DIY Mosquito Repellant


Like many of you reading this blog, spending time outdoors is an essential part of our family’s soul-soothing, unplugged time together. But what about the mosquitoes? A swarm of bugs can put a damper on a nice hike in no time!

Luckily Mother Nature has given us a solution to keep pesky insects away: essential oils. There are several essential oils that are very effective bug repellents. Catnip, one essential oil used in the recipe below, has been shown to be more effective than DEET (the harmful chemical in most conventional bug repellent products) at keeping away mosquitoes!

As you prepare for your next outing together you’re imparting a sense of self-reliance to your children; slowing down and choosing to make rather than to buy. Of course you do have to buy the ingredients, yes. However the act of making our own repellent carries us much further than going out and purchasing a bottle of bug spray—physically (we get more for our money), emotionally (we create an opportunity for bonding) and lastlymaking our own is an investment into our health. I love knowing exactly what I put in or on my body, don’t you?

There are two ways I make bug repellent: as a spray and as a salve. Personally, I like having both when the air is thick with bugs. First I slather myself with the salve, and then use the spray for “touch ups” throughout the day.

Today, I’ll show you how to make insect repellent salve.

Step 1: Gather your materials.


  • Double boiler (or a pot and a glass bowl)
  • Fine strainer
  • Plastic Spatula
  • Liquid measuring cup with spout
  • Small glass jar or bowl
  • Pipette or dropper
  • 4-4oz cosmetic tins or jars with lids


  • 1 cup dried calendula (for its skin soothing properties)
  • 1 cup fresh rosemary (for its bug repellent properties)
  • Enough olive and/or coconut oil to cover herbs (as carrier oils)
  • ¼ cup beeswax
  • 30 drops Catnip essential oil (for its mosquito repelling ability)
  • 10 drops Lavender essential oil (for its lovely smell and bug repellent ability)
  • 10 drops Lemon essential oil (for its uplifting quality and to complement the other oils)
 Step 2: Set up your double boiler by placing water in the bottom pan and setting a bowl or a pan on top. Bring your water to a boil then turn down heat until your water is lightly simmering.
Step 3: Place 1 cup dried calendula and 1 cup fresh rosemary into your bowl or pan. Pour in enough olive oil and/or melted coconut oil to cover your herbs (half olive, half coconut seems to be a good ratio. Adding more coconut oil will yield a harder end product. You can add less beeswax if you’re using more coconut oil).
Step 4: Cover your bowl or pan and allow the water to simmer for about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Tip: Make sure your simmering water does not heat the oil too hot. You want to heat the oil as gently as possible.
Step 5: Pour the oil and herb mixture into a liquid measuring cup. Tip: Use your plastic spatula to guide the mixture into your measuring cup.
Step 6: Strain the oil into a small glass jar or bowl.
While straining, press the herbs with the back of a spatula or spoon to expel as much oil as possible. This should yield approximately 1 cup of medicated oil.
Step 7: Place the oil back into the double boiler with ¼ cup beeswax. Melt the beeswax over low heat.
Step 8: Once the beeswax is melted, turn off heat and pour your mixture into a liquid measuring cup. Add 30 drops Catnip oil, 10 drops lavender oil and 10 drops lemon oil. Stir gently.
Step 9: Pour the liquid into your cosmetic containers (you should have enough for four 4oz tins) and allow the salve to set up. Once the mixture is completely cooled, cover with tight fitting lids and store in a cool, dry place.
Your family is now ready to brave the wilderness together—armed with natural pest protection. In addition to keeping the bugs away, you’ll smell pretty fabulous too.

 (cross posted on the Unplugged Sunday blog)

When You Don’t Want to Make Dinner

healthy easy dinner

There are nights when I just can’t bring myself to make dinner. It’s been a long day, I’m tired, everyone’s hungry and I don’t have the patience to cook a well-rounded home cooked meal. Can you relate?

If you follow me on Instagram (@wholefamilykitchen), you may have seen the photo above. I mentioned that when I was a kid my stepmom would give us peanut butter on toast and canned peaches when she didn’t want to cook. At my house it tends to be coconut oil popcorn and green smoothies. But we do have a few other minimal effort dinners that are in regular rotation around here. I’m excited to share a couple with you in this post and I’m hoping that you’ll add yours to the comments below so that everyone can benefit and maybe add a few more easy dinners to our lists!

So let’s get started…

1. Mixed Greens with Raw Veggies, a Precooked Grain and  a Protein

Think of this recipe more as a template. If you always have a package of organic mixed greens around (like we do), use that for a base for a quick and easy meal. With the right dressing, kids will eat salad too — especially when it’s topped with cooked rice or quinoa, leftover chicken or salmon or wild sardines (like Wild Planet).

2. Sandwiches

I usually make a loaf or two of gluten-free bread every week or buy a loaf of Canyon Bakehouse gluten free bread. Even if you are on a grain-free diet you can make coconut flour or almond flour bread to use for an easy meal here and there. The sky’s the limit from nut butter sandwiches, to meat and veggie sandwiches or even mayo-based sandwiches like tuna or egg salad. Serve it with a green smoothie to multiply the veggie intake if needed and you’re good to go.

3. Breakfast for Dinner

A favorite around these parts. Think: eggs, sausage or bacon, gluten-free oatmeal, pancakes or waffles and/or smoothies. Or any combination thereof.

4. Tacos

If you eat corn, we love to keep sprouted corn tortillas in the freezer for a quick tostada or taco dinner. Saute whatever meat you have with southwestern spices then add that to a  tortilla. Top with avocado, salsa and shredded cheese for a simple dinner.

5. Coconut Chicken Soup

Because I almost always have chicken broth on hand, I can make this super-simple and yummy soup in about 10 minutes. Heat up chicken broth, add sea salt to taste and a can of full-fat coconut milk. That’s it! If you are feeling adventurous, add in leftover chicken and whatever veggies you have on hand. Rice noodles would be good addition as well.




Don’t Make It Mondays :: Lara Bar Alternative

don't make it

It was a sad day when I learned that Lara Bar was owned by General Mills. Unfortunately General Mills is a major contributor in the campaign against labeling GMO’s. That’s pretty much a deal breaker for me.  Larabars were our favorite treat to buy at Trader Joes, the co-op or even Target — especially when my son was on the GAPS diet. I wasn’t sure what would replace our go-to travel snack, but… (more…)

Don’t Make It Mondays :: Sea Crunchies

don't make it

Did I tell you all that we moved our family to Bainbridge Island? I know I announced it in my newsletter, but in case I forgot to tell you here — for the last few weeks my life has been consumed by packing, moving and living out of boxes. All this to say: it’s been a few weeks since I wrote a “Don’t Make It” post.  At the last we left it, we were on a seaweed kick.

This little snack is one of my favorites! Sea Crunchies are awesome! My kids love them. They are super salty — and of course crunchy! I can buy these at my local health food store for less than the price listed in the link. But if you can’t find them in your local area do some online searching to see what you can find. In general I am a huge fan of Rising Tide Sea Vegetables. They take great care in harvesting seaweed (by hand) in some of the purest waters available today.

Remember that seaweed is a great way to get trace minerals that aren’t found in other foods. And super important for our supply of bio-available iodine, which will protect us from the radioactive form of iodine.


Don’t Make It Mondays are my recommendations for high-quality food products.  All recommendations are made independently by me. I am always looking easier ways to eat whole foods. I hope this helps you in your quest as well. 

Don’t Make It Mondays :: Kelp Noodles

don't make it

Last Monday I shared my love (well, borderline obsession really) with seaweed. Seaweed (in its many forms) is a super-food packed with important nutrients like: the natural form of iodine, selenium and potassium (to name a few). Also, did you know that ALL seaweed is edible? Yep, you can eat any type of seaweed you see on the beach or in the water. Of course, it’s best to source seaweed from clean waters and reputable companies.

But because of seaweed’s special powers, I look for any way I can to bring it into our diet. I also know that it can feel awkward for many people to go harvest a piece of kelp off the beach only to throw it into that night’s stir-fry. Although I have done that, but you don’t have to! :)

One super-easy and fun way to eat kelp is to buy kelp “noodles.” Kelp noodles can be eaten straight out of the package — no cooking required! I like to add raw veggies (like shredded carrot, sliced cucumber, avocado and shredded cabbage) to a bag of kelp noodles with a few splashes of coconut aminos (or tamari) and sesame oil. When eaten raw they have a crunchy texture.

If you want to soften them up a bit, you can add them to your miso soup and let them sit in the bowl with the warm broth for a few minutes and this will make them feel a little more like traditional noodles.


Have a ‘Food Tasting’ With Your Kids


A really fun way to generate interest in whole foods with your kids is to hold occasional “food tastings” together. Similar to a wine tasting, a food tasting is a great way to explore  food with our five senses and very little pressure to “like” or eat it all.

Food tastings are best done with a food that is available in many varieties (like an apple for example). I also recommend starting with foods you know your kids already enjoy (apples are often a great place to start!).

How to Have an Apple Tasting:

Pick out several varieties — Red delicious, Cameo, Fuji, Pink Lady, Yellow Delicious and Granny Smith are great choices (or whatever varieties you can find near you). But two apples of each variety.

Set up a tasting table — You have two apples of each variety: leave one whole and slice the other one and place on a plate.

Explore with your senses — Let your kids hold the whole apple, smell it, notice the color and texture, etc. Taste the apple slice and record how it tastes (sweet, sour, bitter, etc). Did you hear a crunch? Is the inside smooth, mushy, hard or crumbly? Help you kids really notice all of the apple’s qualities without judgement. Repeat this step with each kind of apple.

Review your experiences – After trying all of the apples, ask your kids what they liked (or didn’t like) about each one. Did they have a favorite apple? Why? Is there an apple they didn’t like?

Food tastings are the perfect segue to meaningful conversations about food with your kids. Talk about how the food is produced, where it grows best or fun ways to prepare it. Follow your child’s curiosity and help them make a new dish, draw a picture or write a story about that particular food.

More ideas for food tastings:

  • pears
  • tomatoes
  • nuts
  • seeds
  • melons
  • root vegetables
  • squash
  • lettuce
  • mushrooms
  • berries
  • peas
  • citrus fruits
  • potatoes
  • rice

It’s also fun to choose what’s in season. I mean, who wants to eat a greenhouse tomato when you can get a juicy heirloom tomato from the farmer’s market?  But hey, that would be a good lesson too. :)


Chard, Bacon & Goat Cheese Frittata

You don’t have to cook fancy or complicated masterpieces – just good food from fresh ingredients.  –Julia Child

I love simple food. Frittatas are a wonderful, elegant and fast meal to make. Experiment with your ingredients based on what’s available to you. Here’s one I made recently that we particularly enjoyed:

Chard, Bacon and Goat Cheese Frittata

Serves 4
Allergy Egg, Milk
Dietary GAPS Diet, Gluten Free, Grain Free, Nut Free
Meal type Breakfast, Lunch, Main Dish
Misc Child Friendly, Serve Hot


  • 4 thick slices pastured bacon (diced)
  • 1 bunch Swiss Chard (chopped)
  • 8 pastured eggs
  • 1 handful raw goat cheese (diced or crumbled)
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt


Step 1
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Add diced bacon to a large oven-proof skillet over medium-high heat. Stir and cook until just starting to crisp up.
Step 2
Add in chard and stir until starting to wilt.
Step 3
Whisk eggs and salt in a separate bowl then pour into skillet. Remove from heat.
Step 4
Sprinkle goat cheese on the frittata and place in the oven.
Step 5
Bake until frittata is cooked through and the top has slightly browned, about 10-15 minutes. It may puff up a bit -- that's ok, it'll settle again while cooling.


Don’t Make It Mondays :: Sea Snax


Seaweed is a wonderful, high-nutrient food that is fun to eat and experiment with. For the next couple of weeks, I’ll share my favorite seaweed products that are super easy to incorporate right into your everyday meal plan. Seaweed contains many essential nutrients and also protects us from radiation exposure as well.

Sea Snax are a great substitute for your potato chip habit! They are salty, crunchy and so yummy. My kids love these and I buy them to take on-the-go or to pack in lunchboxes. What I love most about them though is that they are made with olive oil rather than canola oil. Sea Snax use only olive oil and sea salt to flavor their Classic snacks and are Non-GMO Project Verified.


Don’t Make It Mondays are my recommendations for high-quality food products.  All recommendations are made independently by me. I am always looking easier ways to eat whole foods. I hope this helps you in your quest as well. 

Easy Skillet Socca (Chickpea Flatbread)

A friend of mine introduced me to Socca while we were away on a weekend writer’s retreat. If you haven’t tried it before you’re in for a treat! It’s simple to make and it’s a quick way to whip up a satisfying gluten-free comfort food. Socca is a dish from Southern France that is traditionally baked, but this recipe cooks up like pancake. It is typically made with savory herbs and spices like thyme, rosemary or cumin. But I think Socca is very adaptable and you could add Indian spices, Mexican Spices or whatever else you’d like to round out a meal.

Easy Skillet Socca

Serves 4
Dietary Dairy Free, Egg Free, Gluten Free, Grain Free, Nut Free, Sugar Free, Vegan
Meal type Appetizer, Bread, Lunch, Side Dish, Snack
Misc Child Friendly


  • 1 1/4 cup garbanzo flour
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon dried herbs (or 1 tbsp. fresh herbs, minced)
  • 1 cup filtered water
  • 5 tablespoons olive oil, divided (or melted coconut oil)


Step 1
Mix garbanzo flour, salt and herbs together in a medium sized bowl.
Step 2
Add water and 2 tbsp. oil. Whisk together until batter is smooth.
Step 3
Add 3 tbsp oil to a large skillet over medium-high heat. When the oil is hot (but not smoking) add all of the batter and cook like a large pancake.
Step 4
Let the bread cook until the top is bubbling and the bottom is firm enough to flip easily. Flip bread once ready and cook for another 1-2 minutes, until cooked through and lightly browned.

Don’t Make It Mondays :: Qia Superfood Cereal

Don’t Make It Mondays are my recommendations for high-quality food products.  All recommendations are made independently by me. I am always looking easier ways to eat whole foods. I hope this helps you in your quest as well. Enjoy!

For many reasons, I am not a proponent cold breakfast cereals (even the natural brands). To read a great synopsis explaining why to avoid them, check out this article on Whole Life Nutrition’s blog (and get some new ideas for breakfast as well!).

We are a family who prefers a warm breakfast most of the time anyway, so forgoing cold breakfast cereal isn’t really an issue for us. Despite that, I know that it is nice to have a couple easy and quick breakfast ideas — especially when everyone is rushing to get out the door in the morning.

I was happy to spot Qia Superfood Cereal the other day while shopping at the co-op. I was skeptical at first, but after carefully examining the ingredients I think it’s a great option for an easy breakfast! This cereal can be eaten cold or warm and is delicious with coconut milk or almond milk added.

Have you tried this Qia? What did you think?

Apricot Stuffed Indian Meatballs

I made this meatball recipe last week and we were all wishing there were more! Serve them over quinoa, steamed winter squash or over a bed of greens. You may want to wait until I post my Chickpea Flatbread recipe next week to make them — they are very yummy together.

Apricot Stuffed Indian Meatballs

Serves 4
Allergy Egg, Tree Nuts
Dietary Dairy Free, GAPS Diet, Gluten Free, Grain Free
Meal type Main Dish
Misc Child Friendly, Pre-preparable, Serve Hot


  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 1 yellow onion (finely chopped, reserve 1/4 chopped onion)
  • 2 cloves garlic (minced)
  • 1 " ginger (minced)
  • 1.5 cups chicken broth or water (divided)
  • 1/2 teaspoon tumeric
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 3 tablespoons coriander (divided)
  • 8oz tomato sauce
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1lb ground lamb (preferably grass fed)
  • 1 cup almond flour
  • 2 eggs
  • 8 (or so) dried apricots (quartered)
  • 1/2 teaspoon garam masala


Step 1
melt coconut oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Add 3/4 of the chopped onion and saute until translucent. Set aside the other 1/4 onion.
Step 2
Add garlic, ginger, 1/2 cup broth or water, tumeric, 1/2 tsp. paprika and 2 tbsp. coriander to skillet. Cook for 1-2 mintues before adding tomato sauce, the remaining broth (or water) and sea salt. Bring to a boil then reduce heat to a simmer.
Step 3
In a large bowl use your hands to combine the ground lamb, reserved onion, almond flour, eggs, remaining coriander & paprika and garam masala.
Step 4
Form lamb mixture into 1-inch sized meatballs. As you are forming the meatballs, stuff the middle a quartered apricot. Make sure the meat completely surrounds the fruit.
Step 5
Add the meatballs to the simmering sauce. Add more broth or water if needed. Cook until meatballs are cooked through and sauce has thickened, about 25 minutes. Season with salt as needed.


Don’t Make It Mondays :: Go Raw Ginger Snap Super Cookies

Don’t Make It Mondays are my recommendations for high-quality food products.  All recommendations are made independently by me. I am not compensated for these posts other than the Amazon affiliate links when applicable. I am always looking easier ways to eat whole foods. I hope this helps you in your quest as well. Enjoy!

First up: Go Raw Ginger Snaps Super Cookies! My kids love these and often request them in their lunchboxes. I first discovered these yummy treats when my older son was on the GAPS diet and I was desperate to find a GAPS legal treat that was easy to grab on the go. These Gingersnap cookies were a godsend and continue to be a favorite around here. All of the Go Raw cookies are made with soaked and sprouted seeds, natural unrefined sweeteners and completely pure ingredients. GAPS followers beware that some flavors contain GAPS-illegal ingredients, but the Gingersnaps are ok.


Coconut Maple Chia Pudding

Looking for a sweet treat or an easy breakfast idea? Coconut milk chia pudding is super easy to make — it’s just a matter of stirring together a few ingredients! My kids love this for breakfast since it’s sweet, but I love it because it’s also filled with healthy fats and a little protein. We usually serve this pudding with fresh blueberries, sliced bananas or whatever fruit we have on hand. Nuts are also a nice addition.

Coconut Maple Chia Pudding

Dietary Dairy Free, Egg Free, GAPS Diet, Gluten Free, Grain Free, Nut Free
Meal type Breakfast, Snack
Misc Child Friendly, Pre-preparable, Serve Cold
This yummy treat is similar to tapioca pudding, but healthier!


  • 1 can coconut milk (I recommend Native Naturals)
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup (Preferably Grade B)
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup chia seeds


Step 1
Whisk liquid ingredients together
Step 2
Add chia seeds and mix well.
Step 3
Let sit overnight in the refrigerator.
Step 4
Serve with fresh berries and enjoy!

If you are following the GAPS diet, you would need to substitute honey for the the maple syrup. Also, chia seeds are considered an “advanced” food on the GAPS diet. This means that you’ve already worked through intro, made your way up to Full GAPS and have experienced significant gut healing. I suppose this would be a good treat for those of you making your way toward starting the GAPS diet as well.


Manhattan-Style Seafood Stew

After each of my children turned one, I started exposing them to the flavors and textures of shellfish and other seafoods and they now both love them! My kids eat this soup willingly and love to pick out the mussels to gobble them up. If you have an older child that is not used to the sight or the texture of shellfish, you can start very slowly and begin by letting him/her help you wash and de-beard them. Let her touch the shells and become familiar with them. And also let her say “no” if she isn’t ready to try. It can take MANY times of introduction before a person is willing to try or like a new food. Just keep trying!

Manhattan-Style Seafood Stew

Serves 6
Allergy Fish, Shellfish
Dietary Dairy Free, Egg Free, GAPS Diet, Gluten Free, Grain Free, Nut Free, Sugar Free
Meal type Lunch, Main Dish, Soup
Misc Child Friendly, Serve Hot
This Manhattan-Style Stew contains mussels, halibut and potatoes making it an easy one-pot meal.


  • 1 medium yellow onion (chopped)
  • 2 tablespoons butter or olive oil
  • 2 large carrots (chopped)
  • 1 cup cauliflower florets (chopped)
  • 3 cloves garlic (minced)
  • 2 cups potatoes (diced)
  • 1 quart chicken broth (preferably homemade)
  • 1 tablespoon fish sauce
  • 28oz diced tomatoes (with juice)
  • 2 teaspoons sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1lb halibut (skinned and chopped into 1-inch pieces)
  • 2/3lb black mussels (scrubbed, rinsed and debearded (discard open or cracked mussels))


Step 1
Saute' onion in butter or olive oil in a large soup pot over medium heat until translucent.
Step 2
Stir in carrots, cauliflower, garlic and potatoes and cook for 4-5 minutes more, until potatoes start to soften.
Step 3
Pour in chicken broth and fish sauce and turn up the heat to high. Bring to a boil then turn down heat to simmer.
Step 4
Add tomatoes, salt, pepper and bay leaf. Adjust heat to make sure the soup is still simmering.
Step 5
Let simmer for 25-30 minutes until vegetables are tender.
Step 6
Add fish and mussels and simmer, covered, for 5-10 minutes until fish is flaky and mussels have opened completely.
Step 7
Discard bay leaf and serve.

Besides being an easy and delicious weeknight dinner, this soup is super nutrient-dense — mainly due to the homemade chicken broth and also the mussels. I posted how to make your own chicken broth here. I recommend making your own broth if you can for a few reasons:

  1. It’s cheaper — Buying a whole chicken will yield at least 2 dinners for a family of 4 in addition to an entire pot of stock to make several soups with later.
  2. It’s healthier — Commercial stocks are watered down, which also waters-down the nutrient content. Plus, anytime you see the words “natural flavors” in the ingredient list (which most commercial stocks contain), there is a possibility it contains MSG, a harmful additive that can really wreak havoc on your family’s health.
  3. It tastes better — Stock made in your own kitchen is richer, deeper and more concentrated. Making soup with your own stock will change the quality of your cooking for the better all by itself!

And why are mussels so nutritious? Like most shellfish they are high in essential minerals such as selenium, zinc, and manganese. They are also super-high in vitamin B-12 as well.


Grain-Free Waffles w/ Coconut Oil Applesauce

Each time I eat this breakfast, I feel energized and satiated in a way that many other breakfasts cannot live up to. The combination of coconut flour waffles with this applesauce has the perfect amount of sweetness balanced with protein and healthy fats.

Serve this with a dollop of sour cream or yogurt and an extra drizzle of honey or maple syrup for an extra special treat.

Coconut Flour Waffles

Serves 4
Allergy Egg
Dietary Dairy Free, GAPS Diet, Gluten Free, Grain Free, Nut Free, Sugar Free, Vegetarian
Meal type Breakfast, Dessert, Snack
Misc Child Friendly, Freezable, Serve Hot


  • 1/3 cup coconut oil
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 6 eggs
  • 1/3 cup coconut flour


Step 1
In a small saucepan, melt coconut oil and honey together on low heat.
Step 2
Turn off heat and remove from stove burner. Whisk in vanilla and eggs to the coconut oil mixture until combined.
Step 3
Sprinkle in coconut flour and whisk vigorously until batter is smooth and thick. Let batter stand for 5 minutes.
Step 4
Place 1/3 cup of batter on each waffle section of your prepared waffle iron.
Step 5
Top with Coconut Oil Applesauce (see below). Enjoy!

Coconut Oil Applesauce

Serves 4
Dietary Dairy Free, Egg Free, GAPS Diet, Gluten Free, Grain Free, Nut Free, Sugar Free, Vegan
Meal type Breakfast, Condiment, Dessert, Side Dish, Snack
Misc Child Friendly, Pre-preparable, Serve Hot


  • 1/4 cup coconut oil
  • 6-8 small apples
  • 2 cinnamon sticks (or a sprinkle of cinnamon)
  • 1 drizzle water


Step 1
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Slice, core and peel apples.
Step 2
Place apples, coconut oil, cinnamon and water in a small oven-proof pot.
Step 3
Bake, covered, for about 30 minutes (or until apples are soft).
Step 4
Remove lid and, using the back of large spoon, smash apples.
Step 5
Return pot to oven, uncovered, and cook for 5-10 more minutes until applesauce is thoroughly cooked.
Step 6
Mix in any oil that has pooled on top and serve with waffles.


Mayo-free Broccoli Bacon Salad

Growing up we frequently had the ever-popular Broccoli Bacon Salad made with Miracle Whip. I did love that salad — it was a comfort food for me, and probably one of the very few green vegetables I ate growing up! I’ve been thinking about a way to update this salad, but keep it simple to make. Typically when recipes call for mayo, I make my own using egg yolks and olive oil. It’s simple enough to make, but honestly it’s doesn’t have the same zippy flavor that Miracle Whip has.

The other evening I was peeking in the refrigerator thinking about what vegetable to serve with our roasted chicken and potatoes and saw the broccoli and bacon sitting next to each other and the recipe just dawned on me!

Mayo-free Broccoli Bacon Salad

Serves 4
Cook time 20 minutes
Dietary Dairy Free, Egg Free, GAPS Diet, Gluten Free, Grain Free, Nut Free, Sugar Free
Meal type Lunch, Main Dish, Salad, Side Dish
Misc Child Friendly
Region American
A new twist on the classic Broccoli Bacon you grew up with -- this uses an avocado dressing instead of Miracle Whip or Mayo.


  • 1lb Broccoli florets
  • 1 Avocado
  • 2 tablespoons Extra-Virgin Olive Oil
  • 2 tablespoons Apple Cider Vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon Herbamare or Sea Salt
  • 1/8 cup Sunflower Seeds
  • 1/8 cup Golden Raisins or other dried fruit
  • 4 pieces Uncured bacon


Step 1
Fill a large pot with filtered water and bring to a boil. Meanwhile place bacon on a baking sheet and place in a 400 degree F oven until crisp. Remove from oven, let cool then chop into bits. Set aside.
Step 2
When the water boils and while the bacon is roasting, Blanch broccoli florets for 1-2 minutes, just until it turns bright green. Remove broccoli from pot into a large bowl filled with ice water. Strain broccoli and set aside.
Step 3
In a medium bowl, whisk together mashed avocado, olive oil, apple cider vinegar and seasonings until combined but chunky.
Step 4
Add broccoli to the dressing and toss to coat.
Step 5
Sprinkle in sunflower seeds, raisins and bacon bits. Stir to combine. Serve immediately.


Healthy Herbal Chai

healthy herbal chai

Today I’d like to share a lovely herbal chai tea recipe to keep you warm and energized through the fall and winter months—without caffeine. This blend contains Siberian ginseng to help the body adapt to stress, burdock root to help gently detox the liver, licorice to help balance the adrenals, Ginger with all of its amazing health benefits, and cinnamon and cardamom to warm you from the inside. Feel free to drink 3-4 cups each day for the best effects.

Healthy Herbal Chai Tea

  • 3 teaspoons dried eleuthero (Siberian ginseng)
  • 2 teaspoons dried burdock root
  • 2 teaspoons licorice root
  • 1 teaspoon dried ginger (or 2 tsp. fresh chopped ginger)
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 teaspoon cardamom pods

Simmer herbs in 1 quart of water for 20 minutes. Strain and discard herbs. Pour into a thermos or teapot to keep warm. Add milk and honey to taste. Tea will keep for two days in the refrigerator.

This is a perfect tea to pack up and take on a winter hike with the family. You’ll enjoy the warming sensation as well as the health-promoting benefits this tea offers, leaving your body feeling nourished rather than drained in the long run.


Dairy-Free “GAPS Milkshake” Recipe

Make a juice from a mixture of fruit and vegetables, and then whisk 1-2 raw eggs into it and a generous dollop of homemade sour cream. This will make a delicious “milkshake”, which will provide you with magnesium and other substances. Drink your GAPS milkshake first thing in the morning, about 20-30 minutes before breakfast. When making juice use high-magnesium fruit and vegetables, such as oranges, celery, apples, carrots, cabbage, beetroot and greens.  –Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride

For the most part, we have stayed away from dairy while on and off the GAPS diet. Mostly because we haven’t put in the effort it takes to secure a stellar source of A2 raw dairy. My kids do well with and enjoy eating goat milk yogurt (goat’s milk is inherently A2) and we also do a lot of coconut milk kefir and plain coconut milk. We all tolerate grass-fed butter and ghee just fine also.

Above is Dr. Natasha’s recommendation for the “GAPS milkshake” which is a nutrient-dense drink that our whole family loves. Rather than use sour cream we use either coconut milk kefir or straight coconut milk and generally skip the raw eggs. I am ok with using raw egg yolks from super-trusted egg sources and occasionally we do add them to our juice or to soups.

You’ll be amazed at how yummy just adding a bit of coconut milk to your juice will be! My children love carrot-apple-ginger juice with a splash of full-fat coconut milk. Adding healthy fats to the juice help moderate the sugar rush from the juice as well. Give it a try!

Homemade Roasted Chicken & Nourishing Broth

To roast your chicken, you will need:

  • 1 whole organic (preferably pastured) chicken
  • 2 tbsp. coconut oil
  • Herbamare Seasoning

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Rinse your whole chicken in cold water and remove any organs inside the cavity. Place the organs in a small bowl and cover them with cool water. Put those aside in the refrigerator.

Place your chicken in a roasting pan breast side up. You can also use a glass baking dish or clay oven (pictured here) too. Pat dry.

If you are working with a particularly large bird, you can truss it before roasting. Trussing a chicken means that you’ll bend the wings back so that they lay flat under the chicken and tie the ends of the legs together with kitchen twine.

Next, spoon 1-2 tbsp. of coconut oil into your clean hands. Rub your hands together to begin melting the oil. Rub the outside of the chicken with coconut oil, coating all exposed parts.

Next sprinkle the chicken generously with Herbamare or a mixture of salt and herbs.

Add whatever hearty chopped vegetable you have on hand. On the day of this photo shoot I only had carrots, but you could add onions, garlic, potatoes, fennel, or parsnips. Lemon slices add a nice flavor as well. Experiment with what you have in your kitchen!

Place in oven. After 1.5 hours, insert a meat thermometer into the thigh and when it reads 165 degrees or higher, it’s done. And if the juices run clear after puncturing the skin—this is an indicator as well. Larger chickens may require around a 2 hour roasting time.

Pull chicken out of oven when fully cooked and let rest in pan for 20 minutes. Serve with a green salad or kale and steamed rice, roasted potatoes or quinoa. Take the leftover meat and store in your refrigerator to use for lunches or for another dinner later in the week. Save all remaining chicken parts including: bones, cartilage, skin, drippings, and gelatin to make your broth.

Homemade Chicken Broth

  • 1 cleaned chicken + skin and drippings
  • Reserved organs
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 handful of peppercorns
  • 2 tsp. sea salt
  • Veggie scraps (carrots, onions, garlic, leeks, etc.)

Place chicken parts and organs into a large stock pot (6-8 qt. is a good size). Fill the pot with filtered water, but leave about 2 inches of space at the top. Add 1-2 cups of veggie scraps and the herbs and place on your stove. Bring to a boil then turn down the heat so that the stock is at a constant low simmer. Skim off any scum that has collected at the top and discard. Cover the pot and allow stock to simmer for 6-24 hours. Check periodically to make sure the liquid is not evaporating. If so, make sure the pot is tightly covered and that it’s simmering lightly. Once your stock is finished simmering. Turn off heat and cool stock for 1-2 hours. When the stock has cooled, pour into a large glass bowl and place in refrigerator. Once the stock is completely cooled, you will notice the fat has risen to the top and congealed. Skim the fat off the top and store in a glass jar with a tight fitting lid. You can use this for sautéing veggies or eggs this week. Strain the stock through a mesh strainer into quart-sized mason jars and keep in your refrigerator to use in soups, stews and for drinking with meals. You can also freeze your stock in plastic or glass freezer-proof containers for later use. We use a whole batch of homemade stock each week!

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