Pumpkin Chocolate Chunk Protein Cookies (Gluten-Free, Egg-Free, Dairy-Free)

Looking for a gluten-free, egg-free and dairy-free HEALTHY chocolate chip cookie? These Collagen Quinoa Pumpkin Chocolate Chunk Cookies have just the good stuff… protein, fat, nuts, pumpkin, seeds and an allergy-free mega chocolate chunk!

 

collagen quinoa cookie gluten free

 

 

Give me a one bowl cookie recipe filled with functional, health-promoting foods that taste and look like a cookie and I’m SOLD. After the popularity of my Protein Breakfast Cookies, I wanted to make a more treat-like fall version with pumpkin, pumpkin pie spice and CHOCOLATE.

 

These cookies are chock full of good stuff like…

 

Pumpkin Puree: adds moisture, nutrients and helps use up that can of opened pumpkin puree! The pumpkin puree replaces oil/butter in traditional cookies.

 

Chia Eggs: help bind the cookie together while adding moisture and chewiness – my favorite egg replace – although you can sub the chia egg for 1 whisked large egg too!

 

Dry Quinoa: these little sprinkles add crunch and an earthy, nutty flavor to the cookies! I used to make the most delicious millet muffins and the dry quinoa here is reminiscent of that recipe for me.

 

Mega Chocolate Chunks: allergy-friendly BIG ASS chocolate chunks from Enjoy Life melt into gooey pools of chocolate in almost every bite in these cookies! These chocolate chunks really take these cookies from tasting health to tasting like a real treat without any garbage ingredients!

 

Sunbutter: I love the flavor of sunbutter and the thickness it provides for this cookie dough. It bakes up into a heart cookie keeping this recipe filling and full of nutrients from real food!

 

Feel free to get a little crazy and add flaked or shredded coconut, replace the pumpkin puree with sweet potato puree, or mix in some dried mulberries, raisins or diced figs. I always want my recipes to be the basis for YOUR own individual take. Make it as written and then adjust to your taste. This is how we learn to cook/bake and become our own personal chef, creating delicious, healthy meals out of whatever is in our pantry and fridge!

 
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Safer Anti-Aging Solutions (No Botox Here!)

Botox is the most popular in-office treatment for wrinkles, fine lines and sagging skin, but does it come with any health effects? This article discusses whether or not someone with autoimmune disease should receive Botox and offers natural solutions to pesky forehead wrinkles, frown lines and crow’s feet.

 

First, let’s discuss what Botox is…

Before I head into how Botox can potentially affect someone with autoimmune disease, let’s discuss what this toxin is capable of when interacting with the human body. Ingested or inhaled botulinum toxin is a neurotoxic spore that in minuscule amounts can be fatal. Symptoms include slurred speech, difficulty breathing, muscle weakness and lethargy. This is why babies under 1 are advised to not eat honey – their digestive tracts are not mature enough to fight off potentially contaminated food from the botulinum toxin.

 

Botox injections contain a very, very tiny amount of a specific strain of botulinum that paralyzes the muscles of the face to smooth fine lines, wrinkles and crow’s feet. It is even used by 20 and 30-something’s to prevent aging. The results only last 3 to 6 months which means Botox users get between 2 to 4 treatments a year, for decades and decades, if they want to maintain the results. Treatments cost anywhere between $400 to $1000, sometimes more, depending on how many injections you receive.

 

The industry is projected at an annual gross of 2.5 BILLION dollars while 4 to 5 million Americans receive Botox injections per year. You can bet that if 50 million Americans have autoimmune disease (as estimated by the AARDA), there is overlap between Botox users and the AI population, particularly because 80% of those with autoimmune disease are women (and who is most often looking for anti-aging solutions?)

 

What else is it used for besides fine lines, wrinkles & crow’s feet?

Botox is also indicated on and off label for chronic migraines, spastic cerebral palsy, excessive sweating, acne and TMJ disorder. I had a few Instagram followers message me that they have used Botox in the past for migraines. All 3 said they did not find relief from Botox and 2 out of the 3 said Botox gave them terrible, painful, long-lasting autoimmune disease flares. Of course, this is anecdotal, but nonetheless interesting.

 

Botox’ insert warns the following autoimmune populations about serious adverse side effects…

People with autoimmune diseases that affect the neurological system like ALS, MS and Myasthenia Gravis, should be particularly aware of the mechanisms and risks with Botox. The Botox website states that patients with ALS, MG, and Lambert-Eaton Syndrome need to be cautious of the potential for increased risk of serious side effects such as breathing difficulties and difficulty swallowing.

*Please be sure to make your Botox practitioner aware of all existing autoimmune disorders as well as pre-existing autoimmune episodes caused by Guillain-Barre Syndrome.*

 

Let’s look at the existing science on the relationship between Botox and autoimmune disease patients…

Limited longitudinal data or correlative studies exist examining the long-term health outcomes of Botox use on the autoimmune disease population or the general population.

Yet, a single subject study on a woman with Hashimoto’s who received Botox treatments over a decade-long timespan found a possible correlation between injections and a rise in her TSH post-injection.

These researchers examined the structure of the Botox and thyroid auto antibodies, which are the key indicators of the immune system’s attack on the thyroid. They found similarities between the epitopes of Botox and thyroid antobodies, indicating that Botox injections potentially increase the possibility of molecular mimicry – or the immune system mistaking Botox antigens for thyroid antigens.

 

Currently, not enough evidence exists to determine whether or not Botox is safe for patients with autoimmune disease, but just because something has not been proven, does not mean a relationship does not exist. This is where we each need to make our own informed decisions, and that will be different for each individual. 

 

As autoimmune disease patients, we need to make our own informed decisions about allowing known toxins into our bloodstream. Here’s why:

It is widely known that environmental factors account for 67% of  autoimmune disease risk while genetics only account for 1/3.

Autoimmune disease causal factors may include exposure to environmental toxins (including heavy metals, viruses and vaccines), nutritional deficiencies, blood sugar issues, antibiotic use, GMO and pesticide exposure and bacterial infections).

Now, if we know that the majority of autoimmune disease risk & potentially disease progression comes from our environment, then it makes sense to limit our exposure to environmental toxins. I don’t need a randomized, double blind, causative study to tell me that.

 

Thankfully, safer alternatives exist for decreasing signs of aging like fine lines, wrinkles and loss of elasticity, if you do decide that Botox isn’t the right option for you. I have personally tested each of these natural solutions to anti-aging when you want to avoid Botox, fillers or expensive laser procedures.

 

 

NATURE ANTI-AGING SKINCARE SOLUTIONS FOR FINE LINES, WRINKLES, CROW’S FEET AND LOSS OF ELASTICITY

 

 

AT-HOME MICRODERMABRASION FACIAL

 

This at-home gentle microdermabrasion deeply exfoliates and softens skin, reduces the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, and helps with hyper-pigmentation from scarring and sun damage.

The Skin Obsessions Microdermabrasion Crystals make skin smooth as a baby’s while the luxuriously nutrient-dense Cleansing Balm creates a protective barrier for skin from the crystals.

I also use Beautycounter’s Lotus Glow Cleansing Balm as my multi-tasker, plant-based cleanser, makeup remover (even eye makeup!) and overnight moisturizing mask. It is the most lux safer skincare product I have ever owned and smells like a field of roses and geranium.

HOW TO USE:

Combine 1/4 teaspoon Skin Obsessions Microdermabrasion Crystals with a pea-size amount of Beautycounter’s  Cleansing Balm. Wet face with warm water. Massage the exfoliating paste gently into your face and neck for 60 seconds, avoiding eyes and mouth. Rinse away with a warm wet wash cloth. Use SPF protection if going out in sun for 24 hours following.

 

 

 

TWO TYPES OF AT-HOME PEELS: ONE FOR DAILY MAINTENANCE AND ONE FOR WEEKLY USE

 

 

Beautycounter’s Overnight Resurfacing Peel for daily maintenance

This is Beautycounter’s best-selling product! The Overnight Resurfacing Peel is a treat-while-you-sleep serum containing 15 alpha hydroxyl acids that work like a facial in a bottle. They increase cellular turnover, resurfacing the skin to reduce the appearance of fine lines, sun spots, scarring, hyperpigmentation, acne, and dullness. The Peel also works to increase elasticity and collagen production. Apply it to cleansed and toned skin 3-4 nights a week, following with your nightly moisturizing routine. In the morning, gently cleanse skin to remove all the dead skin cells the Peel sloughed off – the Nourishing Cream Exfoliator is excellent for this!

Skin Obsessions’ 85% Lactic Acid Peel  for weekly maintenance

This is for the more advanced at-home DIYer as it resurfaces skin, decreasing the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, acne, scarring, hyper-pigmentation and dullness. It can be used 1x a week to 1x a month, depending on skin sensitivity and results goal. Follow directions included in your affordable at-home peel package. Use SPF protection if going out in sun for 24 hours following & avoid prolonged sun exposure during this time as well. Do not use if pregnant. I feel comfortable using 1x a month while breastfeeding, but that’s a decision you need to make for yourself.

 

 

 

MY FAVORITE AGE-REVERSING AND AGE-PREVENTION SKINCARE ROUTINE

Beautycounter is my all-time favorite safer skincare line because of their dedication to safer, contaminant-tested and high-performance skincare products. They are the skincare company for the woman who cares about her skin AND cares about her health and does not want to make sacrifices in either.

 

Their newest skincare line is the Countertime Collection (counter…time… get it?!) and it features their own safer alternative to Retinol called Retinatural! Read this article for why you don’t want to be using Retinol in your safer skincare routine.

This Retinatural Complex is derived from two anti-aging plant powerhouses: Bakuchiol and Swiss Alpine Rose Extract. Take a look at some of the impressive results below! I’ve seen a noticeable improvement in skin clarity and brightness, melasma, dark spots, the fine line across my forehead and crow’s feet. My skin has never been softer, brighter or smoother. I will be eternally grateful for Beautycounter’s safer skincare scientists!

 

Here’s some additional information on Countertime, if you’re looking for a health-conscious age-reversing skincare routine:

 

 

Finally… skin health is more than just what we put on our skin… it’s also what we put on our bodies! I’ve seen a noticeable difference in my whole body health, including my skin health, with the below diet and supplement inclusions!

WHAT YOU CAN DO WITH FOOD: DIETARY INTAKE AND SUPPLEMENTATION OF OMEGA 3 FISH OIL 

Increasing your dietary intake of coldwater fatty fish like wild-caught salmon (my fave!) and small bottom feeders like sardines and mackarel can help restore plumpness and vitality to skin. It is even thought to help with the prevention and reduction of fine lines and wrinkles as well as combat acne with its anti-inflammatory properties.

If you’re getting less than 1 or 2 servings of the above fish in your diet each week, consider taking a high quality fish oil supplement. I personally take Vital Choice Wild Alaskan Sockeye Salmon Oil + Vitamin D3. Bonus: I’ve noticed more stable mood while taking it!

 

 

 

 


 

 

Build-Your-Own Seafood Chowder (Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free)

triple seafood chowder

 

 

This dairy-free build-your-own Triple Seafood Chowder is one of my favorite comforting, most nutrient-dense recipes on this site! It contains gut-healing bone broth, anti-inflammatory wild seafood and veggies, and has the most delicious smoky, creamy, bright finish. I like adding a big scoop of organic rice to make it even heartier and more filling.

 

 

This photo is a “double” seafood chowder made with wild bay scallops (the tiny kind) and smoked sardines. I added organic jasmine rice cooked in the Instant Pot – the easiest most fool-proof way to cook perfect rice every time.

 

The build-your-own version above includes wild shrimp, wild sockeye salmon and smoked kippers.

 

 

What you need for your own Build-Your-Own Seafood Chowder

 

Two to three kinds of wild seafood: I highly recommend including at least one smoked seafood for the tastiest results. I like Bar Harbor brand Smoked Sardines and Smoked Kippers which you can find in the canned seafood aisle of most grocery stores.

 

Flavorful homemade or high-quality store-bought broth: I prefer using chicken or seafood broth for this recipe for the most mild, appealing flavor. My favorite storebought brand is Bonafide Provisions.

 

The vegetables listed in the recipe: The mire-poix of onions, carrots and celery is integral for starting off with a flavorful base. I add in cubed white sweet potato for a hearty starch like a traditional chowder. If you eat corn, you can certainly add some frozen corn kernels as well.

Seasonings: I go fairly light on the seasonings in this recipe so the fish and veggies can stand out, but I’ve been known to double up on the dill, add fresh dill, add dried parsley, marjoram and extra thyme. That’s the beauty of food – you get to customize to YOUR palate! We don’t all have the same taste buds so use this recipe as a base and adjust to your liking if desired. 

 

Make it lower carb by replacing the white sweet potatoes with rutabaga and serving over cauliflower rice!

 

97 reviews

Triple Seafood Chowder

Prep Time 00:00 Cook Time 00:00

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 cups diced yellow onion
  • 1 1/2 cups peeled and cubed white sweet potato (1/3-inch cubes)
  • 3 ribs celery, finely chopped
  • 2 large carrots, finely chopped
  • 3/4 teaspoon sea salt, divided
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 cup coconut cream (see tip)
  • 2 cups Beef, Fish or Pork bone broth
  • 8 ounces wild salmon, cubed
  • 8 ounce pre-cooked shrimp, tails removed
  • 3.5 ounce can smoked kippers
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried dill
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1/3 cup packed finely chopped parsley
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 1/2 lemon, juice

Directions

  1. Heat olive oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Sautee onion, celery, carrots, potatoes, 1/4 teaspoon sea salt, and bay leaf until the vegetables are crisp-tender, 6 to 8 minutes.
  2. Add coconut cream and broth to the pot and bring to a low boil. Stir in salmon, shrimp, kippers, thyme, dill, basil, and remaining 1/2 teaspoon sea salt. Cook for 5 minutes until the salmon is cooked through and the vegetables are to desired tenderness. Remove from heat.
  3. Stir in parsley, lemon zest and lemon juice. Ladle into bowls and serve with a scoop of cauliflower rice or white rice for a hearty meal.

Recipe Notes

Tip: Replace coconut cream with 1/2 cup pureed cooked white sweet potato instead, if desired.

Healthy Berry Bowls (My FAVE “Dessert” or Snack!)

 

These organic, healthy, antioxidant-rich frozen Berry Bowls are my best-kept (not really) secret! They are naturally sweet, grain-free, dairy-free and full of flavor and satisfying textures. So dang delicious anytime of the year but I especially love these healthy berry bowls for breakfast, snack and dessert… so basically three times a day. And they’re completely customizable!

 

 

I came up with these Healthy Frozen Berry Bowls during my first pregnancy when I had the WORST morning sickness. I won’t get into it here because I’ll save you and myself the vivid details, but they saved my butt during endless months of nausea.

 

I reincorporated them with this last pregnancy and have kept them going post-partum when I need a quick sweet, satisfying snack. Particularly handy during the post-partum sweats. I haven’t been able to eat a hot meal in 5 months; I shvitz like nobody’s business if my food temp is above 32 degrees Fahrenheit.

 

These berry bowls couldn’t be easier to throw together in 5 minutes or less, and they’re completely customizable, although I am giving you some tips below for the best texture balance! What I love about them is that they force you to sit down, savor and CHEW your food. I’m “guilty” of sucking down a smoothie or green juice while feeding the girls and not enjoying my own breakfast or snack.

 

I don’t know… I just really savor these frozen berry bowls and would love to know if I’m crazy or you do too (let me know in the comments!)

 

 

 

 

 

How to Make an Organic Berry Bowl

 

You need:

Frozen Organic Berries: I like the affordability of the organic frozen raspberries and blueberries from Trader Joe’s (or Publix, if you’re in the Southeast like me)

Two or Three Creamy Toppings: any organic nut or seed butter (the thinner consistency, the better so you can easily stir and swirl), cold coconut cream (the cream scooped off the top of a can of refrigerated coconut milk) or thick raw honey. I don’t recommend almond milk here – you need a high fat content creamy plant butter or coconut cream for best eating experience.

Two to Infinity Crunchy Toppings (the more the better): my favorite combination is jumbo organic raisins, roasted and salted sunflower seeds, sprouted macadamia nuts (get 25% off with this link), toasted coconut flakes, chopped dark chocolate and flaked sea salt

STEP 1: Add the frozen berries to a single-serve bowl (I do 1 cup mixed raspberries and blueberries).

STEP 2: Stir in the creamy toppings. Top with your crunchy toppings. DEVOUR. And probably make a second bowl immediately.

That’s it! Let me know how you make your own Organic Frozen Berry Bowl in the comments!

 

 

organic berry bowl

 

 

Whole30 Breakfast Meatballs

These Whole30-friendly Breakfast Meatballs have veggies AND fruit in them and are spiced with warming flavors making them the perfect grab & go meat and veggie morning option! They are Paleo, dairy-free, grain-free, egg-free and nightshade-free to boot! Make them AIP-friendly by omitting the mustard!

 

 

breakfast meatballs whole30

 

 

What do you feel best eating in the morning? I’ve experimented with fasting, smoothies, fat and protein only breakfasts, and everything in between. What I’ve found that works best for me: eating a fairly large breakfast that contains protein, fat AND carbs! Imagine that – balanced nutrition on a plate without having to subscribe to any restricting protocols.

 

Intermittent fasting didn’t work for me. Frankly, I intentionally and unconsciously under-ate for years and years… probably over a decade of my short 31 years on earth. My body knows what it’s like to skip a meal, feel deprived after being too focused on portion control or limiting carbs because FAT-BURNING (eye roll at that over-used phrase). It goes into immediate hormonal haywire. I don’t know a single woman who has not fallen into the under-eating category at some point in her life. You have coffee and a banana and call it breakfast. You eat a small salad with a handful of protein and a few raisins and that’s lunch. Dinner is a few sweet potato fries, slices of avocado and a small burger patty. This is not enough food for the vast majority of people – heck it’s not enough food for my 3-year-old!

 

I’m done with that ish. I wake up in the morning ready for breakfast and see nothing wrong with that. I don’t question my leptin, ghrelin and insulin levels. In fact, I’ve had them all tested and they’re perfectly normal, even optimal. We’ve been trained to think that being hungry means there is something morally or internally wrong with us. This has been perpetuated by the male-dominated health community as we are inundated with “healthy ways to lose body fat and gain energy and mental clarity”.  Sure, fasting may help some of us with that but at what expense? Losing your period? Missing out on brunch with friends? Feeling guilty if you do wake up hungry? Questioning every bite of food you put in your mouth? Going farther down the rabbit hole of trying to “optimize health” by basically obsessively controlling any external factor that you can.

 

It is exhausting. And toxic.

 

Lastly, if you base your plate around what you see on social media, DON’T. Many “health influencers” have their own restrictive-mindset demons they are silently (or quite obviously) battling. It’s easy to look up to someone with tens or hundreds of thousands of Instagram followers and assume they’re doing it “right”. You have no clue what goes on inside their head or inside their home. Just because XYZ on Instagram fasts until 11 am and breaks her fast with a 250-calorie cold brew smoothie does not mean that’s the right choice for you. For the majority of women, that would result in a hormonal backlash… maybe not at first but eventually. The human body does not thrive in a state of deprivation and starvation. No matter what the media wants to tell you. Starvation does not equal wholeness, happiness or spiritual grounding despite even the Eat Like a Buddhist Monk Diet being a thing.

 

I want to bring your attention to a good friend of mine, Meg Doll, who has been chronicling her journey of eating MORE, more than she’s ever done in her lifetime, in order to restore her menstruation. As females, our menstrual cycle is one of our best indicators of wellbeing, and I’m grateful for women like Meg who give themselves permission to eat more. Read this post where Meg shares that she restored her cycle after 12 years of amenorrhea during a time she was both intentionally and unintentionally under-eating.

If you struggle with eating more or subscribing to every new health fad that finds its way to your Instagram, ask yourself the following questions:

  1. Who am I living my life for? Who do I allow to influence my decision making? Do I factor in the opinion of others’ when making judgments about my own body?

  2. Do I try to rationalize my eating behaviors to myself and others? Am I always finding a reason why I should or could be eating less?

  3. Does the thought of increasing my calories, which are essentially energy that my body can use for repair and hormonal balance, cause me anxiety? Even though I know I intentionally or subconsciously under-eat?

  4. Am I easily influenced by the content I see on social media? Do I base the majority of my decision making on what I see others on Instagram doing?

 

If your answer(s) made you at all uncomfortable (and you answered honestly) that is your internal signal to do the inner work involved in becoming your own agent of change. If you felt defensive while reading the questions that is your internal signal that your ego-protective mechanisms are at work.

 

This post is a discussion piece – really a launching pad of thought. And has nothing to do with Breakfast Meatballs but hey, this is a little bit more of an important topic than morning meat.

 

MEATBALL TIPS

~ You can use ground beef OR ground pork in this recipe! Or try half and half for a more authentic breakfast sausage taste.

~ If you tolerate egg, you can add 1 whisked egg into the mixture but they hold together well on their own.

~ You can bake these in muffin cups for easy clean up or bake them on a parchment-lined baking sheet.

~ It’s easy to over-cook meatballs. Most meatballs do not need longer than 15 to 16 minutes in the oven. Anything longer and you get a dried out, rubbery texture.

~ This is a super easy recipe to double or triple for a batch cook – especially for an expecting mom! It’s vital post-partum to be focusing on high-quality animal meats and iron in your diet.

 

 

 
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One-Bowl Chocolate Chip Cookie Blondie Bars – Paleo/Gluten-Free/Egg-Free

These Paleo, Gluten-Free and Egg-Free Chocolate Chip Cookies Blondie Bars are made in one bowl which means a delicious, mess-free and easy recipe you can make with your kids! They feature real food ingredients like grass-fed ghee, almond flour, chia seeds and coconut sugar!

 

 

paleo gluten free cookie bars

My husband said, “No offense but these are the best dessert you’ve made. They’re so good! And they aren’t too sweet, so I can eat a lot of them, right?”

 

He has a ridiculous sweet tooth and usually my treats are “too healthy tasting” for him, so I’m pumped I could create a Paleo, gluten-free, grain-free AND egg-free fairly nutrient dense Chocolate Chip Cookie Bar that met his high standards.

 

These Gluten-Free Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars are:

1. Easy to make! You just need a food processor (or you could make in a bowl and get a good arm workout in), a glass baking dish and the ingredients!

2. Chewy, Gooey, Sweet and a little salty! I love the combination of dark chocolate and flaked sea salt, so I sprinkled the baked Cookie Bars with a little of my favorite flaked grey salt. Adding salt to your treats actually helps them taste sweeter without needing to use so much sugar! It also provides a nice contrast for the palate.

3. Best eaten cold or room temperature! I prefer them cold myself – they take on a denser, fudge-y, blondie-like consistency! Room temperature they are softer with crispy edges – think half-baked cookie. You can obviously bake them longer if you want them more “done” but I prefer the above texture.

 

The specific brands/ingredients/kitchen tools I used:

Nestle Tollhouse 3-ingredient Chocolate Chips: How cool is it that Nestle offers an allergy-free chocolate chip now? They taste just like Nestle Tollhouse regular chocolate chips and melt beautifully.

Publix Greenwise Finely Ground Almond Flour: For Paleo cookies, you want to source finely ground almond flour for the best texture. Almond “meal” (which you can get at Trader Joes is better for breading alternatives).

Fourth & Heart Grass-fed Ghee (plain, unsalted): You could also use their Vanilla Bean Ghee here but I didn’t have that on hand! I use it in my Tigernut Chocolate Chip Cookies which are a huge hit! Those are more AIP-friendly and don’t contain any nuts (tigernuts are a unique tuber).

Cuisinart 9-cup Food Processor: This food processor plus my Vitamix get the most kitchen love in my house by far! I use this food processor many purposes – to make quick guacamoles, salsas, hummus, salad dressings, purees and breading (like my plantain chip crust for my AIP Chicken & Waffles). It can handle the smallest amount of ingredients which is helpful for small batch recipes!

Pyrex Easy Grab 8-inch Glass Baking Dish: This high quality glass baking dish comes with a detachable lid which makes storing food straight from the oven a BREEZE!

 

gluten free chocolate chip cookie bar blondies

 

Enjoy this easy & fun Paleo Chocolate Chip Cookie Blondie Bars recipe! Let us know in the comments if you make any successful substitutions (like adding toasted coconut – why didn’t I do that!?)

 

 

One-Bowl Chocolate Chip Cookie Blondie Bars – Paleo/Gluten-Free/Egg-Free

Makes 16 squares | Prep Time 15 min | Bake Time 22 to 25 minutes

 

½ cup room ghee, unsalted, room temperature

½ cup coconut sugar

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar

1 tablespoon chia seeds

¼ cup hot water

2 cups finely ground almond flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

¼ teaspoon fine salt

1 cup allergy-friendly chocolate chips

flaked salt of choice (like Maldon or this one)

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Arrange oven rack in middle of the oven. Grease a 8-inch x 8-inch glass square baking dish and then line it with parchment paper. This will help the parchment paper stick.

  2. Cream together the ghee, coconut sugar, vanilla and vinegar in a food processor for 30 to 60 seconds.

  3. In a small bowl, whisk the chia seeds with the hot water. Allow to gel for 5 minutes. Once gelled, add to the food processor and process for 15 to 20 seconds until combined with the creamed ghee and sugar.

  4. Add almond flour, baking soda and salt to the food processor and combine for 20 to 30 seconds until well mixed.

  5. Remove the lid of the food processor and stir in the chocolate chips with a rubber spatula.

  6. Scrape the mixture into your prepared baking dish and spread evenly with the spatula.

  7. Bake for 22 to 25 minutes until the edges are golden brown and the top if firm to the touch. Sprinkle with flaked salt.

  8. Remove from oven and let cool completely before cutting into squares and serving. I like them served straight from the fridge, but that’s just my preference!

 

 

Get instant access to even more of my allergy-friendly recipes (these are all Autoimmune Protocol friendly) in my ebook Enthused available for download for only $12.95!


enthused desserts aip

My Top 10 Favorite Clean Beauty Products

 

 

 

If you’re brand new to Beautycounter or have just dipped your toes in, I’ve got some ‘splaining to do about the 10 products you won’t find me without lately. I’m sure I could make this my Top 20 Products because Beautycounter addict… I mean advocate, but here’s a great place to get started!

 

1. Dew Skin Tinted Moisturizer: the perfect balance of SPF protection, light coverage and a dewy but not greasy-looking finish. Best seller for years!

2. No. 3 Balancing + Charcoal Mask: my dirty little secret to Hashimoto’s morning puffiness… add a drop of peppermint oil to my charcoal mask, apply, chill and 10-15 minutes later my face is significantly de-puffed and my skin so, so smooth and detoxed. You can literally see the grime leaving your skin with this wash off mask!

3. Countertime is Beautycounter’s newest skincare line that offers a safe alternative to Retinol (ranks high hazard) and has been a Godsend for my splotchy post-partum skin. It’s helping break up melasma, fine lines and crow’s feet as well as some gnarly dark circles from being woken up multiple times a night. You can get it 10% off in the Regimen or 10% off Collection!

4. Flawless in Five: this daily makeup collection is already 20% off (even better than sale discount) and a life-saver! It includes everything you need for a natural daytime look and the website has a handy color matching guide for you! If you need further help, simply reply to this email with a photo, and I’ll color match you.

5. Daily Shampoo & Conditioner: I recently switched over to this line and love it! A little goes a long way… I’m training myself that “only a dab will do ya”. My hair is soft, silky & manageable… bonus no harmful chemicals like conventional hair products!

6. Makeup Remover Wipes: Hello, sleepyhead. So many women I know are too tired at night to wash their face! Don’t go to bed with makeup on – it’s terrible for your skin and eyes. Simply wipe it away with this 2-in-1 cleanser and makeup remover, rinse, pat dry and moisturize. Boom! The most minimal routine on the website.

7. Cleansing Balm: The multi-purpose best-seller that removes all traces of makeup, dirt and oil and doubles as a moisturizing mask. It’s helped heal winter dry patches (so stock up now because cooler temps will be here before we know it! The jar recently dropped in price too!

8. Topaz Highlighter: Wanna keep that summer glow all year long? You must, must, must try the Topaz Highlighter. I LOVE a 2-in-1 product (see above) and this bronzer-highlighter is insanely gorgeous. I can’t get enough. In fact, it’s the only Beautycounter pressed powder I’ve had to re-purchase because I use it excessively in the best of ways.

9. Counterman Shave Cream: Literally the last product for me to switch to safer was shave cream. This cream doesn’t foam (no polluting aerosol here) but once you massage it into skin, it lathers up so nicely for a clean shave. My husband uses it too on his “whiskers” as Grace calls them. No complaints from him (and I can’t say he’s the easiest to please).

10. Overnight Resurfacing Peel: Duuuuuh… this product literally put Beautycounter on the map and elevated the brand in the “serious skincare lovers” only game except it’s perfect for everybody! We all have a skincare concern the Peel targets… fine lines, dullness, dryness, dark spots, melasma, sun spots, acne, acne scars.

The Peel has you covered. It’s a serum – it will not peel your face. You simply apply it like any serum, follow with moisturizer and wash off in the morning (I recommend gentle exfoliation to slough off all the dead skin it lifts up overnight!) If you can only buy one skincare product, I’m gonna say make it this one since it packs such a punch.

 

If you need any help shopping clean beauty with Beautycounter, email me at alaena@grazedandenthused.com! I’m happy to help you select the best products for your skin type or makeup products

 

 

 

 

No-Coffee Lattes Three Ways (AIP, Paleo)

No-coffee lattes three different ways for everyone trying to kick the coffee habit! These 3 delicious frothy, smooth drinks are perfect for summer (two are served cold) and have health-promoting ingredients like coconut milk, turmeric, basil and vanilla! Each of these coffee-free drinks are also dairy-free, AIP and vegan!

 

 

I’m sharing a recipe (actually THREE recipes) from my ebook Enthused: 80+ allergy-friendly recipes you want to eat!

I launched the book over a year ago, and it continues to be a fan favorite. It contains all my best recipes, nearly all of them you won’t find anywhere else (except a few preview ones I’ve shared here!)

 

Enthused contains my AIP GREATEST HITS: the recipes you’ll never get sick of and the ones that’ll make an elimination diet actually FUN to be on!

 

Here are preview recipes from the book:

Smoked Salmond Flatbread

Caramelized Onion & “Ricotta” Pizza

Harvest Chicken Hash 

 

I hope you enjoy these hot-weather friendly, caffeine-free lattes. The Salted Strawberry one is reminiscent of a strawberry latte I had on vacation once but you could also consider it a thinner consistency smoothie.

Basil-Vanilla may seem like an odd combination and it’s certainly for a more adventurous palate, but the earthy basil combined with sweet vanilla is quite decadent. It makes a great homemade ice cream flavor too… hm maybe that’ll be my next dairy-free ice cream recipe!

 

Ingredients:

The vanilla bean powder I use is THIS ONE. It’s not cheap but Madagascar Vanilla Bean isn’t cheap… but it’s the best quality and taste you can find!

My favorite coconut milk is THIS ONE. You can buy it bulk from Amazon in cartons to avoid aluminum or BPA-lined cans.

The coconut water matters in the Matcha Latte. I personally think Harmless Harvest is the best tasting coconut water. The cheaper ones in the cartons DO NOT TASTE LIKE COCONUT WATER. Anyone else feel that way? If it doesn’t have to be refrigerated, I don’t want it. Coconut water snob over here.

 

 

 

The No BS Minimalist Baby Registry

 

 

It’s easy to go overboard with your baby registry the first time around. You don’t know what you’ll actually need, everything looks so cute, and we fear being improperly prepared as new parents. After two pregnancies, I’ve realized how LITTLE we truly need to keep our babies healthy, safe and happy. Here is my no BS baby registry list for minimalists or those short on space (or on a budget) of my must-haves that you’ll actually use.

Think of it as the baby registry for minimalist who are still a tad control freak. And no you won’t find any onesies here. TRUST that you’ll get approximately 14,000 of those. DO NOT REGISTER FOR ONESIES.

SLEEP

Co-Sleeper: Arm’s Reach Mini Ezee 2-in-1 Bedside Bassinet

Our first go around we had the Halo Bassinet, but it was clunky, heavy and took up too much space. Plus I still had to physically sit up to bring baby into bed for midnight nursings and there was no storage besides a small side pocket (uh where do you put your snacks, Halo!?)

Our new house has even less space for a bassinet than our old apartment, so I needed something compact, mattress-height (for ease of bringing baby into bed) and MUCH more storage!

The Arm’s Reach has 4 big mesh pockets (two on each side), storage underneath, can convert into a freestanding bassinet OR drop the side panel for a true co-sleeper.

Swaddle: Halo Sleepsack Swaddle (save) or The Ollie Swaddle (splurge)

Most babies coming fresh from the womb are going to sleep better and calm quickly when swaddled. They’re used to being compressed in a tiny water sac after all. I love the Halo Sleepsack Swaddle for safety reasons. It doesn’t ride up over baby’s face like a loose muslin blanket swaddle (and I even had that issue with the Snuggleme swaddles). It has little sleeveless arm holes, a zipper for easy diaper access, and you can swaddle nice and TIGHT without it being too hot!

The Ollie Swaddles “grows with” the baby so you don’t need to buy multiple sizes (it’s a little pricey but I suppose the same as getting 3 Halo swaddles in different sizes…). It’s also recommended by Cara from Taking Cara Babies Newborn Sleep program!

Sound Machine: Marpac Rohm Portable White Noise Machine

This is the classic and original sound machine created without a wireless device. White noise can help drown out background sound for baby (i.e. from dogs barking, other children, you showering for goodness sake), and it also sounds a little like your blood swishing around to them (the inside of a womb is quite loud apparently!)  Someone recently told me they were concerned about the EMFs from these sound machines, so I would keep them across the room from the baby to be safe.

EMFs are a common concern for wireless baby monitors, your smartphone, WiFi and blue tooth too. They’re hard to avoid but you can take some easy steps to reduce exposure like keeping devices farther away from baby and turning your phone on airplane mode over night if you sleep with it in your room (I leave my phone in another room overnight).

Pacifier: Soothie or Wubba Nub

This is one baby item I don’t go fully non-toxic with… these pacifiers are BPA-free and made from hospital-grade silicone. They are the only ones that “stay” in that I’ve found, and other rubber-based “eco” pacifiers have a strong smell and have gagged both my babies. We don’t over-use pacifiers, but I do think there’s a time and place (i.e. in the car to console a crying baby when you can’t comfort them or to help a baby fall asleep when mom’s boob isn’t around).

The little stuffed animals attached to them make these pacifiers easy to find in the house or bassinet and gives baby something to hold onto. Since newborns cannot sleep with stuffed animals in their cribs, these Wubba Nubs make a cute comfort item. They’re also less likely to get lost since they’re so noticeable! We’ve had no safety issues at all with these!

 

PLAY

Ball: O-Ball – Multi-colored

Nothing more classic or versatile than an O-Ball in primary colors. They’re easy to grab even at 2-months-old, can be rolled to a 6-month-old baby sitting, and are brightly colored and contrasted. I love wooden toys but lightweight plastic toys can have their place in a balanced toy box too. I can’t think of a toy (besides an empty cardboard box) that beats the O-Ball in versatility and developmental appropriateness.

Soft Books: Melissa & Doug The Wonderful World of Peekaboo

Soft sensory books are the best choice for little babes – you can easily throw them in the wash and they have sensory facets that board books do not have. Most of them make crunchy sounds when baby touches them and are brightly colored (and cannot be used as weapons by older siblings).

Rattle: Untreated Wood Rattle or Haba Colorful Wooden Rattle/Teether

Every baby needs a rattle to hold onto and shake, shake, shake. For at least the first year of life, cause & effect “toys” are going to keep babe’s attention and rattles fill that need. Shake, it rattles, shake, it rattles… every time!

Play Mat: Skip Hop Silver Cloud Play Mat (save) or The Play Gym by Lovevery (splurge)

No matter where you live, baby needs his or her own play space. I like a designated playmat that allows for hanging toys for them to practice reaching and grabbing. It’s also a great padded space for tummy time. As a child gets older and starts exploring via crawling, I like to have a designated Safe/Yes Space.

We use this play yard (it’s huge) from crawling age until at least 18 months. I personally don’t think a Pack n’ Play allows for enough space for a kid to explore their environment and MOVE which is why I love a fenced in play yard. It allows me to cook in the kitchen and watch baby play safely with only toys I know are safe and won’t be a hazard. Kids need at least one YES space in their homes to just be kids! RIE parenting method speaks to this in more detail.

For the first 12 months of my eldest daughter’s life, I would buy her a birthday toy so by the end of the year, we had 12 toys/books/rattles in her toy collection (plenty enough!) I love Haba and Hape brand toys as well as Montessori-style toys from Etsy!

 

MOVE

Stroller:  BOB Jogging Stroller Flex 2.0

I am a fan of strollers to get mom out and moving and baby out in nature! The BOB Jogging Stroller can’t be beat – it’s air-filled large tires means it can withstand tough terrain like gravel trails, grass and even sand. We also have the Uppa Baby Vista which is great for neighborhood walks, but it doesn’t compare  to the comfort and ease of the BOB. My only complaint is the basket underneath is rather small, so I use my Diaper Bag Backpack to carry items and have a handlebar tray on mine as well!

Car Seat (Infant): Britax B-Safe Ultra Infant Car Seat (no brominated flame retardants) or Uppa Baby Mesa Wool Infant Car Seat (no flame retardants in Jordan or Henry wool option)

These are my top two choices for an infant carseat in terms of safety and quality. They’re both very sturdy (which means they’re a little heavier than average) and are loved by many parents. You can get Britax and Uppa Baby attachments for your BOB stroller too!

I also want to add that the Uppa Baby Mesa is more comfortable for baby than Britax B35 which is more of a bucket style. Some babies won’t mind this but I have a particularly fussy baby who prefers the Uppa Baby Mesa car seat (we have both) where my oldest had no problem with the bucket style!

I do not recommend additional baby equipment such as bouncers, swings and especially walkers. You can read this article for why. Floortime, babywearing (wear as much as you want newborn- a few hours a day after newborn stage is totally fine) and tummy time are important for infant development. The more we utilize baby equipment, the less opportunity of our children have to use and develop muscles, motor coordination and sensory proprioception. Save your money and grab a wrap/carrier (below) to keep baby happy if they won’t nap in their bassinet, and keep them entertained on the floor rather than a bouncer or swing. 

 

READ MY ARTICLE ON WHY I DON’T RECOMMEND ADDITIONAL BABY EQUIPMENT HERE.

 

FEED

Nursing Pillow: My Breast Friend Nursing Pillow

For me, a nursing pillow is a must. It props baby up and closer to the breast, making newborn latch an easier to achieve feat. It’s more comfortable for both you and baby. My Breast Friend and Boppy are the two most popular brands, and while I love my double-sided Boppy (a firmer surface for tiny newborns so they don’t sink down and have trouble latching), My Breast Friend is more comfortable for mama and has a little pocket for snacks, your phone or your wallet so you can online shop while you nurse (my speciality).

Glass Bottles: Life Factory 4-ounce BPA-Free Bottles with Silicone Sleeve

These glass baby bottles are no-slip, easy grip, seal tightly and aren’t made of plastics which can leach into your milk or formula. They come with Stage 1 newborn nipples, but you can get Stage 2 and 3 nipples (2 for only $5) as your baby gets older and can handle more flow.

Manual Pump/Overflow Catcher: Hakka Manual Breast Pump

This silicone manual “pump” is a LIFESAVER in the early weeks of breastfeeding when let down is like a tourist-attracting geyser. You suction is to the your breast while baby nurses the other one, and it catches all the let down. I could easily catch 2 to 3 extra ounces of milk essentially negating the need for my fancy hospital-grade breast pump (which I do use too – but you’ll get a free one with insurance each pregnancy).

 

FIRST AID/COMFORT/BATH

First Cold: FridaBaby Nasal Aspirator and Little Remedies Saline Mist

Our first daughter gave our newborn second daughter a cold at about 2 weeks old. Spraying the Saline Mist (no additives or preservatives!) up my baby’s nose and sucking out the snot with the FridaBaby (don’t worry – it cannot get in your mouth) works like a charm. It’s entirely effective for keeping a stuffy-nosed baby comfortable before they learn how to blow their nose (when they’re like 7 years old, I swear). The saline mist is great to have on hand if you live in a dry environment as well!

Gas/Colic: FridaBaby Windi Sticks and Well Elements Gripe Water

Inevitably your baby will  get gassy at some point – whether it’s because they’re reacting to something in your breastmilk or in their formula, or because they simply have a brand new digestive system getting used to input besides amniotic fluid. These two non-toxic choices for calming baby tummy bubbles are gold.

The Windi sticks are a little peculiar at first (literally a tube you gently stick up baby’s butt) but they are safe and WORK like magic to release gas and help with constipation. The gripe water can come in handy during crying spells from gas or discomfort – it only lasts 4 weeks because it does not contain preservatives. Keep it in the fridge after opening and dispense any time baby is having some early months tummy trouble. They aren’t cheap, but trust that I would not spend $15 on butt whistles (that’s what I call them) if they were not worth the money.

Non-Toxic Bath & Body Products: Beautycounter Baby Bundle & Primally Pure Baby Powder

Using toxin-free products on baby’s skin is of upmost importance to me, and I know it’s important to many other moms as well. Beautycounter’s Baby Line is made without harmful ingredients, uber gentle on the skin and sensitive enough for baby’s who deal with dryness or other skin irritations. We’ve been using the products for years and love them! I gift this set and Primally Pure’s Non-Toxic Baby Powder to many a pregnant friend!

Baby Bath Tub: PRIMO EuroBath

This may have been the best $25 I’ve spent since becoming a mom. It allows for easy bathing by positioning baby in a comfortable, no-slip reclining position. Truly, the baby can’t slip down (but always be within arm’s reach or have one hand on baby when in the bath). It’s easy to clean and after 3 years of use, ours is still in great shape. It has two bathing positions – one for newborns and one for older toddlers so they can sit themselves up and play in the bath. It also saves water since you don’t have to fill up a whole bath tub to halfway submerge your kiddo.

 

DIAPERING

Non-Toxic Wipes: Water Wipes

LOVE! Some people complain about the sticker top but they recently made it more sturdy. These are the most gentle wipes out there. I am an Amazon subscribe n’ save member, we love them so much! We use them to clean up messy hands and faces for my 3-year-old too even though she’s been out of diapers for over a year. Register for a LOT of these (or for Amazon gift cards!)

Safer Disposable Diapers: Pampers Pure (save) Bambo Natural Diapers (splurge)

Look at Pampers coming out with a much safer version of their beloved diapers! These Pampers Pure are the most blowout-proof of all safer diapers I’ve tried (more so than the Bambo, although I love those for older babies). They’re soft, made without Fragrance (helps you avoid phthalates on baby’s skin!) and don’t contain parabens or 26 European Union designated allergens. We’ve been using these AND Bambo with our second baby and have had a great experience (no rash, rarely a blow out).

I choose not to use cloth diapers as they tend to be bulky (and obviously a lot more laundry) and can inhibit movement in babies – they have even been linked to delayed motor development (i.e crawling and walking). I choose to use more environmentally-friendly disposable diapers and make other choices for our family that sustain the environment.

You’ll also need a changing table, changing pad and a couple changing pad covers. 

 

BABY-WEARING

Wrap for newborn stage: Solly Baby Wrap

My Solly Baby Wrap lasted me through both kids’ newborn stages, but I did have to transition to the below carrier at 2 months old with my second due to neck and back pain (she wanted to be held a lot more than my first). I prefer Solly for newborns but once a kiddo hits 10 pounds, an ergonomic carrier like the one below is MUCH more comfy! The Solly seems to be more cozy for newborns though, so I do recommend both if you plan to baby wear.

Ergonomic Carrier for 10 lbs + (up to 35 lbs): Beco Gemini 

I own/have owned a LOT of baby carriers so I can vouch for the comfort of this Beco Gemini. It is suitable for babies 7 pounds plus but we started using at 10 pounds. My favorite parts of this carrier: you can cross the thick padded straps in the back to make an X for more diffuse weightbearing on your neck/shoulders, you can front carry AND back carry (for older babies) AND it has a little cover for baby’s head if you’re out in the sun or want to keep germ-y strangers away!

MEMORIES

You’ll want a baby book that you can bring to the hospital for footprints. I love the Mom’s One Line a Day journal! You can write one memory from each day for 5 years and go back and compare each year as it passes (for example, all of June 12th memories will be on the same page over the span of 5 years).

 

THINGS YOU DEFINITELY DON’T NEED

  • Baby Mittens – you can file or clip baby’s nails instead

  • Baby Shoes – cute but pointless and will get kicked off

  • Baby Bouncer, Swing or Walker – addressed above

  • More than 5 to 7 onesies for newborn size

  • Four strollers – choose just one with an infant car seat adapter

  • More than 2 to 3 glass baby bottles with different nipple sizes.

  • A convertible car seat – wait until baby truly needs one before you decide which one to get

 

MORE PRACTICAL ASK IDEAS

  • Amazon gift cards so you can restock wipes & diapers

  • Donation to child’s 529 education fund

  • Meal Train – have a good friend or family member set up a meal train so you have food delivered to you the first few weeks with baby

  • Hulu or Netflix 1-year subscription if you don’t already have one

  • Housecleaning fund for your first 3 months with baby

  • Healthy Meal Delivery

  • Babysitting “Coupons” from close family members you can cash in when you & your partner need a date!

  • Whole Foods gift cards for easy hot bar meals

 

 

 

Carrot Cake with Dairy-Free Cream Cheese Frosting

paleo carr

 

Paleo, grain-free, gluten-free, egg-free, dairy-free, and vegan Carrot Cake that isn’t loaded down with sugar is a tall order! I didn’t think I could do it but this healthy layered carrot cake with dairy-free cream cheese frosting is moist, dense and just the right amount of sweet!

 

It’s been a solid 5 years since I’ve wanted to create my own Paleo allergy-friendly carrot cake. I’ll be honest – I don’t love baking (the rebellious nature of cooking – throwing ingredients together without a plan – is much more enticing to me) but I know a good baked good when I taste one. This grain-free, egg-free, dairy-free AND vegan carrot cake is a healthier take on a traditional classic, and it’s much lower in sugar than other Paleo carrot cakes I’ve seen!

 

Carrot cake is one of my favorite baked goods, and I’ve been hard-pressed to find an easy enough egg-free recipe for our family. Five of my family members tried this one and they all enjoyed it – although my sweet tooth husband requested a sweeter frosting. Thankfully, you can easily up the sweetness level with cream cheese frosting by simply adding more corn-free powdered sugar (I love the Wholesome brand!)

 

What makes this carrot cake healthier?

Instead of processed grain flours, it is made with arrowroot starch (for density), coconut flour and almond flour. I find Paleo cakes made JUST with one flour lack the “glutinous” texture of gluten. The arrowroot keeps the cake moist as well since coconut flour can create a dry, crumbly baked good if not balanced. Almond flour by itself lacks the sponginess cake needs.

 

I didn’t load this cake down with a ton of sugar like you’ll see in a lot of “healthier” carrot cakes on the Internet that can contain 2 to 3 cups of powdered sugar in the frosting alone. No thank you! Sugar is sugar to my body and while coconut sugar and maple syrup certainly are as close to real food as you can get with sweetener, my palate and body are still sensitive to too much. You won’t find this cake too saccharine or overwhelmingly sweet at all! Bonus: no tummy aches!

 

The cream cheese frosting is made with Kite Hill Almond Cream Cheese but you can use ANY dairy-free cream cheese I imagine. I kept it at 2-ingredients to keep this recipe more budget friendly but adding 1/4 cup palm shortening to the frosting would create a fluffier finish. It’s a tad thicker mouth feel than typical cream cheese frosting – that’s my only “warning” when comparing this cake against its traditional counterpart. Adding the palm shortening will ameliorate this. 

 

What substitutions can I make?

Arrowroot: Tapioca starch can be substituted for the arrowroot starch, if needed. I can’t say the same for cassava flour so proceed with caution there.

 

Nuts: Replace the almond flour with finely milled tigernut flour, if you are nut-free. Replace the pecans (I’ll be sad though) with raisins.

 

Chia Seeds: You should be able to replace the chia seeds with 2 large eggs but I can’t vouch for the texture. It’ll likely be fluffier. I haven’t tried it this way since two of our household members have egg allergies.

 

Almond Milk Cream Cheese: Use any vegan cream cheese (as long as you like the flavor). There are tons of cream cheese frosting recipes made from cashews on the Internet. I don’t do well with cashews myself so I haven’t tested any but they look delicious!

 

Enjoy this gluten-free carrot cake & let me know what you think in the comments!

 
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