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Over time, I’ve had many requests for nut-free and even coconut-free treats. I know I’ve taken a bit of blogging break, but for the past year or two I’ve made these blueberry muffins so regularly that I wanted to share them with you all. I love them because they are about as harmless as a muffin can get. My bestie actually calls them “sad muffins” (but she makes them often, too;)) because not only are they high in protein and have good fat, but they’re also gluten-free, dairy-free (well, except for the butter), grain-free, nut-free, low oxalate, low FODMAP, low sugar, and low carb….am I forgetting anything? So yeah, I get it. They don’t sounds super fun and they probably aren’t quite as exciting as my cookie cake or Alice’s Molton Lava Cake recipe….But they are a great, tasty (I LOOOOVE them!) and clearly a healthy muffin for travel, for a snack, to have with breakfast to make sure I get my fill in, or whatever. 
 
I use this Gerbs brand pumpkin seed flour and it’s awesome! The flour is very neutral tasting which is great for baking. I was excited to find it on Amazon, but the company will have a promotion every once in awhile so then I’ll buy directly from them. Here is the flour along with the two other ingredients I use for this recipe…Add some eggs, baking soda and salt and that’s about all you need!
While I’ve used the sunflower seed flour as well, it does have a distinct taste. And, it also will turn your baked goods green which could scare the kids away. These were made using half pumpkin seed flour and half sunflower seed flour and they still turned green! They were fresh out of the oven so had I waited even longer they would have turned even more green. The cooler they get, the greener they get. It’s actually a pretty neat, and benign, chemical reaction.
 
Here are the muffins with all pumpkin seed flour and blueberries. I used chocolate the other day to mix it up (per the picture above) but I actually like these muffins better with blueberries.
 
I cannot believe this girl is almost 16! And I can’t get her to be in my pictures anymore but I tricked her the other day while she was in her Covid days PJ attire. She might kill me for these, but I finally got her…
Here are my HAPPY blueberry muffins! I hope you like them as much as I do!

Ah, my always willing participant, George…

You can freeze these by the way. Microwave them for 30 seconds and then you’re ready to enjoy your HAPPY Muffin!!

My Happy Muffins
Author: 
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 16 muffins
 
Ingredients
  • Fresh blueberries (about 1 cup or so)
  • 3 eggs
  • ⅓ cup butter, melted
  • 1½ cups pumpkin seed flour
  • ½ cup coconut sugar (feel free to add more if the battter isn't sweet enough)
  • ¾ tsp sea salt
  • ¾ tsp baking soda
  • Dash vanilla extract
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350F.
  2. Mix wet ingredients together in a bowl and stir.
  3. Mix dry ingredients in another bowl and stir.
  4. Combine the wet with dry.
  5. Grease muffin tins or use cup holders. Pour in batter to fill cups about ⅔ of the way full and cook for 18-20 minutes or until done. Makes about 16. Sorry for the random number but I'm not very good at math. I wish I could tell you all how to make 12 or 18 at a time. 🙂 I just make 16 every time.

It almost sounds like an oxymoron to me. I mean, don’t get my wrong, I love salads. Sometimes. But they can leave me feeling a little unsatisfied. 

But, the past few weeks, I’ve been craving and eating lots of salad because of this one particular secret ingredient. Okay, it’s not really secret or even that unique, but it has really intensified my and my daughter’s love — and my son and husband’s somewhat semi-like (if they have to) — for my salads lately.

All you really need to make a good, hearty(ish), satisfying salad is some seeds or nuts (use more than you think you should use) cooked in butter (use more than you think you should use) and fruit. Who doesn’t love sweet and salty??

So I’ll use a small pan, add about 1 tbsp of butter, and about 1/4 cup of seeds/nuts and cook until they’re nice and brown. It’s doesn’t take long and definitely, even if you think you will remember, even if you’re walking away for just a second, DO NOT walk out of the room to do something “real quick”. And unfortunately…this wasn’t my first time but I definitely set a record with the amount of smoke that filled the kitchen. UGH. Add in some sliced apples or strawberries or blueberries to balance the salty taste from the butter and seeds (although I used salted butter and unsalted seeds, it helps to have one be salted) and then add your dressing. Add a dash of salt if neither your seeds/nuts or butter has any. As for dressing, I love to use Tessemae’s (we typically use Balsamic or Lemon Garlic). Sometimes I’ll add in a little dash of true balsamic vinegar, and a couple drops of stevia. 

For the sunflower seeds, I usually get them unsalted. I use them with a lot of my meals (added on top for crunch) but will also snack on them. To me, the salt is addictive. The pumpkin seeds in the middle are from Costco. They’re great for adding to things that don’t have a lot of flavor on their own. And the Go Raw sprouted pumpkin seeds on the end are a favorite. You can get them at Whole Foods for about $18 or Vitacost.com for about $12 or less, if they having a sale. Gotta love Vitacost!

These sunflower seeds turned out a bit better, and prettier, but I think I could have used more butter. Once you cook your seeds, pour them and the butter into the salad mixture. Don’t let a drop of butter go wasted!. It makes the salad so good!

My favorite salad typically includes baby kale or spinach but you can use anything you’d like.

And be sure to use a BIG bowl for your meal. Yeah, I eat right out of this giant thing. It is a salad after all…

Happy Summer, everyone! 

Super Satisfying Summer Salad
Author: 
Prep time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 2
 
Ingredients
  • 4 oz salad mix (I prefer baby kale or spinach but you can use whatever you like)
  • handful of slices apples or strawberries or whatever fruit you prefer
  • about ¼ of seeds or nuts
  • about 1 tbsp of butter
  • salad dressing such as Tessemae's Balsamic or Lemon Garlic
Instructions
  1. Place butter and seeds/nuts (if you use nuts, crush or chop them first) to a small pan and heat on medium heat.
  2. Stir every couple of minutes so they cook evenly.
  3. While that cooks, in a large bowl, add you greens and cut up your fruit.
  4. Don't forget about the seeds/nuts cooking!
  5. Once they are done, pour the seeds/nuts and butter "juice" onto your salad but only when you are ready to eat the salad. Otherwise it will get soggy. Plus the warm seeds/nuts make the salad extra good!
  6. Add dressing and mix together. We like Tesseamae's Balsamic. Sometimes I'll add a touch of balsamic vinegar and about 3 drops of stevia but play around see how you like it best!

 

My family loves any kind of taco, so this recipe was a no brainer. My favorite thing about it is how ridiculously easy it was to prepare!! All you need is pork loin, a slow cooker, salsa verde sauces (that I buy) and some garnishes like guacamole, cilantro, lime, salsas, and tortillas. The first time I made it, I roasted poblano peppers, tomatillos, garlic cloves and onions and then blended that with tons of cilantro and some lime juice and salt. And it was great! But the next two times, I made it with just a couple jars of salsa verde and honestly, the taste wasn’t that different. I’m all for using jars and making things easier if I can.

Sorry, warning you for maybe the grossest picture ever below, per my husband. He is such a boy…but he isn’t wrong. I just wanted y’all to see just how easy this recipe is!!

This week, I used this Frontera and Sol Del Rio (both from Whole Foods) sauce combination. I did add a little cumin, salt and lime juice to the pork after it was cook with these two sauces and I think it turned out pretty great.These use to be my old staple salsa verde sauces. When I lived in San Francisco, many moons ago, I fell in love with salsa verde. But I could never find one here in Atlanta that wasn’t sweet or that would even come close to comparing until I found this salsa. It’s still not like the fresh stuff I would get in SF but it’s not bad for a jar.

You could use Siete or regular corn tortillas. Add a good guacamole and wah-lah! We used Whole Foods Pineapple Mango (next to their pre-made guacamole and pico in the veggie aisle) to add a twist to it and it was delicious!! 

Pork Salsa Verde
Author: 
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 8
 
Ingredients
  • 2 pork loins (approximately 2 pounds in all)
  • 2 jars Salsa Verde
  • Corn or Siete tortillas
  • Avocado, cilantro and any other garnishes you would like.
Instructions
  1. Trim or just pull the fat from the pork loins and place in slow cooker.
  2. Add your salsa verde
  3. Cook on high heat for 4 hours or low for about 6.
  4. You'll know it's done with you put a fork in the loin and it begins pulls apart easily.
  5. Shred it so it can soak up the juices.
  6. Taste and add extra salt, lime, cumin, etc as needed.
  7. Serve and enjoy!

 

Hi all! I hope you guys are hanging in during this crazy time. It has a been a really long time since I’ve posted, and to be honest, I wasn’t sure if I would ever post again. But over the past year or so, I’ve come up with a few new recipes that have become such staples that I wanted to share. I kept thinking, if only I had some time, I would post. Ha, who would have ever thought we would all have so much time!? Be careful what you ask for!

Anyway, I know my site is a little old, and my typing might be rusty, but hopefully the recipe is one you end up loving as much as I do. It’s easy, hearty, and tasty!!

The recipe I want to share today is a new favorite. It’s my Chicken Broccoli Casserole. You can use cauliflower rice, as I do often, but they didn’t have any at the store today. It gives it that nice heartier texture but is just as good without it so do whatever you prefer!

You can cut your own mushrooms and broccoli and make your own chicken, but to make it as easy as possible, I use these ingredients…

The nutritional yeast gives it a nice cheesy-like flavor with adding LOTS of B vitamins! You can make it without, I have a few times, but I do prefer it with the yeast. You can get it at Whole Foods, Sprouts, Amazon, and Vitacost.

I love my Ulu knife to chop the broccoli up. I used it with the mushrooms too before I sautéed them. It is definitely one of my favorite kitchen utensils. 
Add the steamed broccoli and all of the other ingredients on top of the sautéed mushrooms, mix, and bake. I like to use multiple small dishes so I can freeze some for my breakfast or lunch for myself for a later time. 
I hope y’all like it!
Chicken Broccoli Casserole
Author: 
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 6
 
Ingredients
  • 2 packs of broccoli or about 24 oz of crowns
  • 2 packs of mushrooms or just 1 if you don't love mushrooms but I think it really make this recipes but you could substitute or/add cauliflower rice.
  • optional bag of cauliflower rice
  • 1 rotisserie chicken
  • 1¼ cup or about half a jar of mayo (i love the Primal or Chosen Foods avocado mayo)
  • ½ tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ¼ cup nutritional yeast
  • 2 tbsp butter or ghee
Instructions
  1. Preheat your oven to 350.
  2. Wash the mushrooms in a colander and pat them dry with a paper towel. Put them in a large pot with 2 tbsp of butter or ghee. Stir occasionally for about 10-15 min or until nice and brown.
  3. While that is cooking, shred your chicken and put it on a separate plate.
  4. Next, steam your broccoli (and cauliflower rice if you decide to use it.). You can either just microwave the bags, one at a time for 2½ minutes, yes it's not as good for yo with the plastic bag on high heat, but it definitely the easiest (just take the broccoli out of the bag ASAP and dump it with the cooked mushrooms), or add about 1 cup of water to another pot and add the broccoli and allow it to steam until nice and tender, for about 5-6 minutes.
  5. Next, add the broccoli, cauliflower rice if you used it, and chicken the large pot with the mushrooms. Add the remaining ingredients and stir all together.
  6. Put everything in a glass casserole dish and bake it 35 minutes.

UPDATED 7/8/19 – see update regarding the Nature’s Way Kelp below…
 
Do you sweat a lot and/or urinate frequently? Eat a Paleo or whole foods type of diet? If so, do you also ever get:
 
  • fatigue and weakness
  • constipation
  • unexpected weight gain or inability to lose weight 
  • low heart rate
  • heavy or irregular periods
  • feeling cold when it’s not cold
  • depression
For the past 10 or so years, I have gone to my office, CentreSpring MD, for quarterly labs. And for whatever reason, my thyroid has always been sluggish (low FreeT3 in particular) during the summer months. I could never figure out why, so I always just assumed my body hated the heat and humidity.
 
We got a Peloton recently and I LOVE it. But I also started to notice that it makes me sweat way more than any other activity. After spinning for over an hour (just mild or moderately) the other day, I couldn’t get over how much I sweat. It was truly disgusting. Anyway, for a couple of days after, I noticed I was constantly fatigued and my mood was even kind of flat which is unlike me. I couldn’t help thinking that there was something that I became depleted in during that ride. Anyway, I took some extra minerals to make sure it wasn’t an electrolyte imbalance. I also took extra potassium, zinc, and magnesium but the fatigue continued.
 
Then, I read about just how easily we deplete our iodine stores. We can actually get enough iodine if we eat plenty of the following foods:
  • Seaweed, one whole sheet dried: 11–1,989% of the RDI
  • Cod, 3 ounces (85 grams): 66% of the RDI
  • Yogurt, plain, 1 cup: 50% of the RDI
  • Iodized salt, 1/4 teaspoon (1.5 grams): 47% of the RDI
  • Shrimp, 3 ounces (85 grams): 23% of the RDI
  • Egg, 1 large: 16% of the RDI
  • Tuna, canned, 3 ounces (85 grams): 11% of the RDI
  • Dried prunes, 5 prunes: 9% of the RDI
Following a Paleo Whole 30 type meal plan and using mainly Celtic and Himalayan salts (which have over 70 minerals but no iodine), I suspected I needed more iodine. Even though, I take a 100 mg supplement I wondered still if maybe I wasn’t getting enough. So I found an old bottle of Nature’s Way Kelp and took a capsule….
 
I thought to myself, it will be interesting to see if or how much this kelp helps me over the next few weeks. And then…about an hour later I realized I suddenly felt wide awake, my mood lifted and I had an overall feeling of wellness. About an hour after that I got a PR on my Peloton (and not by just a little but by 15 overall points on a 30 min ride)! The next day, same thing and another PR! It’s been a week and the fatigue hasn’t returned, and it’s been 95 degrees here which would typically wipe me out. After all of these years, I think I’ve finally figured out why my thyroid always suffered in the summer/humid months!!!
 
UPDATED!!!: This Nature’s Way Kelp made me feel worse after taking it a month. Apparently after a study at UC Davis, they found high levels on arsenic. It even affected my labs. Fortunately, after just a few days of not taking it and switching to just eating Organic Roasted Seaweed (Costco’s carries it!) every day I have felt better, my energy is back, and my weight has normalized. NOW Brand is suppose to have a good organic one from Amazon. I hope if you took this one you didn’t have the reaction I did. Hard to believe they would be allow to still have this one the market….
 
 
**But, there are two important things to note before taking iodine via kelp or any other form.**
ONE, IF you take iodine, you must balance it with selenium. So you can take a capsule (I take this one) or eat about 4-5 Brazil nuts per day every day. 
TWO, if you use iodize table salt regularly (like Morton’s regular table salt) or if you have Hashimoto’s, do not take it without having your iodine levels tested or without consulting a physician. Please read this article here. 
 
Also make sure you aren’t possibly low in other trace minerals, vitamins, etc. And ideally, test your iodine levels before taking a supplement. 
 
I hope this new discovery can help you as much as it helped me. Keep in mind, these are just suggestions as I am not a doctor. Feel free to get your levels test at your doctor’s office and be sure not to take anything for too long term without guidance. I plan on taking it through the summer and then will switch to a lower dose. I can’t tell you how much to take but for me, one of these capsules a day has been great. Here is a good post by Dr. William Davis that touches on the amounts. Okay on to the food/smoothie….
 
REESE’S PIECES SMOOTHIE (named by Tate)
 
Not that this smoothie has anything to do with thyroid health, although you could certain add your Brazil nuts to it, but it’s my son and husband’s new favorite snack. We like to call it the Reese’s Pieces smoothie. It’s so good and satisfying, especially when it’s so hot outside!! It’s the perfect snack for my kids just before lacrosse camp, tennis practice or dive meets!
  • 3 tbsp chocolate protein powder (this is what we use or see picture below)
  • 1 tbsp raw cacao powder
  • 1.5 tbsp peanut butter (or almond butter or sunflower seed butter)
  • 1 cup almond milk (or milk of your choice)
  • 6 drops stevia 
  • 1 tsp avocado oil (optional)
  • Big handful ice 
  • 2 tbsps dark chips (we love Enjoy Life Dark chips)

I blend together all of the ingredients but the ice and chocolate chips. Then I add the ice and blend. Lastly, I add the chocolate chips since the boys like the chocolate kind of chunky. It really tastes like a milkshake. And it’s so refreshing! Enjoy!!   

I realize I accidentally left the avocado oil out of the picture but maybe that is best so the kids don’t see it!

 

It was hard to take pics of just a brown smoothie so I called in reinforcement since we needed some pictures for the food post…

Happy summer, y’all!

  • Rebecca Owen - Hi, just curious why you choose Kelp over an Iodine supplement? Do you know if increasing iodine will also help to increase Ferritin levels? Thanks so much!ReplyCancel