Author Archives for Sandra Shields, Food and Wellness Blogger, Health Coach, Healthy Living, Food Intolerance Recipes, Well Rounded Living

About Sandra Shields, Food and Wellness Blogger, Health Coach, Healthy Living, Food Intolerance Recipes, Well Rounded Living

Hello! I am Sam. I am a foodie and a Health Coach who likes being in the kitchen creating healthier versions of favorite foods, especially for those with food intolerances and restrictions, or those who are looking to incorporate healthier eating habits. I have had an obsession with baking since I was ten! I started this blog to share recipes I was making for myself after finding out I had several food sensitivities, including gluten. I had no idea what I was going to eat and how I would feed my hungry family. I went to school for Health Coaching as a second career at Institute for Integrative Nutrition, the world's largest health coaching school. I wanted to have recipes I could eat, and the whole family would enjoy, that were healthy, delicious and made with ingredients that promoted overall health. So this is in essence my food diary. Taking real food and creating delicious recipes is something I am passionate about. From experience, I believe nutrient dense food gives the body the best fuel and building blocks to be vibrant, healthy, prevent disease, and maintain great energy as well as heal. I am excited to share delicious food recipes and tips!

Boost Your Immune System Naturally With Food!

healthy food

Food is medicine, or it can be depending on what you eat.

Food can boost your immune system when you choose to eat a whole foods, healthy diet, and there are certain ones you can make sure you are incorporating into your meals daily to boost and keep your immune system strong!

I also have a few supplements I use year round that are immune boosting, however, a healthy diet is the single most important thing you can do for yourself to be your healthiest for a lifetime!

Here are some of the things you can eat every day for a strong immune system:

Citrus – choose oranges, grapefruit, lemons and limes. Not only are they full of vitamin C, but also flavanoids, especially the peel. So, zest the oranges, lemons and limes and use them in cooking. Eat the whole fruit of oranges and grapefruit, and squeeze lemons and limes into your glass of water.

Don’t forget to eat berries and other fruits too in addition to citrus! There are many benefits to a variety of fruits and vegetables. Your body will get what it needs, to use when it needs it, by regularly eating healthy, whole foods.

Vegetables – Shoot for at least seven servings a day of veggies. Make sure you are eating a variety of them too, including cruciferous ones like broccoli, cabbage, bok choy and Brussels sprouts. They are rich in Vitamin C, phytonutrients, vitamins and minerals.

Green Tea – The polyphenols in green tea are potent antioxidants! The catechins in green tea may kill influenza viruses. Try my matcha green tea latte here every morning to start your day.

Garlic – We have known for centuries that garlic has medicinal uses. The allicin in garlic converts to sulfur containing compounds that boost our disease fighting response.

Raw Honey – Raw, unpasturized honey has anti-bacterial and anti-viral properties that can help to boost your immune system and fight sickness. My favorite is Manuka, but any raw honey is helpful.

Probiotic Rich Foods – They keep your gut flora population healthy. Choose foods that don’t have added sugar. Plain Greek yogurt with a little honey or maple syrup stirred in by yourself. One of my favorite probiotic rich vegetables is Kimchi.

Supplements are another way you can keep your immune system strong and boost it. It is best to add these to an already healthy diet and not use them as a bandaid for poor eating.

This is what I use for myself year round:

Elderberry Syrup – It is packed with antioxidants and vitamins. A teaspoon a day, and it tastes delicious. I put it in my smoothies.

Vitamin C – One of the biggest immune boosters. Vitamin C fights free radicals in the body.

A High Quality, Organic Greens Powder: I LOVE Organifii Green Juice Powder. It contains Ashwagandha wich is an adaptogenic herb that improves immunity. It also contains matcha green tea and lots of greens!

Remember, real food will give your body what it needs to keep you healthy, vibrant and living your best life!

Blessings!

Sam

 

Chicken Taco Salad with Creamy Italian Dressing

There was this place we went in the Winter where we got a really good workout and had fun at the same time.

I was dating my then to be husband, and a Northern Michigan Winter could be long. I never knew any different, and I didn’t think to complain about the cold. It was how I was born, raised and lived my entire childhood and early adulthood.

Michigander’s were tough, resilient, and we knew how to have fun despite the weather.

Taco Salad 13

Although there were plenty of outdoor activities, the raquetball club was one of our favorite Friday night spots. You could work up a great sweat, and the court was smaller than a tennis court, hitting the ball more frequently in fast succession was very satisfying. The loud popping echo of the ball hitting the walls was loud and invigorating. I really worked up an appetite, and it was tradition to stop afterwards and eat at our favorite Mexican restaurant. They had the BEST Chicken Taco Salad and Margaritas! The salad was really big, and you were full when you were done. It was not a light salad at all, but there were plenty of great ingredients in it.

Taco Salad 12

Later, when we moved East and no longer played raquetball……after we were married and had two kids…….we recreated our own version at home and made it once a week religiously. It was very close, but I used a commercial dressing that I wouldn’t choose today. So,  I’ve come up with my own dressing, without the soybean oil but all the great flavor!

Currently, I hadn’t made the salad in years, but lately I’ve really missed it.

So, I have recreated it here with grain free chips, grass fed cheese and my own homemade creamy Italian dressing. It is darn good! My husband, Doug, said it was spot on, just like he remembered. I think you will love it too.

This is a BIG bowl. The leftovers are good, even though the chips won’t be as crunchy as when it is freshly made, and you can half it if you desire! Now all you have to do is:

Build It! Here’s the recipe:

Taco Salad Build It

Chicken Taco Salad with Creamy Italian Dressing

Ingredients:

4 Boneless Chicken Breasts

8 Cups of Iceberg Lettuce, torn into bite sized pieces

8 oz. of Grass Fed Cheddar Cheese, shredded

1 Can of Sliced Black Olives (I used this 3.8 oz. can of Field Day)

1/4 Cup of Sliced Scallions

2 Medium Sized Ripe Tomatoes, Chopped

1 Large Green Pepper, Diced

Cilantro (optional) Chopped, a handful

1 Bag of Siete Sea Salt Chips (5 oz) Crushed with your hands

Directions:

Make the Creamy Italian Dressing below and refrigerate.

Bring a large pot of water up to a boil. Add the boneless, skinless chicken breasts and cook for 18 minutes or until they are 165° in the center. Remove them from the water, and place them on a plate. Cover the chicken with another plate while they cool and you prepare the rest of the salad ingredients. The chicken is supposed to be still warm when you add it to the salad later.

In a Large salad bowl, place ingredients in this order (see photos).

Lettuce, Tomatoes, Olives, Scallions, Peppers, Shredded Cheese, Crushed Chips, Chicken (Dice it when you are ready to add it. It will still be warm. I don’t like to chop it before hand, because it will dry out and be less juicy.) and Crushed Chips (Crush them right over the salad as you take them out of the bag.) Pour all the dressing over the salad, and toss it really well, coating everything.

Serve!

To Make the Creamy Italian Dressing:

Ingredients:

1 Cup of Mayo (I use Primal Kitchen)

1/4 Cup of Scallions

2 Tablespoons of White Vinegar

1 Tablespoon of Honey

1 Tablespoon of Garlic Infused Olive Oil

1/2 Teaspoon of Sea Salt

1/4 Teaspoon of Black Pepper

1/4 Teaspoon of Dried Parsley

1/8 Teaspoon each of dried:

Marjoram

Oregano

Basil

Rosemary

Directions: Puree the dressing ingredients in a blender until smooth. Refrigerate.

 

Chicken Taco Salad Trio

Chicken Taco Salad Grain Free Gluten Free

 

Vanilla Sunflower Seed Milk Recipe

Homemade Sunflower Seed Milk is a good milk alternative made with seeds.

I like to mix up the types of non-dairy milks I use in my kitchen. I find it is helpful to rotate them if you are having new or developing food sensitivities. By rotating the types of nuts and seeds you eat, you are potentially preventing your body from detecting them as a foreign invader (measured as IgG Reactivity to types of food using a blood test) and therefore becoming sensitive to them.

Creamy Sunflower Seed Milk

There are many other good reasons to rotate the types of milk you consume, one of which is they all have different quantities and types of nutrients. It also makes it more interesting, because they all taste different, so you don’t get bored.

I have found this Vanilla Sunflower Seed Milk delightful, thick, and creamy. It is wonderful chilled in a glass, and makes a really frothy steamed milk to use in teas and coffee, and even baking.

Sunflower Seed Milk in a Pitcher

Here’s my recipe:

Vanilla Sunflower Seed Milk

Ingredients:

1 Cup of Raw Sunflower Seeds

4 Cups of Filtered Water

1/8 Tsp. of Monk Fruit (I use this clean label) or 1 to 2 Tablespoons of Honey or Maple Syrup to taste (optional)

1 Teaspoon of Vanilla Extract

1/8 Tsp. of Sea Salt

Directions:

Using a fine mesh strainer, rinse the sunflower seeds well. In a 4 cup measuring pitcher, cover the sunflower seeds with cold water up to the 4 cup line. Store covered in the refrigerator overnight to soak.

The next day, pour off the soaking water, and rinse the sunflower seeds again. Put the soaked seeds into a high speed blender. Add 4 cups of filtered water, the Monk Fruit or other sweetener of choice if using, the vanilla and sea salt. Blend on high for 2 minutes.

Pour the mixture from the blender into a super fine mesh strainer (like this) or a milk bag over a bowl. Use a rubber spatula to strain the milk through the sieve into the bowl, or if using a milk bag, gently squeeze out the milk and discard the pulp.

Chill. This will keep in the refrigerator up to 3 days. If you don’t want as much milk, this recipe is easily halved.

Enjoy!

Sunflower Seed Milk Gluten and Dairy Free

Here is more information about following a rotation diet that may be helpful.

Vanilla Sunflower Seed Milk, Dairy Free, Nut Free, Keto Friendly

*This post has affiliate links in it. I receive a small commission if you purchase through my links. The small commission helps cover the cost of maintaining this blog.

Squash Casserole

Squash Casserole 1

This is such a great old fashioned squash casserole!

Squash Casserole 4

If you like zucchini, but it gets boring for you the same old way. Or, if you are a fan of comfort food in the form of casseroles, like your Mom or Grandma used to make, here’s one that is healthy, delicious and comforting.

Squash Casserole 2

Casserole is great leftover for lunch too! Love me some leftover casserole!  This casserole is meat free, so feel free to use it as a side dish. I like to make pork tenderloin, chicken or bun free burgers to go with it.

Squash Casserole 3

Squash Casserole

Ingredients:

1 1/2 lbs. of sliced zucchini (this is about 3 to 4 medium, depending on the size)

1/3 Cup of Good Olive Oil or Melted Ghee

2 Eggs

1/2 Cup of Mayo (I use Avocado Oil Mayo like this)

1/2 Cup of sliced green onions

1 Orange Bell Pepper, diced

1/2 Teaspoon of Sea Salt

1/4 Teaspoon of Black Pepper

Topping:

1/2 Cup of  Pecans

2 Tablespoons of Goat Cheese (optional) Omit for SCD or substitute with a SCD Legal Cheese. There is a free PDF guide at the top of my home page you can download and print for free.

1 Tablespoon of Garlic Infused Olive Oil

1 Teaspoon of Dried Chives

1 Teaspoon of Dried Parsley

1/4 Teaspoon of Black Pepper

1/8 Teaspoon of Sea Salt

Directions:

Preheat your oven to 350°F.

Grease a 12″ x 8 1/2″ Casserole dish.

To make the casserole filling:

Bring 2 inches of salted water to a boil in a large frying pan with a lid. When the water comes to a boil, add the sliced zucchini and cook for 8 to 10 minutes until tender. Drain the cooked zucchini into a colander. Allow it to sit and drain for ten minutes in the colander. You don’t want a soggy casserole. Meanwhile, whisk together in a large bowl, the olive oil, eggs, mayonnaise, salt and pepper until well combined. Whisk in the scallions and orange bell pepper. Pat the drained zucchini with paper towel to remove any excess water. Then, stir the zucchini into the egg mixture. Pour the zucchini mixture into your greased baking casserole.

Now, make the topping.

Finely chop the pecans, or alternatively pulse in a food processor. I like this handy mini Ninja Express one for this job. It has made my life so much easier, and I don’t have to clean the big food processor. This goes right in the dishwasher! Add in the salt, pepper, chives and parsley, and mix thoroughly. Sprinkle the crumb topping evenly over the casserole. Now, if you are using goat cheese, which is very delicious in this recipe if you tolerate it, sprinkle small pieces of goat cheese over the crumb topping.

Place the casserole into your preheated oven, and bake for 50 to 60 minutes, until the top is golden brown and the casserole is bubbly.

This casserole can be prepped up to a day ahead and baked from the refrigerator. You will need to increase your baking time by ten minutes.

Enjoy!

Squash Casserole 5

*This post has affiliate links in it. I receive a very small commission if you purchase through my links. The small commission helps cover the cost of maintaining this blog.

Squash Casserole, Gluten and Grain Free, SCD

Orange Ginger Marinated Chicken Thighs

I have a lovely recipe for marinated chicken thighs that I’ve been making the last few months that is definitely a keeper. It is SIBO friendly, Low FodMap and makes twelve chicken thighs. That may seem like a lot, but for a family of five, I can tell you that they do not last long enough.

Orange Ginger Marinated Chicken Thighs 2

The thighs are wonderful to use leftover and sliced on top of a salad for lunch the next day. Marinating them infuses them all the way through with a delicious orange ginger flavor. If you are looking for more leftover inspiration, cut the leftover chicken off the bone into bite size pieces, and make a fresh pot of hot Jasmine Rice (I use my mini rice cooker frequently for the purpose of having fresh hot rice in small quantities.) If you’ve never tried one, they are inexpensive and cook rice perfect every time without having to watch it or worry about it overcooking, and it keeps it hot until you are ready to eat it. I will never be without one again. To make the chicken fried rice, warm the chicken in garlic infused olive oil on the stove top in a skillet. Then, stir in the hot, fresh cooked rice, drizzle it with sesame oil and a pinch of white pepper, then stir in a few sliced scallions.  Push aside the chicken and rice mixture to one side of the pan. Add a little more garlic olive oil to the empty side, and add in two whisked and seasoned eggs, and scramble them over medium heat. Now, incorporate the egg into the chicken and rice mixture for an easy chicken fried rice. Yummmm!

Orange Ginger Marinated Chicken Thighs 3

The chicken should marinate at least 8 hours and preferably overnight for the most robust flavor infusion.

Orange Ginger Marinated Chicken Thighs 1

Orange Ginger Marinated Chicken Thighs

1/4 Cup of Fresh Squeezed Orange Juice

8 Sliced Scallions (green parts only for low fodmap)

2 Tablespoons of Fresh Minced Ginger

2 Tablespoons of Garlic Infused Olive Oil (my favorite brand)

2 Tablespoons of Coconut Aminos (this is not on the SCD Legal list, but many do well with it, so listen to your body. It is an excellent substitute for Soy Sauce. Here is a discussion about it on Danielle Walker’s Facebook page.)

2 Tablespoons of Sesame Oil

Zest of One Orange

1 Tablespoon of Ume Plum Vinegar (SCD Safe according to wellbees.com)

1 Tablespoon of Honey or Maple Syrup

1/2 Teaspoon of Sea Salt or more to taste

1/2 Teaspoon of Black Pepper

Directions: Whisk together the marinade ingredients in a medium bowl. Lay out 12 bone in chicken thighs in a large, deep baking pan. Pour the marinade over the thighs, then flip them to coat all the surfaces evenly. Cover with wrap, and refrigerate for 8 hours or up to 24 hours.

To bake the thighs, preheat the oven to 400° degrees F. Lay out a cookie sheet covered with parchment, if you want an easy to clean pan. 🙂 Remove the chicken thighs from the marinade allowing the scallions, ginger and orange zest to remain on the thighs, and lay them out in one layer onto the large sheet pan. Bake in the middle of the oven for 40 minutes. The skin will be crispy and brown. Enjoy!

Chicken Marinade

 

Orange Ginger Marinated Chicken Thighs, Paleo, Low FodMap

 

 

Soft, Cakey Cinnamon Banana Cookies

 

Cinnamon Swirl Banana Cookies 2

Soft and sweet with the warmth of cinnamon. These cookies are ones you are going to want to make if you are a fan of the flavor combination and are a soft cookie lover. They are sweetened with honey and ripe bananas.

Cinnamon Swirl Banana Cookies 3

The flavors all meld together nicely to give you a soft cookie with the nice cracks on the top. The cracks are a reaction of the cookie expanding and hardening on top while the centers are still soft. It’s a appealing part of this cookie and others like molasses crinkles.

Cinnamon Swirl Banana Cookies 1

Soft Cakey Cinnamon Banana Cookies

Preheat your oven to 350ºF.

Ingredients:

1 1/2 Cups of sliced bananas, ripe with black spots

1 Cup of Almond Flour

1/4 Cup of Coconut Flour

1/4 Cup of Organic Shortening (I use Spectrum)

1 Egg

2 Tablespoons of Honey

1 Tablespoon of Cinnamon (reserved for last)

1 Teaspoon of Vanilla Extract

1/2 Teaspoon of Baking Soda

1/4 Teaspoon of Sea Salt

Directions: In a food processor with a blade attachment, puree the ripe banana. Then, add in the egg, honey, vanilla and shortening, and process until smooth. Add the Almond Flour, Coconut Flour, Salt and Baking Soda. Process two minutes.

Remove the cookie dough from the food processor and scoop it into a bowl. Sprinkle the tablespoon of Cinnamon over the dough, and swirl it in with a knife until you have a marbled dough.

With a tablespoon cookie scoop, scoop the cookies onto a parchment lined baking sheet, and bake in your preheated oven for 15 minutes, or until they are golden brown on the edges and set.

Makes 20 cookies.

Low FodMap Serving Size is 2 Cookies

Soft Cakey Cinnamon Banana Cookies, Grain Free, SCD Diet, Paleo, Dairy Free, Low FodMap. Gluten Free

 

 

 

 

Grain Free Walnut Spice Muffins

Grain Free Walnut Spice Muffins SCD, Paleo

I love muffins and spice cake!  This muffin recipe reminds me of spice cake, and it is belly friendly, has vegetables in it (carrots)  and is sweetened with honey.  It also includes gelatin for a bonus gut healing ingredient.

Grain Free Walnut Spice Muffins Scd, Paleo 2

Ingredients:

1/2 Cup Coconut Flour

3 1/2 Cups of Shredded Carrot

4 Pastured Eggs

1/2 Cup of Raw Walnuts, Coarsely Chopped

1/4 Cup of Olive Oil or Melted Coconut Oil

1 1/2 Tablespoons Grass Fed Collagen

1/4 Cup of Clear Clover Honey

1/4 Cup of Coconut Milk

1 teaspoon SCD Legal Vanilla Extract

1/4 teaspoon Pink Himalayan Salt

3/4 Teaspoon Baking Soda

1 Teaspoon of Cinnamon

1/2 Teaspoon Ground Ginger

1/4 Teaspoon Nutmeg or Mace

1/8 teaspoon Cloves

Whole Walnuts for the Tops

Grain Free Walnut Spice Muffins 3

Directions:  Preheat Oven 350°.  Place muffin cup liners in pan.  Place eggs, coconut flour, carrots and gelatin in a food processor and pulse until blended.  Add honey, coconut milk, olive oil or coconut oil, vanilla, spices and baking soda. Pulse again until well blended. Using a muffin scoop, place level scoops into muffin papers. Top with a whole  walnut (I use walnuts from nuts.com. ) Bake 35 to 38 minutes until set and browned on the top.

Makes a bakers dozen.

sam eats her nutrients cartoon

Grain Free Walnut Spice Muffins - SCD, Paleo, Dairy Free

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