Creamy Rosemary White Bean Sauce + 20% Spring Sale starts sunday

photo from Corbis.com

We have been enjoying beans again after not eating them for sometime now.  This sauce is really yummy and is a great alternative to regular Alfredo sauce.

It’s dairy-free, nut-free and nightshade free!  Enjoy it on any type of noodle such as zucchini noodles or your choice of gluten-free or regular pasta.

Other ideas include enjoying it over steamed veggies, over chicken or fish.

We ate the last batch too quickly so I don’t yet have a picture.

Creamy Rosemary White Bean Sauce Recipe
Servings: 4
Prep/Cook: 15 minutes

This recipe is adapted from the Creamy White Bean Sauce recipe in the book Ecological Kitchen by Lorna J. Sass.

1 1/2-2 cups cooked navy beans, or cannellini (use navy if following GAPS)
1 clove garlic, peeled and minced, or 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder (optional)
1-2 tablespoons olive oil
1 1/2 teaspoons dijon mustard, coarse grained
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1/2-1 tablespoons fresh rosemary, chopped or 1/2 teaspoon dried
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/3 cup stock, bean cooking liquid, or water
Freshly ground white or black pepper, to taste


1.  In a blender or food processor, combine all of the ingredients and puree until very smooth while gradually adding enough liquid to create a thick.

2.  Serve warm or at room temperature or refrigerate until needed in a tightly sealed container for up to 3 days or freeze for up to 3 months. When re-warming after refrigeration, thin with water or stock.

20% Off Spring Sale is coming this Sunday, March 11th

This Sunday marks the first day of our 20% Spring Sale for the membership site. We recently created a Sneak Preview page so if you’d like to learn more about how the site works, you can check out some website screenshots.  Enjoy!


Shepherd’s Pie with Mashed Butternut Squash (Paleo and GAPS friendly)

My son loves this version of Shepherd’s Pie with mashed butternut squash.  Whenever I make it, he seems to gobble it up (impressive but not great on his digestion I guess!)  I also love making Shepherd’s Pie GAPS-friendly by using mashed cauliflower.  However, the butternut squash is sweeter and goes great with the meat filling.  You can call it simple comfort food.  Enjoy!

Recipe for Shepherd’s Pie with Mashed Butternut Squash (dairy-free, gluten-free, nightshade-free, GAPS and Paleo friendly)

  • 1 1/2 pounds butternut squash
  • 3 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 1/2 onion, diced
  • 2 carrots, diced
  • 1 pound ground beef or ground turkey
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 cup frozen peas


1. Peel and seed the squash.  Cut into large cubes and then steam the squash in a large pot over medium heat for about 20 minutes, or until cooked through and very soft.

2. While the squash is cooking, heat 1 Tbsp. coconut oil over medium heat in a large cast iron skillet. Sauté onions in skillet until tender over medium heat, about 10 minutes. Add the carrots and cook for another 5-8 minutes until soft.

3. Add ground beef or turkey and sauté until no longer pink, breaking it up with a spoon as it cooks. Add salt, pepper, thyme and peas.  Cook another 5 or so minutes to cook the peas.

4. Drain the squash and place into a food processor. Add 2-4 Tbsp. coconut oil or butter, salt and pepper to taste and process until smooth.  (You can also use a stick blender in the pot if you have one, or simply a potato masher.)

5. Place beef and onion mixture in 9 x 12 baking dish. Distribute mashed butternut squash on top.  Heat in oven at 375 F if necessary to warm up, otherwise serve as is.

20% off Spring Sale is Coming!

If you have not yet become a member to the membership menu planning website, we will be having a 20% sale starting on Sunday, March 11th through Sunday, March 18th.  Also, a special Lifetime Membership offer will be available to all previous and current customers.  Stay tuned!



Crayon Hearts

I have seen this fun craft in a couple of places and wanted to try it out with Elijah.  It can be for Valentine’s Day or any day you feel like making something new out of broken and used up crayons.  The best tutorial I have read can be found at the Pink and Green Mama Blog.

If you check out her blog, you will be sure to find other wonderful and fun craft ideas for Valentine’s Day or any day of the year.  She also has art lessons that she sells that look great!  By the way, I am not an affiliate of her’s and am not making any money by promoting her site.  I just really love her blog and wanted to give her credit for this fun craft.  I won’t go over the ins and outs of it – just visit her tutorial.

I might add though that if you don’t make the hearts very thick, they are fragile so they will break if handled too roughly.  As you can see, one of our’s already broke because my son was sure they were strong enough to walk on.  Well, I guess with all hearts, they will break if they are walked on.

My son is supposed to be off honey, fruit and egg whites right now so baking is quite a challenge.  But I was thinking about making an egg-free pizza crust tonight in the shape of a heart.  I also may make this wonderful raw chocolate pudding since it is free of honey.

I have been completely unsuccessful in limiting fruit in his diet but I have at least been able to switch him from honey to liquid stevia drops, which are awesome!  We are now able to drink raw milk (whoo hoo!) so he’s been drinking chocolate milk made with the liquid stevia drops.  Yummo!

So, on this Valentine’s Day, I will leave you with the song lyrics to one of my favorite songs right now – “Everybody” by Ingrid Michaelson.  If you haven’t heard this song, you can listen to it on Youtube.  Happy Valentine’s Day!

Everybody by Ingrid Michaelson:

We have fallen down again tonight
In this world it’s hard to get it right
Try to make your heart feel like a glove
What it needs is love, love, love

Everybody, everybody wants to love
Everybody, everybody wants to be loved
Oh, oh, oh, oh, oh, oh

Everybody, everybody wants to love
Everybody, everybody wants to be loved
Oh, oh, oh, oh, oh, oh

Happy is the heart that still feels pain
Darkness drains and light will come again
Swing open up your chest and let it in
Just let the love, love, love begin

Everybody, everybody wants to love
Everybody, everybody wants to be loved
Oh, oh, oh, oh, oh, oh

Everybody, everybody wants to love
Everybody, everybody wants to be loved
Oh, oh, oh, oh, oh, oh

oh everybody knows the love
Everybody holds the love
Everybody falls for love

Everybody feels the love
Everybody steals the love,
everybody heals with love
Oh, oh, oh, oh, just let the love, love, love begin

Everybody, everybody wants to love
Everybody, everybody wants to be loved
Oh, oh, oh, Just let the love, love, love begin

Everybody, everybody wants to love
Everybody, everybody wants to be loved
Oh, oh, oh, Just let the love, love, love begin

Everybody, everybody wants to love
Everybody, everybody wants to be loved
Oh, oh, oh, oh, oh, oh

Everybody feels to love
Everybody steals to be loved
Oh, oh, oh, oh, oh, oh

Everybody, everybody wants to love (oh everybody)
Everybody, everybody wants to be loved (oh everybody)
Oh, oh, oh, (oh everybody) oh, oh, oh (oh everybody) oh, oh, oh, oh. Oh.
Everybody, everybody wants to love (oh everybody)
Everybody, everybody wants to be loved (oh everybody)
Oh, oh, oh, (oh everybody) oh, oh, oh (oh everybody) oh, oh, oh, oh. Oh.


Tahini Bees

Happy New Year everyone!

I wanted to share a simple and kid-friendly snack that I made with my mom when I was a kid.  It is one of my fondest memories from childhood;  one of those images that just stick out to me when I think about being a kid.  But we used peanut butter instead of tahini and dried milk powder instead of coconut.  So I’ve made a couple changes but the essence of the recipe is the same:  Bees you can eat.  What more can a kid ask for as a snack?

You can use any kind of nut butter that works for you.  They could be Sunbutter Bees, Peanut Butter Bees, Almond Butter Bees, Cashew Butter Bees.  The list is endless.  And why not add cocoa powder or cinnamon?!

And how about having your kids help out with making these?  They are really fun to make and easy for most kids 2 and above to participate in.

I have to say that I prefer almond, cashew or sunflower butter over the tahini (and my son wasn’t crazy about the tahini taste).  But the picture above is of bees made with tahini.  And if you’re looking for nut-free recipes, tahini and sunbutter work really well.  I haven’t tried coconut butter, however I do think it would work.  You may just have to play with the temperature and the amount of honey so that the coconut butter can be made into balls.

Here’s the recipe:

Tahini (or Sunbutter) Bees Recipe:

1/2 cup sunbutter, tahini, or other nut butter of your choice (sunflower butter or nut butter best for kids)
3-4 tablespoons honey
2/3-1 cups unsweetened shredded coconut meat *(see note below)
pumpkin seeds or almonds, soaked and dehydrated


1.  Combine the tahini (or other nut butter), honey, shredded coconut together in a mixing bowl.  Stir until well combined.

2.  Add more coconut if mixture is too wet.  Form mixture into small ovals.  Place on a plate.  If you are using almonds, cut them in half lengthwise.  To make wings for the bees, push pumpkin seeds or halved almonds into either side of the bee.  I used 2 pumpkin seeds for each side but only 1 almond half for each side of the bees.

3.  Place in the fridge to harden before enjoying.


*If you do not like grated coconut, you could try using a small amount of coconut flour to thicken the mixture.

*Update:  I have recently been mixing sunbutter with honey to make it sweeter for my son, and after it is mixed, and sits in the fridge, it is hard enough to roll with your fingers so your really don’t need the coconut or flour.  Enjoy!


Receive up to 50% off menu planners

Our Special Thanksgiving Promotion starts today!

Starting today, you can receive the following for FREE: 

Thanksgiving Menu Planner
Holiday Menu Planner

Just Desserts e-book

This is a total of $20.85 Free gifts for you!


Sign up for the Membership Site anytime between today, Wednesday November 16th and Thanksgiving Day, 9:00 pm EST.
How much is it?
You can join for as little as $19.95 and receive the menu planners and e-book for FREE.  This is a  $40.80 value for only $19.95. 

How to Subscribe:
Easy.   Just follow this link.
Subscribe Here 

How will I receive the menu planners and e-book?
After you pay for the level of subscription that you want, you will receive a confirmation email from me.  Once you confirm your email address, you will also receive the menu planners and free desserts e-book in your email.    

Can I cancel at anytime?
Yes!  If you know you only want to sign up for a month, simply email me and I will cancel your subscription.  You can also cancel it yourself  through your Paypal account.

Heart of Cooking is donating 10% to the Smith Family:
If you missed the story I sent out over the weekend, please visit my Blog to find out more about the Smith Family.

Heart of Cooking will be donating 10% of all sales to the Smith Family between today, Wednesday November 16th and Thanksgiving Day, at 9:00 pm EST.
Thank you in advance for participating in this cause for the Smith Family

Don’t want to become a member to the site?
Check out the following:

We will donate 10% of ALL sales to the Smith Family during this promotion.  Thank you!

Help a family in need and receive the Thanksgiving menu planner for free

"Happiness is not a state to arrive at- but a manner of traveling." --Margaret Lee Runbeck

If there is one thing that life has been teaching me this year, it has been about how to accept the hard, painful things in my life, as well as the beautiful and amazing moments.

No matter how much I try to avoid it, the hard stuff of life is inevitable.  I am starting to understand that it’s what I do with the hard stuff that makes the difference.

Do I try to shove it aside and try to make it go away?  Deny it by watching TV or staying too busy?  Or, am I able to be present with it, even for a moment?

This isn’t easy, but I am starting to see that this is where the miracles happen.

This week I learned about a family whose daughter attends my son’s preschool co-op and who is truly having a hard time.  My normal response in the past would probably have been one of sadness, but also one of – “Well, what can little me do about it?  Plus, I have x, y and z going on in my life,” etc.

My heart said something different.  I want to help them and somehow I was shown a very easy way to help them.  And I’m going to make it easy for you to help them too.

My hope is that your heart will be touched by their story and you will want to help too – even if it is simply sending them loving thoughts.

About the Smith Family:
I have only recently met the Smith family and am most acquainted with their preschooler, Cilly (short for Celilia).  Her bright eyes catch anyone’s attention and she is truly a sweet little girl.  She also has two brothers, one year old Neil and 5 year old Aiden.

The long and short of their story is that Cilly’s father, John Smith, had brain surgery last year for a malignant tumor.  Unfortunately, the doctors discovered this fall that it had grown back, and he had a second brain surgery this past October.

Because John is in recovery, Sabrina, Cilly’s mom, had to take time off work.  With three kids to feed and no income, they have been very strapped financially.  I was told that they currently cannot pay their rent.  They also need to fix their van and pay for basic needs on a day to day basis.

Beyond that, Cilly’s tuition for school needs to be paid in some way (the school is working on a scholarship fund for her) and of course, the Holidays are coming.

Below is Sabrina’s story:
John and I met when he did a trampoline show at the school where I was teaching in Charles County in 2001. We were married May 1st 2005 at Thorpe Wood Environmental center in Thurmont MD. Aiden was born March 2, 2006, and we added Cecilia Justine to our family tree on July 18, 2008. Our third child, Neil, was born on August 29, 2010 through my 3rd Cesarean section, rounding out our family.

When Neil was only two months old, John was bothered by a headache that was minor, but persistent. Our G.P. saw him and sent him to get an MRI. On those black and gray films, we saw the 4 cm mass in the right temporal lobe of his brain and began to panic.

Two days later, on Friday, my father-in-law, John, our three little kids and I were at Washington Hospital Center. Dr. Aulisi, the surgeon who treated Ted Kennedy (who died of the same cancer my husband has) looked at the films and in John’s eyes and told us that a biopsy wasn’t necessary.

He immediately admitted John to the hospital, put him on steroids to reduce the swelling in the brain with the hope of avoiding seizures, and scheduled him for brain surgery on Monday.

Meeting with Dr. Aulisi post-surgery and discussing the pathology, I asked what the median life span was for someone with this type of cancer, a Glioblastoma Multiforme. He had given us this information for Grade 2 and 3 tumors, but not this one, not the grade 4. Turns out, the median life span is 52 weeks.

My world spun out of control, things lost focus, and I seemed to lose the knowledge of how to breathe. My thoughts were simple: Neil may not ever get to know his father. In a panic I left the hospital room, the tears welling, falling, speeding, to find a window, some connection to the world outside.

But my husband, who does fire dives, raced street luge, roller bladed down stairs, the man who hid my keys the first night we had an honest to goodness fight so that I couldn’t leave, he doesn’t do things that fall in the medians.

He qualified for a study at NIH and went right from surgery into an aggressive radiation and chemotherapy treatment. The drugs made his white blood counts drop severely so that portion of his treatment was cut short, but he handled the radiation well and went the full course.

He then went almost a year with no re-growth. Just about the time we were organizing a list of people to invite to a personalized version of a Day of the Dead/One year without a tumor party, the doctors put up another black and gray film and told us it was coming back.

October 19th 2011, he had his second brain surgery, this time at NIH. His 3 week post-op MRI scan already shows a small nodule that may very well be tumor re-growth. He will start taking a phase 1 experimental drug and continue taking it for one month before getting scanned again. The hope is that this medication will attack the proteins the tumor needs to grow. So now we wait.

How you can help the Smith Family AND receive the
Thanksgiving Menu Planner, Holiday Menu Planner and Just Desserts e-book for FREE ($20.85 value):

  • The Smith Family will receive 10% of all sales during these 9 days.

Donate to the Smith Family:

  • Not interested in menu planners? You can also help them right now by simply clicking on the donate button and donating anything your heart would like to give to them.
  • 100% of all donations will go directly to the Smith Family.  (I am assuming Paypal still charges a small fee for transactions, however.)

Thank you in advance for your generosity.

Update 11-16:  We have over $100 of donations for the Smith Family so far.  Thank you for all of you who have donated!

Update 11-29:  We have received $1182.00 in donations.  Thanks so much everyone!


Homemade Chocolate Candy Recipe

For those of you who may be looking for a healthier chocolate for Halloween and the other holidays coming up, here is an amazing recipe that you can use as a base for just about any recipe that calls for chocolate.  It’s gluten-free, dairy-free and sugar-free.  The best part is it is very simple and very easy.  I use honey for sweetness but you could use maple syrup or another preferred sweetener.

You can add nuts, dried fruit, extracts such as vanilla, almond, or peppermint, or anything else you can think of.  Or you can simply enjoy it as is.

To make bars or shapes out of the chocolate, you can use any kind of flexible mold.  I used a flexible ice cube tray that I got at IKEA for the above picture.  You can also buy molds in many different shapes and sizes at craft stores or online.

The only downside of this chocolate is that it will melt at room temperature so it needs to stay in either the fridge or freezer.  I hope you enjoy it!  Happy Halloween!

Homemade Chocolate Recipe (gluten, dairy, and sugar-free)

  • 2 cups raw cacao powder or unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 cup coconut oil, melted on low heat
  • 1-2 tablespoons vanilla extract (optional)
  • 1/2 – 3/4 cups honey, raw if possible, to taste (how much it really up to you and how sweet you want it)


1. Heat oil slowly over low-medium heat in a saucepan.  Mix in the honey and vanilla.  Then mix in the cacao powder.  Make sure it never boils or gets above medium heat (or 110 F).

2.  Pour mixture into an 8 x 8 pan and put it in the freezer or refrigerator to harden.  Cut off chunks of chocolate and enjoy.  You can also use flexible molds as mentioned above to make it easier to remove as well as make it look like special candy treats for kids.

A note about GAPS:  My understanding about cocoa is that once you have been on GAPS for while, you can experiment with cocoa and see if you can tolerate it.



Grain-free and Gluten-free Thanksgiving recipes

Pumpkin Pie with Coconut Crust

It’s that time of year – again!  And although it is still October, the Canadian Thanksgiving is coming up this Monday October 10th.  I can hardly believe it is October – this year has flown by.  And I regret that I have not been able to blog very much this year – I very much miss it.  I just spent some time looking back on my old blog posts and hope to get back to regular blogging in the New Year.

So without further ado, I’d like to give you some links to some delicious holiday recipes that are allergen-friendly.  All are gluten, grain, sugar and dairy-free.   There are some egg-free and some nut-free recipes as well.  Enjoy!

Ground Turkey and Apple Stuffed Winter Squash

Healthy Traditional Green Bean Casserole (gluten, dairy and grain-free)

Pumpkin Pie – gluten, grain, dairy, sugar, nut and soy-free

Egg-free Pumpkin Pie from GNOWFGLINS

Walnut Torte with Lemon Whipped Cream Icing

Pumpkin Spice Cookies

Cinnamon Walnut Raisin Egg-Free Cookies

Vanilla Bean Macaroons

Carob Macaroons (egg-free)

Looking for a gluten and grain-free menu planner for the Holidays? If you’re looking for an easy way to to plan your allergen-free Thanksgiving menu this year, you may want to try out our Thanksgiving Menu Planner.



Back 2 School Sale ends Tuesday night

We’ve been having a Back to School Sale this weekend to prepare you for the new school year.  All memberships are 20% off through tomorrow, Tuesday August 30th at midnight EST.

You can read more about what the member site  includes here.

If you’re wondering about kid-friendly recipes and menu planners, we have several menu planners that are kid-friendly.  These are listed under Allergy Free Menu Planners when you login as a member.  We also have over 450 recipes in the database and it grows by about 40 each month.

A main focus this coming fall is going to be kid-friendly, quick, easy, allergen-friendly and yummy meals for the weekly menu planners.

I hope you have a great day!




Raw Peach Crumble Recipe

Oh my.  I can’t believe it has been since Memorial Day weekend since my last post.  I sincerely apologize for my absence in the cyber world.  I’ve been very busy working on the membership site so I simply haven’t had much time for blogging.  I have also been out enjoying the summer activities as much as possible.  On another note, my camera cord broke (again) so that is why I haven’t had any photos of my own food lately.  The above photo comes from Corbis.com.

So I woke up Saturday morning and decided to make a peach crumble type of thing for breakfast.  The night before I had combined a very ripe peach with some cinnamon and chunks of coconut butter.  It was extremely tasty and reminded me of a messy looking crumble.  I wanted it to look a bit more “presentable” and have a bit more crunch, so I came up with the following recipe.  (Which was gone by noon by the way.)  My husband even said he liked the crumble topping better than the kind you bake.

So, enjoy this lovely no-bake, raw and extremely tasty Raw Peach Crumble.  Oh yeah, it is GAPS, SCD and Paleo friendly.  It also has no refined sugar, just dates and peaches for sweetening.  Also free of eggs, dairy, and gluten.  If you can’t eat nuts, you can try it with just the coconut butter like I did at first but you’ll have to play with it if you use the dates.

Raw Peach Crumble Recipe:
Servings: 6
20 minutes
This is great for the peach season – you do not even need to bake it which is great for summer!

* 4 peaches, sliced
* 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon, divided
* 2 teaspoons lemon juice
* 1/2 cup raw cashews, soaked and dehydrated
* 1/4 cup Artisana coconut butter
* 4 dates, pitted
* 1 pinch sea salt (optional)


1.  In an 8 x 8 casserole dish, add the peach slices, 3/4 – 1 tsp cinnamon and lemon juice.  Stir to combine.  Using a spoon, evenly distribute the peaches in the baking dish.

2.  In a food processor, add the cashews and pulse until coarsely chopped.  Add the coconut butter, dates, 1/2 tsp. cinnamon and a pinch of salt.  Process until well combined and crumbly.

3.  Pour the crumble evenly over the peaches.  Enjoy!


You can use almonds or any other kinds of nut in place of the cashews.  You could also try sunflower or pumpkin seeds.

This will also work great with ripe plums, berries, mango and any other fruit which is soft.

Tropical Traditions also makes a coconut cream concentrate which you could use in place of the coconut butter.



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