Creamy Kale Salad with Mango & Figs

creamy kale salad

 

 

 

Whoo! It’s been a little bit since I posted a new veggie-heavy recipe! I love inspiration for new salads and side dishes, but it seems like most of my readers prefer main dishes and treats, so I tend to post those more often. But we cannot underestimate the value of a tasty kale salad that you actually look forward to eating!

 

I eat salad every single day but not because I am in love with the taste – I just know how much better I feel when I get a large amount of greens in my day.

 

This kale salad couldn’t be easier to whip up and is really delightful. The tangy avocado creamy dressing softens the kale while the mango and figs add sweetness and texture & the shallots add a little pop of flavor! Trust me – shallots and mango below together. You’ll see.

 

Yesterday we got home from a mini trip to my parents who live 3 hours away. It was just me, Grace & Rafael and our first time on the road together! On the way there, Grace screamed her head off for a solid hour until I finally was able to pull over and check on her. She had thrown her pacifier overboard and her face was bright red. I could see the blood vessels bursting out of her forehead & then I started to cry.

 

I felt so bad for not pulling over sooner, but I thought she would tucker herself out and take a nap (she despises the car seat even for short trips to the store so this is her normal). Once I soothed her and gave her Lamby back – she slept for a good portion of the remaining drive.

 

But then I realized I forgot her Pack n’ Play at home (where she was going to sleep at my parents) and her pajamas! So I had to stop at Target and buy another dang Pack n’ Play for the child. Traveling with a child ain’t easy…. I don’t know how people go to Europe & Asia with their kids. I envy their patience.

 

We also made a pit stop at an outdoor shopping mall so that I could do some retail therapy after the stressful drive. I find the best clothes when I’m stressed (I also ate a bar of Alter Eco Salted Dark Chocolate on the drive that was supposed to be part of my mom’s Mother’s Day gift…. well guess what, THIS mom needed it more. Gramma understood.) The chocolate and a new romper, dress and clutch did the trick!

 

I’m starting to overhaul my wardrobe. I used to dress really well and then when I went through a Hashimoto’s flare and gained a shit ton of weight, I couldn’t fit into any of my clothes anymore so I just bought a bunch of stretchy loose things that aren’t that flattering.

 

Then I went straight into pregnancy and post-partum from that flare, so it’s time to get back to enjoying clothing. I’m a pretty low key dresser – a combination of moderate boho with a lot of athleisure thrown in but I like a good, figure-flattering dress more than anything.

 

It feels confidence-boosting to start focusing on that little piece of me once again. I’m sure every new mom understands!

 

Looking for some other KALE RECIPES?

 

Golden Chicken & Kale

golden chicken and kale

Kale Pesto Chicken Soup

kale pesto chicken soup

 

 

 

 

This easy creamy kale salad will get your whole family to eat their greens thanks to the sweet additions of mango and dried Turkish figs!

 

 

2 reviews

Creamy Kale Salad with Mango & Figs

Preparation 00:10 2017-06-29T00:10:00+00:00 Cook Time 00:00 2017-06-29T00:00:00+00:00 Serves 2     adjust servings
creamy kale salad

Ingredients

  • 1 ripe avocado
  • 2 tablespoons avocado oil or olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 6 cups chopped kale (stems removed)
  • 1 ripe mango, peeled and diced
  • 6 dried Turkish figs, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons minced shallot

Instructions

  1. In a food processor, combine avocado, oil, lemon, vinegar and sea salt until smooth and creamy.
  2. In a large bowl, toss chopped kale with avocado dressing until well-coated and slightly wilted. Toss in remaining ingredients.
  3. Serve immediately or let flavors marry for 30 minutes prior to serving (my preference!) either room temperature or cold.

 

 

Paleo Baby Birthday Cake (Paleo, AIP, Nut-free, Sugar-free, Egg-free)

A

paleo smash cake

 

How cute is this Paleo Baby Birthday Cake made from sweet potato, beef tallow, carob, avocado and coconut flour!? It’s free of all grains, dairy, nuts and sweeteners which means it fits the bill for any real food baby, toddler or adults big day!

 

I cannot comprehend how my baby girl is going to be a one-year-old next month. My pre-baby life seems like an eternity away but only 365 days will have passed. They have been filled with emotions at every extreme and not a ton in the middle. Lots of laughing, smiling, heart-bursting joy but also my fair share of tears, frustration, anger and fatigue.

 

Motherhood is by far the hardest journey I’ve ever been on inclusive of my journey with Hashimoto’s and infertility. I spent many nights of my pregnancy up with anxiety about how I would be able to be the 24/7 guide for another life form. It’s just as hard as I thought it would be, but you take the good with the bad and you let the good keep you going.

 

 

paleo first birthday cake

 

I wanted to take some time today to reflect on what I’ve learned in the last year. You can skip ahead to the recipe if you’d like; this will just be my form of self-therapy.

 

 

Having your heart beat outside of your chest and inside the body of another human being is the scariest, most gut-wrenching feeling I can imagine. Every time I hear her cry my cortisol shoots up and I get a pit in my stomach. I know I can’t protect her from everything but I sure wish I could. Watching the news is near impossible for me now, traveling by airplane is a feat, and I’ve had to unpack a lot of post-partum anxiety lately. I know it’s normal, especially for someone who defaults on the anxious side, but it still needs to be addressed lovingly.

 

She makes me smile so wide and for so long, my lips are actually chapped by the end of the day. I thought high school and college were fun, but parenthood has me smiling and laughing more than ever before. She has taught me that my heart is a bottomless basket of love, care and pride. I wish I had more videos of the two of us interacting, but we are home alone so much that I’d have to set up a hidden camera to catch it all. Actually that’s not a bad idea

 

Part of me wishes that being a mother was my 1 and only purpose here on earth, but it’s not. It will always be my #1 purpose but I also am realizing I need to expand some of my love and attention to other areas of my life like my marriage, my career and my friendships. None of those things will ever give me the same type of joy and pride that she does, but they all make me a happier and more complete human

 

I am intrinsically terrible at asking for help. I really need to work on that (but I’ve come a long way since she was a newborn). Even though I’m a stay-at-home mom right now, I have a nanny who comes 6 hours a week so I can go work at a coffee shop, go to the dentist or get a pedicure. This has been extremely beneficial for my mental health. I’ve also started asking my husband for more help around the house. In fact, he vacuumed and steam-cleaned all the floors yesterday (amen, thank you to my incredible hub).

 

I’m not afraid to tell people no anymore. I used to say “yes” to everything that was asked of me, whether or not it benefited me or not. I am a giver and a helper by nature, and I also have an easily ignited guilty conscience (hello, kindling for autoimmunity and flares). Now if my gut tells me that a particular commitment is going to add stress to my life in an unproductive way, I say no and don’t feel bad about it. The book “Non-Violent Communication” has REALLY helped me with this. If someone is offended, disappointed or pissed off, oh well. Life is too short and modern life is too stressful already to constantly cater to others’ needs before your own.

 

There are no words for the love you have for your child. I cannot even attempt to describe the immensity of my love for my daughter. The fact that Hallmark tries to capture a mother’s love in a 100-word card baffles me. NO WORDS.

 

 

 

 

 

Okay let’s talk PALEO AIP BABY SMASH CAKE!

 

Now that all my sappy emotions have escaped my fingertips, here’s a little valuable information on this adorable 4-layer Baby Smash Cake! I was actually going to forgo birthday cake all together for her first birthday because

1) I didn’t think I could come up with a suitable cake that doesn’t have any grains, dairy, eggs, nuts or sweeteners (even natural ones like maple).

2) I wasn’t sure how I felt about getting her started on treats this early. What changed my mind: I didn’t want to regret not having an adorable, messy photo shoot of my daughter going ham on some cake. It’s an iconic photo!!

 

My first attempt included a similar birthday cake that was made with sweet potato, avocado and banana but the banana constipated her severely, so that was a big no-go! I landed on this version made from sweet potato (which adds sweetness, moistness, density & acts as a binder), beef tallow (healthy fat and it gives the cake its “donut” taste!), coconut flour (to help hold it together), cinnamon (adds a little sweetness without sugar), baking soda (for fluffiness) and an egg replacer (your choice: chia “egg” or gelatin “egg”). The frosting has the consistency of pudding and is made from a whole avocado, carob powder (a ‘chocolate’ flavor without the caffeine), coconut milk and a touch of coconut oil. The coconut oil helps thicken the frosting once it is refrigerated so that is goes on smoothly.

 

The texture of this cake is great for babies because it is soft, squishy and sort of melts in your mouth. I can only closely describe it to a pudding cake, if you’ve ever had one of those! The frosting in between each layer adds moisture too. I was concerned about making a cake that was too dry, her grabbing a giant bite and choking on it on her birthday. Again, still working on that new mom anxiety (eek).

 

 

This Paleo birthday cake is mom-approved in taste, ingredients & cute factor!

 

 

paleo baby cake

 

 

Please tag me in your messy baby birthday cake photos on Instagram or Facebook!

A NOTE ON SUBSTITUTIONS

I don’t recommend many substitutions here! All ingredients have a purpose. For example, the beef tallow is what gives the cake it’s fried donut taste (pre-cheap industrial oils, donuts and french fries were fried in delicious tallow!) If you replaced it with another solid fat like lard, it would definitely change the taste. For a baby, they won’t notice, but if you want to pick at the leftovers you may not enjoy it as much! I don’t recommend adding sweetener, it’s not necessary. If your baby does well with eggs, you can definitely use an egg in place of the gelatin or chia “egg”. No other grain-free flour will work here. Coconut flour has unique binding and moisture-absorbing properties. I would not use tapioca or arrowroot in its place of you’ll get a very gummy cake. You may leave out the cinnamon if your baby has an intolerance to it; the flavor will be slightly altered and it won’t be as sweet or donut tasting. You can replace the avocado in the frosting with coconut cream most likely in a 1:1 ratio. I prefer avocado because of the fiber and other nutritional properties that make it easier to digest than something as high in fat as coconut cream.

 

 

 

aip birthday cake

 

 

Happy Birthday, Baby! Get as messy as you want with this allergy-friendly sweet potato & “chocolate” cake!

 

 

 

2 reviews

Paleo Baby Birthday Cake

Preparation 00:15 2017-06-29T00:15:00+00:00 Cook Time 00:15 2017-06-29T00:15:00+00:00 Serves 1-4     adjust servings
paleo smash cake

Ingredients

For the cake

  • 1 large baked sweet potato (1 cup mashed), cooled
  • 1/4 cup Bob's Red Mill coconut flour
  • 2 tablespoons beef tallow, melted (measure before melting)
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 chia egg or 1 gelatin egg (recipes in notes)
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice

For the frosting

  • 1 ripe medium avocado, pitted
  • 1/4 cup coconut milk or cream, room temp
  • 1/4 cup carob powder
  • 2 teaspoons coconut oil

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Have a 3-inch biscuit cutter handy for easy preparation of cake layers.
  2. Prepare the cake. In a food processor, combine the 1 cup mashed and cooled sweet potato with the coconut flour, beef tallow, baking soda and cinnamon until smooth.
  3. Prepare the gelatin or chia "egg" according to directions in notes below. With the machine running, drizzle in the "egg" along with the lemon juice and combine for 30 seconds until smooth.
  4. Place biscuit cutter on baking sheet. Scoop 1/4 cup batter in the cutter and use wet hands to smooth batter into an even circle. Remove biscuit cutter carefully. Repeat this step 3 more times for a total of 4 3-inch mini cakes.
  5. Bake cake layers for 15 minutes. They will rise slightly and be fairly soft when you remove them from the oven. They will firm up as they cool. Cool cake layers completely on the countertop (don't skip or rush this step or the warmth will melt your frosting!)
  6. Meanwhile, while the cakes are baking prepare the frosting by combining all ingredients in a clean food processor until very smooth. Transfer frosting to a glass bowl and keep in fridge while the cakes cool.
  7. To frost the cake: Transfer 1 layer to serving plate. Apply generous layer of frosting on top using a butter knife or mini spatula. Repeat with remaining 3 layers, ensuring you save enough frosting to frost outside of cake too!
  8. Store cake in fridge until ready to serve! Leftovers can be stored for up to 5 days! I ate her leftovers cold for breakfast and they seriously filled my donut void!

Recipe Notes

Each recipe below makes 1 "egg" which is what this recipe calls for:

Chia Egg: Grind 3 tablespoons of whole chia seeds in a clean coffee or spice grinder. Measure out 1 tablespoon of ground chia and mix with 3 tablespoons of cool water. Let sit in the fridge for 10 to 15 minutes to thicken.

AIP OPTION Gelatin Egg: Whisk 1 tablespoon gelatin with 1 tablespoon cool water until frothy. Whisk in 2 tablespoons of hot water until thickened. Immediately use your gelatin egg where call for in the recipe.

 

White Tea Rose Latte (Paleo, AIP)

 

white tea latte

 

I’m so excited my contributor recipe for Autoimmune Wellness is finally up for the month! Mostly because I am now reminded how delightful this white tea latte was when I made it last month. There’s something incredibly calming about taking time to make a special warm beverage, and sitting down to enjoy it all by yourself. I sipped on this frothy little mug of floral, slightly sweetened deliciousness one morning while doing some mundane emails, and it made the moment much more enjoyable.

 

A lot of you have asked where to get rose water! It’s a very affordable rose essence water used commonly in Middler Eastern cooking, particularly baked goods that you see the pastry cases of Greek and Lebanese restaurants. I really recommend exploring other culture’s ingredients in your home cooking. It can spark a love for cooking you didn’t know you had and keep things exciting while on an elimination diet. Even if you’re on a Paleo diet for weight loss, it’s still important to get out of your food rut because there are joy and nutrients to be found outside of steak, avocado, asparagus and sweet potato. Sooo much joy.

 

 

white rose tea latte

 

 

Get the recipe for this White Tea Rose Latte!

 

 

 

white tea latte

Paleo Tortillas (AIP)

 

paleo tortillas

 

There’s nothing that quite gets the Paleo community hot & bothered like a good tortilla. We all just like to roll, stuff, and crunch our way into meat & veggies. Nothing wrong with that, my friends.

 

I used to buy Siete Cassava & Coconut Flour Tortillas but I haven’t been able to find them in my neighborhood! They’re pretty yummy – thin, flexible and taste close to a flour tortilla! When cooked they are soft and crispy-fried. I just can’t afford to buy them regularly, so I wanted to make my own AIP-friendly tortilla at home more affordably!

My Plantain Wraps in The Healing Kitchen are another option.  They’re quite popular among the THK Ride or Dies – pliable, soft and fluffy! They make excellent wraps too, but they aren’t super thin like a traditional tortilla and don’t have the taste of a flour or corn tortilla. But if you are looking for a plantain-based option – there you go!

 

paleo aip tacos

Fill your tacos with your favorite protein, avocados & toppings! I chose ground chicken, avocado, onion and cilantro and then sausage and kale!

 

 

These Paleo Tortillas are made with just a few simple ingredients: arrowroot and coconut flours, olive oil, baking soda and sea salt. Instead of cooking them on a stovetop, which can be really tricky, I bake these in the oven. I actually based the recipe on my Pizza Crust because so many of you were telling me you would use the pizza crust recipe as a wrap! I changed up the ratios and technique though – once baked into 6-inch tortillas they are lightly pan-fried in beef tallow so you can eat them as “soft” or “hard” tortillas.

 

 

A note on substitutions: Tapioca starch is generally replaceable for arrowroot starch, but I have not tried it myself in this recipe. You can replace the olive oil with avocado oil, but I prefer the taste of olive oil in tortillas. I link to the baking soda and cream of tartar I use. If you cannot find cream of tartar, you can use the same amount of apple cider vinegar, but your tortillas won’t be quite as soft. It’ll still work though! Okay I think I covered all the inevitable substitution questions!

 

 

aip taco shells

 

If Taco Tuesday isn’t already your thing, it’s about to be!

 

 

1 review

Paleo Tortillas

Preparation 00:15 2017-06-29T00:15:00+00:00 Cook Time 00:10 2017-06-29T00:10:00+00:00 Serves 6     adjust servings
paleo tortillas

Ingredients

  • 1 cup Bob's Red Mill arrowroot starch
  • 2/3 cup Bob's Red Mill coconut flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 cup warm water
  • beef tallow for frying (for hard shells)

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper. Set aside a separate 8 square inch piece of parchment paper for step 3.
  2. In a food processor, combine all ingredients except the warm water until well combined. With the machine running, slowly drizzle in the warm water and process for 45 to 60 seconds until a wet, fluffy "dough" forms. This will not look like regular dough - it is drier and more crumbly but sticks together when pressed.
  3. You are going to make 6 tortillas with 3 on each baking sheet. Form 3 balls of dough, 1/4 cup each in size, on each baking sheet. Using the extra piece of parchment paper from step 1, use your hands to roll out each ball into a 1/8-inch thin, 6-inch diameter tortilla. Make sure to adequately space out your tortillas so they don't touch. Please take your time when smoothing out the dough to ensure it is even and the edges are smooth! This is important for your tortilla-enjoying experience.
  4. Bake tortillas for 6 minutes in preheated oven. The tortillas should be a pale off-white color and not too brown around the edges. Transfer parchment paper to countertop to allow tortillas to slightly cool. These are your soft shells.
  5. For hard shells: Heat small stainless steel pan over medium heat. Add 1 to 2 teaspoons beef tallow to coat bottom of pan. Use your hands to fold tortillas into the shape of a hard shell and press bottom side of shell into pan for 30 seconds until crispy. Place tortilla on side, maintaining the hard shell shape, and fry each side for 30 seconds. Let cool on paper towel lined plate before filling with your favorite taco night ingredients!

 

 

paleo aip taco tortilla

 

 

 

Safer Sunscreens for Your Family

For almost 3 decades, I slathered coconut-scented drugstore sunscreen all over my body for a good part of the year. When you grow up in Florida and spend as much time outside as I do, protecting yourself from the sun is important. While our beautiful sun provides us necessary vitamin D, boosts mood and regulates circadian rhythms, it can also can premature aging and skin cancer.

Why sun exposure is important for health.

Unprotected sun exposure allows for vitamin D synthesis through a metabolic process that involves the conversion of a vitamin D precursor to the useable form vitamin D3. Vitamin D3 can also be consumed through supplementation but sun exposure is more ideal, if possible. Vitamin D insufficiency has been linked to multiple sclerosis, cancer, neurological disorders, decreased immune function, mood disorders and insomnia. Spend a day outside at the beach and note the mental and physical benefits – a better night’s rest and an improved mood almost instantly!

 

Most people with fair to medium skin receive enough vitamin D conversion with 15 to 20 minutes 3 days a week of direct sunlight on 50% or more of skin exposed (i.e. arms, legs & back) during summer months. Darker skin individuals need longer unprotected exposure for similar vitamin D conversion. During fall and winter months, aim for 2x this amount of time 3 days a week at minimum. 

 

But too much of a good thing can be a bad thing. We do need to protect our skin from the sun’s UVA rays which are associated with premature skin aging and UVB rays which are associated with the development of skin cancer.

I wear sunscreen when all 3 of these conditions are met:

  • Outside in direct sunlight with minimal clothing (i.e. no hat or long sleeves)
  • Unprotected for longer than 15 to 20 minutes between the hours of 10 am and 4pm
  • During spring and summer months

 

 

What’s in common chemical drugstore sunscreen?

  • Oxybenzone

    • Hormone disruptor that acts like estrogen in our body (i.e. a xenoestrogen)
    • Found in blood, urine & breastmilk samples from American population, meaning it penetrates the skin and infiltrates our circulatory system.
    • Associated with endometriosis in women
    • Alters sperm production in animals
    • High likelihood to cause skin allergy
    • Found in the urine of 97% of Americans when sampled by the CDC

 

  • Octinoxate

    • Found in breastmilk samples from American population, meaning it penetrates the skin and infiltrates our circulatory system
    • Hormone-like activity in the body
    • In animal studies, it alters thyroid, reproductive & behavioral systems
    • Moderate likelihood to cause skin allergy

 

  • Retinyl Palmitate

    • This is a carcinogenic form of vitamin A that speeds the speeds the development of skin cancer when skin is exposed to sunlight… yes you read that right!
    • Vitamin A toxicity can occur if applied in large amounts and repetitively over time.
    • Can form free radicals that contribute to aging

 

  • Fragrance

    • That familiar, noxious “sunscreen” scent may bring up feelings of nostalgic childhood trips to the beach, but it’s actually an unregulated harmful toxic that has been linked to allergies, immune toxicity and dermatitis. Companies don’t have to tell us which chemicals they use in their “fragrance/parfum” which is the most troubling part of it all.

(source: EWG “The Trouble with Oxybenzone“, “The Problem with Vitamin A“)

 

 

A note on SPF: No evidence exists that an SPF of greater than 50 provides a higher level of sun protection. In fact, many sunscreen manufacturers boost the perceived SPF level which only protects against UVB rays without increasing the UVA protection giving consumers a false sense of safety that they are properly protected from both types of rays.

 

 

How to switch your family to safer sunscreen

 

Mineral sunscreens provide quality, long-lasting broad-spectrum protection from premature aging and skin cancer without any of the above potential for toxic harm. Mineral sunscreens include zinc oxide and titanium dioxide, most commonly, and appear slightly white when applied. There is no evidence of hormone disruption from either of these minerals and they are unlikely to cause an allergic reaction.

 

Not all mineral sunscreens are created equally though. The suspension ingredients in some mineral sunscreens can still include some known harmful toxins that you may not want to put on your skin (and likely in your bloodstream). The trick is to find a company who screens and tests their suspension ingredients for safety like Beautycounter & Badger.

 

beautycounter sunscreen

 

 

BEST BODY SUNSCREEN

Beautycounter Protect All Over Sunscreen

This sunscreen has the lowest hazard rating in EWG’s Skin Deep Database while many of the drugstore brands sit in the avoid-at-all-costs high hazard categories.

 

  • Contains 19% non-nano zinc oxide for broad-spectrum UVA & UVB protection that doesn’t penetrate deeper than skin level
  • Unscented (does not contain “fragrance/parfum”)
  • Aloe for hydrating skin
  • Green tea extract and blood orange for neutralizing free radicals
  • Water-resistant: apply every 40 minutes for best protection
  • Lightweight and very easy to blend
  • Safe to use on adults and children

 

I use all of Beautycounter’s Sunscreen products on myself and my daughter. I used to break out in a fine, red skin rash from drugstore sunscreens (likely from the oxybenzone) and am happy to report, I have not experienced a single reaction from these products! Neither my daughter nor I have burned while using them either!

 

 

face sunscreen beautycounter

 

BEST FACE SUNSCREEN

Beautycounter Protect Stick Sunscreen

This sunscreen is easily portable, easy to apply to the hard to reach places like ears, the back of youDonr neck, and shoulders AND it smells amazing (just a little like fruit and cocoa butter). I keep it in my diaper bag and one in my stroller so that I am always able to protect myself and my daughter from overexposure!

 

  • Contains the same non-nano zinc oxide as their body sunscreen
  • Suspended with shea butter, coconut oil and fruit oils to help hydrate the skin and make the sunscreen easy to apply and blend
  • Can be worn under or over makeup daily
  • Easily applied by children
  • Easy to apply to babies without excessive rubbing on their delicate skin

 

 

Don’t forget to also use non-sunscreen sun protective measures such as wearing hats, sunglasses, long-sleeve rashguards for infants and toddlers and seeking shade whenever possible. If you or your child does get a sunburn, I have found the Beautycounter Cleansing Balm to be super helpful in soothing and clearing up burns quickly. Just apply as a moisturizer and leave on overnight.

 

 

UNTIL APRIL 30TH, 2017: Purchase a Beautycounter Protect All Over Sunscreen & receive a free deluxe travel size product of your choice. Be sure to choose your free product at checkout when it prompts you!

 

 

Pressure Cooker Pot Roast in 1 hour! (Paleo, AIP, Whole30)

 

I know it’s not really pot roast season anymore, but even on an 85 degree humid Florida day, I still sometimes want to eat a comforting bowl of easily digestible food! And I’ve been wanting to make a pot roast in my Instant Pot for ages – not the kind my mom used to make (sorry, Mom) but something flavorful and tender.

 

I couldn’t be more obsessed with my Instant Pot! I made this Pot Roast in less than 1 hour and the meat is pull apart tender and paired with perfectly cooked root veggies!

 

I get most of my grass-fed beef from Butcher Box and US Wellness Meats these days. In my new neighborhood, I have to drive at least 45 minutes to get freshly butchered grass-fed meats, so ordering online is convenient and I’m guaranteed the animal was raised and fed well. Gone are the days I had 3 Whole Foods within a 15-minute drive. I’m still mourning that loss.

 

This Pot Rot roast recipe really cuts down on the time and ingredients in a traditional roast which often contains red wine, butter and fresh herbs. I like the simplicity of dry herbs here so your chopping is limited to the vegetables and apple. I added apple, which you don’t typically find in a pot roast, for sweetness to balance out the meat and onion.

 

Another way I cut down the time is by pressure cooking the roast for just 50 minutes and then cutting it into large chunks which then go back in to pressure for 10 minutes with the veggies. This creates more surface area for the meat to absorb all that delicious beefy-onion liquid!

 

Whoo! I’m recovering from last night’s Flaming Lips show. They put on such a performance every single time, and the older they get, the more wild it gets. There was confetti, there was an LED light explosion, there was a grown man riding a unicorn wearing inflatable wings, and there was so some spectacular people watching. If you have the opportunity to see them live, even if you don’t know their music, go! Especially if you’re a fan of Pink Floyd and more experimental music. We didn’t get to see my favorite song since we had to get home to Grace by 11pm though. We played the live version this morning during breakfast for her though! The only other show we’ve seen since she was born was Austin City Limits last September! It’s still hard to leave her at night because I like to be there for bedtime.

 

I don’t think I’ve mentioned it here but I’m going to be leaving her for the first time for 4 DAYS (gahhh!) for Meg & Shawn’s Soul Sista Getaway in Boulder! My husband and I love Boulder and have visited several times, so he’s going to come with and just go do his own thing while I participate in all the fun events they have planned like eating and yoga and eating.

 

You can reserve your spot for the Soul Sista Getaway here from June 23-25th, 2017!

 

This Beef Pot Roast is tender, flavorful & on the table in an hour!

 

1 review

Instant Pot Beef Pot Roast

Preparation 00:15 2017-06-29T00:15:00+00:00 Cook Time 00:60 2017-06-29T00:00:00+00:00 Serves 4     adjust servings

Ingredients

  • 2 pounds beef loin roast
  • 1 tablespoon dried Italian herb seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon each garlic and onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 1 large yellow onion, sliced
  • 1/2 cup broth
  • 2 medium rutabagas, peeled and chopped into 1-inch chunks
  • 6 carrots, peeled and chopped into 1-inch chunks
  • 1 Pink Lady apple, chopped into 1-inch chunks
  • 1 tablespoon coconut aminos

Instructions

  1. Place beef loin roast in Instant Pot insert with fat cap side down. Rub the dried herbs, garlic and onion, and sea salt on the meaty side of the roast. Brush balsamic on top of the meat and layer with onion slices. Pour broth around the roast.
  2. Seal the lid and set to cook on "Manual" for 50 minutes. When timer elapses, vent the lid and transfer the roast to a cutting board. Slice against the grain into 1-inch chunks.
  3. Return meat to the insert along with the vegetables and apple. Seal the lid and set to cook on "Manual" for another 10 minutes. When timer elapses, vent the lid, stir in the coconut aminos to slightly break up the onions and rutabaga to help thicken the liquid. Serve warm sprinkled with parsley.

Recipe Notes

You may also use other large cuts of beef like chuck roast.

Dairy-Free Lemon Panna Cotta with Lemon Caramel (Paleo, AIP)

 

 

Oh boy. This Panna Cotta has got me all sorts of giddy. I love, love, love lemon. Lemon is life in my little piece of the world. My only contention with lemon-flavored desserts is when they’re too sugary. It overpowers the tartness of the lemon & I don’t want anything overpowering my lemon love.

 

Making a dairy-free panna cotta is quite simple! I replaced the traditional heavy cream with a light coconut milk (you can use full-fat too) pureed with a bit of white sweet potato. I tend to use white sweet potato in the vast majority of my desserts. I’m very sorry if you can’t find it. I wouldn’t recommend orange sweet potato here – the taste is too distinct. White-fleshed sweet potatoes provide a touch of sweetness, thickness and binding power to AIP and egg-free desserts.

 

 

 

 

These creamy little custards make for the perfect springtime or year-round treat! They are relatively low in sugar (especially if you choose to make them without the caramel sauce), silky smooth & super satisfying. The Lemon Caramel sauce is really easy to make too. Making caramel is a lot of fun and can be made relatively quick with my method below. The tartness and sweetness of the caramel is absolutely gorgeous with the custard. You may also top your mini treats with some lemon zest for presentation.

 

 

Here are some other AIP dessert recipes that use white sweet potatoes:

 

Ginger Cookie Crunch Ice Cream

Strawberry Ice Cream

Snowball Cookies

Rustic Apple Cinnamon Rolls

cinnamon rolls paleo

 

 

These panna cottas are silky smooth, perfectly tart & paired with a dreamy lemon-flavored homemade caramel sauce!

 

 

 

 

1 review

Dairy-Free Lemon Panna Cotta with Lemon Caramel

Preparation 00:10 2017-06-29T00:10:00+00:00 Cook Time 00:20 2017-06-29T00:20:00+00:00 Serves 4     adjust servings

Ingredients

For panna cotta

  • 1 13.5 ounce can full-fat or light coconut milk
  • 1/3 cup Santa Cruz Organic Lemon Juice (or fresh-pressed)
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 1 tablespoon gelatin
  • 1 tablespoon hot water
  • 1 1/4 cup cooked and cubed white sweet potato, warm

For Lemon Caramel

  • 2/3 cup full-fat or light coconut milk
  • 1/4 cup coconut sugar
  • 1/4 cup Santa Cruz Organic Lemon Juice (or fresh-pressed)
  • pinch sea salt

Instructions

For panna cotta:

  1. Reserve 1 tablespoon coconut milk in a small bowl. Set aside.
  2. Combine remaining coconut milk, lemon juice, honey and sea salt in a food processor until smooth.
  3. Whisk gelatin into reserved coconut milk until frothy. Whisk in hot water until combined. Immediately spoon gelatin mixture into food processor and blend until smooth.
  4. Finally, add warm sweet potato the food processor and blend until very smooth ensuring no chunks remain.
  5. Spoon panna cotta mixture evenly into 4 small glass dishes or ramekins. Refrigerate for 4 hours or overnight until fully set. Spoon cooled caramel on top when ready to serve.

For Lemon Caramel:

  1. Combine all ingredients for caramel in a small saucepan set over medium heat. Bring to a simmer and then reduce heat to medium-low.
  2. Maintain simmer for 20 minutes as you periodically stir the caramel and scrape any browned bits off the bottom and sides of the pan. Remove caramel from heat once it has reduced to a thick brown syrup that sticks to the back of a spoon.
  3. Transfer caramel to a small glass dish and let cool and thicken.

Real Food Baby: How We Introduced Solids

 

 

One of the parts of new motherhood I most looked forward to was introducing solids to my daughter. Passing on my love for food, nutrition and awareness of sustainability and the environment is one of the many pieces of parenthood that I view as a gift I can give to Grace.

 

Many of you have asked how I went about introducing solids to Grace: which foods we started with, how we did it, why I chose the way I did. My decisions were based on a mix of research and intuition. Grace has eaten a mostly AIP diet so far – not for restriction purposes but for nutrient density. She has eaten some non-AIP foods like seed spices (most days) and egg yolk (a few times), but we haven’t introduced butter, ghee, nightshades (I never buy them), nuts, seeds, any packaged baby food, other dairy or grains yet.

 

This is what I feel is right for our family, and my only goal in writing this article is not to tell you what I think you should feed baby, but to give a detailed example about how this first time mom went about it!

 

 

My top recommended resource for learning about the most nutritious foods to feed your baby is Super Nutrition for Babies.

 

 

Super Nutrition for Babies closely aligns with the Weston A. Price Foundation focus on high-quality pastured animal foods, vegetables, probiotic rich foods and gut and immune-supporting quality fats. It outlines the best foods for baby at each stage of development from 6 to 18 months, which makes planning so much easier. I followed it fairly closely but deviated with my focus on wild seafood and decision to not include whey (dairy-based) ferments as the book suggests because of my history with cow’s milk intolerance that started at a fairly young age.

 

My baby feeding bible!

 

I also signed up for Megan Garcia’s First Foods online course, which was very helpful about timing of food introduction. It includes some pretty neat charts on the exact nutrient density of certain foods (i.e. which foods are high in iron, zinc, B vitamins, magnesium, etc) that I definitely geeked out on.

 

 

I suggest identifying your main purpose/why with food introduction. My purpose was to introduce the most nutrient dense, least allergenic foods that my baby at her developmental stage would physically be able to masticate, swallow and digest.

 

 

I’m first going to discuss why we started with Baby-Led Weaning and transitioned away from it by the time she hit 7 months old. I’ve had that question come up a lot from readers! This is not a case for or against BLW – I just followed Grace’s cues and without influencing her one way or another she let me know which foods she desired at each stage!

 

 

 

Did we do Baby-Led Weaning?

Whether or not a real food mama chooses to do Baby-Led Weaning (BLW) or begins food introduction with purees is typically the first decision in this process. I assumed I would do BLW through and through with Grace because I learned about it in multiple Facebook real food parenthood groups. There were several posts a week advocating for BLW with adorable pictures of little ones sucking on strips of steak, big pieces of broccoli florets, and roasted carrot wedges. The stated benefits include less picky eaters later in childhood, increased ability to handle variety of food textures without choking, and baby developing fine motor skills more quickly through repetitive self-feeding. Honestly, my baby has demonstrated all of those benefits without doing BLW exclusively, and it is definitely not a requirement if you’re a real food mama. Not a jab at BLW – I am in full support of all mamas educating themselves and making the best decision for their family! Go with your gut on whether or not you want to try BLW, and if you don’t have a strong gut instinct either way, give it a shot after doing some reading. 

 

I have learned for myself it’s best to not label my parenthood choices, as our children have different needs each day. Whether that’s our decision to vaccinate or not vaccinate, go back to work or stay at home, or how we choose to discipline our children… staying open-minded and flexible helps us ride the wave of child development. What we choose one day may be the exact opposite what we choose the next day. This perfectly mimics my experience with solid introductions. Grace let me know each day what she was capable of handling, and I wanted to support her needs first. 

 

 

Why we transitioned from BLW to purees & then back to self-feeding

Food waste

I am passionate about food waste, and so much food was making its way everywhere but her mouth and tray table. I know it wouldn’t be that way forever as she developed her feeding skills, but for a short time purees both fed by myself or self-fed were better on our budget and less waste occurred.

 

Nutritional Optimization

For our family, for the best way to ensure Grace was receiving the micronutrients she needs for optimal immune system and gut health, a more controlled puree feeding was ideal. This lasted maybe 6 weeks, which is a drop in the bucket in her entire life. I’m going to bargain that those 6 weeks won’t have a drastic impact on her “pickiness” as she ages.

 

Mom-Tuition

Most important, my mom intuition told me introducing large pieces of food and focusing my efforts on the process of BLW rather than spending my time and energy focusing on optimal nutrition just wasn’t right for us. There’s moms who can do both, but I could only manage preparing the food, and the anxiety of giving my little baby large chunks of food was too much for me. I have had bouts of post-partum anxiety so this was a decision influenced by that. If we have another child, I may feel more comfortable with the process!

 

Developmentally Unready

Grace had a power grasp (a full-fisted grasp) at 6 months but her pincer grasp didn’t emerge until closer to the start of her 8th. This made it difficult for her to self feed certain foods that we were focusing on like liver pate and slippery foods like salmon. I’ve read from multiple high-quality sources that around 6 months of age many breastfed babies need micronutrient supplementation through solids… particularly iron and vitamin D. If a breastfed mother’s diet isn’t also optimal, that baby may be at an increased risk for micronutrient deficiencies. I wanted to make sure Grace was able to consume the foods that would support her immune system and for a short stint, spoon feeding was a helpful vehicle for this.

For me it was more intuitive to focus on just one thing: highly nourishing, anti-inflammatory and non-allergenic foods.

 

 

Solid Food Introduction

 

6 to 7 months (no teeth)

During this time, I focused on pastured and grass fed animal organs, meats, and fats as well as non-shellfish seafood and root vegetables. Honestly, this is still my focus at 10 months because these are some of the most nutrient dense foods one can eat! They supply her with heme iron, vitamin D, omega 3s like DHA and EPA, zinc, B-vitamins, glucose, fiber and selenium, to name a few.

 

Some studies show that exclusively breastfed babies require a diet focused on iron and vitamin D by 6 to 8 months of age due to decreased stores since birth while other studies state some babies are fine without supplementation until 12 months of age. I suspect it’s on a very individual basis dependent on sunlight exposure, mom’s gestational diet, mom’s current diet, and genetics.

 

Other than supporting Grace’s vitamin D stores with food (and getting mine tested to make sure they were adequate), I also expose her skin to sunlight for about 15 to 20 minutes 3x a week. This occurs on our beach walks or when we play in our backyard. If we’re outside any longer, we wear protective clothing and a hat (and Beautycounter Face Sunscreen Stick which is an easy application for baby rolls!)

 

Spoon-Fed Purees (both self-fed and fed by parents)

  • Mashed or pureed grass-fed beef and pastured chicken liver (gently cooked in lard or bone broth)
  • Root vegetables like rutabaga, sweet potato and parsnips (gently cooked in bone broth in the Instant Pot or on the stovetop)

 

Finger-Fed Mashes + Small Pieces

  • US Wellness Meats Liverwurst and Braunschweiger
  • Vital Choice Sardines (flaked) and plain wild salmon
  • Egg Yolk (from local farm, soy-free, soft-boiled and mashed with lard)
  • Vital Choice Wild Alaskan Salmon Eggs (see my article Caviar for Babies)
  • Wild Salmon (baked with dill and lemon, flaked)

 

Fats/Cooking Ingredients

 

 

I ate salmon 5x a week when I was pregnant so I’m not surprised she loves it so much!

 

 

Discussion Point: Food Quantity & Quality

As you can see, she tried maybe 15 foods total by the end of her 7th month, which is fairly average. We minimized the risk of food reactions and it allowed me to more easily determine reactions by only introducing a new food every 3 to 4 days for 60 days. To determine food quantity, I offer small amounts (about 1 tablespoon at a time currently at 10 months) and continue to refill her tray until she signals she is full.

 

Average Meal Size (this varies based on teething)

6 months: 1 to 2 tablespoons food per day (1 to 2 meals per day)

7 months: 2 tablespoons of food per meal (2 meals per day)

8 months: 2 to 3 tablespoons of food per meal (2 meals per day)

9 months: 2 to 4 tablespoons of food per meal (3 meals per day)

10 months: 4 to 6 tablespoons of food per meal (3 meals per day + 1 snack)

 

Meal Timing 6 to 8 months

I always breastfed her before each meal and waited at least 30 minutes before feeding solids. I wanted to protect my milk supply and ensure she was hungry enough to breastfeed during solid introduction.

 

Meal Timing at 9-10 months

Morning Meal: I breastfeed her 1 to 1 1/2 hours prior to her morning meal so she has adequate breastmilk nutrition but still has an appetite for solids. This is her smallest meal of the day. She breastfeeds again before her morning nap.

Afternoon Meal: I breastfeed her 2 hours prior to her afternoon meal, allow her to digest for 30 minutes, and then breastfeed her after for hydration and nutrition. She also breastfeeds 1 to 2 more times before the next meal.

Evening Meal: I breastfeed her 2 hours prior to her evening meal and then breastfeed her two times before she goes to bed after that.

 

Food Quality: She eats better than we do!

You’ll also notice that food quality is important to me. I have been sourcing all of our protein and veggies from 3 trusted places: US Wellness Meats, Vital Choice + my local farmer’s market. If I lived closer to a Whole Foods, I would also source some grassfed ground beef or lamb from them.

 

My grocery budget has shifted a bit. I spend more money on the highest quality animal foods I can find and shop at my local farmer’s market for cheaper organic produce. I source all my fats from Thrive Market – I got a membership for Christmas from my mom and I LOVE IT! I order from them at least once a month and it saves me SO much time from scouring local health food stores for all my grocery staples!

 

 

In 4 months, I have saved over $360 by ordering from Thrive!

 

 

Discussion Point: Early Introduction of Food Allergens

Whether or not early introduction of a food prevents or causes food allergies has been tossed back and forth in the pediatric medical community for years. I based my decision to wait on introducing potentially allergenic foods like nuts, dairy, shellfish, and peanuts on their digestive and nutritional status rather than one scientific study. I see no need to introduce nuts to an infant which is a personal choice not a blanket recommendation for my readers. They can be difficult to digest and can present a choking hazard. I also have not introduced any Paleo flours like almond, coconut or arrowroot which can be difficult to digest and alter the gut microbiome due to their high starch and fiber content (differs between flours).

 

If I weren’t breastfeeding, we would have first sourced donor milk and if that was unsustainable, I would have introduced either the WAPF homemade formula or a purchased goat’s milk formula. I plan to introduce some high-quality grass fed ghee before she is 1 year old since it is casein free. Babies have the lactase enzyme to be able to digest lactose in dairy products, so I wouldn’t be concerned about lactose intolerance at this stage and it tends to be the least allergenic of the dairy products (cow’s milk being one of the most allergenic). Shellfish are super nutrient dense but Grace does very well with salmon, sardines and mackerel, and I see no need to add shellfish which tend to be more allergenic than omega-3 rich fatty fish. Peanuts have a whole host of gut irritating properties, so I will not be introducing those for some time because their ability to damage her gut outweighs their potential prevention of an allergy for me.

 

Egg white protein can be very difficult for an immature gut to digest and is also a top 8 allergen. There’s a reason why it’s a big no-no on the AIP! It breaks down the tight junctions between gut cells and leads to leaky gut, according to The Paleo Approach by Dr. Sarah Ballantyne. Egg yolk is where all the nutrition is at so we continue to try those every 6 weeks but I can’t tell if she has a reaction yet. One time they seemed to constipate her and another time they seemed to give her acne around her mouth.

 

Basically, the question I ask myself when introducing a new food to her: “Is this going to provide her easily digestible nutrient-dense material for her immune system and gut health?” Egg whites, nuts/seeds, grains and pasteurized dairy got the “No” from my research and Mom-tuition. They may be the right choice for your family but with my strong familial history of autoimmune disease (it runs rampant on both sides of my family), I’m choosing to go a more conservative route.

Loving on her lard!

8 to 9 months

(4 teeth came in at 9 months)

 

No more purees needed! Grace graduated from purees by the time she hit 8 months. I still offer them on a spoon to her that she picks up and feeds herself on occasion.

 

NEW Finger-Fed Mashes + Small Pieces

*She continues to eat foods from 6 to 7 month introduction

  • US Wellness Meats Head Cheese (this beef heart and tongue sausage is much firmer than the Liverwurst and Braunschweiger so I cut it into small pieces. It tastes like salami!)
  • Vital Choice Mackarel, Smoked Salmon (flaked)
  • Pieces of broth-cooked acorn squash, butternut squash, zucchini, onion, summer squash, fennel
  • Grass fed ground beef crumbles (seasoned with dried herbs)
  • Kalamata olives (ingredients: olives, red wine vinegar, sea salt)
  • Steamed and mashed organic dried prunes (helpful for a 3-day constipation)
  • Tropical fruits – raw and ripe diced kiwi, pineapple, and mango
  • Carrot & Ginger Kraut made from carrot, cabbage, and ginger puree

 

NEW Foods for fun

 

sweet potato baby

Easy to pick up sweet potato fat balls!

Discussion Point: Feeding Skills

 

Very quickly I realized that simply introducing a wide variety of hand-held foods was not going to make her more or less of a ‘picky’ eater. Grace would receive tons of variety over the first year of her life even if part of those foods were pureed or spoon-fed. And her ability to self-feed would naturally develop over the next couple months in a progressive manner. She would tell me when she was ready for larger pieces of intact food. I just had to watch for the signs. And she did. Over the next 2 months, we naturally progressed from pureed liver pate and root vegetables, to mashes, to mashes with soft chunks, to soft chunks which is where we are now with most of her food at 10 months (i.e. pieces of ground beef, fish eggs, pieces of broth-cooked vegetables and ripe fruit).

 

She isn’t picky – she has loved everything she has tried (it took her a few trials of avocado to enjoy it). I have learned to prefers her vegetables to be lightly coated with olive tapenade and I can’t expect her to want vegetables at every meal but she sure wants animal protein every chance she gets! Interestingly, she highly prefers the most nutrient dense foods I put on her table like liverwurst, fish eggs, salmon, bone marrow, sardines and mackarel. She’s also done with mashes and purees on spoons and has no interest in them anymore. This non-preference developed naturally. I love that she communicated her feeding needs with me, and that I observed closely enough to accommodate them.

 

She still signaled need and satiety with purees and spoon-feeding.

As a pediatric therapist, I also fully believe in providing our children with experiences that support their current skill levels rather than challenging them too far outside of their comfort zone. Grace showed me that she much preferred eating pureed and mashed foods between months 6 ½ and 8. And I saw how much she enjoyed grabbing her spoon of liver pate from me and feeding herself. She also showed me signs of wanting me to feed her like making eye contact and opening her mouth once I loaded a spoon. She turned her head away and closed her mouth when she was done. Her body told her brain when she was done and knew when she wanted more. She didn’t need to self-feed 100% of the time to utilize this natural skill. Grace communicates her needs very clearly to me.

 

 

10 months

(6 teeth – 2 bottom and 4 top)

 

NEW Foods

I have been introducing a new food every 2 to 3 days and sometimes more than 1 new food each day if they are unlikely to be allergenic. She has been eating more foods from my plate than in previous months but the majority of her meals are all “Grace foods” like fish eggs, organ meats, chunks of fruits and vegetables.

 

  • Grilled US Wellness Meats skirt steak, marinated in Garlic Sauce from my cookbook and diced
  • Grilled zucchini, onions, asparagus
  • Smoked wild salmon that I cured in apple juice and salt and smoke on our Traeger Grill
  • Coconut oil mixed with carob (sampling to see if she likes the flavor of carob for her 1st birthday “cake” I’m recipe testing)
  • Spices like ground cinnamon, turmeric, onion powder, garlic and a bunch of the Primal Palate AIP spice mixes
  • Sauteed chunks of plantain with cinnamon
  • Small pieces of peeled citrus with the membrane removed
  • Broth-boiled celery and carrot chunks
  • Kale Cucumber & Apple Juice Pops that contain no added sweetener from Hyppo Pops here in St. Pete
  • Servings of “riced” vegetables like my Butternut Rice with Beef and Basil Pesto or my Lamb with Olive Tapenade Rice. These small pieces of vegetables are not digested in her stool, so I don’t offer them often, sticking to more well-cooked veggies. I NEVER give her raw vegetables since she cannot digest them yet.
  • Diced raw strawberries
  • Large wedges of ripe avocado

 

 

Juice pop made from kale juice, apple juice & cucumber juice. She can eat about 1/4 of it and really loves it when teething!

 

Discussion Point: Feeding Equipment & Accessories

We use the Stokke Baby Tripp Trapp High Chair with the attached baby seat and tray for meals. I decided to go with this higher price point chair because it grows with the child and can be adjusted at several heights. I keep her positioned at a 90 degree flexion at the hips, knees, and ankles which ensures optimal posture for chewing and swallowing food.

 

 

I do not use any plates or utensils at this point rather I place a small amount of food on her tray and allow her to finish it, wait for her to signal for more, then place more as desired. I easily remove the tray from the seat and wash it with warm, soapy water after every feed and let it dry.

 

To wipe down the chair, I use a warm cloth spritzed with this non-toxic Aunt Fanny’s Cleaning Vinegar which I get on Thrive. I removed the cushioned seats at 9 months of age because they were prone to staining and the extra laundering was becoming a nuisance. She is comfortable without the cushion!

 

We use these IKEA Kids Smocks from Amazon to protect her clothes. They are amazing and my friend Alex from Don’t Eat the Spatula told me about them. There’s a pocket at the bottom to catch any dropped food and they are easy to put on, remove and clean. I wash them in warm, soapy water after every feeding and leave outside to dry between meals. I machine wash them in warm water with vinegar one to two times a week and hang dry.

 

Please, more fish eggs!

 

For water, we use this Thermos Stainless Steel Straw Cup. I tested the 360 cup as well as an open cup, but neither of those worked for Grace. She enjoys sipping out of her straw cup when we’re out in the Florida heat and I don’t have any pumped breastmilk available. Sometimes I add frozen pieces of strawberries and mango to her cup to flavor the water.

 

This keeps her water cool for 12 hours! I fill it up all the way and we both sip on it during our walks or jogs.

 

How did you introduce solids? Is there anything you would do differently next time? What are your baby’s favorite foods? Let me know in the comments section!

 

 

Sweet Potato Balls for You & Your Baby (Paleo, AIP, Whole30)

 

I posted this easy baby-friendly recipe on my Instagram page last week and I wanted to share it here too.

 

I have discovered that Grace is unlikely to go for plain-cooked veggies or even veggies seasoned with dried herbs and spices. Instead, she prefers her vegetables coated in some sort of animal fat or olive tapenade, or she won’t even touch them! Shocking since she came from my loins and I would eat vegetables off a dirt floor, I love them so much. She must have gotten my meat-loving gene instead.

 

I came up with this recipe for mashed sweet potato balls after her nanny suggested I mix vegetables with her meat. That didn’t work so instead I simply mashed sweet potatoes with her two favorite fats: coconut oil and tallow (lard works great too).

These little balls are great for pincer grasp practice just like fish eggs. Read my article on Caviar for Babies to get the scoop on those. And you can completely customize them to your baby’s taste preferences too!

 

I noted on Instagram that if you double the recipe, it’ll easily make enough for the parents to have a side dish with their dinner too. You don’t have to roll your mash into balls of course, unless you miss finger foods too. This coming from a grown woman who is known to eat salad with her hands (embarrassing but true… forks and spring mix just don’t work together).

 

Our favorite high-quality fats:

Epic Beef Tallow

Fatworks Lard

Thrive Market Coconut Oil

I buy all my fats on Thrive Market because I can usually get them for the cheapest price and you can’t beat the convenience of online shopping! Especially with a new baby in the house!

 

 

Sweet Potato Balls

Preparation 00:10 2017-06-29T00:10:00+00:00 Cook Time 00:00 2017-06-29T00:00:00+00:00
sweet potato baby

Ingredients

  • 1 cup cooked and mashed plain sweet potato
  • 2 tablespoons animal fat of choice (tallow, lard, schmaltz etc)
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • pinch pink salt

Instructions

Mix together all ingredients until smooth. Refrigerate until cold and easy to roll into teaspoon-size balls. Store in refrigerator.

 

 

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Balsamic Chicken Veggie Bowl (Paleo, AIP, Whole30)

 

balsamic chicken veggie

 

Now that Grace is eating 3 meals a day and sometimes a snack too – I’m in the kitchen more than ever! I’m still working on a post about how I introduced solids to her, but it’s taking me awhile – mostly because I’m always cooking for and cleaning up after her! This leaves little time to prepare meals for me and my husband either.

 

Not to worry because for some reason combining protein & veggies in a bowl with the perfect amount of seasonings and finishes constitutes for a very delicious meal indeed – without any forethought or planning. I don’t have brain cells reserved for future events these days.

 

If you haven’t noticed, I rarely post any complicated recipes on this site. Mostly because I don’t make complicated recipes and second because you don’t need one to make a balanced, tasty dish like this one.

I get a high-quality balsamic vinegar from THRIVE Market.

 

Since grabbing this balsamic vinegar from Thrive when I started a membership with them in January, I’ve been pouring it all over my salads, skillets and even drizzled over homemade strawberry coconut milk ice cream. In the last 3 months, I’ve placed 4 orders with Thrive for pantry staples and organic household cleaning products. I even get Grace’s diapers for Thrive! Here are some of my favorite products I keep re-ordering:

 

  • Bambo Nature Baby Diapers: leak-proof 100% sustainably sourced diapers

  • Bar Harbour Smoked Sardines: holy smokes! These are the tastiest sardines by far, by far, by far! If you still can’t get yourself to eat your ‘dines – these WILL change your mind (especially if you like smoked foods!)

  • Aunt Fanny’s Cleaning Vinegars: these are made with vinegar and essential oils so they make the perfect non-toxic, highly effective cleaning products for the kitchen, bathroom, windows, glass doors, baseboards etc

  • Thrive Market Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil: I’m Middle Eastern so I know my olive oil. This single-origin Greek olive oil is thick, bright, golden and peppery in flavor and really makes a salad pop!

 

Get 25% off your first order with Thrive + free shipping!

2 reviews

Balsamic & Herb Chicken Veggie Bowl

Preparation 00:15 2017-06-29T00:15:00+00:00 Cook Time 00:20 2017-06-29T00:20:00+00:00 Serves 4     adjust servings

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons fat of choice, divided
  • 1 yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 small head red cabbage, thinly sliced
  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 tsp sea salt, divided
  • 2 tart apples, chopped
  • 2 cups shredded Brussels sprouts
  • 3 tablespoons high-quality balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons broth or water
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup (omit for Whole30)
  • 1 1/2 pounds chicken breast, bite size pieces
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp granulated onion or onion powder
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard (omit for AIP)

Instructions

1. Heat 1 tablespoon fat in a large 12-inch stainless steel skillet over medium heat.
2. Sautee onion until browned, 3 to 4 minutes. Add cabbage and garlic and sautee for 3 to 4 minutes until cabbage is browned and crisp tender. Add apples, Brussels and ½ tsp salt and sautee for 4 to 5 minutes until the apples are soft.
3. Meanwhile, whisk balsamic, broth, mustard and maple together. Pour into pan and toss to coat, scraping up any browned bits. Reduce heat to medium low and cover the pan with a lid for 2 minutes until vegetables are tender to your preference. Transfer to a large glass dish.
4. Heat remaining tablespoon fat in skillet over medium heat. Add chicken breast with oregano, onion powder and remaining ½ tsp salt. Cook for 3 to 5 minutes until browned and cooked through. Serve on top of the veggies with a drizzle of balsamic on top!

 

 

balsamic chicken veggie