Entrées, Food, Sides

Roasted Butternut Squash and Apple Soup

Autoimmune Paleo (AIP), Dairy-free, Egg-free, Gluten-free, Nut-free, Paleo, Vegan

Nothing says “Fall is here” like a bowl of sweet, creamy butternut-apple soup! This soup will delight everyone around your dinner table, from the toddler to the teen. Its sweet notes of apple, ginger and cinnamon are sure to stir up some festive fall spirit and brighten up any dreary day that fall might throw at us!

This recipe makes about 4 quarts of creamy deliciousness. It makes a lovely autumn-inspired side or entree and is very satisfying when paired with a hearty kale salad, topped with sliced almonds, and drizzled with balsamic vinegar and olive oil.

Ingredients

2 butternut squash, roasted
2 TBS coconut oil
1 red onion, chopped
2 in piece of ginger, chopped
1 apple, chopped
3 15 oz cans lite coconut milk
1.5 tsp ground ginger
1.5 tsp salt (add a little at a time, to taste)
1 tsp ground black pepper
1 tsp ground cinnamon

Preparation

Roast whole butternut squash at 375 degrees F for 40 mins to an hour until tender. Halve and remove the seeds. Set aside.

In a large pot, cook onion, ginger, and apple in coconut oil over medium heat until onion is translucent and apple pieces are soft. Stir in coconut milk and spices.

Scoop the butternut squash out of its skin and add it to the pot. Using an immersion blender, blend the ingredients together. Bring the soup to the desired temperature and serve.


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Entrées, Sides

Hearty Vegetable Soup

Autoimmune Paleo (AIP)*, Dairy-free, Egg-free, Gluten-free, Ketogenic, Nut-free, Paleo, Vegan

Leaves are falling, pumpkins are everywhere, and there’s a chill in there air. You know what that means: Soup season is finally here! To celebrate, I thought I’d share with you my favorite vegetable soup recipe.

This recipe is a lot of fun to make because it has so much color: green beans, yellow squash, orange carrots, and purple cabbage. If you threw a red pepper in there, you’d almost have the whole rainbow represented! That’s why this hot soup is the perfect way to brighten up a cold and dreary day.

This veggie-packed soup comes together quickly and easily making it a perfect choice for a busy weeknight. It makes 6-8 full servings and 8-10 side servings so unless you’re feeding a small army, you should have leftovers for at least a couple days. Win!

How to Make Hearty Vegetable Soup

Ingredients

12 cups chicken or vegetable broth (no salt added)
4 cups green beans, chopped
1 onion, chopped
3 summer squash, diced
5 carrots, peeled and chopped
1 small purple cabbage, quartered and chopped
1/2 cup fresh parsley, chopped
1 TBS apple cider vinegar
1 TBS dried basil
1 TBS dried oregano
1 TBS dried thyme
1 tsp ground black pepper
1 TBS salt

Preparation

Place all the ingredients in a large pot and bring to a boil. Turn down the heat and simmer until vegetables are tender.


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Entrées

Apple-Walnut Stuffed Acorn Squash

Autoimmune Paleo*, Dairy-free, Egg-free, Gluten-Free, Paleo, Vegan

Last week’s order from Misfits Market included a handful of apples and a couple of acorn squashes, so I’ve been brainstorming creative ways to use them. I finally settled on stuffed acorn squashes because it allowed me to use up some of the apples. (I’m not a huge fan of eating apples by themselves!)

Sometimes I like to use a lot of spices when I cook, but this time I decided to let the individual ingredients bring their unique flavors to the table. The acorn squash, with its subtly sweet and buttery taste, paired well with the sweet and tangy apple. When combined with the bitter kale and walnuts, these sweeter ingredients yielded a well-balanced savory dish with a touch of sweetness. Ginger and cinnamon wedded the flavors together nicely and added a touch of autumn to the dish. Overall, I’m really pleased with how these stuffed squashes turned out and I think you will enjoy them as well.

These Apple-Walnut Stuffed Acorn Squash are very filling and make a great addition to any lunch or dinner. This recipe serves 6, assuming each person has half a squash.

How to Make Stuffed Acorn Squash

Ingredients

3 acorn squashes, halved and seeded
3 TBS avocado oil
2 apples, diced into 1/2 inch cubes
4 -6 large kale leaves, chopped
1 yellow onion, chopped
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp salt, add more to taste
1/2 cup walnuts

Preparation

Place squash face up in a baking dish filled with 1/4 inch of water. Brush the flesh of the squash with avocado oil. Bake for 40 minutes at 400 degrees F.

While the squash is baking, saute the apples, onion, and kale until tender. Mix in the spices and cook for another 2 minutes. Stir in the walnuts, turn off the heat, and set aside.

When the squash is done, scoop the filling into the squashes. If you have extra filling, you can either overload your squashes or eat it right out of the pan!

Return the stuffed acorn squashes to the oven for another 10 minutes to reheat. Serve hot!


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Desserts, Food

Allergy-Friendly Ginger Cookies

Autoimmune Paleo (AIP), Dairy-free, Egg-free, Gluten-Free, Nut-free, Paleo, Vegan

If you have allergies or dietary restrictions, you know how hard it is to go to a social gathering or party and not to be able to eat any of the delicious treats that people make. Or, to have to wonder if those gluten-free cupcakes someone made especially for you are really gluten-free. From experience, you know it’s usually just better to bring your own treats.

These ginger cookies are great for parties and daycare centers because they are free from multiple common allergens. They are dairy-free, egg-free, gluten-free, grain-free, and nut-free. Unfortunately they are not calorie-free 😉 But, they are quite tasty and easy to make.

What are those other cookies on the plate? They are my Everything-Free “Chocolate” Cookies and they are equally delicious. Be sure to check them out as well!

How to Make Allergy-Friendly Ginger Cookies

Ingredients

1/2 cup coconut flour
2 TBS tapioca starch
1 TBS ground ginger
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/3 cup filtered water
1/4 cup coconut oil
3 TBS honey

Preparation

Mix the dry ingredients together.

Add the water, coconut oil, and honey and mix until fully combined.

Scoop 1 TBS sized balls onto a cookie sheet and flatten slightly.

Bake at 375 degrees F for 12-14 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack after 2 minutes to cool.


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Desserts, Food

Everything-Free “Chocolate” Carob Cookies

Autoimmune Paleo (AIP), Dairy-free, Egg-free, Gluten-Free, Nut-free, Paleo, Vegan

When they’re “everything free” that means they’re made of air and have zero calories, right?

Um, well, not quite. I wish.

But they are delicious and they are great for kids with multiple allergies because they are dairy-free, egg-free, chocolate-free gluten-free, grain-free, and nut-free. They also make a tasty treat for vegans, vegetarians or people on the Paleo or Autoimmune Paleo (AIP) diet.

I first made these cookies as a treat for my sweet-tooth husband back when he was trying the AIP diet back in January. If you’ve never heard of the AIP diet, you can read more about the diet and our experience with it here.

You might be wondering how a cookie can be “chocolate-free” and still taste like chocolate. The secret is carob powder, which is derived from the sweet pulp of the pods of the Carob tree. Carob powder tastes similar to chocolate, but is caffeine-free and rich in fiber. I was able to find it at my local grocer store, but you may have to order it online if you can’t find it in your area.

I hope you enjoy these tasty little cookies. I’m going to be sharing my recipe for the allergy-friendly ginger cookies also pictured above next week, so stay tuned!

P.S. You can also tell yourself these are healthy because they have some avocado in them. 😉

How to Make Everything-Free “Chocolate” Carob Cookies

Ingredients

1/2 cup coconut flour
3 TBS carob powder
2 TBS tapioca starch
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 cup filtered water
1/4 cup coconut oil
3 TBS honey
1 TBS molasses
1/2 avocado, mashed

Preparation

Mix the dry ingredients together.

Add the avocado, water, coconut oil, molasses, and honey and mix until fully combined.

Scoop 1 TBS sized balls onto a cookie sheet and flatten slightly.

Bake at 375 degrees F for 12-14 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack after 2 minutes to cool.


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Lifestyle

Our Experience on the Autoimmune Paleo Diet

About a year ago, a friend of mine with Hashimoto’s suggested that we try out the Autoimmune Paleo diet to see if it would help with my husband’s ulcerative colitis. For those of you who are unfamiliar with it, the Autoimmune Paleo diet is a more restrictive form of the Paleo diet designed to help heal the gut by flooding your body with nutrients, restoring and balancing your gut, and regulating both your hormones and your immune system. Since the gut is integral to overall health, the idea is that if you can heal your gut, you can heal your autoimmune condition.

The diet has an elimination phase in which you can consume nothing but air and water. Just kidding, but it is really restrictive. Here’s a list from the Paleo Mom website of the things that aren’t allowed:

  • Grains
  • Legumes
  • Dairy
  • Refined and processed sugars and oils
  • Eggs, especially egg whites
  • Nuts (including nut butters, flours and oils)
  • Seeds (including seed oil, cocoa, coffee and seed-based spices)
  • Nightshades (potatoes [sweet potatoes are fine], tomatoes, eggplants, sweet and hot peppers, cayenne, red pepper, tomatillos, goji berries etc. and spices derived from peppers, including paprika)
  • Potential Gluten Cross-Reactive foods
  • Alcohol
  • NSAIDS (like aspirin or ibuprofen)
  • Non-nutritive sweeteners
  • Emulsifiers, thickeners, and other food additives

You might be wondering what on earth you can possibly eat after you eliminate all of that from your diet. The list is very short. Basically, you’re encouraged to eat organ meat, fish, other grass-fed meat, healthy fats, fermented foods, vegetables, mushrooms and fungi, herbs and spices, and the occasional fruit.

The elimination period is followed by a reintroduction phase in which you reintroduce foods and carefully monitor your body to see if you react to them. After you complete the protocol, you should have a good idea of which foods you can tolerate and which are reactive for you. Hopefully, your condition will be in remission or at least you will be feeling significantly better.

The diet is to be combined with common sense lifestyle changes such as reducing stress (not always possible with a baby in the house), getting sufficient sleep (once again, not very easy with a baby), and gentle exercise.

So how did it work for us?

The first time we tried it was almost two years ago in November. THIS IS A HORRIBLE TIME OF THE YEAR TO START A RESTRICTIVE DIET! It makes socializing around the holidays super difficult, because the holidays always bring with them all of the tasty (and not-so-good-for-you foods) that we love. After struggling through a birthday, wedding, Thanksgiving, and Christmas, I think we gave up. It was just not a good time of year to jump into Autoimmune Paleo, because there is a big learning curve when it comes to prepping meals and snacks for festive occasions.

We tried again at the beginning of this year. This time, I put significant effort into planning ahead for weekly meals. I made a detailed schedule for breakfast, lunch and dinner and did a lot of batch cooking. We ate a lot of meat and vegetable casseroles and soups during the two months that we tried the diet.

Unfortunately, the diet didn’t work for us, for a number of reasons.

The first reason was that my already thin husband was losing weight he didn’t need to lose. On top of that, he had no energy. We tried to increase calories with protein and healthy fats to keep him going, but for whatever reason, because of my husband’s body type, he needs a fair amount of carbs. Additional squash and sweet potatoes didn’t cut it for him.

In addition to having no energy, it seemed like he was always sick for the two months we tried it. Maybe it was because it was winter, but I’m thinking that not having enough carbs was actually making him more susceptible to infection.

Not only was he more inclined to infection, but also he saw an increase in some of his gastrointestinal symptoms, especially gas and pain. We think it was due to the increased amount of sulfur-rich meat and vegetables that we were eating.

Finally, the diet was expensive. For two people, we were easily spending over $500 a month on food. Not a good idea if you are living on a single income.

So what did we take away from our time on the Autoimmune Paleo diet?

We did learn some valuable things. First, I learned how to meal plan and cook new and interesting things. Second, we learned that in order for my husband to function, he needs carbs. As soon as we added oats and rice back into our diet, he began feeling significantly better. Third, we learned that sulfur-rich foods make my husband’s symptoms worse. So we’ve realized he has to limit certain foods in his diet like brussels sprouts, broccoli, cabbage and other delicious cruciferous vegetables. This ultimately led to our newest diet discovery which has actually been beneficial in reducing my husband’s symptoms, the low FODMAP diet, which I will be sharing more about soon.

Have you ever tried the Autoimmune Paleo diet? What was you experience?