Tuesday, October 31, 2017

October 2017 Favorites

Oct 2017 Favorites

Continuing my tradition of sharing some favorites monthly, here are my October 2017 favorites! 

Just a reminder, some of these items contain affiliate links, but nothing in this post is directly sponsored by any company... I'm just sharing what I like! 

Oct 2017 Favorites: Beef and Broccoli (AIP)

Beef and Broccoli (AIP)
I’ve taken a couple trips this month, first going to Minneapolis/St. Paul, MN, then to Georgia and South Carolina. As I often do when I travel, I packed some “safe” food to take along. Beef and Broccoli is one of my go-to meals all of the time, but even more so when traveling. It’s easy to prepare in large quantities before a trip, it travels well, and it tastes good cold if I don’t have access to reheating. When traveling, I package the cooled Beef and Broccoli into quart-sized freezer Ziplocks and freeze them solid before travel. Then, when I’m ready to eat it, I thaw one in the fridge overnight and transfer it to a small Pyrex container. I like to top mine with garlic dill pickle sauerkraut and truffle salt.

Oct 2017 Favorites: XL 7-day pill organizer

XL 7-day pill organizer
Under the supervision of my Integrative MD, I’m on a more rigorous supplement regiment, tailored specifically to my needs as revealed in some recent testing. Some supplements I’m taking multiple times a day, but am taking different amounts at different times of the day, whereas before, I took things once in the morning and maybe again before bed. To keep myself from getting confused and to ensure that I would actually take the things my doctor is recommending, I invested in this new enormous pill organizer. And side note: I’ve never gotten so many DMs on Instagram as when I shared this pill organizer in my IG stories a few weeks ago! 

I still take the most things in the morning, so I end up using both the AM and the Noon spots for my morning pills. I’ve repurposed the evening spot for my afternoon ones and kept the bedtime slot for my nightly supplements. So far this organizer has been very useful and I feel I’ve been much more successful with actually taking what I intend to take while using this system.

The one bone I have to pick with the company manufacturing this pill organizer is their name “Stuff Seniors Need.” Yes, I do not fit in their target demographic, but I wish they’d have thought of more than just an older population when developing their marketing materials. (ok, I'll step off my soapbox now...)

Oct 2017 Favorites: Kuhn Rikon 4-inch nonstick paring knife

Kuhn Rikon 4-inch nonstick paring knife 
I’ve had two of these paring knifes since around 2009 and they’re still both going strong. Originally, I bought them to go in my culinary/pastry knife kit, but now I use them when traveling and occasionally in my day-to-day cooking adventures. They come in a wide variety of colors, but I happen to have a purple one and a light blue/periwinkle one. The knife sharpens easily, it fits really comfortably in my hand, and they’re very inexpensive (especially as knives go!) I also love that it comes with a matching cover, so I can throw it in my lunchbox to easily cut things (avocado, apples etc.) as needed.

Oct 2017 Favorites: Coconut + Argan Oil Cleansing Towelettes

Coconut + Argan Oil Cleansing Towelettes 
On a whim, I decided to try these as a good face cleansing option while traveling. I know myself well enough to know that I am much more lazy about my skincare when traveling! In the past, I’ve used a different company’s cleansing towelettes, but they started making my eyes burn… Yikes! Not good! I switched to these and have not felt that same burning.

The smell of these wipes took some getting use to—they smell a bit like Play-Doh—but they are effective and I no longer feel a burning like I did with the last brand I used. I’m sure they’re not perfect ingredient-wise, but they’ve been a great option while traveling or on the occasional night when I’m too tired to do a full face washing. I buy mine at Target, but they're also available on Amazon.

Oct 2017 Favorites: Penny Riding Boots
Photo by Rebekah Scadding

Sam Edelman Penny Riding Boots in Whiskey Leather (“Athletic Fit”)
I’ll be the first to admit, I’m not a fashion blogger. But I am a big fan of these boots and I’ve gotten some nice compliments on them too.

It’s taken me two years to find just the right tan tall riding boot because I’ve had a tough time finding ones with a wide calf shaft and with the right heel hight. Too short a heel and they feel weird when walking… Too tall and I can’t wear them long without my feet, back and legs hurting. These boots are wide enough in the shaft without being gap-y—I can wear them with jeans or leggings. They’re also very comfortable! I walked five miles in Boston in them over the weekend and didn’t get a single blister. My normal shoe size is a 9 1/2 (occasionally a 10) and these fit great as a 9 1/2.

I tried these boots on first in a department store, and while I really liked them and thought they fit well, the price didn’t work my limited budget. I checked on Amazon upon returning home, just in case, and they were less than half the price of the department store! To me, they're still a bit of an investment, but I know I’ll get lots of use out of them. Thanks to my friend Rebekah Scadding for taking the photo of me in these boots while we were in the Boston Public Garden this past weekend.

Oct 2017 Favorites: Teal Pumpkin Project

The Teal Pumpkin Project 
This year marks two years that we’ve participated in the Teal Pumpkin Project for Halloween. By putting a teal painted pumpkin outside our house (or you can buy one), we’re signaling to trick-or-treaters/parents-in-the-know that we’ll have allergy-friendly options. Since today is Halloween, it might be a little late for this year’s Teal Pumpkin Project, but maybe it will be something that can be utilized in future years. Since I grew up with food allergies, my heart really goes out to those kids who can't eat traditional treats.

Oct 2017 Favorites: Teal Pumpkin Project
painting my 2017 pumpkin while watching "Stranger Things 2"

We started a tradition last year of giving out glow stick bracelets instead of a food treat. I like that the glow stick bracelets are not only fun, but also help with visibility on a dark Halloween night.

So those are a few of my favorites from October. What are you loving lately?

Some of these items include affiliate links, meaning Sweet Treats makes a small commission off items purchased after a link is clicked with no additional cost to you. Thanks for your support.
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Sunday, October 1, 2017

"Magical" Chicken & Vegetable soup + Freezer Cooking for the Paleo AIP e-book

Freezer Cooking for the Paleo AIP

I’ve been keeping another secret from y’all! I’m very excited to announce the release another great e-book project: Freezer Cooking for the Paleo AIP.

"Freezer Cooking for the Paleo AIP" e-book

Compiled by my friend Jaime Lubich Hartman from Gutsy By Nature, this e-book features over 120 recipes (100% elimination-stage AIP-compliant) developed by 30 contributors AND includes specific freezer adaptations (packaging, freezing, storing, and serving) for every recipe. All the recipe categories are covered from breakfast to appetizers/snacks to soups/stews to casseroles to main dishes to side dishes to desserts! We’ve also dedicated this project to our friend Martine Partridge (eathealthrive.ca) who passed away in May.


I myself contributed 6 recipes to Freezer Cooking for the Paleo AIP AND designed the cover. These are seriously some of the best recipes I’ve ever developed! These are my recipes below 

Crispy Belgian Waffles 
Crispy Belgian Waffles from "Freezer Cooking for the Paleo AIP" e-book
These waffles stay extra crispy due to a special ingredient. 

“Magical” Chicken & Vegetable Soup
"Magical Chicken & Vegetable Soup from "Freezer Cooking for the Paleo AIP" e-book
Cover recipe! Sneak peak of an Instant Pot® variation of the recipe below. 

Garlic Balsamic Beef
Garlic Balsamic Beef from from "Freezer Cooking for the Paleo AIP" e-book
This is a recipe I’ve teased quite a bit on Instagram and it might be one of my husband’s favorite dishes I’ve ever made. He calls it “meat candy.” This recipe includes both stovetop AND Instant Pot® instructions in the e-book

Roasted Broccoli
Roasted Broccoli from "Freezer Cooking for the Paleo AIP" e-book
An absolute staple recipe I make at least once a week. 

Berry Fruit Crisp
Berry Fruit Crisp from "Freezer Cooking for the Paleo AIP" e-book
An easy dessert that can be assembled in minutes. Bake in a large baking dish OR in individual mason jars. 

Slice-and-Bake Icebox Cookies
Slice-and-Bake Icebox Cookies from "Freezer Cooking for the Paleo AIP" e-book
Really 4 recipes in one, as there is a plain vanilla version, cranberry orange, raspberry swirl, and “chocolate” mint. 

Giveaway! 

To celebrate the launch of Freezer Cooking for the Paleo AIP, some of my favorite AIP businesses and resources have joined together to giveaway over $900 in prizes, which will be awarded to 14 randomly selected individuals.

Here are the prizes:
  • A $250 gift certificate to fill your freezer with gourmet frozen meals from Paleo On the Go
  • A Hot Logic Mini Deluxe with Pyrex and Car Adapter ($70 value) to heat your frozen meals anywhere
  • Curated bundles of AIP-compliant food products from ShopAIP: The Starter Kit ($63 value); Baker’s Dream ($61 value); Snack Attack ($68 value); and Savor the Flavor ($61 value)
  • A full free year subscription to Autoimmune Strong ($180 value)
  • One free month of Individualized Wellness Coaching by Alissa M. Frazier ($125 value)
  • Free membership to AIP Batch Cook ($67 value)
  • The Autoimmune Paleo Cookbook by Mickey Trescott ($35 value)
  • The Phoenix Helix ebook collection by Eileen Laird ($45 value)
  • The Autoimmune Healing n=1 Workbook from Biohack U ($25 value)
  • Healing Eats by Kate Jay ($9 value)
  • AIP Safari by Bethany Darwin ($6 value)
*Due to shipping restrictions, the prizes from Paleo On the Go, Hot Logic, and ShopAIP are only open to winners with delivery addresses within the United States. Winner of The Autoimmune Paleo Cookbook will receive a signed print copy if a United States delivery address is provided, otherwise will receive a PDF copy. All other prizes are open to winners anywhere in the world, unless giveaway is otherwise prohibited by local law. 

This giveaway will run through October 9, 2017, and no purchase is necessary to win! Enter via the Rafflecopter widget at the bottom of this page and mention that Laura from “Sweet Treats” sent you!

Instant Pot® “Magical” Chicken & Vegetable Soup

"Magical Chicken & Vegetable Soup from "Freezer Cooking for the Paleo AIP" e-book

Because we were pressed for space in this book, the Instant Pot® instructions for my “Magical” Chicken & Vegetable Soup had to be cut, so I’ve decided to share that version here instead. This soup has been a staple recipe for me, made at least twice a month for the past couple of years. Originally, I made the soup on the stove top in my beloved LeCreuset oval dutch oven (which was a wedding gift from my late grandparents) and you can find those stovetop instructions in the e-book, but once I got my Instant Pot® and adapted the recipe, I haven’t looked back…

At the risk of seeming corny and cliche, I call this soup “magical” because it’s not only delicious and nutrient-dense, but also heartwarming and good for the soul. I love to eat it for breakfast or lunch and it’s my go-to recipe to make for friends or family when they’re sick or recovering from surgery.

If you don't yet have an Instant Pot® (what are you waiting for?!?), make sure to check out the the e-book for stovetop instructions.

“Magical” Chicken & Vegetable Soup 
 by Laura Vein of Sweet Treats
yields 8 servings

This one-pot, self-brothing soup is one of my secret weapons—I’ve made a batch at least twice a month for the past two years. Don’t stress about the exact ingredient amounts… I rarely measure when making a batch! It’s great for any meal (especially breakfast) or when sick. Keep it interesting by switching up the garnishes when serving. 

Ingredients:
1 1/2 to 2 pounds bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs
6 to 8 cups filtered water
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
2 bay leaves
3 cups (approximately 250 grams) sliced leeks
2 cups (approximately 350 grams) chopped carrots
2 cups (approximately 230 grams) chopped celery
2 heaping cups (approximately 375 grams) diced white sweet potato
4 heaping cups (approximately 110 grams) chopped greens (such as kale or chard)
1 tablespoon kosher sea salt
Chopped herbs, optional for serving
Lemon, optional for serving
Finish salt, like smoked salt or truffle salt, optional for serving

Instant Pot® Instructions
  1. Add the chicken thighs, filtered water, apple cider vinegar, and bay leaf to the stainless steel insert of the Instant Pot®. Close and lock the lid, ensuring the vent is closed. Press the MANUAL button and decrease the time to 25 minutes. Once time is up, allow the pressure to release naturally. While the chicken is cooking/pressure is releasing, prepare the veggies. 
  2. Add the sliced leek, chopped carrots, chopped celery, diced white sweet potato, greens, and sea salt to the Instant Pot®  Close and lock the lid, ensuring the vent is closed. Press the MANUAL button and decrease the time to 25 minutes. Once time is up, allow the pressure to release naturally.
  3. Transfer the chicken thighs carefully to a cutting board—caution, they will be very hot and may have a tendency to fall apart! Shred the chicken and the skin with two forks. Save the bones for future batches of bone broth. Add the shredded chicken back into the soup and stir to combine. Discard the bay leaf.
Freezing Instructions  
  • Let the soup cool completely. Ladle the cooled soup into freezer-safe wide-mouth mason jars (1 quart jar is approximately 1 serving)—leave about an inch of headspace in the jars. Screw on lids and refrigerate overnight before transferring to the freezer. Alternately, especially for travel, use quart sized freezer Ziplock bags. Freeze flat. Store frozen quart bags in gallon bags, if traveling. 
Serving Instructions 
  • If desired, thaw overnight in the refrigerator, then gently heat on the stovetop or in the microwave. 
  • Alternately, thaw and reheat at the sometime in the microwave or stovetop.
  • Serve with chopped herbs, lemon, and/or a finish salt, if desired.
"Magical Chicken & Vegetable Soup from "Freezer Cooking for the Paleo AIP" e-book


This post includes affiliate links, meaning Sweet Treats makes a small commission off items purchased 
after a link is clicked with no additional cost to you. Thanks for your support.
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Saturday, September 30, 2017

September 2017 Favorites

September 2017 Favorites

Where did September go?!? It seems like just yesterday that I was writing my August favorites and now here I am sharing September’s favorites…

Just a reminder, some of these items contain affiliate links, but nothing in this post is directly sponsored by any company... I'm just sharing what I like! 

September 2017 Favorites: Sheet Pan Meals (Paleo)

Sheet Pan Meals (AIP or Paleo, depending on combination)
We eat a lot of roasted vegetables throughout the year, but lately I’ve been embracing not just roasted vegetables, but entire meals that can be roasted on a single sheet pan. The template is really easy: veg + fat + protein typically roasted at 425 F for 30 to 60 minutes, depending on the veg/protein included. It’s a relatively easy meal with some prep required, but very little hands-on cooking time, and very minimal clean up.

September 2017 Favorites: Sheet Pan Meals (AIP)

As I’ve got some reintroductions under my belt, I quite often top roasted veggies with some sliced chicken sausage (usually contains some seed spices, but I always look for varieties that are nightshade-free), but chicken thighs also work well. Inspired by my friend Stephanie from “Fresh Tart,” I’ve also embraced this technique to make larger batches of breakfast hash with sliced leeks, baby bella mushrooms, bacon, and hearty greens like chard (include the stems) or kale.

September 2017 Favorites: Sheet Pan Meals (Paleo)

It’s been a great way to use up random bits of vegetables in the fridge or freezer, thus reducing food waste. I plan to do some posts in the future with specific recipes for this technique.

September 2017 Favorites: ylang ylang essential oil

Diffusing Ylang Ylang Essential Oil
I love diffusing essential oils, especially when I’ve cooked something extra fragrant or at night for sleeping. Ylang ylang is the newest oil in my arsenal and one of my current favorites. It’s a very calming, tropical floral scent reminiscent of jasmine. I’m still using my initial bottle purchased at my local Whole Foods, but it’s also available on Amazon or from most major EO companies. I like it for its soothing/relaxing yet uplifting qualities. It’s been a great one to diffuse on days where I need a bit of a pick-me-up. I’ve also read that it’s for the skin (diluted in a carrier oil) and the hair, though I haven’t tried it that way yet. This is another essential oil I anticipate keeping in my stash permanently.

September 2017 Favorites: listening to audiobooks on Audible


Listening to Audiobooks on Audible 
A favorite childhood memory is of my mom reading to my sisters and me at night and/or when we were sick. Listening to audiobooks reminds me of those favorite memories. I’ve had an Audible gold membership (1 credit/book per month + 30% off the list price for any further audiobooks I choose to purchase) for a couple years and really enjoy listening to books while cooking or doing household chores or while driving. It’s so convenient to run the app on my phone or tablet. I tend to pick longer books, if I can (to maximize my credit purchase), and I tend to gravitate towards the genre of young adult fiction. Currently, I’m re-listening to the Harry Potter series (right now I’m on “Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban”) but I’ve also lately enjoyed “Tower of Dawn” from the Throne of Glass series by Sarah J. Maas, and “Six of Crows” from Leigh Bardugo.

September 2017 Favorites: Beautycounter Volumizing Mascara

Beautycounter Volumizing Mascara
I’ve had some adventures finding a more natural, gluten-free mascara…. I used another company’s mascara for a couple of years, but it always smeared under my eyes, giving me a great raccoon impersonation regularly. Plus, it was very difficult to remove when I actually wanted it off!

Beautycounter has had a lengthening mascara for a while, but since I wear glasses, I didn’t want any additional length to my lashes. When I heard that Beautycounter was coming out with a volumizing mascara, I knew I had to try it in hopes that it would be a better option for me. I am pleased to say this new volumizing option has been great! It doesn’t smear under my eyes AND it’s much easier to remove at the end of the day. Fair warning, the brush does take some getting use to, and it isn’t necessarily the most “crunchy” option, but it’s definitely better than conventional mascaras!

While I’m not a consultant with Beautycounter, you can order their products through your favorite consultant (I’m sure you probably know *someone* who sells it, if you’re in the AIP/Paleo-sphere) or through the Beautycounter website.

September 2017 Favorites: Telephone Pictionary game

“Telephone Pictionary”
 We helped throw a surprise birthday party for a friend earlier this month and we played a new-to-us party game called “telephone pictionary.” I’m not usually a fan of group games (unless they’re board games or card games), but this one was super fun! It’s probably better played in larger groups (we had around 15 people playing) for optimal hilarity. Each person gets a stack of papers, amount equal to the number of participants, and a writing utensil. Everyone starts by writing a word or simple phrase on the top sheet of paper, then everyone passes their entire stack of paper to the person on their left. That person looks at the phrase, moves it to the back of the stack, and draws their interpretation of that word or phrase. Next, the entire stack is passed again to the left. That person looks at the drawing, moves it to the back of the stack, and guesses a word or phrase that the picture depicts. And the whole process continues around the group until all the papers are used. What ends up being the most hilarious part of the game comes at the end when everyone looks through their stack of papers and shows the group where the word or phrase started and how much it changed as it went through the whole group.



Pinning Autumn-y Things
Last year was our first autumn in New England (after leaving southern Texas), but we spent the majority of the season’s peak unpacking and settling in to our new home. We’re looking forward to doing all the fall activities (or as many as we can manage) while we live in this gorgeous state.

While we’re waiting for actual autumn to arrive—our weather has been still stuck on summer lately—I’m compensating by pinning on the pretty fall images on Pinterest to a specific autumn board.

September 2017 Favorites: Pinning Autumn-y Things on Pinterest

So those are a few of my favorites from September. What are you loving lately?

Some of these items include affiliate links, meaning Sweet Treats makes a small commission off items purchased 
after a link is clicked with no additional cost to you. Thanks for your support.
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Thursday, August 24, 2017

August 2017 Favorites

A few favorites from August  2017 from Laura of "Sweet Treats."  The Complete AIP Resource Library, Peach Season, Paddle Boarding, Collagen, Walking by the Beach, and Trader Joe's Onion Salt

I’m sharing my August favorites a few days early this month so that I can share details about a very special AIP resource that’s only available August 24 to 27!  

Note: some of these items contain affiliate links, but nothing in this post is directly sponsored by any company... I'm just sharing what I like! 

August 2017 Favorites:The Complete AIP Resource Library

This is one you don’t want to miss! 
My friends Mickey and Angie from Autoimmune Wellness have put together a fantastic resource for those healing from chronic illness. It’s called “The Complete Autoimmune Protocol Resource Library,”  featuring over 31 AIP-compliant e-books, including my book “AIP & Paleo Holiday Sweet Treats” AND “The Paleo AIP Instant Pot Cookbook” which I designed last summer.  This resource is one I wish had been available when I started AIP back in 2014. And it’s only $28 (which works out to less than $1 per e-book). 

August 2017 Favorites:The Complete AIP Resource Library

One other really unique aspect to this resource library is that 10% of each purchase will be donated to a charity in the health and wellness community. How cool is that!?! 
However, The Complete AIP Resource Library is only available August 24 to 27, so don't delay! 

August 2017 Favorites: peach picking

Peach Season  
Last weekend, we visited two farms, Cider Hill Farm and Applecrest Farm Orchard, for their peach festivals. I hadn’t done any “pick your own” fruit or veggies before, and I thoroughly enjoyed the experience. 

August 2017 Favorites: peach picking

Not only was it neat to see exactly where our food is grown, but it gave me a new appreciation for how much work farming can actually involve. And there’s nothing quite like sampling a perfectly ripe, sun-warmed, freshly picked peach.  

August 2017 Favorites: freshly picked peaches

Now that we’ve got peaches galore (nearly 40, to be exact), I’ve been adapting some of my recipes to utilize our peach bounty. 

August 2017 Favorites: Peach Crumbles (AIP)

First, I adapted my individual AIP strawberry rhubarb crumbles into peach versions. I replaced the strawberries/rhubarb with 3 cups of chopped peaches, and I added 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon to the both the tigernut crumble topping and to the peach filling. 

August 2017 Favorites: Peach Galette (AIP)

Second, I adapted the AIP pear galette recipe from my e-book (don’t forget, it’s available in “The Complete AIP Resource Library”) into an AIP peach galette. I reduce the water in the AIP pate brisee to 2 tsp because we’re experiencing higher humidity weather in NH, and I used peaches instead of pears for the filling, reducing the maple sugar a bit because the peaches were so sweet. And instead of making caramel sauce to go with it, I glazed the baked galette with some warmed fruit-sweetened apricot jam. 

August 2017 Favorites: Paddle Boarding
photo by my friend Bekah, who was brave enough to take her phone on the water ;) 

Paddle Boarding 
I caught the paddle boarding bug in July while at my family’s lake cabin in Minnesota, but, unfortunately the flies were so bad that I couldn’t be out on the water as much as I’d have liked. Then, some NH  friends told me about a paddle boarding opportunity on the Contoocook River outside Concord, NH. We made reservations, and went on a Sunday afternoon after church. We ended up paddle boarding for 4 miles, 2 miles of which were upstream and against the wind. 

August 2017 Favorites: Paddle Boarding
photo by my friend Bekah, who was brave enough to take her phone on the water ;) 

As someone who has struggled with chronic health issues and isn’t use to a ton of physical activity, I’m proud of myself for completing the entire paddle boarding excursion. Yes, I was exhausted by the end and I ended up having some of the worse muscle soreness I’ve ever experienced the evening after and the following day (more on that below), but I’d still go again :) 

August 2017 Favorites: Vital Proteins Collagen

Post-paddle boarding, I had some of the worst muscle soreness and stiffness I’ve ever experienced, but I’m also amazed at how quickly my body bounced back. While I can’t say exactly why I recovered so quickly, I suspect my increased consumption in collagen aided at least a little. I typically put the collagen powder in smoothies. Sometimes I use plain collagen, but other times, if I really want to up the nutrient density (and my vegetable consumption), I’ll use the collagen veggie blend  Vital Proteins developed with Dr. Sarah Ballantyne. The plain collagen is pretty much tasteless, however the veggie blend does have a stronger flavor, so I often use it in smoothies that use sweeter or stronger flavored fruits, like banana or dark cherries. My husband is also a big fan of collagen, though he mixes plain collagen with coffee and coconut oil in the mornings for a homemade bulletproof latte.  

August 2017 Favorites: Jenness Beach Walks

Long Walks by the Beach 
Winter is coming! (Sorry, I couldn’t resist that Game of Thrones reference, haha!) I’ve started noticing the days are getting shorter and in looking at the calendar, and I know fall/winter will be here before we know it. I’ve always been a person who loves being near water, whether it’s a lake or the ocean, and I find that there’s something about being near water that refreshes and reenergizes me. While the weather is still beautiful, I’m encouraging myself to take advantage of the Atlantic Ocean being a manageable drive away. Especially when I travel to the farmer’s market, it’s so easy to drive just a little further to the beach, and go for a walk. Not only do these walks help refresh and reenergize my soul, but they also give me some easy physical activity and some vitamin D, if the sun is shining. 

August 2017 Favorites: Trader Joe's Onion Salt (AIP)


As I’ve been spending more time outdoors and doing summer-y activities this month, I’ve been spending less time in the kitchen, and have embraced quicker, more simple meals. This onion salt, which I buy at Trader Joe’s, has been an easy-yet-flavorful addition to my spice collection. I most often sprinkle it on a microwaved white sweet potato, but it’s also been great on oven-baked sweet potato fries, in scrambled eggs (AIP-reintroduction), on roasted vegetables etc. It also may be a blend I take with me when traveling in the future. If you don’t have a Trader Joe’s near by, this blend would also be pretty easy to mix up at home. 

So those are a few of my favorites from August. What are you loving lately?

Some of these items include affiliate links, meaning Sweet Treats makes a small commission off items purchased after a link is clicked with no additional cost to you. Thanks for your support.

Monday, July 31, 2017

June and July 2017 favorites



A couple months, I started a new series where at the end of each month I share some of my favorite things. Some may be things I’m reading or watching. Some may be body or beauty products. Some may be kitchen and food related. Some may be travel or adventure related. Today I’m sharing my June and July favorites (in no particular order).

Note: some of these items contain affiliate links, but nothing in this post is directly sponsored by any company... I'm just sharing what I like! 

June and July 2017 favorites | Airbnb

Travel: Airbnb 
After not traveling for almost the first 6 months of 2017, I’ve made up for lost time! We traveled to NYC the end of June/beginning of July, to North Dakota/Minnesota the middle two weeks of July, unexpectedly to South Carolina (while in the middle of our ND/MN trip) for a funeral, and now I’m currently in Minneapolis on a quick trip. Whew!

For the NYC trip and the SC trip, we used Airbnb for our lodging. Both were great experiences and we especially loved having a full kitchen at our disposal. I don’t love to do a lot of cooking while on trips—I’d much rather bring a bunch of batch-cooked foods with me & reheat as necessary, but it was nice to have a full fridge and freezer for storing foods and to be able to make easy breakfasts for family. Also, for both of these trips, it was much more economical to book with Airbnb than to stay in hotels.

Make sure to vet your Airbnb listings well before booking them. If you’re especially keen on having a good kitchen, make sure to read whether it’s fully equipped or not, and pay attention to what’s in the photos. Even in a fully equipped kitchen (and even if i’m not planning on doing much actual cooking), I usually bring along some of my own kitchen tools, such as dish soap & a sponge, a dish towel (which also doubles as a hot pad), a mini cutting board, paring knife, spatula, kitchen shears, and ziplock bags.

For more information on how I travel while following AIP, check out these two posts here AND here. I myself was so out of practice with traveling that I referenced my own posts before recent trips ;)

June and July 2017 favorites | German Sweet Potato Salad from "Nourish"

Recipe: The German (White Sweet) Potato Salad from “Nourish: the Paleo Healing Cookbook”
I am ever so thankful to my friend Rachael from “Meatified” for developing this potato salad recipe. I’ve made it many many times (including two double batches in July alone), & it’s always a crowd pleaser, even for non-AIP/Paleo people. It’s also a salad that gets better with age, so don’t be afraid to make it a little in advance (or to make a double batch). A couple minor changes I make: I usually sub finely chopped scallions for the chives—I never have chives on hand, but I always have scallions. I also really like celery & will add a little more than the recipe calls for. And when in doubt, double the recipe. You’ll never regret the leftovers.

“Nourish” is full of delicious, all-AIP, restaurant-quality recipes. While this potato salad recipe can only be found in “Nourish,” I’d say the purchase price of the book is worth it even if you only make this potato salad!

June and July 2017 favorites | Kitchen Shears

Tool: Kitchen Shears
I have the Mercer Culinary Kitchen Shears (http://amzn.to/2vhlksW)
One kitchen tool I never like to be without is my kitchen shears. I only began using specific kitchen shears in earnest since culinary school, but they’re a tool I use so often that I have multiple pairs. They’re not only useful for opening packaging, but I also use them to cut bacon into pieces, snipping herbs, cutting scallions, butterflying poultry, and much more. I never realized how much I rely on my shears until traveling to other kitchens and NOT having them along!

I have the Mercer Culinary Kitchen Shears, but there are other good quality options out there. One feature I especially look for is that they come apart, which makes cleaning them (and drying them) much easier.

June and July 2017 favorites | Trader Joe's Organic Grass fed Hot Dogs (nightshade-free!!)

(Almost) AIP Product: Trader Joe’s Organic Grassfed Hot Dogs NIGHTSHADE FREE! 
It’s really ironic, given my former vegetarian ways, how much I really love hot dogs. But, I hadn’t eaten hot dogs in over 3 years since nearly all hot dogs contain “spices,” which generally means NIGHTSHADE ALERT. However, hot dogs are back in my diet, thanks to these organic grass fed hot dogs from Trader Joe’s. They do require AIP reintroductions of white pepper and nutmeg, but they are completely nightshade free (and delicious). I’ve also reintroduced mustard, so I enjoy dipping my hot dogs in Sir Kensington’s Dijon Mustard.

One tip: should you need to cook your hot dogs on a shared grill, such as at a friend’s house for a BBQ, wrap the hot dogs in foil & then grill. They won’t get grill marks, but there also won’t be cross-contamination.

June and July 2017 favorites | Paleo On The Go
My first POTG order from August 2016. Note: some of their packaging has changed since then! 

Convenience Food: Paleo On The Go
I’ve placed 4 large orders from Paleo On The Go’s AIP menu over the past year & have found it to be a great option, especially when traveling. For those not familiar with POTG, they’re a paleo (with AIP options) frozen meal company that delivers throughout the US. I’ve primarily used their meals as a replacement for eating out while traveling. Yes, they can be more expensive than traditional frozen meals, but POTG makes delicious products and they use high quality ingredients. It’s such a treat to eat good food that I’m confident won’t cause me to get sick (like eating out sometimes can) and that I didn’t have to make myself! My personal favorite has been the beef pot pies.

POTG also came in really handy earlier this month while we were in ND visiting my parents—I’d had a big order of POTG products shipped to their house ahead of our arrival—but suddenly found out we needed to go to SC for a funeral. I didn’t have enough time to do as much batch cooking as I normally would for a trip like that, but thankfully I could take some POTG things (like beef breakfast empanadas and bacon apple chicken burgers with maple cranberry sauce and chicken breakfast sausage) frozen in my checked luggage. I then used our Airbnb oven to re-heat some of them, & some items (like the breakfast sausage) I just ate cold!

June and July 2017 favorites | Beautycounter Sun Screen

Beauty: Beautycounter Sun Screen
As I’ve cleaned up my body products, finding good quality sunscreen that works and isn’t full of bad ingredients (and doesn’t leave me looking ghostly white) has been a challenge! Last summer, I won a tube of Beautycounter Protect All Over Sunscreen SPF 30 from a Beautycounter party and I’ve been hooked ever since. I love that it works well, it has good ratings from EWG, AND it doesn’t leave my skin all white.

I’ve also become a fan of their sunscreen sticks. Especially while we were traipsing around NYC, it was so handy to have the face-sized sunscreen stick in my purse for easy reapplication. I've also recently ordered a body-sized sunscreen stick, but I haven't had a chance to try it yet.

While I’m not a consultant with Beautycounter, you can order products through your favorite consultant (I’m sure you probably know *someone* who sells it, if you’re in the AIP/Paleo-sphere) or through the Beautycounter website.

So those are a few of my favorites from June and July. What are you loving lately?

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Sunday, July 2, 2017

Berry Coconut Pie (AIP, Paleo, Coconut-free)

Berry Coconut Pie (AIP, Paleo, Coconut-free)

Continuing my pie-making-spree and just in time for the 4th of July holiday is this berry pomegranate pie. It’s a rift off my Patriotic Panna Cotta Pie from 2015, but this one can be made coconut-free, in case of coconut allergies or dislike of coconut.

Berry Coconut Pie (AIP, Paleo, Coconut-free)

Making the crust is probably the most challenging part of the dessert, but after that, it’s super easy! I tested this filling recipe last 4th of July, and brought a couple pies to a pool party with friends. There were ZERO leftovers —kids and non-AIP/Paleo people alike all gobbled it up :)

Berry Coconut Pie (AIP, Paleo, Coconut-free)

In these photos, I used leftover Lard Cassava Pie Crust (Paleo), but if you need an AIP pie crust that is also coconut-free, I’ve got an AIP Pâte Brisée recipe in my e-book Holiday Sweet Treats (though does use palm shortening)--I would recommend doubling that recipe to ensure enough dough for a 9" pie. You may be able to find other coconut-free AIP pie crust recipes online, but I haven't tried any of them.

Berry Coconut Pie (AIP, Paleo, Coconut-free)

 **As with most of my recipes, I’ve only tested this recipe using the grams measurements included. I’ve figured out volume measurements with math, but have not personally tested them. I HIGHLY recommend using a kitchen scale + grams measurements to ensure the most successful end product.**

Berry Pomegranate Pie (AIP, Paleo, Coconut-free) 
yield’s one 9-inch pie (approximately 8 servings) 

9-inch AIP/Paleo crust, baked (see instructions below)—I used my Lard Cassava Pie Crust (Paleo), but in the past I’ve also used Martine from Eat Heal Thrive’s Sweet and Savory Pie Crust (AIP, but not coconut free) 
383 grams (1 1/2 cup) organic pomegranate juice
24 grams (1 tablespoon) honey
11 g (1 tablespoon) gelatin
1/8 tsp vanilla bean powder (optional)
2 cups (250 to 275 grams) berries—I used a mix of strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, and blackberries & I cut most everything in half

Blind Baking Instructions for the Lard Cassava Pie Crust (Paleo):

  1. Roll the dough between parchment paper until it is a circle approximately 12 to 13 inches in diameter. Use the parchment paper to help transfer the dough to a 9-inch glass pie pan. Gently press the dough into the pan. Crimp the edges as desired. Refrigerate for 20 minutes. 
  2. Preheat the oven to 375 F. 
  3. Line the chilled shell with parchment paper & place beans or rice on the parchment to act as weights (NOTE: the beans/rice are NOT eaten). Bake in the preheated oven for 15 minutes. 
  4. Then, carefully remove the parchment with the beans/rice & place the pie shell back in the oven for an additional 15 to 20 minutes. 
  5. Cool completely before using.  

Blind Baking Instructions for the Sweet and Savory Crust (AIP) from Eat Heal Thrive:

  1. Preheat the oven to 325 F. Make the crust as directed in the recipe. 
  2. Press the dough into a 9-inch glass pan. Do NOT pierce the bottom with a fork. 
  3. Bake in the preheated oven for 20 to 25 minutes, or until golden around the edges. 

To make the filling: 

  1. Pour the pomegranate juice into a medium sauce pan. Drizzle in the honey. Sprinkle the gelatin over the surface of the juice. Allow the gelatin to bloom for 10 minutes. 
  2. Meanwhile, prepare the berries by cutting them in half (or quarters for strawberries) & placing them in the baked & cooled pie shell. For ease of transport in and out of the refrigerator, place the pie pan onto a quarter sheet pan
  3. After the gelatin has bloomed, add the vanilla powder. Heat the sauce pan over medium heat, whisking constantly, until the gelatin melts.  
  4. Carefully pour the pomegranate mixture in the berry-filled pie shell. Transfer to the refrigerator to set for at least 2 hours, or up to overnight. 
  5. Cover any leftovers and store them in the refrigerator. The pie is best consumed within 24 to 36 hours, or else the crust begins to get soggy. 

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