Sides

Roasted Butternut Squash

Autoimmune Paleo (AIP)*, Dairy-free, Egg-free, Gluten-free, Nut-free, Paleo, Vegan, Whole30

roasted and cubed butternut squash with cinnamon

Looking for a new way to enjoy butternut squash? This is it!

Roasted butternut squash with warming spices like cinnamon and nutmeg is a simple, healthy and flavorful side dish that your whole family will enjoy. (Seriously, even our picky toddler loved it!) This dish is quick and easy to prepare and very versatile – it pairs well with just about anything from beef to black beans! We’ve even thrown it into a vegetarian chili with great results.

Can’t get enough butternut in your life? Check out my Roasted Butternut Squash and Apple Soup!

How to Make Roasted Butternut Squash with Cinnamon and Nutmeg

Ingredients

1 butternut squash, peeled and cubed
avocado oil
ground cinnamon
ground nutmeg*
salt

*To make this AIP compliant, substitute ground nutmeg with mace

Preparation

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Arrange cubed butternut on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, toss with avocado oil. Sprinkle with cinnamon, nutmeg (or mace), and salt to taste.

Bake for 20 to 25 minutes until tender.


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roasted butternut squash recipe
Entrées

Beef-Sauerkraut Skillet

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

beef sauerkraut skillet

Looking for an easy way to get more fermented foods in your diet? If you’re not, you should be! Fermented foods like sauerkraut have a number of health benefits. For instance, fermented foods:

  • Provide us with beneficial bacteria (probiotics)
  • Increase the bioavailability of nutrients in food, like iron
  • Contain or enhance important vitamins like vitamin C, B12, and folate
  • Support the immune system
  • Improve digestion

    Source: Shockey, Kirsten, and Christopher Shockey. Fermented Vegetables: Creative Recipes for Fermenting 64 Vegetables and Herbs in Krauts, Kimchis, Brined Pickles, Chutneys, Relishes & Pastes. Storey Publishing, 2014, p 21.

But, if the nutritional benefits of sauerkraut aren’t enough to entice you to incorporate more of it into your life, the taste will. It’s delicious! Especially when paired with ground beef, onions, and apples. This easy, one pan meal brings together these sweet and savory flavors for your whole family to enjoy.

How to Make Beef-Sauerkraut Skillet

Ingredients

1 lb ground beef
1 red onion, chopped
1 bell pepper, diced
2 apple, diced (optional)
3 cups sauerkraut
2 tsp apple cider vinegar
2 bay leaves
1 tsp ground black pepper
1 tsp dried oregano

Preparation

Cook the ground beef, onion, pepper, and apples over medium heat until the meat is browned and the apples, onion and pepper are tender. Be sure to stir occasionally.

Add the remaining ingredients. Heat over medium, stirring occasionally, until the sauerkraut is hot. Serve and enjoy.


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beef-sauerkraut skillet recipe

Shockey, Kirsten, and Christopher Shockey. Fermented Vegetables: Creative Recipes for Fermenting 64 Vegetables and Herbs in Krauts, Kimchis, Brined Pickles, Chutneys, Relishes & Pastes. Storey Publishing, 2014, p 21.

Entrées, Food

Rainbow Vegetable Slow-Cooker Pot-Roast

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

picture of a potroast with onions and carrots

This dish is not only a feast for the palate, but also for the eyes! It features a wide variety of textures and colors and, if you plan it right, this dish will showcase every color of the rainbow (minus blue) making it a fun meal for kids and adults alike.

This recipe is great for busy weeknights or days when you’re feeling lazy and don’t want to cook. All you need to do is spend 15 to 20 minutes of prep work in the morning and come home in the evening to enjoy a hot, satisfying, and healthy meal.

Enjoy!


How to Make Rainbow Vegetable Slow-Cooker Pot-Roast

Ingredients

2 lb chuck roast
2 TBS avocado oil
8 rainbow carrots, chopped in 3 inch lengths and quartered
2 bell peppers, chopped
1 red onion, chopped
2 large tomatoes, diced
1 can diced tomatoes
2 limes, juiced
1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
1 TBS apple cider vinegar
2 tsp black pepper
2 tsp powdered garlic
1.5 tsp salt (more to taste)
1 tsp dried basil
1 tsp dried tarragon
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp dried thyme

Preparation

Place the carrots in your slow cooker.

Add avocado oil to a large skillet on medium-high heat. Cook the roast on all sides until it is golden brown. This should take 8-10 minutes. Then remove the roast and place it on its bed of carrots in the slow cooker.

Saute the onions and peppers until the onions begin to turn translucent, about 4 minutes. Then, them add to the slow cooker.

Add the remaining ingredients and cook on low for 8 hours. When the meat comes apart easily with a fork, it’s ready!


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rainbow vegetable potroast recipe
Entrées, Food, Sides

Roasted Butternut Squash and Apple Soup

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

bowl of creamy butternut soup with apples, cinnamon and ginger

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.

bowl of creamy butternut soup with apples, cinnamon and ginger

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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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recipe for roasted butternut apple soup
Entrées, Sides

Hearty Vegetable Soup

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

hearty vegetable soup with beans, carrots, summer squash and cabbage

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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hearty vegetable soup recipe
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.

three halved acorn squashes stuffed with kale, onions, apples, and walnuts

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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apple-walnut stuffed acorn squash recipe

Main Dish

Cilantro-Lime Chicken Salad

Autoimmune Paleo, Dairy-free, Egg-free, Gluten-free, Low-Carb, Low-FODMAP, Nut-free, Paleo

Updated February 28, 2020
Read Time: 4.9 minutes

chicken salad with carrots, cranberries, green onions, cilantro and lime

This is the perfect chicken salad for a summer picnic: refreshingly tangy and sweet with a satisfying crunch. Like many of the delicious recipes created in our kitchen, this one was born out of desperation: What on earth am I going to do with all these limes?!

In a moment of frugality, I had thought it would be a great idea to buy the 2 lb bag of limes instead of buying the two or three individual limes that I actually needed, because it was cheaper. But then I was stuck with a 2 lbs of limes and the burning question: what pairs well with limes?

Thankfully, it turns out that limes are a very versatile little citrus fruit. They can be used in a variety of dishes including taco skillets, pot roasts, curries, soups, and salads to name a few. Lime, paired with cilantro and dried cranberries, makes this delicious chicken salad stand out from the crowd.


How to Make Cilantro-Lime Chicken Salad

Ingredients

3-4 lbs of cooked chicken, shredded
6 carrots, peeled and diced
2/3 cup dried cranberries (1/3 cup for Low-FODMAP)
6 spring onions, chopped
1/2 cup avocado oil
1/2 cup lime juice
1 TBS maple syrup
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground black pepper

Preparation

Mix and enjoy! For serving suggestions and storage tips, see below.

Notes: To keep this recipe Low-FODMAP, only use the green parts of the the spring onions and keep in mind that one FODMAP friendly serving of cranberries is 1 TBS per person. This recipe makes about 6 servings, so you will need to decrease the dried cranberries to 1/3 of a cup.

bowl of cilantro leaves and sliced limes

How to Serve Chicken Salad

This cilantro-lime chicken salad is good enough to eat right out of the bowl! But, if you’re looking for variety or serving this chicken salad to company, you might want to liven things up a little bit. Here are a few fun ways to serve chicken salad:

  • If you need a carb fix, try your chicken salad sandwich between two toasted slices of crusty artisan bread.
  • If you’re in a hurry and need to eat on-the-go, make a chicken salad pita pocket or wrap for a quick, portable, healthy meal.
  • If you’re following a low-carb diet, serve your chicken salad over a hearty salad and garnish with avocado.

What Goes Well With Chicken Salad?

Choosing a side dish for chicken salad can be difficult. You’ll want to choose a side dish that will balance out this protein-rich meal. Carbohydrates and vegetables are common suggestions. Here are a couple ideas:

  • If you’ve enveloped your chicken salad in a tasty carbohydrate, like a wrap or pita pocket, you might want to choose a hot soup or a fresh salad to complement your meal.
  • If you’ve served your chicken salad over greens, a warming soup or bowl of fresh berries makes a pleasant, low-carb side.

How Long Does Homemade Chicken Salad Last?

In our house, this chicken salad never lasts more than a couple days! But that’s because we enjoy it so much. Refrigerated at 40 degrees or below, homemade chicken salad will last three to five days. But, if it’s been left out for two hours or more, it’s best to toss it to prevent food posioning. Use your judgement: if it smells weird or looks different, don’t eat it!


Can I Freeze Chicken Salad?

Unfortunately, chicken salad is not one of those foods that freeze well. Your once crunchy vegetables will lose their crispness and it will be very enjoyable. So, if you’re getting close to the three to five day mark and still have leftovers, bring some to work! Your co-workers will thank you.


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cilantro-lime chicken salad recipe
Desserts, Food

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 desserts 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.

This recipe for ginger cookies is the best because it eliminates multiple common allergens, making it a great dessert choice for daycares and kids’ birthday parties. These allergy free cookies are:

  • dairy-free
  • egg-free
  • gluten-free
  • grain-free
  • and nut-free

Unfortunately these soft, gingery cookies are not calorie-free. (Sorry!) But they are still a delicious choice for an autoimmune paleo, paleo or vegan ginger cookie.

A Note About Ground Ginger

If you want your ginger cookies to taste amazingly fresh and zingy, make sure that you purchase a high quality ground ginger with a recent production date! Expired ground ginger, or lesser quality ground ginger, tastes like cardboard in my opinion. I never used to be picky about my spices until I started buying spices online in bulk to save money. We bought a 1 lb bag of Anthony’s Organic Ground Ginger Root recently and I was blown away by the quality and freshness. Never again will I be buying the Job Lot brand (or McCormicks for that matter!)

Allergy-Friendly Ginger Cookie Recipe

Ingredients

1/2 cup coconut flour
2 TBS tapioca (flour) 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 (or molasses)

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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allergy-friendly ginger cookie recipe
Desserts, Food

“Chocolate” Carob Cookies

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

Updated March 4, 2020
Read Time: 4.4 minutes

This allergy friendly cookie recipe is free from so many things that I like to call it my “Everything-Free” cookie recipe. The only thing it seems they are not free from is calories. (Sorry!)

These soft, cake-like cookies are a delicious treat for kids or adults with food allergies, and even multiple food allergies, because they are:

  • chocolate-free
  • dairy-free
  • egg-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.

If you’re used to making cookies with traditional ingredients like wheat flour, milk, eggs, chocolate and sugar, you will be in for a surprise! Read on to learn about some of the unique ingredients in this recipe and why they’re important.

Disclaimer: As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. When you click on a link and make a purchase, I will earn a small commission at no additional cost to you. This commission helps me keep this website up and running!

Chocolate-free “Chocolate” Cookies?

You might be wondering how a cookie can be “chocolate-free” and still taste and look like chocolate. The secret is Carob powder.

What is Carob powder? Carob powder is a substance made from the sweet pulp of the pods produced by the Carob tree. It has a taste similar to cocoa and chocolate and you can even make “hot cocoa” with carob powder! But, unlike chocolate and cocoa, carob powder is not derived from a seed and it is caffeine-free, making it a safe alternative to chocolate for those following the Autoimmune Paleo diet. It is also a handy chocolate alternative for anyone suffering from a chocolate allergy.

I was able to find it at my local grocery store, but you may have to order it online if you can’t find it in your area.


Tapioca Flour (Also Known As Tapioca Starch)

Tapioca flour (starch) is made from the root of the cassava plant. Many gluten-free recipes use tapioca flour to provide baked goods with a soft and springy texture or to promote browning. Since it is so starchy, tapioca flour is often used for thickening soups, sauces, and pie fillings. Tapioca flour is fairly easy to find and you should be able to locate it at your local grocer. For this recipe, I used the Bob’s Red Mill brand.


Avocado

Avocado in cookies?! It’s not as uncommon as you might think. Avocados are useful in baking because they function as a butter substitute and add a delicious moistness to whatever you are baking. In this recipe, they help to create the soft, cake-like texture that makes these allergy friendly cookies so delicious. Worried that your kids are going to taste the avocado in there? Don’t worry, the carob and honey (or molasses) will disguise it just fine, I promise.


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!

How to Make Everything-Free “Chocolate” Carob Cookies

Ingredients

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

Preparation

Mix the dry ingredients together.

Add the avocado, water, coconut oil, honey (or molasses) 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 (AIP) Diet

Updated February 27, 2020
Read Time: 7.0 minutes

potatoes, kale, peppers, and onions

About a year ago, a friend of mine with Hashimoto’s suggested that we try the Autoimmune Paleo (AIP) diet to see if it would help with my husband’s ulcerative colitis. Since we’re always looking for ways to live more naturally, we figured that we’d give it a shot. If simply making some dietary changes would put my husband’s ulcerative colitis into remission, well, that’d be wonderful!

What is the Autoimmune Paleo (AIP) diet?

The Autoimmune Paleo diet is a 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 Elimination Phase

The diet has an elimination phase in which you can consume nothing but air and water. Just kidding, you can eat more than that, 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

What Can You Eat During the Elimination Phase of the AIP Diet?

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, certain herbs and spices, and the occasional fruit.

The Reintroduction Phase

The elimination period is followed by a reintroduction phase in which you slowly introduce 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 an infant), and gentle exercise.

Our Experience on the Autoimmune Paleo (AIP) Diet

So how did it work for us?

The first time we tried the AIP diet 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 diet, because there was 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. Adding more squash and sweet potatoes to our diet didn’t cut it for him.

It also seemed like he was sick for pretty much the entire two months we tried the diet. Maybe it was because it was winter, but I’m thinking that not having enough energy was actually making him more susceptible to infection.

Additionally, 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.

Our Takeaways

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 more 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.

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