Delicious Grain-Free Chicken Casserole

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Hello to you all! I apologize for my absence in the last several months. I do feel like I have somewhat of an excuse as we just gave birth to our third child (our first girl) on August 21st! Nora Kathryn is a bundle of love, and I am definitely enjoying the fact that I have another girl in the house! 🙂

Still, all of that to say…I have missed you, my friends, and I am very excited to start posting again. Over the past months of preparing for our baby, I have also spent some time putting together recipes to post, and the one I am about to share today will not disappoint. In fact, you can ask my (almost) 2 year old what he thought of it last night as he shoved in his 4th helping! 🙂 I can definitely say that I felt I have scored a “mommy win” with this dish.
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A huge thanks to He and She Eat Clean for this amazing recipe! Scott and Whitney Carlson are the authors of this blog; I found this delish dish off of their website, and am super excited to share their recipe with you. I have adapted it with a few changes, but the majority of the recipe remains the same. Check out the original recipe here, and while you are at it, take some time to browse around for a few more of their recipes! 🙂 Enjoy this easy, budget-friendly, and delectable casserole!

Ingredients:
2 c cooked shredded chicken (Leftover rotisserie chicken works great.)
1 medium butternut squash, peeled and cubed (I measured approx. 3 cups uncooked squash.)
1/2 c coconut cream (Skim this off the top of a can of coconut milk. It works best to refrigerate
the can overnight for this. Do not use low fat coconut milk, people! Full fat is best and truly much
better for you!)
4 cloves garlic, unpeeled
1 leek, chopped
3 Tbsp coconut oil, melted
1.25 c frozen green peas, thawed
1 TBSP apple cider vinegar
1 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp oregano
1/2 tsp thyme

Directions:
Preheat the oven to 375. Place the cubed butternut, leek, and 1 tablespoon of coconut oil in a bowl. Toss to combine. Next brush the cloves of garlic with a little coconut oil and wrap in aluminum foil. Place the leek and butternut squash mixture on a parchment-lined cookie sheet and set in the oven. Take the wrapped garlic cloves and set these in the oven next to the cookie sheet. Roast in the oven for 35-40 minutes. (Roasting these veggies is a key component in the flavor of this casserole.) 🙂

Place the roasted leek and butternut in a large bowl. Squeeze the garlic cloves out of their skin into the bowl as well. (CAUTION: The cloves will be extremely hot, so you will need to let them cool. Using a hot pad, unwrap the cloves and place them in the fridge until cool enough to handle!) Mash the butternut/leek/garlic mixture to a smooth, yet slightly chunky texture.

Add apple cider vinegar, sea salt, black pepper, oregano, and thyme to the mashed butternut squash and stir to combine. Add coconut creme and oil. Stir to combine. Next add the shredded chicken and green peas, and stir once more.

Place the entire casserole in a large skillet and heat the dish for 8-10 minutes on medium. Enjoy, and eat seconds! 🙂
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*This post contains affiliate links.
*Credit to He and She Eat Clean for this recipe!

Homeoprophylaxis: A Guest Post by Cilla Whatcott

MotherBaby- Cilla Whatcott
Recently, most of us, if we have followed the media, have all been made aware of the tremendous focus there has been (within the US as well as areas outside the country) to mandate and more heavily push vaccines. This undoubtedly has left several mothers wondering how much choice they have when it comes to making health decisions for their children. Are there other ways to protect our children from various diseases which may not follow the traditional vaccination schedule? Today, I would like to welcome Cilla Whatcott, HD RHom, CCH, who shares about homeoprophylaxis, a homeopathic approach to immunization. She is a nationally certified classical homeopath, author, and instructor at Normandale Community College in MN, co-founder of Free and Healthy Children International and mentor of homeopathic students. She is the mother of children adopted from China, Russia, Taiwan and has one natural biological child. Author of There Is a Choice and co-author of The Solution, she will be speaking at the upcoming international conference http://www.HPWorldwideChoice.com. I invite you to read what she has to share.

**Please also remember that regardless of where one stands on vaccinations (to fully vaccinate, to vaccinate on a delayed schedule, or to not vaccinate) that this blog is a place of respect and honor for each other as mothers.**
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From Cilla…
Thinking like a homeopath requires critical observation. We look below the surface! With all the hype and hysteria about measles lately, there are a few things to remember when being exposed to social and public media.

According to SharylAttkisson, the renowned investigative journalist, she likens propaganda to astroturf, or artificial grass, since it has no roots or depth. She explains by saying, “Astroturf seeks to manipulate you into changing your opinion by making it seem as if you’re an outlier–when you’re not. Hallmarks of astroturf and propaganda include use of inflammatory language such as quack, crank, nutty, pseudo, paranoid and conspiracy. Beware when an interest addresses an issue by controversializing or attacking the people, personalities and organizations surrounding the issue rather than the facts. That could be astroturf” (1).

According to the media, there is no other way to protect your child besides conventional vaccination. Furthermore, you are accused of committing a selfish act by not “protecting the community” unless you vaccinate, regardless of any risks involved. In my opinion, this is not the whole story. Do you have a choice? I am fully convinced that you do.

There is a non-toxic alternative available to parents for disease prevention. It’s called “homeoprophylaxis” or HP. It has been around for 200 years, and it has been used effectively for epidemics and childhood infectious disease. HP is produced exactly like other homeopathic remedies in FDA approved pharmacies. (Did you know that the FDA was formed by a homeopath named Royal Copeland? He actually devised a homeopathic pharmacopoeia to protect the use of remedies.)

Homeopathic nosodes for HP are made from substances of the targeted disease. Biological discharges, such as sputum, or exudates, are used as the original substance. The solution is then serially diluted and potentized to create the homeoprophylaxis remedies.

This process is a type of “attenuation.” Attenuation means to “weaken”; a similar process is used in manufacturing conventional vaccines. With vaccines though, there is still some of the original disease product present after attenuation. This is the “antigen” found in any vaccine. This is just one of a few key differences between HP and vaccination. The most obvious difference is the purity of the homeopathic nosodes compared to conventional vaccines. The homeopathic nosodes contain no additives whatsoever. There are no antibiotics, preservatives, detergents, foreign DNA, or unknown viruses present in HP nosodes.They are not grown on animal tissues, so they carry no foreign DNA. HP is administered by mouth, touching mucous membrane, just like natural disease enters the body, and an individual is only given one nosode of a disease remedy at a time, which is more easily recognized by the body than multiple vaccinations administered at once. Nosodes are available for measles, mumps, whooping cough, meningitis, tetanus, polio and many other infectious and tropical diseases as well.

The goal of HP is to provide education to the developing immune system. According to Dr. Isaac Golden who has completed a 15 year study of HP for childhood disease, “I would suggest that HP remedies stimulate the energetic immune response and this must lead to a maturing of the response in an analogous way that infection with simple diseases can help to mature the physical immune response” (2).

HP has been used for cholera (3), polio (4), meningitis (5), Leptospirosis (6), and many other diseases showing effectiveness rates between 85% – 95%.

While vaccination does provide a variable level of protection against many infectious diseases, its safety is not confirmed with any degree of certainty. In particular, long term health consequences of vaccines have not been adequately researched.

In comparison, homeoprophylaxis has provided 200 years of clinical evidence showing us that it is safe, devoid of any toxic components, and also yields positive long term health effects. Fewer chronic diseases and fewer cases of sore throats, ear infections, eczema, and other inflammatory diseases are some of the benefits over time. In addition, homeoprophylaxis appears from evidence to provide a level of protection which is comparable to or better than vaccines, meaning that parents have genuine choices available when it comes to preventing potentially serious infectious diseases.

If you are interested in talking with me or learning more I, (Cilla), offer a complete HP program including a kit containing all necessary remedies, a booklet for record keeping, initial consultation, and ongoing support and consultation during the program. Costs are determined by the kit size and contents, and number of children in the family. I can be reached through my website: http://www.FamilyHomeopathyCare.com or by email at homeopath2@comcast.net. I look forward to speaking with you!

If you’d like to read more on homeoprophylaxis, two books are available on Amazon (Click on the links below the titles):
1. There is a Choice by Cilla Whatcott, HD (RHom), CCH
2. The Solution by Kate Birch RSHom(NA), CCH, CMT and Contributor Cilla Whatcott, HD (RHom), CCH

1. //ws-na.amazon-adsystem.com/widgets/q?ServiceVersion=20070822&OneJS=1&Operation=GetAdHtml&MarketPlace=US&source=ac&ref=qf_sp_asin_til&ad_type=product_link&tracking_id=avocad06-20&marketplace=amazon&region=US&placement=1502460254&asins=1502460254&linkId=TVZ47LHYOZNXJCWH&show_border=true&link_opens_in_new_window=true“>There is a Choice by Cilla Whatcott, HD (RHom), CCH
2. //ws-na.amazon-adsystem.com/widgets/q?ServiceVersion=20070822&OneJS=1&Operation=GetAdHtml&MarketPlace=US&source=ac&ref=qf_sp_asin_til&ad_type=product_link&tracking_id=avocad06-20&marketplace=amazon&region=US&placement=1480001910&asins=1480001910&linkId=IJ34RY2R6YMCLPXZ&show_border=true&link_opens_in_new_window=true“>The Solution by Kate Birch RSHom(NA), CCH, CMT and Contributor Cilla Whatcott, HD (RHom), CCH

Resources used in blog post article (Numbers referenced above):
1. Retrieved from: http://sharylattkisson.com/propaganda-and-astrotuf-recognize-it/ February 9, 2015.
2. Golden, Isaac. 2012. The Complete Practitioners Manual of Homeoprophylaxis. Victoria, Australia page 93.
3.VonBoenninghausen,C. Baron. 1984. BoenninghausensKleinemedizinischeSchriften [Lesser Medical Writings], Heidelberg 1984.
4.Eisfelder, HW. Poliomyelitis Immunization: A Final Report. Journal of the American Institute of Homeopathy. V 54, Nov-Dec 1961, pages 166-167.
5.Mroninski,C, et al. Meningococcin, its Protective Effect Against Meningococcal Disease, Homeopathic LINKS, Winter 2001 Vol 14 (4) 230-234.
6.PubMed 2014. Retrieved from: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20674839Bracho G1, Varela E, Fernández R, Ordaz B, Marzoa N, Menéndez J, García L, Gilling E, Leyva R, Rufín R, de la Torre R, Solis RL, Batista N, Borrero R, Campa C. Large-scale application of highly-diluted bacteria for Leptospirosis epidemic control.Homeopathy. 2010 Jul;99(3):156-66. doi: 10.1016/j.homp.2010.05.009.

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*This page contains affiliate links.
*Image from istockphoto.com
**Disclaimer: Avocado Mommy does not assume any responsibility for any results of any health program. When beginning any new health program or products, always make sure to check with your health practitioner. Please also remember that this blog is always meant to be a place of encouragement and respect. Avocado Mommy never seeks to push an opinion or to show disrespect for anyone regarding the choices they make for their family.

Guest Post from Dr. Noodles! Delicious, Tasty, and Grain-Free

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I am excited to introduce to you Steve Frazier and his wife, Dr. Brenda Frazier, PhD, the founders of the company, Dr. Noodles. I had the opportunity to meet both of them as they promoted their product at our local health food store. One taste of this delicious, grain-free pasta, and I knew I had found a superior product. I was also convinced that I had to ask them if they would do a guest post for me on my blog. They enthusiastically agreed, and I am so excited to have them with us today. Mr. Frazier and his wife share their story and inspiration for starting Dr. Noodles, and they also include a delicious recipe at that end. Enjoy this post, and I encourage you to check out their delicious products for yourself and for your family.
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Greetings to all our fellow food and health enthusiasts!! We are very excited to be your guest blogger today and to share a bit of our story. Let’s start from the top. My wife and I were in the restaurant business for 25+ years and now, my Master’s Degree and her PhD later, we have found ourselves back in the food industry.

About three years ago my wife, Dr. Brenda Frazier, PhD, became ill. Since then she has seen 17 doctors with several hundred thousands of dollars in medical expenses and no answers. Along the way she began seeing a holistic Clinical Nutritionist, which our daughter Alex Hartinger, now totes as her career path as well. (Our family has taken the dive into natural health and an organic lifestyle very much together and whole-heartedly.) Both have helped her with her Lyme Disease diagnosis and are now addressing the many systemic problems, which this terrible disease has evoked on her body. Along the way she discovered a gluten-free lifestyle and realized some favorable results, but she ultimately realized that grains were still causing her ailments.

Now that she knew how immensely her grain-free choice was worth it, she proceeded to spend countless hours in the kitchen as she passionately strove to make this lifestyle as close to her previous, “comfortable” life as possible. Her efforts paid off as they led to hundreds of recipes and experiments with food. She knew that the options on the market had quality OR texture OR taste but were rarely “the whole package.” Naturally, and somewhat out of necessity, she started a grain- free cookbook, which was a place to keep track of her awesome recipes that would hopefully help other people navigate this shift in eating habits should they decide to be grain-free or be told they must be grain-free. When we got to the garbanzo bean pasta it became glaringly obvious to us that we needed to share it on a level way beyond a cookbook. The Dr. Noodles grain-free, non-GMO, soy free, nut free, and dairy free noodle was born and born to shine. In the past year since this revelation, a new family business has manifested, and our noodles are sold all over the state of Wisconsin (and we’re GROWING!!).

This is what it looks like!
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Our story continues as we bring Dr. Noodles fettuccine, spaghetti, and elbow macaroni to celiacs, gluten and grain intolerant people, and diabetics across the State of Wisconsin- and to many, many more people who are just looking for a more nutrient dense, less inflammatory responsive food than the pastas on the market. Our product is non-GMO containing only four ingredients: garbanzo bean flour, arrowroot starch, xanthan gum (which all come from Bob’s Red Mill and are on the Non-GMO Project verified list), and organic eggs. We’re all about organic; however, we will probably never be able to claim to be totally organic as organic garbanzo bean flour is currently 6-7 times more expensive than the non-GMO kind we are buying, and given our research on source and quality, we know that we are providing a clean and real whole food product.

Finally, now that we have shared our story and our product, we’d like to conclude with one of our favorite recipes. If you’d like more delicious recipes from Dr. Noodles, there are more posted on our website, http://www.drnoodlesbybrenda.com, or on our Facebook page, http://www.facebook.com/drnoodlesbybrenda. noodles4
Garbanzo Bean Spaghetti Carbonara (Serves 4)
Ingredients:
½ onion, chopped
2 tablespoons coconut oil
½ lb. bacon (uncured, organic)
2 tablespoons of butter (organic)
3 egg yolks (organic)
1/3 cup unsweetened almond milk
¼ cup raw cheddar cheese
½ tsp sea salt
1 package of Dr. Noodles spaghetti
Heat the oil in a pan and sauté the onion until transparent. Add the bacon and cook until the bacon is crisp. Remove this mixture from pan and keep it warm. Melt the butter in the same fry pan with the bacon fat. Remove pan from heat. Stir in egg yolks and season to taste with sea salt and pepper. Stir in the almond milk and cheese. Add the onion and bacon mixture and mix thoroughly. Cook pasta in boiling salt water until tender. Drain. Mix everything together and serve immediately. You can add more cheese at the end if you prefer.

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Thank you all for taking the time to hear our story and a huge thanks to AvocadoMommy for inviting us to be on her blog. We are honored to be here. Let us say, it has been through a strong faith in God and much prayer that we have managed to get through some very difficult times with Brenda’s health. With His help we have persevered and brought a product to market that has brought smiles and joy to many hearts of people who have not been able to eat good tasting pasta for many years.
We demo our product regularly around the state and post the schedule on our Facebook page. We invite you to join us for some great tasting pasta, a nice chat, and friendly comradery. See you soon!! If you see this little dude at a demo, say, “Hi!” to our garbanzo-bean-noodle-loving grandson, Mac!
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*This page contains affiliate links.
*Pictures courtesy of Dr. Noodles.

Delicious Homemade Chicken Soup (Grain-Free!)

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This one is a winner. It is such a delicious and warming soup recipe, and I can hardly wait for you to try it! Plus, while we have a couple colder days still in the weather forecast, isn’t it nice to have a few simple, yet absolutely satisfying, soups to use from your recipe file? 🙂 This one is great for many reasons: it is gluten-free, grain-free, and dairy-free. Plus, it is a super immune booster with the bone broth added into the soup. Oh, and did I mention that it is just downright delicious? 🙂 Enjoy! 🙂

Ingredients:
2 tablespoons coconut oil (If you don’t have a dairy sensitivity, I would strongly encourage you to use Kerrygold Butter. I find mine at Trader Joe’s.)
1 cup organic carrots, peeled and chopped
1 cup organic celery, chopped with leaves removed
1/2- 1 cup chopped onion
3 cups homemade bone broth (You can find the recipe here. )
1 teaspoon dried thyme
2 tablespoons chopped, fresh basil
2 cups cooked, shredded chicken (I like to use a leftover rotisserie chicken from our local health food store. It adds a ton of flavor!)
1 cup full fat coconut milk (Homemade coconut milk is great in this recipe. You can find the recipe here.) *Note: If you do buy this from the store, use the canned, full-fat coconut milk, and make sure it is free of carrageenan.
Salt and Pepper to taste

Directions:
Over medium heat, melt the coconut oil (or butter if using) in a large pot. Saute the carrots, celery, and onion for 3-4 minutes, or until the onion is tender. Pour in the bone broth, and add in the thyme, basil, salt and pepper. Stir. Next, add the chicken to the pot, and gently stir again. Bring to a boil, and then turn the heat down to a simmer. Cover and simmer for 20-30 minutes. Pour in the coconut milk and stir. Heat through and serve! This soup is great with a side of plantain crackers. Get the recipe here.
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*This page contains affiliate links.

Chocolate Chip Coconut Bars (Grain-free, Nut-Free, Delicious!)

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I recently discovered this recipe from Living Healthy With Chocolate and decided to give them a whirl. Why not, right?! I had all the ingredients in my pantry, so I proceeded with excitement. The recipe that I have posted here contains a few modifications, just because I wanted to add a little of my own creative ideas, but I can guarantee you that the original recipe is absolutely delicious too!! 🙂 Make sure to check out the rest of the Living Healthy With Chocolate blog while you are at it; there are so many delightful treats featured. Enjoy!

Ingredients:
1 cup+2 tablespoons unsweetened, shredded coconut
1 cup coconut butter, (measured when melted)
5 tablespoons coconut oil or grass-fed butter, melted (measured when melted) Unsalted Kerrygold is a great option for a grass-fed butter in this recipe.
pinch of sea salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 tablespoons maple syrup (Grade B preferred)
1/2 cup Enjoy Life dark chocolate chips

Directions:
Grease an 8×8 glass pan and line it with parchment paper. (I have found that greasing the pan first is an easier way to get the parchment paper to lay more flat.) Set the pan aside.

In a small saucepan, melt the coconut butter on the lowest setting. When melting coconut butter, stir frequently to avoid burning. Set aside.

In a medium mixing bowl, combine the coconut, coconut oil (or grass-fed butter), salt, vanilla, and maple syrup. Stir gently with a spatula. Pour in the melted coconut butter, and combine. Gently stir in the chocolate chips. Some will melt a little; that is okay! 🙂 Your batter will look runny. Do not worry! It will solidify when you place it in the freezer or fridge.

Place the bars in the fridge until solidified and cooled. This will take approximately 20 minutes. You can always place them in the freezer if you are impatient like me, but remember that they will get rock hard pretty quickly! 🙂

*Store the bars in an airtight container in the fridge. Enjoy often and without an ounce of guilt!

Optional add-ins: In addition to the ingredients listed, you can also add 2 tablespoons of a nut butter of your choice. Another great option is to add a scoop of the Dynamic Greens Espresso powder for an extra boost of nutrients! 🙂 I actually did a batch where I added both the nut butter and the Dynamic Greens along with the rest of the recipe. Not only were they delightful, but they were kid-approved as well!!

*Note: These do not have the best taste when they have been sitting at room temperature for a while. They taste best chilled. 🙂 (I did have to let mine sit out for a bit before giving a sample to my 3 year old son so as to make for easier chewing for a wee-little one. :))

Original recipe found here.

This post contains affiliate links.

Delightful, Nutrient Dense Strawberry Cake (Made with Coconut Flour)

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I have missed you all! I apologize for my “blog posting absence”, but I have been busy collecting a few more delicious recipes for you all! This one comes from Lauren Geertsen’s blog, Empowered Sustenance. She writes that she originally received this recipe from her friend, Melanie. I encourage you to check out Lauren’s great recipes and her insights on health and wellness. I believe you will find great resources for your health journey. 🙂

Like I said, I have been collecting tasty recipes to share, and this one is sure to please. I decided to take on the adventure in making this for my family for Valentine’s Day, and it did not disappoint. I will admit that it was a little more time consuming to put together, but I believe the main reason was that it was my first time making it, and I wanted to make this cake GOOD! 🙂 My sister and mom also decided to make it as well on Valentine’s Day, so it was quite fun to text and chat throughout the day as to how everyone’s cake was progressing. The pics that we shared at the end of the day (since we live a distance away from each other) were fantastic! I was pretty proud and so excited to serve it.

In addition to making a tasty treat for my loved ones, I knew that we were delighting in a cake that was full of nutrition: coconut flour, several eggs, raw honey, and grass-fed butter make this cake more than just a regular dessert. It is full of fiber, protein, and healthy fats. Talk about a dessert that you can feel good about eating. In fact, I am not going to lie… we did in fact eat leftovers for breakfast. 🙂

If you are interested in checking out Lauren’s recipe for this cake, you can click on this recipe link. I did follow her version of the cake recipe exactly, but I did make a few modifications in the preparation directions and in the frosting. For the sake of simplicity, I will post what I did here, and you can always refer back to her site if you’d like! 🙂 Enjoy this delightful strawberry cake for any occasion. 🙂
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Cake Ingredients:
8 eggs
1/2 cup raw honey
5 tablespoons chilled, grass-fed butter, grated (I like the Kerrygold brand; Costco sells a case of three of them for under $7. Otherwise, I have gotten mine at Trader Joe’s as well.)
1 cup coconut flour. (To measure it, scoop it and then level with a knife. Do not pack it. It is important not to add too much coconut flour.)
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup whole-milk yogurt (We like the Kalona brand.)
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup fresh strawberries, diced (If possible, organic strawberries are best. They are one of the fruits on the “Dirty Dozen” list. More on that here.)

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350F. Line a 9 inch cake pan with parchment paper and coat the sides with butter or coconut oil. I did not have a cake pan, so I used my springform pan and just lined it with aluminum foil along the bottom and sides.

Put the honey and eggs in a large mixing bowl, and with whisk attachment, mix on medium-high for 5 minutes. It should be frothy and pale yellow. Add the grated butter and mix for another minute. Set the bowl aside for a short bit.

In a separate bowl, mix the coconut flour, salt, and baking soda together. Add these dry ingredients to the honey and eggs mixture. Mix for about 1 minute.

With a spatula, gently mix in the whole-milk yogurt, vanilla extract, and the diced strawberries.

Pour the batter into the prepared cake pan or springform pan. Bake for 45 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Check the cake at 35 minutes to see if it is done. Every oven behaves differently. Lauren’s recipe states to cook for 35 minutes. Mine was not done that quickly. Cool completely (very important!) before frosting with the delicious strawberry buttercream frosting (Recipe below):

Frosting Ingredients: (This recipe comes from Honest Body)
1 cup room temp softened, unsalted grass-fed butter (Kerrygold works wonderfully.)
10 tablespoons raw honey
1 bag (mine was 1.2 oz) freeze dried strawberries
Pinch of sea salt
2 tablespoons maple syrup (grade B preferred)
1 tablespoon+ coconut milk or milk of choice (The milk should NOT be used if the frosting is already a
spreadable consistency. Only use if it is too thick for frosting your cake.)

Directions:
Blend the freeze dried strawberries into a powder in the blender. Pour the powder into a large mixing bowl. (Be careful when pouring or you will have a powdery mess! :))

Add the remaining ingredients, and with a mixer, combine on medium-high speed until creamy. Frost your cake. Decorate with additional strawberries if desired. Enjoy!!! 🙂

*This page contains affiliate links.
*Credit for the cake recipe comes from Lauren over at Empowered Sustenance.
*Credit for the frosting recipe comes from Honest Body.

Coconut Peanut Butter Stuffed Date Truffles

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My love for chocolate, peanut butter, and dates inspired me to give this recipe a whirl, and all I can say is, “Wowza!” These are AMAZING. I am not even kidding; you need to have made these yesterday. Not only are they delicious, but they are an excellent choice for a treat. Dates are packed with nutrients: fiber, potassium, iron, B vitamins, and vitamins A and K, just to name a few. (See more on the health benefits of dates on Dr. Mercola’s site. )

Before I go any further and give you the directions for these date truffles, I do have to thank Sylvie, from Gourmande in the Kitchen, who is the master behind the original recipe. If you want her original recipe without my modifications, head on over and check out her creation (She has named these treats Chocolate Covered Coconut Dates). Plus, she has some other wonderful recipe inspirations as well! 🙂

Without further ado, here is your tasty treat! 🙂

Ingredients for the Stuffed Dates:
1/2 cup unsweetened shredded coconut (Note: If your batter seems a little runny after the stuffing ingredients are mixed, add 1-2 extra tablespoons of shredded coconut.)
2 tablespoons melted coconut oil
2 tablespoons maple syrup, Grade B preferred
4 tablespoons organic, creamy peanut butter (You can also use sunflower seed butter or almond butter as well!)
Pinch of sea salt or pink Himalayan salt
1/8 teaspoon vanilla extract (Trader Joe’s sells one that is both alcohol free.)
About 20 large, soft Medjool dates (I actually have found a great deal on dates at Costco!)

Ingredients for Chocolate Dip:
1/2 cup melted coconut oil
1/2 cup cocoa powder
4 tablespoons maple syrup, Grade B preferred
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
Pinch of sea salt or pink Himalayan salt

Directions:
*In a large mixing bowl, combine the ingredients for the date “stuffing” (mixing by hand). You can also put all of the ingredients in a food processor for a smoother filling.
*Cut each date in half lengthwise one way, and take out the pit.
*Fill each date with the peanut butter stuffing.
*Chill the dates in the freezer. 20 minutes is a good amount of time.
*While the dates are chilling, make the chocolate dip. Place the melted coconut oil in a medium-sized bowl. Add in the remaining ingredients and mix with a whisk.
*Remove the dates from the freezer. Using a toothpick to hold each date, dip one at a time in the chocolate until fully covered. Place them on a parchment lined cookie sheet. If you desire, sprinkle the dates with chopped nuts, coconut, etc., right after dipping so that your sprinkles set with the chocolate. Place back in the freezer until the chocolate sets. Enjoy!! Store in an airtight container in the fridge or freezer.

*This page contains affiliate links.
*This recipe has been adapted from Gourmande in the Kitchen.

GARLIC: A Powerful Ingredient in Your Kitchen (Guest Post by Sarah from Abundelicious)

Photo Courtesy of Pixabay

Photo Courtesy of Pixabay


I would like to introduce my friend, Sarah, the Founder and CEO of Abundelicious! Sarah is a
Certified Holistic Nutrition Counselor and is passionate about helping individuals pursue a life of balance and wellness. She has tremendous wisdom in the area of health, and shares a little today about garlic! Enjoy learning about all its benefits, and make sure to try the recipe at the end of this post!

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Garlic is one of the most potent natural medicines in the world. There isn’t much it doesn’t do! There also aren’t many cuisines in the world that don’t utilize it. In addition, it was given to the slaves who built the pyramids of ancient Egypt, as well as the Olympic athletes of ancient Greece.

People often shy away from eating too much garlic because of the smell. Don’t get too upset about garlic breath; It’s the stinkiness that makes it such a powerful antioxidant (not to mention mosquito repellant – seriously). These antioxidants guard against, and even reverse, heart disease and cancer. Garlic also supports the immune system and fights off seasonal allergies.

Photo Courtesy of Pixabay

Photo Courtesy of Pixabay


In addition to the antioxidants, garlic is rich in vitamins and minerals. A few more of the many benefits of garlic include…

– lowering blood pressure
– blood thinner
– widens arteries
– prevents colon and stomach cancer
– stabilizes blood sugar by increasing the release of insulin
– antiviral (prevents the cold and flu)
– fights yeast overgrowth, as well as infections (use topically to treat athletes foot)
– better complexion
– tooth aches (press garlic oil or fresh garlic to the tooth and gum)

How does one best store garlic? Keep garlic uncovered away from heat and direct light. Fresh whole bulbs last about two weeks, but they only last about a week once broken.

Here is an easy and nutritious way to incorporate a little more garlic into your life! I have included a recipe that I hope you love. Substituting cauliflower for potatoes is also a great way to reduce starchy carbohydrates and inflammation.
Garlic
MASHED CAULI-TATOES
1 head of cauliflower
1-2 parsnips
1/4 cup olive oil
2-3 shallots, minced
5 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 cup coconut milk
thyme or parsley, to taste
sea salt and pepper

1. Cut the cauliflower and parsnip(s) into one-inch pieces, and steam until tender. Strain, and let cool.
2. Sauté garlic and shallots in half of olive oil.
3. Place cauliflower/parsnip mixture, shallots, garlic, extra olive oil, and coconut milk in food processor. Blend until desired texture.
4. Top with herbs, salt, pepper and butter/olive oil.
*Serve them with gluten-free crackers, avocado and olives. Or this can be a delicious side dish to your main course.
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If you would like to learn more about Sarah, some additional great recipes, and the services she provides, you can find her over at http://www.abundelicious.com. Be well!
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*This page contains affiliate links.
*Recipe and Cauli-Tatos Photo Courtesy of Abundelicious.

Guest Post by Gorilly Goods: An Interview with a Vibrant, Local Organic Food Manufacturer

It is my pleasure to introduce to you today, Chris, the Co-Founder of the delicious, crunchy snacks, Gorilly Goods. Not only are they delicious, but they are snacks which you can feel good about as they are packed full of nutrition. Enjoy learning more about Gorilly Goods, and don’t forget to take advantage of the February PROMO at the end of this post! Give the Gorilly Goods a try for yourself!
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Chris: We met LeNay and her sweet young boys while visiting a couple of stores with our Gorilly Goods products. We are delighted and honored to be able to introduce ourselves through LeNay’s beautiful Avocado Mommy blog.

Avocado Mommy: What are Gorilly Goods?
Chris: Gorilly Goods are crunchy, organic snack “things”. They are packages of tasty goodness that are delicious with your morning coffee or tea, are excellent to grab for a snack “on the go”, and are great for long drives in the car to grandma’s house. In addition, these snacks are ideal for refueling on the hiking trail or after your workout. Finally, they are excellent for kids! Pack them in our kids’ lunch along with a few extra to share with their friends! There are three flavors of which to choose from: The “Original” and the “Chocolate” which are sweet and the “Savory” which are made with seeds and greens. They are handmade in Jackson, WI, in a small family business owned by people who care about others and live like it’s heaven on earth.
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Avocado Mommy: Wow! My mouth is watering already. What are some other aspects that make this product so exceptional for my family?
Chris: Gorilly Goods represent the next generation of nutrition snacking: 100% organic, gluten-free, raw, non-gmo, vegan, and certifiably delicious. They represent cleaner oceans,
fresher air, more fertile soil, sustainability, forest life, healthy dancing children, brilliant
sunsets, and a connection to nature. These are the “things” of Gorilly Goods snacks.

Avocado Mommy: What is the background/inspiration behind the company?
Chris: My husband, Stephen, and I are a conscientious couple that have spent our last
25 years following a passion. Much of the passion has been connected to food, how
food relates to life on our planet, how food impacts the well-being of animals and
humans, how it affects our outlook on life, and how our food choices matter in the
scheme of our world. In 1999, Stephen and I chose to live a raw-food lifestyle
which we embraced, with much study, for several years. During this time, we
developed the Raw Foods Foundation in St Louis, MO. Classes were taught, raw
retreats were held, and many delicious recipes were created. The best of these recipes are
now being produced and introduced to the world through our products, Gorilly Goods.
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Avocado Mommy: Tell us a little more about the production of this product.
Chris: Everything we use in our kitchen is certified organic – that’s important to us. Our first
product to be introduced was the Original Fruit and Nut Things. It’s made mostly of
bananas (fair trade from Ecuador), with California raisins, Texas pecans, Vietnamese
cashews, California walnuts, Philippine coconut as well as coconut nectar, and some
sea salt. The same ingredients are in the Chocolate Fruit and Nut Things variety, but
we coat the Original pieces with an un-roasted, certified organic cacao bean chocolate,
sweetened with coconut palm sugar. It’s all vegan, non-gmo, and created on the tropical
side of heaven – imported from Bali. This Balinese chocolate is 70% dark and full of all
the good antioxidants and nutrients that dark chocolate is known for! Besides fair trade,
it’s certified organic and undeniably, an excellent choice of chocolate. The Savory
variety is made with mighty pumpkin seeds and the cruciferous king: kale (locally
grown from Full Harvest Farm, when available). The seeds and kale are
seasoned with organic nutritional yeast from Germany (info on our blog), gluten-free
organic tamari, and tasty seasonings.
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Avocado Mommy: I have these on my grocery list! Can you share any other thoughts as to why your products are special?
Chris: (As my mom would say…they are…)
• delicious
• nutritious
• make you feel ambitious 🙂
• seriously, they are just good….good tasting, good for you, good for the earth, just
plain old good

We can’t wait for you to try our delicious products! Plus, we have a great promotion for all Avocado Mommy readers:

Rejoice! Use coupon code “avocado” at checkout. You will get you 25% off suggested retail price of any online orders. The coupon is good through February 28th, 2015.

Thank you for reading! Thank you for checking out our products. Thank you for caring
about life. You can read more about us at http://www.gorillygoods.com
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*This post contains affiliate links.

Calm Babies & Kids with Lavender Essential Oil (Guest Post by Sue from Pure Home and Body)

Lavender picture
I am so excited to introduce my friend, Sue, from Pure Home and Body! She has wonderful information about essential oils, and I am sure you will find it fascinating! But first, here is a little about Sue…

Sue is the mom of 6 kids ranging in ages from Kindergarten to college, enjoying each season of childhood as her kids grow and change. She looks at each day as a new discovery of what her children are learning and how she can make the world a better place for them by making more natural choices in home and personal care. She loves to color and craft with her kids on their sticky kitchen table and hang out with the teen girls in their church Lifegroup each week. When she’s with friends, she loves to share Green Living Habits and Aromatherapy Tips to help make motherhood less daunting and more joy-filled. You can stop by and say hi at her website http://www.pureHOMEandBODY.com.

Aromatherapy has become a hot topic on blogs all over the internet. Companies are jumping on the bandwagon and adding essential oils to their product assortments, and writers are filling posts with how to use essential oils in pregnancy, with kids and adults. I’ve been studying aromatherapy almost 20 years, the past 6 more intently, and I’ll be the first to admit I even have a lot to learn. I started being a “green, natural” mom when I became pregnant with my first baby 18 years ago, and it has been quite a journey.
Lavender Picture Two

When it comes to topics of health, we often feel overwhelmed. The feeling that we need to be “supermom” kicks in; as mom’s we want to conquer everything overnight, but living a natural life style is a process. Yes, there are situations that require an overhaul, but if we want any natural-living changes to become life-long habits, it is important to ease into the adjustments. Your loved ones will thank you. This is definitely the approach I have taken with adding essential oils into our family’s daily routines.

Over the years I’ve used many green and natural products, but essential oils are by far my favorite resource. I like to think of them as whole foods for your body. Just like you may give your children a raw avocado for a snack, essential oils are some of the “raw materials” for home and personal care. Now, when it comes to the topic of essential oils, be patient with yourself; there is definitely a learning curve when starting on this journey. It may feel foreign, and you may find yourself looking at health and healing in a different perspective, but I am convinced the outcomes will be happier kids, savings on doctor and drug store visits, and the satisfaction knowing you are making good choices for your family.

So where do we begin in our conversation about essential oils? Let’s start by talking about the mainstream products found at our local pharmacies and stores. Our store shelves are packed with products manufactured to improve our lives. Unfortunately, there are products which are filled with toxic chemicals and many are not tested for safety [by the FDA] ( http://www.fda.gov/AboutFDA/Transparency/Basics/ucm262353.htm. Several are even labeled as “Natural” which really doesn’t mean anything in ingredient purity. You can check http://www.EWG.org for the safety of products you already use. When you layer different products on your body and in your home in the form of cleaners, air fresheners and scented personal care products, you are creating a giant chemistry experiment where outcomes can cause adverse side effects to your health. It’s similar to conducting a chemistry experiment where the outcomes are unpredictable. The statistics in our nation’s health, however, do speak loudly: we have greatly increasing numbers of kids with asthma and attention disorders compared to even 10 years ago. Many of the toxic household and personal care items contain synthetic fragrances that are actually passed on to developing babies in utero, which can disrupt hormones and the endocrine system ( http://www.ewg.org/research/body-burden-pollution-newborns).

So where does this leave us? Yes, this can be heavy information, but I believe that our children are our future generation. Adding pure essential oils to your daily routine is a great way to eliminate lot of those toxic chemicals in your home. Just make sure you are purchasing essential oils that are pure. When choosing your essential oils, you have to ask the right questions and know your source. There are no national standards of purity in the essential oil industry. Most oils from the health food store have questionable purity and manufacturers don’t need to disclose any chemical fillers on those essential oil bottles; this of course leaves consumers in the dark. Yet, there are things you can look for. For example, if a bottle says “not for ingestion” this could be a flag that there are additives or fillers in that essential oil, no different than a bottle of perfume. There are several companies who now have developed food grade essential oils to show they are pure enough to ingest.

Yet, what are some other aspects to consider when looking into essential oils that are right for your family? When choosing your oils, it is also important to work with someone who has some training in aromatherapy. It is never prudent to use large amounts of essential oils in any situation, especially ingesting. Even experienced aromatherapists take a very conservative approach to using essential oils for ingestion as do I because these are potent substances. I am really a minimalist when it comes to aromatherapy, especially with babies and children. Their senses are much more heightened than adults and they respond much quicker to the oils than someone with a lot of health history or those on pharmaceutical medications.

Once you have your essential oils, what are some aspects of safety to keep in mind? Essential oils have been used in other cultures for centuries; they are amazing tools when used with common sense and some simple reminders. If you are going to add essential oils to your routine, as well as if anyone in your family is on prescription medication for any chronic condition, talk with your doctor first to make sure there are no contraindications to your current treatment. Here are some other safety precautions:

1. Always dilute essential oils for babies and children: Take one drop in the palm of your hand and pick up some with your pinky on the other hand. The amount on your pinky is just what you’d need for a small child. It is not much.
2. Repeat frequently rather than one large dose. For example, apply 1 diluted drop of lavender essential oil each hour to the soles of your child’s feet for 4 hours, rather than applying 4 diluted drops on the feet once every 4 hours. Essential oils metabolize in the body in about 1 hour.
3. Do not drop essential oils into the eyes, ears or nose. If someone gets an essential oil in their eyes, dilute it with a vegetable oil like jojoba or olive oil, or even milk, but no water as this will make the oil spread.
4. Keep it simple. There are a lot of complicated recipes on the internet for mixing oils. Again, make sure you know who is recommending the blends and that they are thoroughly trained and experienced in aromatherapy as well as oil blending. Babies and children are pretty easy to work with, and they respond pretty quickly to single oils in aromatherapy; they don’t need large quantities or complex blends.

So, now that we have discussed some basics to remember, I’d like to share one of my favorite oils for babies and young children: Lavender. Lavender is one of the most gentle essential oils (and also one of the most filled and adultured, so make sure you have a pure lavender) and can be applied undiluted (called “neat”). It’s safe enough for newborn babies! My favorite kiddo uses for lavender are:
• Massage a drop on momma’s tummy during the last trimester of pregnancy and have a bottle with
you at the hospital so baby has a familiar scent after birth.
• Apply an undiluted drop to the soles of baby or child’s feet to cool the body during a fever.
• Drop on a fresh burn to cool the skin and begin healing tissue. The sooner the better. This has
saved fun at several campfires where a burned hand could have ruined the evening, lavender to
the rescue brings comfort in minutes.
• Place a drop at the foot of baby’s bedding to calm baby at bedtime and to combat the sniffles.
• Apply a drop to small scrapes to start healing skin.
• Mix 1-2 drops of lavender essential oil with 1 tsp of coconut or other vegetable carrier oil and
massage into dry, chapped skin.
• Make your own baby wipes: add 2-3 drops of lavender essential oil to a wipes warmer filled with
1 cup of warm water. Drop in folded flannel cloths or thick paper towels and use to clean baby’s
bottom without chemicals.
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Want more tips on using essential oils? Read more on Lavender as well as other great oils for your home– http://purehomeandbody.com/essential-oils-2/single-and-blended-essential-oils/singleoils/lavender/
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Are you looking for some experienced support in integrating essential oils into your family? I’d love to work with you! Stop on by Pure Home and Body and let’s connect! Email me Susan@pureHOMEandBODY.com or connect with me on Twitter @pureHOMEandBODY.
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*This page contains affiliate links.
*Disclaimer: Avocado Mommy does not assume any responsibility for any results of any health program. This website strictly shares my own personal beliefs as result of what I have experienced and also supports those whose views are consistent with the mission of this website. When beginning any new health program or products, always make sure to check with your health practitioner.

Research/References:
Tisserand, Robert. Lavender is not estrogenic. http://roberttisserand.com/2013/02/lavender-oil-is-not-estrogenic/
Synthetic Fragrance Chemicals: http://www.fleurchem.com/synth.html
Synthetic chemicals used to dilute lavender essential oil : http://www.ebi.ac.uk/chebi/searchId.do?chebiId=CHEBI:6469
Hidden Chemicals in Perfume and Cologne: http://www.ewg.org/research/not-so-sexy
S.F. Van Vuurena, G.P.P. Kamatoub, A.M. Viljoenb, ,. Volatile composition and antimicrobial activity of twenty commercial frankincense essential oil samples. South African Journal of Botany Volume 76, Issue 4, October 2010, Pages 686–691. http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0254629910001705. Abstract: Study finds extreme variance in essential oil chemistry of numerous constituents including (a-thujene .3-52%) (myrcene 1.1-22.4%) (β-caryophyllene (0.1–10.5%). Minimum anti-microbial activity varied from 4-16 mg/ml depending on the oil sample.