Top 5 Autoimmune Protocol Lunches | Tried & True Recipes

Welcome to Flawed yet Functional! My diet is currently the Autoimmune Protocol plus a few reintroductions. I’ve been working to heal my gut (and manage my Type 1 Diabetes) through this diet for almost 150 days, so I know a thing or two about AIP friendly recipes! Continuing on with my top 5 Autoimmune Protocol recipes mini-series, today I’m sharing my top 5 Autoimmune Protocol lunches. (To see my top 5 breakfasts click here!) If you want to dip your toes into a diet change, start with these tried and true recipes!

top 5 autoimmune protocol lunches

Truthfully, most of our lunches are leftovers from the night before, but I always have ingredients on hand for a quick, easy, freshly-made lunch just in case the leftovers run out. Most of the meats used in these meals are ones that have a long shelf life: kielbasa (kept in the freezer), salami (kept in the pantry or fridge), canned salmon (kept in the pantry). Since these are my second-string lunch options, I don’t buy the meat often. They are more of a “just-in-case” lunch option hence the need for a long shelf-life. Let’s check out these quick, easy, and healthy recipes!

Broccoli “Cheese” Soup

Who doesn’t love broccoli cheese soup? This soup is dairy-free, believe it or not. The cheese-y flavor comes from nutritional yeast. Likely, you will need to plan ahead for this meal as nutritional yeast is probably not in your regular pantry stocking! I love the rich flavor the soup contains while not coming off heavy. Pair it with fresh fruit and a side salad or just eat it by itself!

This Broccoli Cheese Soup is so delicious and creamy, you won’t even miss the cheese! You will find it hard to believe that it is AIP, Paleo and dairy-free.


Kielbasa and Roasted Veggies

Take note that the recipe I linked to is made with Bratwurst which is not AIP compliant (contains ground mustard and mace). If you’d like to make this recipe, change the meat to Kielbasa which contains only spices that are AIP approved (black pepper, marjoram, and garlic). However, if purchasing from the store, always read the labels! I recently found hot dogs and brats with dairy in them!

What I love about this recipe is it tastes like you put a lot of effort into the meal, but really, you just chopped a couple veggies and tossed them in the oven. Roasting brings out the best in vegetables, I recommend you roast veggies any time you can!

brat veggie bake

Mediterranean Snack Lunch

While I don’t want to push eating lunch meat all the time, there is a time and a place for quick protein. Salami (original, not spicy as that has nightshades) is my first choice when I’m putting together a “snack-y” lunch either at home or on the go. My favorite flavor combination is salami, Kalamatta olives, pickles, and dates. I serve these with a fresh fruit and something crunchy like pork rinds.

on-the-go meal meat veggie

Salmon Patties

Canned salmon or tuna is a pantry item I always have on hand for a quick lunch or dinner. These salmon patties are unique in that they don’t use eggs. Eggless salmon or tuna patties are hard to come by! They are more fragile than usual salmon patties, but the flavor is good so I can handle a bit of crumbliness.


AIP Chicken Salad

Chicken salad that is creamy and dairy-free?!? Does it exist?? It sure does, and this version rocks! The coconut milk is a great creamy base and the flavor is jazzed up by the addition of lemon zest and lemon juice. The citrus helps cut the coconut flavor and give the dish the tang you would expect from traditional yogurt or sour cream based chicken salad. This recipe is excellent! Try it today!

Eating nutritious, easy lunches while on the Autoimmune Protocol IS possible. Plan on leftovers from dinners as much as you can then use these simple top 5 autoimmune protocol lunches to help round out your lunch menu plan!

What is your ideal lunch? Do you like to cook at lunch time or is the microwave your best friend for this meal?

Check out the rest of this mini-series!



Top 5 Autoimmune Protocol Breakfasts | Tried & True AIP Recipes

Welcome to Flawed yet Functional! I am a Type 1 Diabetic managing my blood sugar levels through diet, exercise, and habits WITHOUT insulin. Sound amazing? Read more here. I hope to inspire you to do amazing things with your health too. Even if you don’t have a life-long disease like I do, you can take steps to improve your long-term body and brain health and that of your family. Thanks for joining me!

top 5 autoimmune protocol breakfasts

I am approaching 150 days on the Autoimmune Protocol. I have only made it this far by discovering truly delicious food that both my family and I love to eat. This week I’d like to do a mini-series on my top 5 Autoimmune Protocol breakfasts, lunches, and dinners. If you’d like to give this diet a try but don’t know where to start, try these 5 recipes first! They are tried and true for my family!

I began the Autoimmune Protocol in February of 2017 with the full knowledge that breakfast would be the hardest meal of the day. No eggs. No grains. That basically summed up my breakfasts prior to my diabetes diagnosis! We had oatmeal or eggs every single day. I loved oatmeal because it was hearty and quick. Quick breakfasts were out the window for a while, a fact I had to come to grips with very quickly.

While this all-important meal of the day did intimidate me at first, I stuck to the AIP diet and found my rhythm. Breakfast IS possible without sweets, grains, and eggs. I know you might not believe me, but it’s true! These are recipes I’ve made over and over again with great success for my family and me.

Roasted Sweet Potatoes, Kale Chips and Sausage Patties

I developed this recipe in a hurry one morning, and it quickly became a go-to. The juxtaposition of textures is perfection: crunchy kale and soft sweet potatoes both filled with roasty flavor. I make our own breakfast sausage, and my current favorite recipe is sage heavy. I love sage. Most breakfast are just these two dishes, but if I have avocados, I eat half of one to get more fat in my diet. This breakfast is a winner!

Sausage and Mushroom Hash

Hash is a regular at our table. I make it all kinds of ways, but the mushroom and roasted butternut squash in this one is killer. This is a complete meal all on its own: meat, vegetables, fat, and aromatics. I don’t usually add anything else to the plate, just the hash.

Sausage Mushroom Hash

Roasted Sweet Potatoes, Roasted Broccoli, Ham Steak, and Fresh Berries

Don’t overthink an Autoimmune Protocol breakfast! Roast two vegetables: one light on carbs and one heavier then add meat and fruit. Done! Roasting sweet potatoes with olive oil, salt, and pepper is easy and delicious. I usually toss some garlic powder on the broccoli, but it is just as delicious with only olive oil, salt, and pepper. The ham I sliced then briefly warmed in a skillet on the stove (Very briefly! It dries out quickly!). Fresh berries are a bonus if you have some in season. Nothing crazy here, just good, nutritious food.

Chicken Apple Sweet Potato Skillet

Truth: this one is prep-heavy. It isn’t in our regular rotation because of the amount of chopping involved. HOWEVER, it rocks. It’s so good with a great variety of vegetables in it. I recommend making it on the weekend or a morning you aren’t pressed for time. It’s delicious!

Pumpkin Spice Coconut Breakfast Porridge

So remember I loved oatmeal, right? I have spent far too much time on Pinterest looking for oatmeal alternatives. I’ve made several kinds and not all were winners with the family. This one was though! However, it’s higher in carbs. I reduced the amount of banana, and if you are a diabetic, I recommend you do the same. Delicious though and fills the void of warm bowl of mush in the morning. 🙂

Pumpkin Coconut Breakfast Porridge


Honestly, once you take the dive to improve your diet, you will find so much good flavored and good for you food. You will not be missing your old breakfasts! Well, you might miss the ease of them, but that will be made up for in how good you feel after eating these recipes! That wraps up my top 5 Autoimmune Protocol breakfasts. Enjoy!

Have you tried any AIP recipes? Do you have any favorites to share? What are your go-to breakfasts?

Check out the rest of this mini-series!



Cinnamon Spice Sun Tea | Sugar-Free, Dairy-Free, Gluten-free, Guilt-free Paleo Summer Drink

Welcome to Flawed yet Functional!

If you’ve wandered over for the first time, I like to encourage my readers to live a healthy life in the food they eat, how they care for their home, and manage their long-term health. Today I want to chat about drinks. Tasty beverages can run up our calorie and carbohydrate count quick, fast, and in a hurry: 70 carb, 440 calorie frappuccino, anyone? Delicious, refreshing summer drinks don’t have to break your diet! Cinnamon spice sun tea is refreshing and has no sugar, dairy, gluten,or even carbs in it. It’s a guilt-free summer pleasure. Bring back sun tea!

Cinnamon Spice Sun TeaNow I haven’t made sun tea since I was a kid, and I had to make several batches before I landed on a strength that I liked the best. So I’m going to show you step by step because you just might be like me and not know/remember how to make this super simple drink!

First, you need Harney & Son’s Cinnamon Spice loose leaf tea, a gallon glass jar with a lid, and water. That’s it! You are going to be amazed how such a simple process and ingredients can produce such a delicious beverage! I’m not exaggerating, folks. You just have to try this! (I just saw you can subscribe to have it delivered at any frequency! Ha! I think I might need this!)

Cinnamon Spice Sun Tea

Scoop 5 tablespoons of loose leaf tea into the gallon jar and fill with filtered water. I use the filtered water from my refrigerator.

Have I mentioned yet that my husband and I are go big or go home people? We have actually tested whether filtered water or tap water actually make a difference in tea brewing. I’m here to testify it does. Filtered water produces a brighter, truer flavor from the tea. I’ve even tried leaving tap water sitting out overnight to let the chlorine evaporate, and the filtered water was still better. Now you know.

Cinnamon Spice Sun Tea

Screw the lid on tight so bugs can’t get in and set that jug in a nice sunny spot! Make sure it is a spot that will get sun for 4-6 hours. If I make sun tea in the morning, I put it on my front step; if in the afternoon, I put it on the back deck. Just take note of the sun before putting it out.

Cinnamon Spice Sun Tea

Let the tea do its thing in the sunshine for 4-6 hours. I usually stop at 4 hours, but I have forgotten it outside for more than 6. The timing is loose, but at least 4 hours is needed.

Cinnamon Spice Sun Tea

Bring that sweet nectar inside and strain out the tea leaves. I use a fine mesh strainer with a paper towel lining it. Cheese cloth would be the proper item, but you work with what you have! The mesh strainer works ok by itself, but it does let a small amount of sediment into the tea.

Cinnamon Spice Sun Tea

Pour into a pitcher, chill, and enjoy!

Cinnamon Spice Sun Tea

I have been drinking this like its my job this summer. As you know, I like my hot drinks in the morning, but once the summer the summer heat hits, I just can’t do hot tea or coffee. I’ve switched to cinnamon spice sun tea, and it is that refreshing kick I love in the morning!

Sun tea is super easy! You just need tea, water, sun, and time. If you usually put sugar in your tea, I think you will be pleasantly surprised, no shockingly surprised, by how good cinnamon spice sun tea is without sugar. It will be your new favorite, I guarantee it!

What is your go-to refreshing summer drink? Are you a tea drinker? Sweet or unsweet? Any other low-carb summer drink suggestions?

Cinnamon Spice Sun Tea

Sun tea is the perfect, guilt-free summer drink! Brewing in the sunshine lends for a mellow, mild flavor that is delicious and refreshing.

Course Drinks
Cuisine AIP, Low-Carb, Paleo
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 4 hours
Brewing Time 4 hours
Total Time 4 hours 5 minutes
Servings 8
Author Emily Stauch


  • 5 Tbsp cinnamon spice tea loose leaf
  • 1 gallon water filtered


  1. In a one gallon glass jar, add the cinnamon spice loose leaf tea.

  2. Fill the jar with filtered water and secured with a tight-fitting lid.

  3. Place in the sun, outside, for 4-6 hours.

  4. Filter out the tea leaves by pouring the tea through a fine mesh strainer lined with a paper towel or cheese cloth.

  5. Pour into pitchers, chill, and enjoy!

Recipe Notes

Zero carbs, zero calories this is the perfect guilt-free summer drink!


How to Pack an Allergy-Friendly Lunch

Welcome to Flawed yet Functional! Earlier in the year, I listed one of my goals of this blog was to create a place of encouragement for my readers. I’ve been contacted in the last few weeks by people at various stages in their life that need some encouragement and help changing their diet. I am thrilled to try to offer what I know. One area that pops up is packing a lunch that is AIP or Paleo approved but can be eaten on the go. Today I’d like to show you my formula for packing an AIP or Paleo sack lunch.

One of the people I’ve been chatting with is about to head off to her freshman year at college this fall. About a month ago, she was just diagnosed with some severe allergies: wheat, dairy, egg, soy, to name the majors. Yikes! What a blow to take when so much is already changing in your life! This post is aimed at her, but works for anyone who needs to pack a sack lunch on an AIP or Paleo diet.

I make sure my sack lunches cover 5 food categories: protein, vegetable, fruit, crunchy side, and snack. My goal is a filling, nutritious lunch with a little sweet treat. A sack lunch is just so much more palatable if you know there’s a goody in there rather than trying to make yourself eat a bag of vegetables. Pack what you know nourishes your body but pack to your preferences too!

Paleo sack lunch

A Good Lunch Bag

First, a good, insulated lunch box is key to keeping your lunch fresh and safe to eat once lunch time rolls around. I use this lunch box to pack my husband’s lunch everyday. He doesn’t use the refrigerators at his office, and everything in the box stays very cold until lunch time.

The key to this bag is the separate zippered pouches that hold the ice packs on both the top and bottom of the bag. The ice packs are thin so they don’t take up too much space in the bag, allowing maximum space for food. There is also an expandable section that you can open or close as your lunch requires. This is so handy as not all my lunch containers are the same size.

If you don’t have a Costco membership, just find an insulated lunch bag and the thinnest reusable ice packs to go inside it.

AIP or Paleo sack lunch


5 Parts to a Great Sack a Lunch


Protein and fat are the cornerstones of any meal. They keep you full for a long time, so don’t neglect these just because they are a bit harder to pack. If your protein is on the lean side, try to get more fat in the lunch with a fatty vegetable like avocado or olives. My go-to proteins are:

  • Salami
  • Black Forest Ham
  • Chicken Salad
  • Smoked Salmon


Vegetables contain a lot of fiber which will aid digestion and help fill you up. I usually stick to raw vegetables at lunch time. They take longer to chew which helps me to slow down to give my brain time to catch up to my food! The other perk is quick prep: wash, cut and toss in a container!

  • Carrot sticks
  • Bell pepper slices
  • Cauliflower florets
  • Celery sticks
  • Sugar snap peas


For my blood sugar levels, it is best for me to have my fruit at lunch. I have no problem burning off the carbs in the afternoon, so I pack about a 1/2 cup serving of fresh fruit in my lunches. Opt for whole, fresh fruit over a processed fruit like a smoothie or fruit bar. Whole fruits have more fiber in them which allow the blood sugar to rise less. And it’s just better to eat whole food versus processed!

  • Whole apple
  • Banana
  • Fresh berries (blueberries, strawberries, raspberries)
  • Clementines

Salty/Crunchy Option

There’s just something about a salty snack that is so satisfying, isn’t there? My salty option might just be for munching or might be a holder for my protein. Like almond crackers with almond cream cheese and smoked salmon or pork rinds for scooping up chicken salad. If you know you like a salty snack, pack one that fits in your diet so you aren’t tempted to cheat!

Snack (optional)

Depending on how your day is structured, you may or may not need a snack. If you will be out of your house/dorm for most of the day, pack a snack just in case. I think it’s better to be prepared just in case you get hungry. It’s more cost effective to purchase a box of Larabars from the grocery store than buying them individually from a convenience store!

My go-to snacks are:

  • Trail Mix – homemade or storebought
  • Larabars – homemade or storebought
  • Almond butter packet
  • Something dipped in almond butter (apples, celery, etc.)

Those five pieces makes for a nutritious, satisfying lunch. Would you like some suggestions for what to pack together? I’m so glad you asked! Below are five Paleo sack lunch combos that go together and require very little prep, most of the items can be purchased already made in the store, perfect for college students or anyone packing their lunch!

AIP or Paleo sack lunchIf you are shopping for one person, I would not aim for a different lunch every day. Variety is not cost effective when only shopping for one. If that is your case, I would pick one or two of these options to eat for a week. For example, a box of Larabars come with 5 bars, so I would plan my snack for Monday through Friday’s lunches to be that flavor of Larabar. If you don’t like eating the same thing every day for lunch then pick two options an alternate back and forth for the week.

Try to buy only what you will eat and avoid waste. That way your body and your budget will both be healthier through your efforts to pack a healthy Paleo sack lunch!

What are your go-to sack lunches that don’t include a sandwich? Does the idea of lunch without bread shock you? Do you have a favorite raw veggie? I could always use more suggestions for vegetables!


Secrets that Make a House a Home

I just finished reading  A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman, and I highly recommend it. It’s a beautifully written narrative of an ordinary, grouchy old man’s end of life, but you get the benefit of seeing behind the mask. The author paints a touching picture of this man’s broken, beautiful soul. I believe choosing gratefulness is key to a fulfilled life, so I’m going to get all sappy on you today and share the secrets that make a house a home.

secrets that make a house a home

One section, near the end of the book, struck me, and not exactly as the author intended, I’m sure. The section is really about loving someone and growing old with them. There is beauty in those reflections, don’t get me wrong, but as I am in the stage of wearing down my house and causing all the imperfections that come over time, the obvious part of the analogy rings true for me. Rather than stressing about the breakage happening in my home, I’m embracing the “secrets” (quirks or wear, if you will) that make a house a home.

“Loving someone is like moving into a house…At first you fall in love with all the new things, amazed every morning that all of this belong to you, as if fearing that someone would suddenly come rushing in through the door to explain that a terrible mistake had been made, you weren’t actually supposed to live in a wonderful place like this. Then over the years the walls become weathered, and the wood splinters here and there, and you start to love that house not so much because of all its perfection, but rather for its imperfections. You get to know all the nooks and crannies. How to avoid getting the key caught in the lock when it’s cold outside, which of the floorboards flex slightly when one steps on them or exactly how to open the wardrobe doors without them creaking. These are the secrets that make it your home.”

Dan and I bought this house out of necessity, not because we immediately loved the house. We were expecting our first son and living in a one bedroom apartment which we had downsized to after we sold our three bedroom house. To say the apartment was cramped is an understatement.

When we looked at our house, all we saw were the gems: FIVE bedrooms (we really only needed 2!), woods in the backyard (no neighbors behind or even the chance for neighbors!), HUGE bathroom upstairs (no more tiny apartment bathroom!), full basement (room for beer/wine making, hobbies, office, etc.), huge dining area (our 4 person table was dwarfed!), and the biggest winner: the largest kitchen we’ve ever had.

I was enamored by the perfectness and greatness of our house at first. Dan and I poured our blood, sweat, and tears into fixing up our home. We painted into the wee hours of the morning for more weekends than I care to count, and the more we worked on our home; the more we loved it. It has our fingerprints in every room, and that makes it lovely to us.

But time changes things. New paint loses it’s freshness, innocent (and not so innocent) spills stain the carpet, and chips/dinges in the wall come from happy play.

The hard part about pouring your work into your home is seeing it get damaged as time goes on. It is easy to hold on to Pinterest worthy images of a house and think that is what your home should look like. If I look to social media it tells me that my home should look like this:

Living Room Inspiration: Navy, Blush and Gold Living Room by Studio McGee


Gah, that home is beautiful! I like it; I won’t lie! That’s not a real-life home though, and it is not the standard for normal families. Life is messy. Kids are messy, and it is ok for your home to age with your family.

Here is what I think a home is:

…A hallway filled with scuff marks

Proof of many hockey/soccer/football/tag games with friends and parents. Those are memories etched into our walls. And yes, we used to let them use real pucks in the house. They hit too hard now to let that continue. 🙂

loving an imperfect home

…A stove-top that might never come totally clean

It’s been used to feed hungry mouths over and over and over. The crud that no one (ahem, me!) had time to clean thoroughly has been baked on over and over and over. And yet, that faithful friend keeps right on firing up and cooking food for my family. It’s like it doesn’t even care that it’s dirty…

loving an imperfect home

…A creaky spot at the end of the stairs

I avoid this spot every morning I come downstairs to not wake up my family. In fact, it’s second nature to avoid the creak. Dan calls me a ninja because I can go up and downstairs absolutely silently. I do believe I’m the only one in the family that possess this trait.

loving an imperfect home

…A broken counter-top that still functions perfectly well

Yes, I wish my kids hadn’t snapped off the edge of our brand new counter tops before I could re-glue them. It looks kind of jankity, but you know what? When you turn the faucet handles, water comes out! When you wash your hands in the sink, the dirty water goes down the drain! You can even fix your hair, put on your make-up, or change a kids clothes on the counter and it still holds things up! It doesn’t even collapse. Ugly, kind-of broken fixtures still work.

loving an imperfect home

As my kids get older and my home ages under their growing feet and hands. I have learned to appreciate my home’s quirks and love it’s secrets. I know which window I can open when it’s raining to let in the fresh, clean air; which kitchen doors creak and which bathroom drawers are silent; which door will lock you out and the window that will let you back in. I love my beautiful, well-worn home for all its quirks and secrets, and she only gets better with time.

What secrets do you know about your house? Have you stopped to be grateful for the quirks of your home? What makes your house a home?

Autoimmune Protocol Reintroduction Stage 2 Chocolate

AIP Reintroduction Phase | Stage 2: Chocolate

As I am going through the Autoimmune Protocol, my desire for sweets has definitely changed. I can remember craving sweets at times, prior to this diet, but ridding my diet of sugar and processed foods has changed my taste for sweet things. I no longer regularly crave sweets, and when I do indulge, a little goes a long way. Sugary treats are SO much sweeter to me than they once were! My primary go-to for a sweet treat is chocolate, and I’m happy to report that the autoimmune protocol stage 2 reintroduction of chocolate was a success!

Autoimmune Protocol Reintroduction Stage 2 Chocolate

A clarification is needed first before diving into my blood sugar numbers. I only eat a very clean version of chocolate: dairy-free, soy-free, egg-free, and gluten-free. Chocolate without dairy and soy is difficult to find. I have found two brands that meet these criteria: Enjoy Life Dark Chocolate Bars and Pascha Bitter-Sweet chocolate chips.

Since I am extremely sensitive to dairy, I shy away from chocolate bars that are processed in facilities that handle milk products. It may be fine for some people, but I don’t want to risk cross-contamination. It takes me weeks to get over a dairy exposure, so it isn’t worth it to me.

Before I jump into my blood sugar results, here’s a quick reminder of the stages of reintroductions for the Autoimmune Protocol. The stages are ordered from foods most likely for the body to handle (stage 1) to least likely to handle (stage 4).

Autoimmune protocol reintroduction phaseAs a Type 1 Diabetic, my benchmark for success or failure is based on my blood sugar levels after I eat the new food, particularly my fasting blood sugar the following morning. If my gut is irritated by food, my morning blood sugar will be higher than 150 which is my primary indicator that something is going wrong. My blood glucose goals for reintroductions are as follows:

Starting/Fasting Blood Glucose Before Eating: <130

Two-Three Hour Post Eating Blood Glucose: <150

Fasting Blood Glucose the next morning: <150

Dairy and Soy Free Chocolate

Wine and chocolate are our go-to treat for any occasion: birthdays, anniversaries, putting the kids to bed…big and small occasions alike call for chocolate and wine! While I don’t crave sweets very often, I do love to enjoy this treat with my husband. I was ecstatic when this reintroduction worked!

Meal: Dessert with dinner

Pre-Dinner Blood Glucose: 112

Two-Three Hour Post Blood Glucose: 137

Fasting Blood Glucose the Next Morning: 148

My fasting blood glucose remained in normal range in the days following this reintroduction too (130, 126, 136, 114…). Woot! Chocolate, at dinner time and in small amounts seems like it works with my body. I have been keeping my sweets to only dinner time because simple carbs late at night seem to raise my morning blood sugar. So wine and chocolate no longer happens after the kids go to bed, but I’m ok with that!

Autoimmune Protocol Reintroduction Stage 2 Chocolate

Final note about reintroducing chocolate to my diet: I am still a diabetic and cannot eat copious amounts of chocolate. Maybe that goes without saying, but I thought I’d clarify just in case! My endocrinologist thinks I might forget that I’m a Type 1 diabetic so I get reminders at every appointment. 🙂 I am working with a limited amount of insulin, so large amounts of candy are never a good option!

That being said, it is nice to have a diet-friendly treat every once and a while. Just in case you were wondering, dairy and soy free chocolate taste even better than chocolate with a bunch of additives. Clean your palette and you’ll be amazed how your preference in food changes. I’m getting off topic…let’s wrap this up…This autoimmune protocol stage 2 reintroduction of chocolate has been a success!

What is your go-to sweet treat? Are you a wine and chocolate lover too? Have you tried cleansing your diet of sugar and processed foods? If so, how did your food preferences change?

Want to know more about my Autoimmune Protocol journey as a Type 1 Diabetic? Check out my resource page here!

Autoimmune Protocol Reintroduction Stage 2 Chocolate






Paleo Fresh Strawberry Pie

Paleo Fresh Strawberry Pie

Happy Independence Day! I hope you have a wonderful day off today filled with great food, family, friends and being grateful for the freedom we have. I’ve been working on my fresh fruit pies for several years now, and I think fresh strawberry pie to be the perfect dish to pass at a fourth of July picnic! I tweaked my traditional fresh strawberry pie this year to be as low-carb as possible and eliminating gluten and dairy from the crust. The result is a guilt-free pie that tastes like biting into fresh strawberries. I hope you enjoy this Paleo fresh strawberry pie!

Paleo Fresh Strawberry Pie

While I don’t have a sweet tooth like I did before the Autoimmune Protocol, I still love dessert. Who doesn’t?? I make fresh fruit pies like this one every summer with each fruit that we pick throughout the season. Before going gluten-free, I would make a graham cracker crust and use a box of jello to hold the fruit together. Those days are long gone, so I needed to revamp our summertime favorite pie.

This year I challenged myself to make a gluten-free, dairy-free fresh strawberry pie with the fewest carbs possible. This means no added sugar in the crust and using stevia to sweeten the strawberry filling. While strawberries are a good fruit for diabetics and fairly low glycemic, they are still a fruit which means sugar. I’m so proud to share that this Paleo Strawberry Pie only has 12 carbs per serving! For a dessert, I call that a major win!

Instead of a graham cracker crust, I blended up pecans into a coarse meal then mixed it with coconut oil, coconut flour, salt, cinnamon, and a flax seed egg. Then I baked the  crust as usual at 350° for 10 minutes until smelling toasty and slightly browned. No gluten, no dairy, no problem!

Paleo Fresh Strawberry PieMy fresh fruit pies are usually heaped with fruit, and unfortunately, this one was a tad flat. If you’d like a more heaped pie, add 1-2 cups of fruit. I used about 6 cups, but I think 8 would have been better.

Paleo Fresh Strawberry Pie

For the filling, I used unflavored gelatin sweetened with stevia and fresh strawberries. That’s it, just 3 ingredients! Gelatin is good for healing the gut, so there’s no reason to feel guilty for eating gelatin…unless it’s filled with sugar! Since I used stevia to sweeten the gelatin, the major source of carbs for this dessert is only the strawberries themselves.

When the pie crust has cooled completely and the prepared gelatin is a thick water consistency, stir the strawberries into the gelatin, gently, coating all the strawberries. Then use a spoon to gently scoop the coated strawberries into the pie crust. Arrange as necessary then pour the remainder of the gelatin over the berries, focus on filling any holes in the berries.

Paleo Fresh Strawberry Pie

Refrigerate for at least 6 hours. Don’t cut in sooner! The gelatin will not be set! Ask me how I know…the first fresh pie of each summer is usually consumed before it has set. It’s more like a fresh berry crumble. It’s just so hard to wait! If you give the gelatin time to set, the slices of pie will hold together perfectly!

Paleo Fresh Strawberry Pie

Let me explain the flavor of this Paleo fresh strawberry pie so you won’t be surprised when you try it. It tastes like fresh strawberries with a crunch of cinnamon pecans. It does NOT taste like sugary strawberries nor candied pecans! While this is preferable to me, I like to let the natural flavors shine, I realize this is not the goal of most people making fresh strawberry pie. This is a light, very fresh summery dessert that you can enjoy while on the Paleo diet. I hope you enjoy it!

Paleo Fresh Strawberry Pie

Paleo and low-carb (only 12 carbs per serving!), this gluten-free, dairy-free dessert is the perfect addition to your summer get togethers!

Course Dessert
Cuisine Dairy-free, Gluten-free, Paleo
Prep Time 20 minutes
Chilling Time 6 hours
Servings 8
Calories 202 kcal
Author Emily Stauch


Pie Crust

  • 1 Tbsp ground flax seed
  • 1-1/2 Tbsp water
  • 1-1/2 cups chopped, raw pecans
  • 1 Tbsp coconut oil melted
  • 1 Tbsp coconut flour
  • 1/8 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon

Pie Filling

  • 2-1/2 tsp unflavored gelatin 1 packet
  • 3/4 tsp powdered stevia
  • 6-8 cups fresh strawberries hulled and halved
  • 1-3/4 cups water divided


Prepare Gelatin

  1. Mix stevia and unflavored gelatin in a small mixing bowl. Shake gelatin and stevia mixture over 1 cup of cold water and allow a few minutes to bloom.

  2. Meanwhile bring 3/4 cup of water to a boil. Pour boiling water over bloomed gelatin water and mix thoroughly.

  3. Place gelatin in the refrigerator until the consistency of thick water, about 1 hour.

Pie Crust

  1. In a small bowl, mix 1 Tbsp of ground flax seed with 1.5 Tbsp of water, allow to sit and thicken (about 5 minutes) while the rest of the crust is prepared.

  2. Preheat oven to 350°.

  3. If starting from whole pecans, then use a blender or food processor to chop raw pecans into a coarse meal. 1.5 cups of chopped pecans are needed for the pie crust. Pour pecans into a mixing bowl. 

  4. Add coconut oil, coconut flour, salt, cinnamon, and flax seed egg. Mix well then press into a glass pie plate.

  5. Bake at 350° for 10-12 minutes or until the crust smells nutty and slightly browned. Allow to cool completely.

Pie Filling

  1. Place halved strawberries in a large mixing bowl. Pour the chilled, thickened gelatin over the strawberries. Gently stir to coat.

  2. Using a spoon, gently spoon the coated strawberries into the cooled crust. Arrange the strawberries as desired. Then pour any remaining gelatin over the strawberries.

  3. Cool in the refrigerator for at least 6 hours or until completely set. Slice and enjoy!

Recipe Notes

12g carb per 1/8th slice of pie.

Paleo Chicken Broccoli Salad

Chicken Broccoli Salad | Paleo Lunch Recipe

So I like to cook, and I cook a lot. However, not everyone is like me (weird, right?). Lately I’ve been talking with people who want or need to change their diet, but the thought of spending all day in the kitchen prohibits them from moving forward. I totally get that. Not everyone has the luxury of being home most of the day to prepare meals, and even if they are home, the kitchen might not be their favorite place. With that in mind, my recipe posts are going to be heading down the quick and easy route for a while. From college student to working parents with kids, you can eat healthier food! A delicious and healthy dinner or lunch can be on the table in under 30 minutes. Today, let’s make Paleo Chicken Broccoli Salad!Paleo Chicken Broccoli Salad

This meal is very simple and quick to put together if you have cooked chicken on hand. I plan Paleo Chicken Broccoli Salad into my menu plan for a lunch or dinner after I roast a whole chicken or make skillet chicken thighs. I double the meat we need for that meal, planning to use the leftover meat to make chicken broccoli salad the next day.

Prep Tip: Don’t have leftover chicken on hand? Pick up a rotisserie chicken from the grocery store on your way home!

Chop all the vegetables, meat, and grapes into bite sizes that you like. If you prefer smaller pieces, cut them small! If you like big bites, just give them a rough chop! Meals like this are very easily adapted to your own preferences. Don’t feel like you have to do it my way exactly, do you!

Paleo Chicken Broccoli Salad

Mix up the vegetables, fruit, and chicken with plain almond yogurt (I used this kind), lemon juice, salt, and pepper. Don’t skip the lemon juice! Almond yogurt has less tang than dairy yogurt. The salad really needs the citrus zip that lemon juice provides. I used 1 cup of almond yogurt but adjust to your creaminess preferences.

Paleo Chicken Broccoli Salad

Chop, mix, serve. That’s it! I serve mine with fresh fruit and veggies on the side. Sometimes I use almond crackers (My favorites here!) or pork rinds to scoop up the salad other times, I just use a spoon!

Paleo Chicken Broccoli SaladPaleo food doesn’t have to be time-consuming. With a little planning, this delicious lunch can be on the table in under 30 minutes (I’m being very generous with the time. Thirty minutes gives plenty of time for chopping fresh fruit and veggies for the sides!)! Enjoy this diary-free, gluten-free Paleo chicken broccoli salad today!

Does the kitchen-time of Paleo and Autoimmune Protocol diets scare you too? Would easy recipes give you more confidence to change your diet? What are you favorite dishes that you’d hate to give up if you changed the way you eat?

Paleo Chicken Broccoli Salad

A Paleo spin on classic Chicken Salad. Almond yogurt and a bit of lemon are the key to this creamy, cold lunch that is dairy-free, soy-free, gluten-free, and egg-free!

Course Lunch, Salad
Cuisine Low-Carb, Paleo
Prep Time 10 minutes
Total Time 10 minutes
Servings 6
Calories 244 kcal
Author Emily Stauch


  • 4 cups cooked chicken chopped
  • 1 cup raw broccoli florets small chop
  • 1 cup red onion fine chop
  • 3/4 cup grapes halved
  • 1/2 cup raw pecans chopped
  • 1 tsp sea salt to taste
  • fresh ground pepper to taste
  • 2 tsp lemon juice
  • 1 cup almond milk yogurt plain


  1. Chop chicken, broccoli, red onion, grapes, and pecans. Place in large bowl.

  2. Mix in salt, pepper, lemon juice, and almond yogurt. Taste and adjust seasoning as desired.

  3. Serve with fresh vegetables, fruit, and gluten-free crackers. Enjoy!

Recipe Notes

7 carbs per serving


meaningful art in bathroom

Mounted Mason Jar Tutorial | Letterboard Letter Holder

Remember the art I recently added to our guest bathroom? Here’s a little tutorial for the mounted mason jar, if you’d like to make your own. It’s a quick, 1 hour project (not including dry time!)! Let me show you how to make a mounted mason jar to hold all your pretty things!

mounted mason jar


  • Scrap board – any shape will do so long as you like how it looks!
  • Sandpaper – 3 grits, I used 60, 120, and 220.
  • Tack cloth – to remove dust from sanding.
  • Polyurethane – feel free to stain first if you’d like! I had a nice piece of Maple so I decided to just use a clear coat.
  • Paint triangles – to hold your project off the work area
  • Mason jar
  • Pipe clamp

Mounted Mason Jar

Sand the Board

Beginning with the coarsest sandpaper (this is the lowest number, 60 in my case), give the board a good sanding. Then work through the next smoothest (I used 120 grit) and finally, one more sanding with the finest grit (I used 220 for my last round). Rub your fingers over the board as you work your way through the various grits, the board should get smoother and smoother as you go. Stop when the board is equally smooth across the entire surface of the board.

Mounted Mason Jar

Clean the Board

Using the tack cloth, wipe all dust from sanding off the board. It’s also a good idea to make sure your work area isn’t covered in sawdust too. I was working in my garage, so the wind still kicks up any dust in the area as I’m painting. I gave my drop cloth a good shake outside the garage to knock off some of the dust before opening the poly.

Mounted Mason Jar

Apply Two (or Three!) Coats of Polyurethane

The finish coat is subjective, stop when you are happy with how the board looks. I applied two thin coats, and each coat took less than 5 minutes from start to finish. My board is small! BUT dry time is what turns a 1 hour project into a multi-day project for me. The polyurethane I used required 4 hours of dry time in between coats. This usually means I only get one coat per day. I can have the best of intentions to come back in 4 hours, and yet, it never happens!Mounted Mason JarMounted Mason Jar

Attach Sawtooth Hanger

Once the board is dry and able to be handled, mark the center on the back of the board. Center a sawtooth picture hanger on the mark and nail into place.Mounted Mason Jar

Pro tip: Ha, not really, I’m not a pro. This is more like, “Hey-Maybe-You-Don’t-Know-The-Best-Way-To-Do-This-And-Could-Use-This-Tip”

  • Mark the holes for the nails with a pencil
  • Drill pilot holes at the pencil marks
  • Use needle-nose pliers to hold the tiny nail in place while hammering in securely

Complete transparency: Dan told me about the needle-nose pliers. Saved my fingers, he did.Mounted Mason Jar

Attach Pipe Clamp

Flip the board over and mark the center of the front of the board. This is where you will attach the pipe clamp. The distance from the top of your board is up to you. I chose to center my mason jar horizontally and vertically.

The method of attaching the clamp stumped me for a bit. I thought a screw would be the strongest, but I couldn’t get it through the metal clamp. So my first attempt was with a small nail like in the picture below.Mounted Mason JarBut when I attached the mason jar, it just didn’t seem strong enough. So Dan was kind enough to force a screw through the pipe clamp. Apparently it isn’t that hard, you just need to lean a bit harder on the drill! So use a screw and push really hard on your drill!Mounted Mason Jar

Slide in Mason Jar and Tighten

Use a screwdriver to loosen the pipe clamp enough to slide the mason jar into the ring of the clamp. Then use the screw driver to tighten the pipe clamp around the jar. DO NOT OVERTIGHTEN! The jar will break. I did kill one mason jar in the making of the project, sorry folks.Mounted Mason Jar

Admire Your Handiwork

Step back and admire your efforts! You made something that has form and function that can be hung on the wall. Look at you! Fill it with something pretty and hang it up!Mounted Mason JarI chose to fill mine with the extra letters for the letterboard in our guest bathroom. Having the extra letters easy to find will hopefully inspire me and my guests to change the message often. However, have you seen this picture before?


It’s so funny because it’s true. It takes for-ev-uh to find all the right letters then get them spaced evenly without crooked letters. My perfectionism only goes so far. I will straighten a few letters, maybe as much as 5 but then it’s however they land on the board. My guest will forgive me, I think…

Where could you use an extra holder of things? Pens/pencils by your desk? Toothbrushes in a small bathroom? Make-up brushed by the vanity? Any fun/practical projects on your horizon? What about any funny quotes for my quote board. I usually like quotes with a bit of sass, how about you?

meaningful art in bathroom

quick skillet chicken thighs

Quick Skillet Chicken Thighs | AIP Paleo Recipe

I don’t talk about my home life much on the blog so let me give you a little background. I am a homeschooling, stay-at-home mom to two boys ages 3 and 4. I’ve been married to Dan for almost 12 years, and we love food. However, life is busy just like any family, so as much as I love to cook and cook complex meals, I need easy meals too! Quick skillet chicken thighs were born out of a desperate rush for dinner time one night. Change up the spices to your liking to create your own simple entree for dinner. Add a couple vegetable sides, and you’ll have a complete meal, full of nutrients, in under 30 minutes flat.

quick skillet chicken thighs

To begin, you must have thawed, bone-in chicken thighs. If you freeze your meat, take it out of the freezer the day before and let it thaw in the refrigerator. Rushed on time? Take the meat out of the freezer several hours before dinner and submerge in a bowl of room temperature water until thawed. This works best if the package stays completely under water. Place a bowl filled with water on top of the package of chicken to hold it down.

Rinse the chicken thighs under cold water then pat dry and lay on a clean plate. Here’s a time saver: skip mixing a spice blend in a separate bowl. Drizzle the olive oil over all the thighs then sprinkle each spice somewhat evenly over the thighs. Remember, we’re saving time here, no need to be too perfect!

quick skillet chicken thighs

Then pick up each thigh and rub the oil and seasoning on all sides of the skin and meat. Pick up as much seasoning that has fallen to the plate as you can. Don’t want to lose any of that delicious flavor!quick skillet chicken thighs

Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a cast iron skillet over medium-high heat. When the oil is shimmering but not smoking, place the chicken thighs in the pan, skin down. Cook uncovered for about 7 minutes or until skin is very brown and crispy.quick skillet chicken thighs

Turn the thighs over and cook uncovered until the internal temperature reaches 165°. (Don’t have a meat thermometer? I love and use this one on a daily basis. Yes, it’s an investment, but I’ve had this one for over 5 years. Worth it!)quick skillet chicken thighs

For my dinners, I try to serve two vegetables and a meat dish. While the chicken was cooking, I roasted some asparagus and sauteed Chayote squash on the stove top. What is a Chayote squash, you ask? I had no idea either! It’s one of my son’s findings/requests on a recent shopping trip. I loosely followed this recipe using lime juice instead of red wine vinegar and omitting the crushed red pepper. Plate up your crispy thighs and vegetables and enjoy!

Roasting vegetables takes time. Here are a couple easy vegetable sides that are quick to make:

  • Frozen green beans – Costco sells a giant bag of organic green beans for about $6. Place in a sauce pan with 1/4″ of water in the bottom. Boil and stir occasionally for a couple minutes until heated through. Drain and season with olive oil, salt, and pepper.
  • Bagged salad mix – Grab a bag of pre-mixed greens from the grocery store, pour in a bowl and top with oil and vinegar. If you have extra time, chop any fresh veggies you have on hand and toss on top.
  • Raw carrots – Wash thoroughly then slice into sticks.
  • Pickles and olives – This is our go-to combination at lunch time. Quick as opening a jar and scooping out!
    quick skillet chicken thighs

A quick dinner doesn’t mean sacrificing nutrition and quality! With very little planning (just thawing the chicken!), you can get a couple vegetables and these quick skillet chicken thighs on the table in less than 30 minutes. Enjoy!

What are your go-to quick meals? Have you tried any unusual vegetables lately?

Quick Skillet Chicken Thighs

An AIP, Paleo, low-carb entrée that will please the whole family. Crispy chicken skin, does it get any better than that?

Course Dinner
Cuisine AIP, Gluten-free, Low-Carb, Paleo
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Servings 4
Calories 239 kcal
Author Emily Stauch


  • 4 bone-in chicken thighs with skin on
  • 1 tsp. sea salt
  • fresh ground pepper to taste
  • 2 tsp. dried rosemary
  • 1 tsp. thyme
  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil, plus more for cooking


  1. Rinse chicken thighs under cold water. Pat dry with paper towel. Set on plate.

  2. Sprinkle with seasoning and olive oil. Rub spices on all sides of the chicken.

  3. Heat a cast iron pan over medium-high heat with 1 tablespoon of olive oil in pan.

  4. When pan is hot and oil is shimmering, lay chicken in pan, skin side down. Cook for 7 minutes or so. Turn over when skin is very brown and crispy. Cook on other side for 6-8 minutes or until internal temperature reaches 165°.

quick skillet chicken thighs