Natural Health Blog

Best Ever (Almost) Paleo Brownie

A picture says a thousand words and this one says Mmmmmm, Yummy and Scrumptious just for starters ... 

I took a paleo recipe and tweaked it by adding another egg and a bit of canned organic pumpkin. That's all I did to modify and it turned out SO much better than the original paleo one I tried. The original paleo recipe didn't have this lovely thick cakey tecture, nor did it scoop out of the pan as easily which is always a bummer! 

I had to share this little gem with you guys:) You WON'T be disappointed. Even my super picky betty crocker loving husband liked this one. 

  • 1/2 cup raw almond butter
  • 1/2 cup canned organic pumpkin (almost Paleo)
  • 1 cup shredded zucchini
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 packages (of the small 3 count) melted trader joes brand dark chocolate bars (not quite Paleo as it has some sugar) this ends up being about 1 cup worth of dark chocolate
  • 1/3 cup local honey
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp baking soda

Preheat oven to 350 and mix everything together well. Put it in a (butter greased) 9x9 or a 9x17 (or whatever size that pan was i used). Put it in the oven for 35-45 minutes until the toothpicks come out clean! 

Cool for 15 minutes and slice it up with a sharp knife and scoop with a fork!

An Open Letter to Diners, Restaurants & Pancake Houses of Michigan: We Want Real Maple Syrup!

I don't know about you, but we eat out a lot. Not a lot-lot, but enough to say, it's frequent.

We're fond of breakfast. The only meal of the day that I really feel like it's ok to indulge. After all, you have all damn day to burn it off, right?  

And since I've had breakfast everywhere within 5 miles of my house, I'm amazed at how 9 out of 10 restaurants don't have real maple syrup available for purchase when you order your short stack! What gives? 

So here's my letter to you: the diners, the restaurants and the pancake houses of Michigan. We want real maple syrup! We want it!

MA! We want meat loaf! Sorry ... I had to. 

Dear Diners, Restaurants and Pancake Houses of Michigan,

I love your pancakes, your french toast, your crepes and your bacon. But when I come to eat at your establishment I get really sad when you don't have real maple syrup. It's not that you need to give it away for free–that stuff doesn't grow on trees, I know.

Well, it does grows OUT of trees so, yes, it's an expensive labor intensive commodity.

My point is, people like me: the hippie types, the au natural types, the foodies–we want real maple syrup with our pancakes. And we're willing to pay for it. $2-3 per plate in my estimation as I've paid that much, and I was happy to do it.

You see, real maple syrup, once you've had it–can't be substituted with the fake stuff. Once you taste that real unadulterated rich maple flavor, nothing else will do. And it turns out that we live in a state with an abundant supply of locally made real maple syrup. It can be purchased by the gallon and marked up 50%. Helping you to cover the costs and make a buck or two.

Why Real Maple Syrup? 

Because real maple syrup has been made for hundreds of years in cold country. It's rich in sugars and minerals that nourish the body and bring amazing sweetness to all sorts of foods we love. Because it's a natural and minimally processed substance, it's easy for the body to assimilate and metabolize. Fake maple syrups made with high fructose corn syrup and other processed ingredients are not easily recognized by the body. They disturb blood sugar balance, hormonal balance, and in some cases are really toxic! Skip the fake stuff and go for the real deal whenever possible. There's a reason we've eaten this so long without detrimental effect. It's all natural. It's nourishing. It's cold country sugar!

This is likely available in bulk a well. Reach out to Nelson Maple Products at

This is likely available in bulk a well. Reach out to Nelson Maple Products at

This isn't a chore, it's an opportunity!

Buying maple syrup to serve in your diner or pancake house is a chance to stimulate Michigan's economy. An opportunity to offer the best of the best to discerning patrons and to increase the amount spent on each check requiring this sweet nectar of the gods. Theoretically, this also makes for higher tips to your waitstaff too. Win, win, WIN! 

Offer real maple syrup on your menu when possible. I look for it, others will too!

Don't want to reprint your menu? Simply have your staff offer it verbally with any order of pancakes, french toast or crepes for an up-charge. It will generate a high-end yet simultaneously  "down home" feel to your business that sets you apart from the pack. Trust me–I know where I can get real maple syrup in New Orleans, Charleston and other cities I've visited. Making real maple syrup available offers what is truly healthful to the body AND tantalizing to the taste buds.

Stimulating the economy of everyone involved is maple syrup on the pancake!

Thanks for reading. Thanks for considering this. And most of all, thanks for feeding us.


Desiree Winans, Natural Health Practitioner, Yoga Teacher, Good Food Lover

Link to Michigan Maple Syrup Producers - ask for a bulk discount!

Chicken Soup, Bone Broths, Veggie Broths - Mineral Rich Liquids That Heal!

Chicken Soup, Bone Broths & Veggie Broths A’la Desiree:) haha

I put this together for my Yoga School friends and thought - what they heck; I'll throw it on the blog too! :) Below are my recipes for making bone broth, veggie broth and my chicken soup:) Enjoy! 

Perfect Chicken Soup Prep:

Seek out the best quality chicken, beef or whatever meat you intend to make broth from. You can get antibiotic/hormone free chicken, grass fed beef, and animals that have been raised in more humane ways if you look for it.

Check Whole Foods, Foods For Living, Better Health and ask questions about how the animals are raised. If they don't have answers, call the farm. Chickens should have room to roam around outside so they can eat bugs and worms. This makes for a healthy bird and healthier meat. 

Bake chicken with the bone in (or an entire chicken). The idea is that you want leftover meat, so you can use that for your soup.  I like to bake my chicken with butter, rosemary, oregano, garlic, whatever strikes my fancy. Bake at 350º for one hour, cover the glass pan with tinfoil. Broil for 5 minutes at the end to brown the skin for fun.

I like to make bone broth with the bones that remain; this is how I make such yummy soups. (Of course the vegan ones I make are made with vegetable broth only.) See below for the veggie broth instructions.

Bone Broths Heal:

Bone broth is delicious and provides needed nutrients to heal our often problematic guts, healing digestive woes, autoimmune problems and much more. It’s rich in amino acids and healthy fats that support our ligaments and all connective tissue.  Bone broth is super easy to make. 

One of the most important benefit of any broth - be it bone broth or just a good homemade vegetable broth is natural and organic sodium. This is one of the best healing nutrients for the stomach and intestines. Minerals Up... Dis-Ease Down! 

Drinking bone broths daily to heal the lining of the gut for allergies, autoimmune conditions, or debilitating illness is strongly recommended. It helps you heal faster! 

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Chicken Bone Broth:

As far as the chicken bones - just take the carcass and throw it in a sauce pan covering it with purified water. (clean water is SO important) if you need info on how to get reverse osmosis water talk to me:) I’m passionate about this subject.

Add a tbsp of Apple Cider Vinegar to the water and begin simmering on low. Let it simmer for 24 hours, check the water level to make sure that it never runs low. Bones should always be covered. Continue simmering.

At about 12-18 hours, your chicken bones are likely ready! Time to strain the bones and debris. Use a fine mesh strainer and strain. A canning funnel is also helpful. Throw out the bones etc and can the broth in glass - or begin your soup immediately. Canning just means putting the strained broth in Ball jars, lidding them, letting them cool, and then putting them in the fridge. Keeps two weeks.

In this soup I added gluten free noodles. These are the quinoa/corn blend noodles by Ancient Harvest. I prepare them alone and then add them cooked to the soup. They are amazing! 

In this soup I added gluten free noodles. These are the quinoa/corn blend noodles by Ancient Harvest. I prepare them alone and then add them cooked to the soup. They are amazing! 

Perfect Chicken Soup Recipe:

  • 1 quart purified water (a little more or less may be needed.

  • 1 pint of bone broth (see directions above)

  • 1 breast of chicken sliced (deboned) Hormone Antibiotic Free Chicken locally sourced is best.

  • 4 cloves of organic garlic (fresh only) chopped

  • 2 tbsp crushed rosemary (rosemary and all herbs should have nice green color and should have a good aroma when crushed between the fingers; aromatic herbs are potent medicine.

  • 1 tbsp oregano leaves - again, green, aromatic leaves are important!

  • 1 Large white organic onion

  • 3 stalks of organic celery

  • 3 chopped organic carrots (½ inch thick)

  • 1 bag frozen mixed veggies (Meijer organic or other brand)

  • 1/4 cup nutritional yeast

  • Himalayan pink salt, Redmond's Real Salt are great


  • Combine 2 quart purified water, 1 large chopped onion, 3 stalks chopped celery, chopped garlic, 1 tbsp crushed rosemary, 3 chopped carrots and simmer on low for 4 hours. May be cooked on low in a crock pot all day long. Lightly salt - just a sprinkle to start.

  • About a half hour to an hour before serving,  I like to add the frozen veggies (½-whole bag) just an hour or two before canning or serving the soup. I don’t like them to be too over-cooked because they lose their color. Of course if you want to chop up fresh broccoli, do that! 

  • I like to salt the soup to taste at this time. Just a little at a time will make it yummy without being too salty.

  • At this point, the soup should be a really nice consistency. Not too runny, not to thick. IF YOUR SOUP OS RUNNY: Thicken up by adding cooked quinoa, a bit of organic cornstarch wisked in water, or by adding a quarter cup of Nutritional Yeast. 

  • I like to can my soups so that they can be eaten throughout the week. Just use pint jars for servings for 1 - or quart jars for family size soup eating. Can them in clean ball jars, with the metal rings and lids - allow to cool on the counter for a few hours. Then put them in the fridge. Keeps about 2 weeks.

  • Soup may be frozen by filling to the FREEZE LINE about 1 inch from the top of a Ball jar. 

Super Easy Vegetable Broth

  • 1 gigantic organic white onion

  • 5 cloves of organic garlic

  • 3 stalks of organic celery

  • 3 large organic carrots - chopped

  • Good Salt as mentioned above: Himalayan pink, Redmonds Real Salt is great

  • Good Rosemary (green and aromatic)

  • Good Oregano (green and aromatic)

  • Other great herbs - basil or thyme as long as they are green and aromatic.

Combine all ingredient in a pan in 2 quarts of purified water and simmer 12 hours or over-night. Your house will smell amazing and your broth will be amazing-er! This can be the basis for any soup, quinoa, chili, gluten free soups or “can” it if you like as I mentioned for later use. You can also use this broth to make rice or quinoa side dishes for dinner. Makes everything taste so much better because minerals taste delicious and add to our health with every bite! 

As you can see, all the preparation is the extra ingredient  - LOVE!