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!

Speculaas, SCD Legal, Grain, Dairy, Egg and Gluten Free – Gift Ideas, Winter Self Care and Clean Beauty Lip Swaps!

Are you ready to bake Christmas cookies? These are Grain, Gluten, Egg and Dairy Free and SCD Legal.

Speculaas have been baked as far back as the 15th century in the Netherlands and Germany, but over the years their popularity has spread to many other countries. They are definitely associated with Christmas and were embossed with images of Saint Nicholas and were delicious cookie treats gifted to children.

This recipe for Speculaas is Grain, Dairy, Gluten and Egg Free to accommodate many, and they are SCD Legal. The cookie is absolutely delicious, and the warming spices make this a holiday cookie to be loved and made over and over. They are a perfect treat with a cup of tea! I can’t wait until cookie time to have these lately.

If you don’t have a Speculaas and Springerle roller, you can still make these cookies with an embossed cookie cutter, or just roll them out and cut them into pretty shapes like you would a sugar cookie. But these can be made the traditional way with a roller like I did. This is where I got my Speculaas Rolling Pin. There are also some really pretty ones here.

Here’s the recipe:

Speculaas

Ingredients:

1 1/2 Cups of Raw Cashews

1/2 Cup of Tahini

1/4 Cup of Runny Honey

1 Teaspoon of Vanilla Extract

1/4 Teaspoon of Baking Soda

1/4 Teaspoon of Salt

and the following warm spices that make the traditional Speculaas flavor:

1/2 Teaspoon of Cinnamon

1/4 Teaspoon of Nutmeg

1/4 Teaspoon of Cloves

1/8 Teaspoon of Ginger

1/8 Teaspoon of Ground Anise

1/8 Teaspoon of Cardamom

Directions:

In a food processor, grind the cashews until finely ground. Add the spices, baking soda and salt and pulse until thoroughly combined. Now add the tahini, honey and vanilla extract and process until thoroughly blended stopping to scrape down the sides as needed.

Gather up your dough and pat it out on a piece of plastic wrap into a 4 x 6 rectangle. Wrap it tightly and refrigerate for one hour.

After one hour, preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. and lay out a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper.

Take our your refrigerated cookie dough and place it between two sheets of parchment. With a regular rolling pin, roll the dough between the parchment out to a little less than 1/2 inch thick. Remove the top sheet of parchment, and straighten up your sides with your hands to make a rectangle. Now, take your Speculaas rolling pin and roll with medium pressure across the dough. I did this in two rows. You will get the feel for how much you need to press. This will spread your dough a little more as you roll and also emboss the cookie dough. It doesn’t need to be perfect. With a pizza cutter or a sharp knife, score the cookie dough also trimming the outer sides, but not moving the cookies.

Bake in your preheated oven for 14 minutes or until deeply golden brown, but not burned. I like to start checking after 12 minutes.

Take the baked cookies out of the oven and while still warm, run your pizza cutter or sharp knife down the scored lines again to separate the cookies. Let them cool completely on the cookie sheet. Store in an airtight container after cooled.

If you need some holiday shopping ideas and winter self care, here is a list of some of the things my family loves!

Some of our favorite things!

The cutest comfy nightgowns The sheep are adorbs!

A beautiful Matcha Tea Gift Set

Elderberry Syrup for Immunity

Magnesium Body Lotion for Better Sleep, More Magnesium, Aches and Pains (scent free)

For the little children:

Super Cool Train Set

Unicorn Chair for the Little Princesses

Rainbocorns are very popular in the elementary age crowd right now.

Beautiful Dog Collars for the Pups. Ming has the red one.

Also, giving the gift of clean beauty is always a wonderful way to show your love and appreciation for someone and switch to safer products. Do you have a lip wear preference? I like to wear something on my lips to protect them, give me a color pop, shimmer or shine and take good care of my lips. If you’ve ever had chapped lips, you know how uncomfortable that is. Beautycounter lip products are all GLUTEN-FREE, nut-free, soy-free & vegan AND are tested 3 times for safety from hormone disrupting chemicals and heavy metals. BC lips are my favorite of all time, not just safer – they’re so hydrating and not sticky! Here’s some more helpful info when choosing a lip product:

Clean Lip Products that are Gluten Free!

The Jellies shimmer and shine and fit right into your pocket. They are a cushy, non-sticky gloss. They come in duos of Sorbet & Peppermint, Orange Cream & Honey, or Raspberry & Cocoa.

Beyond Gloss delivers shimmer (if you pick a shimmer shade) and shine with sheer clean color. I LOVE that is has Responsibly sourced vanilla: ECOCERT-certified organic vanilla from Madagascar is responsible for this gloss’ signature sweet scent. Our supplier is committed not only to sourcing the highest quality of vanilla, but also to improving the quality of life for their community of farmers.

Sheer Genius Conditioning Lipstick is creamy and buildable with the conditioning benefits of a balm, so it gives you color with the benefits of a balm. Again with that Responsibly sourced vanilla that smells so darn good!

Color Intense Lipstick is a long wearing lipstick with a satin finish with natural peppermint oil. My current favorite is 9 to 5, but I can’t wait to try some other shades too. A definite Date night or Dress Up lipstick, or if you like a matte look.

You can shop Beautycounter with me here: https://www.beautycounter.com/sandrashields

I’d love to help you switch to safer, and every time I can be of service helping someone switch to safer, I do a little jazzy hands, happy dance!

As always, I love to hear from you! Drop me a comment below and touch base. Have a wonderful holiday season!

xoxo

Delicious Healthy Peanut Butter Cups

First of all, this is an absolutely delicious recipe for peanut butter cups that uses honey to sweeten them and is healthier for you. If you prefer not to use peanut butter, choose another nut butter. They will still be delicious!

Also, I have to get something off my chest, because lately I am seeing people unfollow on social media because someone posts a treat, or a funny food quote that isn’t “healthy”. I am here to tell you, Don’t let perfection be the enemy of the good! Life is about balance. When one area is out of balance, all the other areas can be affected. A sense of humor when approaching life, health and food are just as important as what you are eating.

We had a little exercise in nutrition school called The Circle of Life, and you looked at all the areas of wellness and balance on a color wheel. It helps see what is out of sync. The categories are:

~Joy

~Social Life

~Relationships

~Home Environment

~Home Cooking

~Physical Activity

~Health

~Education

~Career

~Finances

~Creativity

You can go take the quiz yourself right here: https://www.integrativenutrition.com/circle-of-life

I encourage you to take the quiz every three to four months to help you be aware of your life balance so you can make changes.

Now, for a absolutely delicious Peanut Butter Cup Recipe! There are some amazing benefits to eating chocolate! Like enhancing brain function, mood and it’s loaded with flavanols!

Delicious Healthy Peanut Butter Cups

Directions:

Line a mini muffin cup pan with twenty mini liners

Bottom Layer:

1/3 Cup of No Sugar Added Creamy Peanut Butter

2 Tablespoons of Runny Honey

2 Tablespoons of Coconut Oil (Melted)

2 Tablespoons of Cocoa Powder

1 Teaspoon of Vanilla Extract

1/8 Teaspoon of Sea Salt

Whisk together all the ingredients with a fork until combined.

Spoon the mixture evenly into the bottom of your muffin liners.

Top Layer:

1/3 Cup of No Sugar Added Creamy Peanut Butter

2 Tablespoons of Runny Honey

2 Tablespoons of Melted Coconut Oil

1/2 Teaspoon of Vanilla Extract

1/8 Teaspoon of Sea Salt

Whisk together the ingredients until thoroughly combined and spoon over the bottom layer, dividing evenly. Rap the filled muffin tin onto the counter several times to flatten the peanut butter cups. Optional, sprinkle a little flaky sea salt on top like Fleur de Sel.

Place the peanut butter cups into the freezer to firm for 30 minutes. Store these in either the freezer or refrigerator in a sealed container depending on how firm you like them.

As always, I love to hear from you. Did you go take the Circle of Life quiz?

Healthier Snickerdoodles – Gluten Free

Warm spices always sound so delicious and enticing when September hits. I like to fill my kitchen with the aroma, and Snickerdoodles are one of my favorite cookies. It’s nice to have an allergen friendly cookie recipe in my arsenal, and one that is healthier too but still tastes sweet and yummy.

This is a new recipe for Snickerdoodle cookies that are gluten, dairy and nut free. I have a few options for you as well with ingredients you have right in your cupboard.

You can make these with maple sugar for a cinnamon maple flavor. Very good! But you can also use pure cane sugar if you choose. They are delicious both ways. I love the whole grain single flour option in this recipe. I started out making them with quinoa flour, and then I tested them with brown rice flour. They both tasted like a great Snickerdoodle with a nice texture. The main difference is when you use quinoa flour, the cookies tastes nutty. I like them both ways and have been rotating how I make them.

With a little lower sugar, these cookies are better for you. I also used half shortening and half olive oil. I have seen more and more baking with olive oil lately, and it is a healthy option. Italy for instance has been using it for baking for many, many years with delicious results.

Here’s how to make my healthier Snickerdoodles!

Gluten Free Snickerdoodles

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F.

Ingredients:

2 Cups of Quinoa Flour or Brown Rice Flour

1/2 Cup of Maple Sugar or Pure Cane Sugar

1/2 Cup of Organic Shortening

1/2 Cup of Olive Oil

1 Egg

1 1/2 Teaspoons of Vanilla Extract

1/2 Teaspoon of Baking Soda

1/4 Teaspoon of Salt

Cinnamon for the tops (about a tablespoon)

Directions:

In a mixing bowl, beat the sugar, shortening and olive oil until creamy. Add the egg and vanilla extract, and beat again to incorporate well.

In another bowl, whisk together your flour, baking soda and salt. Then, add the flour mixture to the wet ingredients and mix until completely incorporated.

With a tablespoon cookie scoop, scoop out 24 tablespoon sized cookies onto two parchment lined cookie sheets. Flatten the cookies with the palm of your hand to half inch thick rounds. Sift the cinnamon over the tops of the cookies directly onto the cookie sheet.

Bake in your preheated oven for 12 to 14 minutes until the cookies are starting to turn golden brown around the edges. Cool on the cookie sheet.

Makes 24 cookies

Drop a line to let me know what you think. I always like to hear from you!

Sandra

Brussels Sprouts with Dried Cranberries

Brussels Sprouts with Dried Cranberries

This is a delicious way to eat your Brussels sprouts! Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Dried Cranberries, Sea Salt and Olive Oil. The trick is parboiling them first! They are so tender and flavorful!
We recently had company and they commented it was their first time eating a Brussels sprout! Don’t let that happen! What?? They are really just mini cabbages and have so much nutrition!
For example, they are high in nutrients! Especially bone benefiting Vitamin K. They are RICH in antioxidants that reduce oxidative stress and lower your disease risk, and they are also a great source of fiber.
Try this recipe and let me know! 👇 They aren’t only so good for you, they taste great!

Prep Time

15 minutes

Cooking Time

30 minutes

Yields

2 servings

Ingredients

2 cups Brussels sprouts
¼ cup dried cranberries
2 tbsps olive oil
Sea salt, to taste

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. Bring 3 cups water to a boil.
  3. Trim ends and wash Brussels sprouts well.
  4. Parboil for 7–9 minutes or until fork-tender.
  5. Transfer to large mixing bowl.
  6. Chop dried cranberries into small pieces.
  7. Toss Brussels sprouts with olive oil, dried cherries and salt.
  8. Transfer to baking sheet, ensuring the Brussels sprouts are in one layer, and roast for 15 minutes, or until golden-brown

Healthy Frozen Smoothie Packs – Prep Tips That Save Time, Money, and Help You Stay On Track!

Prepping your smoothies in advance is a real time saver! Have you tried it? I have found it is very convenient, and now when I run out of my pre-made packets, I get bummed. So, I try not to let that happen, because life is busy even when you are prioritizing healthy eating.

Making your own batch of single serve smoothie packets and then popping them in the freezer is cheaper than ordering them pre-made for you, faster than making a smoothie from scratch every day, and you are in control of what is in them so there are no concerns about dietary restrictions or preferences.

Here’s how to make healthy smoothie packs!

Customize the smoothie to your preference. You can really make it your own. This is directions for a base packet with many option ideas for you. The day of just dump the frozen base into your blender, add your liquid of choice and at the end add in collagen and protein powder if you desire. I highly recommend it. I don’t include the protein powder and collagen in the smoothie packs, because it tends to foam if blended too long, so adding it at the end just for a few seconds prevents that and keeps the smoothie nice and creamy.

Healthy Frozen Smoothie Packs

3/4 Cup of Frozen Berries

Greens Powder (Optional)

1 Teaspoon of Cocoa Powder (antioxidant rich)

1 Crystalized Ginger Cube or 1/4 Teaspoon of Ground Ginger (great for digestion)

Dried Figs (calcium and fiber)

___________________________________________

Other Add In Options:

Chia Seeds

Flax Seeds

Banana Chunks

Avocado

Pineapple

Mango

Spinach

Kale

Coco Nibs

Cinnamon

Grapes

Cherries

Turmeric

Having packets made in advance makes it so much easier and convenient. Whenever you want a healthy smoothie it’s prepped, so it makes it easier to stick with your healthy eating plan. You can also prep these in wide mouth mason jars if you prefer.

If you like your smoothies very cold, add ice to the blender along with your liquid. I like to do this.

Fresh fruit on top is always an option if you have some in your refrigerator and want to pamper yourself with a fancy one!

I hope these tips are helpful to you. Drop me a comment with any questions!

Happy Healthy Eating!

Gluten Free Zucchini Bread

Even though summer is notorious for an overabundance of zucchini, and baking bread is a great way to use up the extra, I have to say I love zucchini season AND zucchini bread. Also zucchini fritters, stuffed zucchini, you get it, right?

It’s cheap and cheerful, but it’s also genius the way zucchini can be transformed into a delicious loaf! It’s a veggie after all and a typically water filled one.

Well, in this recipe, there is no squeezing out of the excess water. No need for that. The loaf has a beautiful texture, is lightly sweetened with maple sugar (you can absolutely substitute pure cane sugar in equal measure), and is wonderful for snacking. I just love the maple sugar color and flavor in this loaf, and it’s a favorite sugar alternative of mine to bake with.

Gluten Free Zucchini Bread

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a medium loaf pan, and line it with parchment paper. I keep the ends of the pan free and have the parchment hanging over the long edges for easy bread removal. Make sure the ends are greased.

Ingredients:

3 Cups of Shredded Zucchini

2 Cups of Brown Rice Flour (I like this sprouted brand)

3 Eggs

1/2 Cup of Maple Sugar

1/2 Cup of Olive Oil

2 Teaspoons of Baking Soda

1 Teaspoon of Vanilla Extract

1/2 Teaspoon of Salt

Directions:

Add your shredded zucchini to a large mixing bowl.

In a separate medium bowl, whisk together the eggs, olive oil, maple sugar and vanilla extract.

Pour the egg mixture over the shredded zucchini and whisk together with a large fork. I shredded my zucchini in the food processor with the smaller shredding choice. It had fairly large shreds that worked beautifully. Shred how you like.

In a small mixing bowl, whisk together the brown rice flour, baking soda and salt.

Add the dry mixture to the wet mixture, and whisk it together with a fork.

Pour it into your prepared bread pan. Smooth the top with a spatula.

Bake in your preheated oven for 1 hour and 15 minutes until it is firm and golden brown on the top and cooked through. I used a convection oven, and all ovens are slightly different.

Remove from the oven and place the loaf in the pan on a cooling rack for five minutes. Then, using your parchment paper, lift the loaf out of the pan and take off the parchment paper. Cool completely on a wire rack.

This loaf keeps at room temperature tightly wrapped for 3 days. You can keep it in the refrigerator as well for a couple days longer shelf life.

Italian Marinated Steak, Gluten Free, Low FodMap, AIP Paleo

Grilling season is here, and this marinated steak is a great way to kick off the season. A marinade tenderizes your steak and adds a ton of flavor and can be used for any cut. I have made this with flat irons and filet mignon. Both were delicious!

Italian Marinated and Grilled Steak

For meal prep, I like to grill double the steak we will need for dinner and use the leftover steak to thinly slice for a main dish salad and lunches the next day.

Italian Steak Marinade

As always, garlic infused olive oil is incredible and I always have it on hand. If you are eating low fodmap, this is crucial for getting that wonderful garlic flavor in all your recipes!

This marinade has a delicious blend of dried chives, rosemary and oregano in it. The black pepper is optional and should be omitted if you are on an AIP protocol currently. The acid used in the marinade is red wine vinegar for the zing! Rosemary is great to use when grilling, because it helps block HCA’s – carcinogens from grilling and cooking at high temperatures.

Make sure you give the steak time to marinade. I like at least four hours. You can do eight and even overnight.

Italian Marinated Steak

Ingredients:

1 1/2 pounds of steak. This is approximately 4 flat irons or 2 Filet Mignons. But use your favorite or budget friendly cut!

For the marinade:

2 Tablespoons of Garlic infused Olive Oil

2 Tablespoons of Olive Oil

2 Tablespoons of Red Wine Vinegar

1 Tablespoon of Dried Chives

2 Teaspoons of Crushed Rosemary

1 Teaspoon of Oregano

1 Teaspoon of Salt

1/2 Teaspoon of Black Pepper (Omit if following AIP)

Directions: Whisk together the marinade ingredients. Place the steak in a shallow glass dish, pour the marinade over the steak, and coat completely. Cover and place your marinating steak into the refrigerator for at least 4 hours and up to overnight, flipping once.

When you are ready to grill, remove the steak from the marinade and put them on a platter for 30 minutes before grilling.

Steak is a great source of B12 vitamins, and leftover steak is wonderful for topping a lunch salad with the next day.

Are you ready for Summer with Safe Sunscreen and some delicious Memorial Day Recipes?

Hey, friends! Who’s ready for the unofficial start of summer? I sure am! Longer days mean more fun outdoors, but most especially – no more virtual school! 🤞 I can’t believe my youngest is graduating. We’re excited for summer break as a family paddle boarding, boating, swimming, going to the beach, picnics, eating outdoors, biking, bocce ball (yes our new lawn grass is coming up!). 💥

Time to stock up on all things sun! How about you? Are you ready? If not, it’s the perfect time! I’m getting my sunscreen and replenishing some of my makeup favs and getting the freebie. It’s been about a year since Beauty Counter had a giveaway like this and the value on these minis is 32 for the resurfacing peel and 26 for the supreme cream! I love a good stackable deal! Use codes, credits, combined with a choice of free gift with purchase! You’ll find the details and all this below:

https://www.beautycounter.com/sandrashields is where you can to to get the free gift!

From now until June 1st you can choose between a Free mini Countertime Resurfacing Peel or Countertime Tetrapeptide Supreme Cream!

The Resurfacing Peel is GREAT for evening skin tone and removing any dark spots, increasing skins clarity and radiance. You wear it overnight! It’s lovely and light!

The Countertime Supreme Cream (night cream) supports elasticity and visibly firms while minimizing the look of fine lines and wrinkles. With continued use your skin will be more radiant and youthful-looking. This feels very indulgent!

If you are a new Beauty Counter Customer you can stack this deal with the CLEANFORALL20 coupon code! If you are a Band of Beauty Member you can combine this deal with your credits!

I LOVE Beauty Counter’s Zinc Based Sunscreens! We use them all Summer long and they come in Stick, Spray and Lotion and even a Tinted Spray Sunscreen in Two shades as well as a clear zinc face sunscreen! I put together some ideas for you below. If you have any questions, I am here. I will put my Beauty Counter link below so you can find me. If you hadn’t seen my Beauty Counter posts in the past, I am a consultant for Beauty Counter a great place to go to get safer products in your hands!

Keep reading for some delicious Memorial Day weekend food ideas!

Try this Greek Salad with Salmon Skewers this weekend!

This is a delicious one bowl main dish salad! Paleo, Gluten Free

Another winner of a salad is my Lemon Chicken Bistro Salad! It has loads of color and flavor and is very festive!

Lemon Chicken Bistro Salad, AIP Option, SCD, Paleo, GAPS and Gluten Free

This Peach Mango Sorbet is very refreshing, light and tasty!

Refreshing Peach Mango Sorbet AIP and Paleo

I hope you have a wonderful kick off to the unofficial start to Summer this weekend doing some things you love and eating good food!

Here’s the link again to get your Summer zinc based sunscreen from me and your gift!

https://www.beautycounter.com/sandrashields

Sweet and Sour Pineapple BBQ Sauce SCD, Low FodMap, AIP

I’m always on the hunt for new healthy sauces I can make that are versatile and can be used throughout the week to make meals more interesting and delicious!

This Sweet and Sour BBQ is a very versatile sauce that you can use on chicken, vegetables and as a dipping sauce for delicious savory sweet and sour flavor. You will love that the ingredients in this sauce are so good for you with very little added sweetener. It’s the pineapple that gives it most of it’s sweetness with a little smoked salt, honey and cider vinegar for sweet tanginess. there is also a little butternut squash puree in it to give it beautiful color, creaminess and sneak in some veggies that kids won’t even know is there. This recipe is SCD, Low Fodmap and AIP Paleo!

Sweet and Sour Pineapple BBQ Sauce SCD Low FodMap

Ingredients:

1 Can of Native Forest Organic Pineapple Chunks (14 oz.) This is in it’s own juice only

1/2 Cup of Pureed Cooked Butternut Squash

1/4 Cup of Apple Cider Vinegar

2 Tablespoons of Garlic Infused Olive Oil

2 Tablespoons of Clover Honey (clover honey is low fodmap if under 2 tablespoons)

1 Teaspoon of Ground Ginger

1/4 Teaspoon of Smoked Salt (optional but highly recommended)

3/4 Teaspoon of Salt (use a whole teaspoon if omitting the smoked salt)

In a high speed blender, blend all the ingredients using the whole can of pineapple with the juice. Do not drain. Pour the blended ingredients into a medium saucepan, and bring to a boil on the stovetop. When the BBQ sauce comes to a boil, turn the heat down to a simmer, and simmer for 15 minutes until it has reduced by a third, stirring often.

Cool the sauce if you are not using it right away. Pour the BBQ sauce into a container and store it in the refrigerator.

Yesterday, I made some crab spring rolls using rice spring roll wrappers in my air fryer, and this sauce was delicious to dip them in. You can also make a double batch and freeze half. It’s so good to have a variety of homemade sauces on hand with no additives!

Safer Skin Care with Bright Side Duo from Beauty Counter!

Beauty Counter All Bright C Serum and Overnight Resurfacing Peel Duo Safer Skin Care

Beauty Counter Bright Side Duo is back tomorrow. May 11th! This sold out quickly last time it launched. It is a great way to get both the All Bright Vitamin C Serum I’m talking radiance and antioxidants without irritation (I love this serum!) and the pm Overnight Resurfacing Peel to boost clarity, texture and radiance while you sleep, in a set of smaller bottles with a great price point!


I love both of these and use the Vitamin C serum in the am and the overnight resurfacing peel (it’s so easy to use and non-irritating) every other night. Beauty Counter is a leader in safer skin care. What would you like to better with your skin’s appearance? Go here to look at all their fantastic face and body products. Questions? I’m here! Health is whole body, mind, food, and very importantly what you put on it too!

Don’t worry, if the duo sells out, it is still available in the full sized bottles. The duo is a great way to get started and get glowing, even skin!

These two are a power couple for healthy, beautiful skin with no regrets!


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