Peanut Butter Banana Chocolate Chip Cookies (grain free, sugar-free)


I am leaving for a trip today to visit some of my family on the East coast. I will be away from my kids for a week–the longest I’ve ever been away from them! As the primary food-maker in my home, I scrambled to make snacks and foods to have on hand for them, and to help my husband out who will be doing a solo-parenting gig for a week. These were one of the snacks/treats I made–high in protein, low in sugar, and super-yummy for a quick, sweet snack!

There are many variations that can be made with this basic recipe–I found the base from other bloggers. I love that it’s totally grain-free (paleo) and sugar-free, super easy to make (throw everything in your stand mixer, just make sure to mash up the banana well!), and filling. Plus yummy, because even though I avoid sugary foods and don’t feed my children refined sugars, we still all love a sweet cookie now and then, especially peanut butter-chocolate! And if you avoid peanuts, just use a nut butter like almond or a seed butter like sunbutter. You will not miss the flour or sugar, I promise. (And if you want it sweeter, add a bit of honey or more stevia.). These come out fluffy and light, and very edible!

Peanut Butter Banana Chocolate Chip Cookies

1 cup organic peanut butter (or other nut butter)

1 ripe banana, mashed

1 egg

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

1/2 tsp baking soda

1 level tbsp cinnamon

1 tbs freshly ground flax seeds

1 tsp liquid stevia

1/2 cup cacao nibs, small chocolate chips or carob chips (I found these Lily’s Dark Chocolate Chips, sweetened with stevia and erythritol, which is thrilling for me–no sugar!)

Optional: 1/2 tsp ground ginger – for a little extra kick!


Blend everything but the chocolate chips in a food processor or stand mixer; gently mix in the chocolate chips last to the smooth batter. Or alternately, drop some chips onto the top of the cookie before it’s baked. If you only have large chocolate chips, gently press one into the top of each unbaked cookie.

Drop by the tablespoonful onto a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper or a silicone mat.

Place in an oven heated to 325 degrees for about 13 minutes, then take out and allow to cool.


Crunchy Black Sesame Chocolate or Carob Bark (sugar free, nut free, dairy free, gluten free)


My kids and I love this! I keep it in a container in the freezer and I don’t feel bad when we reach for a chocolatey (or caroby in our case) sweet snack, because not only are these high in protein and calcium from the black sesame tahini, but they are also sugar-free! My daughter and I especially struggle with yeast overgrowth/candida issues, so limiting sugar–even “natural” kinds–is very important for us. Plus, who needs more sugar in their diet? Certainly no one I know…

Hope you enjoy this crunchy bark as much as we do!

Crunchy Black Sesame Chocolate or Carob Bark
(Sugar free, dairy free, nut free, gluten free)

1/2 cup unrefined coconut oil

1/2 cup black sesame tahini (I just bought this big tub from Amazon for a better deal than buying the smaller jars)

1/3 cup carob/cocoa/cacao powder

1 tsp–1 Tbs vanilla, depending on preference

1 1/4 tsp liquid stevia (I still use this, although it used to be a better deal!)


For a mint chocolate variation, add in a few drops of peppermint extract.

For an orange flavored chocolate bark, add in a few drops of orange extract.

For lavender chocolate, add in a few drops of food-grade lavender oil or extract.

You get the picture :).



Roasted, salted pumpkin seeds

Puffed crispy rice cereal

Apricot-ginger coconut crisps (see recipe here)


In a double-boiler over low heat, melt coconut oil. Turn off heat. Then add stevia and vanilla and mix. Next, add tahini and stir well. Lastly, add in powdered chocolate or carob and stir to combine all ingredients smoothly.


The next step is variable. I spread a piece of wax paper over a cookie sheet and sprinkle my additions in thirds over the whole thing. Then I pour out my chocolate/carob mixture and gently shake the tray to incorporate the additions and spread the sauce out evenly. This is not rocket science, so feel free to use a spoon or your hands to add in all the additions!

Place tray in freezer to harden the bark. This may take as little as an hour; just make sure it’s completely solidified. Then break up into pieces and store in a covered container in your freezer. Yummy!

Another option is to add your additions to mini muffin cups set in a mini muffin tray, and pour the mixture over them to fill the cups. Freeze until hard (this will take longer than the bark, obviously). Now you have mini chocolate bark cups! The nice thing about these is they are easy to put into school lunches –I give one each to my children as a treat in their lunch–and they are a potent dose of chocolate/carob bark heaven! The only thing is they tend to melt if not kept cold, so keep that in mind.


*Also, if none of my additions sound good to you, add in your own! Make up new flavor combinations and textural additions that suit you.


Sardine Salad~My Daughter’s Favorite!


This is my four year old daughter’s favorite salad! She asked for this last night as I was making dinner and slicing red bell pepper strips, and I thought, if she’s asking for sardines and a salad with raw veggies–who am I to deny her?! So I whipped it up and she oohed and awed the entire time she was eating it. This made me very happy, as my foods lately have been meeting up with picky children who don’t like what I’ve made–especially when I’ve spent lots of time and energy on making it!

This salad is so easy to make, and so open to variation, it’s like a breath of fresh air after all those kitchen semi-failures (semi- because I end up eating it all!). Add any veggies you have on hand, chopped small, and even your favorite dressing (I will include my daughter’s favorite vinaigrette). This is great as a lunch or light dinner, to take on a picnic–just make the salad and bring along a can of sardines to keep it super fresh, or even as a healthy snack to get a boost of veggies and healthy protein. Heck, you can even have it for breakfast if you’re like me and like something a little more savory in the morning (though I do prefer warm things first-thing).

Sardine Salad

1 can of wild-caught sardines in olive oil (my favorite is Matiz Gallego from Spain), broken up into pieces with a fork (I just break it up in the bowl with veggies)

1/2 to 1 red bell pepper, chopped small

1 or 2 celery sticks, chopped

A handful of chopped carrots

1 small cucumber, chopped

Several leaves of crunchy romaine lettuce, chopped up small
A handful of baby mixed greens

A small handful each of cilantro and Italian parsley, chopped small (if you have it)

Any other veggies you’d like, chopped small!

Put everything in a large bowl and toss with your favorite dressing or the vinaigrette that follows. (Don’t forget to use the olive oil from the sardines as well–just pour it over!)

Optional toppings to sprinkle on: some crispy pepitas=pumpkin seeds, some goat cheese or feta or chunked cheese of choice, half an avocado diced, a small handful of dried cranberries (try to find fruit juice sweetened instead of sugar) or raisins, sesame seeds, torn up nori (seaweed) pieces, chopped olives, raw sauerkraut or lacto-fermented veggies, a sprinkling of nutritional yeast, etc.

Sophie’s Vinaigrette

1 part raw apple cider vinegar

2 parts olive oil

A bit of sweetener, such as 1 teaspoon raw honey or 10 drops of liquid stevia (this is what I use), to taste.

Herb/spice combination–this can be virtually any spices you like or as simple as salt and pepper. I just sort of shake in a bunch of spices, including coriander, turmeric (gives it a yellow color), dulse (seaweed) flakes, thyme, basil, oregano, dill, etc.

Also, feel free to squeeze the juice from half a lemon over the whole thing for added benefit.


Maple Blessing Cake with Pear, Cardamom & Anise (gluten & grain free, with sugar & dairy free options)


Last Fall, my dear friend had a beautiful ceremony to celebrate her special pregnancy time, savored moments for nurturing and honoring the woman and mother in her as she prepared for the birth of her second child. In Navajo tradition this ceremony is known as a Blessingway. It was a lovely time with dear women friends gathered together to nurture and pamper the new mother-of-two-to be. We each created and
brought an image or artwork or piece of writing to share with her and set them together on her altar. We washed her feet in a bowl of warm flower-scented water with essential oils and fresh flower petals scattered over the surface, and we massaged her legs and arms. We hennaed her beautiful belly with spontaneous and meaningful designs as we spoke words of blessing and love to share with her.

And there were good things to eat… One of my gifts was a Blessing Cake, created just for her and to share with the women who came to honor and celebrate the occasion. It came out quite delicious, perhaps mostly because of the good feelings put into making it! Here it is, to share with all of you. (Only a year later…)

Maple Blessing Cake with Pear, Cardamom & Anise


3 cups almond flour

1 cup softened butter (2 sticks) or coconut oil

4 eggs

1 cup sour cream, creme fraise, cultured coconut cream (see my recipe) or Greek style yogurt

1/2 cup maple syrup (for sugar-free version, use 3/4 cups birch xylitol or stevia to taste, plus 2 tsps natural maple flavoring)

1 Tbsp vanilla extract (optional)

1 1/2 tsps cardamom

1 tsp ground anise seeds (can substitute fennel)

1/2 tsp sea salt

1 tsp baking soda

1 tsp baking powder (optional)
*(if not using, add in 2 tsps raw apple cider vinegar)

I ripe pear, cut into small pieces


Cream the softened butter or coconut oil with maple syrup or other sweetener in a mixing bowl. Next, add in vanilla and eggs one at a time and blend until smooth. Then add the rest of the ingredients except pear and mix thoroughly. Gently fold in the pear pieces so they stay intact (don’t over mix!).

Alternately, put all the ingredients except pear into a food processor and blend until smooth. Gently fold in the pear pieces by hand at the end.

Pour into an oiled bundt pan set on a cookie sheet and bake in a pre-heated oven at 350 degree Fahrenheit for about 45-50 minutes, or until a knife or toothpick comes out clean.

Allow to cool before turning out onto a cooling rack.

Top with fresh maple whipped cream (add a dash of maple syrup–or natural maple flavoring plus stevia or birch xylitol to taste–to whipping cream, then whip!) or maple glaze, recipe to follow.

Coconut Maple Glaze


1 can organic coconut milk, chilled in fridge for at least several hours

Pure maple syrup, 1-2 Tbsps
Natural maple flavoring plus stevia or birch xylitol to taste


Use only the solid cream from the can of chilled coconut milk, saving the liquid for another use*.

Blend the cream with a dash of maple syrup to your liking (or maple flavoring plus other sweetener) in a stand mixer, food processor, with a hand-mixer or by hand.

Gently pour or scoop out over cooled blessing cake and decorate with edible flowers if you have them!

*Note: if you desire a thinner glaze, simply add in some of the coconut liquid left over from the can of coconut milk, 1 Tbsp at a time until desired consistency is reached.

Vegetable Turkey Chili


[Note: This post is now months old! My apologies. It has been sitting nearly-finished in that netherworld between done and unmanifested. So this was written in the Fall even before Thanksgiving. My, I am behind!]

I don’t know about where you live, but here in Sonoma County the nights and mornings have been very chilly and sometimes blustery (to borrow a word from Winnie the Pooh). It’s most definitely Fall and I love it! I also love warm, nourishing foods like soups and stews, crockpot meals and hot herbal teas with a dash of cream. This is the time for drawing inward and warming ourselves from the inside-out. I was craving chili, so I threw this together–I did not measure spices, nor even remember all that I added!, so please adjust seasonings to your taste, as I will give a framework here, a stew-pot, upon which you can build or make as-is. My “recipes” are usually quite flexible, so please bear with the loose parameters and enjoy the warmth of comforting foods in this chilly season….

Vegetable Turkey Chili for a Cold Day

1 large onion, chopped

4 celery stalks, chopped small

1 large or two small bell peppers (any color), chopped

4 stems of kale or collard greens, chopped small (may also use Swiss chard, though the flavor will be slightly more acrid)

2 zucchini or yellow squash, chopped small

About 1 1/2 cups of yams or sweet potatoes, pumpkin or butternut squash, chopped small

4-6 cloves of garlic, chopped

1 pound of natural ground turkey (can substitute ground beef, lamb, buffalo or chicken)

Optional: 1/4 cup minced or ground organic or grass fed chicken liver (if using beef, buffalo or lamb instead of turkey, can use organic or grass fed beef liver)

1 large can organic chopped tomatoes with liquid or several fresh chopped tomatoes

1 small (6 oz.) can organic tomato paste

1 can Eden organic garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed (*I like Eden because they pre-soak their beans and then cook them with kombu, a type of seaweed, which not only helps to soften the beans quicker but also adds a huge mineral boost and helps make them more easily digested.)

Optional: 1 can Eden organic kidney beans, rinsed and drained (or other preferred Eden beans)


1 tbsp basil flakes
1 tbsp oregano flakes
2 tsps thyme flakes
2 tsps marjoram flakes
1 tsp dried rosemary or 2 tsps fresh
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/4-1/2 tsp chili powder (depending spice level preferred)
1/2 tsp turmeric

Salt and pepper to taste


In a large soup pot set over a medium-high flame, sauté onions in a tablespoon or two of olive oil, ghee or coconut oil. After a minute or two, as onions begin to brown, add in the sweet potatoes or squash, then toss in the celery, bell peppers and garlic.

Cook for about five minutes, until veggies soften, then push veggies to one side and add in the ground meat and optional liver. Stir to cook the meat evenly, adding a bit more oil if needed.

Once meat is cooked, mix it together with the veggies in the pot and stir.

Next, add in your spices and stir again. Add in the garbanzo beans and optional kidney beans.

This is super yummy with some sliced avocado and a dollup of cultured sour cream!


Golden Ghee (dairy free)


If there is a food that can claim to be made by alchemy, then this is it. Truly a healing superfood, ghee is considered sacred and medicinal in the traditional Hindu system of medicine known as Ayurveda (translated into English as the “science of life”). Most everyone can benefit from it! A pure, clarified oil made from gently heating and clarifying butter, it has been used internally and externally for balance and healing. It is said to bring clarity to the mind and balance to the body. Rebecca Wood has a wonderful article on ghee here. And for even more on its uses and benefits, see here.)

I use ghee for our scrambled eggs in the morning, to add to rice as it cooks, spread on toast, and to use for frying or sautéing as its high-heat point makes it healthy and ideal for this use. It has a rich, complex flavor, buttery yet deeper.
And for those who cannot eat dairy, it is a wonderful oil to use in place of butter. This is primarily how I discovered it, as my children do not tolerate dairy well, so I needed alternatives!

My favorite butter has always been Kerrygold unsalted, from Ireland. Mostly because it’s creamy and yellow, and it tastes delicious! It feels smooth and pure, the way butter should be. It is also cultured, which means it is easier to digest and helpful to our digestive systems, too! And the fact that it comes from cows grazing on the pristine, abundant green grasses of Ireland is key, imbuing it with that deep yellow color.


I do love buying local as much as I can, but for this butter I make an exception. So this is my butter of choice–available at Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods for around $3 per 8 oz. (two sticks’ worth), and other specialty grocery stores.


Golden Ghee

2-4 cups of grass-fed unsalted butter (or any amount!)

A heavy sauce pan without lid (I like cast iron with enamel coating or pyrex/glass)

This is a very simple process, though takes a bit of time and patience. I usually make ghee when I’ll be working on other things in the kitchen, like dinner for instance, and I can keep an eye on it until it looks “done.” Done is simply when all the milk solids have either dropped to the bottom or risen to the surface in a kind of white foam that can be easily scooped off with a spoon and discarded. The “trick” is to make sure to get all of the white, milky parts (the milk solids) out of the beautiful, clear, golden butter oil that is left after all of the milk solids have been removed. The milky parts will eventually begin to brown and create a thin crust over the top of the butter oil. The milk solids on the bottom will also begin to brown; just make sure not to let them burn, as this will impart a burnt flavor to the ghee.

Allow the butter to gently simmer on the stove on the lowest heat, either skimming the white foam off the surface and discarding as it simmers, or waiting until the end and gathering it all at once. *Alternately, ghee may be made in the oven: using an oven-proof pot without a lid, place in a 200 or 250 degree oven for anywhere from one to two hours, checking it periodically to make sure it is not burning.

Once you have removed as much of the solids from the top as you can, use a very fine strainer and, if needed, a few layers of cheesecloth or a similar clean straining cloth lining the strainer. Carefully pour the clear golden butter oil through your strainer into a clean glass jar. Fit with a lid and allow to cool.

This can now be kept either in the fridge or not–refrigeration is not required, as the perishable milk parts have been removed.

I can often be found with my nose over a new jar of ghee, taking in deep breaths as I simply smell the delicious aroma. It smells sooo wonderful! And it feels both purifying and invigorating to me for some reason, like having a clean bath and feeling renewed.

Sometimes alchemy can be as simple as the process of simmering one substance to concentrate and extract its true gold.


Update: I have discovered a new way to filter the ghee that is not only super-easy, but also ensures a dairy-free product. By using an unbleached paper coffee filter in place of the strainer, I have wowed myself with the result! Just fit a coffee filter over a glass jar and fold over the edges a bit, then hold in place and pour your liquid in slowly as this will take more time than the strainer method.

Homemade Tortillas: Four Variations on a Theme…


My son eats a lot of tortillas. It is an easy way to get him to eat protein–put it in a taco! Add some sliced avocado and ketchup (of course, right??), and he’s got a meal that he will eat and enjoy. Chicken, grilled fish, steak, ground turkey or buffalo–the possibilities are endless. For a vegetarian version, try beans and rice or quinoa, sautéed sprouted tofu with spices, grilled veggies and cheese, you get the picture. I even like these tortillas toasted as snacks, spread with some butter, ghee or coconut oil.

I found a tortilla press from Mexico at a second-hand store for $2, and the kids love to take turns pressing the tortillas flat! My daughter also likes to roll the dough in her hands–she loves the slightly spongy feeling of the dough, with just a bit of spring, and she says it’s ‘bouncy’! We try to keep the dough ball from being played with too much, though; it’s similar to play-dough in consistency and so much fun!

Sometimes I feel like with all the tortillas, we’re eating too much corn, though. Corn is an allergen for some people, as well as highly glycemic (raising your blood sugar levels) and very high in carbohydrates. For those who want or need an alternative to corn tortillas–but still want gluten-free–ground millet and quinoa flours make a wonderful alternative!


Simple Corn Tortillas

1 cup masa harina flour

Scant 1 cup hot water

1/4 tsp unrefined sea salt

Optional: 1-2 tbsp olive oil or melted coconut oil

In a bowl, mix masa flour and sea salt. Slowly add in the hot water and mix until the dough comes together into a ball. The dough ball should be springy and firm, not too dry or too wet as to be sticky. Add more flour or water if needed to get the right balance and consistency. Then cover with a towel and let sit for about an hour (optional).

Heat an iron skillet, ceramic saute pan, or other type of non-stick skillet on medium-high heat. Make small balls from the dough and either roll out between two pieces of wax paper or, using a tortilla press with wax paper on both surfaces, press out the dough ball into a tortilla shape.

Gently place flattened dough in heated skillet with a pat of melted coconut or olive oil if necessary or desired. Cook for about a minute on each side.


Millet-Quinoa “Corn” Tortillas
(corn and gluten free)

1/2 cup millet flour

1/2 cup quinoa flour

Scant 1 cup hot water

1/4 tsp unrefined sea salt

Optional: 1-2 tbsp olive oil or melted coconut oil

Follow directions same as above with “Simple Corn Tortillas.”


Homemade Gluten-Free Sourdough Tortillas

1 cup gluten-free flour (millet, quinoa, buckwheat, rice, teff, amaranth or a combination)

1/2 cup gluten-free sourdough starter (recipe to come)

A scant 1/2 cup hot water

1/4 tsp unrefined sea salt (such as Celtic or Brittany)

Mix all ingredients together in a non-reactive bowl (ceramic, glass, or pottery) until a ball of dough is formed, neither too dry not too sticky. It should be slightly springy and firm. Cover with a towel and set aside for 6 to 24 hours.

After this time you may add in a tablespoon or two of oil (I like olive oil or melted coconut oil or ghee) and mix again to form a ball.

Divide into four parts and roll into small balls. Press or roll flat to desired thickness, either between two pieces of wax paper or in a tortilla press.

Heat a skillet with or without oil, and gently place the flattened dough in to the pan. Cook for about a minute on each side.

Enjoy with your favorite fillings! Or eat by themselves, warm with some melted butter and cinnamon for a treat!

* To make these sweeter, and to counter the sour taste, you may add in some sweetener of choice (honey, stevia, xylitol, coconut palm sugar, maple syrup, etc.), maybe a teaspoon at a time (except in the case of liquid stevia, use a few drops at a time) until the desired taste is reached.


“Cheesy” Tortilla Flatbreads
(dairy and gluten free)

Take the sourdough tortilla recipe (above) and after the appropriate time spent ‘souring,’ mix the following ingredients into the dough:

• 1/4 cup nutritional yeast flakes

• 2 tbsp dulse or nori flakes (these are seaweed, and optional)

• 2 tbsp dried or fresh chopped parsley

• 1 tbsp onion powder

• 1 tbsp garlic powder

• 2-4 tbsp melted ghee or coconut oil, or olive oil

• 1 tbsp gluten-free tamari (optional)

Combine all ingredients and mix together (a stand mixer works great for this) to make a new dough. Follow same directions as other tortilla recipes, cooking tortillas in a medium-hot skillet with melted ghee or coconut oil until lightly crisped.

These can be cooled and kept in your fridge, then popped into a toaster oven for a tasty snack!



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