Crustless Butternut Pie

Crustless Butternut Pie 2

After almost 2½ years on the Autoimmune Protocol (AIP), we’re finally in reintroduction territory!

Matthew has reintroduced coffee, white rice (occasionally), soaked and dehydrated pumpkin seeds, and eggs (sometimes). I have reintroduced soaked and dehydrated nuts, cocoa and eggs.

We overlap on the eggs, and that has been fun.

Butternut Pie 2This recipe is our new favorite.

Where do eggs fit on the paleo healing protocols?

The elimination phase of the AIP excludes eggs, as do the Wahls Protocols.

Sarah Ballantyne explains why in this post.

When attempting egg reintroduction, starting with yolks is recommended. Eileen Laird has a how to video on how to separate whites and yolks three different ways, and also elaborates on the nutrient-density of eggs.

Find Eileen’s book on AIP reintroductions here.

If you find you can tolerate yolks but not whites, you can still make this recipe. Just use eight egg yolks rather than four whole eggs.

Some paleo protocols that don’t focus on autoimmunity recommend eggs as a dietary staple, if they come from naturally-raised chickens. These protocols include the Primal Blueprint, the Bulletproof Diet and the Whole 30.

Now Pie!

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Peach-Glazed Beef & Broccoli (AIP)

Beef & Broccoli 3When I was a vegetarian, I read a cookbook by Nigella Lawson & was perplexed by her admission that sometimes she just needed to curl up & eat a big comforting bowl of ground meat.

Ground meat as comfort food.

I didn’t get it back then, as my comfort foods were all conveniently-packaged starches. They went straight from the grocery store shelf & into my mouth.

BeefWrecking my microbiome as they moved through my digestive system, causing depression & anxiety (which then provoked more starches).

Ground meat as comfort food.

Now I get it~.

But this recipe isn’t just a bowl full of meat.

It’s a bowl full of meat with flair.

But it’s still comforting in exactly the way Nigella described.

One of the hallmarks of comfort food (at least if you have to make it for yourself) is ease. Rapidity is another.

Beef & BroccoliFrom ingredients to fragrant steaming bowl of comfort, it needs to happen quick.

And it needs to be familiar.

Comfort-food-time is not the moment to start sourcing ground wild water buffalo or cricket flour.

Just some happily pastured ground beef. Classically presented. With broccoli.

And one homey-exotic twist: a peach.

So your comfort isn’t mundane.

It’s elevated. A bowl full of meat that’s full of comfort, exultation and well-being~.

Peach-Glazed Beef & Broccoli

 from petra8paleoBeef & Broccoli 2

  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 2 tablespoons lard, tallow or coconut oil
  • 1 teaspoon Himalyan Salt (or similar)
  • 1 heaping teaspoon dried Basil
  • 4 heaping cups broccoli, chopped
  • 1 ripe Peach
  • 2 tablespoons Coconut Aminos
  • 1 cup Water (or warm bone broth)

Cut the Broccoli into bite-sized pieces. Trim the stalks before chopping them, if they’re tough.

Melt the fat and fry the Beef in a skillet on medium heat, stirring occasionally.

Meanwhile, halve the Peach, and puree one half with the Coconut Aminos and Water (or substitute warm bone broth) in a food processor.

When the Beef is no longer pink, turn the heat up slightly, add the chopped Broccoli and pour the Peach puree over top. Stir to combine.

Don’t be alarmed if it looks like you might be making hamburger soup. You aren’t.

Leave the skillet uncovered and stir occasionally as the liquid reduces.

Meanwhile, dice the remaining half Peach.

When the Broccoli is al dente,  serve in bowls, garnished with diced Peaches.

Broccoli & Peach 3



Fully-loaded Avocado Chicken Salad

Loaded Avocado

But first, some ruminations from those moments when I hate cooking~

Hating cooking is a first world problem.

But even so, it’s real.

I know because I hate cooking.

Less than I used to, but still, it’s one of the last things I’d do if I had a choice & one of the first functions I’d outsource if I got a zillion dollars.

Nevertheless, I have this food blog. Full of recipes.

My grandma Naomi hated cooking, too.

Did it ever occur to her that life was not going to involve cooking every single day until she died? Not once. She cooked every day, because in her generation, preference was irrelevant.

Obviously, lots of people love cooking. My #1 kid has devoted her career to it.

Cooking, like gardening, is a leisure activity for some & a vile chore for others.

What’s the difference?

Leisure vs Work

Levitt & Dubner, the guys who wrote the Freakonomics books, say “it’s work if someone tells you to do it and leisure if you choose to do it yourself.”

I’m not sure that’s true, as almost nobody ever tells me to do anything (I’ve pretty much constructed my life that way). But nevertheless there are things I consider to be work.

Like work.

I wouldn’t quibble with their statement if it was rephrased: it’s work if you have to do it and leisure if you choose to do it.

But then, choice is an interesting concept.

Is choice about doing what we prefer? Or choosing how we respond?


Viktor Frankl

Viktor Frankl had a profound revelation about the nature of choice during the three years he spent living in German concentration camps.

The only member of his family who entered the camps to survive, his realization was: “The last of human freedoms – to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.”

It is in our power to choose how to respond.

So, though I might cavil a bit with Levitt & Dubner, I agree with the spirit of their assertion: perhaps it’s work if you have to do it and leisure if you choose to. You can choose, therefore to make your work your leisure.

Which loops us back to cooking. Choice or necessity?

If you find, as I have, that cooking is a necessity, you can choose to find ways to hate it less.

Including using cooking as a practice for choice.

And, because we have choice, by employing strategies for cooking less. Like making extra, so you have cooked chicken thighs (for example) on hand to make this this fully-loaded avocado chicken salad.

No cooking (just assembly) required.

My choice~.


Fully-loaded Avocado Chicken Salad (AIP & WahlsPaleo+)

 from petra8paleoLoaded Avocado 2

  • 1 large or 2 small ripe Avocados
  • 2 cooked chicken thighs
  • 1 bunch cilantro
  • 3 tablespoons additive-free coconut milk
  • 3 tablespoons lime juice
  • ½ teaspoon Himalayan salt (or similar)

Cut the Avocado(s) in half & remove the pit(s).

Dice the chicken. Chop the cilantro.

Mix them together with the coconut milk, lime juice and salt. Divide this mixture between each avocado half & enjoy immediately.

Paleo survival strategy: early morning food prep

Everyone wants a piece of you, I know:

  • The zen individuals want you to get up 20 minutes early to mediate;
  • The get-the-classical-education-you-never-had people want you to get up before that to read Beowulf;
  • The fitness freaks want you to hit the gym at 5am;
  • The de-clutter nuts want 30 minutes of your mornings before anyone else is up to swizzle the bathroom and sparkle the sink;

And now I’m saying Hey! Wouldn’t you like to get up even earlier so you can prep a pot roast and make a cauli-pilaf before you greet the pandemonium that is your day?

And you are saying Um, no.

But wait, I have edge.

The edge is this: Paleo/AIP will give you the energy you need to accomplish all the meditating, Beowulf-reading, weight-lifting and toilet-swizzling you want to do in a day, in addition to your day-job and family life.

At least, it has in mine.

So start with the food prep. Even if it means skipping the gym & leaving the toilet to marinate for now. Seriously! I highly recommend getting the extra sleep and just starting with a cauliflower.

Just you & a cauliflower in the early light of dawn…

As your energy increases, you can whip through The History of the Peloponnesian War by Thucydides, prep your food, meditate, swizzle your toilet and get in a bike ride before work.

But you need the energy first.

Here’s what I did before work this morning:

Morning food prep

My early morning food prep

  • Baked some sockeye salmon;
  • Prepped a beef stew for the slow cooker (I browned lightly-salted stewing beef in batches, added 2 whole portobellos, sliced celery, cinnamon, & bone broth to the slow cooker, put it on low & left it all day);
  • Made a batch of coconut milk lattes for breakfast;
  • Made a batch of avocado pesto;
  • Roasted some cabbage;
  • Cut up celery, cucumber & broccoli for crudités;

I got all my food prep done before I had to roust my vegetarian teenager.


Chicken with pesto & lattes for breakfast!

Then I ate my breakfast, drank 3 green tea lattes, read my evaluation textbook, did the dishes & got work-ready.

We were both out the door by 7:40am.

Why an early morning cook-up instead of a late-night food prep?

3 reasons:

  1. Procrastination is a serious hazard for me in the evening
  2. I resent the food-prep less if I don’t have to spend my day anticipating it
  3. I prefer to have my evenings free to do whatever I want

Here’s my foodstuffs for the workday that followed:

  • Breakfast: Leftover roast chicken topped with avocado pesto, several gorgeous green tea coconut milk lattes;

    Workaday lunch

    Workaday lunch

  • Snack: Celery, cucumber & broccoli crudités with purple botija olives;
  • Lunch (at my desk, after hot-hot power flow yoga): Baked sockeye salmon mashed with avocado pesto in nori handrolls & a side of roast cabbage;
  • Supper: Beef stew with portobellos, sautéed zucchini with avocado pesto;

I am not affronted by avocado pesto three times a day!

Avocado Pesto on Zucchini Pasta + Cilantro Lime Salad Dressing (AIP-friendly)

Avocado pesto

Traditional pesto uses parmesan & pine nuts, but this AIP-friendly version is gorgeous without. A cilantro variation is perfect for winter. Or combine fresh dill & cilantro, especially for salmon.  In summer, use basil. Of course.

  • 2 bunches cilantro, including the stems
  • 1 ripe avocado
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 heaping tablespoon dried basil
  • 1/3 cup lime juice
  • 2 cloves garlic (optional)
  • 1 large or sufficient small zucchini

Whirl all the ingredients except zucchini in a food processor.

Noodles Deconstructed

Deconstruct pasta

Reconstruct pasta with a vegetable peeler, mandolin slicers or a julienne peeler to make the desired quantity of spaghetti or linguini out of your zucchini. Steam zucchini pasta for a few minutes until cooked.

Or deconstruct pasta by just slicing & sautéing the zucchini…

Top with pesto.

Cilantro Lime Salad dressing

While you’re at it…

Don’t scrape out the food processor bowl when you make the avocado pesto. Add:

  • ½ cup lime juice
  • A few tablespoons of apple cider vinegar
  • ½ cup olive oil
  • 1 or more cloves garlic
  • 1 tsp your favorite salt

Whirl & store in the fridge.


An AIP food prep weekend

I spent the entire weekend in the kitchen. Prepping food for our extreme version of the Autoimmune Protocol.

A handblown glass compost receptacle (only slightly chipped: $3 at a thrift store) lends elegance to any food prep session...

A handblown glass compost receptacle (only slightly chipped: $3 at a thrift store) lends elegance to any food prep session…

I got cases of organic cucumbers, zucchini, cauliflower, purple cabbage & mushrooms on Friday, so I focused on those vegetables.

Luckily my #2 kid, who just moved into my basement suite, had only beer & sausages in his fridge, so I was able to fill it up with my overstock vegetation. No doubt his friends were awe-struck by his apparent commitment to vegetables.

I do most of the cooking & all of the meal planning around here. Not because I like it. I actually don’t like cooking at all. But because Matthew’s health is really bad and he can’t.

So I do.

I may not like it, but it feels really honest. Taking unadulterated plants & animal parts & turning them into delicious & (hopefully) healing foods.

I found myself wondering about my great-grandmothers for the first time in my life this weekend. What their lives were like. Pretty much like my weekend, maybe. Except on repeat forever with wood-fired cookstoves, no birth control & no vote.

It’s like a form of time travel to spend long days in the kitchen. At least for me.

My #1 kid is a sous chef in San Francisco & voluntarily spends all her days in the kitchens of the happening-est restaurants in the Bay Area.

But to me, as a person who would have no regrets if I never had to cook again (as long as the quality of my food didn’t suffer) working with unmodified food intensively for 2 days felt as though our 100-year obsession with convenience food-products had been put aside.

It’s like I am continuing from where we left off before all that convenience-madness happened. But with a few perks like electricity & the internet.

Here’s what happened in my kitchen this weekend:

Zucchini canoes

Zucchini canoes

  • Zucchini canoes with ground lamb & chicken;
  • Cauli-rice;
  • Tabbouleh;
  • Marinated Cauliflower;
  • Collard Greens & mushrooms;
  • Zucchini pasta with avocado pesto;
  • A triple batch Martha Stewart’s Cauliflower & watercress soup (AIP-modified);
  • A vast batch of Everyday Maven’s Roasted cabbage;
  • Green salad;
  • Beef Bone broth (Simmered for 36 hours!);
  • Slow-cooker brisket (actually, Matthew did the brisket);
  • Kalua Pig (it was a 2 slow-cooker weekend);
  • Baked Halibut;
  • Steak & lamb kidney (hey hey, Matthew did that, too);
  • Beef portobello burgers;
  • Two rounds of Coconut rooibos lattes. They are actually incredibly soothing. And when the love of my life is this unwell & I have to spend the weekend doing something I don’t like, warm soothing drinks are good;
  • And I blanched & froze a bunch of zucchini;

Here’s what my fridge looked like on Sunday night:


Ready for an AIP workweek!

Meat muffins (AIP-friendly)

Guaranteed to horrify your vegetarian teenager

  • 2lbs ground meat of your choice (2 types is always more flavourful)
  • 4 cups chopped finely chopped vegetables & fresh herbs
  • 2 tablespoons dried herbs & spices
  • Salt (to taste)

Preheat oven to 350.

Meat muffins

Ground lamb & chicken muffins with oregano

Mix ingredients together with your hands. Heap the meat & vegetable mixture into a 12-muffin tin or 4 mini-loaf pans.

Bake for 45-50 minutes until crisp & brown on top.

Make meat muffins when you have time & freeze them for when you don’t.

They reheat beautifully in the oven.

Recipe Notes

Use any of the following vegetables & herbs, depending on your current diet.

We’re currently doing our own extreme version of an AIP, which I’m calling an X-AIP to make it seem more like a superhero mission than 30 days of deprivation during my least favourite month of the year.


  • Extreme AIP (X-AIP) vegetables are low-carb: greens, cauliflower, broccoli, celery, mushrooms, asparagus, parsley, snow peas, cabbage, cilantro, fennel, brussels sprouts & zucchini;
  • Autoimmune Protocol (AIP) vegetables include all of the above, plus: winter squashes & roots like yams, carrots, beets, turnips, fennel…;
  • Paleo vegetables include all of the above, plus: nightshades: like bell peppers, eggplant & tomatoes…;

Herbs & Spices

  • Extreme AIP (X-AIP) herbs & spices do not include seed spices, nightshades or alliums, but do include: Basil, Bay, Cilantro, Cinnamon, Cloves, Curry Leaves, Dill Weed, Ginger, Lavender, Mace, Marjoram, Parsley, Oregano, Rosemary, Sage, Savory, Tarragon, Thyme, & Turmeric
  • Autoimmune Protocol (AIP) herbs & spices include all of the above, plus alliums: garlic & chives. For a list of AIP-legal herbs & spices see The Paleo Mom’s post.;
  • The are no exclusions for Paleo herbs & spices;


An Autoimmune Protocol Week

Coconut Lattes & Currant Tea Cake

A snack in between: Coconut Lattes & Currant Tea Cake

We were off work this week so we got to eat the way we like: brunch & supper, with a snack in between, if needed (it often isn’t).

On workdays, I eat three meals. Workaday stress = more frequent feeding!

Here’s a ‘week off’ of AIP brunches & suppers (in some cases I AIP-modified the linked recipes, if you’re unsure how to do that, feel free to ask!):

Bacon, Sautéed zucchinni & onion, Avocado

Bacon, Sautéed zucchinni & onion, Avocado

Day 1:

Day 2:

Sausage, Oven roasted yams, Stuffed portobello

Sausage, Oven roasted yams, Stuffed portobello

  • Breakfast: Phoenix Helix’s Homemade pork sausage, Yam oven fries, Stuffed portobellos (stuffed with leftover shepherd’s pie)
  • Supper: Roast Turkey, Pumpkin stuffing, Melissa Joulwan’s Cauli-rice pilaf, Emerald Soup, Cranberry sauce (cranberries, maple butter & cloves)

Day 3:

Bison burger, Roast Cabbage, Acorn squash stuffing

Bison burger, Roast Cabbage, Acorn squash stuffing

  • Breakfast: Everyday Maven’s Roast Cabbage, Bison portobello burgers (made with bison, pumpkin, parsley, granny smith apple & sage), and leftover pumpkin stuffing cooked in turkey pan drippings
  • Supper: Soup made with Turkey bone broth, The Paleo Mom’s Plantain Crackers, Green salad

Day 4:

Baked Sockeye Salmon, Roasted Kuri Squash, Avocado

Baked Sockeye Salmon, Roasted Kuri Squash, Avocado

Day 5:

Day 6:

Short Ribs, Mashed cauliflower, Sautéed zucchini & mushrooms

Short Ribs, Mashed cauliflower, Sautéed zucchini & mushrooms

  • Breakfast: Nom Nom Paleo’s Slow Cooker Kalua Pig (start at dinnertime the day before to have it ready for brunch), Oven roasted turnips, Brussels sprouts
  • Supper: Short Ribs, Mashed Cauliflower, Sautéed zucchini & mushrooms

Day 7:

Pot Roast with shitakes & onions, Tabbouleh salad

Pot Roast with shitakes & onions, Tabbouleh salad

  • Breakfast: Field Notes on Healing’s Salmon Cakes, Tabbouleh salad, Avocado
  • Supper: Slow Cooker Pot Roast with shitakes & onions, Tabbouleh salad

Now it’s back to work & 3 (Extreme AIP) meals a day starting tomorrow!

DIY Coconut Milk + Currant Tea Cake + Crackers + Coconut Latte (AIP-friendly)

Currant Tea Cake & Coconut Rooibos Lattes

An AIP tea party: Currant Tea Cake & Coconut Rooibos Lattes

Make your own Coconut Milk!

Use it for your own nefarious purposes or make Coconut Lattes.

Use the coconut that’s leftover from the milk-making to create a Tea Cake or crunchy Crackers.

Find all those recipes here!

Coconut Milk

I experimented with Coconut Milk recipes from The Paleo Mom & Phoenix Helix before I came up with my own version. Read about my thrilling early coconut milk experiments here.

  • 1½ cups loosely-packed ground coconut
  • 2½ cups freshly boiled water, cooled slightly

Grind coconut in a blender before measuring. 3 cups of coconut chips (I use Wilderness Family Naturals brand) makes about 1½ cups of loosely-packed ground coconut.

Whirl ground coconut & hot water in the blender for 3-4 minutes.

Pour mixture through a nut milk bag into a bowl. Use an elastic band to attach the bag to the blender carafe to gently shake all the coconut slurry in. If your bag doesn’t have a drawstring, you can use the elastic band to hang the bag from a cupboard knob over the bowl until the contents are just cool enough to squeeze all the coconut milk out (just like milking a cow!)

Refrigerate the coconut milk for curries, smoothies or any recipe calling for full-fat coconut milk, or use it while it’s still hot to make Coconut Chai Lattes.

Use the damp coconut flour to make AIP-friendly Currant Tea Cake or Coconut Plantain Crackers.

Here are those recipes!

Coconut Latte (AIP-friendly)

  • Hot coconut milk (see recipe, above)
  • Rooibos tea (or green tea or black tea or coffee, as you like)
  • Ground cloves (optional)

Brew your tea or coffe. Whirl your hot coconut milk & cinnamon in a blender to froth. Fill mugs ½ or more with tea or coffee & top with frothy coconut milk. Optionally, dust with ground cloves.

Currant Tea Cake (AIP-friendly)

Preheat oven to 350

  • ¾ cup damp coconut leftover from making coconut milk (that’s how much is left when I make the coconut milk recipe, above)
  • 1 ripe plantain
  • ¼ melted coconut oil
  • 1 tsp mace
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ¼ cup currants
  • 1 tsp lemon zest

Combine the first 5 ingredients in a food processor until a batter is formed. In a bowl, mix the batter with the currents & lemon zest.

Press into a greased 8×8 baking dish & bake for 45 minutes or until browned.

Coconut Plantain Crackers (AIP-friendly)

This recipe is adapted from the brilliant Plantain Cracker recipe by The Paleo Mom.

  • ¾ cup damp coconut leftover from making coconut milk (that’s how much is left when I make the coconut milk recipe, above)
  • 2 average sized green plantains
  • ½ cup coconut oil, melted
  • Salt, to taste

Preheat oven to 300

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Whirl all ingredients in a food processor until a smooth puree is formed, 2-4 minutes.

Use a spatula to smooth the hummus-like batter as thin as possible without coming apart. Square the edges.

Bake for 10 minutes.  Remove from the oven and score the crackers.

Place back in the oven and bake for 50-60 minutes, until golden brown.

According to The Paleo Mom, greener plantains take longer to bake & taste better.

Paleo Nachos with Ground Elk & Green Apple Guacamole (AIP-friendly)

AIP Fiesta!

AIP Fiesta!

There is no need for deprivation on an Autoimmune Protocol!

Start by making the chips, then you can cook the meat & assemble the guacamole while they bake. Half an hour from start to fiesta!


Nacho recipe from Well-fed 2 by Melissa Joulwan.

  • 2 green plantains
  • Salt
  • Turmeric

Preheat oven to 350.

Line 2 or 3 large baking sheets with parchment paper.

To peel plantains, cut through the skin lengthwise with a sharp knife & remove the skin in strips. Slice the plantains on the thinnest setting with a mandolin slicer, and arrange in in slightly overlapping chips of 3 & 4 plantains each.

Sprinkle with salt & turmeric, then bake for 20 minutes until brown & crispy.


Of course you can use any meat…

  • Bacon fat or coconut oil
  • 1 small onion
  • 1lb ground elk
  • Dried basil, oregano & thyme

Brown the onion in fat. Add the ground elk & herbs. Fry until cooked through.

Green Apple Guacamole

Feel free to add garlic if you like, but our AIP is garlic-free.

  • 2 ripe avocados, diced
  • 1 granny smith apple, finely diced
  • ¼ cup lime juice
  • ¼ cup minced cilantro

Combine & serve with warm ground elk & crispy plantain nachos.