Cashew Butter Cookies | SCD + Paleo


Cashew butter may be by far one of my favorite foods. It makes the perfect snack for a mid-afternoon pickup, especially when it is paired with apples. I love to add a spoonful to my morning smoothie and when it comes to baking, it is a great ingredient to have on hand. And if you don't have a jar of cashew butter it is the easiest to make! Just toss your raw cashews into a food processor or blender and let it go until it is thick and creamy.

Health Benefits of Cashews
+ Cashew nuts have a lower fat content and a higher protein and carbohydrate content than most other nuts. The fat that they do contain is mostly derived from oleic acid, a monounsaturated oil with known benefits in protecting against heart disease and cancer.
+ They are a good source of protein, magnesium, potassium, iron, and zinc.
+ Cashews contain a class of compounds called phytosterols, compounds similar in structure to cholesterol that can reduce the absorption sites for dietary cholesterol in the gut and thus inhibit the body’s absorption of LDL.
+ The copper in cashews helps to manufacture various enzymes involved in hemoglobin and collagen formation. Collagen is the main structural protein found in hair and skin that gives it elasticity.

I was experimenting with cashew butter and wanted to bake a cookie that was similar to a peanut butter cookie because unfortunately my son is not crazy about peanut butter. The first batch I made was gone in under an hour and all the kids, including my husband, said this recipe was a keeper. For the second batch I decided to add a cacao drizzle on half of the cookies and it was the perfect combination with the cashew butter and rich honey flavor. Please note, cacao is not SCD compliant, but we have been able to tolerate it well. For more info on cacao you can read THIS post.

Cashew Butter Cookies
SCD, Paleo, Refined Sugar-Free, Gluten-Free
yield: about one dozen cookies

1 1/2 cups almond flour
1/4 ts salt
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/3 cup cashew butter
1/2 cup honey
1 large egg
1 tsp vanilla
chopped nuts or almond slivers (optional)

1. Heat oven to 375 degrees and line two baking trays with parchment paper.
2. In a medium bowl whisk together the flour, salt and baking soda.
3. In the bowl of an electric mixer beat the cashew butter, honey, egg and vanilla for about 2 minutes until smooth and creamy.
4. Reduce the speed and add the flour mixture until combined.
5. Using a tablespoon, drop the dough, 2 inches apart, onto prepared baking trays. Sprinkle with chopped nuts or almond slivers if desired. Bake until lightly brown, about 8-10 minutes.
6. Cool and enjoy.


Health Benefits of Raw Honey | SCD + Paleo Caramel Sauce

"Find something you're passionate about and keep tremendously interested in it."
Julia Child

It's no secret we are tremendously interested and passionate about living a lifestyle of clean eating. Not only do we choose this path of life to treat our son's Crohn's disease, but it is a way of living that I believe adds value to our health and enriches our lives. The food industry is constantly changing and transitioning as new trends pop up and we are all aware of the "fad" diets that have made their mark in the media and then trickled down into our daily routines.

The one thing I want to stress is that clean eating is not a fad diet, in fact, I do not look at it as a diet at all. Clean eating is a lifestyle of simply eating healthy foods; foods free from preservatives, added sugars and processed carbohydrates.

I often get asked why honey is a allowed on the Specific Carbohydrate Diet. According the Elaine Gottschall, author of Breaking the Viscous Cycle, "Honey is legal because, as the book states, it contains only single sugars (monosaccharides) which do not need microvilli enzymes in order for the two sugars of which it is composed to be absorbed into your bloodstream. The two sugars are already in the absorbable form. However, sucrose and lactose, etc. need action of the microvilli enzymes and in people with IBD and other illnesses, research shows that these enzymes are not active."

Studies have linked processed sugar to inflammation and disease, leaving honey as a great alternative sweetener. While honey is still sugar, it is healthier than refined sugar and, like all things, should be consumed moderation.

Benefits of Raw Honey Include:
1. High in antioxidants. Antioxidants help to protect your body from cell damage due to free radicals, honey may even help prevent cellular damage and loss within the brain.
2. Research has shown that raw honey can kill unwanted bacteria and fungus.
3. Helps aid in digestion. Honey is also a potent prebiotic, meaning it nourishes the good bacteria that live in the intestines, which are crucial not only for digestion but overall health.
4. Fights the common cold and allergy season. Honey’s anti-inflammatory effects and ability to soothe coughs has led to the belief it can also reduce seasonal allergy symptoms.
5. It's good for your skin. Applying raw honey on the face can treat various skin problems including acne, thanks to the antibacterial properties. Because it is rich in antioxidants and phytonutrients, you can reduce the appearance of premature wrinkles and fine lines by using topically on a regular basis.
6. Boosts energy levels. Honey has a lower glycemic index than sugar. Consequently, the body absorbs honey slower than sugary foods, which in turn creates longer lasting energy.

This easy-to-make Caramel Sauce can be used as a flavoring in puddings and custards, as a topping for ice cream, pies and cakes, or simply to dip with apple and pear slices.

SCD, Paleo, Gluten-Free, Vegan
yield: about 1 cup

1 can full fat coconut milk (FIND it here)
2/3 cup honey (best to buy local)
pinch of Himalayan pink salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1. In a medium sauce pan, combine all ingredients and bring to a gentle simmer over medium heat. Turn the heat down to a low-medium heat and continue to simmer until reduced by about half, stirring occasionally. The caramel should start to turn into a rich amber color. This usually takes about 30-45 minutes.
2.Remove from heat and transfer to a glass bowl. Let the caramel cool to room temperature, then stir and serve as intended.

*DO NOT walk away while making this caramel. While you do not need to constantly stir it, you will need to occasionally stir the sauce to prevent burning.

**Donuts provided by Liberated Specialty Foods


Healing Cabbage Soup + Tips To Stay Healthy During Cold & Flu Season | SCD + Paleo


As we head into February, we also head into the heart of the flu and cold season. I always try my best to ward off those awful germs, but we do take a few extra steps during the winter months to ensure that we stay healthy. My oldest son, who was diagnosed with Crohn's disease when he was nine years old, takes an immunosuppressant drug (Imuran) to treat his autoimmune disease. With autoimmune diseases, the immune system attacks the body’s own tissue. Because immunosuppressant drugs weaken the immune system, they suppress this reaction by tricking the body, which in turn reduces the impact of the autoimmune disease on the body. Unfortunately, since immunosuppressant drugs compromise the immune system, my son is constantly at risk of contracting whatever bug is floating around the school, the soccer field, the basketball court and pretty much anywhere we go.

To help prevent sickness we take these few extra steps during the winter months to stay strong and healthy.

Wash Your Hands
I can't say this enough! I encourage the kids to wash their hands during school and the first thing we do when they get home from school, sports and activities is wash their hands. I try to avoid hand sanitizer because it's hard on the skin, but I do carry THIS natural sanitizer with me at all times. Remember to wash your hands for 20 seconds! Even though my kiddos are older, we still single Twinkle Twinkle Little Star and it does the trick.

Wipe Down Your Desk, Doorknobs, Computer, Phone & Steering Wheel
I try to wipe down the items we touch most often at least once a week. You can use disinfecting wipes like THESE or even make your own natural cleaner using essential oils. I'm sure I'm missing a couple on my list, but take a moment to think about what you touch daily. Doorknobs, steering wheels and phones are essential to clean.

Eat the Rainbow
When you incorporate more fruits and veggies into your diet you reap the benefits of phytonutrients. Phytonutrients are compounds found in plants that act as powerful defenders of health, both for the plant and the person consuming the plant. Studies have shown that people who eat more plant-based foods have reduced risks of chronic disease, heart disease and cancer. And, these phytonutrients can even help rid the body of toxins, fight inflammation, boost the immune system, reduce blood pressure and help fight disease.

Staying active and fit is key. Physical activity may help flush bacteria out of the lungs and airways which may reduce your chance of getting a cold, flu, or other illness. Exercise also improves cardiovascular health, lowers blood pressure, helps control body weight, and protects against a variety of diseases.

Get Enough Sleep
Studies show that people who don't get quality sleep or enough sleep are more likely to get sick after being exposed to a virus, such as a common cold virus. Lack of sleep can also affect how fast you recover if you do get sick.

Healing Cabbage Soup
Yield: 10 servings
Gluten-Free, Sugar-Free, Dairy-free, SCD, Paleo

1 small onion, chopped
1 Tbs olive oil or avocado oil
1/2 head cabbage, chopped
4 Tbs ketchup (We used THIS)
5 cups bone broth or chicken stock
1 tsp oregano
1 tsp basil
salt & pepper
10 ounces frozen peas & carrots
10 ounces frozen green beans

1. Heat a dutch over over medium high heat. Add the oil and onions and sauté until translucent.
2. Add the cabbage and cook until soft.
3. Add the stock, ketchup and spices. Simmer 10 minutes.
4. Add the peas, carrots and green beans and simmer another 10 minutes.
5. Serve in individual bowls and garnish with avocado slices, sliced radish and parsley.


Grilled Peaches With Whipped Cream & Blueberry Reduction

Well, it may not be peach season, but this recipe would be equally yummy with pears so I thought I would go ahead and share. Plus, my goal for this year is to actually share more of the recipes I create and write down so I figure I should just start now versus waiting for the later. While I love to bake cakes, muffins and goodies, my son is not a huge fan of baked goods. He seems to prefer custards and fruit desserts. Fresh fruit, preferably in season, always makes an easy go-to dessert and often travels well if you are on the road. The whipped cream can be made a day in advance, but it is best enjoyed fresh. We also love eating a bowl of fruit topped with this creamy, rich whipped topping.

Essentially, this whipped cream is a probiotic yogurt that is packed with healthy benefits for your body. Probiotic foods are made through the process of fermentation. As bacteria chemically alter the food, in this case turning the heavy whipping cream into yogurt, they secrete enzymes, organic acids and proteins. Some of the potential health perks of probiotics may be due to those compounds. Benefits of yogurt and fermented foods include: healthy digestion, increased bone density which may help prevent osteoporosis, boosts the immune system, reduces high blood pressure, reduces bad cholesterol and may help treat chronic pain and brain-related illnesses.

SCD, Gluten-Free, Refined Sugar-Free
yield: 8 servings

4 peaches (or pears), cut in half
2 Tbs butter, melted

1. Using a pastry brush, brush both sides of all the peaches (or pears) with the melted butter
2. Grill until soft and tender.
3. Remove from the grill. Plate up by placing 1/2 peach on each plate, top with the prepared whipped cream and then drizzle with the blueberry reduction. Garnish with basil.
**Make sure to make the blueberry reduction and whipped cream in advance. See directions below.

1 Cup water
2 Cups blueberries
4 Tbs honey
1 Tbs red wine vinegar

1. In a Vitamix or blender, mix the water and blueberries.
2. Add the blueberry mixture, honey and red wine vinegar to a sauce pan.
3. Bring to a boil; lower heat and gently simmer until thickened.
* You don't have to use the blender, but I wanted a smooth sauce versus a thick and chunky blueberry sauce.

1 quart heavy whipping cream
1 pack yogourmet yogurt starter
3 TBS honey
1 tsp vanilla

1. Heat the cream over medium heat and watch closely as it reaches 180 degrees.
2. Remove from heat and cool to room temperature.
3. Mix 1/2 cup of the cooled milk with the yogurt starter until it is thoroughly combined. Add the rest of the milk (cream) and stir well.
4. Transfer to your yogurt maker and allow to ferment for 24 hours. Place in the refrigerator and chill until set, I usually do this overnight.
5. Once chilled, add the cream to your standing mixer. Add the honey and vanilla, beat until soft peaks form and it is the consistency of whipped cream.
6. Best served immediately.


How To Calm Your Anxiety And Fear Of Flying

Mountain View

I have a secret to share, one that I'm not really hiding, but one that I don't talk about often. I have a fear of flying. I didn't always feel anxious about flying. In fact, I have traveled to France, all over Eastern Europe, California, Mexico and more with no problems what so ever. But something changed after having kids, and it has progressively become worse over the years. Last year when Jonas and I travelled for his national soccer team, I finally came to the realization that I needed to face my fear because it was having an impact on my family. I worried that when we flew together I was turning to him for support and help in calming my nerves. I also worried that my fear would cause him to become scared. Either that or he would think his mom was crazy.

I'm fortunate that I have never experienced a panic attack, but the feelings that overcome me when I fly feel like they could mirror one. My hands become clammy, it's hard for me to swallow, I'm extremely jittery and the littlest bump will send me into worst case scenario mode. You definitely don't want to hold my hand because I most likely will have the ultimate death grip. I also catch myself in irrational thoughts. The last time we visited Friday Harbor we decided to forgo the ferry and take a plane to the island. If I would have known that the plane only seated nine passengers I probably would have never even considered it. I was convinced the pilot was ninety, in reality he was probably sixty, and that he was going to have a heartache while flying and all would be over. I honestly thought that! Crazy, right?

I may have a fear of flying but I refuse to let that keep me from traveling and embracing journeys. Over this past year I have slowly learned how to deal with my anxiety and I have found a few ways to keep calm and at ease while on a plane. The anxiety has not gone away, but if I put a little work into it on my end, it does ease up.

Create A Playlist
I'm a music person, and music always affects my mood. As soon as I board the plane and take my seat, I throw on my headphones and listen to a playlist I create in advance. I opt for music that is soothing and slow, usually a mix of Pink Floyd, Pearl Jam, Bon Iver and Mumford & Sons.

Keep Yourself Distracted
Take advance of upgrades, especially if it's a longer flight. Consider upgrading your seating. I also always purchase the wifi so I can watch a movie to take my mind off the flight. I have also noticed if I'm into a good book my mind will not wander towards anxiety. Distract yourself so you don't overthink the situation.

Sit Toward the Front of the Plane
According to JetBlue, the front of the plane is quieter, which could help ease anxiety. And if you think about it, riding in the back of a bus, van or car tends to be bumpier than the front, I'm guessing it's the same with an airplane.

I have recently started to meditate daily, and have found just five minutes can bring peace and calmness to the mind. I have been on the search for an app, and so far I have tried out Breathe and Calm. You can upgrade both apps for full access, but at this point I just use the free portions. They are limited, but for right now they work. Using a meditation app on your flight is a great tool for calming the mind.

Anxiety is real. Do not ever feel ashamed or embarrassed, and if you get to the point where you feel it is spinning out of control, consult your doctor. I usually have a glass of wine or a cocktail on the flight, but my anxiety with flying may be to the point where I need to talk to my physician. Please keep in mind, if you are taking medications you should not mix them with alcohol.

Just last week we took a trip to Breckinridge, CO and I tried of few of these techniques on the flight, and you know what? They actually worked! I felt the most at ease and calm which gives me a great sense of hope when it comes to beating my fear of flying. What about you? Do you experience anxiety when it comes to flying? How do you handle your fears?