Maple Sugar Pecan Cookies

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This is fall wrapped up in a cookie.

Before I lose those of you who can’t stand anything pumpkin spice, you can rest easy because there’s no pumpkin or spice in this cookie just  a whole lot of amazing maple goodness.

When we lived in New Hampshire I discovered maple sugar. OMG. I had no idea there was even such a thing! Yes, it tastes and smells as wonderful as you would think it would. Pure maple syrup in the form of granulated sugar.



I do love pumpkin spice, but even I get bored with it. So while I was going over ideas for our neighborhood block party, I knew I didn’t want my contributions to involve anything really predictable in those types of fall gatherings…like pumpkin spice everything. Plus, it’s a gamble. It’s like cilantro. It’s either a love or hate relationship for people.

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So I settled on my Raspberry & Apricot Pie Dough Pastries and these Maple Sugar Pecan Cookies. The perfect cookie to satisfy my love for all things maple and to get away from the expected.

And then there’s the sugared nuts on top which are a special treat themselves…oh my.

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Maple Sugar Pecan Cookies

For the sugared pecans:

About 1 1/2 Cups of pecans, roughly chopped (You will also need another 1/2 cup of pecans for the cookie dough)

1/2 Cup of Maple Sugar

1/4 Cup of Dark Brown Sugar, packed

1 teaspoon of Pure Vanilla Extract

2 Tablespoons of Dairy Free Butter

Pinch of Kosher Salt

Measure all ingredients into a medium frying pan (non stick!). Cook on medium stirring regularly until sugar is melted (but thick), and nuts are coated, about 7 minutes. Pour out onto a couple of sheets of parchment and immediately separate with two spoons. Allow to cool completely and then break apart the larger pieces. Set aside.

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For the cookies:

(Makes about 32 cookies)

1 Cup of Dairy Free Butter

1/2 Cup of Maple Sugar

1/2 Cup of Packed Brown Sugar

1 Large Egg

1 teaspoon of Pure Vanilla Extract

2 1/2 Cups of Mamas Almond Flour Blend

1/2 teaspoon of Baking Soda

1/4 teaspoon of Kosher Salt

1 teaspoon of Xanthan Gum

1/2 Cup of Finely Chopped Pecans

In a stand mixer, beat the butter and sugars until light and fluffy scraping down sides once or twice. Add the egg and vanilla and beat. Add the dry in ingredients and finely chopped pecans and mix until thoroughly combined. Chill for 45 minutes (or longer).

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and line three baking sheets with parchment. Shape into about 1″ balls and place a couple of inches apart. Bake for 10 minutes or until set and very lightly browned on the edges. (Don’t overcook or they’ll become too crispy.) Cool on baking sheets for 5 minutes before transferring to cooling racks.

For The Frosting:

For the frosting I just used a basic powdered sugar mix with dairy free butter and powdered sugar. About 3 Cups of powdered sugar and about 1/4 Cup of melted dairy free butter. Stir that together and to thin it, instead of adding a little water, I added Pure Maple syrup to get it to the consistency I liked for spreading on top of the cookies. Sprinkle each cookie with a generous amount of the sugared pecans. 


Apple Tart

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We have one more day of somewhat summer weather this week and then we start the road to fall. We spent much of August socked in with terrible smoke conditions due to all of the fires in Washington, Idaho, Montana, Oregon, and Canada. All of that time spent with the windows closed and the air conditioning running 24/7 made my brain think the seasons had already changed. I found myself making soup and comfort foods like this delicious apple tart.

Now that summer is winding down, my vegetable garden has been cleaned out, and the mornings are calling for sweaters, I find myself day dreaming about all of the wonderful options for fall baking and cooking.

Stay tuned!

Apple Tart

1 Pie Crust From Heaven Crust Portion

6 Cups of Your Favorite Apples, sliced

Juice of 1 Whole Lemon

3/4 Cup of Coconut Sugar

1/4 teaspoon of Kosher Salt

1 1/2 teaspoons of Ceylon Cinnamon

2 teaspoons of Pure Vanillla Extract

6 teaspoons of Dairy Free Butter

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Add the sliced apples, lemon juice, coconut sugar, salt, cinnamon, and vanilla to a large bowl and let sit for one hour, tossing every 15 minutes.

While the apples are marinating, press the dough into a 9×1 inch tart pan. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Overlap the apples in a circle starting at the outside edge and work your way to the middle. Drizzle half of the marinating sauce over the apples. Dollop the butter over the top of the apples.

Bake for 50-60 minutes (it will depend on your oven) until apples are fork tender. Cover the tart with loosely with foil at the 30 minute mark so that the apple tips don’t burn. Drizzle the tart with the remaining marinade and cool before serving.

Slow Roasted Tomato & Pesto Soup

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Ahhhh…summer. We are having a wonderful summer.

I hope you are too.

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We’re trying to squeeze in as much camping, hang gliding, trips to the lake, puttering around the garden, and picnics in the park as we can before the long winter arrives.

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My vegetable garden is doing really well this year and has left me with an abundance of tomatoes. We’ve been having them on omelettes, in salads, in pasta, and I’ve been roasting them and freezing them so we can sneak in some tastes of summer in the dead of winter.

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When we returned from camping last week the tomato vines were heavy with the weight of beautiful fruit! Rather than roast more tomatoes to freeze, I thought I’d start making home made tomato soup to put up for the winter instead.

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It looks like I’m going to have to do a few batches because I can already tell it’s going to be a favorite especially alongside a dairy free grilled sandwich or a grilled tuna sandwich. The flavors are so delicious and this time I added a pinch of crushed chipotle peppers that added a hint of heat and a warm, smoky flavor.

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The best part is that it’s a very easy recipe that will bring the taste of summer into a chilly winter afternoon and most of us have all the ingredients on hand –  along with gardens bursting with tomatoes.

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Slow Roasted Tomato & Pesto Soup 

7 Cups of Red Cherry Tomatoes & Yellow Pear Tomatoes stems removed, rinsed, and dried

1 tsp of Dried Oregano

1 Medium Vidalia Onion peeled and sliced

10 Cloves of Garlic peeled

Somewhere between 1/4 and 1/2 Cup of Extra Virgin Olive Oil 

2 Generous Pinches of Kosher Salt

1 tsp of Dried Basil

1/8 tsp of Dried Crushed Chipotle Peppers

A Few Grinds of Fresh Pepper

4 Cups of Gluten Free Chicken Broth

1/2 tsp of Coconut Sugar

3 Tablespoons of Vegan Nut Free Pesto 

Preheat oven to 325 degrees

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and add the onions, garlic, and tomatoes. Drizzle with the olive oil and season with the oregano, basil, chipotle peppers, kosher salt, and ground pepper. 

Roast for 2 hours. 

Remove the roasted veggies, garlic, and herbs with a spatula into a medium saucepan  add the chicken broth, coconut sugar, and pesto.  Use an immersion blender (or put into a regular blender, then add to a saucepan) to puree the tomatoes, garlic, and onion. Simmer (slowly) for 30 minutes. 

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If you’d like to see more frequent posts from my day to day cooking and read articles and tidbits about healthy living, you can also follow me on Instagram and my Gluten Free Zen Facebook page.


Nut & Groat Granola


It’s been so long since I’ve done a blog post I was a little worried that I’d forgotten how! I’m finding it easier time-wise to post quickly in “real time”, on Instagram Stories and on my Gluten Free Zen Facebook page.

I do love to blog though and I like that I have a place to reference recipes and share my favorites with all of you. I’ve made a pact with myself to try to figure out how to balance life a bit better and to focus more on the things I love to do like cooking, baking, and blogging.


Spring and summer months are the best for natural light photography so I should be taking advantage of it. Not to mention the beauty of all the fresh fruits, summer desserts, and outdoor cooking that are headed onto the scene.


Hope you are doing well! We’ll catch up more on my next post and as always you can pop over to Instagram and Facebook to visit too. I do a lot of health research and reading and like to post articles on my FB page that may be of interest to you. On Instagram, I’m more loosey goosey and you can see and hear me in real time, see what I’m up to, and cook with me. As always, I only do this for fun. No earnings involved, I just have a love of wanting to teach people about healthier choices and alternative ideas about life, food, and overall health.


See you soon!

~ April xo

Nut & Groat Granola

*Makes about 3 cups

1 Cup of Organic Gluten Free Rolled Oats

1/2 Cup of Organic Buckwheat Groats

1/4 Cup of Organic Raw Sunflower Seeds

1/4 Cup of Organic Raw Pumpkin Seeds

1/4 Cup of Organic Roasted & Salted Cashews

1 Cup of Organic Unsweetened Coconut Flakes

1 teaspoon of Organic Ceylon Cinnamon

Couple Pinches of Sea Salt

Contents of 1 Vanilla Bean Pod

2 Tablespoons of Avocado Oil

3 Tablespoons of Pure Maple Syrup

3/4 Cup of Organic Montmorency Dried Cherries, chopped

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Stir together the oats, groats, seeds, and cashews. Add the cinnamon, sea salt, and vanilla bean pod and stir well. Add the oil and syrup and stir until ingredients are evenly coated.

Spread onto a parchment covered baking sheet and bake in 5 minute increments, stirring between each. Once it starts to lightly brown, keep your eye on it because it will quickly burn. You want it to be browned evenly, then remove from oven to cool. About 12 minutes or so in a convection oven. It will crisp more upon cooling. Toss in the chopped cherries.

Serve with non dairy yogurt or non dairy milk, as a post workout snack, car snack, hiking snack. Anything goes!


Smart Cookie

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I’ve been trying to come up with a cookie that has as few allergens as possible that still kicks the sweet craving and of course, tastes good. It’s not as easy as you may think to remove most of the things that make a cookie, a cookie and have it turn out like well…a cookie!

I’ve made numerous attempts that ended up being “okay”.  More attempts that ended up in the garbage.

This cookie only took two experiments of ingredient tweaking, tastes fantastic (even got two very big thumbs up from the husband) and because it only makes 12 cookies, I didn’t waste too much on the first attempt, so I’d call that a win.

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I was being a little lazy because I actually didn’t think the recipe would work so I didn’t even bother getting the good camera out. These pictures are all from my phone, which really don’t do the cookies justice.

These cookies are grain free, dairy free, egg free, nut free, organic, and free of refined sugar.

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Smart Cookie

Preheat oven to 350 degrees/Makes 12 Cookies

1/3 Cup of Organic Unrefined Virgin Coconut Oil

3 Tablespoons of Organic Coconut Sugar

1/3 Cup of Organic Sweet Potato Flour

3 Tablespoons of Organic Arrowroot

3 Tablespoons of Organic Coconut Flour

1/8 teaspoon of Sea Salt

2 teaspoons of Organic Pure Almond Extract

2 Tbs of Organic 100% Full Fat Coconut Milk

1/3 Cup Organic Dried Cherries, roughly chopped

About 1/2 Cup of melted chocolate (I use Theo’s Organic 70% Dark)

Beat the coconut oil until it is light and fluffy, scraping down the sides of the bowl. Add the coconut sugar and beat until fully incorporated and smooth. Add the arrowroot, coconut flour, and sea salt and do the same. Add the almond extract and coconut milk and beat until smooth scraping down the sides. Fold in the dried cherries.

Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper, lightly roll cookies into balls and place on parchment. Pat down with fingertips into small circles.

Bake for 15 minutes. Cool completely.

While cookies are baking melt the chocolate. Place a piece of parchment over a cooling rack. Dip half of each cookie in the melted chocolate, lightly shake off excess. Place on parchment and allow to set. If you want them to set quickly, place them in the fridge for 20 minutes.

Ritual Multivitamin Review


About a month ago I shared about my struggle with supplements and the products that I have found work best for me. You can find that post Here. I also mentioned that I was waiting for the arrival of a new multivitamin that I was very excited to try.

I have been searching for a new multivitamin for 6 months. I tried 5 different brands over that time, none of which agreed with me. It was an expensive search.

I’m very serious about my supplements because I have Lyme Disease and my body is sensitive. I’m also very frustrated with the amount of research and knowledge that has to go into finding the right multivitamin. The average person doesn’t dig into things like I do, so there are countless amounts of people suffering through crappy vitamins and wasting their money.

Even high end supplements are packed with a huge list of things we really don’t need, that aren’t great for our health. The average person also doesn’t understand that the more they pack into a vitamin the less there is of the actual ingredients we need. It’s just fluff to make them seem more beneficial and exciting. I hate fluff. I want simple and easy to understand, which is how ALL supplements should be presented so it doesn’t feel like we have to take a master’s course to figure out how to weed through all the B.S.


When I had just about given up, I ran across Ritual. I am not being paid by them to review the vitamin, I found it completely on my own, and paid for it. After thoroughly researching their website and learning more about them, I was THRILLED! Could it be true?

They believe in simplicity. Their research and ingredients are backed by science. They are low dose. They have a simple ingredients list. They are completely transparent about their product. They are specifically geared toward women and they are affordable! Just $30.00 for a month’s supply.

It’s like someone swooped down and answered all of my vitamin prayers.


Here’s what you’ll find in their multi:

K2, D3, B12, Boron, Iron, Vitamin E, Magnesium, Folate, and Omega-3. At low doses based on what the “average” woman needs. When you visit their website you can click on each ingredient and they give you the complete rundown. Form, dosage, source, manufacturer (and when you click on the manufacturer you get even more in depth information), why they use that form, and how it works together with your diet and other vitamins. Amazing, right?

As with all new supplements I took the lowest dose for the first few days which in this case, was one capsule. Then after about 4 days I increased it to the normal dose of two capsules.

I am pleased to report that after taking them for about two weeks now, I am noticing a significant difference in my energy levels. What I really love is that it has been a gentle incline of healthy feeling overall energy, not a nervous buzz that we get with some vitamin supplements. I also love that I know EXACTLY what is in them and what they do for me. I don’t feel like I’m overdosing myself like I have with other multi’s with 42 unrealistic, not scientifically backed, ingredients that promise everything from clear skin to the healing of all diseases known to man.

Also, when taken with my breakfast there is no tummy upset and zero fish burps! I take my other large fish oil capsule along with it, so it surprises me that I haven’t had any fishy issues. Amen! I also notice a lessening of joint stiffness (common with Lyme Disease), my skin is brighter, my  fingernails are growing faster, my skin is less dry, and I’m sleeping really well (when Abigail isn’t howling with the coyotes).

The capsules are a really reasonable size. I swallow a handful of supplements every morning, but for those of you who have a difficult time swallowing pills, I don’t think they’re going to be an issue.


Here’s my breakdown:

Transparency & Truth In Advertising: Two Thumbs Up

Simple, Easy To Understand, Healthy Ingredients: Two Thumbs Up

Low Dose: Two Thumbs Up

Capsule Size: Two Thumbs Up

Cost: Two Thumbs Up

Efficacy: Two Thumbs Up and if I had three I’d give it three! 

I have zero complaints.

(Cover photo courtesy of TechCrunch)

Supplements ~ What Works For Me


I have a love hate relationship with supplements. I love it when I can find the ones that are a good fit for me and make a positive impact, and I hate the expensive and irritating process of searching and eliminating the supplements that don’t work.

The supplements that aren’t a good fit typically cause headaches, flu like symptoms, insomnia, joint pain (inflammation), sometimes stomach issues, can imbalance hormones, and for me can also stir up the Lyme bacteria which I try very hard to keep dormant. These symptoms are upsetting if you’re already feeling under the weather and can be very frustrating. People often message me and say, “I give up! Nothing works, everything makes me feel gross.”

I hear you because I’ve been through the same thing and it can be exhausting, but I keep fighting and researching, and have found some fantastic supplements that work very well.


I am often asked, “what I take” and my answer is, “As little as possible!” My goal is always to find the least amount of supplements and medications to help me feel my best. My particular needs involve the gut, inflammation, and immunity. Those three things need to work together for us to be our healthiest selves. Inflammation is the root of all evil in the body and it is directly linked to the health of your gut. If the gut is unhealthy, your entire body is out of balance. I’ve talked a lot about gut health, systemic inflammation and immunity in previous posts so lets get to the supplements!


(Medical Disclaimer * I am not a physician or nutritional or supplement specialist. The list of supplements I provide below are what works for me personally and are not shared as personal medical advice or treatment and are purely educational. As always, I strongly suggest you work hand in hand with your health care provider to find the right supplements for you.*)

Below are all of my favorites along with links, why I find them beneficial, and how they work. 

Probiotics & Digestive Enzymes

Complete Probiotics

I order these from Amazon Prime or directly from Dr Mercola’s website.


There are many brands of Probiotics and Digestive Enzymes on the market. There’s only a handful that are truly beneficial, have the proper bacteria, and work the way they say they do so make sure you’re doing your research. I switch back and forth between  these two brands of probiotics every 60 days or so. Also, it’s very important to do your research on pre-biotics. Pre-biotic foods feed the good bacteria in our gut. This is an easy link to get you started in the right direction for pre-biotics.


I order these directly from their website.


Isotonix Digestive Enzymes 

I order this on Amazon Prime.


I love digestive enzymes because I feel they are just another step in the process of healing the gut and focusing on proper absorption of the nutrients in the foods we eat and the supplements we take. Typically, digestive enzymes are taken with each meal, I usually only remember to take them with breakfast or lunch, and I feel that amount works just fine. In fact, with most supplements I start small and work my way up. If supplement directions call for 2 Tablespoons or 6 pills a day, but 1 Tablespoon and 2 pills a day work for me, it’s less that my body has to process and also saves me money.

Benefits:  Enzymes are important for the body’s proper absorption and utilization of food. Over time, the body’s ability to make certain enzymes reduces as part of the natural aging process. Many scientists now believe that maintaining normal levels of key enzymes is important to maintaining overall health. . In today’s world of processed and fast foods, the body must work harder to break down food and absorb the nutrients. Poor eating habits, such as improper or inadequate chewing and eating on the run contribute to reduced levels of digestive enzymes (which lead to leaky gut, poor absorption, and inflammation).

Natural Anti-Inflammatories

I’ll keep screaming it from the roof tops…inflammation is the root of all evil in the body! It causes pain, depression, anxiety, sleep disorders, hormone imbalances, auto immune disease, cancer…I could go on and on. Keeping the inflammation balanced in my body is the key to me leading a heathly life.

Biomor Curcumin

I order these directly from their website.


Tumeric or curcumin?  A typical turmeric root contains only about 2-5% curcumin, so taking an unstandardized, powdered turmeric root product means that very large amounts would be required to get a beneficial amount of curcumin. Additionally, curcumin is poorly absorbed from the gastrointestinal tract. While turmeric is excellent when used as a spice, a curcumin extract is a better choice for health benefits. I did many hours of research on curcumin supplements and this was my choice. Their website is extremely informative so be sure to click on the link above for more reading.

Benefits:  Curcumin is the main active ingredient in tumeric and has powerful anti-inflammatory effects. Curcumin blocks NF-kB, a molecule that travels into the nuclei of cells and turns on genes related to inflammation. Curcumin neutralizes free radicals which makes it an excellent antioxidant. It is beneficial for cancers, arthritis, dry eyes, metal toxicity, is a natural anti bacterial, anti fungal and is anti viral. It has been proven beneficial with inflammatory bowel disease, Chron’s Disease, Ulcerative Colitis, spinal cord injuries, weight management, diabetes, liver damage,  and has been linked to improved brain function and lower risk of brain diseases. One study even showed that taking Curcumin was as effective as exercise in lowering endothelial function which is a major driver of heat disease. Studies also show that Curcumin can clear Amyloid plaques which are a buildup of protein tangles found in Alzheimer’s patients. Curcumin is beneficial for depression, high cholesterol, and studies show that Curcumin interferes with cancer development, growth, and spread.

The reason I love it and will NEVER be without it is because it enabled me to get off of prescription anti-inflammatories. It reversed damage to my hands caused by Lyme arthritis, and it has dramatically lessened systemic inflammation which has been a major struggle for me since I was infected.

I started with 1 capsule three times a day for 30 days. Then, moved to 2 capsules per day for another 30 days, and then lowered it to 1 capsule per day. By the end of the first 30 days I was able to stop the prescription anti-inflammatories and now, three years later I still take only 1 Curcumin capsule daily. If I have an inflammation flare, I pop it up to 2 a day. I order it online and their website is very informative so be sure to clink the link above to read more.

Bio D Mulsion Forte (D3)

I order this from Amazon Prime.


I take high doses of D3 and this makes it easy because not only is it very high quality, but there are 2,000 iu’s per drop. It looks and tastes like Elmer’s glue but goes down quickly with a little water. The next time you see your health practitioner, be sure to have your D3 levels checked.

Benefits : Vitamin D3 regulates the absorption of calcium and phosphorous and facilitates normal immune system function. Low vitamin D3 levels lead to vascular disease, chronic inflammation, higher risks of cancer, depression, anxiety, and osteoporosis.  It fights  pain, boosts weight loss, fights against the common flu, helps maintain healthy bone and muscle function, and according to a 2006 study published in the Journal Of The American Medical Association, also reduces your risk of multiple sclerosis.

WHC UnoCardio 1000

I order this from Amazon Prime.


I have tried close to 20 brands of fish oil over the years. Every,single, one made me feel like death. Sick stomach, headache, and fish burps for 12 hours straight. In my research I stumbled across a company called Labdoor. They test supplements and grade and rank them based on label accuracy, product purity, nutritional value, ingredient safety, and projected efficacy. WHC Uno Cardo 1000 ranks #1 out of 57 other fish oil supplements. I love it. It doesn’t bother my stomach (I take it with food) and I have had no issues with it. This supplement also contains 1,000 iu’s of vitamin D3, so those of you who are not on a high dose of D3 like I am, can kill two birds with one stone.

Benefits: Combats inflammation, promotes healthy brain function, good vision, and blood pressure. It helps fight depression, anxiety, has been found beneficial for ADHD, boosts weakened immune system, aids in weight loss, fertility, and helps heal psoriasis and acne. It improves immunity and is fabulous for your skin and hair.

Organic Cherry Juice Concentrate

If I can’t find this in the health food section, I buy it on Amazon Prime.


I take 1 Tablespoon of this in 8 ounces of water in the evenings when I’m having sleeping issues, my nervous system is revved up, or I’m having an inflammation flare. It works incredibly well and has the side benefit of being very tasty unlike a lot of supplements.

Tart cherries are anti oxidant, anti inflammatory, aid in cancer prevention and heart health, help post workout recovery, help arthritis pain, reduce swelling, boosts immunity, regulates metabolism and fight fat, regulate blood sugar, combat anxiety, and like I said above, helps with insomnia because tart cherries are a natural source of melatonin.

Fighting Off Virus Load 

Did you know that there are 8 types of Herpes viruses? I know, it’s kind of an uncomfortable topic that people don’t like to discuss. I’m going to do it anyway because the majority of humans have a minimum of two of the Herpes infections.

I have the cold sore virus, the shingles virus, and the Epstein-Barr Virus. In fact, several years ago I broke out in shingles every 6 weeks for a year and a half. It was awful!

Herpes viruses are very common. In fact, according to the CDC HHV7 is so common, that the majority of humankind has been infected. Often, these viruses run around behind the scenes beating down our immune systems and wreaking havoc and we don’t even know it. It’s important to eat foods and take supplements that fight our viral load.  90% of American adults have been exposed to HSV-1 and according to the Centers For Disease Control, 1 out of every 6 people ages 14-49 have genital herpes.

Right now, there are NO treatment for Epstein-Barr virus or human herpes virus 6,7 or 8 infections and none of the 8 Herpes infections are curable. The goal is to boost the immune system so as to help the viral load stay dormant.

So let’s lightly go over the 8 types…

HSV-1 causes cold sores on the lips but can also show up on other parts of the body and can lead to infection of the genitals during oral sex and then can become HSV-2. Genital Herpes can also show up on the mouth.

HHV3 causes chicken pox and can also cause a recurrent viral infection of the skin called Herpes Zoster, othewise known as shingles.

HHV4 is known as EBV or the Epstein-Barr Virus. It is the major cause of infectious mononucleosis.

HHV5 s the official name of cytomegalovirus (CMV). CMV is also a cause of mononucleosis. CMV virus is one of the most difficult complication of AIDS.

HHV6 is a recently observed agent found in the blood cells of a few patients with a variety of diseases. It causes roseola (a viral disease causing high fever and a skin rash in small children) and a variety of other illnesses associated with fever in that age group. This infection accounts for many of the cases of convulsions associated with fever in infancy (febrile seizures).

HHV7 is even more recently observed and is closely related to HHV6. Like other human herpes viruses, HHV6 and HHV7 are so common that most of humankind has been infected at some point, usually early in life. HHV7 can also cause roseola, but it is not clear what other clinical effects that this virus causes.

HHV8 was recently discovered in the tumours called Kaposi’s Sarcoma (KS). These tumours are found in people with AIDS and are otherwise very rare. KS forms purplish tumours in the skin and other tissues of some people with AIDS. It is very difficult to treat with medication. HHV8 may also cause other cancers, including certain lymphomas (lymph node cancers) associated with AIDS. The fact that these cancers are caused by a virus may explain why they tend to occur in people with AIDS when their immune systems begin to fail.

There are many supplements, herbs, and homeopathics you can take to help keep your body’s viral load under control. Of course, proper nutrition, a low sugar diet, rest, plenty of healthy water, and exercise should always be your first priority. If you suffer from any of the Herpes viruses listed above, it would be really beneficial for you to do some research for your specific virus and figure out how you can keep it at bay as much as possible. I use Llysine and Lemon Balm.


I order this from Amazon Prime.


L-lysine, is an essential amino acid, meaning it is necessary for human health, but the body cannot make it. You have to get lysine from food or supplements. Amino acids like lysine are the building blocks of protein. Lysine has antiviral effects by blocking the activity of arginine, which promotes Herpes replication. One review found that oral lysine is more effective at preventing an HSV outbreak than it is at reducing the severity and duration of an outbreak. One study found that taking lysine at the beginning of a herpes outbreak did not reduce symptoms. Supplementation may reduce recurrences and improve symptoms. Lysine also helps with anxiety, fights acne, combats hair loss, and increases athletic performance.

Here’s a large list of foods high in Arginine that you can strive to avoid if you’re battling active Herpes infections. Avoiding these foods as much as possible along with taking a l-Lysine supplement makes a big difference in frequency of outbreaks as well as timely healing.

Lemon Balm Hydrosol 

I order this directly from their website.


Lemon Balm is a member of the mint family and is considered a calming herb. It is antiviral and antibacterial when taken in both oral and topical forms. It reduces anxiety, promotes sleep, and helps with indigestion. It is anti-inflammatory and a large German study showed that lemon balm was extremely effective in treating herpes simplex infections. *Not to be used in high amounts for women who are pregnant or people taking thyroid medication.

If you’d like more information on herbal remedies for viral infections you can contact me personally. I would also suggest researching Lomatium, Ligusticum Osha, Sambucas Elder, and Astragalus, all of which were very helpful when I went through the bout of constant shingles outbreaks.

Nervous System & Adrenal Issues

Natural Vitality Natural Calm Magnesium

I order this from Amazon Prime but you can also find it in almost every health food store and vitamin supplement store.


I drink this every afternoon in a cup of hot water just like tea. It’s fizzy and tasty and a perfect reminder for me to sit down and enjoy a good book for a few minutes every day. It calms my nervous system, helps to keep my blood pressure manageable, and is great for muscle aches and joint pains. Magnesium deficiency causes many issues people are unaware of. Agitation and anxiety, restless leg syndrome, sleep disorders, irritability, insomnia, muscle spasms and weakness, and most people aren’t aware that magnesium is necessary for proper hormone balance.  There have also been studies linking magnesium deficiency to a significant cause of heart disease. Magnesium lowers cortisol, supports the thyroid, lowers blood sugar, fuels cellular energy, and is also anti-inflammatory. A study done prior to 2005 found that 68% of Americans do not consume  the recommended daily intake of magnesium, and even more unsettling, showed that 19% of Americans don’t consume even half of that.

Dr’s Advantage Liquid Adrenal Balance and Stress Defense

I order this on Amazon Prime.


Ashwagandaha, also known as Indian Ginseng, is an adaptogenic herb that works as a stress response inhibitor. It has a wide range of health benefits including its ability to fight against cancer and diabetes, as well as reduce inflammation, arthritis, asthma, hypertension, stress, and rheumatism. It boosts your supply of antioxidants and regulates the immune system.

When I had my first Lyme flare (although I didn’t know what it was at the time) I of course had tons of lab work done. Some of my tests showed that my cortisol was too high at night and too high in the morning. Some symptoms of cortisol imbalance include, weight gain or loss, skin irritation, mood changes, infertility (hormonal imbalance), decreased sexual desire, depression, anxiety, memory issues, high blood pressure, insulin resistance, prolonged illness, asthma, insomnia…and list goes on.

When our bodies are under extreme stress from life or illness, our adrenals run to the rescue and before we know it they’re fatigued and we can sometimes get stuck in that constant undercurrent of fight or flight. Adrenal Fatigue is controversial as most mainstream medicine doctors don’t recognize it. However, Holistic physicians, Naturopaths, and Integrative Medicine doctors have been testing and treating it for years with great success.

There are several adaptogenic herbs that seem to work very well with the body to calm down the stress response. I tried many that did not agree with me and revved me up rather than calm down my stress response. The Dr’s Advantage worked very well for me. They recommend taking 2 Tablespoons daily, but I found that 1 Tablespoon with my morning supplements worked well whereas, another Tablespoon in the afternoon was too much. I no longer take it daily, but do take it when I’m under extended periods of stress, feeling run down, or in a Lyme flare.

………..Multivitamin Supplement……..

Ahhh…you may notice something is missing. I cannot even count the amount of multi vitamin supplements I have tried. It is a real struggle for many people. Several years ago I finally found a wonderful multi that fit perfectly with my body and my needs and 6 months ago they quit manufacturing it. It was a sad day indeed. I’m still researching and trying different supplements. I have one on order that looks very promising. When it arrives and I’ve had a chance to try it for few days, I’ll be sure to post a full review.


  • University of Maryland Medical Center
  • Natural News
  • Mountain Rose Herbs
  • Pure Encapsulations
  • Home Remedy Shop
  • LiveStrong
  • SOTT
  • Dr’s Advantage
  • Life Extension
  • Test Country
  • Health Line
  • Prevention
  • Healthy Eating
  • iBelieve
  • All Canadian Fitness
  • Authority Nutrition
  • Nutrition Data
  • Nutrogenics
  • Organic Facts
  • Med Broadcast
  • Medical Microbiology
  • NCBI Medical Microbiology 4th Edition
  • Biotics
  • Nexabiotic
  • Isotonix
  • Dr. Axe
  • Authority Nutrition
  • Dr Mercola

Grain Free Chocolate Cake with Fudge Frosting


I keep telling people that having food allergies does not mean the end of the world. With a bit of thought and planning, there are numerous exciting options for those of us with restricted diets.



Most newbies who find out they have food allergies or sensitivities are completely freaked out. They’re so accustomed to eating a certain way and feeding their families a certain way that they become instantly overwhelmed with even the thought of changing their eating habits let alone the habits of their picky family members.


They cannot fathom following an allergen free diet and going from fast food and packaged foods to a whole foods, allergen free, diet. Even if it means feeling better!



Truth be told, we all have that battle until we realize what’s at stake. If we continue eating things that don’t agree with us, the issues build and build until we’re faced with more severe illness issues like autoimmune disease, obesity, ulcers, migraines, hormone imbalances, mood disorders, sleep disorders, and more.



One of my inadvertent jobs while working in a naturopathic clinic years ago was to talk people off the cliff after they were told what they could no longer eat.


Like a deer in the headlights they were stunned. They didn’t know where to begin, they were worried about the time and effort it would take, didn’t think they could do it, thought they would starve, and the grumpier more feisty ones thought they’d never be able to eat anything “fun” again.


I often reminded them that they were at the doctor’s office because their life was anything but “fun”. Most of them had severe health issues. We find comfort in repetition even if it’s not good for us. Changing the patterns of how we eat and how we treat our bodies can be very stressful at first but it goes away quickly and the pay off is HUGE.


Once the allergens are removed and the body has a chance to begin to heal instead of spending all of its energy on battling gut issues, histamine issues, and inflammation, people are amazed because they had forgotten what GOOD feels like. We get used to a certain level of “sick” and that becomes life. When we remove the things that are holding us back and we go up to the next level and then the next and so on, to where we are eventually feeling well, then the effort to maintain an allergen free healthier lifestyle, pays off and reminds us that it is indeed worth “it”.


I blog because I like to prove that changing your diet IS worth it, that YOU and your health are worth a little extra research and time, and also to dispel the myths that living an allergen free life is too limiting and not enjoyable.


We eat allergen free and very well in our house. We never feel deprived! I have hundreds of recipes to choose from not only on my own food blog but from other very talented allergen free bloggers.

Don’t allow the dread of change to overcome the importance of living a lifestyle that helps you be the healthiest you can be. Take the time to invest in yourself.

You are worth it.


Grain Free Chocolate Cake with Dairy Free Fudge Frosting

*This recipe is adapted from Satisfying Eats

Preheat oven to 350°

1 Cup of  Coconut Flour

3/4 Cup of  Unsweetened Cocoa Powder

1 1/2 Cups of Coconut Sugar

2 teaspoons of Double Acting Baking Powder

2 teaspoons of Baking Soda

1/8 teaspoon of Sea Salt

8  Eggs

1/2 Cup of Earth Balance Soy Free Dairy Free Butter

3 Tablespoons of Pure Vanilla Extract

1 Cup + 1/2 Cup of Organic Full Fat Coconut Milk

1/2 Cup of Strong Brewed Decaf Coffee

1/4 Cup of Dairy Free Chocolate Chips or Chopped Dairy Free Dark Chocolate

About 8-10 Oz of Smucker’s Simply Fruit Raspberry Jelly for filling

Add the dry ingredients to a mixing bowl and whisk together. Add the eggs, butter, vanilla, coffee, and 1 Cup of the coconut milk. Mix on medium to blend well, scraping down sides. Let the batter rest while you’re getting the cake pans ready (Spray and line with parchment paper). Add the 1/2 Cup of coconut milk and mix on medium just until combined.

Pour evenly into two 8-9 inch cake rounds, two 8×8 square baking pans, or two 12 hole cupcake pans. If you’re going to make cupcakes, be sure to spray the paper liners.

Bake for 22-28 minutes. (I use convection, conventional ovens may vary.) Cool completely in the pan before removing.

Chocolate Fudge Frosting

3/4 Cup Earth Balance Soy Free Dairy Free Butter

3 1/2 Cups Powdered Sugar (You can also use homemade coconut sugar powdered sugar, but it will be a heavier, more moist, consistency)

1/2 Cup Cocoa Powder

1/2 teaspoon Kosher Salt

1 1/2 teaspoons Pure Almond Extract

3-4 Tablespoons of Full Fat Coconut Milk

About 1 1/2 teaspoons Instant Decaf Espresso

Pour the coconut milk in a measuring cup and add the instant espresso granules, stir to combine. Set aside and allow the espresso to dissolve.

Cream the butter in a mixer until it is light and fluffy, scraping down sides once or twice. Add the powdered sugar, cocoa powder, salt, and almond extract. Mix on lowest setting (so you don’t end up with a cloud of powdered sugar and cocoa powder over your whole kitchen) until mixture starts to come together.



 With the mixture on medium, SLOWLY add the coconut milk coffee mixture, 1 Tablespoon at a time (keeping an eye on the consistency…not too soft!) scraping down the bowl once or twice in between. I like a thick, rich, frosting…if you want that too, you may not need all of the milk. Once the coconut milk has been added, beat on medium for 3 minutes until it expands and becomes fluffy.


Raspberry Sweetheart Cookies


Valentine’s Day is right around the corner! 


Whether you have a honey to celebrate with or not, you need these cookies in your life.



I consider them one of those special “once a year” treats. 



Of course, they go well with anything. What cookie doesn’t? After any meal, with a cup of tea or coffee, or as your afternoon treat.

You’re worth it! 


And as always with my recipes, they are not complicated to make. I like simple, delicious, beautiful food. It should taste as wonderful as it looks and be satisfying all around. 


You won’t be disappointed. 


Happy Valentine’s Day! xo

Raspberry Sweetheart Cookies

*Dough will need to be chilled before baking

2/3 Cup Dairy Free Butter ( I use soy free Earth Balance)

2/3 cup Vegetable Shortening ( I use Spectrum)

4 cups of Mama’s Almond Blend All Purpose Gluten Free Flour plus more for rolling (In your local gluten free isle or online. I cannot rave enough about this flour!)

2 Eggs

1 1/2 Cups of Sugar (White or Coconut…coconut will make your cookies brown)

2 Tbsps. of Almond Milk (Could also use rice, coconut, or hemp.)

2 tsp. of Double Acting Baking Powder

1 1/2 tsp. of Xanthan Gum

2 tsp. of Pure Vanilla

1/2 tsp. of Sea Salt

Raspberry Jelly

Powdered Sugar Frosting (Powdered sugar, dairy free butter, pure almond extract, and a tiny bit of water or milk)

Beat butter and shortening in mixer until light and fluffy. Add about half the flour, the eggs, sugar, milk, baking powder, xanthan gum, vanilla, and salt. Beat until thoroughly combined and beat in remaining flour. Divide dough in half and place on plastic wrap. Press into discs, cover completely, and chill for at least 2 hours. This dough will last in the fridge for several days and I also like to wrap it well and freeze it to have on hand. It will last for months in the freezer. 

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

After the dough has chilled remove one disc out of the fridge at a time. Flour your surface and roll out. Cut into shapes of your liking and place them on parchment covered baking sheets. Bake for 8-9 minutes or until the edges are just slightly beginning to turn golden. 

Cool completely. Add about 1 teaspoon of jelly to each cookie and top with another cookie. Drizzle with powdered sugar frosting. 


Cherry Chocolate Crisps


Cherry Chocolate Crisps

*Makes about 26

10 oz Bag of Enjoy Life Miniature Chocolate Chips (dairy free)

3/4 Cup of Tart Dried Cherries

1 Cup of Gluten Free Rice Chex Cereal

Mini Candy Cups

Melt the chocolate and stir in the dried cherries. Fold in the cereal and drop by teaspoon into miniature paper cups.  Allow to set. Store at room temperature. 



Mini Peanut Butter Cups


I don’t know where 2016 went but here we are almost into February of a new year. Valentine’s Day will be here before we know it!


I am used to making my own treats because of food allergies and I prefer home made. I like that I know exactly what’s in the food I eat and the food I give as gifts.


There are so many different types of candy that you can make easily and with minimal ingredients.


Homemade candies also make really sweet and thoughtful gifts.


These peanut butter cups only take a few minutes (not counting the chilling time for layers) and would be a great project for kids too.


You can do any nut butter you like, add mini chocolate chips, dried fruit, nuts…the options are all up to you.


I’ll post another simple candy recipe tomorrow.


Peanut Butter Cups

*Makes 34

1 1/4 Cups of Organic Crunchy Peanut Butter (no stir)

1/3 Cup of Organic Coconut Sugar

4 Bars (3oz each) Organic 70% Dark Chocolate

34 Mini Candy Cups

In a double boiler or a pan with a bowl over the top (which is how I do it), melt the chocolate. In a small bowl combine the peanut butter and sugar and soften in the microwave for 20 seconds (you can also do it in a pan if you don’t use a microwave).

Spread out the candy cups on a cookie tray, this will make it easy to move them to the fridge or outside to chill between layers.

Drop a small amount of chocolate in the bottom of each cup and chill until set. Then drop a dollop of the peanut butter mixture into each cup. Tap the tray lightly on the counter until the peanut butter levels out (doesn’t have to be perfect). Chill for 20 minutes. Drop a small amount of chocolate on top of each cup and swirl to cover the top. Chill until set and store in fridge in an airtight container.

Epsom Bath Treats ~ 3 Ways


Here’s another extremely simple way to treat yourself or others. Epsom salts with your favorite essential oils. Put them in cute jars or bags, make some tags and tie them with ribbon.

I have always loved taking baths. Hot water has some kind of soul quenching relaxing benefits for me that I can’t quite explain. Give me a good book and a bathtub every night and I’m happy. In fact, after making 4 types of cookies doughs and a big batch of pie dough last night, I crawled into an epsom bath with a book at midnight! It just washes all the stress away.

I didn’t really embrace additions to my tub water until I started dealing with chronic illness. I found that epsom baths were a big help with pain and sleeplessness. Later, when I tested positive for Lyme and started doing research, I realized the true benefits and why it’s so helpful for me.


Epsom salt relaxes the nervous system, can cure skin problems, soothes joint pain, eases muscle strain, heals cuts, treats colds and congestion, and draws toxins from the body. Plus, it just feels really good to soak in a nice tub and relax. That alone is good for the soul.

I think this would be a great kid project too because it involves measuring, counting drops, and doesn’t involve a hot stove. I would highly recommend gloves for the little ones though because essential oils are very, very potent. If your children make these for gifts, I think a recipe card cut out from your child’s hand print would be a special and cute touch. Someday I’ll have grandchildren and we’ll do all kinds of fantastic projects together!

For now, it’s just me and the pups. They can’t make bath products but they are definitely always eager to “help” me in the kitchen and to cuddle when I take a break.



Sore Muscle Soak

2 Cups of Epsom Salt

1/2 Cup of Baking Soda

1 Tablespoon of Sea Salt

10 Drops of Eucalyptus Globulous

10 Drops of Peppermint

5 Drops of Stress Away

1-2 drops of Natural Green Food Coloring

Measure the epsom salts, baking soda, and sea salt into a large bowl and whisk to combine. Add the essential oils  and whisk until fully incorporated. Pour 1 Cup into a hot bath and soak for 40 minutes. Rinse when finished. 


Peaceful & Happy ~ 2 Ways

2 Cups of Epsom Salt

1/2 Cup of Baking Soda

1 Tablespoon of Sea Salt

Recipe #1 :

10 Drops of Lavender

15 Drops of Joy

Recipe #2

10 Drops of Lavender

10 Drops of Ylang Ylang

5 Drops of Stress Away

Measure the epsom salts, baking soda, and sea salt into a large bowl and whisk to combine. Add the essential oils  and whisk until fully incorporated. Pour 1 Cup into a hot bath and soak for 40 minutes. Rinse when finished. 


Cold & Flu Soak

3 Cups of Epsom Salts

1/2 Cup of Baking Soda

1 Tablespoon of Sea Salt

8 Drops of Thyme

20 Drops of Lemon

15 Drops of Eucalyptus Globulous

This recipe has an additional cup of epsom salts because of the strength of the thyme essential oil. Measure the epsom salts, baking soda, and sea salt into a large bowl and whisk to combine. Add the essential oils  and whisk until fully incorporated. Pour 1 Cup into a hot bath and soak for 40 minutes. Rinse when finished.