Why We Left the Charter School…And I’m Glad

Charter School

Charter School

We’re a homeschooling family. If you’re not, don’t leave just yet. I think this still might apply to you.

When we first decided to home educate our kids, it was for a couple reasons. Our oldest son was in first grade, and needed to be more challenged in school. He was doing 3rd grade math, but the teacher couldn’t accommodate him while trying to teach to 20 other students. I totally get that. Our 2nd oldest was in kindergarten, and was getting in trouble nearly every day. He just. wouldn’t. sit. on. his. carpet square! We decided to pull them out for the final semester of that year to try doing school at home. Initially, we signed up with a charter school to be an “umbrella” over us. (They will remain unnamed to protect the {kind of} innocent.) I felt kind of lost, and thought the support would be beneficial. Along with that came the financial incentives–we would receive about $600/semester for each of one our kids that were currently in school to use for curriculum, extra curricular activities, etc.  During the first meeting with our Education Specialist (E.S.), the E.S. noted that our son was adopted, and I mentioned the struggle he had in a traditional school setting. She said with a sympathetic look, “Oh, that is probably because of his background. He’s probably carrying a lot of baggage.” 

family

That just rubbed me the wrong way. I’m sure she didn’t mean anything offensive by it, but I was a little put-off. She didn’t know anything about his background. Nothing. She did see the color of his skin, however. I decided having a partnership with this lady was not something I wanted. So, we pulled out of the charter school and decided we would be independent for that one semester. 

It was fine. We finished out that semester, went through summer, and then found a different charter school to go through. You see, that financial incentive beckoned us. $1200/year per child is a lot of money. We could sign our kids up for music lessons, swim lessons, classes, and still have money for all the curriculum we needed. I felt good with our decision.

I loved our E.S. She would come visit us once a month, collect some work samples, and do a little writing assignment with the kids, or some other fun, educational game. She was awesome with our kids. For the amount of effort I had to put in, the money was well worth it. Our son even got a drum set through the charter school (on loan, of course). 

Then, last year, I started to feel differently. The school was starting to be more rigid about their requirements and re-emphasized that we were not allowed to submit any Christian curriculum or work samples. I felt a very small nudge that maybe it was time to move on. I ignored it. After all, the money. Now, in case you don’t know, Superman (my husband) is a public school teacher, and I stay at home. We don’t have loads of extra cash rolling around, and I knew if we left the charter school, there would be no way to continue music lessons, history classes, online classes, and we would have to pay for all their curriculum. Each time I met with our E.S. (again, I adore her), I felt more and more strongly that there was a conflict brewing somewhere in me. I casually mentioned to Superman that I was thinking maybe we should leave the charter school. He said he would think about it, but that in order for our kids to do everything they were doing at the time, we needed that money. There just wasn’t any wiggle room in our budget.

Then, one night, I was lying in bed trying to fall asleep, and I felt as if I heard God audibly say to me, “Do you trust me, or do you trust the charter school to provide for your needs?” Ouch. That was some good truth spoken right there. I turned over and told Superman I really felt strongly that God wanted us to step out in faith on this one. It was almost like God was challenging me to see if I would step up to the plate. 

The next day, we sat down with our kids and told them. We said for the time being, we would have to halt all extra curricular activities. No music lessons, no swim, no online classes. I felt the worst for our 2nd son who absolutely adores music and knew he would have to give back his drum set. I told them: “This is an opportunity for us to allow God to work. If we continue to allow the charter school to pay for everything, how is God ever going to show how awesome He is?” I told them I was excited…getting back to schooling the way I loved instead of having to constantly think, “How am I going to make a work sample out of this?” was freeing. I couldn’t wait to enjoy my kids again instead of just being their teacher and trying to model the traditional way of schooling at home. 

That was 6 months ago.

You know what? God has miraculously provided. I’m not even sure how, and when we look at our budget, I’m still not exactly sure how we will provide the things we want for our children. But I know He will. 

Music is a high priority for us. Our 2nd oldest has wanted to be a worship leader since he was 3 years old. THREE. Now, will he grow up to be a worship leader? I have no idea. But God has put music on his heart, and it is our job to help guide him in his gifts and talents and hopefully help him draw nearer to God through those talents. If my boy would rather listen to our church’s worship pastor instead of some other crazy music with questionable lyrics, I’m gonna seize that opportunity! Music provides structure and connection for our kids. We’ve found two incredible young adults at our church who are willing to invest into our kids by doing guitar, piano and music class with them. And you know what we told our kids? God dropped these two teachers into our laps. He knew this was important to us, and He provided it. 

There are a lot of things we’d like our kids to be involved in, but we are waiting on God to provide for those things. It’s teaching our kids that patience is a learned trait. We can’t have everything we want, right when we want it. Sometimes, God will provide with a resounding “yes!” Other times, we might get a gentle “no.”

Leaving the charter school was the single best decision we’ve made in our homeschooling journey. It has opened up a world of possibilities, and given us the blessing of allowing our kids to see God work when we make room for Him to do so. 

I’m not saying there should be a mass exodus from charter schools. Obviously, we were with a charter for 4 years, and I never had a problem with it. However, if God is prompting you, talking to you, asking you to allow Him to work, you may want to pause and listen. Living in comfort isn’t always the best decision. Living by faith is always the best decision. We’re not all called to do the same thing, but we’re all called to do something. What is it you are being called to do? 

Strawberry Rhubarb Crisp (Grain-Free, Date-Sweetened)

strawberry rhubarb crisp

strawberry rhubarb crisp

Today, please welcome to the blog Dr. Meghan Birt from Just Enjoy Food!

I love being able to eat seasonally and locally. And one of the first fruits of the springtime harvest is rhubarb. And there is a plethora of rhubarb throughout the summer time. We grew up on a rhubarb dessert made with white cake mix and a lot of sugar. But since eating real food and going grain free, I needed another dessert recipe to use rhubarb. Why not mix the tart rhubarb with naturally sweet strawberries? And then top it with a nutty date-sweetened crisp. It makes this delicious and sweet fruity compote below the crust. Sounds perfect, right? Top with a dollop (or three) of whipped cream or a scoop of coconut milk ice cream to really throw it over the edge. This is a recipe the family will love.

Strawberry Rhubarb Crisp
 
Author:
Ingredients
  • 2½ cups fresh organic strawberries, diced
  • 2½ cups fresh rhubarb, diced
  • 1 teaspoon Spoonable Stevita Stevia
  • 2 Tablespoons organic lemon juice (fresh or jarred)
  • 1 cup raw walnuts
  • 1 cup raw pecans
  • 1 cup shredded coconut
  • 10 medjool dates, pitted
  • 7 Tablespoons organic butter, room temperature or slightly chilled
  • 3 Tablespoons coconut flour
  • ½ teaspoon pink or sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and take out a 3 quart casserole dish
  2. • Combine the strawberries, rhubarb, stevia and lemon juice in the casserole
  3. dish. This is the bottom of your crisp
  4. • In a food processor pulse together the walnuts, pecans and shredded coconut
  5. until they are all in uniform small pieces
  6. • Add the dates and butter and mix until all combined. This may take up to 30
  7. seconds for the dates to fully mix into the nut and butter mixture
  8. • Add the coconut flour, salt and vanilla and pulse until the crisp topping is all
  9. combined
  10. • Using your hands, lay flattened pieces of the crisp on top of the strawberries
  11. and rhubarb pieces. The crisp will completely cover the strawberries and
  12. rhubarb
  13. • Bake for 30 minutes until the crisp top is golden brown and the sauce made
  14. by the strawberries and rhubarb starts bubbling
  15. • Serve warm with whipped cream or coconut milk ice cream

 

Dr. Meghan is a chiropractor and the founder and creator of Just Enjoy Food, a resource and recipe blog created to support a healthier lifestyle. She believes every individual meghan birthas the opportunity to live their healthiest life possible, which can be achieved through natural approaches. She overcame her own health challenges and throughout the process has gained valuable education in how our bodies work and heal. You can find her on her blog: Just Enjoy Food, and on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram.

link

How to Cut a Pineapple in 1 Minute!

how to cut a pineapple

how to cut a pineapple

Are you a little intimidated by pineapples? I know I used to be! I would avoid them like the plague because I just didn’t want to have to deal with cutting them up. Well, friends, fret no more! Here’s how to cut a pineapple in ONE minute! 

6 Proven Benefits of Apple Cider Vinegar

apple cider vinegar

apple cider vinegar

This article was written by Kris Gunners from Authority Nutrition and republished with permission.

For centuries, vinegar has been used for various household and cooking purposes.

It is also an ancient folk remedy, claimed to help with all sorts of health problems.

The most popular vinegar in the natural health community is Apple Cider Vinegar.

It is claimed to lead to all sorts of beneficial effects… some of which are supported by science.

This includes weight loss, lower blood sugar levels and improved symptoms of diabetes.

Here are 6 health benefits of apple cider vinegar, that are supported by scientific research.

1. Apple Cider Vinegar is High in Acetic Acid, Which Has Potent Biological Effects

Vinegar is made in a two-step process, related to how alcohol is made (1).

The first step exposes crushed apples (or apple cider) to yeast, which ferment the sugars and turn them into alcohol.

In the second step, bacteria are added to the alcohol solution, which further ferment the alcohol and turn it into acetic acid… the main active compound in vinegar.

In French, the word “vinegar” actually means “sour wine.”

Organic, unfiltered apple cider vinegar (like Bragg’s) also contains “mother,” strands of proteins, enzymes and friendly bacteria that give the product a murky, cobweb-like appearance.

This is what it looks like:

Unfiltered Apple Cider Vinegar With Mother

Some people believe that the “mother” is responsible for most of the health benefits, although there are currently no studies to support this.

Apple cider vinegar only contains about 3 calories per tablespoon, which is very low.

There are not many vitamins or minerals in it, but it does contain a tiny amount of potassium. Quality apple cider vinegar also contains some amino acids and antioxidants.

Bottom Line: Apple cider vinegar is made by fermenting the sugars from apples. This turns them into acetic acid, the active ingredient in vinegar.

2. Acetic Acid is a Potent Antimicrobial and Can Kill Some Types of Bacteria

Glass Bottle With Unfiltered Apple Cider Vinegar

Vinegar can help kill pathogens, including bacteria (2).

It has traditionally been used for cleaning and disinfecting, treating nail fungus, lice, warts and ear infections.

However, many of these applications have currently notbeen confirmed by research.

Hippocrates, the father of modern medicine, used vinegar for wound cleaning over two thousand years ago.

Vinegar has been used as a food preservative, and studies show that it inhibits bacteria (like E. coli) from growing in the food and spoiling it (3456).

If you’re looking for a natural way to preserve your food… then apple cider vinegar could be highly useful.

There have also been anecdotal reports of diluted apple cider vinegar helping with acne when applied on the skin, but I didn’t find any research to confirm this so take it with a grain of salt.

Bottom Line: The main substance in vinegar, acetic acid, can kill bacteria and/or prevent them from multiplying and reaching harmful levels. It has a history of use as a disinfectant and natural preservative.

3. Apple Cider Vinegar May Lower Blood Sugar Levels, Which is Very Useful For Diabetics

By far the most successful application of vinegar to date, is in patients with type 2 diabetes.

Apples and Vinegar

Type 2 diabetes is characterized by elevated blood sugars, either in the context of insulin resistance or an inability to produce insulin.

However, elevated blood sugar can also be a problem in people who don’t have diabetes… it is believed to be a major cause of ageing and various chronic diseases.

So, pretty much everyone should benefit from keeping their blood sugar levels stable.

The most effective (and healthiest) way to do that is to avoid refined carbs and sugar, but apple cider vinegar may also have a powerful effect.

Vinegar has been shown to have numerous benefits for insulin function and blood sugar levels:

    • Improves insulin sensitivity during a high-carb meal by 19-34% and significantly lowers blood glucose and insulin responses (7).

 

    • Reduces blood sugar by 34% when eating 50 grams of white bread (8).

 

    • 2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar before bedtime can reduce fasting blood sugars by 4% (9).

 

  • Numerous other studies, in both rats and humans, show that vinegar can increase insulin sensitivity and significantly lower blood sugar responses during meals (101112131415).

For these reasons, vinegar can be useful for people with diabetes, pre-diabetes, or those who want to keep their blood sugar levels low to normal for other reasons.

If you’re currently taking blood sugar lowering medications, then check with your doctor before increasing your intake of apple cider vinegar.

Bottom Line: Apple cider vinegar has shown great promise in improving insulin sensitivity and helping to lower blood sugar responses after meals.

4. There Are Some Studies Showing That Apple Cider Vinegar Can Help With Weight Loss

Overweight Woman Holding a Scale With Thumbs up

Given that vinegar lowers blood sugar and insulin levels, it makes sense that it could help you lose weight.

Several human studies suggest that vinegar can increase satiety, help you eat fewer calories and even lead to actual pounds lost on the scale.

Vinegar along with high-carb meals can increase feelings of fullness and make people eat 200-275 fewer calories for the rest of the day (1617).

By reducing calorie intake, this should translate to reduced weight over time.

A study in obese individuals showed that daily vinegar consumption led to reduced belly fat, waist circumference, lower blood triglycerides and weight loss (18):

  • 15mL (1 tablespoon): Lost 2.6 pounds, or 1.2 kilograms.
  • 30mL (2 tablespoons): Lost 3.7 pounds, or 1.7 kilograms.

However… keep in mind that this study went on for 12 weeks, so the true effects on body weight seem to be rather modest.

That being said, just adding/subtracting single foods or ingredients rarely has a noticeable effect on weight.

It’s the entire diet/lifestyle that counts… you need to combine several effective methods to see results.

Overall, it seems like apple cider vinegar may be useful as a weight loss aid, mainly by promoting satiety and lowering glucose and insulin levels.

But it won’t work any miracles on its own.

Bottom Line: Studies suggest that vinegar can increase feelings of fullness and help people eat fewer calories, which can lead to weight loss.

5. Apple Cider Vinegar May Have Some Benefits For Heart Health

Female Doctor Smiling With Thumbs Up

Cardiovascular disease (heart disease and stroke) is currently the world’s biggest cause of death (19).

It is known that several measurable biological factors are linked to either a decreased or increased risk of cardiovascular disease.

Several of these “risk factors” have been shown to be improved by vinegar consumption… but all of the studies were done in rats.

These rat studies showed that apple cider vinegar can lower cholesterol and triglyceride levels (2021).

Apple cider vinegar may also contain the antioxidant chlorogenic acid, which has been shown to protect LDL cholesterol particles from becoming oxidized, a crucial step in the heart disease process (2223).

There are also some studies showing that vinegar reduces blood pressure (a majorrisk factor) in rats (2425).

Unfortunately, what works in animals doesn’t always work in humans.

The only human evidence is an observational study from Harvard showing that women who ate salad dressings with vinegar had a reduced risk of heart disease (26).

But this type of study can only show an association, it can not prove that the vinegarcaused anything.

Bottom Line: Several animal studies have shown that vinegar can reduce blood triglycerides, cholesterol and blood pressure, but this needs to be confirmed in human studies.

6. Vinegar May be Protective Against Cancer

Decanter With Apple Cider Vinegar

Cancer is a terrible disease, characterized by uncontrolled growth of cells.

There is a lot of hype online about the anti-cancer effects of apple cider vinegar.

Some studies have shown that vinegar can kill cancer cells and shrink tumors (27282930)

However, all of the studies on this were done in isolated cells in test tubes, or rats, which proves nothing about what happens in a living, breathing human.

Additionally, most of the studies were done on rice vinegar, not apple cider vinegar.

That being said, some observational studies (which don’t prove anything) have shown that vinegar ingestion is linked to decreased esophageal cancer in China, but increased bladder cancer in Serbia (3132).

Overall… it is possible that apple cider vinegar may help to prevent cancer, but it is definitely premature to make any recommendations based on the current research.

Bottom Line: Some studies in test tubes and rats have shown that rice vinegar can slow the growth of cancer cells and shrink tumors.

Side Effects, Dosage and How to Use it

Woman With Short Hair Holding a Bottle of Apple Cider Vinegar

There are a lot of wild claims about apple cider vinegar on the internet.

Some say that it can increase energy levels and have all sorts of beneficial effects on health.

Unfortunately… many of these claims are not supported by science.

Of course, absence of proof isn’t proof that something isn’t happening and anecdote often ends up becoming supported by science down the line.

That being said, I wouldn’t hold my breath waiting for more studies, since research on natural health products like these are both few and far between.

From the little evidence available, I think that apple cider vinegar may be useful and is definitely a good candidate for some self-experimentation if you’re interested in it.

At the very least, apple cider vinegar seems to be safe. There are no side effects noted with normal consumption.

The best way to incorporate it into your diet is to use it in your cooking… for salad dressings, mayonnaise and that sort of thing.

Some people also like to dilute it in water and drink it as a beverage. Common dosages range from 1-2 teaspoons (5-10 mL) to 1-2 tablespoons (15-30 mL) per day.

Definitely don’t go above that, because excess consumption may have harmful effects.

It is also possible to take it in pill/tablet form, but I don’t recommend that because a 2005 study showed that the true vinegar content of these supplements was highly questionable (33).

There is also a report of a woman having an apple cider vinegar tablet stuck in her throat, which led to esophageal burns.

It is recommended to use organic, unfiltered apple cider vinegar with the “mother.”

Bragg’s seems to be the most popular option, which is available on Amazon with tons of interesting testimonials and reviews that are fun to browse through.

Apple cider vinegar also has various other non-health related uses like hair conditioning, skin care, dental care, pet use and as a cleaning agent (to name a few).

These can be highly useful for people who like to keep things as natural and chemical-free as possible.

At the end of the day, apple cider vinegar appears to be very healthy.

It’s not a “miracle” or a “cure-all” like some people seem to believe, but it does clearly have some important health benefits, especially for blood sugar and weight control.

This article was written by Kris Gunners from Authority Nutrition and republished with permission.

Green Bomber Juice (Make yourself feel great!)

green juice

green juice

Today’s post is brought to you by Joyce from The Skinny Pear.

I love juicing and to be honest I haven’t been juicing as much as I like. I kind of go through spurts I guess, but when I am drinking them I feel fabulous. I wanted to share a quick and simple juice. If you are new to juicing one thing I recommend is to not have too many sweet juices. One thing I love to add to pretty much every juice is apple. I just love apples, and my favorite is Macintosh apples. This recipe is super simple and gets you a huge serving of veggies, perfect way to start the day.

 
Prep time
Total time
 
Author:
Ingredients
  • 3 large handfuls of spinach
  • 3 celery stalks
  • 1⁄2 cucumber
  • 2 apples
Instructions
  1. Using your Juicer, juice all of the ingredients together and enjoy.

joyce bio pic

 

Joyce is a mother to two beautiful children, wife to an amazing husband.  She spends her day’s blogging at The Skinny Pear, studying to become a registered holistic nutritionist and runs a photography business.  When she’s not busy doing all of that, she’s skiing down mountains in the winter and fishing in the summer.  Oh and she’s running her first half marathon this year!  For more of her recipes, head over to her blog.

What Is Oil Cleansing? (And Why I Love It!)

oil cleansing

oil cleansing

About a month ago, one of my friend’s posted a picture of herself on Facebook, and her skin looked amazing. I asked her what she was doing, and she said she did oil cleansing. I had never heard of it. Now, I had heard of oil pulling, and have even done that myself with great success, but that was different. Oil Cleansing is a process by which you cover your face with oil, leave it there for awhile, and then wash it off. Sounds simple enough, right? 

I know it sounds scary. It seems like it would clog your pores and make you break out. But here’s what I discovered in my 1-month trial with oil cleansing:

My skin has never been so soft!

I did a little research online before I started, and found that castor oil seemed to be the oil of choice for such a venture, since it has a low clogging level and was cheap. So for only about $4.50 I got THIS big bottle of castor oil on Amazon. What a steal! You’ll want to stay away from coconut oil, as it can often clog pores and cause you more problems.

Note: different types of skin may require different types of oil:

Sensitive
rice bran, grapeseed, apricot kernel, fractionated coconut oil (FCO), jojoba, safflower, sunflower, sweet almond, watermelon, calendula, sea buckthorn, emu oil, mineral oil (purest grade), camellia oil

Dry
extra virgin olive oil (EVOO), macadamia, corn, avocado, sesame, sunflower, wheat germ, coconut oil, shea oil, sweet almond, emu oil, camellia oil

Oily
grapeseed, jojoba, watermelon, hazelnut, safflower, hazelnut, peach kernel, rice bran

Acne
neem, jojoba, grapeseed, watermelon, rice bran, apricot seed, hazelnut, peach kernel, sweet almond, sunflower, safflower, walnut, rosehips seed (tolerance varies), tea tree eo, manuka eo

Normal
sunflower, canola, sweet almond, olive, safflower, avocado, extra virgin olive oil (EVOO), camellia oil, mineral oil (purest grade), castor oil

Mature
rosehip seed, borage, carrot, sweet almond, olive, avocado, extra virgin olive oil (EVOO), emu oil, red raspberry, camellia oil


 

The first couple days I did it, I did 4 or 5 nights in a row. I washed the makeup off my face, got about a tablespoon of castor oil, rubbed it over my whole face (including eyelids and lips) and let it sit for about 15 minutes. Then, I got hot water onto a washcloth and gently washed the oil off my face. I ended by putting on my regular night cream (P.S.–this is way cheaper at Costco).

My face felt awesome. Seriously, silky. 

But by the 5th day, I noticed I was breaking out a bit. I was bummed, because even though my skin felt soft, I didn’t want to have mini volcanoes all over my face. I backed off for 5 or 6 days, and then decided I would max out my fun facial treatment at 3 times per week. 

Ladies and gentlemen, I found my sweet spot! 

Three times a week seems to be the perfect balance–enough to make my skin softer, more supple looking and just in general, awesome. 

I am so impressed with oil cleansing, I’m keeping it as part of my regular routine. Like I said, I’m maxing it out at 3 times per week, though. I challenge you to try it! Worst case scenario, you’ll have a bottle of castor oil leftover. There are tons of uses for it, and you can read some of those HERE

If you want to see my video on how to oil cleanse, check it out here:

 

So, are you going to try? 

Creamy Red Curry Slaw (Whole30/Paleo)

creamy red curry slaw

creamy red curry slaw

 Oh, this slaw. I can’t even tell you how much it delighted my taste buds. I had this Red Curry Paste in my pantry, and I was trying to think of a way I could use it up for lunch today. I decided to mix it together with some homemade mayo (minus the basil) and a few other veggies for an amazing lunch! I wrapped this in a gluten-free tortilla, but you could just eat this as a salad, serve it over rice, or just eat it plain!

Creamy Red Curry Slaw (Whole30/Paleo)
 
Tastefully simple to throw together!
Author:
Ingredients
  • 2 cups broccoli slaw (I get this one from Trader Joe's):
  • ¼ cup homemade mayo (you don't have to use the garlic & basil)
  • 1 TBSP Thai Kitchen Red Curry Paste
  • ½ cup chopped bell pepper (I used yellow)
  • 1 avocado, diced
Instructions
  1. Mix all the ingredients together and enjoy!
  2. You can eat this on its own, or in a gluten-free wrap or over rice!

 

creamy red curry slaw

 

Simple Beef Roast

simple beef roast

simple beef roast

This simple beef roast is slow-cooked to perfection!

Simple Beef Roast
 
Author:
Ingredients
  • 1 (4-5 lb) round tip beef roast
  • 6-7 carrots, cut into chunks
  • 2 onions, quartered
  • garlic salt
  • 3 TBSP olive oil
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 225 degrees, and heat oil in a deep pot.
  2. Sprinkle roast on all sides generously with garlic salt, and sear all sides in heated oil.
  3. Place into a baking pan with sides, add carrots and onions, sprinkle with a bit more garlic salt and cover tightly with foil.
  4. Bake in oven for about 2 hours, then increase heat to 300 degrees.
  5. Bake for another ½ hour, then remove foil.
  6. Bake another 15-30 minutes, until temp reaches at least 145 degrees.
  7. Let rest for 10 minutes before carving.

 

 

Paleo Fried Okra

paleo fried okra

paleo fried okra

My dad used to make okra when I was growing up and I couldn’t stand it–it was a slimy, gooey mess. I have bad memories of that stuff. However, once I grew up, I tried it fried and I realized I just had never had it prepared in a way that I liked! I came up with this Paleo Fried Okra recipe for those of you who may have memories like mine, but are open to trying it out again! The key to this recipe is frying it in the bacon or sausage fat!

Paleo Fried Okra
 
Crispety, crunchety, tasty fried okra!
Author:
Ingredients
  • 2 cups sliced okra (fresh will work better, but you can use thawed previously frozen if necessary, just make sure you've drained off any excess fluid)
  • 1 egg
  • 2 TBSP almond milk or coconut milk
  • 1 tsp salt + more for sprinkling
  • ½ tsp pepper
  • 1 cup almond flour
  • ¼ cup tapioca flour
  • ½ cup bacon or sausage drippings
Instructions
  1. Heat bacon or sausage drippings in a cast iron skillet over medium-high heat.
  2. In a bowl, whisk together the egg and almond or coconut milk.
  3. Add in okra and stir to coat.
  4. In a large bowl, combine the salt, pepper, almond flour and tapioca flour.
  5. Add in okra and toss to coat.
  6. Add okra to heated skillet and fry, gently stirring to make sure it browns evenly.
  7. When browned and cooked through, remove to plate covered with paper towels.
  8. Let sit for 1-2 minutes before eating.

fried okra

No Marinade Carne Asada 3 Ways (As Seen on Good Day Sacramento)

good day sacramento

Yesterday, my kiddos and I had the pleasure of doing a segment on Good Day Sacramento! We shared my No Marinade Carne Asada, served 3 ways. You can check out the video below! 

One Dozen Paleo Cupcake Recipes!

paleo cupcake recipes

paleo cupcake recipes

Who doesn’t love a good cupcake sometimes? When switching to a grain-free diet, it’s hard to come by really great Paleo cupcake recipes. Well, friends, look no further! I’ve got you covered. These Paleo cupcake recipes are some of my favorite. Bookmark this page or Pin It so you know what to make for your next birthday party! 

Grain Free Hostess Cupcake Copycats from Life Made Full

Paleo Yellow Cupcakes from A Girl Worth Saving

 paleo yellow cake

Coconut Flour Cupcakes with Chocolate Frosting from Healy Eats Real

Double Chocolate Grain Free Cupcakes from Healy Eats Real

Chocolate Nut Butter Cupcakes with Optional Cream Cheese Filling from Life Made Full

Apple Cardamom Cupcakes from Gutsy By Nature

Naturally Red Velvet Cupcakes from Gutsy By Nature

High Protein Muffins from Paleo Kitchen Lab

Paleo Guava Cupcakes from Paleo Fondue

Brown Velvet Cupcakes from Paleo Parents

Carrot Cake Muffins with Creamy Coconut Icing from Pure & Simple Nourishment

Grain Free Vanilla Cupcakes with “Paleo-fied” Chocolate Frosting from Life Made Full 

 

 

Post Jaw Surgery Update!

jaw surgery update

It’s now been about 4 months since my Modified Condylotomy/Mandibular Osteotomy and I’m doing great! So thankful for a talented surgeon who obviously knew what he was doing, for a God who worked through the surgeon, and for the ability to bite into an apple again! Watch the video for a quick 1-minute post-jaw surgery update!

 

Butter Is Back—Processed Foods Are Identified as Real Culprits in Heart Disease

butter is back

butter is back

Today’s post is brought to you with the permission of Dr. Mercola.

By Dr. Mercola

Heart disease is one of the leading causes of death, and for the past 60 years, saturated fat and cholesterol have been wrongfully vilified as the culprits. Fortunately, the truth is finally starting to see the light of day.

Last December, the New York Times1 featured Dr. Fred Kummerow’s research on fats, and a recent article in Time Magazine2 also sets the record straight.

Dr. Kummerow, author of Cholesterol Is Not the Culprit, is now nearly 100 years old. He has spent eight decades immersed in the science of lipids, cholesterol, and heart disease, and he was the first researcher to identifywhich fats actually clog your arteries.

His work shows that it’s not saturated fat that causes heart disease, rathertrans fats are to blame. Dr. Kummerow was the first to publish a scientific article on this association, all the way back in 1957! Needless to say, the US Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) move to get trans fats out of the American diet is long overdue.

Now, the rest of the world is finally starting to catch up with him. A review from Cambridge University, published in the journal Annals of Internal Medicine in March,34 is the latest analysis to confirm the absolute lack of evidence that consuming saturated fat leads to heart disease.

They also found no basis for guidelines that recommend increased consumption of polyunsaturated fats to lower your cardiac risk, calling into question all of the standard nutritional guidelines related to heart health.

Saturated Fat or Trans Fat—Which Really Causes Heart Disease?

As noted in the June 23, 2014 Time Magazine cover story5 and the Today Health video6 above, refined carbs, sugar, and processed foods are the real enemy—not the saturated fats found in foods such as butter, lard, or eggs.

Part of the confusion on fats revolves around its impact on LDL cholesterol, often referred to as “bad” cholesterol. According to the conventional view, high LDL is correlated with heart disease, and saturated fat does tend to raise LDL. However, we now understand that there are TWO kinds of LDL cholesterol particles:

  • Small, dense LDL cholesterol
  • Large, “fluffy” LDL cholesterol

The latter is not “bad” at all. Research has confirmed that large LDL particles do not contribute to heart disease. The small, dense LDL particles, however, do contribute to the build-up of plaque in your arteries, and trans fat increases small, dense LDL. Saturated fat, on the other hand, increases large, fluffy—and benign—LDL.

More importantly, research has also shown that small, dense LDL particles are increased by eating refined sugar and carbohydrates, such as bread, bagels, and soda. Together, trans fats and refined carbs do far more harm than saturated fat ever possibly could.

Unfortunately, when the cholesterol hypothesis took hold, the food industry switched over to low-fat foods, replacing healthy saturated fats like butter and lard with harmful trans fats (vegetables oils, margarine, etc.), and lots of refined sugar and processed fructose. Ever-rising obesity and heart disease rates clearly illustrate the ramifications of this flawed approach.

Flawed Nutritional Guidelines Have Created a ‘Pandemic’ of Heart Disease

Between 1920 and 1960, Americans’ butter consumption declined by over 75 percent, yet heart disease went from a relatively unknown condition to the number one killer. Consumption of trans fat radically increased in the mid-1950s, and rates of sudden death from heart disease have faithfully risen right along with trans fat consumption.

Today, there are 30,000 items in the American diet that contain trans fats, according to the FDA. That should give you an indication of just how prevalent these dangerous fats have become!

Basically, if you eat processed foods, you’re likely eating trans fats. Many products that claim to be “zero trans fat” simply have portion sizes that are so ridiculously small that the trans fat falls below the permissible limits and therefore do not need to be listed.

Authority Nutrition has assembled several graphs with side-by-side comparisons of obesity and heart disease trends with nutritional trends over time. These graphs make it easier to visualize how the low-fat recommendations have done you no favors whatsoever.7 For example, the following graph shows how the European countries that eat the least saturated fats have the highest risk of heart disease:

In Europe, the Countries That Eat the Most Saturated Fat Have the Lowest Risk of Heart Disease

Data from: Hoenselaar, R. Further response from Hoenselaar. British Journal of Nutrition, 2012.

Trans Fats 101

Dr. Kummerow is still a prolific researcher and writer, and has published four papers in the past couple of years alone. Some of his most recent research8 shows that there are two types of fats in our diet responsible for the formation of heart disease:

    • Trans fat found in partially hydrogenated oil. Structurally, trans fats are synthetic fatty acids. Fourteen of them are produced during the hydrogenation process. (They are not present in either animal or vegetable fats.) Trans fats prevent the synthesis of prostacyclin,9 which is necessary to keep your blood flowing. When your arteries cannot produce prostacyclin, blood clots form, and you may succumb to sudden death.
    • Oxidized cholesterol, formed when polyunsaturated vegetable oils (such as soybean, corn, and sunflower oils) are heated. A primary source is fried foods. This oxidized cholesterol (not dietary cholesterol in and of itself) causes increased thromboxane formation—a factor that clots your blood. Two of Dr. Kummerow’s papers also pertain to how these oils harden your arteries and play an important role in the development of atheorosclerosis. As noted by theNew York Times,10 these oils are precisely the types of fats that Americans have been, and still are, urged to consume in lieu of saturated fats like butter.

“The problem, [Dr. Kummerow] says, is not LDL, the ‘bad cholesterol‘ widely considered to be the major cause of heart disease. What matters is whether the cholesterol and fat residing in those LDL particles have been oxidized… ‘Cholesterol has nothing to do with heart disease, except if it’s oxidized,’ Dr. Kummerow said… [He] contends that the high temperatures used in commercial frying cause inherently unstable polyunsaturated oils to oxidize, and that these oxidized fatty acids become a destructive part of LDL particles. Even when not oxidized by frying, soybean and corn oils can oxidize inside the body.”

I recently interviewed Dr. Kummerow on this topic. If you missed it, I highly recommend taking a moment to listen to it now.

Download Interview Transcript

Butter IS a Health Food!

For millennia, butter has been prized for its abundant health benefits, not to mention culinary appeal. Keep in mind that butter’s nutritional value depends on how the animals are raised, however, as the fatty acid composition of butterfat varies according to the animal’s diet.

The very best quality butter is raw (unpasteurized) from grass-pastured cows, preferably certified organic. (One option is to make your own butter11 from raw milk.) The next best is pasteurized butter from grass-fed or pastured organic cows, followed by regular pasteurized butter common in supermarkets. Even the latter two are healthier choices by orders of magnitude than margarines or spreads. Beware of “Monsanto Butter,” meaning butter that comes from cows fed almost entirely genetically engineered grains.12 This includes Land O’Lakes and Alta Dena.

Research points to the fact that butter may have both short-term and long-term benefits for your health. One Swedish study13 found that fat levels in your blood are lower after eating a meal rich in butter than after eating one rich in olive oil, canola oil, or flaxseed oil.

The scientists’ main explanation is that about 20 percent of butterfat consists of short- and medium-chain fatty acids, which are used right away for quick energy and therefore don’t contribute to fat levels in your blood. Therefore, a significant portion of the butter you consume is used immediately for energy—similar to a carbohydrate. The other oils (olive oil, canola, flax, etc.) contain only long-chain fatty acids. The primary nutrients found in butter are outlined in the table below. For more information on the health benefits of butter, refer to this classic article by the Weston A. Price Foundation.14

Nutrients in Butter
*Vitamin A in the most absorbable form Lauric acid Lecithin (necessary for cholesterol metabolism and nerve health)
Antioxidants *Vitamin E Vitamin K2
Wulzen factor: hormone-like substance known to prevent arthritis and joint stiffness (destroyed by pasteurization) *Fatty acids, especially short- and medium-chain in the perfect omega-3 to omega-6 balance *CLA (Conjugated Linoleic Acid): anti-cancer agent, muscle builder, and immunity booster
Vitamin D Minerals, including selenium, manganese, chromium, zinc, and copper Iodine in a highly absorbable form
Cholesterol Arachidonic Acid (AA): brain function and healthy cell membranes Glycospingolipids: fatty acids that protect against GI infections
*The highest amounts of CLA and omega-3 fats come from cows raised on grass pastures. Their butter is also 50 percent higher in vitamins A and E, and 400 percent higher in beta-carotene, giving grass-fed butter its deeper yellow color.

Avoiding Processed Food Is the Easiest Way to Protect Your Heart

According to Dr. Kummerow, your body can eliminate trans fats in about a month, which is encouraging. The tragic reality, of course, is that 95 percent of the food that most Americans eat is processed—and processed food is where all this trans fat lies. So, if you want to protect your heart, you need to avoid trans fats by eliminating all processed foods (which would also include most restaurant food). You also need to address your insulin and leptin resistance, which is the result of eating a diet too high in sugars and grains. (Remember, refined carbs also produce small, dense harmful LDL cholesterol particles, which adds to your heart disease risk.) In summary, to lower your heart disease risk, you need to:

  1. Avoid sugar, processed fructose, and grains if you are insulin and leptin resistant. This effectively means you must avoid most processed foods
  2. Eat a healthful diet of whole foods, ideally organic, and replace the grain carbs with:
    • Large amounts of vegetables
    • Low-to-moderate amount of high-quality protein (think organically raised, pastured animals)
    • As much high-quality healthful fat as you want (saturated and monounsaturated from animal and tropical oil sources). Most people actually need upwards of 50-85 percent fats in their diet for optimal health—a far cry from the 10 percent currently recommended. Sources of healthful fats to add to your diet include:
Avocados Butter made from raw grass-fed organic milk Raw dairy Organic pastured egg yolks
Coconuts andcoconut oil Unheated organic nut oils Raw nuts, such as almonds, pecans, macadamia, and seeds Grass-fed meats

Balancing your omega-3 to omega-6 ratio is also key for heart health, as these fatty acids help build the cells in your arteries that make the prostacyclin that keeps your blood flowing smoothly. Omega-3 deficiency can cause or contribute to very serious health problems, both mental and physical, and may be a significant underlying factor of up to 96,000 premature deaths each year. For more information about omega-3s and the best sources of this fat, please review this previous article

Life Made Full Podcast!

podcast

podcast

 

You can find me over at A Real Food Journey today! In this podcast, Heather and I talk about seasonal allergies, leaky gut, eating strict with kids, nutritional response testing, and more! Head on over to her page to listen in on our conversation! 

Crockpot Spaghetti Sauce

crockpot spaghetti sauce

crockpot spaghetti sauceThere is nothing like homemade spaghetti sauce. This year, I planted 16 tomato plants in my garden in hopes of getting an abundance of tomatoes. They’re producing well, but not necessarily prolific. However, I had enough to make this awesome crockpot spaghetti sauce!

Why the crockpot, you might ask? Well, I’ve had a huge bucket of tomatoes sitting on my kitchen counter waiting to be made into sauce for a few days. This morning, we were rushing around trying to get ready to head out to our church’s kids’ camp, and I was thinking, “I wish I could just come home to spaghetti sauce!” Normally, I would blanch the tomatoes and peel off the skins before I make sauce. But I was pressed for time, so I thought, “I’m just going to throw these tomatoes in to the crockpot whole, add in some spices, and hopefully it turns out!” And you know what? It toooooootallly did. It was so good, my 5-year-old daughter said, “Are you putting this on your blog? You have to put this on your blog!” 

So, friends, I won’t make you wait any longer! Here is my crockpot spaghetti sauce!

 

Crockpot Spaghetti Sauce
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
This amazing spaghetti sauce is incredibly simple. It made enough sauce for our family of 7 and plenty for another set of leftovers the next day!
Author:
Ingredients
  • 20-ish tomatoes
  • 4 cloves minced garlic
  • 1 poblano pepper, chopped
  • ½ cup olive oil
  • 2 TBSP Italian seasoning
  • ¼ cup honey
  • 1 TBSP salt
  • 1 (6 oz) can tomato paste
Instructions
  1. Add everything except the tomato paste to a crockpot.
  2. Stir together, then cook on low for at least 4 hours (mine cooked for 8).
  3. When ready to eat, add in tomato paste and using an immersion blender, blend until desired consistency is achieved (my kids all like it smooth).
  4. Serve!

crockpot spaghetti sauce

 

 

 

Fast Food: Appearance vs. Reality

jack in the box hellapeno burger.jpg

fast food appearance vs reality.jpg

Fast food menus. They sure can make food look enticing. You’ve probably seen something like this:

fast food menu

Looking at those burgers, anyone would want to scarf down some of that fast food. We all know that when you order something at a fast food restaurant, it never looks like the picture. So I thought I’d do a little experiment and see just how much of a difference “reality” makes. 

We recently watched a YouTube video about Fast Foods ads vs reality, and it reminded me of something. Awhile back, I did a post called “Appearance vs. Reality” about a picture of our family. You see, the photo was taken in my friend’s amazing kitchen. I got numerous comments from people about how if they had kitchens like mine, they would be cooking all the time, too. I just had to set the record straight and show what my real kitchen looks like. You can check out that post HERE.

But, back to today. Today, I want to share with you the reality of fast food. I’m not talking about the preservatives, toxicity or all the other junk that’s in it. That’s for another post. I’m just talking about the “appearance” vs. the “reality” of foods that  you can order from your car window. 

Below, you’ll see examples of “staged” photos from different popular fast food companies side-by-side with photos I took of the actual food I ordered.

First up, we headed to McDonald’s. I ordered the classic, a Big Mac. As you can see, the reality wasn’t as beautiful as the appearance: 

mcdonalds big mac.jpg

 I also ordered a Double Quarter Pounder with Cheese. Hmmmm…where’s all that sauce and veggies??

mcdonalds double quarter pounder with cheese.jpg

Jack in the Box, oh Jack in the Box. These tacos were 2 for $0.99. I think I know why:

jack in the box tacos.jpg

I had high hopes for the Hella-Peno Burger. I think this one takes the prize for “least like the original photograph.” 

jack in the box hellapeno burger.jpg

Burger King was probably my favorite fast food restaurant growing up. We didn’t get it often, but when we did, I loved the charbroiled taste of the patties. I gotta say, the Honey BBQ Chicken Strips didn’t actually look all that far off from the original: 

burger king honey bbq chicken strips.jpg

The Whopper, on the other hand, failed to impress: 

burger king whopper.jpg

 You’ve probably seen commercials for the Carl’s Jr Six-Dollar Burger. Well, what do you think? Worth 6 bucks? 

carls jr six dollar burger.jpg

 And lastly, the Ranch Bacon Fries. The picture makes the fries look golden brown and fresh. Mine, on the other hand looked like a soggy, undercooked mess:

carls jr ranch bacon fries.jpgI tried my best to take good photographs of the food I bought. I used good lighting and even used my good camera. What you see, friends, is what you get. 

Next time you’re ordering off the fast food menu (which I hope doesn’t happen too often!), remember this post. =)

 

Grain Free Peach Cobbler (Egg-Free/Starch-Free)

grain free peach cobbler

 

grain free peach cobbler

 Ah, summer peaches. There’s nothing like them. Whether you like to pull a fresh peach off the tree or cook them into a cobbler or pie, a ripe peach is sweet, heavenly goodness. 

Superman was craving peach cobbler yesterday. Of course, it being Father’s Day today, I needed to help him out with that. This grain free peach cobbler is so quick to throw together and Superman says, “It’s moist and succulent!”

Grain Free Peach Cobbler
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
"Tastes like cobbler out of Heaven's oven"
Author:
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. In a large bowl, mix together the peaches, coconut sugar, honey, cinnamon and salt.
  3. Pour into a 10-inch cast iron skillet and place in oven for about 10 minutes.
  4. While that's cooking, make the topping:
  5. Stir together the almond flour, coconut flour, coconut sugar and cinnamon.
  6. Using a fork, cut in the softened butter or coconut oil until the mixture is crumbly.
  7. Remove peaches from oven, and top with topping.
  8. Place back in oven and bake for another 20-30 minutes, until golden brown on top.
  9. Let sit for about 10 minutes before serving.

 

What Clean Eating Looks Like

what clean eating looks like

what clean eating looks like

There’s a stigma attached to clean eating. If you’re a “true” healthy eater, you should be slim and fit, correct? If you’re eating clean foods, wouldn’t the pounds just melt away and leave you with a svelte figure? 

We have quite the different body types in our house: skinny, hefty and average. 

Not long ago, I took our 2nd oldest, Josh to the doctor. While we were there, the doctor told Josh he needed to watch his weight, eat less junk food, and that he was bordering on the “unhealthy” level. Now, he did it in the kindest way possible, but I looked at Josh and then said to the doc: “You don’t understand. We eat clean! Josh eats the same foods as his brother right next to him, but he weighs FORTY pounds more! Yes, he eats 2nds and sometimes 3rds, but he’s just built differently than Caleb.” The doctor said that may be the case, but that Josh needed to make sure he was careful because he is setting himself up for a future of overeating. 

Ok, let me interject here to say this: A couple years ago, our whole family had DNA testing done through 23andme.com (which is awesome, by the way!) and the results tell you your top health risks. According to his DNA test, Josh has a 57% chance of heart disease. Because of this, I take his diet very seriously. That being said, I do believe there is a huge genetic component to our body type. 

I think no matter how hard Josh were to try, he would never be as skinny as Caleb. Even Naomi, who is almost 4 years younger than Caleb, weighs about the same amount as him. Now, am I concerned that Caleb is underweight? Not really. Sometimes I wish he would gain weight at a higher rate just because he’s so small for his age. However, his dad, Superman was only about 5′ tall and 80 pounds going into high school. And I’m definitely not built big, so I think Caleb just has skinnier genes, and is going to be a late bloomer. 

Does that mean our kids who are heavier need to eat less? I don’t believe so. 

do believe that they need to know what they’re putting into their bodies and to think before they eat. I think everyone should do that. Josh has a propensity to eat junk food, and if I had it in the house, he would be all over it. Wouldn’t we all, though? We’ve gone over his test results with him, so he knows his health risks. It’s up to him to take care of his body as he gets older. 

I want to show you what clean eating looks like in our house. It’s not the same for everyone:

Caleb: 11 years old 68 lbs, 4’6″ tall

clean eating 1

 

Josh: 10 years old, 102 lbs, 4’7″ tall

clean eating 2

 

Michael: 9 years old, 57 lbs, 4’4″ tall

clean eating 3

 

Naomi: 7 years old, 63 lbs, 4’3″ tall

clean eating 4

 

Grace: 5 years old, 39 lbs, 3’7″ tall

clean eating 5

 

Chris: 35 years old, 155 lbs, 6′ tall

clean eating 6

Note: Superman gained 25 pounds as a result of eating clean. Just a few years ago, he was emaciated at 130 pounds. Cutting out grains for him was key to his health improvement. You can read his story HERE 

Shanti: 35 years old, 105 lbs, 5’2″ tall

clean eating 7

Ultimately, I want our kids to be comfortable in their own skin. I want them to be confident in their food choices, eat junk food sparingly, and have a healthy, balanced diet. I don’t want them looking in the mirror thinking they’re fat or ugly or out of shape because that’s what the world is telling them. Again, most importantly, I want them to be comfortable in their own skin. 

There is no “perfect weight.” Each of us is built differently and has different caloric needs. I want my kids to know they are great just the way they are. 

I often tell them the cliché “We only get one body, so we better take care of it!” My hope is that my words sink in and as they grow up and have more freedom in food choices, they’ll remember that and be motivated to take the best care of their body possible. 

10 Whole30 Meals Prepped in 10 Minutes or Less!

10 whole30 meals prepped in 10 minutes.jpg

10 whole30 meals prepped in 10 minutes.jpg

Doing a Whole30 can seem overwhelming. Food prep can feel like you’re living in a nightmare. Don’t let your fear of meal prep keep you from doing a Whole30!  Here are 10 delicious Whole30 meals prepped in 10 minutes or less to help launch you into a successful Whole30! Please note that some of these may have some added ingredients like beans or some types of dairy. You can eliminate these as needed to make them Whole30 compliant!

Paleo Asian Cod from Life Made Full

Sweet Potato and Greens Breakfast Saute from Raising Generation Nourished

Herbed Skillet Chicken from Life Made Full

Crockpot or Oven Roaster Chicken from Raising Generation Nourished

Bell Pepper Chicken Burgers from Life Made Full

Totally Easy Slow Cooker Kalua Pork from So, Let’s Hang Out

Crock Pot Carne Asada Lettuce Wraps from So, Let’s Hang Out

Creamy Crockpot Chicken with Kale from Just Enjoy Food

No Marinade Carne Asada from Life Made Full

Salsa Chicken from Just Enjoy Food

Picadillo from Just Enjoy Food

2-Minute Tuna Salad from Life Made Full

Easy Balsamic-Infused Pot Roast from Just Enjoy Food

Greek Chicken from Just Enjoy Food

40 Paleo Summer Desserts!

40 paleo summer desserts

40 paleo summer desserts

 

It’s Summer! Summer means pool parties, BBQ’s and warm evenings. Here are 40 Paleo summer desserts to cool you off, or bring to a potluck to share with friends! You’ll find a great assortment of treats here, from some of my favorite bloggers! 

Cold Treats

Grain Free Ice Cream Sandwiches from Life Made Full

Panna Cotta with Strawberry Balsamic Compote from Nom Nom Paleo

Watermelon Granita from Recipes to Nourish

Creamy Watermelon Ice Cream from Recipes to Nourish

Homemade Fudgesicles from Recipes to Nourish

Chocolate Ice Cream from Civilized Caveman Cooking

Perfect Chocolate Almond Butter Bites from Life Made Full

Salted Chocolate Caramelized Bananas from Life Made Full 

Double Dark Chocolate Raspberry Vegan Cheesecake from So, Let’s Hang Out

One-Ingredient Fruit Sorbet from My Heart Beets

Honeyed Peach Lemon Balm Sorbet from Mama Rosemary

Chocolate Peppermint “Frosty” from Raia’s Recipes

Frozen Orange Hot Chocolate from Raia’s Recipes

Monkey Poop (a.k.a. Chocolate Peanut Butter Banana Bites) from Life Made Full

Frozen Orange Hot Chocolate from Raia’s Recipes

Lemon Pudding Parfait from Elana’s Pantry

Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups from Just Enjoy Food

Frozen Mexican Hot Chocolate from Raia’s Recipes

Coconut & Avocado Grasshopper Bars from Raia’s Recipes

Paleo Pudding Pops from Life Made Full

Coconut Milk Ice Cream (with Caramel Sauce) from Just Enjoy Food

Dark Chocolate Chip & Walnut No Bake Cookies from Raia’s Recipes

No Bake Key Lime Pie Shooters from Just Enjoy Food

Chocolate Banana Cream Pie with Bacon from Civilized Caveman Cooking 

No Bake Superfood Almond Butter Balls from Just Enjoy Food

Chocolate Custard from Everyday Paleo

Grain Free Thin Mint Copycats (a.k.a. Grasshopper Cookies) from Life Made Full

Baked Goods

Simple Skillet Brownies from Life Made Full

Grain Free Dark Chocolate Cherry Scones from Nom Nom Paleo

Grain Free Bourbon Peach Banana Bread from So, Let’s Hang Out

Cast Iron Mixed Berry Cobbler from Just Enjoy Food

German Chocolate Cake from Elana’s Pantry

Upside-Down Nectarine Berry Cobbler from Life Made Full

4th of July Berry Cobbler from Life Made Full

Green Apple Bundt Cake with Caramel Frosting from Just Enjoy Food

Miscellaneous Goodies

1-Minute Cookie Dough from Life Made Full

Glazed Chocolate Donut Holes from Civilized Caveman Cooking

Homemade Peppermint Magic Shell from Life Made Full

Strawberry Soda from Life Made Full

Decadent Fruit Dip from Everyday Paleo

Copycat Jamba Juice Orange Dream Machine from Life Made Full