Hemp Heart Crusted Zucchini Fries {Vegan, Paleo}

I know.  You just read “hemp” in the title and immediately assumed it was about marijuana.  I GET IT.  I live in Oregon, where it is now legal to smoke, grow, and posses these controversial little plants.

But that’s not what this post is about.  Because I’m not about to touch that conversation with a 10 ft bong pole.

Hemp hearts.  These are the shelled seeds of the hemp plant, and they are loaded with maximum nutrition.  Back when we were trying to find new and varied protein sources for my food intolerant toddler, these were a saving grace.  I mixed them with a little bit of raw honey to make them barely sticky, and gave my kid the spoon.

He was a serious fan.

Now that summer is squarely upon us, I have zucchini coming out of my ears.  It’s one of my kid’s favorite foods so I planted a few little seedlings…and they grew.  In fact, they’re mutant and grow as big as my head. Or roughly seven times as big as my hand.

We have to get creative to use them all, so I’ve been trying out different recipes using as few ingredients as possible to maintain the natural flavor of the fantastic zucchini, and to get them out of my kitchen fast.

I made a fast coating of hemp seeds, arrow root, a dash of tumeric, paprika and salt.  They were a fast hit with my family, and we chowed all of them.



They went so fast that I didn’t even manage to get a good picture because they were so tasty and nobody could wait for a dumb camera.

Did I mention they’re paleo and vegan, too?


  • 1 large (ish) zucchini, cut into sticks
  • 1/2 cup hemp hearts
  • 2-3 Tbsp arrow root powder or tapioca flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp tumeric (optional)
  • dash of paprika
  • small bowl of water
  • Coconut oil for cooking


  1. In a medium frying pan, heat 1/4 inch of coconut oil until hot. (Typically medium+ setting, but don’t let it smoke.)
  2. Combine hemp hearts, arrow root, and spices and blend throughly.
  3. Take a piece of zucchini and dip it in the water. Remove and lightly shake excess water off.
  4. Press each flat side firmly in the flour mixture and then place into hot oil, flat side down.
  5. Rotate the zucchini to get both flat sides nice and brown (2-3 min each side). Be careful not to burn them!
  6. Place on paper towel lined plate to drain off excess oil.

Eat as soon as they are cool!  These stay fresh and delicious for a good 30 minutes after cooking.


What are your zucchini hacks?



Blueberries and Cream Paleo Popsicles {Three Ingredients}

When you live in a region of the country that is poorly prepared for century mark temperatures, folks do everything they can to keep cool.  Kiddie pools, sprinklers, poorly equipped window AC units, movie theaters, cold foggy days on the coast, and lazy days spent on the banks of a lazy mountain river are just a few ways we choose to beat the heat here in the Pacific Northwest.

But few things bring immediate relief like a good old fashioned popsicle.

The other morning after breakfast, I pulled out my final popsicle to photograph it.  I had  previously devoured the rest during naptimes earlier in the week. Because I’m an adult and like to enjoy a treat without sharing.  But on this particular day, I made the monumental mistake in trying to get the picture while my son was awake.

As we started to swelter in the 100 degree weather in our south-facing second story home as our straining AC unit worked hard to keep up, I removed the final popsicle from the freezer. I stopped for a moment and let the frozen air fall over my face and shoulders, reveling that something could still be cold in this heat. I pulled out my camera and began searching for the right light to capture the cold, creamy, fruity essence of this frozen treat.

Enter E.

He wasn’t having it.

He didn’t care that mom needed to use the popsicle for work.

He didn’t care that it was the last one.

He didn’t care that I needed to take a really beautiful picture to share with you.

He. Didn’t. Care.

There was no stopping my tiny monster.  I turned on Jimmy Fallon.  I tried to distract him with his favorite snack. I pulled out the Tegu blocks, crayons, and even tried to give him my old phone to distract him. Nothing worked.

So, I went with it.

My first attempt to take a picture.
My first attempt to take a picture.
I tried to dodge him. He would not relent. “Me? This? Mama?”
Okay.  You.  This. Mama gives up.
Okay. You. This. Mama gives up.
Contemplating before annihilating.
The first taste.
The first taste.
No way will I be able to get that back from my toddler's death-like grip.
No way will I be able to get that back from my toddler’s death-like grip. This face is telling me not to even think about taking a bite.
Might as well keep him contained if he's really going to eat my post.
Might as well keep him contained if he’s really going to eat my post.

Here’s the recipe, even though the I don’t have Pinterest-worthy pictures to show for the effort.  I hope you enjoy these as much as we did!


  • 1 can full fat coconut milk
  • 1/2 cup pureed blueberries
  • 1/4 cup whole blueberries
  • 1 Tbsp raw honey


  1. Mix coconut milk, honey, and puree.
  2. Pour mixture into popsicle molds.
  3. Drop a few whole blueberries into the molds, and then insert popsicle stick.
  4. Freeze until solid (2-3 hours), and enjoy!

You won’t be sad you ate this.  I promise.  And with very little sugar, these are ideal for low-sugar, refreshing summer treats.

Make your summer pop!

Salted Sunbutter Cups with Raw Chocolate {Paleo}

Sunbutter Cups Bite
Joy comes in a new, creamy, salty, sweet form.

Friends.  I’ve done the unthinkable.

I’ve given up refined Sugar for the summer.

No Salt & Straw.

No Petunia’s.

No sweet treats from Cascadia Bakery.

Because I have a problem.  Sugar means too much to me.  I can’t resist it right now.  I need to give it up for a while until I can use it responsibly.

Which might be never.  But I’m giving it until September, just to be sure. Because I don’t want the diabeetus.

One of my favorite treats is chocolate and peanut butter, but because of FPIES, we can’t keep peanuts in the house.  I love sunflower seed butter (aka sunbutter) as a substitute for peanut butter.  It’s safe for peanut and tree nut allergy peeps, and gives a comparable, creamy taste.  I don’t miss it peanut butter at all.  In fact, you can pretty much always find me with a spoonful of sunbutter in my hand when I get too busy and forget to feed myself.

I’m also pretty committed to using raw cacao nibs when possible.  Raw cacao is full of antioxidants, magnesium, potassium, fiber, and can help fight heart disease and lift your mood naturally.  With a little bit of coconut oil for good measure, these treats aren’t just freaking delicious, they’re also super healthy for you.

Sign me up.  Twice.

I shared these with some of my best friends who are also trying to leave that jerk, Sugar, behind.  The consensus? We can no longer live without them.

Sunbutter Mini Cups

Ingredients for Chocolate Layer:

  • 1/2 cup ground cacao nibs (I use my nutribullet, but a coffee grinder would work, too.)
  • 1/3 cup coconut oil, melted
  • 1-2 Tbsp raw honey, or erythritol
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

Ingredients for Sunbutter Fudge Filling:

  • 3/4 cup sunbutter
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil
  • 2 Tbsp raw honey or erythritol
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

Directions for Chocolate Layer:

  1. Whisk together all the ingredients until fully incorporated.
  2. Pour into lined cupcake or mini-cupcake molds, filling about 1/3 of the way.
  3. Pop in freezer for 15 minutes until solid.

Directions for Sunbutter Fudge:

  1. Whisk all ingredients together.
  2. Pour mixture on top of frozen chocolate.
  3. Freeze or refrigerate until firm.
  4. Remove from refrigerator or freezer for 3 minutes, add flake salt on top, and devour.

These stay good forever in the freezer, and several weeks in a sealed container in the refrigerator.  But good luck.  The sunbutter cups haven’t survived 24 hours in my house.  Maybe ever.

Open your heart and let the sunbutter in,


Mediterranean Tabbouleh {Gluten-Free}

This is a big day for me, friends. This is our first (of many) guest recipe posts.  It looks like this little blog is growing up fast!

Having tasted several of Kileah and Micah’s dishes, I can personally vouch for the delectable awesomeness of everything they make.  Plus, they call themselves hobbits and love all things Scottish (and apparently Middle Eastern).  All four of their tiny hobbit children are funny, sweet, curious, spirited and full of energy. Read on to see what they feed their brood, and fall in love with their version of GF Mediterranean fare.  

From Kileah:

My husband and I love good food.

We have a special food-shaped hole in our hearts labled Middle Eastern Food. In our most recent quest to make sure we live to 100 and not die on the couch watching our favourite Firefly and Arrow re-runs (gluten free brownie points for those of you who’ve watched all of the Firefly episodes!!!), we have been focusing on:

  • how much we eat
  • what we eat
  • the quality of our ingredients
  • it passes the “7-year-old test”

Because we have four small hobbits who also like to eat, if we prepare food that they don’t like…well…let’s just say we have a Shire Situation on our parenting hands.

Ok, back to food! So here’s our take on a quick and easy summer Tabbouleh. If you’ve never eaten tabbouleh, (insert sad hobbit face), it’s a middle-eastern salad chocked full of fresh summer tomatoes and herbs and the itsy bitsy teensy pasta. Normally, traditional couscous is made from wheat, but we prefer using a good brown-rice version of this tiny pasta and it’s just as fantastic! The brown rice couscous enhances the flavor and texture of the dish and leaves us feeling satisfied without the heavy feeling of traditional wheat pasts.


(editor’s note:  You can get the gluten-free couscous at vitacost.com or whole foods, etc.)


  • 2 c. water
  • 2 T. ghee
  • ¼ c. fresh lemon juice
  • 1 ½ c. brown rice couscous
  •  2 c. chopped heirloom tomatoes
  • 1 bunch of cilantro, chopped
  • ½ .c. organic mint leaves, chopped
  • 1 medium shallot, finely chopped
  • ½ c. crumbled feta cheese
  • ¾ c. roasted/sliced almonds
  • kosher salt and cracked pepper to taste


  1. Bring water and ghee to a boil in a small pot, add in couscous and lemon juice, turn down heat to simmer for 5 minutes, then remove pan from heat.
  2. Add tomatoes, cilantro, mint, shallot, feta and sliced almonds together in a large bowl.
  3. Fluff couscous with a fork and add to the tomato/herb mixture. Add salt and pepper to taste
  4. Cover and chill in fridge until ready to eat. If you can wait that long.
  5. Live Long and Prosper!

May the Couscous Be With You!

-The McIlvains

Basil Shallot Chimichurri Sauce {Vegan, Raw, Paleo}

Note: This recipe is so delicious that the Internet ate it. Twice.  It apparently didn’t want to share with you, so make sure you to make this soon.  Today. For dinner. Now.  Because the Internet will devour it  if you don’t!


It’s summer, which means you can find me behind the grill for approximately the next three months.  I don’t know if it’s my cavegirl instinct, but there is nothing more awesome than eating some flame-cooked meat. Fire! Food! Grunt! Poud chest!

Okay. I won’t pound my chest because OUCH.

But I might throw my husband over my shoulder and drag him back to the cave, like any self-respecting cavegirl would do.

Sign me up for the fire.  Twice. Because, holy moly, I LOVE TO GRILL.

I come by my love of fire honestly.  My oldest brother was obsessed with building bombs.  Although I didn’t inherit his love of bombs, I did inherit his love of fire and chemistry.  In fact, I owe much of my love for cooking, and therefore grilling, to him.  He bought me my first chemistry set, and showed me how to play (safely) with different elements to create a reaction. And because cooking is really just chemistry at it’s core, I was lucky enough to inherit his love of science, too.

Luckily, my parents channelled my oldest brother’s pyromaniac tendencies and showed him how to practice fire safety. They also bought him a computer to keep him out of trouble.  It was a good call on my parents’ part.  My brother is now a computery guy doing computery things and makes a legal, decent living in suburban America and living a relatively wonderful life.

Dear Zeus.  I’ve made my brother sound like the UniBomber.

You guys. He’s not.  HE IS TOTALLY NORMAL. And he still plays with fire, but he likes to cook food over it and share it with his friends and family.  Sometimes he sprays aerosol hairspray into a candle flame.  Safely.



I never grow weary of cooking over the fire, (or playing with fire), but I do like to shake things up.  I try different types of wood brickettes.  I put everything on the grill that I can think of.  (More on that later.) And I get really fancy and start making my own condiments.

My latest favorite homemade condiment for my grilled food is chimichurri sauce, hands down.  Except that I hate parsley.  I also prefer avocado oil over olive oil right now.  And I’m always looking for ways to add apple cider vinegar in my diet in tasty and sneaky ways.  So, I used my chemistry cooking knowledge to switch things up and create a different flavor profile while still staying true to the foundation of the sauce.

This is an absolute flavor explosion.  Hah!


  • 1 cup cilantro (stems are okay)
  • 1 handful of basil leaves
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 1 large shallot, quartered
  • 1/2 cup avocado oil
  • 3 Tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 3 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes (optional)
  • 1/2 tsp of fresh cracked pepper and sea salt (minimum)


  1. Throw everything into the blender, food processor, NutriBullet and pulse until creamy but still a little chunky.
  2. Marinate your flank steak and chicken in the sauce, or top your grilled meat with it.
I ate all of this. Straight from the blender.

I might have pulled out the tortilla chips and used it as a dip, just like any reasonable cavegirl would do.  I might have slathered it on everything I could find.  And I definitely might have eaten all of the first batch before anyone else could taste it.

Chillin’ and Grillin’