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Roasted Sweet Potatoes & Kale Chips | AIP Paleo Breakfast Recipe

The biggest hurdle to get over when starting the Autoimmune Protocol diet is wrapping your mind around what to eat for breakfast. With all grains, eggs, nuts, and dairy off limits, panic might start to set in. What exactly can I eat for breakfast??? This is sort of a “well, duh!” statement, but it took me a while to come around to it: Breakfast is just another meal of the day. This means you can eat anything for breakfast that you would any other meal of the day! One of my favorite AIP compliant breakfast dishes is roasted sweet potatoes and kale chips.

roasted sweet potato kale chip

Are you ready for a breakfast dish full of complimenting opposites? Salty and sweet! Crunchy and soft! Hearty and light! The sweet potatoes and kale are opposites in many ways, but roasting them together with a good amount of fat and seasoning turns these two into a delicious pair.

My goal is for my family to eat a high -starch and low-starch vegetable at breakfast, but I don’t want to cook two separate vegetable dishes. That’s too much work so early in the morning! So one Sunday morning when I was running late, I threw some kale in with my sweet potatoes and it turned out delicious! Don’t you just love happy accidents? This recipe is now in my regular breakfast rotation.

Before I jump into the recipe, first a couple cooking tips:

Prep the Vegetables the Night Before

To save on prep time in the morning, chop the kale and sweet potatoes the night before. Place them in separate, air tight containers and store in the fridge. I take out the meat I plan to serve with the sweet potatoes and kale chips at this time too. Mise en place is done, and I’m ready to cook when I enter the kitchen in the morning!

Dice the Sweet Potatoes Small

To fully cook the sweet potatoes without burning the kale, dice the sweet potatoes fairly small, less than 1/2″ dice. If we’re being precise, I’d say about a 3/8″ dice, 1/4″ is too small. Full disclosure: I had to look at a measuring tape to see how small I dice the potatoes. Eyeballing measurements is not my forte. 

Cooked kale chips

Thoroughly Coat Vegetables

Using bacon fat to coat the vegetables is the best fat to use, but if you don’t have any around, olive oil works just fine too. Any other oil/fat that is liquid or soft at room temperature will work. Coconut oil is not recommended as it will firm up quickly as it is mixed with the cold greens and sweet potatoes even when melted first.

Once you have your fat of choice, make sure to use enough of it. The vegetables should glisten and the seasoning stick to all sides easily. However, don’t use so much fat that it pools in the bottom of the bowl. Just keep adding fat until it looks like below, add a small amount at a time to avoid overdoing it.

Stir Halfway Through Baking

I’m sure I’m not the only lazy cook/rule-breaker out there. You DO need to stir the vegetables halfway through the cook time. This will allow all the kale to dry out adequately and cook the sweet potatoes evenly. Don’t skip this step!

With those few tips, your sweet potatoes and kale chips should turn out fantastic! Serve this dish alongside your meat of choice, usually sausage patties or bacon for me, and enjoy this nutrient dense breakfast! Roasted sweet potato and kale chips, a part of this complete breakfast!
Roasted Sweet Potatoes and Kale Chips

Roasted Sweet Potato & Kale Chips

AIP, Paleo breakfast dish that is egg-free, dairy-free, grain-free, hearty and satisfying! Serve with a side of your favorite breakfast meat for a complete breakfast.

Course Breakfast
Cuisine AIP, Dairy-free, Gluten-free, Grain-free, Paleo
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes
Servings 4
Calories 266 kcal
Author Emily Stauch

Ingredients

  • 4 medium sweet potatoes peeled and diced small
  • 6 whole kale leaves stemmed and chopped
  • 1/4 cup bacon fat
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1.5 tsp garlic powder
  • 1-2 tsp sea salt to taste
  • fresh ground pepper to taste

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 400° and line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.

  2. In a large bowl, add all ingredients and stir to evenly coat. Add more bacon fat as necessary.

  3. Pour onto lined baking sheet. Spread so sweet potatoes are in single layer. Kale may rest on top of the sweet potatoes. If potatoes overlap, use two pans.

  4. Bake for 15 minutes. Remove from oven and stir. Bake for another 15 minutes. Remove from oven and stir again. If potatoes are not soft yet, continue baking for 5-10 more minutes until soft when poked with a fork.

Recipe Notes

One serving has 34g of carbohydrates and 5g of fiber which results in a net carb count of 29g.

 


What are your favorite hot breakfast dishes? Does anyone out there take the time for hot breakfast?

on-the-go meal options
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Autoimmune Protocol | On-The-Go Meal

How do the Paleo Autoimmune Protocol and sack lunches get along? I have two young kids, so I am regularly packing lunches for us whether going to the zoo, seeing daddy at work, or just a having play-date at the playground. It can be tricky to think of what to pack for an on-the-go meal when your diet is all fresh food. My go-to for an on-the-go, AIP-approved lunch is what my kids call a “snack-y” lunch. Kid translation: a lunch comprised of all finger foods. One of our favorite combinations is on the Mediterranean side: Kalamata olives, salami, pickles, dates, fresh fruit, and a crunchy side.

On-the-go meals have three parts for us which usually means three separate containers. There’s the main meat and vegetables which go in one container for each person. A sliced fresh fruit in its own container, enough for all who are eating. The last part is a crunchy, salty snack which I also pack in one container with enough for the whole family to eat.

Main Meat and Vegetable

Ease of serving and eating an on-the-go lunch is top priority for me. I take the time to make individual containers for myself and each kid so that serving lunch is just a matter of taking the lid off and handing it to the child.

on-the-go meal meat veggie

Fresh Fruit

The only exception is our fresh fruit. Since fresh fruit is likely to be juicy, I usually slice it up and put it in a separate dish. As you may know, I am one of THOSE parents, so this serves two purposes:

  1. The juices of the fruit not to mix or taint the meat/pickled vegetables and vice versa.
  2. It allows my kids to finish their meat and vegetables BEFORE they get fruit.

I know. I know. What a mean mom, right? Fruit is filled with sugar, and who wouldn’t rather eat sweet fruit than vegetables and meat? I know my kids’ tendencies, so I have them finish the rest of the meal before having fruit.

on-the-go meal fruit

Crunchy, Salty Side

The last part to this lunch is crackers or chicharrones, as diet allows. I have not removed nuts from my kid’s diet, so they have a small handful of almond crackers with their “snacky lunch.” Sometimes they pile the meat on the cracker, but mostly they eat them plain. Chicharrones, or pork rinds, are my snack/treat. They are zero carb as they are only pig skin fried in lard and sprinkled with salt. It is the only snack food I know of that will not raise my blood sugar.

**Note: I only eat the plain chicharrones that are only pig skin and salt. The flavored chicharrones have gluten in the seasoning.**

I love chicharrones far too much. 🙂 Brutal honesty here, I can down an entire bag in one sitting, no problem. According to the nutrition facts, I am consuming 7 servings and 560 calories when I do that. Ha!

Want your mind blown? Calories don’t matter if you are eating the right food. 560 calories in fat will not make you fat at all. Fat is fuel to your body, brain, cells, everything. Eat more fat!

on-the-go meal crunchy

So there you have my favorite on-the-go meal that still sticks to the Autoimmune Protocol, fills me up, and fuels me for the rest of the day. It’s a simple as filling a container with salami, pickles, olives, and dates. Serve it with a side of freshly sliced fruit and maybe a crunchy snack like chicharrones. It’s the perfect lunch!


What is your go-to meal when you need to eat away from home? Any other “snacky” lunch combinations you enjoy?

finger food lunch

brush on glaze
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Maple Cinnamon Acorn Squash | Paleo AIP Side Dish Recipe

As I’m going through the Autoimmune Protocol, eating a large variety of fruits and vegetables is a priority. I love starchy vegetables and sweet fruit, but as a Type 1 Diabetic, I have to watch my carbohydrate intake as I work to heal my gut. Squash, in general, graces our plates often as it is starchy (read “filling and satisfying”) but not as high in carbohydrates as other starchy veggies like sweet potatoes. One of my favorites is acorn squash. The whole family agrees this slightly sweet Maple Cinnamon Acorn Squash is delicious!

Maple Cinnamon Acorn Squash

Today I’d like to show you a sweet way to eat acorn squash as a side dish as opposed to savory. Acorn squash works wonderfully as a savory dish too, (Pair it with sausage and sage; it’s delightful!) but this one is likely to please any palate that isn’t put off by soft textures.

The prep is very easy. Cut the acorn squash in half then use a spoon to scoop/scrape out the seeds. Next, slice each half into four wedges. Place on an aluminum foil lined pan, flesh side up.  

Cooking tip: Use a very sharp, large knife to cut any squash! With a properly sharpened utensil, squash should be relatively easy to cut into. If you are struggling, please be VERY careful as the knife may slip or cut crooked.

acorn squash halved seeded

Now mix up the magic! The maple cinnamon glaze is what takes the acorn squash up a notch. Mix the melted coconut oil, cinnamon, and maple syrup in a glass bowl.

maple cinnamon glaze

Use a pastry brush to apply a generous coat to all sides of the flesh of each slice. No need to put any on the skin. There will be extra glaze. Set it aside, to use later in the cooking process.

brush on glaze

Bake for 30 minutes at 400° then remove from the oven to apply another coat of the maple cinnamon glaze. Return the pan to the oven and bake for an additional 15-20 minutes or until soft when stabbing with a fork.

Cooking tip: I have a tendency to under-cook acorn squash. So if you are in doubt as to whether or not the squash is done, cook it longer. My last iteration of this recipe was dubbed “al dente” by my husband. Oops. That’s not what I was going for!

After taking the squash out of the oven, put on another coat of the maple cinnamon glaze. This third coat is usually pretty light, but I don’t want to waste any of the delicious glaze! Sprinkle lightly with salt and serve warm. Enjoy!


What is your favorite squash? Is acorn squash outside your comfort zone? How do you season your acorn squash?

Maple Cinnamon Acorn Squash

Sweet, but not overly, and soft acorn squash is the perfect side dish to your Paleo or Autoimmune Protocol dinner!

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Total Time 55 minutes
Servings 8
Calories 117 kcal
Author Emily Stauch

Ingredients

  • 2 whole acorn squash halved, seeded
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil melted
  • 2 Tbsp maple syrup
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • pinch salt to taste

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 400° and line a rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil.

  2. Using a very sharp knife, cut the acorn squash in half then scrape out the pulp and seeds.

  3. Slice each half into four equal sections and place on lined baking sheet, flesh side up.

  4. Melt coconut oil in a glass dish in microwave, about 30 seconds. Stir in maple syrup and cinnamon until well combined.

  5. Brush all sides of the flesh of the acorn squash with the maple cinnamon glaze.

  6. Bake for 30 minutes then remove from oven and brush on another coat of glaze. Bake for an additional 15-20 minutes or until very soft when stabbed with a fork. When fully cooked, remove from oven and brush remaining glaze over the squash. Lightly sprinkle with salt and serve!

Recipe Notes

One serving of Maple Cinnamon Acorn Squash has 15 carbs.

Maple Cinnamon Acorn Squash

hash cooking vegetables
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Cooking Tip | How to Make a Great Hash

My journey through the Autoimmune Protocol has taught me to up my breakfast game. When eggs and grains are not a part of the diet, you need to get creative with what to eat for breakfast. Discovering and perfecting a hash has revitalized my breakfast routine. Hash is a warm, hearty dish of meat and veggies, usually eaten for breakfast but is delicious at any meal! Today I’d like to show you my generic recipe for whipping up a great hash.

How to Make Hash

Hash Ingredients

There are 5 key ingredients in my hash: meat, aromatics, a starchy vegetable, a secondary vegetable/fruit, and a wilting vegetable. Just looking at this list shows you how to incorporate more vegetables into your breakfasts! When I make hash, I get two to three different vegetables into my diet at the beginning of the day!

Hash Raw IngredientsChoose any meat and vegetables that strike your fancy. The possibilities are endless, but here are some of my favorites to whet your appetite!

Meat

  • Ground Breakfast Sausage
  • Ground Turkey
  • Bacon – cooked then chopped
  • Taco seasoned ground beef
  • Chorizo
  • Leftover steak – cubed
  • Leftover chicken – cubed

Aromatics

  • Onions – diced, any variety
  • Garlic – minced
  • Spices

Starchy Vegetable

  • Sweet potatoes – peeled and cubed
  • Butternut Squash – peeled, seeded, and cubed
  • Parsnips – peeled and cubed
  • Turnips – peeled and cubed

Secondary Vegetable/Fruit

  • Zucchini – quartered and sliced
  • Broccoli – cut into small florets
  • Summer Squash – quartered and sliced
  • Brussel Sprouts – stemmed and halved
  • Carrots – diced or shredded
  • Mushrooms – sliced or chopped
  • Apples – chopped

Wilting Vegetable

  • Kale – stemmed and chopped
  • Spinach – rough chop
  • Swiss Chard – stemmed and chopped

Cooking Process

The method for cooking a hash is the same order every time, only cooking time may vary depending on the denseness of the vegetables. Follow these steps, and your hash will be delicious every time!

hash cooking vegetables

  1. Add 1 tablespoon of olive oil (or coconut oil) to a large skillet or dutch oven then add meat and brown completely. If using leftover, fully-cooked meat, skip this step. Once meat is fully cooked, pour into a bowl and set aside. Return pan to stove top.
  2. Add 1 tablespoon of olive oil to the same skillet, over medium heat, and brown the onions. When the onions are soft and brown, stir in garlic or any other spice and warm for 30 seconds to allow the flavors to bloom. When smelling fragrant, quickly add the starchy vegetable so the spices do not burn.
  3. Add the primary starchy vegetable to the onion/spice mixture. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Stir to cover in oil and spices then cover and cook until almost tender. Add olive oil and reduce heat as needed to prevent burning.
  4. Add the secondary vegetable/fruit to the same pan, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and cook until both primary and secondary vegetable are soft to your liking.
  5. When vegetables are just about done, stir in the meat and wilting vegetable along with a sprinkle of salt and pepper. Stir to wilt the vegetable and warm the meat.
  6. Remove from heat and taste. Add more salt and pepper as needed.
  7. Serve and enjoy!

Ingredient Combinations

To get your cooking genius rolling, here are a couple ingredient combinations I think would be delicious.

Mexican-style Hash

  • Meat – Chorizo
  • Aromatics – Onion, Garlic, Chipotle Peppers in Adobo Sauce
  • Primary Vegetable – Sweet Potato
  • Secondary Vegetable – Zucchini
  • Wilting Vegetable – Spinach

Thanksgiving Hash

  • Meat – Leftover Turkey
  • Aromatics – Onion, Garlic, Sage
  • Primary Vegetable – Butternut Squash
  • Secondary Vegetable – Mushrooms
  • Wilting Vegetable – Kale

Summer’s Bounty Hash

  • Meat – Ground Breakfast Sausage
  • Aromatics – Onion
  • Primary Vegetable – Zucchini
  • Secondary Vegetable – Summer Squash
  • Wilting Vegetable – Kale

A hash is a great way to move your diet to whole foods and more vegetables, especially for the breakfast meal. Use your imagination; use your leftovers! Don’t sweat the spices either. When in doubt, just use salt and pepper. Real food is delicious and doesn’t need to be covered up in spice. Just 5 ingredients plus one pan are all that’s needed to make a quick, hearty, whole-food meal!

Generic Hash Recipe

The solution to an egg-free, dairy-free, and grain-free breakfast is a warm, hearty hash filled with fresh vegetables and meat. Hash is Paleo and Autoimmune Protocol compliant, and a great way to start the day!

Course Breakfast, Dinner
Cuisine AIP, Paleo
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes
Servings 4
Author Emily Stauch

Ingredients

  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 pound meat of choice (Ground Sausage, Beef, Pork, or Chicken, Chorizo, Cubed Leftover Meat)
  • 1 whole onion, diced
  • 2-4 cloves garlic, minced (optional)
  • 4 cups Starchy vegetable, cubed (sweet potato, butternut squash)
  • 2 cups Non-starchy vegetable/fruit, cubed (zucchini, apple, brussel sprout, broccoli)
  • 3-4 cups leafy green, chopped (kale, spinach, swiss chard)

Instructions

  1. Add 1 tablespoon of olive oil to a large skillet or dutch oven then add meat and brown completely. If using leftover, fully-cooked meat, skip this step. Once meat is fully cooked, pour into a bowl and set aside. Return pan to stove top.

  2. Add 1 tablespoon of olive oil to the same skillet, over medium heat, and brown the onions. When the onions are soft and brown, stir in garlic or any other spice and warm for 30 seconds to allow the flavors to bloom. When smelling fragrant, quickly add the next ingredient so the spices do not burn.

  3. Add the primary starchy vegetable to the onion/spice mixture. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Stir to cover in oil and spices then cover and cook until almost tender. Add oil and reduce heat as needed to prevent burning. 

  4. Add the secondary vegetable/fruit to the same pan, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and cook until both primary and secondary vegetable are soft to your liking. 

  5. When vegetables are just about done, stir in the meat and wilting vegetable along with a sprinkle of salt and pepper. Stir to wilt the vegetable and warm the meat.

  6. Remove from heat and taste. Add more salt and pepper as needed.

    Serve and enjoy!


What do you typically make for breakfast? How do you incorporate vegetables into the most important meal of the day?

How to Make Breakfast Hash

 

mise en place
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Kitchen Tip | Mise En Place

I love to cook. I hope that comes across in my posts! Cooking is not a drudgery, and I purposely look for ways to improve my cooking skills. My primary focus is skills that will give me more output with less effort. For example, proper knife use, how to optimally cut an onion, or how to use heat better are all things I’ve read/watched about. These specific skills are great and have made me a better cook, but the biggest skill I’ve learned in the last few years that makes my food turn out with less stress and more flavor (not of the burnt variety) is “mise en place.”

Mise en place is a french cooking term meaning “in its place.” Practically, it means chop all the veggies, get out all the ingredients, and prep all the things BEFORE you start cooking.

Thinking back to my childhood and baking with my mom, I know she told me to get everything out before starting to mix. I can vividly see her reading down the recipe with me, teaching me how to bake cookies.

That teaching moment must not  have sunk in too far because I graduated from college and started cooking on my own in a very different way. Time was always lacking so I thought I could “save time” by prepping as I cooked.

Take ham and vegetable soup for example. First, I would chop the onion and let that saute while I chopped the rest of the vegetables for the soup.

The onions would burn in the time it took to chop carrots, celery, and potatoes.

No big deal (or so I thought), toss a little more oil in the plan along with the vegetables, and let those cook a bit while I chop up the ham.

Oops, over cooked the vegetables, now they are too mushy. Oh well, toss that ham in along with the chicken stock.

Oh, I need to add a thickener, usually corn starch and water or flour and water (pre-Paleo days!). Where is that corn starch…???

Found it! Mix it up. Add it to the soup. Serve it up for dinner and…the ham is dried out because I cooked that step too long as well while I searched for the corn starch.

Rats.

So many mistakes. So many mediocre meals that could have been avoided by just prepping my ingredients first. I figure I’m not the only one out there trying to prep and cook at the same time, so I thought I’d share how I cook now using mise en place.

Chop/Dice/Mince the Ingredients

mise en place

Cutting up all the vegetables/meat/fruit for our meals is by far the longest single piece of prep work for our meals. I cut up all the ingredients that will be cooked, no matter their order of being used and put them in individual bowls.

The bowls I use most often are the regular cereal-type bowls from our everyday dishes and clear glass custard cups. Larger amounts of veggies go in the bowls (the white ones pictured above) like chopped carrots, sweet potato, or brussel sprouts. Then I put smaller amounts into the glass custard dishes, like garlic, ginger, or shallots.

Have Compost Bowl Close By

Mise En Place and Compost2

Keep a large bowl (or bowls, in my case!) right next to your cutting board to collect the peels, husks, paper, and all other organic matter that you aren’t going to be cooking. I’ve found having this bowl right next to me speeds up my prep work. I peel root vegetables right into the bowl: sweet potatoes, turnips, parsnips, etc. As I chop other vegetables, I toss the unwanted ends in as I go: onions, celery, beets, etc.

If you don’t have a compost bin/container, just toss the entire contents in the trash once you are finished. You will still be more efficient at the cutting board with this trash bowl close by even if you don’t compost!

Combine Like Steps

mise en place combine

Put all the vegetables used at each stage of the recipe in the same bowl. So if you are making soup, after the onions and garlic are sauteed, usually all the firm, starchy vegetables are added at the same time. Save a little bit of time (and dishes!) by putting all these vegetables into the same bowl so they can be added to the pot in one pour.

In the picture above, sweet potato, celery, and carrots are combined in the large glass measuring cup and garlic and onions are in the white bowl.

At this time, also add any spices to the appropriate vegetable bowls according to the directions in the recipe. A common grouping in my Mexican recipes is minced garlic along with cumin, oregano, and chili powder. After mincing the garlic, I put it in a glass custard bowl. Then I scoop the cumin, oregano, and chili powder right on top of the garlic. Not only is this easier than pouring 4 separate bowls into the pan (Also much faster than measuring the spices from the container into the pan!), it saves precious time as garlic and dry spices bloom in about 30 seconds. Time is precious at these steps!

Line Up Bowls

mise en place mexican

Particularly when cooking complex recipes (I’m looking at you America’s Test Kitchen! Delicious but many more steps than average!), it is helpful to line up the bowls in the order you will need them. It just takes a bit more of the guess work out when you are in the thick of cooking.

This step also prevents me from mixing up my recipes if I’ve got two or more going at the same time. I line up the items for each recipe on either side of my stove so I don’t get confused.

Don’t Forget the Finishing Steps

Prep even the garnishes or leafy greens that get wilted at the very end of the recipe. Don’t tell yourself you’ll have time while ____ is cooking. That time is better served cleaning up, if that time exists at all. I usually find there is zero extra time once I get rolling cooking. So prep everything at the beginning, before starting any cooking.

Clean Up as You Go

Mise en place might cause you to balk because of the extra dishes it requires. Discipline yourself to pour the ingredient into the pan and immediately put the dish in the dishwasher. This step is as much a practical step as a mind game. Yes, it gives a head start on the meal clean-up, but it also leaves less visual clutter on the counters which makes my brain more energized to clean up. It feels like there much less to do, which may or may not be true!

Mise en place takes some practice and discipline. Don’t fool yourself, like I tried to for many years, that you can keep up chopping and cooking. You can’t! This practice will let you cook with less stress and have a better tasting food because you won’t be over-cooking any steps as you prep the next one. Bring on the tastier food! Mise en place!


I’m curious, do you prep your ingredients before you start cooking? Do you see this method as helpful? Would you be less stressed preparing dinner if you had all the ingredients lined up, ready to go?

mise en place

Unripe Avocado
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Maximize Fresh Produce | Avocados

Here at Flawed yet Functional, I am all about maximizing the dollars I invest in groceries. I do not want to be throwing anything away or forgetting to use ingredients I’ve bought. A problem fruit for me for years was avocados. The ripe period of an avocado is so short. If only there was a way to capture that perfect time of ripeness!

How to Store Avocados

Avocados are full of good fat, and are the perfect additive or side to so many dishes. Yet it is hard to plan a menu around when the avocados will be ripe. If it’s winter, avocados take a few days to ripen on my counter. In the summertime, they just might be rotten before grocery shopping day is over!

Take these avocados, for example. All four are rock hard yet the darker one will ripen the fastest and the brighter green one, the slowest. The odds of these four being ready to eat on the same day is not good.

Avocado Spectrum

However, you don’t need to plan your meals around the ripening schedule of avocados any more! Here is the super simple, 2-step trick to preserving ripe avocados for 1 to 2 weeks and prevent avocados from rotting for good!

1. Ripen the avocado on the counter until dark green/brown and soft.

Ripe Avocados

The avocados must be ripe before going on to step two! Be patient, let the avocados get quite soft but not starting to shrivel.  Leave the avocados on the counter, checking them daily, to see when they are ripest. Make sure they have plenty of space and are not likely to get knocked off the counter or smashed by other fruit/veggies. Then…

2. Put the ripe avocado in the refrigerator.

Yep, that’s it. Stick it in the refrigerator. It doesn’t matter where you put them either (so long as they aren’t squished!). I’ve put them in the crisper, on the shelf, and in the door with success in all locations. The cold of the refrigerator will stop the ripening process keeping that delicious avocado in that perfect period of ripeness for 2 weeks. Yes, 2 weeks!

If I’m totally honest, I’ve found a lone avocado hidden under some carrots in the vegetable drawer that had been there for who knows how long. It was a little brown on the inside, but not past the point of eating! It had been there for over 2 weeks, possibly 3 or 4.

If I’m really, really honest, I’ve found forgotten avocados in my fridge many times. So this method really is tried and true, if not on purpose, by accidental forgetfulness!

Storing avocados this way allows me to have multiple avocados ripe and ready for eating at any time. The only special menu planning I do for avocados now is I don’t plan to eat them for a couple days after grocery shopping so they have a chance to ripen.

Ripe avocado from fridge

I bought 10 avocados on my last shopping trip, and by day 3 after shopping, all were ripe and in my fridge. I used two to make Cilantro Avocado Mayo today, and I have no worries that all 8 will be ready any day I want to eat them!

That’s it! First, let the avocados ripen on the counter then second, put them in the fridge. How simple is that? They will stay perfectly ripe for up to two weeks. Amazing or what?!


Do you use avocados regularly? What is your favorite way to eat them? How do you store avocados??

how to ripen avocados

Garlic & Onion Sweet Potato Fries
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Garlic & Onion Sweet Potato Fries | Paleo, AIP Recipe

Welcome to Flawed yet Functional! I am an insulin-free Type 1 Diabetic currently working through the reintroduction phase of the Autoimmune Protocol. Sweet potatoes are a mainstay in my AIP Paleo diet, and I’ve made them many different ways. Today I’d like to share a favorite recipe of my family’s: Garlic & Onion Sweet Potato Fries.


So I eat a lot of sweet potatoes. A lot. My last grocery shopping trip (to feed a family of four for two weeks) included purchasing 21 pounds of sweet potatoes. Ha, 21 pounds! It’s funny to me that I used to think sweet potatoes only appeared at Thanksgiving and now they make a daily appearance on my plate!

sweet potato fries sliced

Roasting is the most flavorful way to eat just about any vegetable. The intense heat of the oven really brings out the best in veggies. Toss on some seasoning if you want to amp up the flavor. I’ve experimented with a variety of seasoning combinations, and truly, most anything is delicious on a sweet potato. Garlic and onion together are a winning combination in my book. They go together like peanut butter and jelly!

Besides roasting and the spices, another key to this killer recipe is bacon grease. Instead of using olive oil or coconut oil (very acceptable if you don’t have bacon grease on hand though!), use a couple tablespoons of bacon grease to coat the fries and help the seasoning stick to the sweet potatoes. I pour any bacon grease into a mason jar after I cook bacon so I usually have it on hand.

sweet potato fries spices

The bacon grease should be soft, so just toss the spices and grease on the potatoes then stir with a wooden spoon. Keep mixing until the fries are evenly coated.

sweet potato fries seasoned

One final note for success: spread the fries out in a single layer on the lined baking sheet. A single layer is key for quick, even cooking. I usually have two pans of these when I make them, and I find them cook just fine using both the top and bottom rack of them oven.

sweet potato fries on pan

Hands down, my favorite way to eat sweet potatoes is roasted. Slicing them in these uniform 1/2″ sticks allows for quick, even cooking with a lot of surface area for crisping. I roast them for about 15 minutes at 425° then put them under the broiler to add more color and crisp. Don’t be afraid of a little black! That’s delicious char right there!

Baked Sweet Potato Fries

I usually make enough of these fries to eat as leftover for breakfast or lunch the next day. To reheat, place the sweet potato fries on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Place under broiler and cook for a few minutes, watching carefully so they don’t burn! Flip the fries over and broil for another 1-3 minutes. The fries will be good as new! A much better texture than if they were reheated in the microwave.

Garlic & Onion fries are delicious plain or serve them with Avocado Mayo (AIP friendly) or Chipotle Mayo (Paleo friendly). Enjoy!

sweet potato fries plated

Garlic & Onion Sweet Potato Fries

Paleo, AIP sweet potato fries, a savory side dish that will please the whole family

Course Side Dish
Cuisine AIP, Dairy-free, Gluten-free, Paleo
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Servings 4
Calories 164 kcal
Author Emily Stauch

Ingredients

  • 4 medium sweet potatoes peeled, sliced into 1/2" sticks
  • 2 Tbsp bacon grease
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder
  • 1 Tbsp dried parsley
  • 1 tsp salt
  • freshly ground black pepper to taste

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 425°. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper, set aside.

  2. Peel sweet potatoes and cut into 1/2" fries, about 3 inches long.

  3. Place sweet potatoes in a large bowl and add remaining ingredients: bacon grease, garlic powder, onion powder, parsley, salt, and pepper. 

  4. Stir the sweet potatoes until all the fries are evenly covered in bacon grease and spices.

  5. Spread sweet potatoes on lined baking sheet, leaving space between the fries. Use a second baking sheet if necessary.

  6. With rack in top 1/3 of the oven, bake at 425° for 15 minutes. Turn on broiler and broil for 3-6 minutes or until desired crisp and color.

Recipe Notes

This recipe has 25g of carbohydrates per serving.

 

Garlic & Onion Sweet Potato Fries

Status

Cinnamon Apples | Paleo, AIP Recipe

As my diet is currently limited under the Autoimmune Protocol, so sweets are few and far between. I originally made Cinnamon Apples as a breakfast side back when I ate a Paleo diet, but I’ve found it to be so much more versatile than just a breakfast item. It even passes for a dessert in my book. The natural sweetness of the apples is enough to satisfy my sweet tooth!

How to Make Cinnamon Apples

Apples are one of my favorite fruits. I eat them just about every lunch. With a little extra effort, you can jazz up ordinary apples by just tossing them in cinnamon and cooking on the stove-top with a little water. These apples have no sugar added and make a great topping or stand-alone side dish!

No Sugar Added

There is no added sugar in this recipe for several reasons:

  1. I am a Type 1 Diabetic so I try not to add carbohydrates, particularly refined sugar, if I can help it.
  2. Sugar does bad things to your brain. Everyone’s brain, whether or not you have an autoimmune disease or are as fit as a fiddle. In recipes like this, I try to rely on the natural sugar in the fruit without supplementing.
  3. Refined sugar is prohibited in the Autoimmune Protocol.
  4. It is just plain delicious without more sugar!

Cinnamon Apples Raw

Toppings are Everything

Do you want to take a meal up a notch? Go through the extra effort to add toppings. If you’ve made potato soup, fry up bacon and chop some green onions. It takes the soup from good to great. If you’ve made pudding for dessert, toast some coconut and throw some fresh berries on top. It’s really the extras that take an ordinary meal to the next level.

Cinnamon apples are very versatile as a topping. For breakfast, put them on oatmeal, grain-free porridge (from flax seed or spaghetti squash), or sausage patties. For lunch, toss the cinnamon apples on top a salad, yogurt, or cottage cheese (if dairy is in your diet). For dinner, apples and pork go together swimmingly. Top grilled pork chops with a scoop of cinnamon apples or even mix into pulled pork.

Cinnamon Apples with Pork

Simple Sides Improve the Meal

Making more dishes is more work, but a couple simple sides really help to balance out the meal, making it more satisfying. These cinnamon apples only take 25 minutes from start to finish and can cook on the stove while you work on the rest of the meal.

Some meal suggestions:

  1. At breakfast, serve cinnamon apples alongside breakfast sausage patties and sliced avocado.
  2. For a kid-friendly lunch, serve cinnamon apples in place of applesauce or apple slices. A helping of these next to Almond Butter & Jelly Roll-ups would be delicious!
  3. Cinnamon apples could be a side for dinner with any pork main dish, meatloaf, or hamburgers.
  4. Dessert – serve cinnamon apples topped with coconut whipped cream or toss the apples on top of pudding or ice cream!

Cooked AIP Cinnamon Apples

Recipe Notes

My favorite apples are pink lady, so that is what I used in this recipe. Pink lady apples are crisp and sweet with a slight tartness. It isn’t necessary to only this variety, use whatever type of apple you enjoy most!

Make sure to watch the apples as they cook. If they start to stick to the bottom of the pan, it needs more water or less heat. Add only a little more water at a time, about 1 tablespoon, or turn down the heat to low. Then continue cooking.

Enjoy this simple, tasty addition to your recipe box!

What super simple recipes are you enjoying lately? Have any recipes with less than 5 ingredients to share?

Cinnamon Apples

The perfect side dish or topping to breakfast, lunch, dinner, or dessert! Cinnamon apples are Paleo, AIP, Dairy-free, and Grain-free. Enjoy them today!

Course Dessert, Side Dish, Topping
Cuisine AIP, Dairy-free, Gluten-free, Grain-free, Paleo
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 18 minutes
Total Time 23 minutes
Servings 4
Calories 74 kcal
Author Emily Stauch

Ingredients

  • 4 medium Pink Lady Apples Peeled and sliced thin
  • 1 tsp Ground Cinnamon
  • 1/3 cup water

Instructions

  1. Peel, core, and slice the apples. Slice fairly thin, about 1/8th of an inch thick. Thicker is ok too as long as it is consistent. All the slices should be the same thickness.

  2. Place apples, cinnamon, and water in a small saucepan. Stir to cover apples with cinnamon.

  3. Cover and cook over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, until apples are soft, about 15-20 minutes. Cook time will depend on thickness of the apples. Continue to cook until very soft and flexible.

  4. Serve hot as a side dish or topping. 

Recipe Notes

This recipe contains 16 net carbs (19g carbohydrates and 3g fiber).

Cinnamon Apples

Maple Cinnamon Tapioca
Status

Maple Cinnamon Tapioca Pudding

My recent journey through the Autoimmune Protocol landed right over my birthday. A girl needs dessert on her birthday, right? Since I am a Type 1 Diabetic, I did not pursue an AIP compliant cake. It would likely be based in arrowroot flour, cassava flour, or coconut flour. The first two being so high in carbohydrates that I try to avoid them in recipes as they cause my blood sugar to sky rocket. In my efforts to find a sweet treat that doesn’t raise my blood sugar too much, I created this recipe, Maple Cinnamon Tapioca Pudding.


Let me take you back to the beginning. Once I realized my birthday fell during the Autoimmune Protocol, I was initially deflated. Creme brulee is my all-time favorite dessert and my go-to for my birthday or special occasions. Dairy is a no-no for me right now, so I did what any girl would do, head over to Pinterest to see what would come up for “AIP Desserts.” Shockingly, the first one to pique my interest was an AIP-compliant tapioca pudding. I wasn’t sure if I liked tapioca, but I LOVE pudding (and it is extremely similar to creme brulee!), particularly homemade pudding. A fond memory from my childhood is still warm chocolate pudding cooled just enough to form the layer of “skin” on top. Mmmmm…this might make some texture people cringe, but I love it!

I gave the original recipe a go, and it was good. It struck a light bulb in me though, and I decided to experiment a bit with this dessert to make it suit my palate better. I tweaked the original recipe a bit to create my own version: AIP Compliant Maple Cinnamon Tapioca Pudding.

Maple Cinnamon Tapioca Pudding

Cinnamon is a delightful spice that can be savory or sweet. To up the sweet cinnamon flavor in the pudding, I put a half a teaspoon of cinnamon in the pudding right from the beginning. Cinnamon compliments the maple syrup very well. Then I topped the pudding with fresh berries: blackberries and strawberries. The berries up the sweetness factor but they are lower on the Glycemic scale making them a better addition for a sweeter dessert than adding more maple syrup.

My other tweak was to up the maple syrup flavor. I chose to use Grade A maple syrup as my sweetener because that is what I had on hand. However, the maple syrup flavor was not intense enough for my liking. I really wanted the maple flavor to shine though so next time I will use grade B for more maple flavor and nutrients.

In the absence of Grade B maple syrup, I chose to add some maple extract to the pudding. In this way, I got a more robust maple flavor without adding more sugar. I tried to keep the maple syrup as low as possible so the dessert wouldn’t raise my blood sugar as much.

A couple notes on this recipe:

Cook the pudding until the outside of the tapioca balls are translucent but the middles are still white. They will continue to cook as they cool.

Cooked Tapioca Pearls

Add any flavors or seasoning before beginning to cook the tapioca. If you add it at the end, or just adjust by adding more, the stirring, after removing the pudding from heat, will disturb the tapioca balls. The suspension will break, causing the balls to fall to the bottom and form large lumps of tapioca. No good. Don’t do it.

Maple Cinnamon Tapioca Pudding

Enjoy this recipe as is or top with fresh berries. Strawberries and blackberries were looking great in the stores this week, so that’s what I put on top!

Fresh Berries on Tapioca

Just in case you think this flavor combination odd, in my pre-diabetic days, my husband would make homemade berry syrup on Saturdays to go with our traditional pancake breakfast. Do you know what makes a strawberry or blueberry syrup killer? Cinnamon. No joke. It will take your homemade syrup to whole new level. Add a half a teaspoon to your syrup then taste and adjust. It is delicious!

Tapioca with BerriesMaple Cinnamon Tapioca Pudding is gluten-free, grain-free, and dairy-free. Proof that when you are on the Autoimmune Protocol, you can have your cake and eat it too! Enjoy!

Maple Cinnamon Tapioca Pudding

A tasty AIP, Paleo dessert that is dairy-free, grain-free, and gluten-free. 

Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Soaking Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 10 minutes
Servings 4
Calories 224 kcal
Author Emily Stauch

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup tapioca pearls
  • 3/4 cup filtered water
  • 1 can coconut milk, full fat
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp maple extract
  • 1 Tbsp maple syrup, grade A Grade B is preferable, if you have it.

Instructions

  1. Soak tapioca pearls in the filtered water for 1 hour in a small saucepan.

  2. After soaking, add the rest of the ingredients to the sauce pan. Stir to combine.

  3. Over medium heat, bring tapioca mixture to a simmer.

  4. Reduce heat to low, maintaining a simmer. Cook, stirring frequently, until tapioca balls are partially translucent, about 10 minutes. If the pudding starts to stick to the bottom of the pan, reduce the heat.

  5. Remove the pudding from heat and pour into individual serving cups or ramekins.

  6. Cool completely in the refrigerator.

  7. Eat plain or topped with fresh berries.

Recipe Notes

This recipe has 17 carbs per serving.

Maple Cinnamon Tapioca

Status

Roasted Butternut Squash Hash with Mushrooms and Sausage

In my journey through the Autoimmune Protocol Elimination Diet, I became a lover of hash for breakfast. A hash is chopped meat that is cooked with chopped vegetables, usually potatoes. From freshly chopped veggies and meat to leftover vegetables from dinner the night before, hash is very versatile. You can make it from just about anything! This Roasted Butternut Squash Hash will use ground breakfast sausage for the meat and butternut squash, onions, mushrooms, and spinach for the vegetables. 

AIP Paleo Butternut Squash Hash

Another perk to this hot breakfast, is it reheats well for another meal. Double it and have an easy, 5 minutes-to-the-table breakfast tomorrow!

Hash Raw Ingredients

This can be a one pot meal, but to minimizing cook time, I roasted the butternut squash and while the squash was roasting, I cooked the rest of the ingredients on the stove top. Total cook time is about 35 minutes, depending on how small the butternut squash is chopped. The smaller the chop, the shorter the cook time. My goal is to have my stove top items (sausage, onions, mushroom) finished cooking when the squash comes out of the oven. That way I just toss the squash in the pan with the sausage and veggies and wilt the spinach.

When roasting the butternut squash, make sure to cook until the cubes are soft. A fork should be able to easily push into the cube. However, not so soft that the cubes turn to mush or fall apart when pierced with a fork. They should still hold their shape but not have any crunch in the middle.

Roasted Butternut Squash

There are two secrets to making this hash awesome: (1) brown the onions and mushrooms. Cook them longer than you think you need to. The flavor increase is significant. Take your time cooking these two ingredients. Here’s how I do it:

  • Heat a cast iron pan over medium heat. Add 1 tablespoon of oil. When the oil is hot, add the onions. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions have released some moisture and are beginning to brown on the edges. If the edges of the onions start to blacken before sweating, the heat is too high, turn it down and keep going.
  • Add the chopped mushrooms to the pan with the onions. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally until the mushrooms have released their moisture and are nice and brown. This will take at least 5-8 minutes, maybe more depending on how crowded your pan is.
  • The onions should be very brown by this point, maybe even a little black. That’s ok! That color is FLAVOR!

Hash Browned Mushrooms

Now you are ready to assemble the hash. Return the sausage to the pan along with the roasted butternut squash. Warm everything for a minute or so. Add the spinach. Sprinkle with salt and pepper then cook stirring, until wilted. Remove from heat to avoid overcooking the spinach.

My second tip for a killer hash: taste the dish before serving it! Add salt and pepper as needed. If the dish tastes flat or just unimpressive (this actually applies to almost anything you cook), it needs salt. Add a sprinkle, stir up the dish, let it sit for a minute, stir again and taste. Keep adjusting until it reaches your desired flavor.

Hash with Butternut Squash

The keys to making this Roasted Butternut Squash Hash great are (1) browning the onions and mushrooms and (2) tasting before serving. It takes a little extra time, but good tasting food always does. I promise the flavor is so worth it! If this is too time-consuming for breakfast, don’t sweat it! Make it for dinner! It is hearty and delicious for any meal of the day.

Wow, that was a lot of notes! Here’s the recipe! I hope you love it as much as I do!

Roasted Butternut Squash Hash with Mushrooms and Sausage

Delicious AIP, Paleo, and Dairy-Free breakfast! Serve as follows for AIP, or top with a runny yoke egg for a scrumptious Paleo breakfast!

Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 35 minutes
Total Time 55 minutes
Servings 6
Author Emily Stauch

Ingredients

  • 1 butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and diced
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 8 oz. portabella mushrooms, stemmed and sliced thin
  • 1 lb. breakfast sausage
  • 3 cups fresh spinach, chopped
  • salt & pepper
  • olive oil

Instructions

Roast the Butternut Squash

  1. Preheat oven to 450. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.

  2. Peel butternut squash with a vegetable peeler. Cut in half, length-wise, and scoop out seeds. Chop into cubes, about 1/2 inch. Put into large mixing bowl.

  3. Drizzle squash with olive oil, salt, and pepper. Mix to coat evenly. Add more oil until squash looks moist, but oil is not pooling on the bottom of the bowl.

  4. Spread out in single layer on baking sheet lined with parchment paper.

  5. Roast in oven for 25-35 minutes or until just soft.

Cook Remaining Ingredients on Stove Top

  1. Meanwhile, heat pan over medium heat with 1 tablespoon olive oil. Brown sausage until completely cooked. Put in bowl and set aside.

  2. Add 1 tablespoon oil to pan. Add onions and cook, stirring frequently, until they sweat and start to brown, about 5 minutes.

  3. Add mushrooms to the onions. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Stir to cover mushrooms in oil and seasoning. Cook until mushrooms are soft and brown, stirring frequently.

Assemble Hash

  1. Add the meat and roasted squash to the mushrooms and onions in the pan to warm everything up.

  2. Add the chopped spinach, sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cook 30 seconds to 2 minutes just until wilted.

  3. Taste and add salt and pepper as needed. Enjoy!

Recipe Notes

Looking to shorten the time to the table even more? Cook the squash, sausage, mushrooms, and onions the night before. For breakfast the next day, warm everything up in a pan, toss in the spinach to wilt then serve. Quick and nutritious!

Roasted Butternut Squash Hash