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,


Salted Dark Chocolate Chunk Cookies {Grain-Free}

So, call me crazy, but I don’t feel like chocolate chunk cookies really need much explanation.  Because chocolate.

These are some of my faves, though.  They are chewy, salty, sweet, and gluten-free.  How awesome is that?

I typically make these for my mom, who has a little condition called diabetes.

She’s a total cutie.

Since Mother’s Day is coming up, these are a perfect way to share the love with my mom and still respect her limitations. I want her to be around to see my kiddo graduate from high school in approximately 16 years, so I’m committed to supporting her in any way I can.  This includes making enjoyable food she can eat.  And as a mother, I would love to have someone make these for me (I’m looking at you , dear husband).



  • 1 cup blanched almond meal
  • 1/2 cup coconut sugar, or erythritol for a low-glycemic option
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 cup melted coconut oil or butter
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 oz  85% cacao dark chocolate, chopped into chunks
  • 1 tsp kosher-style sea salt or fleur de sal
  • a tiny dash of nutmeg


  1. In a medium mixing bowl, combine almond meal, coconut sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon, then stir.
  2. Add eggs, oil,  vinegar, and vanilla extract and mix thoroughly with almond meal mixture.
  3. Add chocolate chunks.
  4. On a parchment-lined baking sheet, spoon batter (which will be slightly runny) into half-dollar drops.  This will spread quite a bit during baking so be sure to leave plenty of space between cookies.
  5. Bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes.  Because of the almond meal, they will brown on the top slightly more than traditional cookies.  It’s okay.  :)
  6. Remove from oven and allow to cool completely.  They will have delicately crisp edges and soft centers before you store them, then they are all soft after that.

Consume within 3-4 days, otherwise they’ll get stale.  But good luck with lasting that long.  These are HIGHLY addictive!

Be sure to love your moms this week, and if this is a difficult holiday for you, be sure to take good care of yourself.

Yo Mama,

Banana Cashew Ice Cream {Vegan and Paleo}

Pizzelles are a big thing around our house.  My husband has some fairly strong Sicilian roots, and he takes his Italian desserts seriously.  One of his favorites?  Star Anise Pizzelles.  We don’t eat them often because 1) we rarely eat wheat and 2) we eat them ALL in one day because we have no “off” switch with these tasty discs.

It’s a cookie and a cone!

I made gluten-free pizelles earlier this week, (my husband and son ate them all in less than an hour), and formed miniature waffle cones.  Then I asked you to help me fill them.  You came up with some amazing suggestions.  Here’s a sample of some of the suggestions:

  • Sweet Ricotta Cream
  • Chocolate Chia Seed Pudding
  • Nutella Mousse/Nutella Marshmallow Creme/Nutella Anything
  • Tuna Poke with Avocado
  • Pulled Pork
  • Marmite
  • Whipped Cauliflour and “Fried” Chicken
  • Ben and Jerry’s new Jimmy Fallon Ice Cream (I love Jimmy.)

But the suggestion that hit home for me was Cashew Ice Cream.  Here’s why: I wanted to make a homemade version and have been experimenting with fast paleo recipes that don’t require a chemistry lesson from Mr. White or a trillion special ingredients.

Mr. White tells it like it is.

Because ice cream should be easy and simple and thoroughly satisfying. And if we can make it healthy-ish, even better.

My favorite Sicilian gave me two thumbs up, which is hard to do.  He loves ice cream.  He loves pizzelles. Healthy ice cream in a quinoa pizzelle?  He’s in foodie love.


So, here it is.  (Oh, and I named it after the reader who inspired me! Thanks, Terri.)

Stephen’s Cashew Banana Ice Cream – Serves 1


  • 1 ripe banana, diced and then frozen solid
  • 1 Tbsp (heaping) cashew butter
  • 1/2 tsp grade B maple syrup (optional)
  • dash of vanilla extract (seriously, a few drops will do)
  • a pinch of cardamom or 3 drops cardamom bitters


This takes some serious power so I suggest using a NutriBullet (what I use) or a BlendTec or Vitamix type of blender.  The banana is very solid and it could damage your less-powerful blenders.
  1. Take frozen banana pieces and blend until smooth.  You will probably have to pulse it first several times, and then scrape down the sides of the blender before you blend.
  2. Once banana is thoroughly blended, add the rest of the ingredients and blend until incorporated.  Be careful not to over blend, or your ice cream will be more like a warm milkshake.
  3. Pop in the freezer for 30 minutes to firm up a bit, or eat right away. Top with chocolate chips, nuts, or blueberries.

If you want to try your hand at making mini-waffle cones, this quinoa flour recipe is perfect if you omit the baking soda.

Really, the possibilities are endless when you are using banana as the base.  I’m going to get creative this summer and see how many variations I can make.  Because ice cream.

Always Bananapants and Never Banana Hammocks,



Almond Joy Bars

coconut barsI have a relatively new found love of coconut.  I really used to dislike it.  Then I realized it was always sweetened.  Like on a lemon meringue pie that my Nana used to make, or in a coconut macaroon usually at a church potluck.  It was perpetually too sweet, and tasted like sugary fibrous shreds of blech.  (And yes, “blech” is a word.  It ends on a k sound, not ch.  Otherwise, it would be ble(t)ch, and what is that?  Nothing, that’s what.)  Then I tasted the un-bastardized, unsweetened coconut and totally fell in foodie love.

As it turns out, coconut is an excellent source of fiber.  Fiber helps you feel full, stabilizes your blood sugar, and helps you go twosies.  (And yes, “twosies” is a real word, too.  Just ask Turk and J.D.  They’re doctors.)  It adds texture and a delicate sweetness to a variety of dishes. I’ve also started eating a spoonful of dry coconut flakes when I feel nauseous or have acid reflux from eating something I shouldn’t.  It works like a charm about 70% of the time.

Coconut is also a superfood, more specifically,  coconut oil.  I try to incorporate it as much as possible into my daily food intake. I blend it into my coffee, cook with it, and take it by the spoonful to help me sleep peacefully at night.  Coconut oil is great for my brain, my liver, my metabolism, and my mood.  I’m pretty sure it’s good for yours, too.

This is one of my favorite go-to recipes for breakfast, snacks, or my overactive sweet-tooth.  I like it because it tastes like a candy bar, I’ll be honest.  But it is so stinkin’ good for me that I don’t feel even a little bit guilty. These travel well, don’t need to be refrigerated, and are delicious treat for at least a week.

Ingredients for bars:

  • 3 eggs
  • 2 cups unsweetened shredded coconut
  • 1 cup almond meal
  • 1 can full-fat coconut milk
  • 1/2 cup coconut oil
  • 1/2 cup coconut sugar, or erythritol (if you’re looking for a low-glycemic option)
  • 2 Tbsp coconut flour (sifted)
  • 1 Tbsp vanilla
  • 1  tsp cardamom
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 20 drops liquid stevia (optional)
  • a handful of raw almonds

Ingredients for chocolate drizzle:

  • 3 oz 90% cacao chocolate bar  (it’s super low in sugar)
  • 2 Tbsp coconut oil or butter
  • 1/4 tsp cardamom
  • 15 drops liquid stevia (optional)
  • 1 tsp vanilla

Directions for bars:

  1. In a large bowl, combine dry ingredients, including erythritol, and mix well.
  2. In a smaller bowl, combine wet ingredients and stir.
  3. Incorporate wet ingredients into dry and pour mixture into 9×13 pyrex glass dish
  4. Evenly place almonds on top of batter
  5. Bake for 350 degrees for 30-40 minutes, or until the middle is firm.
  6. Cool completely then cut into bars

Directions for chocolate drizzle:

  1. In a double boiler, melt chocolate and butter.
  2. Once chocolate and butter is fully melted, stir in cardamom, vanilla, and stevia
  3. Transfer chocolate to small ziploc bag and close.
  4. Cut a tiny piece of the corner of the bag off and drizzle over cooled bars.

This is my favorite way to get all the coconut goodness I can handle.  I hope you like it.

May your candy bar dreams come true,


Doing TED: Why I Hate Gluten-Free Anything


Do you ever just want to punch people when they say they’re gluten-free?

Yeah, me, too.

Turns out, I’m wanting to punch the chick in the mirror because, while I’m thoroughly annoyed with myself about not eating gluten, the simple fact of the matter is, I’m a better person without out it. But I will make no bones about the fact that I would much rather eat wheat than not. So here it is, Internets:

I miss gluten.

I miss croissants.  I miss cake. (Especially on my birthday…which is today.)  I miss crusty artisan bread and fluffy, buttery biscuits.  I miss gluten-laden foods and get irrationally angsty about my inability to eat waffles with my friends at brunch or a even a bite of birthday pie at a party.  I want to shout it from the rooftops.  I MISS YOU, GORGEOUS GLUTEN!

I’m on a Total Elimination Diet (TED), which should also be called Eating in Purgatory because it is one step away from hell.  Okay. Maybe I’m being a tad dramatic, but gluten hasn’t passed these lips in almost a year and I’m sad.  Gluten-sad. Which is the saddest food-sad of all.

I’m not doing TED for my own benefit, even though I’m a LOT nicer in a general sense when I abstain from glutenous goodness.  I’m doing this for my son who has a severe reaction to gluten in my breast milk.  And oats.  And chicken eggs.  And peanuts.  And….the list goes on.  It’s okay.  I won’t bore you with it.  But suffice it to say, I’m really anticipating digging into a plate of Eggs Benedict and a jar of Justin’s peanut butter with a spoon for dessert when my son is fully weaned.  Which will be sometime before college, or so I’m told.

As people stuck in Purgatory are prone to do, I’ve bargained.  I’ve tasted and tried and pushed the limits.  I’ve regretted the very few times I’ve strayed, mostly because it sets my son back in his health journey.  And if I’m being transparent here, gluten kind of makes me testy.  I get irritable.  Irritable isn’t the right word.  Horrendously Bitchy is a better description. Approximately 30 minutes after I consume gluten, I start to feel weepy and angry and crazy.  My head might actually start to spin. Gluten and I don’t really get along, and before I know it, I’m not getting along with anyone else, either.  My husband (who is also sensitive to gluten) and I start to pick and snip and snap at each other, and then we both need a nap to recover from the gluten indulgence. Except we are too busy to nap, so then we just melt down. Crazy, right? Turns out, TED is good for everyone in my family at the moment. Dammit.

So, as long as I’m doing TED (that phrase makes me giggle every time because I’m really 14), I’m committed to making food that makes me nice-ish, and making it well. Because if I’m going to get in the kitchen and go through all the effort to prep, cook, eat, and (eventually) clean up, then it’s gotta be a total food win.  I need to feel like I’m not damned to food purgatory.

Here are some of my favorite recipes that TED has inspired me to make.  And thanks, TED.  My baby, my husband, and my soul are eternally grateful for lighting a fire and moving us one step closer to gluten-free heaven.

Sunbutter Brownies made with a few ingredients and easily adaptable for low-sugar diets. You can also use other kinds of nut or seed butters if you’re feeling adventurous.

Who needs fried chicken when you have crispy skin and robust flavor?  This is my all-time favorite chicken recipe, and it’s so simple.

I have a secret love affair with cereal, but I can’t find any that agree with TED.  So, I came up with this grain-free granola recipe and I like it way better than real cereal.

BREAD.  I don’t think I need to sell you on this one.

And Hummingbird Cake for my birthday.  Because every birthday needs cake.

Finally, when I’m feeling fancy and energetic (which happens about once a year on the same day) I go for this Brown Butter Crumble recipe.  Because butter.

What are your favorite gluten-free recipes?
Yours in Gluten-Free Purgatory,