Coco Date Balls

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I developed this recipe so that my friend who is also on AIP and I could have a treat for Valentines Day. Both of us have been able to add chocolate back into our diet (yea!). Usually the chocolate I eat is not sweet. I eat 95% dark chocolate. These Date Balls were definitely much sweeter than anything that I eat on a regular basis, which is why they were such a treat for Valentines Day. I would recommend a serving size of one.

INGREDIENTS:

12 ounces pitted dates

boiling water

2 TB coco powder

1/2 cup shredded coconut, maybe more

METHOD:

Pour dates into a bowl. Boil enough water to submerge dates. Pour boiling water over the dates and let them sit 10 minutes to soften.

Strain dates and let them sit in colander 10 minutes to dry. Making sure to shake out all the excess water.

Place dried softened dates in a food processor and process until smooth. Add coco powder and cinnamon and process until combined.

Place parchment or wax paper on all baking tray. Pour shredded coconut on a plate beside the baking tray. Roll the date mixture into a ball with your fingers and then roll the ball in the shredded coconut continue until done with the batch. The date mixture will be sticky and the shredded coconut will smooth it out. After rolling in the coconut and making the ball smooth, place it on the baking tray to set. Transfer from tray to covered container. Keep date balls in the fridge for a week or freeze them to keep longer.

Coco Date Covered Cherry Variation:

Add 6 Pitted Cherries to list of ingredients. Take your cherries and roll the date mixture around the cherries. Then roll the cherry stuffed date ball in the coconut to smooth out. Place on tray to set.

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How to Peel and Cut A Pumpkin

I love cooking with pumpkin. At first I was intimidated by the idea of cutting one. Like most things, it’s actually easier than you think. Having a nice sharpe knife is a plus when doing this.

METHOD:

Hold the pumpkin by the stem and slice down the sides to remove most of the outter skin. You don’t have to get it all. The rest you can cut off later.img_7735img_7736

Next, turn the pumpkin on its side and slice off the top.

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Scoop out the seeds. I always roast these for my family.

Start cutting the sides of the pumpkin in wedges, pull each section off and cut in cubes, fries or whatever shape that you’re looking for.

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Slice off any remaining skin or fibrous strands.

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DIY Less is More Toothpaste (great for Sjogren’s or anyone else who needs a clean toothpaste)

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Many people who suffer from Sjogren’s Syndrome have debilitating dry mouth. I am one of those people! You begin to question and rethink anything that goes in your mouth. Even natural toothpaste has questionable ingredients. I’m a big fan of less is more! The ingredients for this toothpaste are few and they are all things people with Sjogren’s probably already love. Coconut oil is everyone’s friend these days. Probably more so for those of with Sjogren’s who crave moisture! Many people with Sjogren’s have low sodium bicarbonate because of the amount of water we drink. Baking soda is sodium bicarbonate, so you may already be sprinkling this in your water from time to time (if not, please try it!). I use mint, because we have grown accustomed to having a minty  mouth. The amount of mint that I use is subtle. If you like more of a mint punch, please experiment with more.

INGREDIENTS:

2 TB Coconut Oil, melted

1 sprig of mint

1 & 1/2 TB Baking Soda

 

METHOD:

Put coconut oil in small glass Tupperware. Muddle your mint, trying to keep it together as much as possible. Mix the mint into your coconut oil and allow to sit overnight. The next day, pull the mint out of the coconut oil (this step is optional). Mix in baking soda and enjoy. I keep the glass Tupperware on my bathroom counter.

 

Nightshade Free Shrimp Boil

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On an Autoimmune Paleo diet you can’t have nightshade or seed based spices. Traditional Shrimp boil is filled with these. As any other Floridian would do, I made up my own shrimp boil to cook shrimpI feel like the most important step is getting your water salty enough. Other seasoning adds a pleasant flavor to the shrimp without the choking amounts of peppers in most boil mixes.

For up to 3 pounds of shrimp

INGREDIENTS:

1 1/2 TB kosher salt

2 bay leaves

1 TB dried thyme

1 tsp dried marjoram or oregano

1 tsp dried basil

1/2 tsp whole black peppercorns, (optional)

METHOD:

Add all ingredients to pot of water and bring to a boil. Add shrimp, give them a stir and turn off heat. Shrimp will be done in a couple minutes. When they look done and are starting to float, try one and see. Drain in a colander.

 

Mixed Mushrooms with Leeks

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I have been making this dish for a few months now. I have finally took the time to measure everything out so that I can share it with you. Most of the time when I cook, I eyeball ingredients and add dashes of this or that to taste. This dish has been nearly flawless from the first time that I made it. I experimented with different oils and mushrooms. My favorite mushrooms to use are enoki and white beech/Bunapi mushrooms. I like them because they are small enough to keep whole and I like that aesthetically.

These mushrooms go good as topping on various meats. It’s almost like a totally umami conidement. It’s fabulous served on steak, lamb or sweet potatoes. It’s actually good on anything. I use sherry in this dish, but if your strict AIP, you can use bone broth and it’s still delicious! If you have been able to add back the occasional glass of wine or cooking wine, then you should be good with sherry.

INGREDIENTS:

2 TB avocado oil

1 leek, outer layers and ends removed and sliced

7-8 ounces of mixed mushrooms, any combination of a least two types of mushrooms (I like Bunapi, Enoki, Oyster and Shitske the best.)

1- 11/2tsp of salt, to taste

a couple grinds of fresh pepper

1 tsp fresh herbs from your garden (thyme and oregano are wonderful), chopped, optional

2 TB sherry or bone broth

1 TB red palm oil

METHOD:

Warm oil in a frying pan over medium heat for a minute and them add leeks, mushrooms and salt. Sauté 5 minutes more and then add Sherry/broth, herbs and pepper. Sauté another 5 minutes and then add red Palm oil. Continue to sauté another 5 minutes or until browned. Add more Sherry/broth if it gets too dry at any point.

 

 

Grilled Okra

imageOkra is in season right now. Growing up in the south I had great fried and pickled okra, but everything else was slimy. Recently, I had some roasted okra at my sister’s house that my husband and I loved. That was my inspiration for this recipe. During the summer we try not to use the oven often. Everything I normally cook in there goes on the grill. In my vegetarian days, I would grill a bunch of veggies on the grill while my family had meat. I found then that often grilling the whole vegetable was preferable. In this recipe we put the whole okra on the grill until it’s slightly crisp. The result is a scrumptious crispy caramelized okra. Nothing slimy here! When buying okra, choose the smaller ones. I find they are more tender and less woody. They are perfect size to just pop straight in your mouth.

INGREDIENTS:

1 lb Okra

2 TB Avocado Oil

1 tsp Pink Salt

 

METHOD:

Toss okra in oil and salt. Place okra straight on the grillimage

turning often to avoid charring until soft and starting to brown on both side, about 15-20 minutes.

Slug Traps

imageI grow an organic garden. This year I have had lots of slugs in my strawberries, so I searched the Internet for ideas on how to treat slugs organically and one suggestion was to make slug traps out of citrus fruit. I have had the most success with oranges, but grapefruit and lemons also work. Just juice an orange and drink the juice. Take the rest of the oranges and quarter them. In the evening place them in your garden.image In the morning by 8:00 or 9:00 go pick the slug filled oranges up and relocate them.image