Vanilla Mandarin Energy Balls (Gluten-Free, Paleo)

Paleo Vanilla Mandarin Energy Balls


These incredibly easy and delicious gluten-free Vanilla Mandarin Energy Balls use pantry staples like cashews, dried coconut, dates, vanilla extract and of course fresh citrus! They are gluten-free, grain-free, dairy-free and Paleo-friendly!

Have your children turned into Snack Monsters during this quarantine too? I swear we’re all snacking 3x more often which means I’m in the kitchen 3x more often too. While I always offer fresh fruits and vegetables for snack first, my 4-year-old isn’t always in the mood. I like to have some healthier sweet snack options on hand in those cases that are still energy and nutrient dense for her active, growing body. ENTER THE HOMEMADE ENERGY BALL.


We love making energy balls because you really can use up pantry staples that have been sitting around and turn them into something much more delicious. They’re an easy-to-grab snack out of the fridge or another way to add some extra nutrition and energy to a lunch.

These mineral rich Vanilla Energy Balls are:

  • brightly flavored thanks to fresh mandarin segments and zest,

  • naturally sweetened with soft, plump Medjool dates

  •  a good source of important vitamins and minerals including potassium, magnesium and copper

  • helpful for decreasing the active labor time in birthing women and can decrease the likelihood of being induced due to late term pregnancies


If you’re looking for more Paleo energy ball and bar recipes, try these from my website: 


Substitution Ideas

  • If you need to make these nut-free, you could try replacing the cashews with unsalted raw sunflower seeds which have a fairly neutral taste.

  • If you don’t have mandarin on hand, try another citrus fruit like lemon, tangerine, clementine or oranges. You’ll want to use no more than 1/4 cup of segmented citrus when using a sweeter citrus. If using a more tart citrus like lemon, I would add 1 to 2 tablespoons of lemon juice rather than the whole lemon fruit.

  • Out of vanilla extract? Try lemon extract or a couple drops of food grade orange essential oil.


The food processor I use to make these energy balls, guacamole, sauces and to chop and shred vegetables and fruit:

I’ve been using the Cuisinart 11-cup food processor that includes a blending blade, a shredding disc, and a slicing disc (effectively replacing your mandolin). It’s a heftier price tag than most food processors but stands the test of time. Mine works like new, and I’ve had it for over 7 years and use it daily!





Vanilla Mandarin Energy Balls

Whole30 Caramelized Onion and Beef Stew

Paleo Whole30 Caramelized Onion Beef Stew


This Caramelized Onion and Beef Stew is Whole30, Paleo, Gluten-Free and Gut-Healing! This stew is so richly flavored just like your favorite soup from a fancy French restaurant!


Who else thinks the best recipes are those made out of necessity? We’re still bare bones in our grocery stores here, but I was able to find my favorite Bonafide Provisions Beef Bone Broth, sweet potatoes, onions, celery, carrots and herbs. While I could have made a regular old beef stew, I decided to caramelize the onions to provide a rich depth of flavor to some pretty basic ingredients.


My kitchen creativity has been amped up since we’re at home for all 3 meals (and I swear at least 3 snacks) now. Yesterday, I made some dang delicious gluten-free and Paleo baked chocolate frosted donuts. Unfortunately, my husband ate them all before I could take a photo. I’ll need to make them again, so I can share with you here.


If you’re looking for daily recipe and healthy lifestyle inspiration right now, be sure to join me on Instagram. I’ve been sharing kid activity ideas, easy pantry-staple recipes, and at-home workouts to help you during this period of social distancing.


This Caramelized Onion and Beef Stew is Whole30, Paleo, Gluten-Free and Gut-Healing! This stew is so richly flavored just like your favorite soup from a fancy French restaurant!



Okay, let’s get to this recipe. The ingredients list may look long, but most of these you may already have laying around your kitchen.


What You Need For Paleo Beef Stew

  • Sweet potato

  • Carrots

  • Celery

  • Yellow Onion

  • Red Onion

  • Pre-cooked Stew Meat of Choice

  • Green Cabbage

  • Beef Broth

  • Coconut Milk

  • Dried Parsley

  • Apple Cider Vinegar

  • Fresh Rosemary

  • Garlic

  • Bay Leaf

  • Salt and Pepper


If you really want to stretch this meal, you can serve it with cooked organic white rice, gluten-free pasta, or bulk it up with even more root vegetables (just add some extra broth to get the liquid ratio ideal).


How to substitute ingredients to make this stew Whole30, AIP, or Dairy-Free:

  1. AIP: Use olive oil as the cooking fat and eliminate the black pepper.

  2. Whole30: Use ghee or olive oil for your cooking fat.

  3. Dairy-Free: Use olive oil for your cooking fat


Lastly, if you’re looking for some other easy Whole30, Paleo, AIP-Friendly and/or Gut-Healing Stews, definitely check out the following recipes:







caramelized onion beef stew pin

Easy Plantain Waffles – 3 Ingredients!

These fluffy Plantain Waffles couldn’t be easier with just 3 ingredients – yellow plantains, eggs and coconut oil. Naturally sweetened with almost-ripe plantains, these waffles are Paleo, Gluten-Free, Grain-Free, Dairy-Free and Nut-Free!


Plantain Waffles - Gluten Free Paleo Grain Free



I’ve been sitting on this recipe for these delicious, magical three ingredient Plantain Waffles for far too long now! My grocery store has been quite picked over for the last week, but thankfully some yellow plantains remain. I often turn green plantains into tostones or use them in my Healing Ginger Chicken Soup (a must try). These softer, sweeter yellow plantains don’t hold up well fried or in soup. But they make the perfect easy gluten-free waffles!


The only three ingredients in these Paleo Plantain Waffles…

  1. Yellow Plantains: Ensure your plantains are on the larger side (about 9 inches in length) and spotted yellow. I like to refrigerate them before using in this recipe for a better texture.

  2. Eggs: Use large pastured organic eggs for the most nutrient dense gluten-free waffles. I don’t recommend egg substitutes in this recipe. If you’re looking for an Egg-Free Plantain Waffles, check out this recipe of mine HERE.

  3. Coconut Oil: I like to use refined organic coconut oil for the least coconut-y flavor in healthy baked good.


If you want to flavor these up, you can add fresh or frozen blueberries, dark chocolate chips, toasted coconut, cinnamon or some cocoa powder to this recipe! I find this recipe to be quite flexible with the fluffy, thick texture not being impacted by a couple mix-in additions.



Easy Plantain Waffles



Here are some fun and healthier waffle topping ideas: 

  • Maple Butter: This is our go-to waffle topping (as shown in the photo above). I melt 2 tablespoons of butter and mix it with 2 tablespoons of organic maple syrup. You’ll get delicious buttery flavor to your waffles with much less sugar!

  • Whipped Coconut Cream by The Minimalist Baker

  • Vanilla Ghee by Fourth & Heart to keep these waffles completely sugar-free


We like to make these Easy Plantain Waffles for “Breakfast For Dinner”. I’ll serve them with baked peppered maple bacon, scrambled eggs, and/or a smoothie. I’ll be posting a Strawberry “Milkshake” smooth  using just a few items (including frozen cauliflower) to my blog next!





Easy Plantain Waffles Paleo

Triple Seafood Chowder (Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free, Paleo)

triple seafood chowder


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!


109 reviews

Triple Seafood Chowder

Prep Time 00:00 Cook Time 00:00


  • 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


  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.




Triple Seafood Chowder


Four Skincare Mistakes I Made & How to Fix It!

Are you making any of these common skincare mistakes? Our skin starts aging at 25 which means most of us need to do damage control now. Learn from my errors and be rewarded with bright, smooth, glowing skin without using any toxic (or too crunchy) products!


When I was 15 years old, I wanted to write a book called The Kitchen Beautician. Skincare has always been an interest of mine, and I would concoct recipes in our kitchen out of real food ingredients. Of particular memory: a two-step mask treatment made from eggs, yogurt and raw honey, body scrubs made from sugar, used coffee grounds and olive oil, and the “aspirin face mask” for acne (did anyone else do this!?)My poor mother would be left to clean up my trail of raw sugar, sticky honey and smelly egg whites. And I would walk into my job at Hollister (embarrassing admission) and be complimented on my “smooth and glowing skin”.

Fast forward to my twenties, an autoimmune and infertility diagnosis, stress of a master’s program, and under-eating/overexercising – my skin really took a hit. I was aging faster than I expected: crow’s feet at 25 years old, hyper-pigmentation, and frequent breakouts and rashes. Looking back now with what I’ve learned about skincare in the past few years, I made some pretty influential errors in caring for my skin. Keep reading to learn from the 4 Mistakes I Made With My Skin in the last 10 to 15 years and the changes I’ve made to reverse the damage.

1. Mixing and matching products or doing the bare minimum. 

  • Do you mix and match skincare products from different brands and lines? Do you skip washing and only use moisturizer or (even worse) wash your face but skip moisturizer?

  • I did this for years once I got too busy for those homemade products! I used harsh acne cleansers (Clean & Clear ride-or-die) and didn’t add hydration back to my skin which started a vicious cycle of ‘dry breakouts’. I used harsh astringent toners like Noxzema pads, and the cheapest Aveeno moisturizer from the drugstore (thinking it was healthy because of the greenwashing on the packaging).

  • A full routine means you have at least a 4-step process: cleanse, prep/tone, treat (serum) and protect (AM/PM moisturizer and eye cream). It may sound high maintenance, but it shouldn’t take you longer than a few minutes twice a day.

  • Scientists design skincare lines to work together – so if you’re always mixing and matching or leaving out steps, you’re not receiving the full benefits of any one of your products. 

  • If you have additional skincare concerns your routine doesn’t cover, you’ll want to add in extra treatments. This may mean a face oil, an overnight peel, or a charcoal mask.

2. Going too crunchy. 

  • When I first adopted a healthier lifestyle and Paleo diet, I decided to attempt cleaning up my skincare.

  • I started using coconut oil for everything – face cleanser, makeup remover, body lotion, homemade toothpaste. You name a problem – I thought coconut oil was the solution.

  • My skin became sallow, fine lines started settling into my forehead, and my cheeks had a fine, rash-y texture with frequent painful breakouts on my forehead.

  • Straight-up coconut oil isn’t ideal for skincare for multiple reasons: 1) It’s highly comedogenic – which means it will clog pores in most individuals, leading to breakouts. 2) It’s made up of drying, astringent-like fatty acids in the form of saturated fat that penetrate the skin barrier but don’t effectively moisturize. 3) It’s not high in the nutrients skin needs for repair and environmental protection.

  • Once I started using real, science-backed skincare products, all those issues disappeared. I no longer have that dry, rash-y texture to my skin, breakouts are rare, my skin is brighter and I actually enjoy performing my skincare routine now.

3. Not wearing SPF daily.

  • I grew up in Florida and spent the majority of my childhood and young adulthood outside in the high sun. Once I got old enough to not be pinned down by my parents and slathered in Coppertone, I stopped wearing sunscreen consistently. And I’m paying for it now!

  • Whether you have light, medium or dark skin, wearing SPF on your face daily (or protecting your skin with a hat and glasses) is pertinent to avoiding rapid aging from UV exposure.

  • Those quick 30-minute walks outside on your lunch break can add up to skin-damaging amounts over time. Wearing a daily SPF like the Dew Skin SPF20 Tinted Moisturizer or the Countersun SPF30 Mineral Sunscreen Stick can help prevent additional UV damage to skin.

  • If you have hyperpigmentation in the form of dark spots, sun spots, freckles, melasma or scarring, you’ll especially want to wear daily SPF. If you’re looking for a product to help reverse hyperpigmentation, the 10% off Countertime Regimen and the Overnight Resurfacing Peel can help.

4. Skipping eye cream. 

  • Did you know the thin skin under and around your eyes is especially prone to loss of elasticity and damage? That’s why crow’s feet can show up in women in their twenties who spend a lot of time in the sun without protection.

  • I wish I could go back and tell 22-year-old me to wear some dang sunglasses and apply a quick pat of nourishing eye cream twice a day.

  • An ultra-nourishing eye cream can help with collagen synthesis to restore skin’s elasticity while also preventing deeper wrinkles from forming. I use the Countertime Ultra Renewal Eye Cream you can get for FREE through tomorrow.

5. Relying on genetics and falling victim to the dieting industry.

  • My Middle Eastern family members all have amazing skin – even into their 80’s and 90’s. Most people are shocked when they find out one of my grandparents was born in the 1800’s and was still alive when I was born in the 1980’s! There’s a reason why the Mediterranean diet has been hyped up as good for your health.

  • Unfortunately, I relied a little too heavily on my genetics and didn’t account for the increase in environmental toxin exposure that my ancestors did not have. Our daily exposure to air pollutants, pesticides, heavy metals, and water contaminants do a number on our internal and external health. 

  • What worked for our grandparents may not work for us today. The majority of women I know suffer from hormone balance caused by overworking, under-eating, excess alcohol consumption, using toxic products, eating conventional factory-produced food and just the overall stress of life in 2020.

  • I fell victim to the less-is-best approach we have to eating and our scales. My skin really suffered from the low sex hormone production – progesterone is “the beauty hormone” after all. We’re basically mimicking early menopause when we don’t nourish our bodies sufficiently. Once I gained the weight necessary for health, my skin looked healthier, brighter and more plump.




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If you’re looking for a safe anti-aging routine, make sure you check out this post!



Equilibria CBD Review: Will it help me sleep?

Equilibria CBD Oil

Find out how Equilibria CBD helped me overcome sleep anxiety and improve my post-partum sleep quality. You’ll get 15% off your organic, contaminant-tested Equilibria CBD order with code ALAENA.


Unless you have been hiding under a sound-proof rock, you have likely heard about the massive explosion of CBD products on the market. CBD products include oil, salves, lotions,candies, lozenges, honey, beverages  you name it, someone has put CBD in it. I myself am a late adopter to these types of trends. I like to watch and listen to other’s reviews and experiences, emerging research and industry regulation for at least a year before I put something in my own body.


The CBD industry is expected to reach $2.5 billion in sales by 2023, and companies are popping up out of nowhere claiming they have “the purest CBD on the market”. While I would be wary of any company making grand, sweeping statements, there is certainly a spectrum of purity in the industry. Improperly sourced CBD oil can contain dangerous levels of heavy metals, pesticides and other contaminants, and can be cut with undisclosed ingredients from shady manufacturers.


When sourcing CBD for your own use, it’s important to review the product’s purity, potency and preparation methods. These can all make a significant difference in whether or not you experienced benefits from ingesting or applying CBD.



CBD Benefits:  Sleep, Anxiety, Cancer, Neurological

The benefits of CBD oil are multi-fold. When I polled my readers, the majority who answered were using CBD to improve sleep quality and manage anxiety. Many others use CBD to decrease pain and inflammation, both through oral ingestion of the oil and topical application of salves and creams. CBD is currently being researched for it’s anti-seizure, anti-cancer and neuroprotective benefits as well.

In fact, in one study recently published in The International Journal of Pharmaceuticals, combining CBD with chemotherapy when treating breast cancer resulted in decreased cancer cell proliferation. The same researchers also found their solution of CBD decreased cancer cell activity on its own, even when not combined with anti-cancer drugs.

CBD has also been studied for its neuro-protective benefits especially in children with epilepsy. Several genetic conditions result in upwards of 50 seizures a day in small children, all with the potential to further neurological damage. Researchers found that about 30 to 40% of the cohort of 75 patients with seizure-inducing disorders experienced a 50% reduction in seizures when taking CBD-rich extracts. CBD oil is also being studied for its effects on Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, dementia and other cognitive disorders.


Does CBD help with sleep?

CBD is most commonly used to improve sleep quality in children and adults. It has been explored in preliminary studies in a variety of patients including those with autism, REM sleep disorders, sleep apnea and insomnia.

Controlled clinical trials are currently being conducted to determine exactly how CBD improves sleep, but initial studies on various cohorts have found it improves sleep quality and decreases anxiety. In this study, CBD was given to patients who reported anxiety during the day and given to patients who reported sleep difficulties at night. Nearly 70% of the study participants noted improvements in either or both anxiety and sleep within the first month.

At this point, the anecdotal evidence is strongest to support CBD improving sleep quality.


My Story with Sleep Anxiety and Insomnia During Pregnancy & Post-Partum

Sleep never evaded me until I became pregnant with my first daughter in 2015 after a long fertility journey. Anxiety about miscarriage, developmental concerns and the drastic change in our lifestyle to come kept me up at night despite pregnancy exhaustion. Sleep anxiety becomes a vicious when the only thing preventing you from sleeping is your anxious thoughts about whether or not you will fall asleep. I would do the clock countdown: “Only 5 more hours left to fall asleep”, ruminate over how exhausted I felt and be unable to sleep when traveling.

Once my baby was born, sleep anxiety turned into postpartum anxiety. I would startle awake at night believing my baby was trapped and suffocating under the covers, over and over again. I would fling myself onto the floor in a mixed state of consciousness and sleep-panic screaming, “Help! Help!” My heart would be pounding so intensely out of my chest, I would need to cup my chest with my hand, hoping to press it back in.

When we would travel for family vacations or when guests would stay the night (which was a frequent occurrence), sleep anxiety would haunt me even more. It brought me to tears on many occasions – the irony of crying because I couldn’t sleep while laying in a perfectly comfortable bed in a perfectly quiet home and STILL not being able to sleep. It was miserable – I really can’t put a positive spin on it like I usually would.

Those new mom nerves really get the best of you, don’t they?

Slowly over time, postpartum anxiety faded and the fatigue from my second pregnancy took over. I slept mostly alone during that pregnancy as I needed to really spread out with my pregnancy pillow fortress to get comfortable. Not amazing for a marriage – but pregnant women need their sleep. Once my second daughter was born, I was worried those night terrors would come back. Thankfully, I only experienced one on our first night home with her.

This time my sleep quality was suffering in a different way. I was waking up to breastfeed at least 2 to 3 times a night and having a hard time going back under. My most restorative sleep was between 5 to 7 am, but that’s when my eldest would wake up for the day. My husband is a lot of amazing things, but a morning person he is not. I was left with those middle of the night wakings AND early morning wakings.

I knew the amount of time I could sleep wasn’t going to change drastically – I was already going to bed early at 8:30 to 9 pm. In order to feel more rested, my sleep QUALITY was going to have to improve.

That’s when I decided to start taking Equilibria’s CBD Daily Drops 30 minutes before bed.

How My Sleep Improved with Equilibria CBD

After the first night, I woke up telling my husband, “Wow! Maya didn’t wake up all night – how awesome!” In fact, she had waken up a couple times, but I had slept right through it! Thankfully, he covered for me with a bottle and let me keep sleeping. After the first week, I noticed less night-wakings and when I did go to her room to nurse, I would be able to fall back to sleep in my bed 30 minutes later without trouble. I was waking up feeling refreshed, not groggy at all (like I would with over-the-counter sleep medications) and happy to be up early with the kids.

I immediately bought some for my mom who has struggled with sleep for well over a decade. I checked in with her after a week, and she let me know she had been sleeping better than she had in years. That’s when I realized, “Wow! This stuff really does what it says it’s going to do.” I can’t say that about most supplements I’ve tried.

I’ve also suffered from adrenal fatigue for years (I run on “high alert” and have since I was a kid). You can read more about my experience healing adrenal fatigue. I wish I had tried CBD oil back then because it would have helped me heal much faster by allowing my body to get out of that “fight or flight” mode more easily.


Can I take CBD oil while breastfeeding?

This is a personal decision to make with your own research and your physician’s approval. Pregnant and breastfeeding women are the last population cohort to ever be tested on due to ethical issues. If you are pregnant or breastfeeding, it’s important to speak with your doctor about whether you can safely add CBD to your routine.

Be sure to ONLY consume CBD that is organic and has been safety tested like Equilibria. CBD products are often contaminated with heavy metals, pesticides and other unregulated contaminants, and the FDA currently does not test or monitor for product safety.


Safe and Pure CBD with Equilibria

CBD is a largely unregulated industry, and the FDA is finding that more and more companies are producing counterfeit and contaminated products. Many CBD products are contaminated with pesticides, heavy metals, herbicides, rancid oils and unlabeled fillers.

If you are going to add CBD to your supplement routine, it is PERTINENT to source safe CBD oil like Equilibria CBD.

Equilibria tests their products for:

  • Pesticides: Hemp farmed using conventional practices will retain pesticides in the end product. Equilibria uses organic farming practices on their own 1,000-acre farm and tests their end product for pesticide contamination

  • Heavy Metals: Heavy metals are present in the earth, water and soil even when farming using organic practices. I only feel comfortable using CBD oil that has been heavy metal tested. Equilibria tests for lead, mercury, cadmium and arsenic in their product.

  • Microbials like bacteria like gram negative spores, salmonella and e.coli

  • Mycotoxins: Mold spores are commonly found in tinctures. Equilibria tests for two common spores: aflatoxins and ochratoxin A


How do I know how much CBD oil to take?

Equilibria has dosage specialists to help you find the best daily and nightly dose of CBD for your specific needs. It’s recommended to start with one 10mg Gel Capsule after breakfast (to keep you calm during the day) and 10 mg of the Daily Drops 30 minutes before bed for a sound sleep. Monitor your symptoms and stress levels for a week, and then contact your dosage specialist to help you adjust as needed!


I recommend signing up for the monthly subscription.

You can start or stop it at anytime, add on or take away items and select specific ship dates for your subscription! I’ve been doing a once-monthly shipment of the 10 mg Daily Gel Capsules and the 10 mg Daily Drops. This lasts me exactly 30 days when using one of each every day (capsule in morning, drops in evening).



Get 15% off your first order of Equilibria CBD with code ‘alaena’ at checkout!



Pineapple Chicken and Broccoli

This Paleo, Gluten-Free and Soy-Free Pineapple Chicken and Broccoli features a quick blender pineapple sauce and easy skillet instructions. If you’re craving simple Asian flavors for a weeknight meal, you’ll love this Pineapple Chicken!


Gluten Free Pineapple Chicken


I’ve been all about the skillet meals in our house the last few weeks (hence the Turkey Stir Fry with Ginger Sauce from last week). My mom made us Asian-inspired skillets often during childhood, and when my dad traveled for work, she would sometimes order takeout from the local Chinese restaurant. What was your favorite takeout menu item as a kid? Mine definitely was the saucy chicken and broccoli in the paper box. And it inspired this healthier Paleo Pineapple Ginger Sauce in this recipe!


The Pineapple Sauce couldn’t be easier to make. Simply blend up pineapple, coconut aminos, ginger, garlic, fish sauce, and sesame oil in a blender until smooth. When the skillet ingredients are almost fully cooked, you add in the Pineapple Sauce and let it thicken. *Boom* dinner is on the table before you know it!



  • Fresh pineapple

  • Coconut aminos

  • Garlic

  • Ginger

  • Broccoli

  • Red Onion

  • Sesame Oil

  • Sesame Seeds

  • Maple syrup (optional)

  • Arrowroot starch

  • Green onions

Gluten Free Pineapple Chicken



~ Eliminate the sesame oil and black pepper (for AIP)

~ Replace the sesame seeds with finely shredded unsweetened coconut (for AIP)

~ Leave out the maple syrup in the sauce


Lastly, if you love Asian flavors but are on the AIP diet or have food allergies such as gluten, soy and nuts, you’ll love the recipes in Enthused my ebook! You’ll get over 80 recipes for only $19.95 including these Asian-inspired ones below:


  • Mango Ginger Dressing

  • Vietnamese Shrimp Salad

  • Tamarind Veggie Stir Fry

  • Amazing Acorn Squash Curry

  • Sticky Orange Beef

  • Salmon and Sweet Potato Larb

  • Indian Butter Chicken

  • Turkey Teriyaki Poppers



~ You can eat this skillet on its own or serve it with a side of white rice or cauliflower rice for a low carb option

~ Steamed asparagus for extra greens veggies

~ A butter lettuce salad topped with Unbound Wellness’ Ginger Salad Dressing


Gluten Free Pineapple Chicken





Pineapple Chicken and Broccoli

Turkey Stir Fry with Ginger Sauce

Paleo Turkey & Potato Skillet with Ginger Sauce


This Paleo-friendly Turkey and Sweet Potato Stir Fry is flavored with a rich ginger and coconut aminos sauce. If you think skillet meals are short on flavor, you’ll love this gluten-free, grain-free and dairy-free one pan meal!


As I’m going through old recipes on my website, I’m discovering The Forgotten Ones. You know – the ones will terrible photos and maybe three comments. I have a lot of work ahead of me to optimize my website for search engine traffic – it’s my #1 business goal this year. That being said – I’ll be digging up some old recipes you may not have known were in the depths of Grazed & Enthused.


This One Pot Turkey and Sweet Potato skillet is based on an old recipe for a Ginger Buffalo Sauce. Well, it turns out my taste buds were way off 5 years ago because I made it today, and it tasted noting like Buffalo Sauce. It did then – it does not now. A true and humbling conundrum.


Instead, with a few tweaks I achieved this incredibly savory and flavor-packed skillet using a good dose of apple cider vinegar, ground ginger, coconut aminos, fish sauce and a few other ingredients. You whisk them together, bring them to a boil and allow to reduce into a syrupy ginger stir fry sauce.


In a separate skillet, you simply stir fry the sweet potatoes, red onion and ground turkey (or chicken or pork would work too) and toss with chopped green onion to finish. This easy weeknight meal got a 10/10 in our house – protein, veggies, satisfying salty flavor – done, done, done.


If you’re avoiding nightshades to maintain an anti-inflammatory diet, you’ll love the “spice” you get from the ground ginger in this Stir Fry Sauce. You can even add more than the recipe calls for, if you want it extra spicy.



  • Olive oil

  • Red Onion

  • Ground Turkey – ground chicken or pork could be subbed in

  • White sweet potatoes – orange sweet potatoes work too

  • Green Onions

  • Ginger Stir Fry Sauce (recipe included)


If you want to add some greens to this meal, I recommend thinly slicing kale and throwing it in once the sweet potatoes are almost done cooking. You can even add some chopped cilantro, but I wanted to keep the ingredients minimal for this recipe


Finally, are you looking for a good meal prep meal? This one gets even better the next day as the flavors develop, so double or triple the recipe for meals all week! We served ours topped with sliced avocado for extra color and fat.



Paleo Turkey & Potato Skillet with Ginger Sauce




  1. In a medium saucepan, whisk together the apple cider vinegar, canned coconut milk, honey, ground ginger and turmeric, garlic and onion powder, and fish sauce.

  2. Bring to a boil over medium heat and allow to reduce and thicken for 10 minutes. It will deepen in color.

  3. Stir in the coconut aminos and smoked sea salt for added flavor and umami. Stir into your Turkey & Sweet Potato Skillet as it calls in the below recipe.




Five Spice Beef Skillet with Fennel and Currants

Nightshade-Free Cuban Picadillo

Harvest Chicken Hash





Turkey Stir Fry


Chicken and Coconut Rice with Nut-Free Satay Sauce

Oh yes – one pot chicken and coconut rice flavored with garlic, ginger, shallot and cilantro! Served with nut-free satay sauce and easy green beans for a full meal!


Chicken and Coconut Rice with Satay Sauce


I shared earlier this week with my Chicken and Rice Meatballs that chicken and rice is a comfort food for me. Apparently, I need lots of comfort this week since this is my second recipe featuring this food combination. You’ll love this gluten-free and nut-free family-friendly Chicken and Coconut Rice with blanched green beans and nut-free satay.


To create a flavorful base, I pulse shallot, garlic, ginger and cilantro in a food processor. Then I sauteed this flavorful mixture in olive oil and butter until fragrant. The chicken thighs are browned in the same pot and then the rice, coconut milk and water are added for a hands-off stovetop cooking.


While the chicken and rice cook, I blanch the green beans in salted water and then toss with some of the set aside shallot mixture. The whole meal comes together with a delicious and simple nut-free satay sauce made with sunbutter instead of peanut or almond butter!


Lastly, this makes an excellent make ahead dish. It can be easily doubled to serve 6 hungry adults (or make 6 generous servings for leftovers).



one pot chicken and coconut rice




  • Lightly sweetened Sunbutter (sunflower seed butter): I use this one.

  • Coconut aminos: I find Big Tree Farm’s coconut aminos the most similar to soy sauce in thickness, flavor and sweetness.

  • Coconut or rice vinegar: Coconut vinegar has a bright fermented taste while rice vinegar is a bit more mild.

  • Sesame oil: A little goes a long way with sesame oil. If you want more of a sesame taste, add one drop at a time.

  • Hot water: You’ll make use of the leftover hot water from blanching the green beans. It helps thin out the sauce!


If you want to substitute the lightly sweetened Sunbutter, you can use cashew or almond butter with 2 teaspoons of honey stirred in. If you prefer a lime-flavored satay sauce, you can replace the vinegar with lime juice. The sesame oil is key for an authentic taste, so I don’t recommend eliminating it.



chicken and coconut rice




  1. Make a flavorful base first. Pulse together cilantro, shallot, garlic, ginger and salt in a food processor. Saute in olive oil and butter until fragrant.

  2. Add the chicken thighs to the pot. Brown on each side for a few minutes, scraping up the shallot base so it doesn’t stick and burn.

  3. Stir in the uncooked organic white rice, coconut milk and water or broth. Bring to a low boil, reduce heat to medium-low and cover with a lid.

  4. Cook the rice and chicken for 25 minutes. Halfway through the cooking time, give it a good stir and add another cup of water or broth.

  5. Chicken and rice is done when the liquid has been absorbed, the rice is no longer crunchy and the chicken is tender.




chicken and coconut rice


Avocado Fudge Bars (Paleo, AIP, Vegan)


These three-layer Avocado Fudge Bars are low in sugar but still decadent! A no-bake Paleo and Vegan dessert with simple ingredients and a healthy dose of avocado!


triple layer avocado fudge bars


I’m full-on obsessed with these triple layer Avocado Fudge Bars. They’ve been hidden on my blog for years, but I’m rewriting some old favorite recipes and updating photos. I have slightly adjusted the recipe to my nowadays preference, but I still included some AIP tips in the notes.



1. COCONUT-DATE LAYER: a simple no-bake crust made from naturally sweet dates, shredded coconut and a touch of cinnamon, vanilla and sea salt.

2. AVOCADO FUDGE LAYER: ripe avocado is blended with coconut butter and just a tablespoon of honey for a lightly-sweetened, creamy avocado “fudge”

3. CHOCOLATE FUDGE LAYER: simply melt your favorite dark chocolate and thin it out with grass-fed butter or palm shortening to top these bars!


If you’re looking for a low sugar, no-bake treat to have on hand during the week when you want a quick bite, these are it! I like to cut them into 1-inch squares and keep them in the fridge for a snack.


Paleo Chocolate Avocado Fudge Bars




  • Medjool dates

  • Shredded coconut

  • Cinnamon

  • Cocoa or carob powder

  • Vanilla power or extract

  • Sea Salt

  • Butter or Ghee

  • Avocado

  • Honey

  • Dark Chocolate

Avocado Chocolate Fudge Bars





Lastly, if you’re looking for some good quality dark chocolate chips, here are a few of my favorite brands: Equal Exchange, Enjoy Life, and Pascha. If you can’t find dark chocolate chips at your store, you can melt dark chocolate squares in its place. I would use at least 2/3 cup chopped dark chocolate squares in place of the 1/2 cup chocolate chips.