Terri’s Travel Must-Haves

I love to travel! And over the years, we’ve had things come up, people get sick on our travels and that is no fun! So, I’ve compiled my list of things I must have when I travel.

Where do I get these things? Well, New Beginnings Nutritionals is where you can get all of the Biocidin products I reference as well as high quality Vitamin D, Melatonin, and A&I Formula. They also carry a variety of other products to support overall health and wellness and immunity.

The other products I shared like Wellness Formula, my electrolyte packs, essential oils, lozenges, etc. you can get through my dispensary on Fullscript. You can also get Biocidin there as well.

I also always bring a homeopathic jet lag remedy which helps me get on a new time zone and then when returning to my own. You can find the one I use here.

For those cute little essential oil bottles, you can get those here and that small first aid pouch you can get that here.

I make sure we prioritize hydration, protein and antioxidant-rich, healthy foods. In fact, we bring a lot of food with us including pre-made salads (so much cheaper than buying one at the airport too), cut veggies like carrots, peppers, and cucumbers, beef sticks, fresh fruit like apples and bananas and berries, and homemade paleo muffins, especially if a morning flight is on the schedule. I also pack quart baggies so that we can buy groceries when we get to our destination and pack snacks and lunches for on the go because when we travel, we are on the go!

I just bought this water bottle, it has an easy fill, pop open top so you don’t have to unscrew a lid to refill.

I just got this new Travelon cross-body bag with RFID protection and slash resistant panels.

For some decent sleep on an international flight, I use noise-cancelling headphones with my Bollsen earplugs and my sleep mask and for some hydrating self-care, I brought my favorite Benefiance eye mask! Now, whether the excitement allows me to get sleep remains to be seen!

But, after spending over 2 weeks in Germany over Christmas and New Year’s and visiting very busy Christmas markets and a crowed tour bus full of coughing, sneezing, and nose-blowing tourists, the products and lifestyle strategies we used kept us all healthy and happy for the whole trip.

I hope this has been helpful in planning your own on-the-go supplement arsenal for travel and helps you and your family stay healthy on the go. Bon voyage!

** This blog contains affiliate links and I may receive monetary compensation or other types of remuneration for endorsement, recommendation, and/or link to any products or services from this site. Please note that I only ever endorse products that are in alignment with my ideals and that I believe are valuable. I am a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to for sites to earn advertising fees by linking to amazon.com

‘Tis the season…to be stressed?

Are you feeling it? The frantic dash to get everything done and not enough time to do it?

If that’s you, I want to share a new guide I created called Mastering Mindfulness for Autism Parents. It is for an upcoming summit I am speaking on (more on that later.) But, you don’t have to be an autism family to get something from it.

I share my 3 favorite mindfulness practices, all are free or very low cost and are not complicated.

I find myself reaching for these techniques more during the holidays. Whether it is the increase in activities to attend, shopping, wrapping, cooking, cleaning, prepping for guests, you know the drill. The pace of the holidays seems to speed up.

And then there are the family dynamics. Whether it is toxic relationships that seem to drain you, the expectation that often comes with family obligations, or the guilt for not buying into the old patterns, it can be a lot.

This has come up in conversations with friends lately. Sometimes we need to give ourselves permission to let go of those expectations that end in us not feeling good. Maybe it is being last on other people’s lists but feeling the need to still put them at the top of yours. Or maybe it is feeling like you have to attend functions with people who don’t honor or respect you, again, out of obligation.

What has been made even more clear over the last few years is how short life can be. It has taken me a long time to set clear boundaries but lately they have become even more clear. I no longer prioritize people who do not prioritize me and my family. And not that you need me to tell you this, but let the expectations, guilt, and drama go.

Let yourself off the hook. Hang with the people who fill you with joy, who show up for you, who cheer for you, and who you know will be there when the going gets tough. And man, the going has been tough hasn’t it? Has it brought more clarity on who really has your back? It sure has for me. I am crystal clear on who love me and mine unconditionally and I’ve been letting the rest go with love.

And if you are a special needs family, that all can be magnified. My son used to sense my mood and energy. Even if my mouth said “I’m fine” he saw right through that. And his behaviors would be magnified as a result. It took me a long time to understand the more I controlled my mindset, the better it was for my whole family.

That’s where my new guide comes in. These are practical tips I use every week if not every day. Some help with the physical aspects of stress, others with the emotional, and one with both!

So if the stress of the holidays is upon you, I invite you to check out my guide (even if you are not an autism parent) and see if the tips can help you reduce your stress and increase your enjoyment of the holidays.

Wishing you the healthiest and merriest of holidays.


Home Halloween Party Made Easy

Halloween is one of my FAVORITE holidays. I love fall and I love getting into the holiday spirit with Halloween.

When we moved to northern Arizona 11 years ago, we were lucky to be neighbors with some of our dearest friends. With 5 small children with multiple food allergies and intolerances between our families, a “traditional” Halloween experience was not appealing.

We had tried Trick or Treating a time or two. Once our son developed language and was not overwhelmed by the crowds, going to strange doors, saying “Trick or Treat” and “Thank You” was a novelty. We did it for a couple of years but he couldn’t eat any of the candy and that is a bit of a drag. I mean if you have to do all the work but not reap the rewards? Our daughter was so little that she certainly didn’t need any of that chemical and sugar filled junk either and she didn’t yet understand the concept.

Needless to say, when we moved north, creating a new holiday rhythm was welcomed.

My friend and I started planning to come up with some ideas that would work for everyone. We structured it so that each child was included regardless of their food allergies. Together, we planned the menu, activities, and alternated homes, we live next door to each other and between us, have about 10 acres combined but you don’t have to have a lot of space to make this fun.


Keep it simple and kid friendly! Because of food allergies and our desire to keep sugar low – yes, even at holidays – is important. Sugar has been linked to behavior issues, ADHD, contributes to gut dysbiosis and science has shown it depresses immune function. And that is never something we want to do.

According to board-certified internist and gastroenterologist Niket Sonpal in a recent Huffington Post article:

Research does show that consuming 75 to 100 grams of a sugar solution can hinder the body’s immune functions,” he said. “I should note that 75 grams sound like a lot, and it’s hard to think you may be consuming 75 grams of sugar, but really all it is is the equivalent of two cans of your soda.”

So we like to use healthy treats that are still fun and delicious.

Some of our favorites include:

  • Hot dog mummies – wrap your favorite hotdog in strips of dough and bake. We used Applegate Farms hot dogs and made a paleo dough.
  • We usually have some sort of soup/stew/chili/meatballs because Halloween is usually cold – sometimes with snow on the ground – where we are so we want the warmth. We split up the menu to make it easier all around. Everything typically gets a Halloween name like “Monster Meatballs” just to keep it fun. Now that our kids are older, they can help us come up with the theme, menu, and names!
  • Gelatin Halloween shapes, we used pear juice and stevia to sweeten to keep the sugar low.
  • Festive veggie trays are always popular and the kids can get involved and help or take it over completely! Pumpkins seem to be favorites and only require carrots and some cut cucumbers for the eyes/nose/mouth.
  • Banana ghosts are so easy and fun! Peel and cut bananas in half. Add 3 mini-chocolate chips, Enjoy Life is our favorite and they are allergen friendly!
  • Tangerines can make super cute mini pumpkins with cut celery for the stem. We have also left the peel on and drawn jack o’ lantern faces on them. This can also be a fun activity for kids!
  • Popcorn hands is one of our favorites. My family loves popcorn. We use organic popping corn and organic expeller pressed coconut oil and salt. We let it cool completely and use either specialty bags that look like skeleton hands or simple food service gloves! Tie with twist tie or ribbon and adorn with a Halloween ring and Viola! This can serve as a snack or “treat”.
  • Apple monster mouths are fun for kids to put together. Simply slice up an apple and have kids put peanut or seed butter on it, line it up with another slice, add some slivered almonds or pumpkin seeds as “teeth” and you have some ghoulish monster mouths!


  • Arts and craft activities like painting pumpkins or coloring Halloween pictures
  • Save your pumpkin for Halloween to carve
  • Put together a Halloween playlist and clear some space and have a spooky dance party
  • Make a fun keepsake art project like these boo paintings using your kids’ hand/foot prints
  • Set up a spooky treasure hunt! While we have the luxury of acreage, you don’t need it to make this fun. You can decorate up different rooms in your home, if you have a yard and the weather is nice (or even if it’s not, we have been out with snow on the ground) the physical activity is fun and good for everyone. We make up clues and the kids take turns figuring out where the next “trick or treat” stop is. They have a blast and since they all take turns with clues for each of them (regardless of age/ability) everyone is included and feels a part of the group.


So what constitutes a “treat” for us? It doesn’t have to be candy. In fact, most of the time it is not. I usually hit up the clearance racks as soon as the holiday is over to prep (and save) for the next year!

As our kids would go through the treasure hunt, they would get “treats” at each stop, they include:

  • Spider/skull rings
  • Halloween pencils and erasers
  • Temporary tattoos
  • Halloween themed paper straws
  • Popcorn “skeleton hands”
  • Halloween bubbles
  • Bouncy balls
  • Some candy like Enjoy Life Chocolates and Yum Earth Candy Corn
  • Glow sticks

Need more inspiration? Head on over to my dear friend and colleague Julie Matthews of Nourishing Hope for her latest blog that covers this topic in depth, with many menu ideas, activities, crafts, etc. You may see some familiar photos as I shared our tradition with her when she was creating her blog. Check out her other blog articles on her version of banana ghosts, deviled eggs, and more delicious recipes that are perfect for Halloween!

Our home parties have become a cherished event, making memories that will last a lifetime. And, it also means no excess, HFCS or chemical filled candy to sift through, restrict, try and get rid of, or to tempt me, let’s be honest! If I do find myself wanting some of the traditional Halloween candy, I usually grab some Lily’s Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups and it gives me the sweet treat but uses Stevia so I feel better about my choices.

We can always reinvent what a holiday means and make it one that honors and supports health and wellness at the same time. In fact, now with my kids being 19 and 16, they still look back on this tradition fondly. While they are now less interested in Trick or Treating or the candy of Halloween, they know that holidays are what we make it and that healthy and fun can be synonymous.

Wishing you and your family a very happy Halloween!

Amazon Disclaimer: Terri Hirning is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.

FTC Disclaimer: Some links on this blog may be affiliate links. I may get paid if you buy something or take an action after clicking one of these.

Paleo Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins

Fall is here! The leaves are changing, I dress for fall in the morning, summer by mid-day, and then back to fall in the evening. Can you relate? Maybe my CA and FL friends can’t but if you are feeling the change in weather then I have just the recipe for you.

Or maybe you are just a PSL person, if so, it is win-win!

These paleo muffins are a hit for everyone I have ever served these to. Whether they are used to eating gluten free or for those who have no idea what gluten is, the subtle pumpkin spice flavor and the chocolate chips make everyone fall in love.

This muffin recipe is easy to make, freezes well, and can be adapted to your dietary needs. It uses maple syrup instead of refined, white sugar which has a lower glycemic index and contains some antioxidant nutrients as well. These muffins are higher in protein and contain pumpkin which has beta carotene, vitamin C, vitamin E, iron, and folate! And it is grain free. For some individuals, grains can contribute to inflammation in the body. Nourishing yourself during the fall and winter months with nutrient dense, low sugar foods is an excellent way to use nutrition to support your immune system.


¾ cup Coconut Flour 

½ cup Pumpkin Puree (canned or homemade) 

¾ cup Maple Syrup 

6 Eggs 

2 heaping teaspoons Pumpkin Pie Spice 

¾ teaspoon Apple Cider Vinegar 

¼ cup Lilly’s Chocolate Chips which use stevia or use your favorite dairy free chocolate chip but that will increase the sugar content


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees & line a muffin tin with 12 parchment baking cups 

2. Combine all ingredients and stir well with a whisk to break up any clumps 

3. Bake 25-30 minutes 

4. Muffins are done when you test with a knife and it comes out clean 

5. Enjoy

Wildfire Respiratory Support

Our little mountain town of Flagstaff, AZ has been hit hard by wildfires, we’ve had two in the last 6 weeks!

Our most recent fire, The Pipeline Fire, was fueled largely by 50+ mph winds making air support impossible. To make matters worse, we had two additional fires spark up in this same time period. However, the winds have died down, air support made good progress yesterday and we have some containment! We have a lot to be grateful for.

But, with the wind reduction, our town is filled with smoke. We cannot even see the mountain from our home. Wildfires are something many people face so I wanted to share some of my favorite tips and products to support my respiratory health when we have smokey or poor air quality.

First, close your doors and windows. I know, we are in summer and many of us do not have air conditioning and we really appreciate the cool evening air. But, while we have smoke, I sleep with all my windows closed up tight. I also try and keep my dog inside as well on those super smokey days.

Next is run a good quality air filter. My favorite is Air Doctor. I know they are pricey. If that does not work with your budget, this HEPA has a lower price point. You want to assess the filter’s micron rating to assess whether the filter is going to be effective for your needs. No sense buying something that doesn’t do what you want it to do! Wildfire smoke generally consists of fine particles in the range of 0.4 to 0.7 microns according to the EPA. You can read Why Wildfire Smoke is a Health Concern for more info.

Inhaling smoke has an inflammatory effect on the body. One study found:

The increase in IL-13+ ILCs, and DC activation in subjects during wildfire season, compared to subjects post-wildfire season, suggests a pro inflammatory effect of wildfire smoke inhalation.


And a quote from a senior study author related to a different study said:

This current study shows that even without major symptoms, significant pathological changes are happening in the lungs and immune system when we are exposed to wildfire smoke.


This exposure can trigger mast cells. Mast cells are blood cells which are part of the immune system which help us fight infections. However, they are also involved in allergic reactions, when they a substance that triggers an allergic reaction, they release histamine and other chemicals into the bloodstream. I am going to share my favorite, gentle ways to support my body when histamine becomes elevated.

Reminder: This blog is purely for educational purposes only. I am not your practitioner, nor am I a licensed medical professional. Always seek guidance and support from your practitioner on your healthcare needs and before starting or stopping and supplements.

Essential oils: I love essential oils and use them around my house quite frequently. Some of my favorites for respiratory support include eucalyptus, peppermint, and lavender. If you are new to oils or just want to make it easy, there are some respiratory blends out there like this one. You can use a few drops in a diffuser, this one is my all time favorite (I have a slight diffuser addiction so I have tried many.) If you don’t have a diffuser, boil some water in a pot and once boiling, remove from heat and drop a few drops in the pot. Never leave oils unattended, always dilute in water, and never use oils in plastic.

For a nice breakdown of oils and their role in respiratory health, I like this study: Essential oils in the treatment of respiratory tract diseases highlighting their role in bacterial infections and their anti‐inflammatory action: a review

Next are some respiratory support supplements. My favorite all time product is A&I Formula from New Beginnings Nutritionals. One caveat, I serve as their Director of Marketing and know the level of quality and purity for the products we carry. This product comes in both capsule and chewable and really supports healthy inflammation levels and is terrific for our seasonal allergy symptoms! We even use it for colds with runny nose. It is a combination product of quercetin, stinging nettles, and NAC.

For generalized lung support, I use lobelia. Lobelia (Lobelia inflata) is also called Indian tobacco, has a long history of use as an herbal remedy for respiratory conditions like asthma, bronchitis, pneumonia, and cough. Native Americans smoked lobelia as a treatment for asthma. In the 19th century, American physicians used to prescribe lobelia to the point of inducing vomiting to remove toxins from the body which helped it earn the nickname “puke weed.” Today, lobelia is sometimes suggested to help clear mucus from the respiratory tract, including the throat, lungs, and bronchial tubes.

A well-fitting N95 mask can also make a world of difference when you do need to go outside. My favorite mask for smoke and even working in the yard with dust/fine particles of dirt is Vogmask. I find them to be well-fitting and very effective for smoke.

I personally find it a bit hard to breath with smoke which means I am taking more shallow breaths in the day. I try and set some time aside in my day to be near my filter and take some deeper breaths.

If you don’t have access to any of these things, keep you doors and windows closed and try steaming and/or saline nasal sprays to help keep the nasal passages moist and clear. I like using a saline spray and then blowing my nose. For a DIY steamer, boil some water in a pot, remove from heat and then carefully lean your face into the steam – not too close and if it becomes uncomfortable, stop. You can do this with or without essential oils. The steam will help moisturize and soothe your nasal passages. A neti pot can work here as well.

And this is a time when I take it easier on my body. I reduce my cardio workouts and let my body process this additional burden. I also make sure I drink plenty of pure water and take epsom salt baths to support my body in detoxification.

Hopefully our community is turning a corner with containment. In the meantime, I wish everyone reading this a healthy and happy summer.

Disclosure: I am an Amazon affiliate and as such, some of the links in this blog are affiliate links. This means that, at zero cost to you, I will earn an affiliate commission if you click through the link and finalize a purchase. I only link to products I use or would use for myself and my family but make no guarantees, implied or otherwise, about how well they will work for you.

Autism Awareness vs. Autism Action

April 1st means the start of autism awareness month.

I love the idea of more people being aware of autism spectrum disorders. But what I would like even more is for people to understand what is happening in our world right now.

When my son was born, the rates of autism were 1 in 150.

The year he was diagnosed it was 1 in 88.

Now the rates are 1 in 44.

The rates of all neurological disorders bring the numbers to a staggering 1 in 6.

Let that sink in, 1 in 6 children today have some sort of neurological disability.

So if you are not already aware of the drastic rise in children who have issues with speech, language, attention, focus, self-regulation, likely you will be soon.

The current conversation focuses on genetics, if you are an autism parent, I encourage you to look for a physician or practitioner skilled in assessing and treating the often co-morbid and underlying biomedical issues. Because the body and brain are intricately connected, when you support and optimize one, you also support and optimize the other.

That means that looking at things like toxin exposures, diet, gut health, microbial overgrowth, inflammation, food allergies, chemical sensitivities, etc. can result in improvements in sleep, language, behavior, sensory sensitivities, GI issues, mood, and even school performance.

Whether your child has a diagnosis of autism, ADHD, eczema, psoriasis, learning disabilities, speech delays, or no diagnosis at all, reducing the number of toxins they are exposed to, making dietary choices based on their bioindividual need, working with a knowledgeable physician or practitioner who understands gut health and functional medicine can do wonders for not just them but also your whole family.

We are watching an epidemic right now. And soon we will be facing a tsunami of children who need more supports than our schools and system can provide. It is time to look around and consider all of the ways we’ve poisoned our world at the detriment of our children. 10 years later and I am still sounding this alarm. The next time someone you love gets a diagnosis or just knows their child is struggling to speak, learn, pay attention, sleep, handle sensory input, or behave, consider what I have shared.

Parents are putting these things into practice and seeing profound improvements in their children. We have to turn this tide, for the sake of our children.

So when you see the promotion of autism awareness, please consider the message of autism action as well.

And if you are a parent of a child with autism and want to learn more, please check out my resources page. There are ways you can get started today on getting the information you need to support your child biomedically in addition to physically and emotionally.

The End of an IEP Era

When we started this process just before my son’s 3rd birthday, I couldn’t possibly imagine this day. His final IEP meeting.

It was an emotional day for sure.

The team discussed ways they could most effectively support him until his graduation in a few months. This was status quo of what we experienced walking in the doors of his high school 4 years ago.

From a homeschooled child needing a partial day to now a confident high school senior, this team has given him exactly what he has needed to be successful.

We also found out his case manager is retiring after this year, what a loss for our school because she has been so influential in addressing any issue that has come up, so lovingly hand-selected his teachers based on his personality and that of the teacher, looking for a good fit. She is who we all went to when we needed a shift or additional support.

Over the past 15 years, I’ve heard many, many (many) stories of other parents. I know how lucky we’ve been and I have some tips for new parents looking back now.

As an autism mom, I felt like I was constantly reminded about what my son was not able to do, how far behind he was, and the goals he was not meeting. And to an extent, that is just a part of the territory. But, coming from the perspective of the ways our children can be supported to be successful, to feel successful, is critical.

There were IEP meetings where I wanted to cry. I wondered what his future was going to look like. But then I realized that I needed to take control of my son’s educational future and see the members of our educational team as just that, my team. Their job was to assess and determine ways he could be successful in school. Some years that was harder than others.

Some accommodations to consider (of course based on age/ability):

  • Sensory breaks
  • Functional tools for success including pencil grips, wiggle seats, weighted vests, or even communication devices for nonverbal students
  • Longer time to work on assignments and tests
  • Reading instructions aloud
  • Testing in quiet environment
  • Reduction in number of questions on tests
  • Quiz correction opportunities
  • 1:1 support
  • Reduced class load or length of day
  • Having access to notes during tests

One of my most important pieces of advice is to know that at the end of the day, you are the team leader. As such, the responsibility is with you to manage your child’s team. There have been times when I have had to “fire” team members who discounted what my son was capable of, spoke down to, excluded, or discriminated against him. It was critical for me to have those around him who saw his potential and were committed to helping him realize it. Anything less is unacceptable. Don’t be afraid to advocate for what your child needs.

Our children are amazing and have such gifts, and the people who love and support them in becoming their richest, fullest potential are angels on this earth.

We concluded the IEP for the final time and took a moment to soak in how far he has come. From a non-verbal, sensory overwhelmed preschooler to a confident, competent young man who is ready for the next step in his educational journey, college.

Healthier Halloween

Happy Halloween!

We started the morning with Paleo Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Pancakes. Yum!

But, I am going to let you in on a little secret, they are lower in sugar than traditional pancakes and I am going to share my top tips for keeping sugar low and nutrients higher.

For those new to my blog, my son is considered recovered from autism and a large part of his healing journey was improving his gut. He had dysbiosis and craved sugar, carbs, and basically a lot of unhealthy stuff.

Along the way, I realized the more pure and healthy I could keep his diet, the better his gut functioned and also his mood, sleep, and behavior. It was a win-win.

But that doesn’t mean you have to miss out.

In fact, I did a whole blog on Halloween options if you are a food allergy family like ours or just want a Halloween experience that doesn’t leave your child bouncing off the walls or in meltdown mode for the next week. You can read that here.

So let’s get back to this year…..

Disclosure: I am an Amazon affiliate and as such, the links below are affiliate links. This means that, at zero cost to you, I will earn an affiliate commission if you click through the link and finalize a purchase.

This morning I used Birch Bender’s Paleo Pancake Mix. I love this stuff. In fact, when we travel, I usually have a few bags with me. Then, no matter what I can find locally, I have something that just needs water, that’s it! I can also turn this into a makeshift bread if I have to. It is great.

This morning I added organic pumpkin in addition to pumpkin spice seasoning in addition to the water. I adjusted the water accordingly because of the pumpkin.

Then, I added some allergen -free chocolate chips, my favorite brand is Enjoy Life and they have mini-chips, regular chips, and mega chunks! To make this even lower sugar, you can use something Like Lily’s Brand which uses stevia to sweeten. They also carry candy bars which are great as sweet treats but without traditional sweeteners.

Next, I topped it with Lakanto Syrup which is a keto-friendly option that uses monk fruit to sweeten. Before the birth of Lakanto and when yeast was very high and I was trying to reduce sugar as much as possible, I used to melt organic coconut oil and use stevia as a “syrup”. Lakanto looks, smells, and tastes just like syrup to me and is a nice option.

These are “special occasion” options. I would not use these as daily staples, I feel like we need to sometimes break ourselves out of the constant need for sweets and for kids with severe gut issues, breaking that cycle can be so healing. But, I love holidays and it is important to not lose sight of enjoying the journey, which is why I appreciate options for these instances.

Check out my full Halloween blog for additional tips on healthier Halloween options so that your holiday is filled with more treats than tricks when it comes to your health!

I am wishing you all a healthy and happy Halloween!

Paleo Chocolate Chip Zucchini Muffins

We live in an interesting growing area. At high elevation, we can get frost and freezes that destroy our gardens if we are not careful. In fact, that actually happened to our tomato plants at the start of the season.

We’ve also gotten a lot of rain this year, like torrential rain. While the streets and flood zones from the fires did not necessarily appreciate that, my garden sure did.

As such, we have 1 zucchini plant that is producing prolifically. In fact, it seems each time we go out and look, we have another huge zucchini ready to be picked!

That means zucchini-everything around here.

I wanted to make zucchini bread although I don’t like to make breads as much as I like to make muffins.

Muffins are easier to cook (less time baking) and I feel like they are more moist as a result of the reduced baking time. And, these are perfect portion sizes where with breads, I am more likely to keep nibbling and not pay attention to exactly how much I am eating.

So if your garden runneth over with zucchini, this can be a great way to get it into even your most veggie-resistant child. Note, these are not necessarily low sugar. You can play with alternatives like maple syrup or swapping out some of the sugar for stevia. You could also use Lily’s Stevia Sweetened Chocolate Chips which are also allergen friendly as a way to cut down the sugar.

Disclosure: I am an Amazon affiliate and as such, the links below are affiliate links. This means that, at zero cost to you, I will earn an affiliate commission if you click through the link and finalize a purchase.

You will need:

2 eggs (preferably at room temperature)

1/4 cup almond butter

1/4 cup melted coconut oil

1/2 cup coconut sugar

1 tsp vanilla

1 3/4 cups almond flour

1/3 cup tapioca flour

1 tsp baking soda

1/4 tsp salt

2 cups shredded zucchini

1 cup chocolate chips


Preheat oven to 350 degrees Farenheit .

Line your muffin pans with parchment liners.

Grate 2 cups of zucchini then pour onto a clean kitchen towel, roll up and squeeze the excess moisture out. Unroll the towel and allow the zucchini to dry out further on the counter while you begin making the batter.

In your stand mixer, mix on low eggs, almond butter, coconut oil, coconut sugar, and vanilla

In a another bowl, combine the dry ingredients: almond flour, tapioca flour or arrowroot, baking soda, and salt.

Add the dry ingredients into the wet and mix on low until combined. The zucchini adds a lot of moisture so don’t worry that your batter looks thick at this point.

Add your shredded zucchini and chocolate chips, mix until well blended.

For ease and precision, I use an ice cream scoop, to fill muffin tins. But you can use a spoon or spatula to fill them 3/4 of the way. I got 16 muffins out of this recipe.

Bake in your preheated oven for 22-25 minutes or a knife inserted in the center comes out clean. Allow to cool and enjoy!

Eagle Scout Court of Honor

We celebrated something really big last weekend.

I wrote previously about how my son achieved his Eagle Scout award last year, amidst a pandemic. This year, we came together to celebrate that achievement.

I’ve been largely MIA from social media, blogging, and any email communication because of the planning, prep, time, and effort needed to get everything done.

We had family and friends begin arriving a few days prior to the big day.

Having a house full of people is always so fun and fulfilling as I really enjoy spending time with those we don’t see very often. It was nice to completely disconnect from social media and just be present, to soak in the moments.

As I sat down to write my parent reflections for the ceremony, I couldn’t help but think this really was a culmination of sorts, a true celebration of how far my son has come and what a huge achievement this was.

In fact, it gave me time to reflect on his scouting years and how they coincided with our journey of autism treatment and recovery.

I remember those early years where he was overwhelmed by his surroundings and how many activities were harder for him than his peers.

I remember worrying when they went off for camp that first year, I was sure I would be called to go get him, despite his dad being there at camp with him. Not because I didn’t have faith in the abilities of either of them. But, things were much harder for my son back then. These experiences were stretching him, pushing him, often past his comfort zone.

But, the young man who came home to me that summer was taller, wiser, and more competent than the one who left. As I said those words when it was my time to speak, I saw him break down into tears for the first time during the ceremony.

But it was true and I don’t think many people truly understand how things that come so easy to others can be exponentially more challenging for individuals with autism.

Activities and skills often took Matthew more time or effort but he persevered. He kept going, even when it was hard. And having a stellar support system helped him do that.

Between the scout leaders, other scouts, his family, teachers, therapists, physicians, and professionals, we all were working towards the common goal of seeing him reach his potential.

I felt this celebration should honor all of that and everyone who participated in his journey, scouting or otherwise.

The attendees reflected that diverse collection and it was pure joy to celebrate my son amongst those that worked right along side me to support him through these years.

One special attendee was Julie Matthews. She is the leading nutritionist in the autism community and we met 12+ years ago when Matthew’s biomedical physician recommended we do a consultation with her to determine the right nutritional intervention given his specific needs and biochemistry.

Over the years Julie and I have become very good friends as well as colleagues and I have the joy of working with her professionally now.

I thought back and remembered Matthew as that little boy who was such a picky eater, had so many food allergies, craved nothing but wheat and dairy, and had sensory issues that made many textures impossible to eat. Here he was, now taller than us both, so strong, healthy, in part because of her help so many years ago.

Seeing my son now is a true testament to the power of hope and I am so proud of the young man he is.

Seeing him honored and celebrated and to reflect on the incredible journey we’ve been on the last decade was both exhilarating and incredibly emotional. Hearing his speeches as he gave out mentor pins filled me with pride.

I could not be prouder to be this young man’s mom.

Stay tuned, I will be blogging on the technical aspects of organizing a court of honor, including crafting, decorating, and the food involved.

But for now, I will bask a little longer in the joy of the week and take in the strange silence of the house with our visitors gone.