Adrenal Calming Infusion

I don’t know about you, but when I first heard the term adrenal fatigue I kinda “poo-pooed” it.

I mean come on…I thrive on keeping busy. I am a born “do-er”.

But in the last couple years I have literally been through some of the darkest health days I have ever experienced because I chose to ignore the very apparent adrenal issues I was suffering.

Back to back pregnancies followed by a miscarriage and then very quickly and unexpectedly getting pregnant shortly after that threw my body into a deeper level of adrenal fatigue to complete exhaustion. Nothing. Nada. I wasn’t even registering cortisol on the charts because I flat-out didn’t have any.

In the last 18 months, I have thrown myself head first into healing my adrenal health which in turn has uncovered the root of many longstanding thyroid issues I have just dealt with for many years. It has also given me a great respect for this thing called…enjoying life. Relaxing. Taking a deep breath. Sitting DOWN. Chilling out.

I am not completely healed. But I am functioning at a level I haven’t functioned at since well before I had children.One of the things I really needed help with doing was relaxing enough to sleep well at night. I just physically couldn’t do it on my own. All the downtime, healthy food, and deep breathing in the world just couldn’t settle my frazzled nerves. And sleep is what my body was craving the most at this point.

I started making this after dinner infusion last year and it really helped my quest for better sleep habits. I would make it right after dinner and let the herbs infuse the water and drink it when my kids went to bed. An hour later I was definitely ready to rest which was perfect timing. I made myself bedtimes. I took some time out for *me*. And used my “do-er” personality to dive head first into the task of healing my body from fatigue.

It’s just a simple step – but giving your body a little help to wind down in the evening so you can rest well could be the first and most important step to your own stress and adrenal healing.

herbal tea for adrenals

relaxing tea

Adrenal Calming Infusion
  • 1 cup hot water
  • 1 tsp dried chamomile
  • ½ tsp dried hibiscus or rose hips
  • Pinch of sea salt
  • Optional squeeze of lemon and/or drizzle of raw honey to taste (I love both!)
  1. Pour the hot water over your dried herbs and steep anywhere from 5-10 minutes (this will make more of a “tea”) or over a couple of hours (this is called an “infusion” and is a little stronger than tea). I like to use my French press so the herbs are strained out as I pour.
  2. After the herbs have steeped you can strain them out, add the pinch of sea salt, and squeeze the lemon and stir in the raw honey to your taste.

adrenal calming infusion


Herbal information

Chamomile – traditionally know for it’s relaxing properties, dried chamomile is often used before bedtime or during moments of mental or emotional stress.

The small white flowers have a slightly sweet scent pleasant flavor. It is part of the ragweed family, so a person with extreme ragweed allergies may want to use caution.

Hibiscus – Just a bit tart, hibiscus adds a wonderful red color to the tea as well as plenty of antioxidants. Avoid if you have gallstones.

Rosehips – the dried fruit of certain species of roses is a great source of vitamin C and antioxidants and adds a slightly tart flavor to the tea.


(note from Donielle – I love to purchase my herbs from Mountain Rose Herbs or Bulk Herb Store! I’ve been pleased with the quality from both of them.)

Asian Spring Slaw Salad

Right around March my body starts craving fresh, raw veggies. We are pretty seasonal eaters in our house, so with the winter comes less variety to my veggie rotation – and I think that is a good thing. Cooked veggies (with friendly fats like butter) are easier on our guts to digest, and it is good to give our bodies a break from foods while we rotate with the seasons!

Asian Spring Slaw Salad3

While I am still a good couple months away from fresh salad greens in my garden, I do have access to some nice late winter and early spring vegetables that make a really great raw “slaw” type salad. Just a simple julienne peeler (available on Amazon) is all you need (the spirilizers work too if you have one, also found on Amazon) and you will have colorful strips of veggie that really feel like a noodle indulgence.

Asian Spring Slaw Salad

I am a big time Asian cuisine fan and a couple of years ago I put a twist on my Thai peanut sauce and made a salad dressing – it is one of my favorites and it really dresses up this slaw type salad so nice!

This salad makes a fantastic lunch since it is filled with satiating friendly fat from the dressing. You can add chopped nuts/seeds or chicken/tuna to your bowl for added protein if you want as well.

Asian Spring Slaw Salad

Asian Spring Slaw Salad
  • 2 large carrots, julienne peeled
  • ½ diakon radish, julienne peeled
  • 1 cucumber, julienne peeled
  • ¼ head purple cabbage, sliced thin (green cabbage works too if you can’t find the purple)
  • 2-3 stalks green onions, chopped
  • 1 cup Asian dressing (If you like more dressing you can add more!)
  • Optional red pepper flakes, sesame seeds, and/or water cress to garnish
  1. Put the dressing in the bottom of your salad bowl.
  2. Add the veggies and toss with the dressing.
  3. Add your garnishes if you want!
  4. Note – the salt in the dressing will pull the moisture from the veggies over time – if you are packing it up ahead of time it would be a good idea to pack the dressing separately and add it to the salad upon eating.

So! Are you ready for rotating to spring veggies too?

My favorite homemade spaghetti sauce

Spaghetti is actually one of my husband’s favorite meals and I also love the fact that it’s so easy! Just noodles, sauce and a bit of meat. Although to make the meal a bit more balanced, it’d probably be a good idea to include a salad or something…

Homemade sauce always seemed so daunting, and my husband was very picky about the brand I was to buy. So with a bit of trepidation, I entered the world of homemade spaghetti sauce. Both he and I were pleasantly surprised, and we haven’t gone back to premade sauce since.

homemade spaghetti

For me, the addition of fresh, and not dried, ingredients really make the sauce. In the summer I can grab fresh basil and oregano from my garden, but in the winter I do use dried. (Sometimes my own, other times from Mountain Rose Herbs as I’ve found theirs have great flavor.)

Onions and garlic that are slowly sautéed also add a depth of flavor not seen when using dried versions of the two.

homemade spaghetti sauce

This sauce also works great with meatballs, but rarely do I take the time to make them! Though lately I’ve been making myself take the time to add a bit of sauce and cooking water to the drained pasta and the results definitely make the final product better.

My favorite homemade spaghetti sauce - this one definitely rocks!


Homemade Spaghetti Sauce
Recipe type: Sauces, Seasonings, and Condiments
  • 28-30 ounces tomato sauce (homemade sauce is fantastic)
  • 6 ounces tomato paste
  • 6 ounces water
  • ½ pound ground beef or Italian sausage
  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil or butter
  • 1 small - medium onion, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1½ teaspoon basil
  • ½ teaspoon oregano
  • salt to taste
  • optional: mushrooms, diced tomatoes
  1. Brown beef and drain off fat. Set aside.
  2. Saute onion in oil until soft (along with mushrooms if using). Add garlic and saute for about one minute.
  3. Add all remaining ingredients and simmer for at least 10 minutes.
  4. Use with your favorite pasta!
For best results, save ½ cup of the cooking water from the pasta. Once the pasta is drained, put it back in the pot and stir in the ½ cup water and one cup of the sauce. Let sit for just a couple of minutes before serving.

Top with hot sauce and fresh Parmesan.


French Silk Pie

Every once in a while I go through a season of life where at home is where it’s at.

Whether it’s during a season of tight budgets, or a season of healing where restaurant food just isn’t going to cooperate with the eating plan, sometimes having some really great celebration food in my back pocket is really helpful.

valentine's day French Silk Pie French Silk Pie


gluten free french silk pie

Everyone deserves to celebrate the things (and people!) that are important to them! I also think everyone deserves to have a treat, even if you are trying to stay away from processed food.

I adore this French silk pie for a couple of reasons.

The biggest one being that I am *not* a baker. I completely and fully admit to that. I don’t make a lot of dessert in my house, and frankly I am just not comfortable with it! I have a fool-proof gluten-free pie crust though that is super easy to work with and very forgiving. It makes pie making less stressful when you know you can just patch up any little mishaps with extra dough!

And because I don’t really enjoy dessert making all that much, I don’t care to spend a bunch of time fussing over every little step. Not only is the crust easy, but the batter just blends up and spreads into the baked pie crust – no cooking! And the whipped topping is as simple as plopping simple and quick homemade whipped cream on top. Looks fancy but it is so easy.

My other reason for really loving this pie is because it is so creamy and rich. It is truly a splurge –and perfect for celebrating anything from a birthday for your loved one to Valentine’s Day.

homemade French Silk Pie

5.0 from 3 reviews
French Silk Pie
  • 1 baked gluten free pie crust (If you use my recipe, just get the crust into your pie plate, poke some fork holes in the bottom, put some foil with beans into the bottom of the crust to weight it down, and bake at 375 degrees for 15 minutes. Remove the weight and bake another 20ish minutes. Cool completely before filling!)
  • ½ cup softened butter
  • 1 cup organic pure cane POWDERED sugar
  • ½ cup whole sour cream
  • 3 TB raw cacao powder
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • ⅛ tsp sea salt
  • ½ cup melted chocolate chips (I like using the Enjoy Life brand – just watch the ingredients!)
  • 1-2 cups homemade whole whipped cream
  • Optional sprinkle of cacao powder to garnish the top
  1. Blend the butter and powdered sugar until fluffy.
  2. Add the sour cream, cacao powder, vanilla, and sea salt, and melted chocolate chips and blend through to combine.
  3. Spread the chocolate batter into the cooled pre-baked pie crust.
  4. Spread the whipped cream on top and garnish if you choose.
  5. Refrigerate at least an hour before serving. Great make ahead dish!


Christmas Buckeyes (peanut butter balls!)

christmas buckeyes

Every Christmas that I can ever remember involved Buckeyes! My mom would have an assembly line set up for my sister and I to help dip the frozen peanut butter balls, and despite the brightly frosted Christmas cookies that crowded the cookie plate on Christmas day, the chocolate peanut butter balls were my favorite from very young.

In the beginning of my real food journey, I played the strict card on holidays. And to be honest it was for good reason. I had many food allergies I was working through, and to blow all my hard work on one cookie would not have been worth it. If you are in a spot of really needing to avoid certain foods while you heal your gut, I promise you it is so worth skipping the treats for one year.

After a couple of years of skipping out on my holiday favorites despite having successfully worked through my gut issues, I decided there had to be a better way. Because, really…the holidays are more than just about food, BUT it is enjoyable to have a once a year treat like a Christmas cookie or Buckeye! And think about it…your great grandparents made Christmas goodies without the Crisco – it can be done with less processed ingredients.

I started playing around with how to bake in a more real food way, and as it turns out it really isn’t that difficult to make some real food swaps for the really processed ingredients some of us grew up on.

buckeyes peanut butter balls

I’m definitely not glorifying this as “health food”- sugar is still sugar. But if you are headed to a party or have a gathering set for your house, having an option like this is definitely better than most. And these are SO good!

5.0 from 1 reviews
Christmas Buckeyes
  • 1 cup natural peanut butter (if you use something that has more than just peanuts like salt, sugar, or oils added you will have to play around with the salt, sugar, and flour amounts for the right taste and consistency – it will still work – taste as you go along and you are looking for a stiff cookie dough consistency.)
  • ¼ cup soft butter (not melted though)
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1 cup organic pure cane powdered sugar
  • ½ cup white rice flour
  • 1 – 10oz bag Enjoy Life Chocolate chips or chunks
  1. Combine everything but the chocolate in a medium mixing bowl using hand beaters.
  2. Roll the peanut butter mixture into balls and place them on a Silpat or parchment paper lined baking sheet and freeze for one hour.
  3. Use a double boiler method to melt the chocolate. (Or frankly a microwave works fine – it’s not like there’s much nourishment in the chocolate chips to be destroyed by the microwave! Just do 10 second increments and stir in between until melted)
  4. Use a toothpick to pick up the peanut butter balls and dip in the melted chocolate and then place the dipped peanut butter balls back on the Silpat lined baking sheet. If your chocolate begins to cool off too much and gets thick just melt it again.
  5. Freeze the dipped buckeyes for an hour to set the chocolate.

So keep me posted if you try these out for your holiday parties!

homemade peanut butter balls


Note from Donielle.

So. Do you call them Buckeyes? Or Peanut Butter Balls? 

When Renee said she wanted to do recipe post for buckeyes I had to figure out what she meant! And peanut butter balls were always a favorite of mine as well. Except I’m pretty certain my mom added wax to her chocolate. Ewww! I’m definitely making these to bring to a Christmas Eve party. (as an added bonus, they are gluten free.)