Double Chocolate Pudding (with hidden pumpkin and avocado)

My kid loves chocolate, and she loves a good pudding (as long as it’s smooth, not “bumpy,” such as the tapioca-like chia pudding I often made before eliminating seeds on AIP). She loved a chocolate pudding I made a while back using avocado. I’ve long since lost the recipe, but thought I’d try a variation on it today. I also love sneaking veggies and super-nutrition into baby girl’s “treats”.

I’ve been looking for an excuse to make that chocolate sauce again, anyway. Turned out awesome.

Double Chocolate Pudding


The pudding-
2 avocados
1 can of organic, BPA free pumpkin
1 tablespoon coconut butter
2 tablespoons raw, local honey
2 tablespoons cocoa (or carob powder for AIP compliance)
1 tablespoon coconut oil
Pinch of salt

The sauce-
Equal parts pure maple syrup and cocoa (or carob) powder, mixed together until smooth. (May need to sift the powder to avoid lumps- mine was still kinda lumpy).

Blend all pudding ingredients together until smooth. Top with the chocolate sauce.


Going strong on Autoimmune Paleo Protocol

It finally feels like autumn around here. My daughter got to wear her winter boots and a hoodie to school this morning. Though I’m sure she’ll be sweating in those boots by this afternoon, this little taste of what’s to come is nice. (Baby Girl (3 years old) is convinced all the leaves on the trees will fall off by tonight. That doesn’t happen around here until, oh, maybe January?) At any rate, I am happily blogging from our hammock on the back porch- with a blanket! Lovely!

I have been feeling really, really good. Not amazing. But really good. I have been nearly 100% compliant on the Autoimmune Paleo Protocol. I accidentally ingested nightshade extracts in the ham I was eating. And there are flax and chia seeds in one of the detox supplements I’m taking this week. But I’m ok with that for now. I intend to follow AIP until I stop getting lesions, or for 3 months (which would be until January- right through the holiday season- eeek!) whichever comes first.

My recent focus has been on getting better sleep- higher quality and more of it. I’ve come to realize that, as I continue to heal, I really need closer to 12 hours of sleep per night. That may not always be possible, but I need a bare minimum of 10, and need to get as close to 12 as often as possible. Considering that I have historically slept about 7-8 hours a night, I’m looking at potentially 5 fewer hours of consciousness each day. That seems nuts! But I’m hoping my increased energy and more vibrant health will help me be more productive during the 12 hours I’m awake, so no one will notice that I sleep all the time.

Last night was the first night I accomplished this goal. I’ve been working toward it for weeks, but with a co-sleeping 3 year old who vehemently dislikes being unconscious, it’s been tricky. What I’ve done to make this happen: eliminate her afternoon naps, start dinner earlier (5:30/6), and start our bedtime routine earlier so that we are in bed, reading a book before 8pm. Lights are out at 8, and we listen to e-audiobooks that I download free from the library. We are currently listening to the first Harry Potter book. Baby Girl also loves the Fancy Nancy series, which is fantastic (“which is a fancy word for great”) for building her vocabulary. I’ve also eliminated all nightlights, so we are sleeping in near-total darkness. (I’m basically still afraid of the dark, so this was a big step for me. It was no problem for the toddler. Lol). We have been working backwards from our previous typical bedtime of 11pm/12am. So this is kinda huge. Last night, we were in bed and read 3 books before 8pm. Lights were out by 8 and we were asleep by 8:30. I did wake up a few times during the night, but was able to go back to sleep rather quickly. We didn’t wake up until 7:30 this morning, so that’s 11 full hours of glorious sleep. And I feel great! Over the past couple of days, I’ve been dealing with a few lurking lesions and thrush- all of which were significantly diminished overnight. I need more of this amazingly effective disease treatment! And it’s free!

A few other things I’m doing that I believe are helping in the sleep arena… I’ve been taking a calcium/magnesium supplement forever, but I recently started using topical magnesium oil. This stuff burns when I spray it on my body, so I’m only using it on my feet and covering with socks a few nights per week, but I think that, along with a few Epsom salt baths per week, is really boosting my magnesium levels. And magnesium is extremely important for relaxing muscles and inducing healthy sleep patterns.

I stopped taking all my regular supplements this week except pregnenolone, and added in a 7-day detox formula from Garden of Life. I haven’t changed anything else about how I’m eating because AIP is restrictive enough and I can’t risk losing any weight. I’m just trying to stay really well hydrated and doing more Epsom/baking soda baths to assist with toxin elimination.

And this is some of what I’ve been eating this week:

Bananas, pears, and kiwi topped with the most delicious homemade coconut yogurt. (Coconut cream from 2 refrigerated bpa free cans of coconut milk, mixed with 2-3 good probiotic capsules and cultured in an “off” oven with the light on for 24 hours). Super easy and so rich and tangy!



What I thought was a great AIP breakfast. (Darn those sneaky nightshade extracts that contaminated my ham!) Applegate Naturals ham, roasted asparagus, and avocado with a salty mug of chicken bone broth (very healing for the gut).


One of my new favorite snacks: smoked salmon (beware of ingredients!) with coconut yogurt and capers. There was some sugar listed on the salmon ingredients, but from what I understand, the sugar is mostly eliminated during the curing process. And that was the only questionable ingredient in this brand. I checked several other brands and they all had funky stuff in them. I’ve thrown out the package now, but I’ll post more info on this next time I get more smoked salmon.


Nice AIP lunch… Applegate turkey (boo- carrageenan!) wrapped around homemade fermented carrots (yay- probiotics!) and avocado, with pear slices.


Pan-fried tilapia (seasoned with only salt) on a mound of mashed cauliflower with a side of sweet, ripe plantains. Yum yum yum yum yum!


Ingredients for delicious and seasonally appropriate pumpkin pudding. Super easy and AIP friendly. The only potentially tricky part is the gelatin. (This is not conventional store-bought gelatin by the way.  You will NOT find this stuff next to the jell-o at Publix.  Don’t eat that!  This is grass fed and has no added nastiness.) Put all other ingredients in a blender. Put 1/2 tablespoon gelatin in 2 ounces of water and let it “bloom” for 5 minutes. Then add that to the blender as well. Blend everything until smooth, then pour into individual serving cups and refrigerate until “set” (a few hours or overnight). As you can see, it was a hit with my little one. I put these in her lunch for school as a treat, and I feel good about all the vitamins she’s getting from the pumpkin, the amino acids and protein from the gelatin, and the healthy fat from the coconut. And there’s nothing in this “treat” that would be likely to irritate her gut or compromise her immune system in any way (as is the case with most treats!). Totally win/win.



I have been eating a LOT of canned tuna lately. It’s just so convenient. Good thing it’s wild, sustainably sourced, and BPA free. For this tuna salad, I was out of coconut yogurt, so I added some olive juice for flavor and moisture, along with some olives, chopped celery, and homemade fermented carrots. Turned out quite good. I put some on whole wheat bread for my husband and just ate mine plain with a fork.


Something else I’ve been eating a LOT of lately- these AIP meatloaf patties. I’ll post more about these later, because this is my first notable, original recipe. Super exciting! It may be the only one I ever have, but it deserves it’s own post. Here I had them on a bed of greens with a side of rutabaga fries.


And, finally, a recipe that was truly a revelation for me this week. I have scoured grocery and health food store shelves for a wholesome chocolate sauce. It may be out there, but I haven’t found it. During my flirtations with raw veganism, I found a recipe for chocolate sauce that was delicious, but a bit complicated and time consuming for something that I would only enjoy on occasion, and even then, only a small bit at a time. I saw this combination as part of a larger recipe and the lightbulb that went off in my head was blinding. I can’t believe I never thought of this!


It’s so incredibly simple! I can’t have chocolate on AIP, so I had to use carob powder. But the potential variations are mouth-watering! I can’t wait to do a Mexican chocolate sauce: a little raw cacao, vanilla, and cinnamon mixed into that maple syrup. Wow! This sauce can be used as a topping or as a mix for hot chocolate or chocolate milk. This has opened up a whole new world for me. Still gotta be careful, because nobody wants the sugar rush that would follow too much maple syrup, but this will add an easy, decadent layer to lots of dishes.

Such as this one. Plantain pancakes topped with coconut cream and chocolate sauce. (Husband and kid went NUTS for these!) Two ripe (mostly black) plantains mashed up with cinnamon and fried (1/4 cup scoops) in coconut oil. Topped with unsweetened coconut cream and super sweet chocolate sauce. We had this for breakfast, but it really should be a dessert. It’s THAT decadent.


Sorry for the crazy-long post! Now that I’m getting my energy back, I have a lot to say. Probably need to be posting daily to get it out in a more manageable format. I’ll work on that! 🙂


Lesions and thrush continue to improve, though now the congestion and sore throat I’ve been fighting off seems to be digging in its nails. Coughed a lot during the night and am now losing my voice. Still not having the same throat issues as before (when it swells shut and affects swallowing and breathing) so I’m not concerned. And my ability to eat regular food continues to improve. I’m heading in the right direction.

Breakfast this morning was banana porridge from “Aainst All Grain”. It’s cashews and almonds, soaked overnight and blended with coconut milk, a ripe banana, cinnamon, and sea salt. The recipe called for pecans as well, but I didn’t have any, so I just added more of the other nuts. Great alternative to cream of wheat or oatmeal. It’s very rich, so a small serving is plenty. When my mouth is better, I’ll add some fresh fruit and coconut cream or dried fruit and nuts as a topping.


The fun thing about paleo is it brings back the possibility of hot dogs! These are Applegate Farms grass fed beef hotdogs. Other than just being a bit high in sodium, they’re pretty healthful as far as I can tell. The only other issue I have with Applegate Farms products is that they use carrageenan in some (not all) of their lunch meats. I’m not letting that keep me from buying their products at the moment, but it may be a deciding factor down the line if I find a better option.


I wrapped my hot dog in a homemade coconut crepe (eggs, coconut milk, coconut flour, coconut oil, and sea salt) also from “Against All Grain”. It ended up tasting like a corn dog. Put some raw fermented sauerkraut and organic ketchup and mustard on the side. Delish.

I intend to also use these crepes as tortillas and sandwich wraps, though at this point, only about 50% of my attempts actually come out looking like crepes. Hopefully, practice will improve that percentage. In the meantime, the other 50% goes into dishes like this- perfect for my toddler- a paleo hot dog bowl. Crumbled crepe, sliced hot dog, swirl of ketchup and mustard, topped with sauerkraut.


I am really loving the “Against All Grain” cookbook right now. Danielle Walker (the author) cured herself from a nearly fatal case of ulcerative colitis by following the SCD (specific carbohydrate diet) then transitioned into paleo after the birth of her son and a severe flare triggered by several months of deviating from her diet plan (and the mess of post-natal hormones, I’m sure). I got my copy on Amazon. If you’re interested in the cookbook, click here. She also has a fantastic blog. If you’re interested in that, click here. Though her site is mostly focused on her book tour at the moment. This cookbook is likely to be my non-grains bible for the foreseeable future.


Tongue is slightly less swollen this morning. Lesions all still in the healing process- all seem to be on the way out rather than getting worse. And I just realized this morning that I cannot remember the last time I had bad night sweats. That’s pretty significant. Not sure what may have caused that change.

Breakfast was easy- warmed up the quiches I made yesterday, and sliced up a watermelon.


My husband is home, so I’m making his favorite for lunch- pizza. Though I’m sure he’d rather have a slice from our old neighborhood Italian joint in Queens than have this healthy version…

Got the crust recipe from “Nourishing Meals.”


Dry ingredients…


Wet ingredients…


Finished product…


Herbs from the garden that made it into the pizza- basil, oregano, rosemary.


I used a no salt added jarred marinara sauce. Dressed it up with herbs and himilayan salt and boosted the nutrition (and thickened it up) with carrot pulp leftover and frozen from juicing.

Roasted cauliflower, onions, and garlic and layered those on top of a layer of whole basil leaves. Then sprinkled daiya cheese over the top and finished it off with a bit more chopped basil and oregano.

Great flavor, though the texture of the crust was a bit cakey. I’d definitely make this again.


Love me some coconut water.


Alkalizing green juice.


Carrot juice.


Had a kombucha explosion in the car. Have GOT to try to make this stuff myself soon. Very soon.


Dinner was veggie sushi with spiralized jicama, red pepper, avocado, bragg’s liquid aminos, hemp seeds, and hemp oil. A simple salad and leftover miso soup (diluted and stretched with organic vegetable broth.)


Somebody is loving spiralized jicama. And apparently, miso soup is now her favorite food. She ate 3 bowls of it.



A little late getting this post up… we had a busy day.

GF cinnamon raisin toast with organic butter and several cuties (clementines).


“Cheetah” pudding. (Actually chia pudding, but my daughter calls it cheetah because of the “spots”).


Stopped at Whole Foods after doc appointment for lunch. Chicken salad, grape leaves, and sweet potato.


Cauliflower steaks with pesto and roasted beet salad (greens, goat cheese, walnuts, tomatoes, citrus vinaigrette).


Also had 2 Larabars as snacks during the day. Really need to make my own. Seems like it would be easy.

Felt really great all day today. Lots of energy. Then early in the evening, I just started dragging. Felt tired and irritable. Noticed a new, rather large and already deep lesion. And I can now see the reason for my swollen cheek- another lesion. Neither of these are big issues right now, and are only slightly affecting my eating (chewing and manipulating leaves is possible, but hard, and tiring). Didn’t quite finish my salad for that reason.

There are some changes to my treatment plan based on my meeting with my doctor today, but I’ll post that separately.


Breakfast was gf toast with coconut spread and sprinkled with bee pollen.


For lunch, I made a simple, classic, organic, chicken and vegetable soup with carrots, onions, garlic, celery, and seasoned with herbs from the garden (rosemary, oregano, thyme, basil) and himilayan sea salt. My daughter, parents, and I ate about half the pot, and I had a big crew coming over to eat soup for dinner, soooooo, I added more water, vegan bouillon, and some of the pulp from my green juices (kale, parsley, and celery) to stretch it and boost the nutrition.



The green juice also has cucumbers and lime, in addition to the kale, parsley, and celery I mentioned earlier. I drank three of these glasses. I think that would be close to 48 ounces of alkalizing goodness. Ahhhhhh.


This is coconut millet pudding. Almond milk, vanilla, agave, pie spice, millet, coconut flakes. Got the recipe from the millet package.


Topped each serving with vegan whipped cream (the fluffy top layer in a can of coconut milk) and a couple of blackberries. Sometimes I worry when presenting new, strange, healthy dishes to my family and friends. But the pan was completely cleared out. And this would be a great breakfast recipe as well.


Also made some vanilla chia pudding. It’s so easy, and so good.

1 cup almond milk
3 tbsp chia seeds
Vanilla and stevia to taste

Mix it up and let it sit in the fridge until the chia seeds gel up and it “sets”. I think that’s even easier than packaged pudding.

Ate 2 pieces of this ham to take my nighttime meds, since I forgot to take them at dinner.


Fighting off a headache tonight. Don’t think it’s due to dehydration, but I’m drinking more water anyway. Feels like it started in my shoulders, so I did about 30 minute of P90X Stretch to try to relieve tension. It felt really good to stretch, but didn’t get rid of the headache. Going to try to avoid it, but I might have to take something for it tonight. The pain is getting stronger and is right behind my eyeballs. I guess a couple of ibuprofen won’t be a big deal, considering the cocktail of pills I take every day anyway.

Update: I was able to fall asleep without having to take anything for the headache. I did use some frankincense essential oil on my wrists and temples while stretching. When I woke up the next morning, it was nearly gone.

Tuesday’s Snack

Attended a spring detox seminar tonight given by my integrative doc. It. Was. Awesome. I love love love being surrounded by like-minded people. And now I’m totally motivated to get to the farmer’s market tomorrow and stock up on great veggies to do my own version of a semi-detox this week. I have some ideas, but we’ll see what happens.

I sucked these down in the car before heading in. They had snacks, and were all gluten free and healthy. But I didn’t know what to expect, so I made sure I wasn’t starving- just in case.


Friday’s Dinner

Easy dinner in the microwave. Delish.


The ingredient list sheds some light on what daiya cheese is made of.


And… Tonight is Crazy Pudding Night at our house. These are the recipes I was working with (from Crazy Sexy Diet).


Baby girl LOVED the chocolate. And I love that I can feel good about giving her this treat. Avocados are amazing. I used prunes instead of dates and it came out fine. Also added a bit of additional sweetener at the end. Agave nectar and honey.


And I’m amazed at how good this chia pudding is. And soooo good for you. Tons of omega 3s.


And I like how the look of the pudding makes these little animal containers look like cheetahs.


Tuesday’s Lunch

I ate a few bits of leftover stir-fry, and it was just too painful. So I sucked down a couple of these.


Met with rheumatologist. He’s pushing methotrexate again (as I knew he would). He said the goal is to get me on a steroid substitute as soon as possible. This really frustrated me, because NO- that is NOT the goal. I told him I want to see my specialist in NY (Dr. Yazici) or a new guy at the Mayo clinic who specializes in Behcet’s, before making a long-term decision. The GOAL is remission. And I decided I need to enlist some new partners to help me get there.

So I called the Center for Natural and Integrative Medicine and got an appointment for Thursday. It costs an arm and a leg, but I need to talk to somebody who has some experience solving health problems naturally. Somebody who’s not going to brush it off when I bring up my diet or what supplements I’m taking. I know my doctors do the best they can with what they know, but all they know are prescriptions. And prescriptions aren’t going to bring me true healing. They’re a bandaid until they either stop working or cause problems of their own (side effects). Before I go that route, I have to know I tried everything else first.

Saturday’s Snack

I had a few handfuls of my healthy snack mix, and baby girl comes toddling by wanting some. Since nuts and seeds are still a choking hazard for her, I decided to make up some little fruit snack bags for her. When looking for a container to store them in, I found these…


It should be illegal for these to be called fruit snacks. It really makes me laugh. Look at the ingredients.


It’s candy. And should be treated as such. But it’s marketed to make parents think they are giving their kids something good for them. And it’s just not.

So, let’s try to do a bit better and get the ones with less sugar, shall we?


The only way they got these to be palatable with less sugar was to add aspartame. Seriously? For a kid’s product?


Granted, the teeny fruit shapes, bright colors, and sweet taste are very appealing to kids. But I am finding that my attitude and the way I honestly feel about the food I’m trying to feed my daughter (because they KNOW when you’re lying!) makes all the difference in her response. She loves to drink the green juices I make, especially when we drink them together, taking turns with the straw. And she got so excited over her baggie of fruit snacks, because I made a big deal over it: “Look! Mommy made you a yummy special treat!” That approach may not work at all ages, but it’s (generally) working for us now.

So these are her new, REAL fruit snacks. Just as convenient, and does a lot more for her little body than those gummy candy things calling themselves fruit snacks. And small kids eat so little already, everything that goes in their mouths needs to have something positive to offer. With these, we get lots of vitamins and minerals (real ones, not created in a lab and injected into the food… “100% vitamin C” -ha!) and tons of fiber to keep her little digestive system going strong.


Monday’s Snack

We spent the afternoon at a playdate in the park, then went to the library for books about gluten, wellness, etc. Oh- and a pirate story. As a quick snack in the car between stops, we ate these.


I decided to pack one for myself, too, since it really is the perfect, portable, convenient healthy snack. While I hope, as my mouth heals, my portable snacks will consist more of seeds, nuts, dried fruit, and crudités, I think I might just keep this baby food option on the checklist, too.

And for times like this, when it’s unclear what may or may not irritate my mouth, sucking down a tube of baby food at a red light is a much better choice that trying to manipulate solid food with a sore tongue.

Saturday’s Lunch

For my toddler: leftover chicken bits (which she did not eat), avocado, and mashed cauliflower.


For me: Mixed greens with tomato, avocado, and raw sunflower seeds, dressed with lime juice and zest, and a spritz of balsamic vinaigrette. And leftover mashed cauliflower. Man- I really like that stuff.

I ended up not being able to eat most of the salad. With the lesions I have right now, it was hard to chew the lettuce leaves. The avocado was easy to eat, and the tomato wasn’t too bad. But the leaves were a lot of work and I finally gave up. Probably wasn’t the smartest idea to use such an acidic dressing, either. That was kinda painful.


Soooo, I supplemented with juice.



I ended up juicing an extra apple in with the pears. Delish!