Home Cold/Flu Remedies and Foods that Boost Your Immune System

This week at MPMK, I’m sharing my favorite cold and flu remedies and a big list of foods that will boost your immune system. It’s amazing what the right foods can do for your body and your health.
Come and visit!

Chocolate Bacon Truffles (with a Dairy-Free option)

My darlings, I am so glad to bring this post to you. All of that broken computer nonsense is over and done- how lucky and thankful I am to have a husband who can fix anything (thank you for all your help, too, YouTube- couldn’t have done it without you). And what better way to greet you than with this platter of chocolate bacon truffles? I am convinced that these are the ultimate offering of love, peace and good cheer.
Here’s the deal- I was planning on making regular chocolate truffles, and then I saw the bacon in the fridge.. and there was no turning back. You know what I’m talking about- bacon just does that to people! I only allowed myself to eat one of these.. but let me tell you. They are beautifully creamy on the inside.. and they’ve got that savory, smoky bacon taste.. and then there’s the little chewy bite from the topping.. it’s a Christmas miracle, forreals.
Gah, look at those beauties!
You can totally make these dairy-free, and even refined sugar-free if you use a very dark chocolate and use plain bacon instead of the candied bacon. They can actually be a great source of good fat if you want them to be.
And another thing- I had some melted chocolate and some bacon left and I couldn’t bear to part from it.. so I poured it into a small loaf pan and made a bacon chocolate bar.
Yeah, things are looking good around here.
And yes, these are the perfect gift for your BFF, your man, your dad, your boss.. anyone who loves bacon. (So anyone, am I right?)
Chocolate bacon truffles!
My love letter to you.
A very merry, chocolate-y, bacon-y Christmas to all!

(inspired by Martha Stewart, Michael Ruhlman and Nom Nom Paleo.)

Chocolate Bacon Truffles (with a Dairy-Free option)
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Dairy-free changes are indicated in the recipe. If you’d like to lower the sugar content, you can always skip the candied bacon and just use cooked, crumbled bacon instead (saves time, too!).
Recipe type: Dessert

  • 8 oz bittersweet or dark chocolate
  • 8 oz milk, bittersweet or dark chocolate (this is based on what flavors you like- milk will make them smoother and sweeter if you aren’t into dark chocolate)
  • 1⅓ cup heavy cream (or full fat coconut milk for dairy-free)
  • 1 vanilla bean, scraped or 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 11 tablespoons good quality, unsalted butter at room temperature (or coconut oil for dairy-free)
  • 8 oz good quality bacon (look for natural, pastured, nitrate-free, wood-smoked, amazingly delicious, etc)
  • ½ cup Sucanat or turbinado sugar
  • 3 tablespoons water
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • 16 oz more chocolate, for dipping
  • sea salt or smoked sea salt (optional)

  1. In a large glass bowl, melt the 16 ounces of chocolate in a large bowl.
  2. In a small saucepan, heat the cream and vanilla bean/extract to 120 degrees (warm, but not boiling). Remove from the heat. If using the vanilla bean, let the milk steep for a few minutes and then remove the bean.
  3. Add the cream mixture to the melted chocolate and stir until combined. Add the butter or coconut oil and combine with a stick blender (or whisk very, very quickly). Scrape down the sides of the bowl and put in the refrigerator to chill for 2 hours or up to overnight. Cover it with plastic wrap to prevent a skin from forming.
  4. To make the bacon topping, cut the bacon into small pieces and fry until crisp. Strain the bacon over a small bowl, reserving the bacon fat (you should have around ⅓ cup). Combine the cooked bacon pieces, sugar and water and bring to a boil. Cook until caramel-colored and most of the water is gone (about 275 degrees). Add the baking soda and quickly stir (it will foam up a little) and pour onto a parchment-lined pan. Refrigerate or freeze until firm. Break up with your fingers into small pieces or put into a food processor or blender to make it look more like bacon “dust.”
  5. To finish the truffles, scoop out the cold truffle filling by the tablespoon and and roll into balls. Return to the fridge if they start to warm up too much. When you’re ready to dip them, melt the additional chocolate with the reserved bacon fat until smooth. Drop each ball into the melted chocolate, pull out with a long-tined fork and tap on the edge of the bowl to remove any excess chocolate. Place on a parchment-lined pan and sprinkle with the bacon topping and salt, if using. Keep refrigerated until ready to serve.

It’s a Christmas crisis!

Haha, just kidding, it’s not that serious. But I feel like I should update you on the goings on of my life. You’re my people!


wonky family Christmas photo 2012!

I am currently typing this post on my iPhone, which I didn’t even know was possible until 5 minutes ago- hello, 2012! Our desktop iMac has taken a turn for the worst, so the already inefficient blogging machine that is Oven Love has stopped completely. Talk about a merry Christmas!

Just kidding again! Christmas is not about cool blog posts or getting extra holiday traffic to the blog, it’s about the totally miraculous and amazing birth of Jesus. So I’m not going to worry about this little spot of the web until the desktop is back.. And even then I might just wait until January and soak up the season with my family. I hope you do the same.

Wishing you all a lovely, memorable, twinkly-lit, tinsel-wrapped, angel-winged Christmas full of joy- can’t wait to debut the new website (if I ever get it done!) in the new year. Love all of you gorgeous people!

Thanksgiving 2012 Inspiration

Just in case you weren’t quite done with your menu..
more goodies.

1: Double Apple Bundt Cake, Fall Harvest Salad, Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Giants, Whole Wheat Sesame Oat Bread

2: Apple Streusel Bars, The Easiest Roast Turkey (with broth and gravy), Roasted and Spiced Autumn Vegetables, Roasted Cauliflower Soup
3: Quick Cranberry Sauce, Baked Potato Casserole, Pumpkin and Gingersnap Cookie Dough Ice Cream, Honey Whole Wheat Dinner Rolls
4: Almost Paleo Pumpkin Squares, Freezer Mashed Potatoes, Cranberry Shortcake, Pumpkin Bread with Ricotta Cream Cheese Swirl

Pumpkin and Gingersnap Yogurt Parfait (gluten-free)

It’s Thanksgiving week- I couldn’t leave you hanging without something yummy to look at! Forget pies and turkeys and sides and all of that nonsense- you probably already have your big day game plan in place. I wanted to give you something to eat in the days before (or after) Turkey Day.
Chances are, you will need a snack to get you through the next few days. And hey- you might even have a half-open can of pumpkin puree that you need to use up. You can certainly eat this as a dessert, but it’s got no added sugar in it (unless you add some, that’s on you!). The sweetness comes from the cookies and you can add a little Stevia or honey if you like. It’s quick to whip up and even if you don’t have the gingersnaps, you could use just nuts, which would make it even better for you! You’re welcome.
Oh and if you’re not ready for Thursday, I’ll have some last minute links up for you later. Just because I love you and am oh, so thankful for you!
Pumpkin and Gingersnap Yogurt Parfait (gluten-free)
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Recipe type: Dessert, Snack
Serves: 2

  • 10 gluten-free gingersnap cookies (I used Mi-Del, feel free to use whatever brand you like)
  • 1-2 tablespoons coconut oil, melted
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree (fresh if you’ve got it)
  • 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice or ½ teaspoon cinnamon, ⅛ teaspoon cloves, ⅛ teaspoon ginger, ⅛ teaspoon nutmeg and ⅛ teaspoon allspice
  • 1 cup plain or vanilla greek yogurt (I used plain and added a few drops of vanilla Stevia liquid)
  • ¼ cup pecans or walnuts, chopped, plus more for topping

  1. In a food processor or plastic baggie, crush the gingersnap cookies into crumbs. Put them into a small bowl and combine with the coconut oil. Put in the refrigerator or freezer while you assemble the parfaits.
  2. In a small bowl, combine the pumpkin and spices. If you want to sweeten your yogurt with Stevia or another sweetener, do so in another small bowl.
  3. To assemble: in each glass, put a layer of cookies, a layer of the pumpkin mixture, a layer of cookies and chopped nuts, and a layer of yogurt. Top with the last bits of the cookie mixture and more nuts if you’d like. Keep cool in the fridge until serving.

Holiday Hosting for Every Appetite

Join me at MPMK today where I’m giving 5 tips to hosting guests with alternative diets, food allergies or other dietary restrictions. It doesn’t have to be a huge headache if you do a little planning. (Or it might still be a headache, but at least your guests will know you love them very much!)

Lamb Meatballs (gluten-free, grain-free, paleo) with Yogurt Dip and Spiced Vegetables

This new style of eating has been an adjustment. It’s hard to wrap my head around new rules for meal-planning and eating. So much of my day is spent thinking about food, and planning out when and what we’re going to eat and making grocery lists. I know it’s not permanent (I mean, I hope! Ack!) and I know it’s going to help to heal my stomach, but it is mentally draining.
This meal is one of my first attempts at branching out from the plain-meat-and-veg dinner. I am semi-obsessed with meatballs lately, so when I saw ground lamb at Publix I had to grab it. It was exxxxpensive, but it made delicious meatballs.
When I was combining the meatball mixture, I wasn’t sure they would come together without some kind of binder. I swore by panko or soaked bread in my old meatball recipes and that obviously wasn’t happening, so I grabbed some coconut flour- my new BFF. It’s basically magic, that stuff. It soaked up the extra moisture right away.
 To go along with the lamb, I made a quick yogurt dip in the food processor with mint and feta cheese. I hadn’t ever had the mint/feta combo, but it is surprisingly delicious. A little goes a long way for me (as usual when it comes to dips and sauces), but I’m a fan.
I also roasted up some cauliflower and carrots in spices that compliment the lamb- oregano, garlic, parsley.. as well as some cinnamon, cloves, allspice and a touch of cumin. You don’t have to add the “sweeter” spices, but I like the way they taste when paired with the lamb.
I had my meatballs and veggies over a salad; hubs made pita sandwiches. The kids gobbled up the veggies in no time. I feel like I finally had a win in the kitchen after weeks of scraping by.. not really knowing what to eat or serve my family. Huge sigh of relief!


Lamb Meatballs (gluten-free, grain-free, paleo) with Yogurt Dip and Spiced Vegetables
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Recipe type: Main Dish, Appetizer
Serves: 8

  • ½ onion, peeled
  • handful of parsley (maybe ¼-1/3 cup packed?)
  • 3 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 1 pound ground lamb
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tablespoons coconut flour
  • 1 tablespoon oregano
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • ⅛ teaspoon cloves cloves
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • Feta Yogurt Dip (below), Spiced Vegetables (below), pita bread, salad greens, etc for serving

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
  2. In the bowl of a food processor, combine onion, parsley and garlic. Process until finely diced.
  3. In a large mixing bowl, combine onion mixture, lamb, egg, coconut flour and spices until well combined. Form into meatballs and line up on a foil or parchment-lined baking sheet.
  4. Bake the meatballs at 400 degrees for 20-30 minutes or until lightly browned. Serve with feta yogurt dip, spiced vegetables, pita bread, or whatever you like. (If you’d like the meatballs to be even more brown, turn on the broiler for 5 minutes and them pull them out).


Feta Yogurt Dip
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Recipe type: Condiment
Serves: 6-8

  • 4 ounces feta cheese
  • ⅓ cup yogurt, plus extra if you like a thinner dip
  • 2 sprigs fresh mint
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar or fresh lemon juice

  1. In a food processor, combine feta, yogurt, mint and vinegar/lemon juice. Process until smooth. If the dip isn’t smooth enough for you, add some more yogurt until you reach your desired consistency. Serve with the lamb meatballs.


Spice Roasted Cauliflower and Carrots
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These can bake in the oven at the same time as the lamb meatballs.
Recipe type: Side Dishes
Serves: 6

  • 1 head cauliflower, chopped into florets
  • 5-6 carrots, peeled and cut into chunks
  • 2-4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon dried parsley or a few sprigs freshly chopped parsley
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder or 2 fresh garlic cloves, minced
  • ½ teaspoon onion powder
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon, optional
  • ¼ teaspoon cloves, optional
  • ¼ teaspoon allspice, optional
  • salt and pepper to taste

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
  2. In a mixing bowl, combine the vegetables, olive oil and spices. Spread on a foil or parchment-lined baking sheet and bake for 30-45 minutes until beginning to brown. Serve warm.

Sprouted Spelt and Pumpkin Spice Waffles

I know I just told you I’m supposed to be gluten-free and yes, spelt flour is not gluten-free. But fear not- I didn’t cheat! I was just the chef this time. That means that unfortunately, I didn’t get to taste these waffles. I can say with authority, though, that they look and smell delicious.
I got some samples from the lovely folks at Shiloh Farms a few months ago and with all of my dietary issues, I haven’t gotten around to trying them out. I was cleaning out my pantry this weekend and rather than throw out perfectly good flour, I thought I’d play around with a pancake and waffle mix that they sent out.
Since it’s fall and all, I thought a pumpkin adaptation would be perfect. I messed around a little bit with the package directions and came out with this gorgeous, golden looking waffles. The children promptly gobbled them, covered in yogurt and berries.
Shiloh Farms is a great resource for bulk foods online. Check them out! They’ve got all kinds of flours, salts, sugars, beans, spices, honey, nuts.. tons of stuff. My favorite items are the sprouted flours, though- I wish I could eat them! They provide all the benefits of soaking/breaking down the enzymes in our whole grains with none of the effort.
Even if you don’t have the Shiloh Farms waffle mix, you can substitute a similar sprouted mix or other waffle mix of your choice (or if you’re feeling adventurous, you can substitute spelt flour with a little salt and baking powder for the mix). Either way, these are a great way to start your morning.
I would have poured syrup all over them in the photos, but then I would have had to take a bite. I had to protect myself from all that delicious, wheaty goodness! It is seriously tempting.

Sprouted Spelt and Pumpkin Spice Waffles
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Recipe type: Breakfast
Serves: 6

  • 2 eggs
  • ¼ cup maple syrup
  • ¼ cup plain yogurt
  • ¼ cup pumpkin puree
  • 2 tablespoons melted coconut oil or butter
  • 1 cup water (or milk if you like)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 11.5oz Sprouted Spelt Pancake and Waffle Mix (or an equal amount of another sprouted mix)
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon ground ginger
  • ⅛ teaspoon allspice
  • ⅛ teaspoon ground nutmeg

  1. Preheat your waffle iron.
  2. In a large bowl, mix eggs, maple syrup, pumpkin puree, melted coconut oil or butter, water and vanilla extract. Whisk until will combined.
  3. Add the dry ingredients and spices to the liquid ingredients and mix until just combined.
  4. Rub waffle iron with oil or melted better. Follow directions on your waffle iron for proper cooking. (Each waffle took about ⅔ cup batter on my waffle iron and around 5 minutes to cook.) Serve with butter and syrup (or whatever you like).

What’s Wrong with My Stomach? My Story.

You might have noticed that I have been experimenting with quite a few diet philosophies in the past year or so. Vegan, Nourishing Traditions, Paleo, Refined-Sugar Free, Gluten-Free.. I’ve developed recipes that fit into all of these categories. I think it’s time to explain why I seem a little scatterbrained.

I have stomach pain. I’m not talking about an occasional sour stomach or a little indigestion here and there, I’m talking about chronic, every day pain. Not sharp pains or writhing pains, but a dull pain and tenderness that doesn’t ever seem to go away. And I still don’t know why.

But let’s back up a minute.

In 2007-ish, back when I was in college and before this blog began, I was having a similar problem with my stomach. Long story short, I ended up seeing a GI where I had an endoscopy that found the bacteria H. Pylori in my system. Relieved to find the answer to my problems, I took the prescribed antibiotics, went on my merry way and promptly forgot the whole thing ever happened.

Fast forward a few years, and my stomach pain is creeping back into daily life. When I first noticed it, I started making changes to my diet- eating more whole foods and less processed stuff, thinking that would help. (I was still eating organic/”natural” processed stuff, but I was making progress.) When I continued to feel sick, I started changing things up again; wondering if it was just a food sensitivity that I needed to uncover. So I began my quest to try an even simpler whole foods style diet to see if I could find the answer to my problem again.

No dice.

Around this time (early 2012), my sister-in-law was diagnosed with Hashimoto’s. This opened up our family to a whole new way of eating- one that we did not understand at first. (We failed miserably at supporting her efforts to heal her body in the beginning- but I think now she knows that we are behind her 100%!) I started to wonder if maybe I could get some results with similar changes.

I started doing some research about things like bone broth, leaky gut syndrome, probiotics and fermented cod liver oil, and suddenly remembered the H. Pylori. A giant light bulb went off in my head. Could my stomach have been deteriorating for the past five years? Is the H. Pylori still in there? Is there any hope to heal it? I decided to work with my sister-in-law’s nutritionist myself to find out.

Now Tricare comes into the picture.

I am so thankful to have healthcare, but I am growing weary jumping through their hoops and waiting too long for my test results. I am hoping to get a referral to see a GI who will check for permanent damage or ulcerations, but in the mean time, I am starting a new diet protocol which is somewhat overwhelming.

No gluten. Use grains sparingly. Use cheese sparingly (!!!!). No corn. A GAPS/SCD-type diet for now.

I wish I could tell you the end of this story, but it hasn’t happened yet. I am hoping dietary changes will heal my body and I’ll be able to enjoy a meal without pain or let my babies jump on my tummy without me cringing. Until then, I will be wrapping my head around this plan and figuring out what it means to use cheese sparingly (how??). This is part of the reason the new website is so important to me- I want it to be easy for those of you with dietary restrictions to find what you are looking for. I know what it feels like to struggle- to look at a full refrigerator without any idea what to eat. If I can help make that process easier for even one person, I’ll be so glad.

Thanks for sticking with Oven Love through all the ups and downs. I plan on making delicious food no matter what lies ahead.

(If you are having similar issues and would like more details about my journey and my dietary recommendations, I’d love to talk! ovenloveblog@gmail.com)

Sesame Beef Stir Fry (gluten-free)

I have a lot of good cookbooks, and I really don’t pull them out enough. When I do, I usually just find some inspiration and end up making a new recipe instead of following the recipes provided. Typical food blogger, ahem.
This recipe came about after a meal-planning session with a friend this week (and I use the word “session” loosely- I spent most of the time chasing my children and only found one useful recipe). The original recipe is from Robin Miller’s The Newlywed Cookbook, which I love. The front photo is a little cheesy, but don’t let that deter you from gifting it when wedding season rolls back around. It’s a great find and I always regret not pulling it out more often.
Anyways- this recipe is quick and you will probably have most of the ingredients ready in your pantry. You could switch it up with any protein or add veggies, if you like. It’s gluten-free, too. Yay!
Sesame Beef Stir Fry (gluten-free)
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Recipe type: Main Dish
Serves: 2-4

  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 bunch green onions, chopped (set aside some of the green parts for serving)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
  • 1 tablespoon grated/minced fresh ginger
  • 1- 1½ pounds beef tenderloin or top round steak, sliced into thin strips
  • 1 tablespoon sesame seeds, plus more for serving
  • 3 tablespoons gluten-free soy sauce
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon corn starch
  • ½-1 cup beef broth
  • cooked rice, for serving (I used white rice cooked in beef broth- very flavorful!)

  1. In a large skillet or wok, heat the sesame and olive oils over medium heat. Add the green onions, garlic and ginger and cook until fragrant; about 2 minutes. Add the beef and sesame seeds and cook for 5 minutes or until beef is browned, stirring frequently.
  2. When beef is brown, add the soy sauce and black pepper and stir to deglaze the pan.
  3. Dissolve the cornstarch in ½ cup beef broth and add to the pan. Simmer until the sauce thickens, adding more broth if necessary.
  4. Spoon over cooked rice, top with additional green onions and sesame seeds and enjoy.