Breakfast Quesadillas (Grain-free, Gluten-free)

I don’t know if you guys have been out to Whole Foods to pick up Siete wraps yet, but they completely opened the door for me to make quesadillas again!  This version is breakfast, but you could really go any route, so try “pizza” with Italian seasoning, mozzarella, pepperoni, because that would be great, too!
Breakfast Quesadillas 
Siete tortillas (any variety found at Whole Foods.  I preferred the almond flour)
  • raw, shredded cheese
  • scrambled eggs
  • cooked bell peppers and onion
  • cooked bacon
Heat a skillet to med-high.  Cook all your ingredients (eggs, bacon, veggies).  Place one tortilla on the skillet and place the cooked ingredients along with cheese on the tortilla.  Make sure that cheese is in contact with the tortilla and some is on top to attach to the other tortilla.  Add the second tortilla on top and cook for 5 min or so until the tortilla begins to brown.  Flip the quesadilla over and brown on the other side, too.  These tortillas are small enough you shouldn’t have to do a magic trick to flip it.  Use an electric skillet to do multiple at a time!

Primal Pumpkin Cheesecake

I hope everyone had a happy and healthy Thanksgiving!  I definitely did, and mine was complete with homemade pumpkin cheesecake.  I will warn you, this recipe contains CREAM CHEESE.  Therefore, it is NOT paleo….technically it’s primal.  However, I always say that there’s no paleo substitute (at least that I have found yet) that mimics pizza or cheesecake.  Once a year, this is a huge treat for me, and I can thank my mom for going to all the trouble.  Cheesecake can be kind of complicated to make, so I would never take the time myself.

She adapted her original vanilla cheesecake recipe that I posted years ago to a pumpkin version to fulfill all my pumpkin desires.😉 This cheesecake is not overly sweet, which is how I like it.  However, if you wanted a little more sweetness, making some homemade coconut whip to go over the top would be a wonderful addition.  I am all about tasting the delicious pumpkin pie spices and having that unmistakable creamy texture.  If you wanted it to be super cheesecake-like with a hint of pumpkin, you could decrease the amount of pumpkin or maybe do a cheesecake layer followed by a pumpkin layer on top.  Experiment to your hearts desire….and get it just the way you like it before Christmas!

In addition to my mom’s amazing pumpkin cheesecake, we had bacon Brussels sprouts, organic mashed potatoes, a baked ham that I paired with a mango chutney, and a couple nostalgic requests from my brother.  I told my mom she should try and doctor them to make them a little healthier and see how they turn out, but it’s hard to mess with something when people wait all year to have it exactly how they remember. ;)  I didn’t have any, but I certainly had enough of the other good stuff!




Pumpkin Cheesecake

1/2 cup almond meal

1 cup pecans, finely chopped

1/2 stick grassfed butter

1 Tbsp coconut sugar

1 tsp pumpkin pie spice (or plain ole cinnamon would work, too)


3 packages of organic cream cheese (1 1/2 lbs)

1 15oz can pumpkin puree

3/4 cup coconut sugar

2 tsp vanilla

2 Tbsp tapioca flour

2 Tbsp pumpkin pie spice

4 eggs


Preheat oven to 325 degrees.  Place all your crust ingredients into a food processor and blend until they begin to meld.  Press the crust onto the bottom of a springform pan and bake for 8 minutes.  (If you like a lot of crust, you could easily double it!)

Beat the cream cheese until smooth and then add the rest of the ingredients one by one in the order listed (eggs have to be last to ensure the cheesecake doesn’t crack, although it’s still edible if it does!). Pour over crust and place the pan in a water bath.  Bake for 45 minutes.  Then turn the oven off and leave it in for another hour.  Cool slowly.

French Onion Dip (primal, gluten-free)

With football on the horizon, party food for snacking is a must. I like to find a balance between real food ingredients and catering to the tastes that everyone likes to enjoy.  That may mean I include some non-glutinous grains like organic corn chips with guacamole. That may also mean I include real, grassfed cheese or other dairy to a dish.  I’m fine eating those things on occasion, and I know it will help open the options for guests to eat all the things they love (even if I made a healthier, homemade version!).  This dip tugs at a special place in my heart because if I could pinpoint one junk food I remember being obsessed with when I was younger, it was ruffles with french onion dip.  Since I avoid rancid oils and don’t eat dairy or preservatives, it has been years since this flavor hit my tongue.  I attempted my first homemade version for a party, and I got the thumbs up from healthy and non-healthy eaters alike.  It’s a keeper and is easy to whip up if you are having a party.  I served it with a bunch of veggies, but you could easily grab a few bags of Jackon’s honest potato chips from Whole Foods for the classic chip and dip combo!

Don’t be afraid by caramelizing onions.  It sounds complicated and time consuming, but it’s really just about low and slow.  You can have them working while you are getting other dishes together.

French Onion Dip
2 Tbsp butter or bacon grease
1 large sweet onion, chopped
1/4 tsp salt
1 1/2 cup full fat or 2% Greek Yogurt, plain
1/2 cup paleo mayo (Whole Foods as Primal Kitchen version)
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp celery salt
handful fresh dill, chopped
1 green onion, green part chopped
Heat butter over medium heat and add the sweet onion and salt.  Put on low/medium and allow the onions to cook slowly over low heat until browned and caramelized.  This should take about 30 minutes.  Stir regularly to prevent burning.  While those are cooking, Mix the other ingredients together and put aside. Once the onions are cooked to a nice brown, puree in the food processor and add to the remaining dip mixture.  Serve with some chopped green onion on top for garnish.

Peach Donuts w/Lemon Cream Cheese Frosting

While in Austin, I went to a donut food truck and ordered a donut called “Son of a Peach.” It was basically a donut with cinnamon, sugar, and peach filling.  However, I couldn’t even come close to finishing it because it was a sugar bomb!  When I say sugar bomb, I mean, tastes so good for the first 3 bites and then you start making pained faces because you don’t think you can finish it without a stomach ache!  It was the largest donut I’ve ever seen, slathered in the most cream cheese I’ve ever seen.  There were some ladies around that looked at me and said “Is that a donut?!  You enjoy every bit of that.”  After a little more conversation, they also said “We won’t tell your patients; its ok.” How did I answer?
Oh no, that’s ok.  I WILL TELL THEM!
I always eat a few things I normally wouldn’t when I am in new cities to gain flavor inspiration for the blog.  I’m sad to say that this donut didn’t live up to my expectations.  I was hoping for some peach!  I couldn’t taste the peach at all.  So, when I decided to redo this donut, I knew I wanted to add some brightness with lemon, and some freshness with FRESH peaches.
Peaches are on the dirty dozen, so make sure you buy organic to avoid pesticide exposure.  They are in season now, although sometimes they can be difficult to find.  I found some on sale at Whole Foods.
If you don’t have a donut pan, you can make these into muffins.
Peach Donuts
2 organic peaches, chop 1 1/2 of them but thinly slice the remaining 1/2 peach to top the donuts
1 3/4 cup almond flour
2 eggs
1/4 cup local honey
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 cup full fat coconut milk
1 tsp cinnamon
2 Tbsp coconut flour
1 tsp vanilla
1 Tbsp butter
Preheat oven to 350F. In the food processor, puree 1/2 cup of chopped peaches and then add the other ingredients and mix well.  Once mixed, pulse in the remaining chopped peaches until evenly distributed.  Pour the batter into a donut pan or a muffin pan that has been greased. Bake for 20 minutes or until the donut springs back when touched or 30 minutes for muffins.
Top with cream cheese frosting which I just threw together with 1 block of room temp cream cheese, a healthy dollop of honey, a few Tbsp of coconut sugar, a splash of coconut milk, zest of one lemon, and the juice of half that lemon.  Whip until slightly fluffy and well mixed.  Put on cool donuts and top with sliced peaches.

Macros vs. Micros: Why One Matters More

I’ve been trying to avoid writing this post because I don’t want anyone to think that I am anti-macros.  I am very rarely anti-anything.  However, I think sometimes it gets confusing to the average public what they should be doing to gain health when most of the people they are following on social media don’t fit their demographic.  I have been seeing tons of buzz lately from the fitness community about tweaking their diets to fit macros.  I have been doing health talks for so many years now, that I almost busted out my very first powerpoint where I talk about macros!  Macros just stands for macronutrients.  When you hear this term, think carbs, protien, and fat.  Athletes of all kinds have been using these macros in certain ratios to reach their goals for so many years that I can’t even count.  This is not new territory.  It’s where the concepts of carb-loading for endurance races, protein shakes after lifting, making weight for a fight, or even leaning down before a figure competition come from.  Athletes are REALLY GOOD at manipulating macros in order to acheive certain performance results or certain aesthetic results.  However, if you only think about macros, you miss an entire piece of the health equation that makes me nervous.
I live in the world of micros.  When you hear the word micros, think nutrients, minerals, and vitamins.  This is where a huge majority of health really lives.  When you are eating for micros, you are creating sufficiency in the building blocks that your body needs to function, express health, and keep bad genes from turning on.  You can still have a few extra pounds and eat beautifully from a micro perspective…just like you can have a six pack and still get cancer. This is where confusion sets in….
Average Joe follows superstar athlete on social media and sees a ripped lean machine and tries to follow the superstar macros.  Problem #1, superstar athlete has a training schedule that demands a lot more carbohydrates than average Joe will ever expend.  So, average Joe could STILL be fat trying to follow someone else’s macros.  Problem #2, lets say average Joe has his macros tailored to his own unique situation, he is led to believe that as long as he is following those set macros, everything that fits that protein/carb/fat ratio is fair game.  All of a sudden, we have average Joe AND superstar athlete putting themselves at risk for nutrient deficiency and therefore diseases like cancer, heart attacks, autoimmune diseases, etc.  (Side note: a very well known TV personality that makes a living off looking the way she does just shared she found out she has an autoimmune disease and the doctors are changing everything about her diet….which was geared toward macros.  Not because the macros weren’t on point with how she wanted to look, but because they were off point in terms of nutrient supply.)  We have all heard of the marathon runner or the health nut that drops dead of a heart attack and everyone thinks “how could that be?!  He/she was so healthy!”  If you look at the diet, it was most likely tailored just for macros and not for micros.
If you see someone on social media with a six pack eating twinkies and ho-hos because they “fit their macros,” turn the other way.  These foods do not fit into micros, and that is where your health lives.  Micros determine your health, not your physique.  So, it becomes ultra tempting to want to follow along with someone eating certain ratios if you can still have fast food, cakes, and the like as long as it fits your macros.  Don’t be fooled.  If you are an athlete that wants to focus on tweaking your diet to the point of weighing your food, measuring everything, timing everything, etc to enhance performance or aesthetics, then please do it with the right foods.  The foods that still cover your micro bases.  If you are an average Joe, worry about eating healthy, nutrient dense foods first, then after a year of that, consider tweaking your macros for performance or looks.  Until you’ve covered your micro bases, your health is still at risk no matter how amazing your butt and abs look or how fast or strong you prove to be.

Primal Ooey Gooey Cake

I have a really good friend that moved to St. Louis years ago and has never moved back! I go visit her every year, and she always comes home for the holidays.  However, babies change everything!  She wasn’t able to come home over Thanksgiving like usual and I didn’t get down to see her because of my teaching schedule.  So, what do you do when you miss your friend?!  Make food that reminds you of the person, of course!  They have a brewery down in St. Louis called “Schlafly” and she would always bring me home a 6 pack of their coffee stout after returning from her travels abroad.  They carry that stout now at Chalet!  Just my luck!  She would also bring back a St. Louis gooey butter cake.  The cake that I remember has a thinner crust, but this cake is a marriage of that St. Louis gooey butter cake and my family recipe for ooey gooey cake.  This is indulgent to say the least.  Butter, Sugar, Cream Cheese, need I say more?  You can miss people, but having things that remind you of them makes it okay. ;)
Ooey Gooey Cake
1 cup of butter, at room temp
1 cup coconut sugar
3 eggs, at room temp
1 cup full fat coconut milk
1 Tbsp vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups almond flour
1/2 cup tapioca flour
4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
16 oz cream cheese, at room temp
1/3 cup honey
1 tsp vanilla
zest from 1 lemon
Preheat oven to 375F. Cream together the butter and sugar.  Add the eggs one at time until combined.  Add the coconut milk and vanilla.  Slowly add the almond flour, tapioca, baking powder, and salt until combined.  Line a 9×13 pan with parchment paper and pour the batter into the dish.
Bake for 30 minutes at 375F, then turn the oven down to 350F and bake for another 10-15 minutes.  A toothpick should come out clean.
Make the cream cheese topping by whipping the cream cheese until slightly fluffed.  Add the honey and whip until creamy.  Add the vanilla until combined.  Fold in the lemon zest.
Once baked, allow the cake to cool slightly before adding the topping.
Allow the cake to cool before serving!

Lemon Cheesecake

Can you believe that I created this recipe months ago and totally forgot to share it?!  I’ve been busy that past 5 months to say the least!  I didn’t embrace lemon desserts in my younger years, but I have learned to not only embrace them, I LOVE LEMON DESSERT!  To me, its the perfect balance between bright and rich.  Since you all know how I feel about cheesecakes that don’t use cream cheese, you don’t have to ask why this dessert is “primal.”  This is one of my favorite cheesecake recipes I’ve ever come up with, so I hope you enjoy it as much as I do!
Lemon Cheesecake
Crust ingredients:
3/4 stick butter
2 1/4 cup almond flour
1 tsp cinnamon
1 Tbsp honey
1/4 tsp salt
Filling ingredients:
3 blocks of cream cheese (Room Temp!)
1/2 cup fresh squeezed lemon juice
2 Tbsp tapioca
zest from 2 lemons
3/4 cup honey
4 eggs
Mix all the crust ingredients together in the food processor, and press into a springform pan.  Bake for 10 mintues at 325F.
Place a dish with water on the bottom rack.
While the crust is cooling, whip the cream cheese until its creamy and smooth. Add the rest of the ingredients one at a time until it’s all combined and pour over the crust. Bake in the oven for 45 minutes. Then turn off the oven and let it continue to sit in the oven for another hour. Get out of the oven and let cool to room temp before placing in the fridge to set and cool. Serve!

Primal Vanilla Cheesecake

You all know how I feel about cheesecake. It’s my favorite dessert, I have it about once a year on my birthday, and there’s no substitute for the real thing. I also never make it because it seems really complicated. However, I had a friend that was having a birthday dinner and I told her I would make her dessert. I asked her what she would like to have. She said she didn’t care. I was thinking maybe carrot cake would be a good idea! She told me that carrot cake and cheesecake are her favorites. Then she says….I kind of want cheesecake. That’s all it took. I was off at my first attempt to make cheesecake!
This recipe is not strict paleo because of the cream cheese, but everything else is.

Primal Vanilla Cheesecake



  •  3/4 stick of grassfed butter
  •  2 1/4 cup nut flour
  •  1 tsp cinnamon
  •  1 Tbsp honey
  •  1/4 tsp salt


  •  3 blocks organic cream cheese (ROOM TEMP)
  • 2 Tbsp coconut milk
  • 2 Tbsp arrowroot powder
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 1 vanilla bean, seeded
  • 3/4 cup honey
  • 4 eggs

Preheat oven to 350F. Combine all the crust ingredients and pour into springform pan. Bake until the crust browns slightly, which should be about 10 minutes. Get it out and let it cool. Lower the oven temp to 325F and place a dish with water on the bottom rack.
While the crust is cooling, whip the cream cheese until its creamy and smooth. Add the rest of the ingredients one at a time until it’s all combined and pour over the crust. Bake in the oven for 45 minutes. Then turn off the oven and let it continue to sit in the oven for another hour. Get out of the oven and let cool to room temp before placing in the fridge to set and cool. Serve!

CSA Week 13: Eggplant Stacks


CSA Week 13 Bounty:

  • 6 tomatoes
  • bag of potatoes
  • 3 bell peppers
  • 2 eggplants
  • 1 head of bok choy
  • bag of green beans
  • bag of salad mix

I am trying to eat more veggie dishes because I am about to start a nutrition program with another vegetarian. It’s much easier to coach someone when you get what their meals look like. Since most of her pastas she is used to will be out the window, I have to come up with tasty alternatives! Luckily, she will eat some animal products, like cheese. So, eggplant stacks it is!

Eggplant Stacks

  • 2 eggplant
  • 1 lb mozzarella
  • 1 jar tomato sauce
  • basil
  • almond flour
  • salt and pepper
  • butter

Preheat oven to 450F. Cut eggplant into discs and spread on greased baking sheet. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and cook for 20 minutes. Get them out and turn the oven down to 350F. Place some sauce in the bottom of a baking dish and arrange some of the eggplant discs over the sauce. Put some sauce on top of the eggplant and sprinkle some basil. Place a disc of mozzarella over each eggplant disc and continue layering. Once you have eggplant back on top (3 eggplant discs) then sprinkle with topping of (almond flour with cold butter and salt in the food processor until it looks like bread crumbs). Bake for 17 minutes and broil on low for 3 minutes until the crumble topping browns slightly.