live outside of Canada, cannot eat nightshades, dairy or gluten, then you likely live a poutine-less life. I’m here to remediate that.


This Paleo Poutine is made with love. You deserve fries doused in savory brown gravy.



paleo poutine



Now I have another poutine recipe on my site called Triple Meat Poutine (ugly pic, sorry) but it is far from the classic dish. This recipe on the other hand sings all the right notes. Classic tallow fries made from white sweet potatoes. If you eat white potatoes, you can certainly sub a large russet in its place.


Brown gravy made completely flourless and dairy-free. That’s right – not even any starchy Paleo flours made it into this delicious, savory brown gravy. You’re welcome. All the flavor of this gravy comes from Kettle & Fire’s Beef Bone Broth. FREE BONE BROTH BELOW, PS. 


Now I can’t even dabble with the dairy. And I’m also not a fan of vegan or gelatin-based dairy-free cheeses. So I replaced the traditional cheese curds with tender roasted garlic cloves. Again, if you can eat dairy, then please go ahead and use real cheese curds here, you lucky dog.

paleo poutine gravy


The real star of the show here is the BONE BROTH GRAVY made with Kettle & Fire Beef Bone Broth!



I’ll admit it’s been months since I’ve made my own broth. I seem to always make excuses since I have such limited time in the kitchen. And quite frankly, I can never get my broth to taste nearly as good as Kettle & Fire’s Beef Bone Broth.


If you’re AIP & have introduced black pepper, this is the store-bought broth you want to stock up on! It is rich in color and flavor, shelf-stable, and makes the most delicious soups, stews and gravies!


So how did I turn 1 carton of Kettle & Fire Beef Bone Broth into a glorious, rich brown gravy without any flour or butter? Check out the recipe below! You’re going to fall in love with my LEGIT POUTINE!


beef bone broth

A little bit about Kettle & Fire….


Kettle & Fire is the premiere shelf-stable bone broth company on the market today!

It was started by two brothers who wanted to bring gut-healing broth to the masses.

They guarantee their broth is made from 100% organically sourced ingredients using the bones of grass fed cows.

The shelf-stable cartons keep unrefrigerated for up to 2 years!

Paleo & Whole30-approved!

Ingredients: Marrow bones from pasture-raised, grass-fed cattle, organic carrots, organic onions, organic celery, organic bay leaves, organic parsley, apple cider vinegar, a pinch of black peppercorn, sea salt, and thyme.


 Get UP TO 3 FREE Kettle & Fire’s Beef Bone Broth Cartons HERE!


paleo poutine



Beef tallow fries drizzled with bone broth gravy makes this the ultimate Paleo & Whole30 comfort food!



1 review

Paleo Poutine with Bone Broth Gravy

Preparation 00:15 2017-07-27T00:15:00+00:00 Cook Time 00:45 2017-07-27T00:45:00+00:00 Serves 2     adjust servings


Beef Tallow Fries

  • 1 large white sweet potato
  • 3 tablespoons beef tallow
  • flaked sea salt
  • black pepper, to taste

Bone Broth Gravy

  • 1 16.9 ounce carton Kettle & Fire Beef Bone Broth
  • 1 cup chopped white onion
  • 4 garlic cloves

Roasted Garlic

  • 1/4 cup peeled garlic cloves
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • pinch sea salt


For the Tallow Fries:

  1. Wash and dry sweet potato. Leaving the skin on, slice sweet potato into long French fry thick slices about 5 inches long and no more than ½-inch wide.
  2. Heat beef tallow in a large cast iron skillet over medium heat until hot. Lay sweet potato slices in the skillet in a single layer avoiding overcrowding by cooking in two batches if needed.
  3. Fry sweet potatoes until golden, crispy and cooked through, flipping halfway through, for about 10 minutes. Keep warm.


For the Bone Broth Gravy:

  1. In a small saucepan, bring broth, onion and garlic to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to medium-low and fit lid loosely on saucepan to allow steam to escape.
  2. Simmer for 25 to 30 minutes until onion and garlic are tender. Transfer to a high-powered blender and blend until smooth.
  3. Transfer gravy back to the saucepan and bring to a boil again over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to medium-low, leave uncovered, and reduce gravy for about 15 minutes until its thick enough to coat a spoon. Keep warm.


For the Roasted Garlic:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line baking sheet with parchment paper. Toss garlic cloves with olive and sea salt and spread evenly on prepared sheet.
  2. Roast for 15 to 20 minutes until golden and tender. Set aside.


Assemble the Poutine:

Assemble poutine by layering fries in serving dish with gravy drizzled on top and garnished with roasted garlic. Serve immediately.




paleo poutine


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paleo poutine gravy

Stainless Steel: Non-Toxic, High-Performance Cookware


stainless steel cookware


In the advent of convenience, a host of non-stick skillets, pans and pots have entered the cookware market. Made from a synthetic polymer and multiple chemicals, they may not be the best choice for the health of you and your family.


It’s hard to rationalize cooking your organic, fresh from the farm meat and produce on a toxic chemical-derived surface. We are exposed to environmental toxins at all angles, and I recommend cleaning up as much of your cookware, household cleaners and personal care products at home as you can afford. Do what you can within your control. 


I have received many questions about what cookware is the least harmful to use. My resounding answer is always stainless steel. Stainless steel is my preferred cookware choice for several reasons that extend beyond it’s safety. If you’re wondering what my second choice is…. cast-iron!



Stainless steel is the best cookware for creating flavorful, browned & tender food.


Stainless steel cookware heats evenly and it’s uncoated surface allows for rapid browning. The browning process is called the Maillard reaction that gives food it’s caramelized flavor.  Trust me, I’ve compared cooking with non-stick at my sister’s house to cooking with my stainless steel cookware set. It’s incredible the difference you’ll received in flavor and texture.


This Cuisinart 12-piece Multiclad Pro Stainless Steel set is what I use at home. This set has everything you need to transition your old stovetop cookware to stainless steel!



non toxic cookware


Stainless steel is the professional chef’s choice cookware for flavor and time.

Because of it’s even and rapid heating, stainless steel cookware cooks food faster than non-stick pans. I am able to saute cauliflower rice in 50% less time than I could with my previous coated cookware.

Crispy sweet potato fries straight from the stove are one of my favorite ways to use stainless steel cookware. Just heat your solid fat of choice and fry sweet potato wedges until crispy!

Stainless steel creates a nice crust on tender meats like ribeye steaks – especially helpful if you don’t have a grill but want a restaurant worthy meal at home!



Everyone’s biggest hang-up with stainless steel? CLEANING IT!

Stainless steel is easy to clean if you follow my tips!

Here are my top tips for easiest cooking & cleaning with your stainless steel cookware!


For easiest clean up, do not cook higher than medium heat on the stovetop.

Use enough fat to grease the pan or pot so that food does not stick.

If cooking a low fat protein such as chicken breast, continue to move the meat around until it has achieved a crust. This will help prevent it from sticking when you want to flip the meat.

Immediately after cooking is complete, transfer food to a serving dish. Run warm water over cookware and use a gentle bristle brush to scrub any stuck-on food off.

Use a vinegar cleaner to get stainless steel pans shiny and new after each use and cleaning! My favorite is Aunt Fannie’s. Just be sure to avoid a citrus scent since it can rust the steel.

Cooking eggs? Heat your stainless steel skillet over medium low or medium heat until warm. Add enough fat to cover entire bottom of skillet (1 tablespoon for a 9-inch skillet will do). Cook eggs as desired, using a rubber spatula to gentle move and lift them before they stick. Transfer eggs to serving dish and immediately run under warm water and use a gentle scrub brush to clean.

DO NOT use abrasive scrub brushes or products containing bleach or citrus-derived ingredients which can cause rusting.






This post contains affiliate links which I receive a small compensation if you choose to make a purchase through my site.