Cranberry Fig Collagen Protein Bars (Paleo, AIP)



I’m not a big supplement taker. One because I can’t remember to take them for longer than two weeks, two because they are usually expensive to buy high quality ones, and three because it’s hard to tell if they’re working.


There have been a few during my pregnancy that I can tell are doing their job though, so I am 100% willing to take them every day! The first one is Vital Proteins Collagen Peptides. I have noticed a decrease in skin outbreaks (which is saying a lot during these hormonal times) from once or twice a month to nil! I have also avoided any stomach distress like heartburn, gas and bloating that typically comes around with pregnancy too.


I add a scoop into my morning smoothie that I consume with two slices of center pork shoulder bacon (low in fat, but high in protine), greens, and a quarter of a large sweet potato. Having a large and nutrient dense breakfast that includes at least 6 different types of produce has been keeping my blood sugar levels so well regulated. I haven’t needed extra snacks or meals during pregnancy, nor have I really needed to increase my caloric intake much if at all!


The other two supplements I have found to be helpful are Natural Calm magnesium for my intense leg cramps that occur right when I lay down at night and Vital Proteins Beef Liver Capsules, which I take right before I head out the door for work to keep my energy up for an afternoon working with kiddos.


Since I’ve had so much success with collagen in my morning smoothies, I also wanted to try making my own homemade protein bars with them. I find carbohydrates right now to really satiate my appetite and keep my energy levels up, so one of these bars in between lunch and dinner or before a workout seals the deal. They also travel well outside the refrigerator even though there’s coconut oil in them. They just lose their firmness but still keep together as long as you pack them tightly with your hands when forming the bars!


Feel free to get creative with the types of dried fruit you use but make sure you use at least one “sticky” one like dates, cranberries, or plump raisins. Making these with dried mango and shredded coconut, for example, would not work because there’s not enough stickiness to keep them together.



No sugar added collagen protein bars are convenient AND good for you!


Cranberry Fig Collagen Protein Bars

Prep Time 00:15 Cook Time 00:00 Serves 8 bars


  • 1 cup dried black Mission figs, stems removed
  • 1 cup unsweetened dried cranberries
  • 1/2 cup Vital Proteins Collagen Peptides
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil, room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon grated orange zest
  • 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt


  1. Combine the figs and cranberries in a food processor for 60 seconds until finely chopped and sticky.
  2. Add the peptides, coconut oil, orange zest, and sea salt and process 15 more seconds to thoroughly combine.
  3. Line a large cutting board with parchment paper.
  4. Transfer the mixture to the cutting board and shape into a rectangle about 1/3 to 1/2-inch thick with your hands.
  5. Place in the freezer for about 30 minutes until firm.
  6. Using a sharp knife, slice the rectangle in half widthwise and into quarters lengthwise to make 8 bars. Store in the refrigerator.


Cranberry Relish Meatballs [AIP Friendly]

These lil’ pups were one of the dishes I took on my trip to Omaha this weekend. We had a second reception so that more family & friends could be included since we had such an intimate wedding. It was a blast to bring my family from Florida to the Midwest for the first time. A cold front of 40 degrees didn’t get in the way of us having an amazing time. We took them to downtown Omaha for lunch, I got to play on a playground (my, like, 3rd favorite thing to do in the world), we had a huge family BBQ, did a nice trail run wth my sisters, and then the reception was at a beautiful home (er, lodge mansion) on a secluded lake. It couldn’t have been better.
I don’t like to “bother” people with all my food allergies/intolerances, so I never ask for special accomodations. I usually just prep my ass off the week prior and bring everything I need for the weekend (providing I am gone no longer than 2-3 days). I put everything in a freezable lunchbag that I got from Bed, Bath & Beyond which keeps my meat frozen until I get to the hotel fridge. The hotel we stayed at had a full kitchen with an oven and microwave which was awesome, but that is usually not the case.


For Friday-Sunday morning i brought

– 3 grassfed burgers, pre-grilled

– 3 servings of these Cranberry Chicken Meatballs

– Roasted sweet potato coins (those are like candy to me and lasted 1 whole afternoon)

– Baby carrots

– Cooked radishes

– Two types of dressing

– AIP BBQ Sauce

When I arrived, I picked up a few fresh items from Omaha’s Whole Foods including

– Mineral water

– Kombucha

– Organic lettuce for salads

– Grassfed ribeye to grill


This was probably the best I have planned for the trip and the first one that I wasn’t starving and feeling deprived the entire time. I have learned it is BEYOND important to pack delicious food on vacation or you have to suffer on the sidelines, watching everyone enjoy Bacon-wrapped Fill in the Blank, Cheesecake, and BBQ sandwiches. I knew we would be serving BBQ at the reception, which is why I brought my own AIP BBQ sauce, since it is by far my favorite food, and it would be emotionally difficult to have to avoid it.


I will be going to San Diego this Thursday through Sunday, and I will be packing enough food for probably 1/2 of meals. I’m confident I’ll be able to find restaurants to accommodate me there since it’s more health-centric than Omaha or Chicago. I’ll definitely do a round-up next week on that trip!



Cranberry Relish Meatballs

Makes 16 meatballs | Ready in 30 minutes

12 oz cranberries (I used frozen)

1 T coconut vinegar

½ tsp cinnamon

1 T organic blackstrap molasses (adds depth of flavor & sweetness; I do not suggest omitting)

2 lbs chicken thighs

2 T chopped fresh rosemary

½ tsp sea salt

1 T coconut oil

  1. Place all cranberry sauce ingredients except molasses in a small saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a simmer, cover, and let cook about 10 minutes until the cranberries are softened. You may need to stir once or twice to prevent burning. Remove from heat and stir in molasses, mashing the cranberries with a spoon as you do this.
  2. Place chicken , rosemary, and sea salt in a food processor or blender and puree until smooth. In a large saucepan, heat 1 T coconut oil over medium-high heat. Make 16 2-oz meatballs with the mixture. Fry on each side for 6-8 minutes until cooked through. You will likely need to cook them in 2 batches to avoid over-crowding the pan which prevents proper browning.
  3. Serve topped with a dollop of cranberry sauce. Side dish idea: mashed root vegetables or braised greens.