Sweet Potato Sloppy Joe Sliders (Paleo)

I’m not going to lie, the holidays are crazy, and so is my schedule right now! Instead of boring you with my weekly life-lessons and updates, we’ll just get right to the point. Here is a fun recipe that turns another childhood favorite into a more sophisticated, comforting meal. I hope you enjoy it as much as I (and a few taste testers) did!


  • 2 medium sweet potatoes, cut into 1/4″ thick rounds
  • 1 TB. avocado oil
  • 1 TB. coconut oil
  • 1 lb. grassfed ground beef
  • ¼ tsp. sea salt
  • ¼ tsp ground black pepper
  • 2 medium yellow onions, diced
  • 1 celery stalk, finely diced
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 TB. tomato paste
  • 1 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1 tsp. chili powder
  • ½ tsp. paprika
  • 1 TB. raw honey
  • 2 tsp. apple cider vinegar
  • 3 TB. water
  • 1 cup spinach leaves (optional)

-Preheat oven to 400 degrees (F)

-In a large bowl toss the sweet potato rounds in avocado oil, salt and pepper

-Place seasoned sweet potato rounds on a large baking sheet lined with parchment paper and bake for about 30-35 minutes, flipping halfway

-While potatoes are baking, add the coconut oil to a large skillet over medium heat and cook the beef until only a little pink remains

-Add the onion, celery and garlic and continue cooking for 2-3 minutes

-Add tomato paste, cumin, chili powder and paprika to the meat mixture and stir for 1 minute

-Add the honey, apple cider vinegar, tomato sauce and water to the mixture, stir to combine and summer on low for 5-10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper

-Once the sweet potatoes are done cooking arrange them on a serving plate with toppings of your choice! I like to add spinach leaves for a fun color pop (they also hold on the meat quite well) or you could use larger lettuce leaves as a “boat” for the sliders

Flank Steak Roulade (Paleo)

Recently I’ve had  lot of friends interested in and trying out meat-less diets. One large correlating factor is a food-related documentary they each had watched. After hearing their reviews I instantly had flashbacks to my freshman year in college. As an animal science major (at the time) we watched something very similar in essence- but instead of highlighting the animals as “food quality”, they were focused on as an example of poorly regulated, mass produced, unethical farming.

Now, I LOVE all animals and if I personally believed that humans weren’t made to eat all sorts of things (including animals) I would totally be cool with never eating meat again. I strongly believe that everyone has the right to choose how and what they eat, but I think the big picture in the meat-versus-no-meat debate is the quality of the meat- which stems from the quality of the life of the animal- including how and what they are fed.

There is without a doubt some horrendous, malicious practices going on in the world that I do not at all support. How? Because I choose to buy meat locally- from farms and farmers that I know- animals that I have seen enjoying their lives in big fields. I suppose being out in the sticks of Western Mass it’s easy to access fresh and local meat and produce, but it also certainly isn’t impossible to find something of similar quality living in the midst of a big city, it just takes a little more research.

The moral of the story? If you’re going to eat meat: do your homework and support the people who treat their animals as they should be treated. Healthy, happy animals means healthy, nutrient dense meat!



  • 2 lbs grass-fed flank steak
  • sea salt and black pepper to taste
  • 4 strips turkey bacon, cooked softly and chopped
  • 2 cups spinach
  • 1/3 cup sundried tomatoes
  • 1 cup white mushrooms, chopped
  • 5 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 TB coconut oil


-Preheat oven to 425 degrees

-Pound the flank steak until its an even 1/3 inch across

-Season with salt and pepper then layer the bacon, tomatoes, spinach and mushrooms evenly over the steak

-Roll the steak tightly and secure with butchers twine

-Heat coconut oil in a large skillet over medium heat and sear the roulade on each side (about 2-3 minutes per side)

-Remove from skillet and sprinkle minced garlic over the top. Place roulade on a baking sheet and bake for 10-15 minutes or until cooked in the center

-Remove from oven and allow to cool for 10 minutes before removing twine and slicing into pinwheels, serve and enjoy!


Pair this with last weeks Hasselback Sweet Potatoes and sauté your extra veggies for a complete meal!


Photographs by Billy Willbanks. DSMP marketing. Instagram @wbanks85.

Surf & Turf Stuffed Summer Squash (Paleo, AIP, LowFodmap, 21DSD)

I am starting to feel myself again after having some time off from one of my jobs and from weightlifting. Not to say those were the issues but it has given me some time to really reflect on things and organize my life. This morning at physical therapy I was finally able to play with a barbell again and given the “OK” to add some lifting back in! I plan on taking my time and really focusing on improving my form, technique, stability and mobility so I don’t end up back where I started. Every time I injure myself I take it as a learning experience and use it to grow stronger and more aware of my body’s capacity. I tend to get so wrapped up my goals that I overlook smaller details in my training that need attention. This past week was quite humbling and a good reminder that I am still recovering from years of being sick and treating my body like crap. Rome wasn’t built in a day, and having strong foundations inside and out is without a doubt the most important. 

I won’t bore you with too much blabbering about myself today, but stay tuned for an update of my bio within the next week or two. I left it with a little bit of a cliffhanger because I wasn’t sure that I was ready to share my full story at the time. But after the loss of a friend who was a big influence on my life and ultimately some of the reason why I am where I am today, I feel compelled to share in hopes that it might reach some people that are struggling or have struggled with the same issues that I have and give them a glimmer of hope.

Anyways, to lighten up the rest of this post lets get to the recipe! This is based off of my all time favorite recipe from the 21 Day Sugar Detox . If you don’t own the books or haven’t tried the detox, you need to! I can honestly say that through many years of being Paleo I always continued to struggle with an addiction to sugar. It’s one of those things that is INCREDIBLY hard to shake, probably harder than smoking although I’ve never smoked so I can’t compare personally, but the withdrawals are real! Once you realize that you don’t need sugar for energy, your body can start to fuel itself properly and you will get a whole new and sustainable level of energy!


  • 4 large zucchini or summer squash
  • 1 TB. cooking fat (I used coconut oil)
  • 1 celery stalk, minced
  • 1 medium carrot, shredded
  • 1/2 medium onion, diced
  • 2 TB. coconut aminos
  • 3-5 drops fish sauce 
  • 1/4 cup scallions, diced
  • 1 cup shrimp, peeled, deveined and minced
  • 1 lb. grass fed ground beef
  • 1 tsp. fresh ginger, minced
  • Sea salt and black pepper


-Preheat oven to 350 degrees

-Cut the squash in half and use a spoon to scoop out as much of the insides as possible (the more you scoop out the more room for stuffing!!)


-Place the squash face down on a rimmed baking sheet and cook for 25-30 minutes (depending on thickness) until they are easily pierced by a fork on the inside

-While the squash cooks, melt the cooking fat in a large skillet over medium heat 

-Dice the remaining squash and add it to the skillet along with the onion, carrots, celery, coconut aminos, fish sauce, salt and pepper


-Satuee veggies for 5 minutes then add minced shrimp, ground beef, minced ginger and scallions to the skillet

-Continue cooking until the shrimp are pink and the ground beef is browned

-Remove squash from oven when fully cooked and flip them over on the pan

-Stuff each squash as much as possible! Then broil them in the oven for 2-3 minutes until they are nicely bribes in top

-Garnish with a drizzle of sesame oil and some more diced scallions and enjoy! 

Notes: The recipe in the 21 DSD cookbook is called “cabbage-wrapped dumplings”. Diane gives a recipe for a delicious sauce to top these with but I will keep that a secret… Grab the book to find out!😜

Also- to make this lower FODMAP leave out the white onions and add more scallions. 

    Hidden Liver Bacon Meatballs (Paleo, AIP, LowFODMAP, 21DSD)

    I hope everyone had a great Easter! I spent my day working at Jake’s and baking most of the evening. I did, of course, miss seeing my family and my boyfriend’s family but I plan to see them all another time soon! This past Saturday I had a great Primal Treats and Eats tasting at my home gym, Crossfit Iron Will. It was the last day of the Lurong Paleo Challenge and I was super impressed by everyones improvements and overall results. I love the paleo challenges because it motivates people to try paleo and stick to it for a certain amount of time. Obviously not everyone is successful in staying on track, but at the very least it helps people develop the skills to live a healthier lifestyle. I wish everyone would take these skills and continue on with the paleo diet and lifestyle after the challenges, but if they don’t then I hope they were successful enough during the challenge to see and feel the difference in their body when it is properly nourished. (Here’s where I will remind everyone that gluten remains in your system for about 14 days… if you can’t go 2 weeks without consuming gluten then you will never know how great your body can feel without it!)


    Here’s a shot of my setup at CFIW! I love being able to provide people with paleo treats! I do, however, know that treats are treats, and they aren’t meant to be binge eaten just like conventional processed crap. I take pride in making sure all of my treats have only the highest quality, organic, locally sourced (when possible) and nutrient dense ingredients. These are intended to be consumed as treats! They are perfect for special occasions, for a quick boost of energy, and as a reward for a long week of hard work. I bake them because I find that there aren’t many (if at all) good options for paleo treats, and they have become part of a modern lifestyle. I also happen to really enjoy creating beautiful, delicious and nutrient dense treats, and the same goes for meals. Paleo can be fun, interesting, exciting, and challenging if you commit yourself to it. It can also be pretty darn easy! It is what you make of it, and I hope that more people start to realize that you only have things to gain when you switch to a paleo lifestyle.

    Today I wanted to share this awesome recipe that I created to work on incorporating more organ meats into my daily life. Organ meats are some of the most nutrient dense foods out there, and it’s a shame that people get so irked by them! I love liver pate but I wanted to make a recipe that incorporated liver and could appeal to a larger group of people, including kids! I think these tasty bacon-wrapped meatballs might be the key, try it out and let me know what you think!


    • 2 lbs. grassfed ground beef
    • 3-4 chicken livers, diced into 1/4 inch chunks
    • 1 package of sugar-free bacon (if your having a hard time finding this try US Wellness meats or Pete’s Paleo)
    •  2. TB arrowroot
    • 1 TB. dried rosemary, finely ground
    • 1 TB. dried thyme
    • 1 TB. dried parsley
    • 1/2 tsp. himalayan sea salt
    • dash of freshly ground black pepper


    -Preheat oven to 350 degrees

    -In a large mixing bowl combine all ingredients except for bacon and mix until well incorporated

    -Form meat mixture into 1 1/2 inch balls and wrap a half a slice of bacon around each

    -Place meatballs in a large rimmed baking dish, with the ends of the bacon slices tucked under the meatballs


    -Bake for 15 minutes, then flip and bake for 5 more minutes

    -Remove from oven to flip back over so the bacon is on top and turn oven to broil

    -Return meatballs to oven for 3-5 minutes until bacon is crispy (make sure to leave the oven cracked open when broiling or else the meatballs will be overcooked

    -Let cook for a few minutes and then enjoy!


    Notes: I like chicken livers because they have a more mild taste than beef liver. I have not tried beef liver in this recipe yet but once I do I will update this post with the results! Also, make sure you are using high quality chicken livers, just like the rest of the meat from the animal, organs of poorly fed and maintained animals should be avoided! Look for locally sourced, organic, pasture raised chickens without hormones or antibiotics. If you live in western mass check out Sutter Meats or River Valley Market if you can’t get to a local farm. If you have a meat grinder feel free to use that to grind up the liver. If not, a sharp knife will work just fine. Also- If you are not avoiding FODMAP’s try adding some sautéed onions and grated garlic to the meatballs! Yum!

    Guacamole Stuffed Squeeler Bugers (Paleo, AIP, LowFODMAP, 21DSD)

    Yesterday was my day off for the week so I celebrated by hanging out with some of my best friends and of course cooking all day. I love cooking and it makes it even more enjoyable when you have appreciative mouths to feed! I also got to ride my horse in the morning and took a nice long Epsom salt jacuzzi bath to add some therapy and relaxation into my day. More about the importance of magnesium and Epsom salt baths coming soon!


    This is how three gluten free girls get down on a Sunday: tea’s all around!

    I started the burgers by making individually wrapped guacamole squares and throwing them in the freezer so when we were ready to cook the burgers, the guacamole was frozen. Avocados are listed as a “moderate FODMAP” food, so in order to keep these on the lower-FODMAP side I used one slightly ripe avocado and one unripe avocado. If you have a hard time determining how ripe avocados are the coloration is a pretty good determinant, but you should also feel each one. The more ripe the avocado is the more “squishy” it will be. Be careful not to buy avocados that are over-ripe because they will have black spots on the inside. 


    From left to right: the darkest avocado is the most ripe, while unripe avocado is green. 

     Ingredients for the Guacamole:

    • 2 avocados (one slightly ripe, one unripe)
    • 1/2 fresh lemon (or lime)
    • 1/2 cup finely chopped fresh cilantro
    • 1/2 tsp. sea salt


     -Cut the avocados in half and remove the seed 

     -Scoop the meat out of the avocado into a large mixing bowl. For the unripe avocado you will have to use a little elbow grease to get the meat out, and before adding it to the bowl I suggest chopping it into small pieces because it will not “mash” like the slightly ripe avocado will 

     -Add the lemon, cilantro and salt to the avocado 

     -Mash with a fork until the mixture is well incorporated and on the softer side 

     -Scoop about 2 TB. of the mixture onto some plastic wrap or parchment paper, forming into small squares or circles

     -Wrap each glob of guacamole individually and throw them in the freezer for a few hours until frozen


     For the Burgers:

    • 1 lb. grassfed ground beef
    • 1 lb. pasture raised ground pork
    • 1/2 tsp. sea salt
    • 1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper


    -Preheat grill to medium-high heat 

     -In a large mixing bowl combine beef, pork, salt and pepper 

     -Toss well to combine then section into 1/4 lb. balls 

     -Remove your frozen guacamole squares or circles from the freezer and work them into the center of each meatball forming them into patties 

    -Grill for 5-8 minutes per side depending on how you like your burger cooked 

     -Top with whatever you like and enjoy!

    I topped our burgers with Irish bacon and wrapped them in rainbow chard. Yum!


    Short Rib Burgers (Paleo, AIP, LowFODMAP, 21DSD)

    Today has been a great day all around. I started off the morning training one of my clients in Northampton. He is improving so much every time I work with him and his motivation and excitement are contagious. From there I went down to CFIW to tackle the open workout 15.1 & 15.1a. For those of you that don’t follow crossfit, this week was the first week of the worldwide open competition which is a qualifier for the regional competition and subsequently the Crossfit Games. If you have been following my blog you already know that I have been recovering from a pulled muscle in my back and reoccurring nerve pain in my neck. With that being said it has been pretty hard for me to come to terms with the fact that I might just have to do all of the open workouts scaled, even though I know I could do them RX’d (as prescribed).

    I went into the workout with pretty low expectations because I wasn’t sure how I would feel after not having done a workout in a few weeks, or lifted, or done anything besides squats for that matter! I also just finished an intense week of the Smolov Squat program (4 days of high volume at 75-87%) so I would normally have been pretty fried, but surprisingly I was feeling good. I finished the scaled workout with 238 reps of the first part and hit my max clean & jerk of 125#. Boy do I miss WODs and lifting!

    After going through mental ups and downs all week wondering if my legs would hold up to all of the squats, wondering how my body would feel by today, and getting past my desire to do the opens RX’d, I feel humbled. Compared to the last time I did this same squat program I feel MUCH stronger and more capable. My body is finally absorbing nutrients, my energy levels after working 8-10 hours on my feet and then heavy lifting are still sustainable and I am able to wake up and repeat the process day after day. This is a HUGE change from a year- or even a few months ago. Even though my body isn’t in perfect health yet, I can feel that it’s getting there and healing more every day. I am looking forward to seeing how much improvement I can make next year and hope that I can prove myself in the RX division of the opens then. Setting my goals now! 🙂

    In other news: we had these burgers for dinner last night and they were amazing!

    I made my weekly trip to our local butcher shop on Thursday to grab some local grass-fed marrow bones, and these burgers caught my eye. Short-rib is one of those things that I haven’t experimented with much because it’s on the expensive side so I figured a burger would make the perfect first recipe! The only downside was that our grill is still buried in several feet of snow/ice. But not to worry- if you have an oven and a cast-iron skillet you can still make some juicy burgers!

    Here’s How:

    -Preheat oven to 350 degrees

    -Place cast iron skillet on the stove over medium-high heat

    -When skillet is hot sear the burgers for 3-4 minutes on each side

    -Once seared, place the whole skillet with burgers into the oven and bake for 6-10 minutes depending on what temperature you prefer them

    -Make sure you cook multiple burgers because one is never enough!



    I chose to not season my burgers because I wanted to see how they taste and let me tell you- I don’t think they even need seasoning! I topped them with some spinach sautéed in coconut oil and coconut aminos and used pan fried sweet potato rounds as my buns! To make the sweet potato buns simply cut a thick sweet potato into 1/4 inch rounds and fry them in coconut oil over medium-high heat for about 6-10 minutes per side, or until fork tender.

    The finished product: (does’t include me kicking myself for only getting two burgers! Waaahh!!)


    A side note: you can make these burgers yourself if you have a meat grinder! If you don’t, you can simply go over to your local butcher and if they have short-rib in stock you can ask them to grind it up and make patties for you! Sutter Meats in Northampton has amazing customer service if your are in the Western Mass area!

    Egg-less Break-fast. (Paleo, AIP, LowFODMAP, 21DSD)

    Breakfast is one of the meals thats like clockwork to me. I have just about the same thing every morning which takes all the planning and stress out of my morning routine. I make small tweaks to my breakfast when certain foods aren’t available but I generally keep it as: some sort of meat cooked with a leafy green or other vegetable, 1/2 an avocado and a soothing warm beverage. This breakfast works well and enjoy it so much that I actually looked forward to breakfast before I go to bed. (Or maybe I just love to eat?)

    One of the hardest parts about starting the Autoimmune protocol was changing my breakfast… NO eggs, and NO coffee! I’ve had eggs and coffee for breakfast for the last 6+ years of my life! It was the epitome of breakfast to me and I had a REALLY hard time trying to wrap my brain around not consuming two of my favorite things anymore. Lucky for me I knew the day would come when I had to follow strict AIP and therefore had mentally been preparing and brainstorming ways to survive when the change occurred. I started slowly switching over to decaf coffee to avoid the caffeine-headache-withdrawals, while also trying to have bone broth with breakfast instead of coffee from time to time. This process got more difficult when I started working at a breakfast restaurant and am surrounded by eggs and coffee all day… but anyone who has been battling with severe autoimmune disease will tell you that there is nothing more motivating than the thought of one day being out of pain.

    I also, fortunately, love all food, so having something different for breakfast wasn’t the worst thing in the world but I knew I would miss the convenience of eggs.



    So my new AIP and low-FODMAP breakfast now consists of:

    • 1/4 lb. of ground beef, turkey or pork
    • 1-2 cups of kale or spinach
    • 1/2 cup avocado*
    • 2 TB. coconut oil or tallow
    • 1/2 tsp. turmeric
    • 1/4 tsp. himalayan sea salt
    • 1 cup bone broth

    * avocado is listed as a moderate FODMAP food, but for those of us that need larger quantities of fat (are very active), avocados that are NOT very ripe contain less FODMAPs!

    I usually start by throwing my bone broth in a pot and bringing that to a boil. Once boiling I remove it from the heat and put it in my mug with 1 TB. of coconut oil. Once the oil has melted I blend and forth it with my handily frother and set it aside to cool.

    In a large skillet I melt the other TB of coconut oil or tallow(from the broth) over medium heat. Then I add in the greens, pre-cooked meat, turmeric and salt. Sauté until the greens have wilted and the meat is warm, then transfer to a bowl or plate. Top with avocado and enjoy with the bulletproof bone broth



    Shepard’s Pie (Paleo, AIP, LowFODMAP, 21DSD)

    Shepard’s pie is one of my all time favorite meals and generally a crowd pleaser for paleo and non-paleo folks alike! This recipe can also be modified in many areas and still come out amazing! My recipe in particular is an AIP and LowFODMAP version, so I made sure to find bacon that did not contain sugar or nightshade spices, used veggies that were low in FODMAP’s and topped the pie with mashed butternut squash instead of potatoes.

    The Wellshire brand of bacon is a great Sugar-Free option if you can find it! They carry it at most Whole Foods and at River Valley Market in Northampton if you live in this area. I would also advocate still reading the label, the bacon in the picture I found still contains trace amounts of nightshade spices while a slightly different one from the same brand did not.



    • 2 lbs. grassfed ground beef
    • 6 slices of bacon (or more if your like me and have a hard time resisting the bacon while your cooking… hashtag: no self control)
    • 2 cups spinach, coarsely chopped
    • 2 cups carrots, cut into 1/4″ cubes
    • 1 large butternut squash
    • 2 TB. coconut oil
    •  2 tsp. dried thyme
    • 1 tsp. cinnamon
    • 1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
    • 1/2 tsp. sea salt


    -Put a large pot of water on the stove over medium-high heat until boiling and preheat oven to 350 degrees

    -While water is heating up peel and scoop the guts out of the squash then chop into 1/2 inch chunks

    -Place squash into boiling water and cook for 30-40 minutes until you can easily pierce them with a fork

    -Drain squash and set aside in a large bowl

    -While Squash is boiling, start cooking the bacon in a large cast iron skillet over medium heat until bacon is cooked- but not crispy

    -Remove the bacon from the skillet and set aside to cool, keeping the bacon fat in the skillet

    -Add carrots to the skillet and cook for 6-8 minutes until they are fork tender

    -Remove carrots from the skillet and set them aside

    -Add ground beef to the skillet and cook for 2-3min then add in the rosemary, thyme, salt and pepper

    -Cook until meat is almost brown, then add the carrots and bacon back into the skillet with the meat

    -Add the spinach to the mixture and toss together for 1-2 minutes until all ingredients are combined

    -Add the coconut oil and cinnamon to the squash and mash with a fork or hand mixer until no chunks remain

    -Scoop the squash onto the top of the meat mixture, spreading evenly over the entire dish

    -Place the whole skillet (if you are using cast iron) into the oven and bake for 20 minutes **Be careful if you are using cast iron, the handle will be piping hot and it will be heavy!!

    -Turn the oven to broil for 2-4 minutes at the end if you prefer the pie to be a little crispy on top

    -Let cool for 5 minutes before digging in!

    Try not to eat this all in one sitting- It’s hard, trust me!




    Notes: I recommend using a large cast iron skillet if you have one, it will save you some clean up time in the end by only having to use one pan! This can also be made in a large regular skillet and transferred to a deep baking dish when you are ready to put it in the oven.

    Here are some of the variations I have made the pie with:

    • Topped with mashed cauliflower (any colo-white, orange, purple)
    • Topped with mashed sweet potatoes (any color-classic, purple, white)
    • With carrots, green beans, celery, mushrooms, onions, or spinach
    • Used ground beef, ground bison, or a mixture of beef and bison or beef and ground pork



    Everyday Meatballs (Paleo, AIP, LowFODMAP, 21DSD)

    I forgot to mention in yesterday’s post that while I was traveling across MA I tuned into the Underground Wellness Radio‘s interview with Vani Hari, also know as the Food Babe. After listening to the intro about the criticism and controversy of Vani’s new book and campaigns, I was interested to learn what she was all about! It turns out she is a super strong and powerful woman who advocates for transparent food labeling, as well as the removal of clinically proven harmful toxins in our “foods” that have already been banned in other countries. Pretty cool! I highly recommend checking out her blog and following her campaigns to find out ways that you could also help clean up America’s food supply.

    In other news, it was a whopping 45 degrees yesterday! I had the windows down in my car and felt like I was in bermuda!


    Of course the latest weather report is saying “record low” temperatures for Tuesday… good feelings gone.

    Anyways, I wanted to share this meatball recipe because its super easy and you can substitute lots of ingredients and still have delicious meatballs!


    • 1 lb. grassfed ground beef
    • 1 lb. ground bison
    • 2 cups finely chopped kale
    • 1 TB. parsley
    • 1 TB. oregano
    • 1 tsp. turmeric
    • 1/1 tsp. sea salt
    • Dash of freshly ground black pepper


    -Preheat oven to 400 degrees

    -Combine herbs, salt and pepper in a large bowl

    -Add ground beef and bison to bowl and mix until incorporated

    -Add kale and work into meat. Then begin forming into 1-1 1-2inch balls

    -Place meatballs in a baking pan and bake for 12-15 minutes, turning halfway

    -Enjoy these on top of some spaghetti squash, salad, in soup, or however you please!


    Note: You can substitute the kale for spinach, swap out some spices, use a combo of beef & pork, just beef or bison, add in some onions or garlic if you aren’t worried about FODMAPS.. get creative! 🙂