Friday, December 9, 2016

Spritz Cookies (AIP, Paleo, Gluten-free)

Spritz Cookies (AIP, Paleo, Gluten-free)

My Grandma Vein is a really fantastic baker. She makes wonderful treats for all holidays, but especially during the Christmas season. One of my favorite christmas cookies is her spritz cookies, a butter cookie dough pressed through a cookie press into different shapes. Some people flavor the cookie dough with vanilla and some with almond—Grandma’s spritz recipe uses vanilla. She would leaves some of the dough naturally colored and colors part of it red and green. She also would sprinkle the pressed cookie dough with various colored sanding sugars and sprinkles before baking.

Spritz Cookies (AIP, Paleo, Gluten-free)

My AIP variation might look and taste a little different, but the first test batch cookie I popped into my mouth was like tasting a memory of Christmases past. Despite using palm shortening in lieu of butter, they still have a "buttery" flavor; they also have some lovely notes of maple and just a hint of coconut.

Spritz Cookies (AIP, Paleo, Gluten-free)

Instead of pressing the dough through a cookie press, I chose to pipe it with a pastry bag fitted with a large start tip into rosettes and wreath shapes—I couldn’t justify buying (or storing) a new cookie press & I’m not sure if my vintage press has any gluten remnants.

Spritz Cookies (AIP, Paleo, Gluten-free)

I didn't have many ideas for natural ways to color the dough, but I did add matcha green tea powder to the dry ingredients of one batch & it worked really well, though it does make the cookies taste like green tea. I suspect a few drops of beet juice might work well to make a more red/pink dough; however, I have a sensitivity to beets so I have not tried it out. To make the wreaths look more like actual wreaths (and less like piped circles), I added some chopped dried cranberries (apple-juice-sweetened) and a tiny sprinkle of turbinado/raw sugar.

Spritz Cookies (AIP, Paleo, Gluten-free)

Because these cookies are so delicious, I’ve purposely made the batch really small—depending on how big they’re piped, you should be able to get around 16 cookies. If you’re one with lots of willpower, even around lots of delicious AIP cookies, make a double batch :)

Spritz Cookies (AIP, Paleo, Gluten-free)

Happy Baking! PS if you’d like to make the AIP gingersnaps pictured on the cookie platter, make sure you grab a copy of my e-book “Holiday Sweet Treats.

Spritz Cookies (AIP, Paleo, Gluten Free) 
yields around 16 cookies

64 grams(1/4 cup) palm shortening
39 grams (2 tablespoons) Grade A dark maple syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
23 grams (3 tablespoons +1 teaspoon) coconut flour 
25 grams (3 tablespoons +1 teaspoon) tapioca starch
27 grams (3 tablespoons +1 teaspoon) arrowroot
3/4 teaspoon gelatin
1/8 teaspoon paleo baking powder (recipe follows) 
pinch of sea salt
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Fit a pastry bag with a large star tip (I used a Wilton bag fitted with an 824 Ateco tip). 
  2. In a medium mixing bowl, cream together the palm shortening with the maple syrup and the vanilla extract with a silicone spatula until well combined. If the palm shortening is too solid to properly mix—mine typically is during the winter—allow the ingredients to warm up slightly on the preheating stove. A hand mixer may also be used. 
  3. In a separate bowl, whisk together the coconut flour, tapioca, arrowroot, gelatin, paleo baking powder, and sea salt. 
  4. Add the dry ingredients to the shortening/maple/vanilla and mix until well combined. 
  5. Transfer the dough to the prepared pastry bag. Pipe the dough into rosettes, starting from the center & swirling outward. Draw circles as guides on the bottom of the parchment paper, if needed. Leave a little space between the cookies to allow them to puff a little during the baking process. 
  6. Bake the cookies in the preheated oven for 6 minutes, then rotate the pan and bake for an additional 2 to 3 minutes, or until the cookies are just starting to turn golden on the edges. 
  7. Allow the cookies to cool completely on the pan before serving. 
  8. Store cookies in a single layer in an airtight container at room temperature or in the freezer. Leftover cookies may soften, so re-crisp in a warm oven, if needed, before serving. 
Matcha Wreath Variation
Same ingredients as above with the addition of:
A heaping 1/4 teaspoon of matcha green tea powder
Apple juice sweetened dried cranberries, chopped
Turbinado/raw sugar
  • Make the same recipe as above, adding a heaping 1/4 teaspoon of matcha green tea powder to the dry ingredients. Mix the green tea variation dough with a hand mixer too, just to ensure there are no tiny lumps of matcha. 
  • Pipe the dough into rings & press chopped dried cranberries into the rings. Sprinkle a little turbinado sugar over the wreaths. 
  • Bake as instructed above, though the wreaths may bake more quickly depending on how they thick they are piped, so watch them carefully. 
Paleo Baking Powder
81 grams (1/2 cup) cream of tartar 
55 grams (1/4 cup) baking soda
30 grams (1/4 cup) arrowroot or tapioca 
  1. Sift together the cream of tartar, baking soda, and arrowroot/tapioca.
  2. Store in an airtight jar. Use wherever baking powder is used. 

This post contains affiliate links, meaning Sweet Treats makes a small commission off items purchased 
after an Amazon link is clicked with no additional cost to you. Thanks for your support.

Monday, November 21, 2016

Instant Pot Cranberry Sauce (AIP & Paleo)

Instant Pot Cranberry Sauce (AIP & Paleo)

Thanksgiving is only a couple days away, and I’m in full prep mode. But even if you’re waiting until the last minute to make the big Thanksgiving dinner, you can still have easy, delicious cranberry sauce, in a matter of minutes thanks to my favorite appliance, the Instant Pot.

Like the past two years, we are dry brining and butterflying a pastured turkey again, though because I can’t have dairy, we baste ours with a combination of bacon grease, sauvignon blanc wine & homemade turkey stock. I’ve actually chosen to do two birds this year because of the number of family members visiting and I wanted to make sure we’d have leftovers too! I find that cranberry sauce is not only a delicious condiment for the Thanksgiving table, but one that also can help mask the slight “gamey” flavor of a pastured turkey. It’s also delicious spread on sweet potato lefse, as well as on top of homemade 2-ingredient coconut yogurt.

Instant Pot Cranberry Sauce (AIP & Paleo)

In addition to the turkey, lefse, and this cranberry sauce, we’ll also be having my starch-free gravy, mashed white sweet potatoes, sweet potato casserole with tigernuts, roasted brussels sprouts with bacon/balsamic/dried cranberries (adapted from “The Healing Kitchen”), refrigerator pickles, a green bean casserole that I hope to share more about in a future post. And, of course, pie! Paleo pumpkin pie, pecan pie, and an AIP apple galette (adapted from the pear galette in my e-book “Holiday Sweet Treats”. In the name of stress reduction, since stress is one of my biggest autoimmune triggers, I’ll have made everything, except the turkey and gravy, in advance and will only need to re-heat things before we eat.

If you don’t already have an Instant Pot, this cranberry sauce can be made on the stove—just simmer all the ingredients until the cranberries pop & the sauce thickens slightly. And I highly recommend checking Amazon and other retailers to see if the Instant Pot goes on sale on Black Friday or Cyber Monday :)

Instant Pot Cranberry Sauce (AIP & Paleo)

Have a wonderful holiday. May you all enjoy spending time with friends and family. And may the leftovers be plentiful! :)

Instant Pot Cranberry Sauce (AIP & Paleo) 
yields just shy of one quart jar of sauce

20 ounces frozen cranberries
215 grams (approx 1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons) honey (I prefer to use orange blossom honey)
1 tablespoon mandarin orange zest
3/4 cup mandarin orange juice
1/4 cup filtered water
1 cinnamon stick

  1. Combine all the ingredients in the stainless steel insert of the Instant Pot. Close and lock the lid, ensuring the vent is set to sealing. 
  2. Press {Manual} and reduce the time to 8 minutes.
  3. Once the time is up, allow the pressure to release naturally. 
  4. Remove the lid, stir, and allow to cool. Pour into a quart jar (or several small jars) and refrigerate until ready to eat. The sauce will thicken as it cools. The flavor continues to develop as it sits in the refrigerator, so plan to make this sauce a few days in advance, if possible. 


  • I’ve tested this recipe only with frozen cranberries, since I can find them at Whole Foods year-round. But you should be able to substitute fresh cranberries.  
  • You may be tempted to reduce the amount of honey in the recipe, but I must warn you, even with 215 grams (over 1/2 a cup), the sauce is still a bit tart! 
  • Regular orange zest/juice may be substituted for the mandarin orange zest/juice. 
Instant Pot Cranberry Sauce (AIP & Paleo)

This post contains affiliate links, meaning Sweet Treats makes a small commission off items purchased 
after an Amazon link is clicked with no additional cost to you. Thanks for your support.

Saturday, October 1, 2016

The Paleo AIP Instant Pot® Cookbook e-book + IP “Chocolate” Cake (AIP)

The Paleo AIP Instant Pot® Cookbook + AIP Instant Pot® Sweet Treats

In addition to the the big move I announced in my last post, I’ve been working on a couple secret projects. I’m so thrilled to FINALLY share about them today!
The Paleo AIP Instant Pot® Cookbook
My good friend Eileen from Phoenix Helix had the brilliant idea to compile a community e-book of Autoimmune Protocol (AIP) Instant Pot® recipes called The Paleo AIP Instant Pot® Cookbook. I was thrilled to contribute recipes for applesauce, low FODMAP beef stew, pomegranate poached pears, and coconut yogurt to the e-book.

The Paleo AIP Instant Pot® Cookbook preview pages

I also had the privilege to photograph a few of the recipes & design the interior pages (the amazing Chelsey Luther designed the gorgeous cover). Having early access to the recipes (because I was working on the interior design) means that I’ve been making many of the recipes for months already. I’ve even teased a few of them in Instagram posts (#sorrynotsorry). This e-book is a total game changer. Everything I’ve made is not only incredibly delicious, but it’s all crazy easy and very diverse! The BBQ Pulled Chicken alone might be worth the purchase of the book. I loved my Instant Pot® before, but I love it even more now.

The Paleo AIP Instant Pot® Cookbook preview
top: BBQ Pulled Chicken, Smothered Okra, Caribbean Plantain Lamb Stew
middle: Pomegranate Poached Pears, Coconut Yogurt, Applesauce
bottom: Kalua Pig, Peach Cobbler, Cranberry Apple Chicken with Cabbage

The book features recipes ranging from broths to sauces & condiments to vegetables to poultry to meat to seafood to offal to desserts and more! No major food group is left behind. 137 of the 140 recipes (excluding three recipes in the “Extras” section) are compliant with the elimination phase of the Autoimmune Protocol. And, there are charts in the back of the book for ways to modify recipes to fit additional special diet modifications, like low-FODMAP, GAPS/SCD and Coconut-free.

AIP Instant Pot® Sweet Treats cover

As if The Paleo AIP Instant Pot® Cookbook isn’t a big enough project, I also have created a 4-recipe mini e-book of additional AIP Instant Pot® dessert recipes called AIP Instant Pot® Sweet Treats. It includes AIP-friendly dessert recipes for blueberry cobbler cakes, pumpkin tapioca pudding, “roasted” pineapple, and zucchini cakes with lemon cream. I’ll be sending AIP Instant Pot® Sweet Treats as a FREE gift to everyone who purchases The Paleo AIP Instant Pot® Cookbook through me. (NOTE: Because I’m literally in the middle of moving across the United States right now, my e-book won’t be emailed until mid-October 2016). This giveaway is open to international entries.

Win these Instant Pot accessories! Sweet Treats: food, photography, life

But wait! There’s more! (insert informercial-speak, haha!) Purchasing The Paleo AIP Instant Pot® Cookbook through me during the month of October 2016 also enters you in a giveaway to win some sweet Instant Pot® accessories: 1) a stainless steel inner pot (having a second insert comes in *really* handy when making back-to-back recipes), 2) a silicone lid/cover for the stainless steel insert (to easily store cooled leftovers in the refrigerator), and 3) an extra sealing ring (always a good thing to have on hand in case your old ring breaks, or in case it smells too “savory” for making desserts). I’ll randomly choose a winner at the beginning of November 2016. Sorry, due to postage constraints, the accessory giveaway is open only to those in the United States.

If you’re *still* on the fence about purchasing this amazing e-book, head over to Eileen’s site to enter a giveaway to win a copy. Simply answer the rafflecopter question & 10 winners will be chosen October 8, 2016.

 AIP Instant Pot "Chocolate" Cake {The Paleo AIP Instant Pot® Cookbook e-book preview recipe}

One recipe from The Paleo AIP Instant Pot® Cookbook that I’m excited to try once we get settled in our new home is this “Chocolate” Cake from my friend Samantha at Sweet Potatoes and Social Change. It might seem unusual to make cake in the Instant Pot®, but the Instant Pot® is a great way to “steam” a cake. And you don't even have to heat up the oven!

“Chocolate" Cake (AIP) 
from Samantha at Sweet Potatoes and Social Change
Yields 3 servings

1 green plantain
½ ripe banana
¼ cup mashed avocado
2 tablespoons melted coconut oil, plus additional for greasing pans
2 tablespoons honey
5 tablespoons carob powder
½ teaspoon apple cider vinegar
¾ teaspoon baking soda
⅛ teaspoon cream of tartar
1 cup water
Optional garnishes: coconut cream, coconut flakes or fruit

  1. Add the plantain, banana, avocado, coconut oil, honey, carob, vinegar, baking soda, and cream of tartar to a food processor and blend until smooth. 
  2. Lightly grease three mini fluted pans or ramekins with additional coconut oil. Pour the batter into prepared pans until they are about ¾ of the way full. 
  3. Pour the water into the Instant Pot® and add the steaming rack. Place the pans onto the steaming rack. 
  4. Close and lock the lid. Press “Manual” for high pressure. Set cooking time to 18 minutes. Once time is up, quick release the pressure (there are further instructions for pressure release on page 7 of the e-book
  5. Garnish with coconut cream, coconut flakes, or fruit and serve warm. 
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Friday, September 2, 2016


Moving! (Sweet Treats: food, photography, life)

Exciting news! My husband and I are moving to the New England area very soon! We are thrilled with this new development & can’t wait to experience life in this new location.

Because moving is really stressful, I’ve decided to take a break from blogging, for a bit. I’ve also decided to scale back my social media posting. In the midst of all the packing and preparations, I need to make sure I take care of myself, especially in the midst of all the packing & moving preparations—the last thing I want is to end up with a flare! So, if I’m around a little less, that’ll be why.

Thanks for understanding and I’ll be back in a few weeks!

In the mean time, if you want to make the spiced pumpkin tea latte (AIP, Paleo, Low FODMAP, Vegan) seen in these pictures, check out this post from last fall.

Moving! (Sweet Treats: food, photography, life)

Friday, August 26, 2016

Paloma Cocktail & Mocktail (Paleo & AIP)

Paloma Cocktail & Mocktail (Paleo & AIP)

I’ve reached a point in my healing journey that I can have a *little* bit of alcohol from time-to-time. However, I still have to be rather choosy about what sort of alcohol I do consume. It’s a bit ironic, but even before going AIP, I have always done better with spirits than with wine (exception would be sparkling wine). However, my previous go-to spirits are often distilled from ingredients that I still choose not to consume. I decided instead to teach myself to like tequila, a more “Paleo-friendly” spirit, using these delicious grapefruit & lime “paloma" cocktails.

Paloma Cocktail & Mocktail (Paleo & AIP)

I do hold myself to 4 rules when it comes to personal alcohol consumption:

First, I only consume alcohol in conjunction with food, never on an empty stomach. Since I don’t have alcohol very often, I’m very much a “light-weight” and food helps slow down the effects of the alcohol. Also, alcohol and the things mixed into alcohol can affect a person’s blood sugar. Eating a meal—I personally prefer one containing protein and carbs—with the drink can moderate blood sugar spikes.

Secondly, I stick to one not-so-strong beverage per night only a couple of nights a month. I’ve been known to water down sparkling wine with bubbly water or to add some kombucha. Even with these paloma cocktails, I’ll often add extra LaCroix.

Paloma Cocktail & Mocktail (Paleo & AIP)

Third, I make any cocktails myself, where I can control the ingredients and ratios, instead of ordering them from a bartender in a restaurant. Many palomas, especially those ordered in Mexican restaurants, are made with grapefruit soda that almost assuredly contains non-AIP/Paleo ingredients.

Fourth, I consume beverages with alcohol in celebration, not as a way to combat stress or escape life. In fact, if life is extra stressful, it’s probably best for my health that I don’t consume any alcohol at all! If I’m having a bad day or feeling stressed, I lean on other coping mechanisms & ways to take care of myself rather than alcohol.

Paloma Cocktail & Mocktail (Paleo & AIP)

Finally, If you’re someone who is abstaining from alcohol, whether you’re following the elimination stage of AIP, or you don’t like the flavor of any alcohol, or you’re abstaining for other reasons, don’t despair! This paloma recipe makes a really great “mocktail” too. Simply omit the tequila & add a little extra LaCroix. Even though the mocktail version does not contain alcohol, it still is high in natural sugars, so still limit consumption & make it a beverage for a special occasion.

A few resources about AIP/Paleo and alcohol, for those who want further reading:
  1. The WHYs behind the Autoimmune Protocol: Alcohol from “The Paleo Mom” 
  2. How to Drink Alcohol without Ruining Your Paleo Diet or Getting a Hangover – 10 Simple Tips from “Paleo Flourish Magazine” 
  3. Top 10 Paleo Party Rules from “Mark’s Daily Apple” 

Paloma Cocktail (Paleo) or Mocktail (AIP) 
yields 2 to 4 servings 

Simply omit the tequila to turn this cocktail into an equally delicious mocktail! 

Juice from 2 grapefruits (approximately 3/4 cup) 
Juice from 1 large lime (approximately 3 tablespoons)
2 fl oz blanco/white tequila (omit for AIP; replace with extra LaCroix)
8 fl oz pamplemousse/grapefruit LaCroix sparkling water, or more, if desired
Ice, as needed 
Grapefruit & lime slices for garnish, optional 
  1. Juice the grapefruits, straining out any seeds. Juice the lime. Combine the juices together.  Stir in the tequila, if using.
  2. Divide between 2 large or 4 small ice-filled glasses. Top off with the grapefruit LaCroix. Gently stir to combine. Garnish with grapefruit & lime slices, if desired. 

This post contains affiliate links, meaning Sweet Treats makes a small commission off items purchased 
after an Amazon link is clicked with no additional cost to you. Thanks for your support.

Sunday, July 31, 2016

AIP Travel part 2: travel days

AIP Travel part 2: travel days

The thought of traveling while following the autoimmune protocol (or while living with chronic illnesses or conditions) may evoke fear or a sense of panic. Though I wrote a post in 2014 about traveling while following AIP, in the time since then, I’ve done a lot more traveling & have learned many more tips and tricks. I thought it may be helpful to others to write a more in depth series about my personal experiences for traveling while following a healing diet and lifestyle. Car travel seems to be an easier option for most people, so I’ll be primarily covering the challenges of domestic air travel within the United States; however, many tips should also apply to other forms of travel (or to international travel, though the laws of what you can take in to a country vary greatly). 

In this post (part 2), I’ll cover things I do on my travel days. 

Note: This post contains a lot of links, some of which are affiliate links, meaning I may earn a slight commission from things purchased through the affiliate links at no additional cost to you. Thanks for supporting Sweet Treats! 

AIP Travel part 2: travel days


  • I still struggle with the amount of luggage usually required when I travel. I often feel self conscious about how many pieces of luggage I need for just a couple days away. But honestly, it is important to take care of myself & if that means I have an extra suitcase to accommodate the batch cooked food I’ve made, then I have an extra suitcase. Spoiler alert, I usually take that extra suitcase ;) 
  • My travel was also revolutionized when I started using suitcases with 4 wheels. It may sound like a trivial thing, but as someone who struggles with chronic pain, it is much easier to wheel a heavy suitcase with 4 wheels than to pull one with 2 wheels. 
  • I try to pack the heaviest things in my checked luggage (and frozen food can really weigh a lot), so that I don’t have to worry about carrying it all myself. But there is the potential of luggage being lost en route…. It’s a tough choice between convenience or peace of mind, but most often, I check my food. 

AIP Travel part 2: travel days; packing food
frozen batch cooked food & a Thirty One Gifts picnic thermal

Packing batch cooked foods 
  • The last thing I do before leaving for the airport is to pack my food in thermal containers for travel. This process does take more time than one might think, so I try to budget 30 minutes just for packing my batch cooked foods in with the portable kitchen & convenience foods I mentioned in part 1
  • I use to be a consultant with the company Thirty One Gifts and while I no longer have any affiliation with them, I still love their products, especially their thermals. I pack all my food for travel in Thirty One Thermals, some of which are ones I’ve purchased myself & some are ones I “earned” during my brief time as a consultant. 
  • In my checked luggage, I use a perfect party set (which is my favorite thermal for airplane travel), a picnic thermal tote (seen above), and a thermal tote . Sometimes I need all of those thermals, sometimes I only need a few…. it all depends on the length of my trip. My batch cooked foods (see part 1), portioned into ziplock bags (double bagged if its something like soup) & frozen solid overnight, get packed into those thermals. If there is space, or if for some reason not all the food is completely frozen, I’ll add a few ice packs (like these ones, or these ones, or these are the ones my mom uses). In a pinch, I’ve used ziplock of ice, but I don’t really recommend it because they can leak, which actually happened on my last trip.

AIP Travel part 2: travel days; packing food
batch cooked food, portioned into Ziplocks, and ready to be frozen 

For my lunchbox that goes in my carry on, I use a lunch break thermal packed with:

  • a real fork and spoon (I pick up a plastic knife once through security
  • a cloth napkin
  • a Pyrex 3-cup dish with a lunch that tastes good cold (and contains a good dose of carbs to help with my motion sickness). I use that dish later for re-heating other meals that have been packed in ziplock for travel
  • travel containers of my favorite salts (like truffle salt or smoked salt). 
  • fresh fruit
  • an avocado
  • homemade salad dressing in a tiny bottle (like one from this nalgene set or a GoToob) and double bagged (keep in liquids bag when going through security. 
  • frozen solid ice packs IMPORTANT NOTE: the ice packs must be frozen SOLID or TSA will not allow them through security. I always add the ice packs last to ensure they’ll stay as frozen as possible. 

AIP Travel part 2: travel days; airplane lunch

Also in my carry on: 

  • I pick up a bottle of regular water & a bottle of sparkling water once I go through security & those both go in my carry on too. 
  • convenience snacks that don’t require refrigeration, like Epic bars (beef/apple/bacon and bison/bacon/cranberry are my favorites) & plantain chips 
  • a neck pillow (this one is my current favorite). I really do try to sleep on flights whenever possible. One, I’m usually a little tired from travel prep or from deviating from my routine and secondly, sleeping helps ward off motion sickness. 
  • supplements & medications. Once again, in case the checked luggage doesn’t arrive as planned, I keep my supplements and medications with me. 
  • sanitizing wipes, especially useful for tray tables covered in glutenous crumbs. I like these individually wrapped ones 
  • headphones for listening to podcasts or music during travel, plus they also help my ears to clear during pressure changes 
  • Kindle and iPad mini, in the spirit of keeping my luggage as light as possible ;) 
  • dressing in layers: I can get really cold on planes, especially the smaller planes. But I also can get really hot, especially if I get motion sick (more on that below). I always dress in layers & carry a scarf or jacket in case I get cold. And I usually throw a pair of Smartwool socks into my bag, just in case my feet get especially cold. 
AIP Travel part 2: TSA pre check

Going through security
  • Like I mentioned in my previous post, last fall I signed up for TSA pre-check. The lines are shorter & I don’t have to go through a body scanner. 
  • I never announce to TSA that I'm carrying food, even if I have an entire carry-on sized suitcase packed with frozen solid food in thermal containers. Only once have I had my frozen food pulled for a secondary screening, but I am hyper-vigilant that everything, including my ice packs, are frozen solid, and that anything that may be liquid (such as homemade salad dressing) is in a 3 oz or smaller container in a quart-sized bag. 
AIP Travel part 2: travel days

Motion sickness help
I’ve had a lot of struggles with motion sickness throughout my life. Things improved slightly while on AIP, but I still feel nauseous more often than I’d like. My best remedy is to sleep most of the flight, but when that isn’t possible, here are the remedies I’ve concocted from personal experience:

  • sitting more forward on the plane, which sometimes requires an upgrade to my ticket
  • drinking bubbly water: ask for club soda during the flight, if you can't find anything at the airport
  • eating plantain chips, apples, mint chocolate (aip reintroduction; Equal Exchange is my favorite) and generally not letting my stomach get too empty. 
  • using a neti stick aromatherapy inhaler (especially if I'm smelling jet fuel) 
  • allernest: a homeopathic allergy solution that also seems to soothe motion sickness. I take this at the recommendation of my doctor & I cannot vouch that the ingredients are strict elimination phase AIP. 

AIP Travel part 2: travel days

Unique situations
  • flying anxiety. I’m fortunate that I don’t experience anxiety while flying or fear of flying, but I know that struggle is very real for many people. I do utilize the app Headspace daily for meditation & they do have a guided meditation specifically for fear of flying. 
  • wheelchair service, if necessary. I don’t make the decision to utilize wheelchair service lightly, but I have needed to use it in my pre-AIP days. I would use it again if I was traveling during a flare or if I’d had a very bad instance of motion sickness.  
  • have a plan in case you get stranded mid trip: flights are regularly delayed and canceled, so make sure you have a plan for what to do if that happens. I always over-pack snacks & food, just in case something happens. And I travel with my medications/supplements in my carry-on in case I can’t get to my checked luggage. 

Ok, that's it for the second part of my series on traveling while following AIP. If you have any additional tips or tricks, please leave a comment.  I'll be back in a future post to talk about how I handle things at my destination. 

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Roasted Nectarine & Lavender Sorbet (AIP, Paleo, Vegan variation)

No-Churn Roasted Nectarine & Lavender Sorbet (AIP, Paleo, Vegan variation)

Let there be much rejoicing: I finally freed enough space in my freezer to make a frozen dessert! This is quite a feat, since my freezer is usually so full of broth and veggies and meat that I really ought to post a “watch for falling objects” warning on the door handle. Someday, one of my big dreams is to live somewhere that I can have a separate deep freeze.

No-Churn Roasted Nectarine & Lavender Sorbet (AIP, Paleo, Vegan variation)

But alas, even with a small amount of space available in my freezer, I still haven’t been able to fit my ice cream bowl attachment in it. Thankfully, with this no-churn sorbet, I was able to make a delicious frozen dessert without needing my ice cream bowl.

No-Churn Roasted Nectarine & Lavender Sorbet (AIP, Paleo, Vegan variation)

Last year, I never fully enjoyed summer produce, as I had to adopt an AIP + Low FODMAP diet for a few months (and stone fruits are high in FODMAPs). This summer, I’m extra thankful that pesky SIBO seems to be behind me & that I can once again sensibly enjoy summer fruits, like nectarines and peaches and cherries. Organic nectarines were on sale a few weeks ago & I picked up a bunch, knowing we would eat some of them on their own & that I’d perhaps make some sort of frozen treat with them too.

No-Churn Roasted Nectarine & Lavender Sorbet (AIP, Paleo, Vegan variation)

I may have a bit of an obsession with lavender…. We diffuse lavender oil at bedtime, many of my natural beauty and bath products are scented with lavender, and I love the flavor of lavender, especially when combined with stone fruits like peaches or nectarines. A couple of years ago, before I learned dairy and I are not friends, I made a fabulous batch of roasted peach ice cream (not AIP). This sorbet is sort of inspired by that roasted peach ice cream and by my love of peach lavender jam (not AIP).

No-Churn Roasted Nectarine & Lavender Sorbet (AIP, Paleo, Vegan variation)

I halved the ripe nectarines, drizzled them with a tiny bit of honey (though you could totally skip this step to keep the dessert completely free from added sweeteners), and sprinkled them with a little bit of culinary lavender buds before roasting everything in the oven. Roasting helps to concentrate the flavors & also to evaporate some of the water out of the fruit. Probably because of the roasting & the addition of a little coconut milk, when I flaked the dessert with a fork, it did not hold icy shards like granita-type frozen desserts do. Instead, it became more sorbet-like.

No-Churn Roasted Nectarine & Lavender Sorbet (AIP, Paleo, Vegan variation)

Desserts with lavender may sound as though they’d taste like soap or potpourri, but I promise this sorbet has just a hint of lavender flavor. It’s the perfect floral accent to the summer-y flavor of nectarines.

No-Churn Roasted Nectarine & Lavender Sorbet (AIP, Paleo, Vegan variation) 
yields 4 to 6 small servings

Coconut oil, for greasing the baking pan 
5 nectarines, ripe (mine weighed 541 g *with* their pits) 
21 g (1 tablespoon) honey
1/2 teaspoon culinary lavender buds, plus additional for garnish, if desired  
pinch of sea salt  
56 g (1/4 cup) coconut milk 

  1. Preheat the oven to 350. Lightly grease a baking pan (I used a Le Creuset oval gratin dish) with coconut oil. 
  2. Cut the nectarines in half & arrange them, cut side up, in the greased baking pan. If the pits are challenging to remove, leave them in until after the baking process. 
  3. Drizzle the nectarines with the honey, if desired, and sprinkle with the culinary lavender & sea salt. 
  4. Roast for 30 minutes in the preheated oven. 
  5. Allow to cool at room temperature and remove the pits. Cover & refrigerate overnight to allow the flavors to meld. 
  6. Puree the roasted nectarines & lavender with the coconut milk in a food processor or high speed blender. Pour into baking dish (I used a 6-cup pyrex) & freeze, uncovered, until solid.
  7. Once the nectarine lavender mixture is solid, flake with a fork. The pieces will not hold in icy shards like granitas do, but can be stirred together to form a sorbet-type texture. 
  8. Portion into cups & serve with a few extra lavender buds. Store leftovers, covered, in the freezer & re-flake with a fork before serving. 


  • The nectarines may be peeled, if desired, but I like the color, texture & extra fiber the skin provides. 
  • Peaches (or other stone fruits) may substituted for the nectarines. 
  • Honey may be omitted, especially if the nectarines are really ripe. 
  • To make the recipe vegan, substitute maple syrup 
  • To make the recipe coconut free, use avocado oil for greasing the pan & add water or fruit juice when blending. 
  • This recipes can also be turned into popsicles by pouring into a popsicle mold after pureeing. 
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Thursday, June 30, 2016

Traveling on AIP part 1: pre-trip planning

Traveling on AIP part 1: pre-trip planning

The thought of traveling while following the autoimmune protocol (or while living with chronic illnesses or conditions) may evoke fear or a sense of panic. Though I wrote a post in 2014 about travel foods while following AIP, in the time since then, I’ve done a lot more traveling & have learned many more tips and tricks. I thought it may be helpful to others to write a more in depth series about my personal experiences for traveling while following a healing diet and lifestyle—I’ve actually been working on this post for over 6 months! Car travel seems to be an easier option for most people, so I’ll be primarily covering the challenges of domestic air travel within the United States; however, many tips should also apply to other forms of travel (or to international travel, though the laws of what you can take in to a country vary greatly).

In this post (part one), I’ll cover things I do before the trip begins, from planning & researching,  to batch cooking & packing, and managing expectations. In future post(s), I’ll share strategies during actual travel days and while at your destination. You can find part two here.

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Traveling on AIP part 1: TSA Pre-Check

TSA pre-check:
  • In an effort to streamline my travel further & reduce stress, last fall fall, I applied for the TSA pre-check program. Yes, it does have a fee involved, and the application process can take a few weeks for approval, but not standing in a security line as long, nor needing to take as many things out of my bag has been well worth the cost. 
  • Not every airport has the full program, but if you find yourself frequently flying out of airports that DO utilize it, I highly recommend applying. 
  • As a bonus, TSA pre-check lines generally have passengers go through metal detectors instead of the body scanners, which means I can lessen my radiation exposure.  
Booking Flights:
  • I’ve made a serious effort to make sleep a priority & to reduce stress as much as I can. While I use to easily fly early in the morning or late at night, I now am much more conscious of flight times & how they might disrupt my sleep schedule. I’m ok with getting up a little bit earlier or with pushing my bed time to just a little later, but I try not to have 5am flights or take red-eyes. I know that if I start out a trip totally exhausted from traveling at times when I’m usually sleeping, I’m much more likely to have a flare in symptoms. 
  • Not to mention, airports tend to be really busy in the early morning, so choosing to fly later can mean a less stressful experience. 
Traveling on AIP part 1: Staybridge Suites

Lodging Choices:
  • For those needing a hotel, find a hotel that has, at the very least, a mini fridge and microwave, though my preference is to find a hotel with a full kitchen. Some hotels with kitchens that I have used include Staybridge SuitesResidence Inn by Marriott, and Homewood Suites, though there are probably many others too. 
  • Most hotel rooms with kitchens have a stovetop/microwave/dishwasher but do not have an oven. I either plan to cook things that don’t require an oven, or I bring along pre-cooked food that can be re-heated in the microwave or on the stove. 
  • Another great option is to rent a condo or house via a site like Airbnb or VRBO. If you choose to rent a condo or house, I recommend contacting the owner or rental company before you leave to find out what kitchen equipment will be provided. 
  • Staying with family or friends is another popular option, but if your loved ones are not familiar with AIP or food allergies, it’s a good idea to have a conversation ahead of time. Because I have such such serious gluten and dairy sensitivities (we keep our own home free from gluten or dairy), I’d prefer not to be preparing allergen-free food next to someone who is slicing bread or making pasta etc. Not every person will understand or be accommodating, but I find it is better to be upfront with what you personally need ahead of time to avoid any uncomfortable conversations or run-ins when you arrive. I don’t expect my family or friends kitchen’s to be entirely AIP compliant, but it is nice to ask if they would consider making a few adjustments for your stay, or if they can find a “safe corner” for food prep. I also travel with a decent amount of pre-made food or ingredients to make food, so make sure your hosts have enough fridge or freezer space to accommodate what you’re brining. 
  • Whatever lodging choice you make, choose one that is best for your stress levels. While we love to stay with family and friends when traveling—it’s great for spending more quality time together, it’s less expensive—there are times, with those who are not as accommodating to my dietary restrictions or who do not understand the limitations those with chronic illness may face, when having the sanctuary of a private hotel room is completely worth it. 
Traveling on AIP part 1: Allergy Card

Researching Restaurants 
  • For the most part when I travel, I prefer to bring my own safe food to reduce the risk of unintended cross contamination (no one wants to be sick while on a trip. However, sometimes, especially on a trip, it’s nice to take a break & not have to cook or clean up. Very rarely do I just walk into a restaurant and hope there’ll be something for me. Instead, I research restaurants ahead of time to see if there are any with decent options. Most restaurants have menus online, which makes weeding out the “not possible” options relatively quickly. 
  • Once I find a restaurant that looks like it may have options, I call or email ahead to make sure they can accommodate my meals. I designed allergy cards  to communicate with servers and kitchen staff about my particular limitations & I’ll often email my allergy card ahead. I have had a couple restaurants flat out tell me not to eat at their establishment, but more often than not, so long as I’m nice and friendly in my communications, not rude/demanding/entitled, most restaurants are willing to work with me.
List making
  • Write out a clear meal plan before you go & tentatively plan out each meal. I always error on the side of taking along too much food rather than not enough. 
  • If you plan to get groceries once you arrive at your location, make the grocery list before you go. Even grocery stores from the same chain may have slightly different products depending on location so also plan back-ups in case you cant get that favorite product at your destination. 
  • Before the trip, make a list of what you’re bringing (I do this on my iPad or in Google Drive). Then, at the end of the trip, record what you used or didn’t use. Keep that list for future trips & modify it as necessary to make things easier. 
Traveling on AIP part 1: Travel Batch Cooking

Batch Cooking
  • I really prefer to eat my own food when traveling, which usually means a large batch cooking session (or sessions) before the trip. I chose foods that travel well & that I can eat either warm or cold. Some of my favorites to batch cook include:
Traveling on AIP part 1: Safe Treats
  • I also make a few “safe” treats to take a long because I know I’ll be more tempted to splurge on something sweet when traveling. Some of my favorite “safe” treats include:
  • I package the prepared foods in individual portions in  freezer safe ziplock bags because they’re lighter than the glass jars I typically use at home & I don’t have to worry about taking home empty containers after the trip is done. 
  • I freeze most all of the food before the trip & pack it into thermal containers, mostly in my checked luggage, before air travel. Alternately, for a car trip, I’ll pack the frozen food into coolers & can add additional ice as needed.
Traveling on AIP part 1: AIP convenience foods

Convenience Foods
  • Convenience foods I plan to pick up once at my destination, if I can
    • naked rotisserie chicken (I’ve only purchased this at Whole Foods) 
    • salad greens
    • green juice 
    • kombucha
    • avocado
    • additional fruit
    • water
Traveling on AIP part 1: Kitchen Tools

Portable Kitchen 
Traveling on AIP part 1: AIP Portable Pantry
My last few planning suggestions deal more with mindset & communication

  • Adjusting Expectations: 
    • Make peace with the fact that for someone chronic illness, there are certain life changes that occur. While I have healed a great deal & many of my symptoms are no longer as prevalent as they once were, I still have to be careful, especially while traveling. The last thing I want is to experience a flare while on a trip. I still need to eat a very clean diet (currently: AIP with a  few reintroductions). I still need to guard my sleep. I still need to watch that I don’t over exert myself (even if I am eternally optimistic about being able to do more, haha!).  
    • Let go of the fact that you may not be 100% in control of all your meals. If you choose to eat in restaurants, chances are food will be cooked in less than desirable oils, or meat may not be grass fed/pastured/wild caught, or fruits/veggies will not be organic. Don’t stress too much, because stress is just as bad as a poor diet. 
  • Communicating with family and/or travel companions about meals ahead before the trip
    • When my husband, who follows AIP/Paleo guidelines with me at home but doesn’t have any specific food restrictions. and I travel just the two of us, I batch cook some of our meals ahead of time (planning enough food for two). For some meals, husband picks up his own food from restaurants while I eat pre-cooked meals. We decide about which meals we’ll eat out together and where. We get ingredients to make his breakfast (usually eggs) in our lodging. 
    • When we travel to see family, I often plan to cook meals to share with those around me. If I’m planning to do a lot of cooking/cooking for more people, I may bring more kitchen tools or more pre-made things. I don’t mind volunteering to do the cooking, but I do like to plan ahead for it. If I’m repeatedly cooking large meals for a group, I’ll get more tired & may need to adjust my travel schedule accordingly. 
    • AIP food is really delicious, so don’t be surprised if those around you want to try your food or want you to cook for them. I just find it is easier to try to figure these things out before traveling to help manage everyones’ expectations. No one wants to feel completely kitchen-bound, slaving over meals, on what was supposed to be a relaxing vacation. 
    • If you don’t have the energy (or budgetary ability) to cook for others, be honest with people & set that boundary. 
  • Make sure people know your limitations. 
    • If you follow a specific sleep schedule & need to go to bed early or not get up at the crack of dawn, tell your family/friends/travel companions ahead of time. 
    • If you have a regular meditation routine or yoga practice or exercise regimen that you’d like to keep up while traveling, communicate the situation with others.
    • If you need to take certain supplements or medications at certain times, build that into your schedule. 
Ok, that's it for this first part of my series on traveling while following AIP. If you have any additional tips or tricks, please leave a comment. Knowledge is power ;) I'll be back in future posts to talk about (part 2) travel days themselves  & how I handle things at my destination

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