27 October 2016

Sugar-Free, Paleo & SCD Halloween Treats

"Double, double toil and trouble; fire burn and cauldron bubble."
William Shakespeare

Halloween is upon us; the holiday I used to love but now secretly dread for fear of the challenges it throws our way when it comes to diet. Any holiday is difficult when sugar and processed foods aren't in your vocabulary, but it's especially difficult when you have a mainstream holiday whose pure focus is on sugar, candy, processed junk and high power corporations banking on the profit.

These days, Halloween (and all holidays)look a little different for us and the concept of "baking for the holidays" has been taken to a whole new level. But when it comes to treats, it is nice to have a few go-to ideas in store. I'm often asked by my parents, teachers, friends and so forth, "What can Jonas have?" Well, the truth is, not much. But here are a few of our staples. I always like to have a few small non-food goodies on hand too, you never know when a treat is needed!

1. Wildway Granola - the ingredients are Paleo and SCD friendly on most of their products.
2. Savannah Bee Company honey straws - great for hot tea or almond milk steamers when we're traveling.
3. A silly funny face from Land of Nod.
4. Bare apple chips - simple yet perfect.
5. Halloween tattoos - always a favorite!
6. We couldn't live with our Larabars! The seasonal ones are our favorite.
7. Glow in the dark skeleton and mummy wind up toys from Oriental Trading.
8. Desktop basketball.
9. Stretch Island fruit strips, again, another huge staple for us.
10. CB's Pumpkin seeds, a perfect treat for autumn.

*If you are following SCD or Paleo for IBD please keep in mind that nuts and seeds are an advanced food.
*Larabras, the Apple Crisps and Pumpkin seeds are not in compliance with the SCD since the companies have not confirmed the ingredients and use of additives.

25 October 2016

Family Adventures In Michigan


When we pulled up to the lake house our eyes beamed with excitement; a cozy cottage tucked quietly on the shoreline of Lake Michigan, right in the heart of Traverse City. This was our first true visit to Michigan and we were immediately swept away by the beauty of this destination.

The crystal clear water that sat calm and serene was just feet away from the wooden deck that perched above the narrow beach. I have a feeling that I will always remember these memories of casually lounging on the deck, with a grand spread of appetizers and a glass of rosé in hand, engaged in conversation with family while the kids played in the sand and ran back and forth from the crisp water. There is something about that Michigan air, the soft breeze that seeps into your skin and dances through your hair. The cool nights remained warm enough to walk barefoot yet required jeans and sweaters as we sat around the bonfire; a few simple requirements for embracing lake life in the summer.

While there is so much to see and do in northern Michigan, we stayed close to our house and didn’t travel far from Traverse City. A few of our highlights included: a trip to Sleeping Bear Dunes, exploring downtown Traverse City which is painted with tree-lined streets, curb side cafes, and eccentric boutiques. And of course I can't forget the family picnic in the park where we lugged our baskets and bottles of wine and caught paper napkins in the air as the wind blew them away into the woods.

When we vacation with family we take advantage of our culinary delights and cook unique meals with local produce and fish each night, but we did manage to escape for one night out. I highly recommend Amical, a bustling bistro with a focus on French American cuisine. You will quickly feel like you are whisked away to a quaint European café where your highest priority is to sit back, relax and enjoy the fine food, spirits and atmosphere. Jonas highly recommends Press On Juice, the local juice shop that will replenish and refresh your body from the inside to the outside!

Michigan, you swayed us with your still blue waters, your subtle waves, your character and charm.
We look forward to meeting again!

13 October 2016

Skillet Ratatouille with Poached Eggs

A few weeks ago, at the end of the summer harvest, a friend and I gathered our children and drove out to a local farm to pick our own vegetables. As we drove down the grassy lane that divided the farm fields, the kids became restless with excitement. As soon as the doors of the car opened their frenzy was released into the fields and twelve little hands began picking so quickly that I couldn't keep up. The result? A trunk full of vegetables so minimally priced that I could hardly be upset that I was literally going home with a carload of produce.

Fast forward a few weeks and we are still using up the last of the vegetables. We are well into autumn, but the scent and taste of these summer fruits takes me back to warm summer airs where the scent of lake water and sunscreen linger all around us. I froze several of the veggies, I made a giant batch of salsa and I made enough marinara to fill a freezer. It's taken me awhile, but I am finally learning when you follow a strict SCD or Paleo lifestyle you really need to be prepared and bake and cook in bulk; especially if you have children and are always active.

This recipe is super easy and extremely tasty and can be adjusted to fit your palate.

yield: 5-6 servings

3 tablespoons olive oil
1 small onion, diced
1 small zucchini, diced
1 yellow organic bell pepper, diced
1 green organic bell pepper, diced
1 small eggplant, cubed
1 (15 oz) can organic diced tomatoes (I use the box to avoid metal cans)
1 tsp dried or fresh oregano
1 tsp dried or fresh basil
salt & pepper
6 eggs
1 avocado, sliced
parsley for garnish

1. Preheat over to 385 degrees.
2. Heat olive oil in a large cast iron skillet over medium-high heat. Add in the diced onion, zucchini, and bell peppers. Sauté until vegetables are tender, about 5 minutes.
3. Add in diced tomatoes and stir to combine. Bring to a simmer and reduce heat to medium-low. Simmer about 10 minutes. Add salt, pepper, oregano and basil.
4. Make 6 small nests in the ratatouille mixture. Crack eggs directly into the holes and transfer the skillet into the oven.
5. Let cook until egg whites are set, about 8 to 10 minutes.
6. Garnish with parsley and avocado slices.