PUMPKIN WAFFLES | Gluten-Free, SCD, Paleo

*This post was originally created for Babiekins Magazine

There is something magical about autumn time in Ohio. The crisp earthy scent of leaves and wood that fill the air, the spices of vanilla and cinnamon that seem to always linger, and the bold, velvety colors that paint the landscapes. Autumn in Ohio is a true treasure that invokes all the senses. It’s only natural that we embrace this time of year and carry it into our homes, into our kitchen.

Since we don’t eat gluten in our home (and a long list of other foods due to my son’s Crohn’s disease and the Specific Carbohydrate Diet that we follow) we came up with this simple, gluten-free pumpkin pancake recipe using almond flour, autumn spices and, of course, pumpkin!

“I’m so glad I live in a world where there are Octobers.”
L.M. Montgomery, Anne of Green Gables




SCD, Gluten-Free, Paleo, Refined Sugar-Free
yield: 4 -6 servings

1 1/2 cups almond flour
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. ginger
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
1/4 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 cup pumpkin
3 Tbs. honey
1 tsp. vanilla
4 eggs
coconut oil to grease the waffle maker

1. Preheat your waffle maker.
2. In a medium bowl, add the dry ingredients and whisk to combine.
3. In a separate bowl, add the pumpkin, eggs, honey and vanilla and whisk.
4. Add the dry ingredients to the wet and mix.
5. Grease your waffle maker and add 1/4 cup of the batter and cook until lightly browned.
6. Serve with warm honey syrup and enjoy!

SCD, Paleo, Gluten-Free, Refined Sugar-Free
yield: 4 servings

1/2 cup apple cider
1/4 cup honey (more if you desire)
3 Tbs butter, melted
1 tsp cinnamon

1. Combine all ingredients and blend well with a whisk.
2. Pour over waffles. Store remaining syrup in an air tight container in the refrigerator.


Grilled Lamb with Cucumber, Tomato, Feta Salad | SCD


Did you know that vitamin B12 is absorbed by the terminal ileum, which is the end of the small intestine? The ileum also happens to be a common location affected by Crohn's disease. When the disease affects this portion of the bowel, it is very possible that the patient will not absorb enough B12 to meet their bodies needs. When Jonas was first diagnosed with Crohn's, he was deficient in several minerals and vitamins, including the B vitamins.

So why is B12 so important?

The human body needs vitamin B12 to make red blood cells, nerves, DNA, and carry out other functions to keep the nervous system healthy. Like most vitamins, B12 can’t be made by the body. Instead, it must be absorbed from food or supplements. Plants don’t make vitamin B12. The only foods that deliver it are meat, eggs, poultry, dairy products, and other foods from animals. Strict vegans tend to be at high risk for developing a B12 deficiency, which is why they should include B12 fortified foods (like almond and coconut milks, nutritional yeast, cereals and grains) into their diet and consider a supplement. Conditions that interfere with food absorption, like celiac or Crohn’s disease, can cause B12 issues. Those who take prescribed heartburn medications are also at risk for B12 deficiency because the acid production is reduced in the stomach yet the acid is needed to absorb the B12.

Some common symptoms of a vitamin B12 deficiency include: tiredness, lethargy, dizziness, breathlessness, change in vision and anemia. And more severe symptoms include: numbness or tingling in the hands and feet, difficulty walking, altered taste, difficulty thinking and reasoning (cognitive difficulties), psychological problems or memory loss.

In most, a vitamin B12 deficiency can be prevented. Try to include foods that are packed with this essential B vitamin. Beef, turkey, clams, oysters, chicken, trout, and salmon are all B12 superstars. Lamb is an excellent source of protein and vital nutrients like iron, zinc, selenium AND vitamin B12. If including these foods in your diet just doesn't cut it, you may want to consider a supplement. Remember, only take a supplement under a doctors guidance and only take what you are deficient in. Since Jonas' diagnosis in 2014, we have been able to transition from a straight B12 vitamin to a multi-vitamin. He currently takes Metabolic Synergy under the care of the Cleveland Clinic's Functional Medicine.

If you are concerned about a vitamin B12 deficiency, consult your General Practitioner or primary care physician and inquire about possible testing to confirm a diagnosis.

SCD, Gluten-Free, Paleo*
yield: 4 servings


2 large tomatoes
1 green pepper
1 yellow pepper
1 small red onion
juice of two lemons
2 Tbs. olive oil
salt + pepper
1/4 cup crumbled feta

4 lamb chops, I used a shoulder chop for this recipe
2 Tbs. olive oil
1 tsp. oregano
1 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. parsley
1/2 tsp. paprika
1/2 tsp. turmeric
1/4 tsp. cayenne (more or less, depending on the level of spice you want)
fresh mint for garnish

1. In a small bowl, combine the spices and pre-heat the grill.
2. Brush the lamb chops with olive oil and sprinkle both sides with the spice mixture. Set aside while you make the salad.
3. Chop the tomatoes, peppers and onions and place into a large mixing bowl. Toss with the lemon juice, olive oil, salt and pepper. Set aside while you grill the lamb chops.
4. Grill the lamb directly on the racks at a medium heat, about 5 minutes on each side.
5. Plate up each bowl by adding the salad, sprinkled with feta and mint, and adding the grilled lamb on top.
6. Serve immediately and enjoy!

*To make this dish Paleo, simply omit the feta.
*According the BTVC (Breaking the Vicious Cycle by Elaine Gottschall)fetal is illegal, but may be used after about 6 months of improvement. But used only in small amounts.

Make sure to follow along on Facebook and Instagram and tag me using #kickncrohns


Summer Gazpacho with Heirloom Tomatoes | SCD, Paleo, Vegan


One of the greatest treasures that Ohio has to offer are their fresh, homegrown summer tomatoes. Did you know that Ohio is the third-largest producer of tomatoes in the United States, harvesting over 6,000 acres of tomatoes annually? And that Ohio designated tomatoes as the official state fruit of Ohio in 2009 and tomato juice has been the official state beverage of Ohio since 1965?

In our family, tomatoes take on more meaning because one of our restaurants most famous dishes is the classic "Bender's Tomato," which consists of hand-selected tomatoes topped with dry blue cheese, basil, parsley, red onion and a homemade Italian dressing. Over the years of owning and operating the restaurant, my father-in-law has become a tomato connoisseur and has traveled all over Ohio in search of the perfect tomato.

With the current trends of farmer's markets, farm-to-table restaurants and eat local campaigns, almost everyone has heard the term heirloom tomatoes.
But what exactly makes a tomato an heirloom?

Characteristics of an Heirloom Tomato:
Heirlooms are open pollinated and must be able to reproduce from seed, which means they are pollinated by insects, bird and animals or the wind. Not by human intervention. On the other hand, hybrid tomatoes are pollinated with human intervention and are created for consistency, commercial characteristics and transport for distribution. Therefore, these hybrids are genetically modified.

The seeds of an heirloom tomato have been passed down from generation to generation in a particular region and are rich in history. Every heirloom variety is genetically unique and inherent in this uniqueness is an evolved resistance to pests and diseases and an adaptation to specific growing conditions and climates, making their characteristics dependent on the region of origin.

Heirlooms often vary in color, shape, texture and size and, depending on the species, flavors can be full, rich, meaty and sweet.

Be aware of what you are buying, especially since heirlooms come with a higher price tag. Large farms often market their tomatoes and piggy-back off the heirloom hype and sell an inferior product that most likely isn't even a traditional heirloom. Just because a tomato is labeled "heirloom" doesn't automatically mean that the tomatoes were grown locally, organically, or in any way that you might associate with the traditional traits of an heirloom. Know your farmers and try to stay local!

Even better, grow your own!

SCD, Paleo, Gluten-Free, Vegan
yield: 8 servings

2.5 pounds heirloom tomatoes, core removed and cut into large pieces
½ small white onion, cut into pieces
1 cucumber, peeled and cut into pieces
½ yellow pepper, cut
1 garlic clove, diced
1 small jalapeño, sliced (optional)
3 Tbs Extra Virgin Olive Oil, plus more for garnish
2 Tbs red wine vinegar
fresh basil, chopped

Garnish Ingredients:
cracked black pepper
chopped peppers
diced cherry tomatoes
drizzle of olive oil
Liberated Specialty Foods pizza crust, toasted in the oven and broken into wedges

1. Add tomatoes, onion, cucumber, pepper, garlic and spices to a large bowl and toss with vinegar and olive oil. Let stand 30 minutes at room temperature.
2. Transfer mixture to a blender or food processor and purée until smooth; about 2-3 minutes.
3. Strain through a coarse-mesh sieve into a large bowl or pitcher and chill until cool, about 1 hour.
4. Divide gazpacho among bowls. Top with garnishes of choice. Some options include: chopped basil, cracked black pepper, chopped peppers, diced cherry tomatoes, chopped radishes, a drizzle of olive oil. Mix and match to your palates desire!

Tomato Tip: never refrigerate tomatoes!


Petit Collage | Why I Buy Ethically

Petit Collage
Petit Collage
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Petit Collage
Petit Collage
Petit Collage
*This post is created in partnership with Petit Collage

We strive to live a simple life. A life filled with clean, good food and quality sustainable products. The idea of a healthy lifestyle goes far beyond what we eat and drink. Our health is impacted by the world around us; the air we breath, the clothes we wear, the products we use on our bodies and the toys we touch and play with.

“But man is a part of nature, and his war against nature is inevitably a war against himself.”
Rachel Carson

Part of our journey to live a simple, sustainable life has been to cut out and reduce our plastic consumption. While plastic is a functional and cheap material for toy manufacturing, it can be harmful to the environment and to ourselves, reasons why we try our best to avoid plastics. By choosing environmentally-friendly materials, we are focusing on high quality, eco-friendly products. Did you know that several of the chemicals used to give plastic their flexibility (plasticizers) have been shown to be endocrine disruptors and are linked to the development of tumors, birth defects and developmental disorders? No thanks!

Petit Collage founder, collage artist Lorena Siminovich, created an earth-friendly company that focuses on materials crafted from recycled cardboard to FSC-certified wood and soy-based inks. Petit Collage avoids plastic and their products are designed with the health of children, and the planet, in mind.

We had the opportunity to try a few of their new products, including the 5-piece Eco-Friendly Bamboo Mealtime Set, which is made from natural, renewable, and sustainable bamboo. It is shatterproof and plastic-free (yay!) and the perfect size for little hands. Bamboo is great choice for an eco-friendly material because this particular type of grass grows as tall as a tree in just three years. It has been used for many centuries in China for building furniture, homes and boats. Bamboo toys are perfect for kids because they are durable yet light, flexible and safe.

I also recommend the Animal Band magnetic play set, perfect for those long car rides (which we know too well) and dinners out. The characeters can be mixed and matched and are printed with non-toxic paints. Make sure to head on over to the Petit Collage website and check out all the products they offer!

With the release of their new product line, Petit Collage is also launching a very special campaign: #whyibuyethically. My family chooses to buy ethically because we want to avoid toxins and chemicals that are used in cheap materials, we want to support sustainable, eco-friendly products, we want to focus on renewable materials and we want to invest in pieces that are crafted with value and quality. Why are you passionate about surrounding your family with ethically made, well-designed products? I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments below!

Petit Collage | Website | Facebook | Twitter | Pinterest | Instagram



The weekend is finally here, the air is now warmer and the sun is shining! It's time to celebrate - with matcha pistachio bars! While matcha seems to be on the trend these days, it's important to understand the health benefits that this green tea provides. Forget the green tea bags you purchase at any standard grocery store, matcha is a high-grade, finely ground, concentrated green tea that has been traditionally used in Japanese tea ceremonies for hundreds of years.

Benefits of Matcha:
+ Extremely high in antioxidants, which will help you to fight off infections and diseases.
+ Green tea contains a specific set of organic compounds known as catechins. Among all the antioxidants, catechins are the most potent and beneficial and they are recognized for their cancer fighting properties.
+ It contains the amino acid L-Theanine, which helps balance out the caffeine, and gives a feeling of calmness without the drowsiness. Goodbye caffeine jitters.
+ Combats inflammation, oxidation, and aging.
+ The chlorophyll present in matcha is an excellent detoxifier which helps in cleansing the blood.
+ It is rich in vitamin A, C, E, K, and vitamin B-complex.

SCD*, Paleo, Gluten-Free, Refined Sugar-Free
yield: 6-8 servings

1/4 cup almond flour
1/4 cup coconut flour
2 TBS coconut oil, melted
1/4 cup pistachios
1 tsp vanilla
Pinch of salt
1 tsp matcha powder
1/8 cup honey

Optional for Coating the Bars:
6 ounces 100% dark chocolate
3 TBS honey
2 Tbs coconut oil

1. Blend all ingredients together (I used my Vitamix for this) with the exception of the ingredients for the cocoa coating.
2. Press into a square container lined with parchment. Freeze for one hour.
3. Cut into one inch squares. Enjoy like this OR if you can tolerate cocoa, melt the cocoa in a double broiler. Add the honey and coconut oil and whisk together. Dip the squares until covered. Sprinkle with Himalayan pink salt and crushed pistachios.

*To make these Matcha Pistachio Bars SCD compliant, omit the cocoa coating. You can easily substitute raw cocoa butter (you can purchase here) melted with honey and Himalayan salt.

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