Paleo Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookie Skillet (AIP, Gluten Free)

I’ll never forget when I first learned about the existence of cookie skillets. One of my friends had a birthday dinner planned at BJ’s Brewhouse where they’re known for their pizookies (essentially just cookie skillets) and I lost it with excitement. I remember going on tumblr (this was before Instagram was as big as it is) and looking up photos of pizookies to amp myself up. And of course, the cookie skillet did live up to the hype. It was warm, gooey, sweet, and so delicious!

Needless to say, it’s been a hot minute since I’ve had a BJ’s pizookie, or any cookie skillet for that matter. Making one that’s grain free, lower in sugar, egg free, and dairy free seemed like no easy feat. But what can I say? I was up for a challenge! Fall always inspires me to get creative with baked goods.

This paleo pumpkin chocolate chip cookie skillet is just as delicious as any other you’ve had, plus it’s gluten free, grain free, nut free, dairy free, lower in sugar, and it’s paleo and AIP compliant. Can I get an amen?

With the holidays coming up and Halloween just a few days away this is the perfect way to satisfy a sweet tooth!

The Ingredients You’ll Need For The Paleo Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookie Skillet

Tigernut Flour

Tigernut is need nut free, as tigernuts are actually a tuber. It’s a grain free flour that’s similar to almond flour. If you can have almonds, you can try subbing almond flour as well, though I haven’t tried this recipe with other flours.

Tapioca Starch

Tapioca helps bind this cookie together. You can also sub arrowroot starch.

Pumpkin Puree

It is October, right? Gotta have the pumpkin! Pumpkin puree really helps the flavor and texture of this cookie skillet and helps keep it moist and gooey.

Chocolate Chips

This cookie skillet has lots of flavor without the chocolate chips, so you can easily leave them out. If you’re AIP, I would use this recipe instead.

Gelatin egg (or 1 real egg)

Gelatin is a great egg substitute, and one that I always needs as I react to eggs. You can try other options like flax eggs if you tolerate, or you can easily just use one real egg. I use vital proteins, but great lakes also works.

Paleo Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookie Skillet (AIP, Gluten Free)

The Skillet You’ll Need

I didn’t use a big cast iron to make this cookie skillet. Rather, I just used a 6″ mini cast iron skillet! It’s perfect for a little cookie skillet to share! I got it from World Market, here.

If you don’t have a 6″ skillet, you can easily use any other pan you have that’s a similar size and just scale the recipe accordingly. A skillet is fun, but not necessary!

Paleo Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookie Skillet (AIP, Gluten Free)

Ingredients

  • 2/3 cup tigernut flour (see above for substitutions)
  • 1/3 cup tapioca flour
  • 1/3 cup pumpkin puree
  • 2 tbsp maple syrup
  • 2 tbsp coconut oil (plus extra for greasing the pan)
  • 2-3 tbsp chocolate chips (sub this recipe for AIP)
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • FOR THE GELATIN EGG (sub 1 regular egg)
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 tbsp gelatin

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 F and grease a 6" skillet (like this ) or a baking pan with coconut oil
  2. Sift the two flours together until well combined. Mix in the remainder of the ingredients (reserving the egg/gelatin egg) and combine
  3. For the gelatin egg (sub 1 regular egg if tolerated) place a small pot on the stove with 1/4 cup of water and lightly sprinkle in the 1 tbsp of gelatin. You don't want any clumps. Allow the gelatin to bloom for 2-3 minutes.
  4. Turn the stove on low heat to let the gelatin melt. This will take 1-2 minutes. Don't let it burn!
  5. Remove the mixture from the stove and use a whisk or immersion blender to vigorously whisk the mixture until it's frothy.
  6. Add the gelatin egg (or regular egg) to the cookie dough and stir together immediately.
  7. Pour the cookie dough into a well greased 6" skillet/pan and smooth it out with the top of a spoon
  8. Bake for 15-18 minutes or until baked through. The cookie will be soft and gooey!
  9. Top with coconut milk ice cream if desired, or serve by itself. Remember to be careful with the hot skillet!
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How to enjoy this cookie skillet…

This is definitely the ultimate treat… don’t dinner 😉 Here’s how I recommend enjoying it!

  • Top with coconut milk ice cream or extra chocolate chips
  • Share with a friend for a movie night or after dinner dessert
  • Serve slices at a party

However you choose to have it, I hope you enjoy!! Be sure to tag me on Instagram to let me know how you like it!

Paleo Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookie Skillet (AIP, Gluten Free)

US Wellness Meats Review

Thank you to US Wellness meats for giving me the chance to try their food! US Wellness Meats did send me products to try, but the opinions are my own. 

Growing up, food quality (especially protein quality) was never really a concern to me. I thought it was all created equal and that grass fed, organic, and other buzzwords were just an excuse to mark up prices. As I started to get into the real food/paleo space to heal my own Hashimoto’s, I learned that my previous assumption was completely wrong. Food quality does matter, and US Wellness meats was one of the first retailers that I heard mentioned by other influencers.

After spending most of my life either avoiding animal protein or eating low quality conventional protein (hello, chicken nuggets from Wendy’s) I didn’t really even know what good quality meant or what it tasted like. When I first tasted US Wellness Meats and saw all of the amazing options on their website, I knew that it was something I could get behind!

I’ve partnered with US Wellness in the past for two different giveaways, I’ve recommended them to tons of my own personal clients, I’ve used it in my own home, I’ve partnered with them on their featured chef program, and today, I am so excited to share my full review with you all!

 

Why I love US Wellness Meats

1.Their products are properly raised

 

Having high quality meat that is properly raised is incredibly important for our health. Higher quality animal protein is higher in nutrients, healthy fats, and it tastes much better!

To quote their website – “Our animals don’t need antibiotics or growth hormones to grow big and healthy. Our land doesn’t need pesticides or artificial irrigation systems to develop rich, fertile biodiversity.”

2. They ship across the US

Above anything else, I’m a huge advocate of eating local food as much as possible. However, not everyone has good options around them. And when it comes to giving recommendations for remote clients, or blog readers, I don’t always have a local recommendation for them. That’s why I love recommending US Wellness Meats. They ship across the US which makes it easily accessible!

3. They carry speciality items

 

Though most people can locate decent grass-fed beef around them, things like grass-fed liverwurst or bison roast can be harder to come by. US Wellness Meats has wild caught seafood, duck, lamb, organ meats, animal fats… the list goes on!

I was able to snag both a bison roast and beef bacon in one of my orders which were both delicious and incredibly hard to come by in Dallas.

 

Some of My Favorite Items (thus far)

I’ve only tried a handful of items from US Wellness meats, but here are my favorites as of right now…

Liverwurst

I first saw Alena of Grazed and Enthused eating their liverwurst, and I was immediately intrigued. She talked about how delicious it was, and I was excited to see the nutrient rich ingredients.

Organ meats are richer in minerals and healthy fats than muscle meat, and are such powerful healing foods. This liverwurst doesn’t just have liver, but it’s also made with heart and kidney

It can be hard to get in nutrient powerhouse organ meats like liver, and heart. They can easily gross people out, and it can take some finesse to make it taste good. This liverwurst is the perfect answer for those of us who are a bit iffy around organ meats.

It doesn’t have that weird organ meat texture or flavor at all. I happily ate it in a lunch bowl and my husband enjoyed it on a sandwich and neither of us even blinked at it. I’ve eaten enough liver in the past couple of years to know when I’m eating it, but this liverwurst really masks the strong organ meat flavor. It’s perfectly seasoned, and full of flavor!

Plus, it’s already fully cooked, so all I really do to prepare it is brown it up a bit in a pan and it’s good to go! Minimal effort for maximum nutrients.

Bacon

Good quality bacon can be hard to find. Toxins are stored in the fat, so conventional bacon is something that I avoid, and I’m definitely sensitive to nitrates as well. I first tried the US Wellness Meats bacon at Paleo f(x) and I was sold! It’s everything bacon should be, and it’s high quality.

I’ve gotten tons of their bacon, and I used it in one of my featured chef recipes. You can get my recipe for bacon wrapped dates using their bacon here!

Pork Rinds

I was never much for pork rinds growing up. Why have pork rinds when you can just have pretzels and potato chips, right? 😉 Clearly I’ve changed my ways, but still like a crunchy snack every now and then.

Even if I didn’t eat it, my husband loves snacks so I decided to give it a try. When I brought in our package after coming home from work, we literally ate the entire bag together in one sitting. They were so good! Of course it’s a treat and not an everyday item, but man… what a treat it is. You can get them here!

Vital Choice Salmon

Good quality fish can be hard to find. The fish industry is very loosely regulated, and pollution is a huge issue. Vital choice is one of the brands that I really trust, and US Wellness meats carries their products!

I used their salmon in one of my featured chef recipes as well! You can get my recipe for cilantro lime salmon with their salmon here.

 

I hope this review was helpful, and that you love US Wellness Meats as much as I do. I guarantee you can find something on their website that interests you 🙂

Episode #16 : All About The AIP with The Paleo Mom, Dr. Sarah Ballantyne

This week, Anne and I are talking with Dr. Sarah Ballantyne, The Paleo Mom herself! We are so humbled, excited, and honored to be able to do this episode. Sarah is such a prolific part of this world, and her interview abolsutely blew us away.

Listen & Subscribe on iTunes here. 

Topics:

  • Introducing Sarah [0:50]
  • What is Sarah is loving [1:30]
  • Sarah’s healing story [6:30]
  • What is AIP and why does it work [22:04]
  • Prioritizing organic [32:58]
  • Veganism/Vegetarianism [41:00]
  • Does AIP work for everyone? [47:45]
  • When AIP isn’t working [54:00]

 

Links we mentioned in the podcast:

 

Paleo Zuppa Toscana In The Instant Pot (Whole 30 & AIP)

Growing up in an Italian family in New York, I was always a bit of an Italian food snob. My maiden name is very Italian, and my dad, who’s name happens to be Vinny, always joked the spaghetti sauce runs through his veins. My love for legitimate Italian food only grew more when I studied abroad in Florence, Italy, the capital of the Tuscan region. These experiences always made me roll my eyes at claims that chains like Olive Garden were real Italian food. Though I can never get behind the quality of their food, one thing I can get behind is a good, nourishing Zuppa Toscana! So why not make my own Zuppa Toscana that’s paleo, whole30 compliant, and easily modified to be AIP?

So, what is Zuppa Toscana? It essentially translates to “The Soup of Tuscany”. When I traveled to Tuscany when I was 21, I was expecting everything to be swimming in only Marinara sauce. Much to my surprise, Tuscany features a lot more rich, savory flavors like cream sauces, white beans, and rustic breads. A traditional Zuppa Toscana embodies this perfectly! It’s made with Italian sausage, white beans, tomato, onion, potato, kale, Italian bacon, and olive oil. The American version adds cream, and usually omits the tomato.

So really Zuppa Toscana it’s just a nourishing soup, and the perfect comfort food dish that can be enjoyed on all types of healing diets… if you prepare it right and use good ingredients!

Paleo Zuppa Toscana In The Instant Pot (Whole 30 & AIP)

The Ingredients

Italian Sausage

Italian sausage gives this soup tons of flavor! Traditionally this soup is made with a spicy Italian pork sausage with the casing removed.

If you’re like me and can’t have nightshade spices, or are following an autoimmune protocol, you can easily make your own sausage at home. Check out this recipe!

Bacon

Gotta have the bacon, right? Bacon is used as a garnish in this soup.

White sweet potato

Though this soup traditionally has white potato and white beans, I’m using white sweet potato to keep it nightshade free and AIP compliant. The sweetness of the potato really adds something to the soup, but you can also use regular white potatoes if you tolerate them.

Onion

Onion adds lots of flavor to the soup. You can use either white or yellow onion.

Kale

See? I told you this soup was healthy 😉 You’ll use a whole head of kale in this soup.

Chicken bone broth

Another powerhouse ingredient to make this a nourishing soup. I recommend this recipe for chicken bone broth, and I also have another recipe in my e-book, The 30 Day Gut Healing Diet Plan.

Coconut milk

Traditional Zuppa Toscana really isn’t as creamy as the American version, but let’s be real… creamy is good! Using coconut milk helps keep this soup dairy free, and with so many other flavors, you don’t really taste the coconut.

 

Not using the Instant Pot?

I love using the instant pot for fast, easy meals!

However, if you don’t have an instant pot, recipe is easily adaptable to a stove top! See the notes of the recipe for instructions.

Paleo Zuppa Toscana In The Instant Pot (Whole 30 & AIP)

Paleo Zuppa Toscana In The Instant Pot (Whole 30 & AIP)

Ingredients

  • 1 lb ground Italian sausage (use this for AIP )
  • 6-7 slice of bacon, chopped
  • 4 large white sweet potatoes, peeled and diced
  • 1 medium yellow onion, diced
  • 1 bunch of kale, destemmed
  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • 5 cups chicken bone broth
  • 2 cloves or garlic, minced
  • 3 tsp fresh Italian parsley (plus extra for garnish)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp black pepper (omit for AIP)

Instructions

  1. Set the instant pot to sauté and add the bacon. Cook until crispy and set aside, leaving the fat in the pot.
  2. Keeping the instant pot on sauté, add the onion to the bacon fat and cook sauté for 5-6 minutes or until translucent.
  3. Add the minced garlic for 3-4 minutes of until fragrant.
  4. Add in the ground sausage and sauté until cooked through. Remove some fat if desired.
  5. Turn the instant pot off sauté and pour in the chicken bone broth, coconut milk, salt, pepper and diced sweet potato. Stir to combine.
  6. Lock the lid onto the instant pot and set to 13 minutes on high.
  7. After the soup is done, allow the pressure to release naturally.
  8. Remove the lid and add in the kale and parsley and allow to wilt in the hot soup.
  9. Serve topped with bacon and extra parsley.

Notes

If not using an instant pot, follow all of the instructions exactly the same, using a large dutch oven or pot to sauté the initial ingredients. Then, double the cook time of the soup on the stove, or wait until potatoes are softened.

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That’s all there is to it! This soup is the perfect comfort food for a cool evening, and stores well in the fridge for a few days. My husband took it to work as lunch for a couple of days in a row and absolutely loved it!

I hope you enjoy!

Paleo Zuppa Toscana In The Instant Pot (Whole 30 & AIP)

Why Forgiveness Is The Missing Link To Healing & How To Forgive

The majority of my blog (and really my career) is about healing. Healing your gut, healing from Hashimoto’s, and eating healing foods.  Though you’ll typically find me talking about healing with delicious paleo recipes, castor oil packs, and collagen peptides, today I want to talk about healing with something different… and that’s forgiveness.

Though most of my readers have some form of autoimmune disease, chronic illness, or gut issues that they’re trying to resolve with diet, we are all broken people in some sense. Whether it be our health, our emotional wellbeing, or something else entirely, no one is perfect, and we all have some healing to do.

We’ve all been angry at something. In this world of chronic illness, we’re most often angry at the doctors who failed us, at the people who didn’t believe us, at the food system that’s broken, and at ourselves for getting to a certain place. Sound familiar? Are you checking all boxes right now? These grudges hold us back from healing.

I want to share with you what I’ve learned first hand about how to heal with forgiveness. Why it matters, why you’re not a bad person for being angry for what happened to you, and who you need to forgive.

Why We Need to Forgive to Heal

Anger, grudges, and emotional pain are inflammatory. Just as inflammatory, if not more, than a big ol’ sugar-y cookie, and maybe even a cigarette. The stress keeps our stress response going, the anger keeps us from enjoying life, and the victimization keeps us from believing that we can ever heal.

Forgiveness is a central part of any healing journey. No matter how hard it is, or how long it takes us to forgive, we need to strive to do it.

You’re not a bad person for feeling angry, hurt or wronged. You’re human. Feeling wronged is normal… but it’s holding you back from healing.

 

Who You Need to Forgive to Heal…

 

Forgive Your Doctor and The Medical System

We put a lot of weight on the shoulders of doctor and the medical system. We trust it to solve our problems and make us whole again. And that isn’t wrong. Doctors spend their professional lives working to help us heal, and we can’t be expected to do that work ourselves. But when they lead us astray, we suffer both from health issues without relief, and the psychological pain of anger that keeps us from healing.

I’ll never forget how wronged I felt by my doctors as a kid. Growing up I hated eating meat, I was overweight, I was exhausted, and my body was crying for help. What I really needed was a loving voice to help me fix my digestion, heal my gut, and teach me about a nutrient dense diet. What I got were doctors that laughed at me when I told them that eating meat and fat made me gag, doctors that called me fat, and doctors that told me I just needed to exercise more to be healthy. I will never forget that doctor that once told me that all I needed to do get my daily required amount of protein was to eat enough peanuts to cover the palm of my hand. I am not lying. I was really told that advice by a doctor in middle school.

Looking back, that makes me angry. I saw dozens of doctors who wrote me off, turned me away, and made me think I was crazy to the point that I didn’t even believe I was sick. It held me back in my health and my life for years. I was livid.

However, one of my favorite things that my old boss used to say was “doctors are practicing“. Doctors are human, and the medical systems are inherently flawed. They will never be able to single handedly solve all of our problems.

That grudge that I held against doctors made me insane. It kept me from trusting my good functional medicine doctors fully, and it made me feel like I would never heal. All of that kept me from healing. 

It’s hard, it feels wrong, and it does not make anything that crappy doctors told you okay, but in order to get over the pain and move on with your health, you have to forgive.

I had to move on and forgive the doctors that wronged me to form a new, better relationship with my new doctors, and with the research that was being put out their by doctors that I was using to educate myself. It didn’t make that ridiculous peanut doctor situation okay… but it freed me of the emotional pain that it caused me for years.

 

Forgive The Food System

This one is especially hard. It sounds like something absolutely crazy to ask of you. The same system that pumps our children full of sugar, grows GMO corn, and feeds us all the wrong information. I’m asking you to forgive that?

Again… forgiveness doesn’t make it okay. 

Forgiving this system doesn’t mean that you can’t still speak out against it. It releases you of the anger and allows you to advocate for a healthier, more natural food system.

What our food system does is not okay. But where does anger alone really get us? Pushing for a better system and educating on change gets us somewhere. I’ve had to force myself to spend my energy on celebrating all of the things that are right with the natural, organic, and local food system, rather than just getting angry about the bad. And guess which one people like to read about more? Guess which one actually gives them valuable information that improves their lives? You guessed right 😉

 

Forgive Those Who Wronged You

I’ve had my fair share of naysayers in my life. Former friends and ex-boyfriends who thought my health problems were made up, my way of living was stupid, and refused to take any interest at all in what I was doing with my health and my life. Thinking about them would make my blood boil for years.

Forgiving those people doesn’t make it okay. It also doesn’t mean they need to be in my life anymore… most of them are not. But it helps me get over them, and it helped me open my heart to new people, or restart relationships with people who have wronged me in the past.

 

Forgive Yourself

This is arguably the biggest one, and the one that I see most people struggle with. I’ve had so many people come to me saying, “I did this to myself” or asking, “What did I do wrong to deserve this?”.

I used to go over the timeline in my own head for years of how I got sick. First, I didn’t want to eat real food, then I binged on sugar, then I restricted and didn’t nourish myself, then I over did antibiotics and NSAIDs, then I got sick. It felt like it was all my fault.

Personal responsibility and recognizing what we can do to change aren’t bad things… but hating yourself? That’s bad news.

There likely are things in your life that you can do differently. We all make mistakes. But the longer that we hold onto that guilt and shame for what we’ve done in the past, the longer we stay stuck.

Yes, I did a lot of things wrong with my health that didn’t help. However, I didn’t know better… I didn’t have the information that I have now.. and I’m human.

Forgiving yourself is a mental shift that takes a lot of work… but it’s incredibly powerful for moving forward.

 

But, How Do You Forgive?

 

First, Recognize That Anger and Grudges Are Human

Forgiveness is one of the most powerful, and most difficult pieces of a healing journey to achieve. We hold grudges, we get angry, and the majority of the time, we have good reason to be angry. We’re angry about a doctor or a medical system that held us back from true health for years, we’re angry at a loved one for how they’ve treated us, or maybe we’re angry at ourselves for where we are in life.

 

Next, Remember That Forgiveness Doesn’t Make it “Okay”

The biggest misconception with forgiveness is that it makes what happened to you okay. It doesn’t. If you were wronged by someone or something, forgiving them or the situation doesn’t make it okay.

Forgiveness frees you of the emotional anguish of anger. 

 

Still Be An Advocate For What Is Right

You can still advocate against what happened to you. That’s why I still advocate against most conventional doctors even though I’ve forgiven the system that wronged me for years. Forgiving doesn’t make it okay.. it just allows you to take one step further along if your healing journey.

 

Forgive Verbally and In Your Heart

If someone has wronged you, or you feel like you have wronged yourself, verbally offer forgiveness. Acknowledge it with your voice.

But more importantly, forgive in your heart, fully and completely. So many times we can say we’re forgiving something, but still hold grudges. Remind yourself over and over to let go of these grudges.

 

Finally, Remember That You Can Be Forgiven and the Greatest Example for Forgiveness Already Exists

We live in a society that’s pretty void of forgiveness. Say or do anything wrong, and you’ll forever have a target on your back. And though justice needs to be served, and doing bad things is not excusable, we have little example of grace and forgiveness in society.

The ultimate example of grace and forgiveness to me is God’s grace. Being human is not about being good enough… we’ll always fall short. But. No matter how far we are from being a whole complete person, He can and will still forgive us.

 

Forgiveness isn’t easy. We’ll all have to do it a million times over in our lives and keep reteaching ourselves how to do it. But, when we do, powerful things happen to our health and our life.

Why Forgiveness is The Missing Link To Healing Your Body