Why I Took the MRT (Mediator Release Test) and a Health Update

Hey! Hi. I forgot how much I love writing in this space.

I’ve taken quite the hiatus from blogging (#noregrets) but so much has happened in my journey to healing that I felt like I needed to write it all down. Get it out of my head and make sense of it, you know? Let’s get right into it! If you need to catch up on some of my eight-year stomach pain saga, read here.

I think we last left off at the 21 Day Sugar Detox last year while I was pregnant with Gloria. That was mostly a fail for our family (read up on that here). After Gloria’s birth, I was feeling super run-down. I was more tired than ever, became really sensitive to noise and started to get headaches and body aches. A friend of mine recommended a doctor who specializes in cases like mine, so I went to get checked out.

I got a bazillion vials of blood taken by this guy and found out that I was severely Vitamin D deficient. My blood work also showed a 30% bowel injury (big surprise there). The doctor’s recommendations were to take Vit D, up my magnesium, calcium and Vit B, and to go off gluten to try to heal up the bowel issues.

I started taking the supplements, but found that taking the Vit B made my noise sensitivity worse, so I dropped that. I started eating the gluten-free way- which of course is marked by lots of rice, corn and potatoes. I was still feeling bad, still having symptoms. Then the symptoms got worse- more headaches, flu symptoms, bloating, more stomach pains. What THE what, I said.


So I started researching food allergy/insensitivity testing. I had never done it and figured it was my last way to get some real information about my body’s reaction to food. I landed on the MRT (Mediator Release Test) because it seemed like the most comprehensive (it tests 150 foods and additives). There’s only one lab that reads the results, so I got in touch with a local nutritionist, did my blood work and waited for results.

While I was on a family trip in Savannah, I got the email with my MRT results. There are three categories of reactivity: low reactive foods are green, moderately reactive foods are yellow and reactive foods are red. Both yellow and red foods need to be strictly avoided.

  • My RED foods: Lemon, Salmon, Rice
  • My YELLOW foods: Almond, Codfish, Corn, Cow’s Milk, Cranberry, Blue #2, Yellow #6, Fructose, Goat’s Milk, Honey, Mango, Orange, Peach, Peanut, Polysorbate 80, Quinoa, Raspberry, Salicylic Acid, Sesame, Sodium Sulfite, Sole, Tyramine, Potato

I got the results and I was oddly underwhelmed. I started googling all the additives I’d never heard of and things started to come together in my mind. I started to make connections about certain meals that seemed so normal and healthy, but landed me in bed with pain. Remember that gluten-free diet that wasn’t working? It was heavy on the rice and potatoes. No wonder I was feeling so crummy! I felt like these results could give me a new handle on how to heal myself, but I still had a lot of questions.


I researched things on my own for three weeks and then met up a few days ago with my nutritionist. When you take the MRT and get your results, you and your nutritionist put together a diet plan to reintroduce foods and track your symptoms. The reason this is different than other elimination diets is that your green or “safe” foods have been tested as safe- you have some actual evidence that the foods you’re eating won’t cause a reaction. You only eat a small list of foods at first so you can be sure that you aren’t consuming something untested that you might react to.

So, for my friends and family who are reading this because they want to understand what I can eat, here’s a little more detail into the foods I need to avoid.

  • Most processed foods include corn, potato, quinoa, almond, dairy, food dyes or other problem foods, so I’ll be avoiding those.
  • Fructose– Fructose is fruit sugar, so many fruits and honey are out for me. I’ll be trying to keep to under 15g of fructose a day.
  • Polysorbate 80– an emulsifier and stabilizer, found in processed foods and personal care items. Just have to check labels to avoid this one.
  • Salicylic Acid– SA is found in lots of skin care items and medicines, but I had no idea that it occurs naturally in so many foods. I’ll be avoiding many fruits, mint, spices, tomatoes, and more. There isn’t a ton of research out there about this, so I have a lot of conflicting information and I’ll have to be careful to watch my personal reactions.
  • Sodium Sulfite– Sulfites are preservatives. They show up in wine, condiments, dried fruit, non-organic grapes, etc. These are always labeled, thankfully.
  • Tyramine– Along with fructose, this is a major problem area. Tyramine is a naturally occurring compound that commonly causes headaches and other symptoms like fatigue. It’s found in aged, spoiled and fermented foods. This even includes leftovers! Tyramine is found in beer, wines, vinegars, aged cheese, smoked meats, eggplant, spinach, tomatoes, dried fruit and overripe bananas and avocados. I will have to be very careful about my food preparations.

It’s a lot.

It’s really a lot, I know. (And I haven’t even posted all the details!)

I don’t think these are typical results, or that most people would have this many overlapping sensitivities. But it gives me such hope that healing could be possible!

I will be writing about my journey again so that I can remember things clearly (in case the saga continues). If you have any questions about the MRT, please comment or send me an email!

Healthier Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Giants


Hold on to your hats, people!

I actually captured a photograph of something edible. Something delicious. Something for YOU!

You guys, I have to confess that I have been mentally opposed to #pumpkiningallthethings this season. It could be because I took a beach vacation at the end of September, or maybe because the food industry has really out-pumpkined itself this year. I mean, Pumpkin Spice Pringles is taking it past the point of no return. Put your thinking caps on, guys. You can do better!

Nevertheless, I had a can of pumpkin in the pantry and I remembered this old Oven Love recipe for Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Giants. I hadn’t pulled it up in a while, and when I did, I saw some ingredients in that recipe that I’m not really friends with anymore- namely white sugar and canola oil (all-purpose flour and I only see each other when absolutely necessary). So I embarked on some kitchen experimentation to see if I could substitute some pantry items and make it work.

I swapped out the white sugar for coconut sugar, used coconut oil instead of canola and substitute freshly-milled soft white wheat flour for the all-purpose. I knew by looking at the batter that they wouldn’t come out exactly the same, but I was hopeful.

The cookies bake up nice and puffy- no spreading, which I love. The texture isn’t quite as airy with the coconut sugar and whole grain flour,  but I kind of liked it that way. The cookies had a nice nutty flavor that they didn’t before. You’ll definitely need a glass of milk with these if you eat them straight out of the oven, but they will relax after resting for a day or two.

If you loved the original recipe, I’d encourage playing around with it and substituting your own favorite pantry items. Recipes are more flexible than you think!

5.0 from 1 reviews

Healthier Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Giants
Prep time

Cook time

Total time


Recipe type: dessert
Serves: 16

  • 1 cup canned pumpkin
  • 1 cup coconut sugar
  • ½ cup melted coconut oil
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon milk, dairy or non-dairy
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups whole grain flour (I used soft white wheat that we grind at home, but you could use a store-bought whole grain flour of your choice. I would think you could substitute a cup-for-cup gluten-free blend here as well with no problem.)
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 cups chocolate chunks or chips

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and line three baking sheets with parchment paper.
  2. Whisk pumpkin, coconut sugar, coconut oil, egg, milk and vanilla in a large bowl. In another bowl, stir the dry ingredients.
  3. Add the dry ingredients to the pumpkin mixture and mix well. Add chocolate and stir to combine.
  4. Scoop batter with an ice cream scoop and drop onto the parchment paper, leaving space between the cookies. Bake for 8-10 minutes, rotate in the oven, then bake 8-10 minutes more until puffed and set in the center.
  5. Let cool on wire racks before serving and store in an air-tight container.



View More: http://mereditheileen.pass.us/glorianewborn

This girl!

View More: http://mereditheileen.pass.us/glorianewborn

Gloria Katherine (after her grandma) came on the scene at 1:37PM on May 30. Easiest labor yet for me- after a morning chiropractor visit and a quick stop for a cheeseburger, we got to the birth center and she was born within the hour. We have been soaking up all the baby sweetness ever since! She has been pretty easy so far- milk/sleep/repeat, please.

Our friend Meredith of Meredith Eileen Photography came to take a few lifestyle shots of us at home when Gloria was just about two weeks old. I love all of her captures! There are tons of great ones, but these are some of my favorites.

View More: http://mereditheileen.pass.us/glorianewborn

View More: http://mereditheileen.pass.us/glorianewbornView More: http://mereditheileen.pass.us/glorianewbornView More: http://mereditheileen.pass.us/glorianewbornView More: http://mereditheileen.pass.us/glorianewbornView More: http://mereditheileen.pass.us/glorianewbornView More: http://mereditheileen.pass.us/glorianewbornView More: http://mereditheileen.pass.us/glorianewbornView More: http://mereditheileen.pass.us/glorianewbornView More: http://mereditheileen.pass.us/glorianewbornView More: http://mereditheileen.pass.us/glorianewbornView More: http://mereditheileen.pass.us/glorianewborn

I would like to say “I’m back, new post coming any day now!” but you guys know me better than that. I’m not sure when I’ll get back in my groove. Maybe soon, maybe never.. I’m still trying to figure out where the blog falls on my list of priorities now that we’re a family of five.

If you made it to the end of this post, thanks for reading and keeping up during this unpredictable season of life. We are in a constant state of flux with three small ones. Rest assured, I am spending plenty of time in the kitchen and daydreaming about blog-posting (among other things) while nursing the baby. I have so many grand ideas for Oven Love- they may never see the light of day, but know that I still cherish this space and everyone who finds their way here.


Life Lately.

Hey, nuggets! It’s been a while.

kidcollageThings I’ve been up to:

  • Growing a tiny human person
  • Keeping 2 additional small human people alive
  • Going to a bazillion doctor/chiropractor appointments
  • Wrapping everything in tortillas
  • Occasional blogging at MPMK
  • Not blogging here, ha!
  • Doing weird nesting stuff like sewing crib sheets late into the night
  • Eating all the bacon, avocado or chocolate-related things

So, yes! Busy living life. I have thought about posting so many times, but I just couldn’t get the gumption. I wonder if someday this blog will be like an old MySpace page (or dare I say Xanga?!?) that I can remember writing on, but can’t seem to track down on the web. Just an old part of life that I remember. Hopefully it will live on these great wide internets and be helpful to people even when I’m not actively writing here. Life! Blogs! So strange.

Anyways, that tiny human person I’m growing will surely be here soon, meaning more of the same on this blog. For today, though, I can at least share a few snippets of the work done elsewhere, since there’s no new content here. Click through, if you like!


quick and healthy dinners


simple chickpea lunches


colorful juices and smoothies


fruit and veggie gummies


seed crackers from I Quit Sugar


30 minute weekly meal plans

21 Day Sugar Detox, Week Two Observations


We have since finished up with the 21DSD, but I wanted to keep you updated on our journey and how things went. Here are my major observations from week two on the 21 Day Sugar Detox:

  • Our cravings and moods were much improved! We got used to eating the allowed foods and didn’t seem to be craving anything different. I think we felt nourished overall and this kept everyone in better spirits.
  • Adding extra carbs was helpful and necessary for us. I think this is a big part of our improved moods. 🙂 We mostly added sweet potatoes (although I found they upset my stomach) and rice as our starches and we didn’t hold back on the apples and bananas. We could have gotten a little more creative with our extra carbs but frankly, I wasn’t up to much more creative thinking!
  • The most tiring part for me is meal planning and kitchen clean up. Since we couldn’t really eat any prepared foods, I felt like I had to have every single meal and snack planned to make sure we would stay on track. This is mentally exhausting! Add that to all of the actual meal preparation and the extra clean up and I was really wanting a break from all the work by the end of Week 2.
  • The 21DSD can be challenging if you’re on the go. We began to get tired of packing every single food item. I think my hardest meal was lunches, since sometimes I take the kids out to places where we don’t have access to heat up leftovers, so I had to plan out cold lunches for many of our days. I had to make sure to remember to bring enough to nourish all of us, which often times did not fit into our small cooler bag.. just a small detail, but it became inconvenient at times.


So what did we eat this week?


  • Tomato Basil Quiche with Bacon, p.104 (I left the bacon out and cooked it separately)
  • Eggs with Sausage or Bacon and Veggies
  • Pumpkin Pancakes, p. 98 (seen in the cookbook photo above)
  • Veggie and Egg Scramble, Omelettes or Frittata


  • Leftovers
  • Sandwiches with Buttermilk Buns- we really enjoyed these! (p. 166 in the additional cookbook)
  • Salads with leftover chicken or salmon


  • 10 Minute Sliders with Sweet Potato fries and leftover Buttermilk Buns, p. 96 and 166 in the additional cookbook
  • Salmon Cakes (from Practical Paleo p. 310) and green beans
  • Meatballs with marinara and veggies
  • Salmon and Red Pepper Sauce with zucchini, Green beans and some rice (shown in the photo above)
  • Mustard Glazed Chicken Thighs (p. 114) with roasted veggies
  • Taco Salad


  • Homemade Applesauce (using my small batch method)
  • Apple Ginger Green Smoothie, p. 49 in the additional cookbook
  • Almond Butter Cups, p. 206 (Beware- these are not sweet at all! Totally different taste than a typical PB cup)
  • Pumpkin Spice Smoothie, p. 51 in the additional cookbook
  • Savory Herb Drop Biscuits, p. 188 (I added cheese and made them kinda Red Lobster-style)
  • Yogurt with nuts or bananas (my favorite combo is yogurt, banana, almond butter, cinnamon and a little splash of vanilla)
  • Full-fat cheese
  • Carrots and celery with almond butter or mashed avocado
  • Antipasti-type stuff- olives, pickles, cheese, salami, etc

(Unless otherwise noted, the page references are all from the 21 DSD Book.)

I’ll conclude shortly with a post about our third week. Spoiler alert- we don’t make it the whole way to 21 days. Nobody’s perfect! 🙂 Thanks for following along with our journey!

21Day Sugar Detox, Week One Observations


So let’s get right into it! Here are my major observations from a week on the 21 Day Sugar Detox:

  • Everyone had a few grumpy/moody moments in the first week. I told you I’d give you the real talk- good, bad and ugly- so here we go! The kids had their meltdowns early on. In the first three days, they asked a lot about juice (they typically get a splash of juice in their water cups), about treats and about stopping to eat at restaurants while we were out. I was prepared for that, so I don’t feel like it shook my resolve much. After all, we never really warned them anything major was changing. My husband and I reached our point of contention later in the week (see the next point), where he was not feeling satisfied after meals and I had a few major crying sessions because I felt like he wasn’t on-board with the plan anymore. Not sure if my stuff was more pregnancy/hormone-related or sugar-related, but we reconciled and we’re continuing on with the plan. Which leads me to the next point..
  • We’ve noticed our family needs more carbs! We are on the Level 2 Plan with Energy modifications, but I don’t think I added enough extra carbs to compensate for the pregnancy or for my husband’s body type. Kids need extra carbs, too. So we’ve compromised and added in a few of the ‘Limit’ items from Level 1 like rice and quinoa to add to our carb intake.
  • I had a few very tired days. I think Days 2-4 were the worst, but I just felt completely wiped out. A few other detox symptoms showed up (runny nose, scratchy throat), but the fatigue was the most noticeable for me. Again, this could be due to the pregnancy or the fact that I have been doing so much more work in the kitchen. Which leads me to..
  • There are so many dishes! Get ready to wash, wash, wash.. and then wash again. We don’t really use paper products in our house, so all of our dishes and towels are in constant rotation. I’m also using a ton of pots and bowls and kitchen tools. I’ve mentioned before here that dishes are not my thing, so I guess I’m really committed to this plan to endure all the extra washing!
  • Our tastes are changing already. The things that used to taste more sour are now tasting sweeter- I’m getting closer and closer to actually enjoying the taste of a grapefruit! The kids are relaxing their preferences, too- they’re eating a lot more vegetables and not complaining as much about preparations (example- they used to prefer their scrambled eggs and veggies separated, but now they will eat them combined).

Cinnilla Nut Mix and Herb Biscuits, Chicken Pot Pie, Veggies about to be roasted.

So what did we eat?


  • Buffalo Chicken Egg Muffins (p 100, we omitted the buffalo sauce and added cheese instead)
  • Eggs with Sausage or Bacon and Veggies
  • Orange Coconut Smoothie (p 93)
  • Banana N’Oatmeal (p 46 of the additional cookbook)
  • Veggie and Egg Scramble or Frittata


  • A lot of leftovers! (This works well for our family.)
  • Salads with leftover chicken or salmon


  • Mini Mexican Meatloaves with Herb Cauliflower (p 118, p178)
  • Cilantro Shrimp Stirfry with Caulirice (p 122 of the additional cookbook, p 172)
  • Shepherd’s Pie
  • Mustard Glazed Chicken with Sweet Potato Fries and Asparagus (p 114)
  • Balsamic Braised Beef, Mashed Butternut Squash (p 128)
  • simple broiled salmon with lemon juice
  • Chicken Pot Pie (p 66 of the additional cookbook)


  • Cinnilla Nut Mix (p 192) or other mixed nuts
  • Grain-Free Banana Granola (p 200), with milk or yogurt
  • Yogurt with nuts or bananas (my favorite combo is yogurt, banana, almond butter, cinnamon and a little splash of vanilla)
  • Full-fat cheese
  • Carrots and celery with almond butter or mashed avocado
  • Antipasti-type stuff- olives, pickles, cheese, salami, et
  • Vanilla Coconut Popsicles (p 196)
  • Savory Herb Drop Biscuits (p 188)
  • Hard-boiled Eggs
  • Kale Chips (p 190)

(Unless otherwise noted, the page references are all from the 21 DSD Book.)

We are already into the second week of our journey and things are continuing to go well. I’ll be back soon to share more details. Please feel free to comment with any questions you may have, I’d love to share any answers I can.

Taking on the 21 Day Sugar Detox


Happy Friday, darlings!

The ol’ Oven Love family is embarking on another nutritional adventure. On Sunday, we’ll be starting the 21 Day Sugar Detox, created by Balanced Bites author and nutritionist, Diane Sanfilippo. For all the details on the 21DSD, check out Diane’s website and her two books, The 21 Day Sugar Detox and The 21 Day Sugar Detox Cookbook (I checked mine out at my local library, notice the pen marks in the photos?). This is not a detox in the traditional sense, so it’s completely safe for pregnancy.

Why? Why subject my poor family to another experiment? Ha!

Well, since we moved across the country a few months back, things have slowly fallen apart in the nutrition department. GAPS fell to the wayside when we arrived in our new house- I just couldn’t keep up with the preparation, I was newly pregnant with baby #3 (aka TIRED) and I didn’t know where to source our food. I tried to keep things paleo-style, but that started to fall apart, too. We started eating more grains, which was fine in moderation.. and then we spiraled down into treats and eating out and all kinds of nonsense. You know how these things go. 😉


Now, here I am, just a few months from having a new baby, and I’m feeling the push to get back on track. My carb and sugar cravings have been driving my food choices and I am not comfortable with that! I do not want to be controlled by food or give food more power than it deserves to have in my life. Christ is the one that should drive my thoughts, actions, and choices- not the treats calling from the pantry.


Sugar cravings were no problem for me after a week or two on GAPS, so I know I can benefit from the 21DSD. We are following Level 2 with Energy modifications for my pregnancy. Level 2 includes full-fat dairy, which I think will help the kids to cope better with the short term change.. they love their fruit, so I’ll be glad to have milk and yogurt as options for them. I’m looking forward to kicking these cravings and getting my gut balanced before baby comes (babies get their first beneficial bacteria from mom in the birth canal, it’s very important for me to be balanced!).

I’ll be sharing our experience here for each of the three weeks on the 21DSD. That means you’ll see all of our meals and hear about our experiences- that includes my husband and kids, too! I promise to share the good, bad and ugly. So look forward to at least some description of us completely melting down. 😉

Happy weekend- I’ll be back soon with an update!

Carrot Cake Baked Oatmeal with Cream Cheese Topping (Gluten-Free, Refined Sugar Free, Dairy-Free Option)

Carrot Cake Baked Oatmeal with Cream Cheese Topping

I have had this idea in my head for so long. Carrot cake baked oatmeal… carrot cake baked oatmeal.. I just couldn’t shake it! I typically make this simple baked oatmeal and we just switch up our toppings, but it was high time I got to experimenting with the recipe.

Before we move on, can we just say “Hello, gorgeous!” to that pour shot up there? I actually had a spare minute to get out my tripod, only to realize it wasn’t really working properly.. but somehow I got a pour shot in the midst of it all. I’m a happy food blogger today!

Carrot Cake Baked Oatmeal with Cream Cheese Topping

Food blogging is a funny thing. There’s so much that goes into each post that you guys don’t see! I’d invite you to come hang out with me here for a day to see what goes on, but I never actually know what day I’ll be working on “blog stuff.”

Take this oatmeal for instance.

The idea popped into my head months ago. I wrote it down while I was brainstorming blog ideas back in January. I finally got around to making it earlier this week. I waited until mid-day to make it so that I’d be able to photograph it in the afternoon light.. so we didn’t actually eat it for breakfast that day. I waited until the little one took her nap and the big one started his quiet time to start shooting.

I pulled our coffee table over by the window with the best light, grabbed all the toppings and tiny dishes and utensils and set up my shot. I fumbled with the tripod for a while, gave up, got my shots. I hooked up the camera to download and ate one of the servings of oatmeal from the shot. Then I started to clean up.. and ate the other one, ha! (Because, you know, one for me and one for baby. Totally logical.) I looked through the pictures quickly, then I didn’t actually get around to editing them or writing this post until a few days later. Now here we are!


Sometimes the process isn’t drawn out like that, but there’s usually something around here that gets in the way of productivity. Usually my own laziness.. or lack of natural light. 😉

Anyways, loves, this oatmeal is top notch. I’m so happy to share it with you, even if it took months for me to do it.


It’s not complicated to replicate that classic carrot cake taste. The big players are (of course) carrots, cinnamon, nutmeg if you’re feeling funky, raisins, walnuts and coconut, if you’re into it. I will say right now that I am not into pineapple in my carrot cake.. I think adding pineapple makes it more like hummingbird cake (which is also delicious, but is not carrot cake).

But let’s not forget the most important part- the cream cheese. Oh, you have got to have the cream cheese. The cream cheese makes it perfect. (Unless you are dairy-free, but you can top it with this delicious cashew cream instead!) I didn’t want to slather it with frosting (I mean, I did.. but it IS supposed to be breakfast, people), so I spun up an easy cream cheese topping in the blender and it was the best idea EVER, no joke.

You guys, this cream cheese topping.. it just kills it. The picture below explains perfectly. On the left side, you’ll see an appropriate amount of the cream cheese drizzle and toppings. On the right, the obscene amount I drowned my portion with after I took a bite. Then I took another bite and thought, “WHAT THE WHAT?! This stuff is insane!”

Maybe I’m over-reacting about oatmeal? But really, I’m obsessed.  Don’t wait too long to try this one!


P.S. You can make right away, the night before, or days ahead. You can also cut into squares and freeze for later!

5.0 from 1 reviews

Carrot Cake Baked Oatmeal with Cream Cheese Topping

Recipe type: Breakfast, Brunch
Serves: 9

  • 2 eggs, room temperature
  • ¼ cup maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon fresh grated nutmeg
  • ¼ cup melted coconut oil or grass-fed butter
  • ½ cup applesauce (you can substitute carrot puree for extra carrot flavor)
  • 2 medium carrots, grated (you can add more if you like)
  • 1¼ cup milk, dairy or non-dairy
  • 3 cups oats, gluten-free if necessary
  • ½ cup chopped walnuts or pecans
  • ¼ cup raisins
  • ¼ cup shredded coconut
  • For the cream cheese topping: 4 ounces cream cheese at room temperature
  • ¼ cup milk, room temperature (you may need a little more if you want the sauce thinner)
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1-2 tablespoons raw honey or maple syrup
  • extras for serving- walnuts, raisins, shredded coconut or coconut chips, maple syrup

  1. Coat an 8×8 or 2 quart baking dish with butter or coconut oil.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together eggs, maple syrup, baking powder, vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg, melted butter/coconut oil, applesauce and milk. Fold the oats, carrots nuts, raisins and coconut and combine well. Transfer the oat mixture into the baking dish and spread evenly around.
  3. To bake right away: Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Let oat mixture sit and soak for 20-30 minutes at room temperature while the oven is preheating. Bake at 375 degrees for 30 minutes or until oatmeal is set and edges are brown.
  4. To bake later in the day or the next morning: Cover your dish tightly with plastic wrap, pressing the plastic directly on top of the oat mixture. Refrigerate overnight. In the morning, preheat oven to 375 degrees. Unwrap oatmeal and place in oven. Bake for 30 minutes or until oatmeal is set and edges are brown.
  5. To make the cream cheese topping, combine the cream cheese, milk, honey and vanilla in a blender. Blend until smooth and creamy.
  6. Serve hot with: cream cheese topping, maple syrup, raisins, walnuts and coconut.

Meal Planning + This Week’s Eats.


Bleh! Meal planning! My brain is fried after every planning session. I feel like I am ten parts horrible to one part awesome in this department. Heck, I even wrote a post with 10 tips for better meal planning (image above is from that post), so why is it still so hard? I really need to take my own advice!

I think I spent two hours or more figuring out my meal plan on Friday night (party animal, right here). Can I get that time back? Can I shrink it down to 30 minutes? Maybe it would be easier if I didn’t have a food blog.. but probably not. I will keep plugging away at it, though- I know it’s a good thing and will help my overall sanity for the rest of the week.

So here’s what I came up with: our meal plan in all it’s glory. This is what’s up. Happy Sunday, ya’ll!

The Oven Love Meal Plan: February 2014, Week 1

Sunday (today): Eggs and these chocolate paleo muffins for breakfast (they were okay, I would like to work with the recipe to make it even more chocolatey!), quick sandwiches/salads for lunch after church, pot roast for dinner. Also making hard boiled eggs and a new version of this baked oatmeal for later in the week, plus homemade bread.

Monday: Baked oatmeal for breakfast, leftover pot roast for lunches, and we’re giving this Paleo Chik-fil-A recipe a try for dinner with some veggies on the side. Also making apple cinnamon muffins for later in the week.

Tuesday: Eggs and sausage for breakfast, lunch TBD (probably veggies/fruit/cheese/hard-boiled eggs, etc), Mahi Mahi with an Asian slaw like this one, minus the chicken. Also trying out these butternut squash flatbreads for lunches later in the week.

Wednesday: Dealer’s choice for breakfast (muffins, baked oatmeal or eggs, whatever’s left), butternut squash wraps with fruit/veg for lunch, dinner with our house church.

Thursday: Bacon and eggs for breakfast, fridge clean out for lunch, and recipe development for dinner  (working on a chicken curry recipe for you guys) which I’ll probably serve with rice and a salad.

Friday: Eggs and veggies for breakfast, leftover curry for lunch, and trying out these Honey Balsamic Meatballs for dinner with some sweet potato fries.

Saturday: Probably pancakes for breakfast (I still don’t have a tried-and-true recipe I really love, so who knows what recipe I’ll choose!), trying my hand at homemade pho for lunch, and dinner is TBD.

I have to give my girl Jess all the credit for motivating me to make a meal plan this week! Every Sunday she shares her meal plan on her blog, Jessica Lynn Writes. Check out her plans for the week, too:

Jessica Lynn Writes

Orange Cream Vitamin C Gummies


Vitamin C! I want to start this off by saying something really important about how essential Vitamin C is for your health, but all I can think about is this Vitamin C. Remember her? That graduation song, man. It gets me every time. Class of 2005, never forget! 

Okay, real talk. Vitamin C is necessary/awesome because it

  • supports a strong immune system
  • reduces histamine levels
  • helps in wound healing
  • promotes eye health
  • helps control free radicals
  • and most importantly, it keeps you from getting Scurvy 😉

Those are just a few facts I found with the help of my old pal Google- I’m sure there are lots of other benefits, too.


We take these in the mornings along with our flu-fighting gummies (for more about our daily health routine, check out this post). They have a real Creamsicle vibe to them, with just a little bite of acidity at the end. The kids love them and always ask for more.

The dosage of Vitamin C in each gummy will depend on the strength of your Vitamin C powder and the size of your gummies. A little math can tell you how much is in each gummy after you make them. We take 2 gummies a day.

I found my Vitamin C powder at Trader Joe’s, but you should be able to find it at any health food store or online. This is the easiest way (other than whole foods) to incorporate extra Vitamin C into our diet that I have found. Though my friend just told me about something called lipsomal Vitamin C, which is supposed to be better absorbed by the body, but I haven’t done any research on that yet. So for now, we’ll continue on with the gummies. If anyone has any experience with lipsomal Vitamin C, please hit me up in the comments or email me, I’d love to know more.


Don’t they just look so bright and yummy and cheery?

P.S. Congratulations to Samantha B. on winning the Beyond Bacon giveaway!

4.0 from 1 reviews

Orange Cream Vitamin C Gummies
Prep time

Cook time

Total time


Recipe type: Snacks, Vitamins
Serves: 60

  • 1½ cups orange juice, fresh squeezed if possible
  • 4 tablespoons grass-fed gelatin
  • 4 tablespoons raw honey
  • 1 tablespoon Vitamin C powder
  • ¼ teaspoon orange extract (optional)
  • ½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • pinch of sea salt

  1. Pour orange juice into a small saucepan. Sprinkle gelatin over the top and let sit for a few minutes until the gelatin blooms (all the white powder should be gone and it will swell up and start to look bumpy).
  2. Heat the juice and gelatin over medium heat. Whisk in the honey, Vitamin C powder, orange extract (if using), vanilla extract and salt. Heat only until the gelatin is dissolved; do not boil.
  3. Pour into molds or a loaf pan and let cool in the refrigerator until firm; about 3-4 hours.
  4. Store in the refrigerator- they will last 2-3 weeks.