Archive for the ‘Recipes’ Category

Great Party Food for Special Diets

Wednesday, December 30th, 2015

The holidays are over, but with New Year’s, Superbowl parties, Valentine’s day and Easter right around the corner, the food just keeps on coming. If you’re anything like me you love celebrating with yummy, seasonal food! Whether that means bringing friends and family together for gatherings or baking your very favorite cookies, cakes or breads to give out to everyone from neighbors to teachers to grandparents.

As we’ve struggled with gluten intolerance and over the years I’ve become much more aware of the quality of ingredients I put in my body. Then there are my friends who also have dietary restrictions. I’ve encountered everything from Paleo to gluten-free, vegan, dairy free and nut free. Trying to keep everything straight can make your head spin so I’ve stepped away from this tradition a little bit.

special diets

Raspberry Cheesecake Bites from paleOMG

Since high school I have always made baked treats to give away, but I stopped a few years ago after my daughter was born and we discovered her gluten intolerance. To me there’s nothing worse than getting or receiving a gift that’s going to go right into the trash because nobody wants to eat it. I haven’t done it in a while but this year I’m determined to make homemade body products to give out instead–from body butters to scrubs and bath bombs these will always be a great gift.

As for hosting a party, it’s actually a lot easier than you might think. If you’re sending out an invitation, include a simple line such as “please RSVP with any dietary restrictions.” Having been on both sides of the fence, I promise it’s much more awkward for everyone involved if the person with the allergy or restriction has to call the host and ask what they’re serving so they can accommodate by brining their own food. If you’re inviting in person, take a minute to ask about food restrictions. Most likely someone will offer to bring a dish if they follow a very strict diet.

The wonderful thing about special diets is that they’re so common nowadays that you can find so many great websites and you’ll probably fall in love with a dish or two that you might have otherwise never tried. If you don’t know where to start here are some great websites that cater to different dietary needs and have fantastic recipes!

Paleo – PaleOMG and Elenas Pantry

Vegan/Dairy Free: Chocolate Covered Katie and Happy Herbivore

Gluten Free: Gluten Free Goddess and  Gluten Free Girl

Allergy Friendly: Lexis Kitchen and Cybele Pascal

Jacqueline Banks is a certified Holistic Health Counselor focused on nutrition and green living strategies. She works with women in all stages of motherhood, from mothers struggling with conception, through pregnancy, lactation and beyond to ensure the best health and nutrition for both mother and baby.

Gluten Free Holiday Desserts

Wednesday, December 16th, 2015

gluten free holiday desertsDesserts are everywhere during the holiday season and most of them are filled with gluten. If you or anyone in your family is gluten free it can be hard to find the perfect dessert that everyone loves but is still gluten free.

I’ve found this to be especially true when it comes to cookies, and there really is no escaping cookies around the holidays. I’ve searched far and wide for the right gluten-free sugar cookie recipe and after making them from scratch and counting countless bagged varieties, I finally found one that even my gluten-loving husband loves. The Pure Pantry is gluten-free and organic, making it a double winner in my book. It can be hard to find in most grocery stores but luckily you can buy it (and other varieties) from their website.

Another one of our favorite cookies that make an appearance around the holidays is Italian almond cookies. The base is made from rice and almond flour so you don’t have to experiment with finding the right gluten-free baking mix to give you right consistency. A great recipe for them can be found on Holistic Health Coach Andrea Beaman’s website.

If you’re looking for a dessert to take to a party or as the grand finale of a special meal, I would suggest this recipe for flourless chocolate cake by Jaime Oliver. Instead of topping it with dusted cocoa and berries, make some homemade whipped cream and top with some crushed peppermint candy canes–the combination of peppermint and chocolate is delicious!

If you really miss gingerbread since going gluten free, don’t worry, Chocolate Covered Katie has you covered with a yummy and healthier version.  I prefer using the Pure Pantry all-purpose baking mix instead of spelt flour, and again, I’d top it with homemade whipped cream.

Homemade Gluten-Free Whipped Cream

1 8oz container of heavy whipping cream
5 drops Sweet Leaf Stevia drops in your favorite flavor (I love English Toffee)
¼ tsp. vanilla extract


Pour all the ingredients into a bowl and mix using an electric mixer until it reaches your desired consistency.  Then try not to eat all of it before it tops your desserts!

Jacqueline Banks is a certified Holistic Health Counselor focused on nutrition and green living strategies. She works with women in all stages of motherhood, from mothers struggling with conception, through pregnancy, lactation and beyond to ensure the best health and nutrition for both mother and baby.

Protein Energy Balls

Friday, November 6th, 2015

Protein energy balls

It’s officially the holiday season! If you thought pregnancy stretched you to your limit, you may not have been through a holiday season with little ones yet. Hang on! It’s going to be a bumpy ride.

When it does get to be too much, sit down, relax, and enjoy some of these amazing no-bake protein energy balls with a side of lowered expectations. It’s a great snack for toddlers to “help” make!

Mom’s Milk Protein Energy Balls
1 C Oatmeal
1/2 C Flax Seed
2 Tbs your favorite unbrewed Coffee Grounds
3/4 C Almond or Peanut Butter
1/4 C Honey
1 Tsp Vanilla
1/4 C Dark Chocolate shavings (optional)
1/4 C Cranberries or favorite dried fruit (optional)
1/4 C Coconut shavings (optional)
Mix ingredients together with a spoon or your hands. Put in the fridge for 10-20 minutes to allow to set slightly, then remove and use your hands to form into 1-inch balls. You can also press into a pan and cut into squares for energy bars.
If you have food allergies, substituting ingredients is easy. You can substitute any chips for the chocolate chips, or use cacao nibs for a vegan-friendly version. Any nut better can be used in place of almond of nut butter, and agave works well as a vegan-freindly sub for honey.
Take it easy on yourselves this holiday season, mamas!
Abbie is the owner of Mom’s Milk Boutique.

Best Foods for Nursing

Wednesday, September 23rd, 2015

Best Foods for NursingNursing is such a special time in your motherhood journey. Along with working on latch, positioning and learning to relax to release milk, learning what foods are best for milk production can help improve health and quality of your milk supply.

First let’s clear up a few terms: lactogenic foods are foods which help in the secretion of the lactation hormones estrogen, oxytocin and prolactin. They are also called galactagogues. The main function of a galactagogue is to help promote milk production, but in order for milk to be at its peak performance the body has to be properly hydrated and have fiber. One of the main characteristics of galactagogues is high fiber content to help the body move nutrients through your system and produce adequate and quality milk.

Oatmeal is one of the most common foods, since its high fiber, calming and comforting. Oatmeal helps with regulating blood pressure, lowering cholesterol and provides moms with a relaxing comfort food that can help produce oxytocin and promote letdown.

Spinach and leafy greens also help with production, offering a tasty way to fill your need for calcium, iron, folate and Vitamins K and A. They also contain phytoestrogens: plant-based chemicals that behave similar to estrogens help promote healthy breast tissue and lactation.

Carrots are a lesser-known galactagogue, offering nursing mothers a boost of energy as an afternoon snack. My favorite way of getting my carrots is as an afternoon juice to help boost milk production for the evening. They are high in betcarotene and Vitamin A. Papaya is another lesser-known galactagogue here in the states but is commonly used in Latin America and Asia. Papaya helps promote relaxation and has a natural sedative in it.

Brown Rice, much like oatmeal, is a great grain for nursing. It is a complex carbohydrate which helps fill the body while providing extra fiber. Research has found that eating brown rice causes an increase in serotonin levels, which in turn helps promote prolactin secretion.  Prolactin is the key hormone in milk production.

And let’s not forget protein! Salmon is a key and wonderful source of Omega 3 fatty acids and essential fatty acids–both are essential for healthy milk production and brain development.

Let’s not forget to drink lots of water, snack on wonderful almonds and keep nursing those hungry babies to help them grow grow grow!

Happy Nursing Mamas!

Pia Watzig is a stay at home mom to three (!) crazy little boys aged five, three and 10 months. A trained chef, she loves to cook for all her hungry boys in Portland, Oregon




Healthy Halloween Treats

Thursday, October 16th, 2014

Fall is finally here and Halloween decorations are already up everywhere and the supermarket aisles are filled with candy. A popular treat that doubles as an activity for kids is the ever-famous Rice Krispie treat, which you can mold into just about any shape you like from pumpkin to goblin. Instead of making the traditional recipe, try giving the kids an extra nutritional boost and some added protein with this healthier version. It’s just as fun to make and healthy, too.

Most health food stores nowadays sell food dyes made from spices or food so avoiding synthetic food coloring is not a big deal, you can even find all-natural sprinkles which would be fun to add in as well! Choose your colors depending on what shape you’re going for.

Protein-Packed Crispy Rice Treats


2 cups puffed rice cereal

½ cup almond or sunflower seed butter

¾ cup brown rice syrup

½ cup finely chopped nuts, seeds or raisins

¼ cup mini chocolate chips


Combine the almond butter and rice syrup in a sauce pan and cook on very low heat for about 3 minutes until it’s nice and creamy.

In a large bowl toss the rice cereal and mix ins.

Pour the warm, creamy mixture over the cereal mix and make sure everything is evenly coated.

Press the mixture into a 9X9 baking pan and cool in the refrigerator.

Once it’s set you can use cookie cutters to cut your favorite shapes or shape into pumpkins!

If you want to go crazy with decorating but want to keep food dyes and corn syrup out of your creations look for Surf Sweet gummy candies or Unreal candy.

Jacqueline Banks is a board certified Holistic Health Counselor focused on nutrition and green living strategies. To learn more about living a vibrant, healthy life, visit her website at