Herb Seasoned Cast Iron Chicken (AIP/Paleo)

Herb Seasoned Cast Iron Chicken (AIP/Paleo)

Life has been a little (Read: A lot) crazy lately. Between working full time with my nanny kiddos home for summer vacation, trying to fit in traveling and family visits before I get too pregnant to go far away, and preparing for Baby Sweet Potato’s arrival I have been all about making simple, maintenance meals. Most night’s consist of stir fry, leftovers, or something from the crockpot. However, I have also been re-discovering the joy of my cast iron skillets and how tastey they can make even the simplest of one-pot dishes. I have especially been enjoying cooking meat in them lately. The combination of searing the outsides and baking the insides of everything from chicken to steak creates a fantastic texture to the meat and really amplifies the flavor but it also super easy!

I know that you all are probably just as busy as me these days to I wanted to pass along this simple little recipe in the hopes that it will bring some delicious ease to your weeknight dinners. Enjoy.

Herb Seasoned Cast Iron Chicken (AIP/Paleo)

Herb Seasoned Cast Iron Chicken (AIP/Paleo)

Ingredients: 

2 TBS Coconut Oil

4 Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breasts

1/2 tsp Sea Salt

1/2 tsp Dried Oregano

1/2 tsp Garlic Powder

1/2 tsp Dried Basil

1/2 tsp Dried Thyme

 

Directions: 

Preheat your oven to 375. Take an 8 inch or larger cast iron skillet and melt your coconut over medium/high heat. Combine all of your spices into a bowl and stir to combine. Rub your seasoning mix over your chicken, covering it entirely. When your pan is hot place the chicken in the pan and reduce your heat to medium. Cook for 10 minutes, flipping the chicken in two minute increments. Leaving the chicken in the skillet place it in the oven and bake for 15 minutes. Serve and enjoy.

What AIP Bloggers Do For Fun…

What AIP Bloggers Do For Fun...

I know that each of you out there has a handful of AIP or Paleo bloggers who are just your favorites! They post your favorite recipes and you love to follow them on Instagram. What you may be surprised to know, however, that most of us are actually friends in real life! We talk often about recipes, our goals and community projects and we also just like to have a good time. Recently, I got the amazing chance to hang out with four of these awesome writers in the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains for a weekend and it was a blast! I was joined by Eileen of Phoenix Helix, Angie of Autoimmune Paleo, Sophie of A Squirrel in the Kitchen, and Jamie of Gutsy By Nature, and since we all live in different parts of the United States it was a rare treat to get to hang with these beautiful ladies in person.

Attachment-26So you may be asking yourself what does a group of AIP bloggers do for fun? Well, we do a lot of hanging out and talking to start with. It was so fascinating to get to hear how everyone’s health journey is going, and how everyone’s experience with the autoimmune protocol has effected them. We all have different autoimmune diseases but its easy to understand and relate to the frustrations and victories of each other’s journeys. We also talked about our blogs and our fantastic readers and what our goals are for the future of our writing. When we tired of talking we did some fun activities like getting fantastic reflexology done on our feet… (side note: if you are pregnant go right now and have someone do Attachment-15reflexology on you because it feels incredible after spending all of your time carrying another growing human around). We also explored the local town and attempted to go tubing down a river but were thwarted by some nasty weather. Finally, no AIP retreat would be complete without lots and lots of yummy food!

The bulk of our food was generously provided by Paleo on the Go, which is a meal delivery service that has both paleo and AIP friendly meal options that are already cooked and delivered to your home. Honestly, I have been eyeing Paleo on the Go for months and I even thought about ordering food from them for our trip to Hawaii but I was skeptical so I never pulled the trigger. After this weekend I am no longer a skeptic. My biggest concerns before trying them

Examples of some of our yummy food from Paleo on the Go

Examples of some of our yummy food from Paleo on the Go

were the price and the portion size. From looking at the food online it looked like a lot of money for not a lot of food, but I was definitely wrong on that front. The portion sizes are very generous and even at six months pregnant one meal serving filled me up for everything we tried. The first night we tried their herb roasted chicken, roasted root vegetables and bone broth. Everything was very good and very well seasoned! The next morning for breakfast I tried the chicken breakfast sausage and collard greens. The sausages were much larger patties than I usually make and they were very flavorful and the collard greens were a delicious AIP version of southern style collards. Our second dinner was the shepherd’s pie. I was a little skeptical of this dish because I usually make mine with sweet potatoes on top rather than cauliflower and the meat contained some beef heart, which I had never tried. Let me tell you, usually I can sniff out organ meat a mile away but I gobbled up that shepherd’s pie without a second thought and the cauliflower made a perfectly thick topping. Plus again, the portions were very big. We also had their cream of broccoli soup that night, and honestly that may have been one of my favorite dishes. It distinctly reminded me of my favorite broccoli and cheddar soup that used to be served at this café on my college campus. I will happily admit I ate three bowls of it over the course of the weekend. Over the course of the rest of the weekend we also had their chicken soup, the creamy chicken and bacon alfredo, and the bangers and mash. I was genuinely impressed with each dish. It has been a long time since I was able to put a pre-cooked dinner in the microwave and be sitting down to eat a few minutes later and honestly it was a treat. We as AIPers spend so much time in the kitchen it was a true blessing to get a break for one weekend and instead focus on relaxation and good company. Now having tried the food, I am strongly considering buying some for my postpartum period and for future vacations. Cost wise, I would say that you need to compare it to the cost of eating out at an AIP compliant restaurant while on vacation. The food is up to that caliber as is the convenience and if you look at it through that lens the prices are very reasonable. If you are interested in checking out Paleo on the Go click HERE.

I am so thrilled that I was able to spend time with all of these fantastic bloggers and selfishly, it was nice to have a weekend to focus on myself and think about the blog before we get ready to welcome our new little arrival this fall. If you haven’t added these lovely ladies to your list of go-to bloggers you should do so immediately!

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“Chocolate” Cream Pie (AIP/Paleo)

"Chocolate" Cream Pie (AIP/Paleo)

This coming November I will have been following the autoimmune protocol for three years. That is hard for me to even believe. Recently, I was looking back through all of the recipes I have created for the blog in that time and I realized that there were a few I had totally forgotten about, but just seeing their picture brought back so many memories. For every dish I can remember the motivation, the time in life it was created and what meaning it had to me. It is amazing how many memories food can trigger.

All of this reminiscing has me nostalgic now so I decided to go back and share a recipe with you that I created almost two years ago. At the time, I created it for a different project and I only recently got the green light to share it with all of you. This was one of the first original desserts I created on the protocol and it is still one of my favorites. The texture is fantastic and it is just the kind of comfort food dessert that will leave you happy and any non-AIP family and friends begging for more. Quite honestly I was very happy with myself when I created it all those years ago and I am just as happy to share it with you all today. I hope it will help you create many lovely memories to look back on.

"Chocolate" Cream Pie (AIP/Paleo)

“Chocolate” Cream Pie (AIP/Paleo)

Ingredients:

Crust:

  • 1 1/2 cups of coconut flour
  • a pinch of unrefined sea salt
  • 2/3 cup coconut oil, melted
  • 2/3 cup of shredded coconut

Filling:

  • 2 1/2 cups of full fat coconut milk (about 1 and a half cans)
  • pinch of salt
  • 2 tbs of vanilla extract (Optional)
  • ½ cup of honey
  • 1/2 cup of coconut butter
  • 1 cup of carob powder
  • 6 TBS Tapioca Flour
  • 2 TBS water
  • Large coconut flakes (optional)

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a food processor, blend all of your crust ingredients. Scoop the mixture into an 8-inch pie plate and press to cover the entire plate and make a full crust; bake the crust for 15 minutes or until lightly golden brown.

2. In a large sauce pan, combine your coconut milk, carob, honey, and coconut butter. Stir over low to medium heat until it comes to a slow boil.

3. In a small bowl dissolve your tapioca flour in water and then pour it into the carob mixture stirring continuously. When the mixture has thickened slightly and developed a creamy texture pour it into your pie crust and smooth the top. (If the mixture thickens too much add in some more coconut milk, if it is not smooth enough blend it in the food processor). Refrigerate until chilled and firm (at least 2-3 hours). Garnish with large coconut flakes if desired.

 

Paleo & AIP in Hawaii

Hawaii FB

So holy cow you all, I have been a totally terrible blogger. With the craziness of my spring and then all of the kids that I nanny being out of school for the summer and my second trimester summer fatigue I have been cooking for survival and sleeping during all downtime. However, I do actually have things to share. Back in May my husband and I went on a huge trip to Hawaii! This was by far the biggest trip I have been on since going AIP and to say that I was a bit nervous about it is an understatement. Not only would I be traveling for almost 24 hours on a plane I would be eating away from home for over a week and shopping at unfamiliar stores. Plus I had been having severe morning sickness for the weeks leading up to the trip so that was an added complication. However, all of my planning paid off and my worry was unfounded because we had an absolutely incredible time!

Flying:

The travel was by far the most intimidating part of the trip planning for me. I haven’t flown since going AIP and we were going to be traveling for almost 24 hours. We had to drive about an hour and a half to the airport at 5am, take one flight that lasted about four hours and another last lasted about seven hours and then finally a third that was about an hour. I ate breakfast before getting to the airport so that I wasn’t hungry at the start. For the plane I took my small lunch cooler with some prepackaged watermelon, two precooked hamburgers, two uncut avocado, and two sandwich bags with sweet potato salad. I bought these ice packs because they are under 3oz each and I put them together in a quart sized Ziploc bag to avoid any issues going through security. Then, in my backpack I packed plantain chips, small packets of almond butter (not AIP, reintroduced), apples, some lara bars (Not AIP, reintroduced) and some Hail Merry Macaroons (Not AIP, contains reintroductions). I picked up some plastic forks and some salt in the airport and bought some big bottles of water and even some coconut water. TSA gave me no trouble and everything went very smoothly.

 

The Big Island:

The kitchen in our Big Island rental

The kitchen in our Big Island rental

As is always the case when traveling on a restricted diet, it is easier to stay in a house with a kitchen than in a hotel and in our case it was also much more economical. We stayed in a great little two bedroom rental that we found on Home Away that gave us lots of space, privacy and a great kitchen for a fraction of the cost of a hotel or resort. On our way home from the airport we stopped at Island Naturals, a natural foods grocery store that is literally 2 miles from the Hilo Airport. Here we got enough food to last us through our first 24 hours, as well as some staples like pastured eggs (reintroduction) local fruit like papaya, olive oil, and uncured bacon. After getting some sleep and recovering from travel we went to the local grocery store, KTA, and stocked up on

Lunch at The Volcano House

Lunch at The Volcano House

everything else we needed including local produce and grass-fed local meat. Our breakfasts mostly consisted of papaya, protein and some occasional eggs. Lunches were salads and fruit which we would pack in a cooler provided in our rental home and take out with us on our excursions. One day we went out to eat for lunch at the Volcano House Restaurant in Volcano National Park. I was able to get some plain chicken and some veggies, but honestly it was more about the experience of eating lunch while looking at the volcano. I would highly recommend eating there during the daytime because it wasn’t

Us on the ATV tour of the Waipio Valley... So Much Fun!

Us on the ATV tour of the Waipio Valley… So Much Fun!

crowded and we got to sit right at the window without a reservation, whereas for dinner they get very crowded. For dinners we mostly cooked out on the grill at our house and enjoyed

dinner at home after running around doing fun things all day. We went on a snorkel cruise over a coral reef, saw a sea turtle on a black sand beach, visited the volcanoes, drove through lava fields, went on an ATV tour of the Waipio Valley (highly recommend)  and did a lot of exploring.

 

Kauai:

After three full days on the big island we took a little morning flight over to Kauai. After we landed and got our rental car we went over to Costco which is right by the airport. A lot of the other paleo bloggers had recommended going there, but it really didn’t work for us. We weren’t staying long enough and it was only the two of us so it just didn’t make sense to buy that much food. I bought a case of coconut water and that was about it. Instead we went to papaya natural foods and just bought our groceries there. It was a little pricey but they had everything we needed plus a natural smoothie bar that we enjoyed getting smoothies at a few times during our stay. We stayed at another Home Away rental in Kauai. The house was lovely and private and it had a big grill and a patio. The only cooking issue was that ranges are not allowed in small houses on the island so we had a microwave, a toaster oven, a slow cooker, and a few hot plates but no regular oven and range. Honestly I could have done a much better job of cooking with what we had, than I did but by this time I was in full vacation mode so while we did cook our breakfasts and lunches same as on The Big Island we went out a little more for dinner.

Our rental house in Kauai

Our rental house in Kauai

Uncovering the Kalua Pork at the Luau

Uncovering the Kalua Pork at the Luau

One night we went to The Smith Family Luau which was something we had planned for a long time. It was a fantastic experience. Right when I bought our tickets back in the winter I emailed them about my dietary restrictions and multiple times they emailed me to confirm and to explain how they would handle my meal. The grounds and the show and the music were fantastic and when it came time to eat they made sure to bring me all compliant meat and vegetables which included the incredible kalua pork that is the centerpiece of the whole event. I would highly recommend it as an activity if you visit the island. On our last night we also went out to have a fancy dinner at the

Just me having a great time!

Just me having a great time!

Tidepools Restaurant, which is part of a resort on the south side of the island. They were also very accommodating and we had a lovely time. In terms of activities we visited many beaches, and my hubby even took a surfing lesson!

When it came time to sadly say goodbye to the tropical paradise we so enjoyed I prepared much the same way I did on our trip over, I packed burgers, roasted sweet potatoes, avocados, and snacks and again no one gave me any trouble.

I could not be more thrilled with the way this trip worked out. I did a lot of research in preparation for it, but it all paid off and it went incredibly smoothly. Hawaii is definitely a great place to go if you are nervous about traveling on AIP!

AIP & Paleo in Hawaii

Strawberry Crumb Bars (AIP/Paleo)

Strawberry Crumb Bars (AIP/Paleo)

I cannot believe that it is already July! I had so much planned in my mind for this summer I envisioned it going by so slowly, but instead it has already begun to fly by! My days have been filled with trying to create both structure and adventure for my nanny kiddos who are loving being out of school. We do a lot of fun things like going to the pool, going to the library and the book store and going to see the $1 kid movies at the theater but we also spend some fun time at home and one of the things I have been trying to surprise them with is fun snacks. Now this is a bit of a challenge for me some days, because keeping an adventurous schedule in the 90 degree heat at 5 months pregnant usually has me totally worn out by snack time, but I try to come up with something new and fun at least one day a week. There are a couple of picky eaters in the group who don’t love trying new things but for he most part these strawberry crumb bars were well received and enjoyed this past week. The only challenge was trying to find time to take pictures of them before the kids saw them and ate them up! Strawberry Crumb Bars (AIP/Paleo)

Strawberry Crumb Bars (AIP/Paleo)

Ingredients:

Crust:

½ cup coconut flour

2 TBS arrowroot flour

2/3 cup of melted coconut oil

2 TBS honey

½ tsp vanilla extract

4 TBS water

Filling:

3 cups of fresh strawberries, washed and halved

1 TBS Lemon Juice

¼ cup of honey

3 tsp arrowroot powder

Topping:

1/3 cup of cold coconut oil

¼ cup of coconut flour

2 TBS tapioca flour

1 TBS honey

1/8 cup of cold water

Directions:

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. In a medium bowl combine your coconut flour and arrow root powder. Add in your honey, coconut oil and vanilla extract and combine. Next, add in your water and stir until the batter begins to thicken. Take a 9×9 baking pan and line it with parchment paper. Spread the batter evenly across the bottom of the pan and puncture with a fork. Bake for 15 mins or until golden brown. As the crust bakes, take a large sauce pan and combine your cut strawberries, lemon juice and honey. Bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer until the strawberries are very soft and some of the liquid has begun to thicken (about 15 mins). Then slowly sprinkle in your arrowroot powder, stirring continuously to keep it from clumping. Stir until it is well incorporated and the sauce has thickened. When the crust is finished, take it out of the oven and pour your strawberries over the crust. To make the topping, combine your cold coconut oil, coconut flour, tapioca flour, honey, cinnamon, sea salt and water in a small mixing bowl and stir until a well mixed crumbly dough forms. Sprinkle it over the top of the dish and then refrigerate for 2-4 hours or overnight. Cut into bars and serve cold.

 

 

 

Banana Fudge-sicles (AIP/Paleo/No Sugar Added)

Banana Fudge-sicles (AIP/Paleo/No Added Sugar)

Well summer is here, school is out and the pressure is on to come up with some fun activities for summer vacation! I love having the kiddos in my life around more, but it can definitely be a challenge to come up with enough new and challenging activities to avoid the dreaded (and common) words we adults hate to hear all summer long… “I’m bored”. One thing that I have found fun is coming up with fun snack ideas that the kids can either participate in or be surprised by. The added bonus is that if they help make the food they are far less likely to complain about it later!

These fudge-sicles are a great alternative to the more mainstream summer snacks that many kids eat like ice cream pops or icey juice filled with blue food coloring! They are super yummy and have no added sugar at all so your kids will be happy without being jacked up on sugar (win win). So, next time the bored whining starts maybe this can add a little healthy excitement to the day!

Banana Fudge-sicles (AIP/Paleo)

Banana Fudge-sicles (AIP/Paleo/No Added Sugar)

Ingredients: 

¾ cup of coconut milk

¼ cup of cocoa powder or carob powder (For AIP)

2 dates (softened)

2 TBS almond butter (omit for AIP)

2 TBS Collagen Powder (Optional)

1 banana (split into halves)

Directions: 

Place your dates in warm water for about 2-5 minutes or until softened. Add your coconut milk, cocoa or carob powder, dates, optional almond butter, optional collagen powder and half of your banana into a blender or food processor and blend until completely smooth. Pour the mixture into a popsicle mold, then thinly slice the remaining half of your banana and slide the slices into the sides of your popsicle molds, close the molds and place in the freezer for at least two hours. Pop them out and enjoy.

Mint Lime-Aid (AIP/Paleo)

Mint Limeade FB

Well, here we are in June, welcoming summer once again. Here in the south we have welcomed summer with a massive heat wave and I am telling you what I am feeling it! Obviously, staying hydrated is always concern but it especially important right now while I am pregnant.  I am so thirsty al the time and I am just getting tired of boring old water and herbal pregnancy tea. Recently we had some guests over and I decided to create a fun summer drink that everyone could enjoy and this was the result. Its a twist on traditional lemonade but it is delicious and refreshing and very summery! Obviously, nothing replaces regular water for actual hydration but this is a great treat on a hot summer day when water is just not doing the trick! I am really looking forward to the summer and this was a great drink for welcoming in the warm weather and sunshine! Enjoy!

Mint Lime-Aid (AIP/Paleo)

Mint Lime-Aid (AIP/Paleo)

Ingredients: 

1 1/2 cups of Lime Juice

1/2 cup of honey

4 + 1 cups of water

2 sprigs of fresh mint

Directions: 

in a large pitcher combine your lime juice with 4 cups of water. In a small bowl combine your honey and 1 cup of water and heat over the stove or in the microwave until combined. Add your honey syrup to the lime mixture. Stir in your mint leaves and chill in the refrigerator. Serve over ice or add in a splash of club soda and enjoy.