I love comfort food in the winter months, and have been on a soup kick lately, so wanted to try something new. These Philly cheesesteak stuffed bell peppers have minimal prep time, are packed with flavor, and are a family-approved hit!

Philly Cheesesteak Stuffed Peppers 🌶🧀
Ingredients:
  • • Sliced baby bellas, washed
  • • 1 yellow onion, chopped
  • • 1/4 cup pickled jalapeños, chopped
  • • 1 ribeye, sliced and chopped
  • • 3 stalks of green onion, chopped
  • • Salt & pepper
  • • Cajun seasoning
  • • Onion powder
  • • Garlic powder
  • • 2 tablespoons of Worcestershire sauce
  • • Variety of bell peppers, washed and sliced in half, seeds removed
  • • 1 packet of provolone cheese
  • • 2 tablespoons Olive oil
  • • Dried parsley
  • Directions

    1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees

    2. In a large pan, add olive oil and warm at medium

    3. Add mushrooms and sauté until browned

    4. Add chopped onion and sauté onions and mushrooms until onions are browned

    5. While veggies are cooking, finely chop your steak 🥩

    6. Remove veggies and set aside in a bowl

    7. In the same pan, add steak and cook until medium. Season with salt, pepper, Cajun seasoning, garlic powder, onion powder, and Worcestershire sauce

    4. Add veggies back to pan

    5. Add chopped jalapeños (save a few to sprinkle on top).

    6. Line an edged baking pan with foil or parchment paper

    7. Add peppers to baking pan

    8. Line peppers with a small amount of provolone cheese, leaving plenty to put on top

    9. Add veggie + steak mix on top of cheese, packing down until full

    10. Add cheese on top

    11. Sprinkle jalapeños, dried parsley, seasonings atop cheese

    12. Bake @400 for 20-25 minutes/until cheese is lightly browned

    13. Sprinkle with green onions and serve immediately (with garlic bread) 🧄🥖

    Lately, I’ve been getting a lot of DMs about #Endometriosis again, so here is an overview of what the disease is, common symptoms, my personal experience, and what your first steps should be when looking for answers —

    Endometriosis is a condition affecting 1 in 10 women, worldwide, in which “cells similar to those in the endometrium, the layer of tissue that normally covers the inside of the uterus, grow outside of it” (Via Wikipedia — Source: nichd.nih.gov, 2017).

    Screen Shot 2020-01-14 at 6.00.03 PM

    Common symptoms are chronic, painful pelvic pain, heavy bleeding during menstruation and painful, long-lasting periods, infertility, dyspareunia/painful sex, back pain, leg pain, GI issues, food aversions and sensitivities, migraines, hormonal imbalances, acne, dysmenorrhea/cramping, urinary tract issues, rectal pain, pain with bowel movements, UTIs, urinary pain, inflammation, chronic fatigue, and more.

    The ONLY WAY TO BE DIAGNOSED WITH ENDOMETRIOSIS IS VIA LAPAROSCOPY.  YOU CAN NOT DETECT ENDOMETRIOSIS LESIONS AND/OR ADHESIONS BY ULTRASOUND, MRI, X-RAY OR CT SCAN.

    There is no cure for Endometriosis and no non-invasive treatment considered gold standard or best practice. Currently, the only gold standard/best short and long-term treatment option is excision surgery of endometriosis adhesions and lesions — often found in the uterus, the vagina, the cervix, the ovaries, the fallopian tubes, the peritoneum, the bladder, the vulva, the rectum, the bowels, the appendix, the lungs, the liver, and other tissues/ligaments, and organs (in rare cases endometriosis has been found in the brain).

    A HYSTERECTOMY IS NOT A CURE. PREGNANCY IS NOT A CURE. BIRTH CONTROL IS NOT A CURE. GOING VEGAN IS NOT A CURE. BEING “ALL NATURAL” IS NOT A CURE. HORMONAL/PRE-MENOPAUSE PILLS OR INJECTIONS ARE NOT A CURE. I repeat — the gold standard treatment is excision surgery with a trained specialist.

    “There are multiple causes of pain. Endometriosis lesions react to hormonal stimulation and may ‘bleed’ at the time of menstruation. The blood accumulates locally if it is not cleared shortly by the immune, circulatory, and lymphatic system. This may further lead to swelling, which triggers inflammation with the activation of cytokines, which results in pain. Another source of pain is the organ dislocation that arises from adhesion binding internal organs to each other. The ovaries, the uterus, the oviducts, the peritoneum, and the bladder can be bound together. Pain triggered in this way can last throughout the menstrual cycle, not just during menstrual periods” (via Wikipedia — source: Murray MT, Pizzorno J (2012). The Encyclopedia of Natural Medicine (3rd ed.). New York, NY: Simon and Schuster.).

    Endometriotic lesions “can also develop their own nerve supply, thereby creating a direct and two-way interaction between lesions and the central nervous system, potentially producing a variety of individual differences in pain that can, in some women, become independent of the disease itself” (via Wikipedia — source: Stratton P, Berkley KJ (2011). ‘Chronic pelvic pain and endometriosis: translational evidence of the relationship and implications’).

    So, you think you have Endometriosis? Track your symptoms and journal them. Tell your PCP and OBGYN you suspect you have Endometriosis based on your symptoms and level of pain. Join Nancy’s Nook on Facebook and download all the files/read through them all. YOU OBGYN IS MOST LIKELY NOT EDUCATED IN ENDOMETRIOSIS AND YOU NEED TO SEE A SPECIALIST WHO IS TRAINED EXTENSIVELY IN EXCISION SURGERY. THIS CAN SAVE YOUR ORGANS AND YOUR FERTILITY. DO NOT ACCEPT A LAPAROSCOPY BY AN OBGYN WHO DOES NOT DO EXCISION. Ask for a referral to an excision specialist in your area. Write appeals if your health insurance denies you — do not take no for an answer. Consider taking out a personal loan if you have to, in order to get proper treatment and help get your life back and reduce daily pain.

    You do not deserve to live in chronic pain, and also do not deserve to be in debt over a condition that affects 1:10 women, however, unfortunately, this is our reality in women’s health care right now, and you need to decide the pros and cons and risks and rewards.

    Lupron is not a cure for Endometriosis. Orlissa is not a cure for Endometriosis. These drugs often have life-long side-effects, like insomnia, anxiety, depression, cystic acne, hot flashes, and may affect your future fertility.

    What did I do for my Endometriosis? After 2 years of agony and my primary care doctor convinced I was bat-shit crazy, she finally said, “Maybe you have Endometriosis??” I had never heard this term before and was sent BACK to my OBGYN to discuss options. I demanded to be opened up so they could tell me what was going on inside my body. I had previously tried practically all naturopathic and holistic options: acupuncture, cupping, massage, going vegan, cutting out sugar, carbs, dairy, red meat, carbonation, my soul…as well as taking birth control, taking anti-inflammatories, seeing a therapist, and being referred to psychiatry because clearly, “this pain was in my head.”

    I finally had a laparoscopy by my OBGYN. He was clueless about Endometriosis, did not do excision (burned the lesions and adhesions), and made my pain worse. I also had two post-op infections and couldn’t even get through to their office to get proper antibiotics or a follow-up appointment. I literally flew from San Diego to Sacramento and had to see a random OBGYN off of YELP to make sure I wasn’t sepsis or dying. Disgusting way to treat a patient, especially when my surgery was done by the Head of the OBGYN Department at one of the top hospitals in San Diego. Despicable, really. I was never given photos from surgery or a proper diagnosis/post-op report. I was never given a stage of my Endometriosis — “a complex point system that assesses lesions and adhesions in the pelvic organs…that assesses physical disease only, not the level of pain or infertility; A person with Stage I endometriosis may have a little disease and severe pain, while a person with Stage IV endometriosis may have severe disease and no pain or vice versa” (via Wikipedia; Source: Vercellini P, Fedele L, Aimi G, Pietropaolo G, Consonni D, Crosignani PG (January 2007). “Association between endometriosis stage, lesion type, patient characteristics and severity of pelvic pain symptoms: a multivariate analysis of over 1000 patients”. Human Reproduction).

    My first surgery was extremely traumatic, however, I was given a diagnosis of Endometriosis (the first time I have heard about this term besides from my PCP mentioning it once), and I was given a fire under my ass to become educated, empowered, and do whatever it took to get the care I deserved for this hellish condition. I moved from San Diego to northern California for family support for my son and me.

    I found 2 excision specialists in the bay area — one did not accept insurance at all, and one needed a referral from my health insurance. I got the referral from my new primary care physician to see the specialist at Stanford (as they were part of the same health system/company I see), but Sutter denied me. They said my OBGYN had “extensive training in Endometriosis.” The only thing he had extensive training in was telling people there was no surgery that would help and that pregnancy and birth control were the only cure. He also said it was “too bad I was divorced so I just couldn’t have another baby.” Wow — welcome to 2020.

    When open-enrollment came around, I found another excision specialist off the Nancy Nook list who was only 40 minutes away from me. It was also the first year ever my work offered health insurance to us. I immediately enrolled and paid for the most expensive HMO Plus insurance plan since this OBGYN/excision specialist was miraculously on it. I had an appointment with him and felt heard and understood for the first time EVER.

    We came up with a plan to tide me over until surgery, and scheduled surgery when I had zero will to continue living in the pain I was in. Daily tasks were impossible and my chronic pain and chronic fatigue were stealing my motherhood and my spirit.

    I had excision surgery in December 2019, and have taken continuous birth control since to stop periods and ovulation. The combination of these two “treatments” gave me my life back. Gave me my professional career path back. Gave me my journey through mom-life back. Brought the most wonderful partner into my world, and I now live more days pain-free than in pain, which I lost hope of.

    Please remember to keep fighting for yourself. Keep speaking up. Read, study, and examine EVERYTHING ABOUT ENDOMETRIOSIS.

    Then, decide what’s right for you…

    You can read more about my personal experience in an interview for ABC and Good Morning America, here, and hear more about my story in an article in SHAPE, here, and an article in sheknows, here.

    P.S. — If you have a laparoscopy and no lesions or adhesions / Endometriosis is found after your tissue samples are sent to pathology, look into the following conditions: adenomyosis, pelvic adhesions, pelvic inflammatory disease, congenital anomalies of the reproductive tract, and ovarian or tubal masses (via Wikipedia — Source: Practice Committee of the American Society for Reproductive Medicine (April 2014). “Treatment of pelvic pain associated with endometriosis: a committee opinion”. Fertility and Sterility).

    P.P.S. — Please follow @speakupspeakendo on Instagram or Speak Up Speak Endo on Facebook so you never feel alone. It’s a collaborative space where women all over the world speak up speak endo, sharing their voices and their symptoms, daily life with Endometriosis, and their overall experience living with a chronic illness.

    Find more of my articles within my blog —

    “An Open Letter to My Endometriosis” 

    “You Know You Have Endometriosis When”

    Featured on ABC News and Good Morning America

    I can’t even contain myself enough to type this without freaking out, but I am THRILLED, HUMBLED, EXCITED, and absolutely amazed to be featured on ABC News and Good Morning America today, even showing up on some of my friend’s iPhones in their “trending news” home-screens.

    Click here to read the article!!!

    THIS is why I continue to keep speaking up and speaking out about Endometriosis and fiercely advocating.

    A disease that affects 1 in 10 women and takes an average of 10 years to be diagnosed needs to be shouted off the mountaintops so no one suffers like we have…there needs to be an increase in funding and an increase in awareness so research can be done to find a cause, a cure, and a treatment besides removing organs or putting women on medicine that puts them into menopause with life-long side effects.

    THANK YOU, Katie, for sharing a piece my story and my Endo journey.

    You can see more about how I advocate for Endometriosis and women’s health on my blog, Salty Sweet Seasons, and my foundation, Speak Up Speak Endo.

    When it comes to a breakup, there’s no handbook, there’s no guide, and there’s no set of answers that act like a magic wand with a cure for a broken heart.

    Whether your breakup meant losing a partner of 2 years, 10 years, a legal separation, or a divorce with a custody battle, or anything in between, there’s a few things in common – hurt and heartache and the question, “Will this ever hurt less?”. Eventually; it’s going to take time, being proactive, and giving yourself permission to feel, heal, and grow. They say humans are like plants with complicated emotions – this is true; you need to find sunshine, drink water, and give yourself TLC.

    Do you know the top things you owe yourself right now? Time to heal. Time to find yourself. Time to give yourself the power and the right to move on, move forward, and move toward creating a new life. Because, even plants sometimes get uprooted and have to find a new home…

    Even amongst the pain and the chaos, there are some things you can do to empower, love, and celebrate yourself; yes, even during such a difficult time of grief and loss. Because, after all, whether you’ve been cheated on or are the one to end a relationship, it’s never easy to walk away from a future you once saw yourself having with a partner that was most likely your best friend and partner-in-life. And, I know it sounds so fucking cliche, and you’re going to want to punch me through whatever glowing screen you’re reading this on, but everything (okay, I’ll meet you halfway) MOST things happen for a reason. I know you most likely do not see or feel that deep in your heart yet, but you will. Have faith (and this doesn’t mean the religious kind, necessarily; have general faith that YOU’VE GOT THIS). Because, you do. Even if it doesn’t feel like you can even put one foot in front of the other right now…you will.

    While there are a few obvious coping mechanisms that can help mend a broken heart, like friends buying you flowers, eating your favorite pint of Ben & Jerry’s, listening to sad songs on repeat, having a couple margaritas, going to yoga, or making yourself go walk in the sunshine to be around nature and fresh air, there are other things that may take a little more effort, but are well worth the reward: long-term healing.

    What’s one thing no one tells you enough during a breakup or divorce? To LOVE ON YOURSELF NON-STOP throughout the whole process, otherwise, in the blink of an eye, your mental health and well-being will absolutely fall apart.

    No one reminds you enough that you need to remember your self-worth, your value, and that you need to always try to find joy (even from the smallest things) amongst the pain; to try and find peace amongst the chaos – even when it feels absolutely impossible. And, some days, it will be impossible to hold your head up high or even hold it together, and that is okay. Feel the deep feelings, cry a big cry, sleep until noon, stay in your PJs for a weekend and don’t shave your legs for two weeks or wash your hair for 5 days…eat your favorite comfort foods, order pizza, and hide under the covers. BUT, don’t get in the habit of doing those things for too long. Remember, your mental health needs you to learn coping mechanisms. Don’t hide from yourself and the life you deserve to have; one person does not take that away from you, and neither does a failed relationship.

    Healing is painful, change is scary, and growth is hard – and so is a breakup or divorce. SO, my friend Alexandra of The Splendid Path, formally known as Divorce Before 30, and I are bringing you 10 Ways to Find Healing Post-Breakup Or Divorce. You’ll find my 5 must-dos here, and her 5 here.

    When it comes to giving yourself a little TLC during a time of grief, here are my top 5 must-dos:

    1. Go to therapy
    2. Gain financial stability
    3. Remove shared items
    4. Exercise and eat nourishing foods
    5. Pick up a new hobby, or get back into an old one

    1. GO TO THERAPY

    When a relationship or a marriage ends, you will most likely experience small or big feelings of grief, fear, anxiety, depression, loss, and more. Seeing a licensed therapist can help sort out your emotions that are probably all over the place. They can help give you back a sense of pride and confidence you may have lost before, during, or after a relationship and a breakup. Professional advice goes further than advice from your besties, because, they are a neutral party who want you to get better; they want to help you, and they want to make a plan for you to live your best life, through ways that have been studied and proven effective via research and scientific data. Do your friends want you to be happy and move on, too? Of course. But they can’t give you professional advice in a safe place where you can openly communicate all your thoughts and feelings with zero bias like a licensed therapist can.

    Finding the right therapist is like trying samples at Costco; you’ll most likely hate a couple, find a couple that are just lukewarm, and love one. Don’t be afraid to go to the therapist buffet until you find someone who’s a good fit for you and your situation. For example, if you’re struggling with anxiety and depression, it can be helpful to find a LMFT (Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist) who also specializes in CBT (cognitive behavioral therapy) to help you with your relationship issues on top of getting to the root of where your anxiety and depression are stemming from / focus on a plan for you to move forward and feel better. You deserve to feel better. You will feel better. Trust the process, and know that having a therapist does NOT make you weak; it’s one of the strongest things you can do – to take care of yourself from the inside out.

    2. GAIN FINANCIAL STABILITY

    After a breakup, it can be a reality check to lose your co-dependency to a partner, emotionally AND financially. Used to splitting meal costs when you eat out or pick up groceries? Now it’s all you and your one-person income and paychecks. Used to splitting rent or the mortgage? Time to speak to a financial advisor about your options moving forwad. In debt? Let’s figure out how to pay it off; remember to baby steps; it’s the turtle that wins the race against the hare.

    Were you a stay-at-home mom who’s partner brought home the bacon? It’s time to figure out how you’re going to stay afloat. CHANGE IS FUCKING SCARY. But, if you’re willing to make sacrifices, you CAN gain financial freedom again. Whether it’s refinancing a loan for a lower interest rate, making a plan to pay off your credit card, picking up a second job to keep your house or your car, it won’t be easy, but you.can.do.it. Start by scheduling a meeting with a financial advisor, and don’t be afraid to reach out to friends and family you trust to get their recommendations. Also, think of small ways that add up…can you sell clothes you no longer wear? Are you creative? If so, can you sell things on Etsy? Can you pick up freelance work or ask for a promotion at work? If you’re a stay-at-home-mom, look into child care or affordable pre-school options so you can re-enter the workplace. Can your family help out at all? Explore the best options for you and your new situation; don’t be afraid to ask for help.

    sage

    3. REMOVE SHARED ITEMS

    Marie Kondo the shit out of your house, now. This one is so important for your mental health and moving forward. Remember that Dave Matthews concert you went to together in college? Take the picture out of a frame and put it in a lockbox under your bed (or throw it away). That couch you both spent countless hours watching Netflix on? Sell it and get a new one. That stuffed animal he won you at a carnival? Burn it. Okay, maybe that was excessive…donate it to a children’s hospital. Those sheets you both curled up in the last couple years you had sex on 23498 times or ate breakfast in bed on? Or made babies in? GET THEM THE FUCK OUT OF YOUR HOUSE.

    All of this may sound really negative and weird, but, I mean, do you want to sit around your house crying over all the things you see that remind you of all the memories you shared? Maybe for the first few weeks, but then it’s time to get empowered rather than sad and take your life back, sweet girl. Remember, we are focusing on moving on. Moving forward. Moving upward and onward. For YOU. Oh, I know how hard and painful this is, especially the mere thought of even getting rid of special relics; that’s why, you can always start by hiding things in a closet, your garage, storage unit, or under your bed.

    When my ex-husband moved out, I took down all our wedding photos and put them under my bed after the first week; I was already crying myself to sleep without seeing our photos on the walls, so I took every.single.one. down. I cried, a lot. But it was oddly therapeutic to have things out of sight (even though they weren’t out of mind at this point). I saged the shit out of my house, I hung new photos up, I decorated it with all the bachelorette decor and colors and scents that I wanted. What did I do next? I put in a notice for my son and I to move out of the house we shared and move into a new rental house on the complete other side of town; my home was now just a house, and when I got rid of all our shared items, I closed an old chapter of my life and let the universe know I was ready to begin healing, and that was up to me to initiate. After all, during a breakup, the only one who can heal your broken heart is you (and time).

    4. FIND WELLNESS: EXERCISE, JOURNAL AND EAT NOURISHING FOODS

    Raise your hand and repeat after me: I solemnly swear to EAT during my breakup, even when I have zero appetite. And, if I don’t feel like eating actual food that requires both chewing and swallowing, I will make a protein shake or buy Ensure so I don’t whither away. I will promise to treat myself with love, which comes from nourishing foods, nature, and movement. I will try a workout class that’s intimidated me in the past. I will get zen AF in a local yoga studio I walk by on the weekends. I will go to my neighborhood farmer’s market and buy something to make a new recipe. I will treat myself to a mani/pedi and a massage. I will call a friend to go on a walk, a bike ride, skiing, or on an adventure with me to get the F out of my house. And I will tell friends if I am not okay and I will ask for help so I am not alone during this difficult time.

    Did you do that? Did you read that aloud? Good, I’m proud of you. Now, repeat it: I solemnly swear to EAT during my breakup, even when I have zero appetite. And, if I don’t feel like eating actual food that requires both chewing and swallowing, I will make a protein shake or buy Ensure so I don’t whither away. I will promise to treat myself with love, which comes from nourishing foods, nature, and movement. I will try a workout class that’s intimidated me in the past. I will get zen AF in a local yoga studio I walk by on the weekends. I will go to my neighborhood farmer’s market and buy something to make a new recipe. I will treat myself to a mani/pedi and a massage. I will call a friend to go on a walk, a bike ride, skiing, or on an adventure with me to get the F out of my house. And I will tell friends if I am not okay and I will ask for help so I am not alone during this difficult time.

    I need you to remember your worth and treat your body like the glowing goddess you are. A breakup will make you feel everything but beautiful, so I also want you to repeat this out loud AND write it down; I also want you to write yourself a mantra every.single.day and fill your mirror with sticky notes full of self-love (check out the #iamcollab hashtag on Instagram). Okay, back to your mantra; read this out loud:

    I am stronger than how I feel in this moment in time where I feel so weak.

    I am tired, so I will rest.

    I am beautiful; I have a body I will respect and cherish. 

    I will get through this, even on the days I feel completely broken. 

    Because, I AM NOT BROKEN. I AM NOT FLAWED. This is temporary. I WILL HEAL. 

    I am worthy and have SO much to offer the world. 

    I am more than the doubt that sometimes goes through my head.

    I am a good person filled with kindness.

    I will give myself so much grace right now. 

    I AM NOT FLAWED. I AM NOT BROKEN. This is temporary. I WILL HEAL. 

    THERE ARE BETTER DAYS AHEAD.

    5. PICK UP A NEW HOBBY, OR GET BACK INTO AN OLD ONE

    Let your soul shine, you babe. There’s no time like the present, and I KNOW since you’re going through a breakup, you have time….yep, you do. All those moments you’re going to spend stalking your ex’s social media? Put your phone down right meow and allot that time to something productive, something fun, something creative; something for you…something other than trying to join a Law and Order investigative squad. You are not in the CIA, the FBI, or a private investigator, so give your fingers and your soul a break and find a positive outlet. Do you know what you gain when you stalk social media? ANXIETY. SELF-DOUBT. ANGER. DEPRESSION. YOU DO NOT DESERVE THAT and you are going through enough heartache; don’t search for another dagger.

    Your mental health deserves a break. You deserve peace. You deserve healing. And, your life deserves to have something in it that you look forward to. Have you always wanted to learn how to play the guitar? Always wanted to take voice lessons? Dreamed of learning calligraphy or how to paint in watercolors? Always wanted to join a yoga studio or spin studio? Adopt a dog? There’s no time like the present, sweet thing. Getting back into an old hobby you put aside for a relationship, or starting something you’ve always dreamt about, is like sunshine to the body and spirit; vitamin D for the sou. No one deserves something bright in their life more than you do right now in this exact phase of life and in this present moment; chase those dreams, and make new ones.

    I know this time is hard. I know this phase makes you feel broken inside. I know this time makes you feel insecure – about yourself, your past, and the future you envisioned. That’s why you deserve to find yourself again. Those 5 things above will help you do that, I promise, BUT you have to commit to them. Healing doesn’t happen overnight, and neither does success. You can only fail and stay stuck in one place when you’re not actively trying to move on. Lean on your friends, cry, fall down, and get back up; over and over again. And when you feel like you can’t do that yourself? Grab onto something to lift you up (NOT someone); put yourself first right now, be selfish, love yourself, and before you know it, you’ll see that one door closes so others can open. You probably won’t see that tomorrow, next week, or even a month from now, but you will.

    YOU ARE STRONG. YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL. YOU ARE GOING TO HAVE SUCH INCREDIBLE OPPORTUNITIES COME TO YOU. FIGHT FOR YOURSELF, YOUR WELL-BEING, AND REMEMBER THAT YOU ARE WORTHY OF HAPPINESS. Let yourself find it again. Let yourself heal.

    Want to learn 5 more things that can help you heal and move forward post breakup? Head over to my friend Alexandra at The Splendid Path and read her 5 tips here at thespendidpath.com.

    Want a sneak peek at what she has to say? Here are the things she’ll be chatting about:

    • Take the trip you always dreamed about
    • Plan a boudoir photoshoot
    • Do an overhaul on your wardrobe
    • Makeover your space
    • Cut out any toxic people in your life
    • Commit to “dating” yourself once a week

    Cheers to the strong women who go through tough times; they are the ones who have stories to tell and will change the world. One day at a time, sweet girl. One day at a time. You are an incredible human being and this chapter of life is being written so you can enter your sequel.

    xoxo

    It’s winter, which means I’m always freezing AF once it drops below 60. It’s been in the 30s here at night, so I’m being a baby, and have a legit reason to be cold. Anyway, you didn’t come here for a weather report, you came here for these healthy delish donuts, so here we go…

    I was hungry and having insomnia so got out of bed with the intention of making pancakes. As I started grabbing ingredients, as soon as I got out the oats, I knew I wanted to bake instead. I was grabbing my muffin pan when I saw my donut mold (collecting dust and feeling unloved), so I grabbed that instead and started randomly mixing ingredients; unsweetened, shredded coconut + allergy-free chocolate chips + gluten free almond flour and ding ding — the healthy Almond Joy donut was born.

    materials needed:

    • silicone donut baking mold
    • spray avocado + coconut oil
    • edged baking pan

    ingredients:

    • pinch of salt
    • 1/4 cup unsweetened, shredded coconut (optional: lightly toast)
    • 2 tablespoons almond butter (or sunflower butter if nut-free).
    • 1 cup almond flour (use GF flour if nut-free)
    • 1/2 cup coconut flour
    • 1/2 cup gluten free flour (Bob’s RedMill 1:1 baking is my fav)
    • 1 cup gluten free oats
    • 3 eggs
    • 1 1/2 scoops Vital Proteins beef gelatin
    • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
    • 1/4 cup orange juice
    • 1/2 cup coconut sugar
    • 2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
    • 2 tablespoons apple sauce
    • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
    • 1/4 cup allergy-free chocolate chips (I use Enjoy Life)
    • 1 1/2 cups unsweetened almond milk
    • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
    • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
    • 2 tablespoons coconut oil, melted
    • 2 tablespoons hemp seeds
    • 1 tablespoon raw cacao powder

    directions:

    1. preheat oven to 375 F
    2. in a large mixing bowl, add all dry ingredients
    3. add all wet ingredients
    4. using a mixer or spoon, mix until ingredients are in a batter-like consistency
    5. spray donut pan with oil (I use the Chosen Foods avocado + coconut oil brand)
    6. spoon mixer into donut pan
    7. when all batter is evenly distributed, gently use a spoon to press batter down into mold
    8. bake at 375 degrees F for about 20 minutes, or until toothpick comes out clean. check at 15 minutes to make sure they still need more time.
    9. let cool and while they’re cooling, move on to streusel topping (below)
    10. once donuts are cool, add raw, unsweetened almond butter on top of donuts then once streusel is cooked, add streusel on top of it, push down.
    11. optional: melt dairy free chocolate chips and drizzle on top, or sprinkle dairy free chocolate chips and more toasted coconut flakes on top (or all of the above, which is pictured).
    12. best enjoyed fresh, so enjoy!
    13. store in the refrigerator for up to 3 days

    cinnamon streusel topping:

    ingredients:

    • 1/2 cup almond flour
    • 1 tablespoon coconut flour
    • 1 tablespoon Bobs Redmill 1:1 Gluten Free Baking Flour
    • 3 tablespoons maple syrup
    • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
    • 1/4 cup brown sugar or coconut sugar, or mix of both
    • 1/4 cup pecans, walnuts, or almonds (or a mix), smashed
    • 4 tablespoons coconut or avocado oil
    • 1/2 cup unsweetened coconut flakes
    • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

    directions: 

    1. preheat oven to 300 F
    2. add all dry ingredients to a medium-sized mixing bowl and mix
    3. add coconut/avocado oil and mix until evenly coated
    4. spray edged baking sheet with coconut + avocado blend (I use Chosen Foods)
    5. bake at 300 F for 6 minutes, then remove pan to stir and cook for another 5 minutes, making sure coconut is not burning
    6. bake until your house smells yummy and coconut does not burn (I did a total of 12 minutes, stirring granola every 4 minutes).
    7. remove and let cool
    8. add almond butter to donuts then add streusel on top of it, push down.
    9. optional: melt dairy free chocolate chips and drizzle on top, or add DF chocolate chips and more toasted coconut flakes (or all of the above, which is pictured).

    When it come to potatoes, I actually kind of despise them? If it weren’t for the cardiologist telling me I need to eat them to boost my potassium, and my rheumatologist telling me to eat them as a carb since I have to cut grains and gluten, I’d probably be like a nun and sex…could live without them 🙅🏼‍♀️🤷🏼‍♀️

    But since I’m not a nun and not eating bread (and SICK OF ROASTED CUBES), I played in the kitchen today. So, here’s my newest recipe, perfect in time for the holidays…

    Dairy-free, gluten-free and AIP-friendly, vegan, and vegetarian optional mashed purple sweet potatoes —

    INGREDIENTS:

    • 3 XL purple sweet potatoes OR regular purple potatoes if not AIP (organic if you can find them)
    • 2 teaspoons organic onion powder
    • 2 tablespoons dried chives
    • 6 tablespoons organic olive oil
    • Salt
    • 3/4 – 1 1/4 cup organic bone broth OR vegetable stock if vegan/vegetarian
    • Sprig of rosemary, with herbs picked off
    • 1/2-1 tablespoon organic ground ginger
    • Pinch of thyme
    • 2 tablespoons garlic powder or less – or chopped garlic **leave out if following AIP
    • Bag of organic rainbow baby carrots or bundle of organic rainbow carrots

    DIRECTIONS:

    1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees F
    2. Peel and wash purple sweet potatoes
    3. Cube into small 1/2-1″ cubes
    4. Peel, wash, and chop rainbow carrots
    5. Lightly oil large baking trays (make sure they have sides so grease doesn’t drip into oven)
    6. In a large bowl, add cubed potatoes, carrots, olive oil, salt, and spices. Mix until evenly coated. Add more spices or olive oil if desired
    7. Add cubes onto trays, so they all lay flat and not on top of each other
    8. Put trays in oven and cook at 450 for 15 minutes. Toss sweet potatoes and bake for another 15. When cooked fully, remove from oven. ** Turn heat down if 450 is too hot and they start to burn
    9. Remove from oven and let cool
    10. Once veggies are cooled, add them to a Vitamix
    11. Add broth and blend on high until smooth and creamy
    12. Remove from Vitamix immediately.
    13. Add more salt and herbs/spices to taste.
    14. Serve immediately as a side or incorporate into another recipe / meal prep
    15. Enjoy!

    I really find so much joy in seeing you make my recipes. Please share with me if you do by tagging me on Instagram, @saltysweetseasons and using the hashtag #saltysweetseasons. From my kitchen to yours, I’m so grateful for you!

    Oh hello, there! It’s been a minute.

    I’ve been struggling with my Endometriosis and autoimmune, so I am now following the AIP diet per the recommendation of my docs to try and reduce inflammation in my body. I have been struggling to prep enough and eat totally fresh, but thanks to the help and encouragement of my friend doing keto, we brainstormed some recipe ideas and I turned them into new staple meals.

    Like this AIP Bone Broth and Grass-Fed Meatball Soup

    INGREDIENTS:

    • @bonafideprovisions chicken bone broth
    • Salt
    • Turmeric
    • Ground black pepper
    • Chives
    • Mini meatballs (just pure ground organic grass fed beef, salt, pepper, garlic salt)
    • Steamed sliced carrots
    • Steamed celery
    • Steamed sweet potato
    • Avocado to top (optional — leave out if following low-histamine)
    • Top with sage, parsley, cilantro

    DIRECTIONS:

    1. Steam all veggies
    2. Once steamed, add them to big pot to sauté for about 5 minutes
    3. Add bone broth to veggies and let boil
    4. Cook meatballs until well-done
    5. Add chives
    6. Once meatballs are well done, add them and let simmer for 20 minutes
    7. Add more salt to taste
    8. Optional – top with avocado, parsley, sage, and cilantro (or add herbs while simmering)
    9. Serve and enjoy!

    When it comes to tacos, I’m kind of obsessed that there are literally 2648497 different ways to make them. And the good news is, here is another combo to add to your list (AND it works for breakfast, lunch, or dinner).

    First, let’s start with the roasted sweet potato recipe:

    Ingredients:

    • 3 large sweet potatoes, washed, peeled, and cubed
    • 1/8 teaspoon organic curry powder
    • 1/8 teaspoon turmeric
    • Ground pepper
    • 1/2 teaspoon Trader Joe’s Everything seasoning
    • 4 fresh leaves of basil, chopped
    • Chopped parsley to taste
    • 1-2 teaspoons olive oil or avocado oil

    Directions:

    1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F
    1. Add all ingredients into a bowl and mix thoroughly (*except fresh herbs)
    2. Lightly line an edged baking tray and add seasoned potatoes, evenly layered
    3. Bake for 20 minutes
    4. Remove from oven once cooked thoroughly and add basil + parsley
    5. Serve as a side or use in taco recipe below…

    Roasted Curry Sweet Potato Tacos

    Ingredients:

    • 3 cups fresh spinach (sauté in olive oil, Trader Joe’s Everything Seasoning, and a couple shakes of ground turmeric)
    • 2 eggs, cooked over hard or scrambled
    • Organic cherry tomatoes, chopped and tossed in balsamic vinegar, olive oil, and fresh chopped basil
    • Roasted curry sweet potatoes from recipe above
    • Siete tortillas
    • Optional: top with avocado and arugula or add in sautéed mushrooms and/or onions and garlic

    Directions:

    1. After all ingredients are cooked and prepped, chop eggs. In one medium sized pan, add cooked spinach, roasted sweet potatoes, chopped eggs, marinated tomatoes, and warm / mix together.
    2. Add pan mixture into warmed Siete tortillas and serve.
    3. Top with avocado and hot sauce of choice
    4. Enjoy!

    Let me know if you try this recipe by tagging me on Insta @saltysweetseasons #saltysweetseasons xoxo

    Happy first day of kinder, my how you’ve grown.

    It feels like just yesterday, my belly was your home.

    When you first started preschool, I couldn’t believe it was time,

    Our new routine went from two half days to three, then, overnight, it climbed…

    In a blink, it was time I went back to work from part-time to full…

    Adventures with you the first 3 years sure filled my heart and my soul.

    I knew you were scared when we toured your first school,

    because you were my little hip-hugging koala (and oh boy, was I was trying to play it cool).

    The entire first year you clung to my side morning at drop-off with a plea…

    “Please don’t go, Mama. I love you…one more huggie?”

    Leaving you each time, I’d feel my chest gasping for air.

    I knew you would shine as soon as I left, but boy, real life felt so unfair.

    How could someone besides me keep you safe and secure?

    But we both spread our wings, and just like that, age 3-5 went by in a blur.

    Preschool turned to T-K, and now T-K into kinder.

    How on earth are you turning 5 and in grade school?! Father Time, I’d like to beg to differ…

    This weekend it finally hit me, you’re a toddler no more.

    My sweet baby boy, it’s time for you to truly soar.

    May you always remember that kindness is key;

    Respect, manners, please, and thank you are all free.

    Listen to your teachers and keep old and new friends,

    If someone is hurting, may you always have a hand or ear to lend.

    Strong girls are the future, and so are kind little boys,

    Remember to stay true to your values amongst all the noise.

    Hold your head high whether you win or you lose,

    In order to grow, sometimes your ego will have to bruise.

    And remember what we always say? There’s more to life than winning.

    Although, trust me, I know, it won’t feel like that in the beginning.

    This morning, as I got you ready, I shut my eyes for a second.

    I wanted to freeze time; weren’t you just born, I reckon?!

    Don’t get me wrong, I cannot wait to see the man you become,

    But sometimes it’s hard to let you fly since our party of two has always been a unit of one.

    As I send you off to kindergarten, it’s a big day for me, as well.

    Soon enough, your independence will grow, your strength will blossom, and AH! There’s that school bell…

    You still timidly clung to my legs and gave me a big hug and a kiss.

    Then a little boy from camp came up and said say hi, and off you both flew into big-kid abyss.

    It’s so bittersweet watching you grow big and strong, inside and out.

    But here’s to the days and years ahead where you keep teaching me what life is all about…

    Love always wins, and so does honesty, chivalry, and hard work,

    Through all my life memories and proud moments thus far, you’re truly the biggest perk.

    I love you forever, my sweet little boy.

    I hope you always fill others (and yourself) with things that bring you joy.

    I’ll be right by your side to help pick you up if you stumble,

    Here’s to you, here’s to kinder, and here’s to it always staying humble.

    Being your mama is something I treasure,

    and I hope you never stop saying, “I love you more, and I’ll love you forever.”

    This year you will grow, and oh, so will I…

    Now go spread your wings and fly so, so high.

    I don’t know if you’re fancier than me and happen to be a crepe connoisseur, or if I’m the only one who has been living under an apparent rock not knowing crepes were so versatile and so easy (and really effing good, too). But, I’m guessing I’m not alone in this (because, hello, I blog about food and live for easy recipes, so can’t be the only one who’s been intimidated by homemade crepes?!). Plus, if you’ve come across this post, the little crepe babes I recently posted most likely brought you here to learn more…

    First off – Did you know you can basically eat crepes for every meal? Seriously – breakfast, brunch, lunch, linner, dinner, dessert; the possibilities are endless, honestly.

    They can be zesty, spicy, savory, sweet, or a combo of the two. They can be made super traditionally, or made with a modern twist, combining unique flavors and toppings (basically like FroYo, yeah?). They’re basically a unicorn of all.food.groups.

    Recently, some friends were telling me about these things called a dosa…ever heard of them? I said, “Sounds like an Indian crepe?” Where I was enlightened that they were, in fact, basically a crepe’s cousin, and are basically a savory and crispy pancake.

    dosa

    Since I’m a millennial, (and if you’re reading this, you most likely are too), here’s the super scientific definition of what a dosa is (because, ya know, Urban Dictionary is a legit siting source, right?)

    “A very thin, crisp pancake made of finely ground lentils (fermented batter). Think crispy, lightweight, savory crepe; often served with chutney, spiced vegetables, and a type of tomato-and-tamarind-based soup. Dosas are vegetarian.”

    In all honestly, they actually nailed it, so the above description is pretty accurate AF.

    So what does a dosa have to do with crepes and my recipes? The magical appliance I used; aka, my new fav kitchen gadget. And if I wasn’t told about dosas and this dope little gem that makes them, this recipe would not exist. (Read on)… 

    crepe1

    To start, crepes and dosa are made up of totally different ingredients, they both originated from different parts of the world (“Dosa is a typical part of the Southern Indian diet and popular all over the Indian subcontinent; from Southern India, to be exact”, Wikipedia, 2018), and they both have different toppings and fillings. But at the end of the day, they’re similar in consistency and purpose; a wrap-like doughy “pancake;” however, dosa is typically thinner and crispier due to its ingredients.

    That being said, since I’m a “mom/food blogger” (who has no “real” cultural or professional training in my cooking abilities besides my toddler telling me he hates or loves his food; I’m just a mom who enjoys cooking – but, mostly making my pictures look pretty), when I Googled how to make a traditional Dosa, I was super intimidated. LIKE, HI, EVERY RECIPE CALLED FOR A *12-HOUR PREP TIME*. Excuse me, say what? The only thing I spend 12 hours on is worrying about something (anxiety, amiright?!).

    So, being the mama/busy human I am who’s also recouping from an injury and keeping things basic AF right now, I told myself, “I’m going to make this dosa super mom friendly, fast, and non-traditional, while still tasting bomb; oh, and pretty, obvi.”

    So, I realized I made a crepe; well, 9 of them. And I wanted to make it as pretty as possible and convince everyone in my family (including my 4 year old and crepe haters around me, that I could make the best dang little gem of a wrap/pancake possible). It wasn’t a dosa, but you’ll see how and why those still matter to me. Keep reading…(I promise there’s more pretty pictures).

    Based on the photo above, it’s safe to say I’ve entered into the crepe world (and am quite proud I didn’t F them up like I assumed I would). So if I can make a crepe, you can make a crepe. Pinky promise…

    So what was my secret? How did I outgrow my high school cooking class failures? This this dosa maker, creatively called DosaMaker (smart SEO; I see you, branding team).

    crepe1

    My past of breaking crepes in a frying pan and having them crumble when I tried to flip them (kind of like my well known “trick” of magically turning omelets into scrambles) didn’t boost my confidence that I could pull off a crepe. But, I wrote a recipe up, and boom – I shocked myself when I nailed it.

    My first trial recipe was a homemade zesty onion, garlic, and herb crepe that I stuffed with rotisserie chicken, avo, homegrown tomatoes, jasmine parsley rice, and TLC. (I’ll blog that recipe soon when I’m not busy shoving it in my mouth before taking pictures). I’m so thankful I had a sous chef, because my arms currently resemble a t-rex.

    You know how they say you know someone’s a food blogger because their food is always cold when they finally eat it? That they do it all out of sacrifice for the ‘gram? It’s true, so when we want to enjoy a meal and not photograph it, woah; mind blowing, I know.

    Anyway, back to the recipes I DID style and write down measurements for…

    Meet my new babies!!

    Tanner requested a s’mores crepe, and I’m so glad he did, because…. THIS –

    I also made peaches-n-cream, banana pecan, lemon blueberry, and strawberries and cream with mint.

    Each crepe had the same base, a chocolate low-sugar batter that’s gluten-free and dairy-free. Here’s the recipe for the crepe base:

    INGREDIENTS:

    • 1 1/2 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk
    • 2 tablespoons coconut sugar or brown sugar
    • 2 tablespoons coconut butter
    • 1 tablespoon coconut oil (non-melted)
    • Pinch sea salt
    • 1 1/2 tablespoons vanilla extract
    • 1 cup gluten-free flour
    • 3 eggs

    DIRECTIONS:

    1. Add all wet ingredients to a Vitamix or other high-speed blender and blend until combined thoroughly.
    2. Add dry ingredients in a bowl and mix together.
    3. Add to blender / wet ingredients
    4. Blend until batter is thin and lump free. Add more water if necessary or batter thickens too much.
    5. Put batter into a bowl and cover.
    6. Put batter into the refrigerator and let sit for 30 minutes (this is necessary for the crepe consistency).
    7. After 25 minutes, prep your DosaMaker.
    8. If desired, lightly coat DosaMaker with avocado oil. It’s non-stick, so you don’t have to.
    9. Add about 1/3 cup of batter onto DosaMaker and let cook for 1.5-2 minutes.
    10. Remove crepe, set aside, fill with desired fillings / add toppings, and serve!

     

    Info on the fillings + what I used:

    For the s’mores crepe, I used marshmallow fluff, dairy-free Enjoy Life chocolate chips, crushed graham crackers, and marshmallows.

    For the lemon blueberry crepe, I drizzled the crepe in fresh lemon juice, topped with lemon and orange zest + powdered sugar. (You could also glaze with icing made from powdered sugar, vanilla, and water).

    For the banana pecan crepe, I topped with crushed pecans, almond butter mixed with cinnamon and vanilla extract, bananas, and topped with ground cinnamon.

    For the peaches n creme crepe, I topped with fresh peaches, whipped yogurt, brown sugar, and cinnamon.

    For the strawberries and creme crepe, I used organic strawberries and mint from our garden with dairy-free whipped cream, sprinkled with powdered sugar.

     

    ps  This post is not sponsored, and all opinions are my own. 

     

    Find more of my fav recipes by searching “recipes” or “cooking” at shelleyhopper.com (like these Rocky Road baked donuts).