Simple Game Day Sloppy Joe Sandwiches

Simple Game Day Sloppy Joe Sandwiches

Gameday simple sloppy joe recipe at your service. Whether it’s basketball, football, baseball, or table tennis, this is by far my favorite sloppy joe recipe. Not only is it super easy, but it has simple ingredients. It’s perfect after a long day at the field, and it’s excellent for watching the big game. Have a party or family get-together? These sandwiches are a great dish to serve! Try them in slider buns. Full of flavor and super easy to make.

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Come NCAA Final Four Basketball or Super Bowl Sunday, this recipe will be sitting in my Crockpot. Heck! Take this recipe to the summer cookout or the campground too! So what’s in it? First of all, let me tell you what’s not in it. My sloppy joe recipe doesn’t have any high allergen ingredients, that’s right, it’s gluten-free, dairy-free, wheat-free, grain-free, egg-free, nut-free, and soy-free.

My choice of protein is venison, but if you’re not a fan, go for beef. I haven’t tried it with turkey (because I am allergic to turkey) or chicken, but I think it would work minus the ketchup. You’ll have to experiment if you want to go the fowl route.

What’s so good about venison?

Venison is open-range, free-range, organic, plant-fed protein. Venison is lean, there is hardly any fat, and it’s low in calories. It’s full of iron, B6, B12, riboflavin, niacin, and thiamin…essentially many B vitamins. Which are super important for your body and brain to function properly.  

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Oh, if you didn’t know, venison is deer meat. Yes, yes, a “Bambi”, but not all deer are “Bambi’s”. In some parts of the country, the deer have destroyed habitats for other animals by eating foliage from the ground up. It’s a problem! Not to mention farmers’ crops and our simple home gardens.


For this recipe, you can substitute ground beef, which is very good. But! Be sure to get the lean ground beef, like 90/10. Plus, you’ll have to fork over some coins for the organic grass-fed kind. You pick, this recipe isn’t picky.

Perfect sides for this simple sloppy joe recipe

As for sides, I personally like a little crunch. My favorite side is low-salt potato chips. I also like something green on my plate, like steamed broccoli, green beans, coleslaw, pasta salad, or a fresh spinach salad. Adding a slice of cheese to your sloppy joe makes it more of the meal, but I’ve also had sloppy joe on its own, no bun included. When I do this, I combine my joe with roasted butternut squash! So yummy.

Sloppy Joes

Simple Game Day Sloppy Joe’s

This recipe is passed down from my dad. He is a rock star at making this. And it's so delicious! Please note, my dad can only make pancakes, so if you can do that, you can do this recipe!
Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Keyword bbq, burger, easy meal, sandwiches, Sloppy joe
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 3 hours 30 minutes
Servings 12 people
Calories 645kcal
Cost $15.00


  • Frying pan
  • Crockpot


  • 3 tbsp Olive Oil
  • 2 lbs Lean burger or vension
  • 1 large Sweet onion chopped About 2 – 3 cups worth
  • 1/4 cup Water
  • 3 tbsp Apple Cider Vinegar I usually only put 2 tablespoons in.
  • 2 cups Catsup I like the Simple kind without High Fructose Corn Syrup.
  • 2 tbsp Mustard
  • 1/4 cup BBQ sauce Use your favorite. I personally like the kind that doesn't have High Fructose Corn Sysrup.
  • 1/2 cup Brown Sugar


  • Warm the frying pan and put the olive oil in the pan
  • Immediately put in the ground beef or venison and brown it.
  • Add the onion at the same time…I know it's weird, but that's how my dad does it.
  • Drain any excess fat and grease.
  • Add to the crock pot
  • Add the water and the vinegar
  • Add the ketchup, mustard, BBQ sauce, and sugar
  • Mix together
  • Cover and set to high for 2-3 hours
  • Stir occassionaly
  • Add bun and eat!
    sloppy joes


When the sloppy joe is done, you can eat it alone or with a bun of your choice! I personally like to add cheese…in my case, it’s fake cheese.Delish!
The calorie, cost, and servings are all an educated guess. 

Pull up a chair and let your Crockpot do all the cooking. This is a slam dunk, touchdown, and homerun of a game-day meal! Your kids will love it. Be sure to check out my other recipes and health tips!

Before you go, here are some of my family favorites!

Simple Bacon-Wrapped Chicken Leg Recipe

Better Belly Steak Recipe

Easy Dairy-free Nachos with Simple Ingredients

Fried Walleye Recipe

Salmon in a Skillet Recipe

By CT Copyright © 2021 Simplify Firefly. All Rights Reserved.
Avocado Pesto Sauce & Spread Recipe

Avocado Pesto Sauce & Spread Recipe

Avocado got your taste buds? There are many things you can do with this amazing fruit. Due to my IBD (Inflammatory Bowel Disease) I have had to simplify my diet. So, when I make a meal I keep things as simple as possible. With avocados, I usually just put a shake of salt on them and add them to my meal, but lately, I’ve been more adventurous and have been making guacamole and now pesto!

avocado pesto

This is actually my new favorite find. With normal pesto, there are ingredients in there that are hard for me to digest, like dairy, nuts, and various spices. Yet, my recipe only has six ingredients without dairy or nuts. Honestly, I can’t tell the difference. And it’s healthy for you!

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First off what’s so good about avocado?

Avocado is easy to digest, so if you have IBD, colitis, or Crohn’s disease, avocado is your friend. It’s a great source of potassium (more than a banana), folate, magnesium, B Vitamins which include: B2, B3, B5, B6, and it has Vitamin C, Vitamin E, and Vitamin K.  This fruit also is a great source of healthy fat. The fat avocados have isn’t going to make you fat, so don’t be afraid to eat it. They have monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats; these are good fats.

They also are high in fiber which is also good for us IBD people. Many fiber foods are extremely taxing on our intestinal tracks.

Overall avocados help people get healthier! They help your eyes, assist in weight loss, help make you feel satisfied, ease arthritis symptoms, prevent cancer, and help your body absorb nutrients…which is hard for people with Crohn’s or colitis.

avocado benefits

How to eat them

If there is one thing that turns my son off about avocados it’s how slimy they are. Yeah, it’s kind of gross. This is where we can be creative. Avocados are great in smoothies if you’re a smoothie person. Yet, guacamole is probably the most popular way to eat them, especially around Super Bowl and Cinco de Mayo. However, avocado pesto is on the rise. Move over guac, here comes the pesto!

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Non-inflammatory dream

Why not make a sauce that is super good for you? Combine all these awesome benefits of avocado and mix them with garlic, basil, lemon, olive oil, and salt. That’s all there is, people. Six ingredients to play with and to make it your own.

Hold up there friends. This isn’t just for gluten-free or keto pasta, you can use it as a sandwich spread! The longer you blend this recipe the more creamer it will get. Oh my goodness, it’s such a great substitute for mayo or ‘dressing’ as some people say. Heck, you could probably add more oil and make it a salad dressing! Endless ideas with avocado.


Avocado Pesto Sauce & Spread

Nut-free, Dairy-free, Gluten-free Avocado Pesto Sauce is my new favorite find. Only 6 fresh ingredients! Easy to make, tastes amazing, and shines in every dish. Healthy for you too!
Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Keyword avocado, dairy-free, egg-free, gluten-free, nut-free, pesto, soy-free
Prep Time 7 minutes
Cook Time 7 minutes
Servings 4 people
Calories 150kcal
Cost $5


  • Food Processor


  • 1.5 fruit avocado chopped
  • 2 pinch salt
  • 2 cloves garlic Large cloves. If you like a lot of garlic add more or less if you don't.
  • 4 leaves basil Large leaves.
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp olive oil


  • Gather all your ingredients so they're ready to go.
  • Chop your avocado. You want to make sure the avocado is ripe. They should not be rock hard. You want them to have a bit of give. Look for darker skins, not the green skins.
  • Place in the food processor and put your 2 pinches of salt in.
  • Give your galic cloves a rough chop, remove the skin first! Add you lemon juice, chop your basil leaves, and add your olive oil. Put them in the processor.
  • Process all the ingredients. For a chunker pesto, only blend for a short while. For a creamier version blend longer, like I did for this one. All done!
  • Eat it as the main meal or serve as a side…like with a piece of smoked chicken thighs and fresh chopped tomatoes. YUM!


The serving size is about 2-3 tablespoons. The calories are based on serving size. The entire calorie count for the whole recipe is estimated to be 589 calories. 
This recipe will keep for 24 hours. If there are leftovers, store it in an air-tight container in the refrigerator. If the pesto turns brown, discard it. 
Totally makes the sandwich. Enjoy!

Hope you enjoy this amazing recipe. I know your body will love you for it.

Be sure to check out my other simple and delicious recipes that accent this avocado dish!

Simple Bacon-Wrapped Chicken Leg Recipe

Better Belly Steak Recipe

Salmon in a Skillet Recipe

Fried Walleye Recipe

Sources: Healthline and Cedars Sinai

By CT Copyright © 2021 Simplify Firefly. All Rights Reserved.
Easy Dairy-Free Nachos with Simple Ingredients!

Easy Dairy-Free Nachos with Simple Ingredients!

Nachos no more? If you have to be dairy-free I bet you said goodbye to nachos. I sure did. I also said goodbye to cheese pizza and many other things, but nothing can replace a good plate of nachos. Thanks to some amazing people who feel for us dairy-free folk they have created some amazing dairy-free alternatives.

pulled pork nachos
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Nacho History

But let’s talk nachos. There is nothing like watching a game or coming in from a fun-filled day of summer than popping in a tray of chips and cheese or stacked nachos. Making chips and cheese is one of my fond summer snacks as a kid…when I could eat dairy. The tips of burnt chips with melted cheese and the right amount of taco sauce hit the spot in my taste history.

But where did they come from? According to Wikipedia, nachos were created in 1940 by Ignacio “El Nacho” Anaya. He served up a batch in his restaurant to a few women that wanted a different kind of snack. It was on that day that nachos were born! And yes, the dish is named after its founder.

No more nachos…

After summer fun snacks, I went to college…and the bars. A plate of nachos was to satisfy any bar babe. My friends and I would order up a dish, gobble it down, then…well…it was in college where I learned I was lactose intolerant, whey intolerant too! Needless to say, if I had nachos, you wanted to stay far from me!

Along came parenthood, and I was jonesing for nachos after a day filled with Lego building and football. Because of my intolerances, I completely avoided any dairy-filled product. I ate pizza with no cheese…which isn’t that bad. And nachos was a big no-no. It had been 23 years without this delicious snack. That’s right folks, I was nacho-free for 23 whole years!

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Dairy-free cheese to the rescue!

Thanks to many food manufacturers we now have many dairy-free options. I have tried a lot of them and they all have their perks, but my absolute favorite is the Violife brand. They don’t use pea protein, which can cause a number on people if you know what number I’m talking about.

With this newfound dairy-free cheese I immediately had ‘cheese’ back in my life. I seriously didn’t realize how much I missed it until I had it. Joy reentered my being! Granted I can’t order nachos at a restaurant (because they don’t have the fake cheese), but I can make them at home!

Wrap up before the recipe

My fake-cheese nachos are so delicious you can’t even tell they have dairy-free cheese on them…ask my husband who can eat dairy. We make this favorite dish for main meals at least once a week. On camping trips, this glorified chips and cheese snack makes the menu all the time. It’s SO easy and filling! This recipe checks all my boxes: gluten-free, dairy-free, quick, delicious, easy to make, and little cleanup.

Plus you can build this plate up as much as you want! Add whatever suits your fancy. This is sure to please anyone.

pulled pork nachos

Super Easy + Yummy Nachos

These delicious nachos are a quick solution to meal on the fly. Easy to make, quick clean-up, a people-pleaser.
Course Main Course, Side Dish, Snack
Cuisine Mexican
Keyword dairy-free, gluten-free, nachos, pork tacos, snacks, tacos
Prep Time 7 minutes
Cook Time 5 minutes
Servings 1
Calories 502kcal
Cost 2


  • Microwave, Air-Fryer, Oven, or Toaster Oven. Any will work!


  • 2 handfuls Your favorite plain tortillia chip Any tortilla chip works, I persoanlly like restuarant style.
  • 1/2 cup Dairy-free cheddar cheese My favorite brand is Violife.
  • 3 tbsp Taco sauce Again, use your favorite. I like Ortega Original.
  • 3/4 cup Pulled pork We get the premade pulled pork from Costco or Del Real Slow-cooked Pork Carnitas. We have also used left-over pulled pork that we smoked. Do not use the saucy pulled pork.
  • 1/2 cup Avocado Make sure the avocado is ripe but not too ripe. It should have a medium firmness when you lightly touch it.
  • 1/2 cup Tomato chopped Any kind of tomato will do.


  • Warm up the pulled pork in the microwave. If you got store bought follow their instructions on the package. We like Del Real Slow-Cooked Pork Carnitas. At the current time, you can get this at Costco. Any NON-SAUCY pulled pork will work.
    pulled pork
  • Preheat oven or toaster oven to 350 degrees. You can use a microwave or air-fryer too. When I'm in a hurry I just do the microwave.
  • Depending on your cooking tool, spread your chips either on a paper plate (microwave only) or a cookie sheet with foil. I put parchment paper ontop of the foil…it's a bit healthier than on foil.
  • On top of the chips, sprinkle as much cheese as you like. For you dairy eaters, my family prefers the thick cut shredded cheese. For non-dairy I prefer Violife cheddar shreds over other brands.
    Dairy-free Cheese Violife
  • Drizzle the taco sauce over the cheese.
    chips and cheese
  • Spread on as much pulled pork as you would like.
  • Bake or put in the microwave.
    For Baking, keep an eye on it. It's usually done in 5 minutes.
    For microwaving, start out with 45 seconds, then check it, and add another 30-40 seconds for cheese to melt.
  • Chop up the tomoto and avocado, then sprinkle on top!
  • Feel free to add any of your favorite toppings such as peppers, salsa, onions, cilantro. Enjoy!


The calories are a guesstimate. Based on a medium-size paper plate with 1/2 an avocado. Remember avocado may be high in calories, but it is super good for you! Don’t be afraid of it. 

Enjoy your dairy-free nachos! Be sure to look in your specialty grocery for dairy-free cheese. I hope you appreciated this recipe. And, yes, I did make nachos after I wrote this post. So good!

By CT Copyright © 2021 Simplify Firefly. All Rights Reserved.
Simple Bacon-Wrapped Chicken Leg Recipe

Simple Bacon-Wrapped Chicken Leg Recipe

The bacon-wrapped chicken leg recipe is a tailgate show stopper. This recipe is also a hit at summer barbecues, picnics, and Super Bowl parties. With only two ingredients this dish is super easy to make and fun for the kids.

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Bacon + Chicken?

Bacon marries well with anything, and chicken is a top 5 bacon-lovers mate. Move over salmon BLT, here’s come the chicken leg! When it comes to making this recipe involve the kids. Wrapping the bacon around the chicken leg is a lot of fun and easy to do.

Even though there are two ingredients, make sure you buy high quality chicken and bacon. The cleaner the chicken the better tasting and texture, same with the bacon. I opt for the organic chicken and nitrate-free bacon.

Added bonuses to the bacon-wrapped chicken leg

My husband has played around with putting chicken seasoning on the chicken before the bacon is wrapped around it, I personally don’t think it needs it. With this recipe, you’re open to experimenting. You might even like to play with a little barbeque sauce. Yum!

bacon wrapped chicken leg
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Special chicken leg tool

You will need a tool to make this all happen. Get on Amazon and buy a chicken leg rack. We have this one, which we bought on Amazon. You can use it in the oven or on the grill. We have used it in both environments. It’s a good buy and a necessity for this recipe.

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The perfect sides and finishing touches

My only advice when eating bacon-wrapped chicken legs is to have a toothpick handy when you’re done; not to mention, a napkin or hand wipe. They may get a little messy, but who cares! Your family and friends will enjoy this recipe. If there’s bacon, they will come.

Great side dishes to serve with bacon-wrapped chicken legs depends on the season. If it’s summer, I’d go with an amazing potato salad and watermelon mint salad. For game day, I’d choose some fancy potato chips and veggie sticks with dip. If you’re having this dish for dinner, go for some fun garlic noodles, steamed broccoli, and red grapes. Another great healthy choice is to make my warm kale salad, this dish is nutrient-dense!

bacon wrapped chicken legs

Easy Bacon-Wrapped Chicken Legs

This simple chicken recipe is a family favorite! It has bacon… Only two ingredients and not that high in calories!
Course Appetizer, Main Course, Snack
Cuisine American
Keyword bacon, chicken, dairy-free, gluten-free
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes
Servings 6
Calories 215kcal
Cost $8


  • Chicken Leg Rack
  • Meat thermometer


  • 6 Legs A package of chicken legs Skin on is fine. Spend the extra dollars for a higher quality chicken. It makes a big difference.
  • 1/2 Package Bacon Any bacon will do. Again, to be healthier, choose a low sodium bacon or preservative free.


  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees and get your chicken rack ready.
  • Take the skin off the chicken legs
  • Grab one strip of bacon and wrap one chicken leg. Start at the bottom of the leg and work your up to the top. You might be able to tuck the bacon into a bacon row.
  • Continue to wrap the rest of the chicken legs and put them in the Chicken Rack.
  • Bake or Grill the bacon wrapped chicken legs for 40 minutes or until the internal temperature is 165 degrees.
  • Check the internal temperature of the chicken, remember it's to be 165.
  • Let the chicken rest for a few minutes then DIG IN!


Calories are an estimate per bacon-wrapped chicken leg. This is an amazing tailgate snack. My teenage son loves these things, he’ll eat four! Serve with some greens, potato salad, pasta, or broccoli and you’ve got yourself a meal!

Wrapping it up! (get it?)

We took this recipe to a tailgate for a college football game and let’s just say the chicken was gone in an instant. So if that’s your plan…to take it to a game…you may want to get two chicken leg racks!

FYI- My son is known to put the leftovers in his lunch. Yes, bacon-wrapped chicken legs are good cold too! Another great lunch option for the kiddos. Enjoy!

Be sure to check out my other simple and delicious recipes!

Simple Bacon-Wrapped Chicken Leg Recipe

Better Belly Steak Recipe

Simple Game Day Sloppy Joe Sandwiches

Fried Walleye Recipe

Stay Connected
By CT Copyright © 2021 Simplify Firefly. All Rights Reserved.
Gluten-Free No-bake Cookie Recipe with Coconut!

Gluten-Free No-bake Cookie Recipe with Coconut!

Hold on to your apron for this amazing gluten-free no-bake cookie recipe with coconut! You’ve had no-bake cookies before, but have you had healthy no-bake cookies with coconut? I seriously cannot tell the difference, making these cookies guilt-free! These are easy to make and are gluten-free, dairy-free, egg-free, and soy-free. With coconut oil, coconut milk, and shredded coconut you’ll be amazed at the flavor and texture they add to these tasty no-bake cookies with coconut recipe!

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no bake cookies

Gluten and cookies

Cookies are one of my absolute favorite food. So when I had to change my diet to gluten-free, you better believe I got a little depressed! Let’s face it gluten-free cookies are not the same as chewy gluten-filled cookies. But we gluten-free consumers need to work with what we got, right? It’s not worth eating gluten and suffering for hours.

What gluten does for cookies, is that it helps hold things together. There have been countless attempts to make the perfect gluten-free cookie when then it crumbles in your hand and jams up your mouth with an occasional crumb going down the wrong pipe. It boils down to the flour. In this gluten-free no-back cookie recipe with coconut, I just took out the flour!

Easy Peasy Making

This is probably my favorite gluten-free savory cookie. No baking is involved here, you could easily make these cookies camping, or even backpacking in the cool mountains. These decadent biscuits melt in your mouth and feel sinful to eat, but they aren’t! I don’t know if I’d say they’re good for you, but you can be the judge of that.

Peanut Butter Benefits

Peanut butter has been around since only 1904. It was introduced at the St. Louis World’s Fair. It was used as a protein source for World War I and World War II.

Not only is peanut butter a good source of protein, but it also contains omega-3 fats. It is a good source of vitamin E, vitamin B6, manganese, and magnesium. Believe it or not, it also has copper in it!

Peanut butter is good for your heart; it can help reduce the risk of diabetes, and it even has some anticancer properties.

Where to buy peanut butter

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The best kind of peanut butter to buy is organic. Organic peanut butter doesn’t have any added trans fats, sugars, or other hydrogenated oils. When those extra things are added to peanut butter, there are no health benefits; in fact, it’s the opposite. Hydrogenated oils increase omega-6s, and when you get too much of a good thing (omega-6) it makes it bad for your body and may cause weight gain along with inflammation. Yikes!

Spend the extra money and buy organic! Organic peanut butter is simply organic peanuts and salt. Please read the labels on your peanut butter, it makes a huge difference. I personally like Costco brand, Kirkland Organic Peanut Butter. Plus, I store my peanut butter in the refrigerator.

What’s up with Coconut?

Coconut is so incredibly healthy for you. These cookies have coconut oil, coconut milk, and organic shredded coconut. Coconut oil may be 90% saturated fat, but the highest in content of lauric acid, which in a twisted way can help improve the level of lipids traveling through the blood. That means it is likely it will reduce the risk of heart disease! That sounds pretty technical, but I wanted to share this with you because I eat this every day. Why not add it this gluten-free no-back cookie recipe.

15 Benefits of Coconut

1. It helps prevent heart disease and high blood pressure.

2. It can help treat Alzheimer’s.

3. It BE good for the ole liver.

4. Reduces Inflammation and Arthritis

5. It’s antibacterial, antifungal, and antiviral! Works well on cuts and skin issues.

6. Improves energy

7. It helps the gut heal by destroying bad bacteria and that nasty Candida (yeast overgrowth).

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8. Prevents Osteoporosis by helping to increase the absorption of calcium and magnesium.

9. It’s Anti-aging. Now we’re talkin’!

10. It helps balance hormones naturally. Now we’re really talkin’!

11. Thickens hair and helps with dandruff. It’s a natural hair conditioner.

12. It helps improve sleep when consumed every day.

13. It can help with environmental allergies if you rub the inside of your nose with it.

14. Speeds up the healing of sunburn.

15. It’s an amazing oil to make homemade popcorn with. Just sub coconut oil in place of your other oil. Yum!

Sources: Dr. Axe, Wellness Mama

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What kind to buy?

When buying coconut oil get the Virgin, Unrefined. We get our coconut oil from Costco because we go through quite a bit. If you don’t have a Costco Membership, no problem! You can get it on Amazon. I highly recommend this product, especially if you use a lot of it. If you don’t use a whole lot, get a smaller container at the store.

Let’s get to the gluten-free no-bake cookie recipe with coconut!

no-bake cookies with coconut

No Bake Cookies with Coconut

Gluten-free, Dairy-free delicus no-bake cookies with coconut! Health snack filled with comfort.
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Keyword cookies, dairy-free, egg-free, gluten-free, no-bake, peanut butter
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 1 minute
Chill for at least an hour 1 hour
Servings 8
Calories 200kcal
Cost $3.00


  • 1/4 cup Coconut Oil
  • 1/4 cup Maple Syrup
  • 3 Tbsp Honey
  • 1/4 cup Coconut Milk
  • 1/3 cup Creamy Peanut Butter
  • 1 tsp Vanilla
  • 2 Tbsp Cocoa Powder
  • 1+1/2 cup Gluten-free Rolled Oats
  • 1/3 cup Unsweetened Shredded Coconut


  • Get all your ingredients out and ready to go. This goes kind of quickly!
  • Size a sheet of parchment paper or wax paper over a cookie sheet.
  • With a food processor or handheld pulser, process the oats with a few good pluses. This makes the oats easier to chew and digest. If you like the oats whole, skip this step.
  • In a saucepan, turn heat to medium and add the coconut oil.
  • Slowly add the maple syrup, honey, coconut milk, and peanut butter. Using a whisk, stir the mixture.
  • Add the peanut butter and continue to whisk. Then add the cocoa. Keep whisking!
  • Bring to a slow boil for 3 minutes, then remove from heat.
  • Stir in the oats.
  • Add the shredded coconut.
  • Using a spoon, scoop mixture onto the cookie sheet to desired size, cover with plastic wrap and put in the refrigerator.
  • After at least 60 minutes, remove and put cookies in a baggie for storage in the frig. Or, simply enjoy your amazing no-bake cookies!
    no bake cookies


no-bake cookies with coconut
Calories are an educational guess, this depends on how large you make your cookies. I based the calories on a cookie the size of the palm of a hand or 3-inch diameter. 
If you want to cool the cookies faster, put them in the freezer for about 30 – 40 minutes.Store cookies in the frig. for up to 10 days. 
NOTE: I experimented with organic sugar cane instead of syrup and honey, and it didn’t work for me. While in the saucepan it became frothy and gave the cookies a grainy texture and burnt-like taste. 

All in all

This gluten-free no-bake cookie recipe with coconut is a perfect 3:00 pm snack at work, after school, or even for breakfast. I’ve been known to eat one after a workout, why not? It’s healthy, full of protein, and has just the right amount of carbs and benefits from coconut. Note, I have not tried these with almond butter or cashew butter, but I’m sure it would work. Enjoy!

Be sure to check out my other sweet treats!

All are gluten-free and dairy-free. Simple and delicious.

The Best Gluten-Free Granola Bar Recipe EVER!

Gluten-Free Molasses Cookies with Peanut Butter

Christy’s Gluten-Free Chocolate Chip Cookies

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By CT Copyright © 2021 Simplify Firefly. All Rights Reserved.
How to help your digestive system: 10 triggers to watch for.

How to help your digestive system: 10 triggers to watch for.

If there is one thing in how to help your digestive system it is to figure out what is causing the digestive issues. When it comes to gut cramping and rushing to the bathroom it’s usually a bad burrito and clears up in a few days on its own, but when the bowels howl longer than normal something needs more attention. In my own personal experience with IBD (Intestinal Bowel Disease) over the years and with hours upon hours of research, I’ve found 10 major triggers that can set people off. If I would have known these triggers earlier, I would have healed a lot faster. My hope is that this post will save you a lot of time and frustration. Let’s take a look at what might be triggering your lingering symptoms so you can get on the right intestinal track.

Step 1 in how to help your digestive system

Ever since I started to talk about my own digestive distress, more and more people have opened up to me about theirs. Let’s face it, talking about cramps and diarrhea is not something people want to talk about, but these things DO need to be talked about. A huge part of healing is understanding what’s going on and why. Knowing this, not only gives you peace of mind, but a solid direction to focus on in your healing journey.  Discovering your cause can be a frustrating maze but it could be as simple as asking around and doing some research. You never know what someone is going to say that could be your ticket to healing.

Let me reiterate that when people are silent about their chronic digestive system it is only going to make them worse.  What ends up happening is despair, loss of hope, loneliness, and settling with chronic misery. Self-confidence goes down the drain and limitations in physical activity and social outings go on the wayside. You do not deserve to live like this!

Listen up, this is super important

Another thing about “ignoring’ this issue is that if left untreated, it will lead to other misery down the road; for instance, vitamin absorption problems, depression, stress, hair thinning, and more. I’ve been there, done that, with tears and frustration and a sink full of hair. There is nothing worse than not understanding what is going on and if you’ll ever get better! So please, listen up to how to help your digestive system if you want to get better.

I HIGHLY recommend reading the “Triggers and What to do for IBD: How to identify and heal for good” ebook. I wish I had this information when I was having problems. This book would have saved me LOADS of time and frustration. Download, read, and heal. It’s a quick read packed with answers that will help you.

Encouragement Coaching Moment

First off, you will get better. If you want it bad enough, you will go into remission and will live a life of no more cramping, no more rushing to the bathroom, and no more uncertainty. The work it takes to heal is totally worth it. It is possible to manage this thing without having to take any pharmaceuticals! The body will heal if you help it.

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Your healing journey begins with this

My journey has been quite a road. I am not a doctor or gastroenterologist, but I have experienced firsthand what it’s like to carry colitis and all that goes with it. With an un-relentless drive to figure it out, I’ve tried many different treatments and have spent hours and hours researching (probably too much time) in getting to the bottom of my imbalance. After all, when something isn’t right, things aren’t aligned. So this bullcrap all starts with what threw you off in the first place.

How to help your digestive system starts with questions.

Ask yourself the following questions and maybe even jot down your answers on a piece of paper. I have kept a “digestive journey” journal where I write down my flares, what might have happened before it, and what I tried to manage it. Answer these questions to help you figure your digestive issues out.

Was I recently sick? Stomach bug? Food poisoning? Bacteria infection?

What are my hormones doing?

Did I eat something funny? Eat too much of something? Eat the same thing every day?

Have I been taking NSAIDs (ibuprofen, Tylenol, etc) on a regular basis?

Has my gallbladder been acting up? Do I still have my gallbladder?

What is my stress level been these days?

What exactly am I eating everyday?

Is my back out of whack?

Answering these questions might help you get on the right track from the get-go. It’s important to go over these things with your doctor or functional doctor before diving into a treatment plan.

A closer look at digestive triggers

Let’s take a closer look at what could be the cause of your cramps, bloating, diarrhea, loose stools, and stinky gas. When you have a flare, it is usually caused by a trigger. For instance, when I get a flare I can usually figure out what brought it on. Most of the time it was something I ate. But other times it’s been hormones, stress, or even a change in weather or time zones. The body is so amazing when it comes to healing; it wants to be aligned and working as it should. When it’s not, it tells you through pain or digestive distress. Let’s look at a few things that could be causing the alarms to go off.

Again, I’m not a doctor, nor am I trying to be. I share the information I have either experienced myself or am extremely interested in, and then I keep things simple and give you the nutshell version. This post is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Please consult your physician before jumping into new things. This post is for information purposes only and to help you figure out what you might have going on.


What is IBS anyway? IBS, or Irritable Bowel Syndrome, is simply an angry bowel. For instance, when I was a runner I would occasionally get really bad “poop cramps”, this is what IBS is, cramps out of the blue followed by urgency. With my story, the doctors first diagnosed me with IBS, since I knew what IBS was, I had a hard time respecting their diagnoses. Come to find out what I learned through the years is that if doctors can’t diagnose your digestive problem, they’ll usually say it’s IBS. When I went back to the doctor’s office I asked for a colonoscopy which gave us the real answer. So stick with your gut when you go to the doctor and ask a lot of questions; if they say it’s IBS, ask them why they think so.

IBD Triggers and what to do
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Food sensitivities: dairy, gluten, eggs, soy, grains, white sugar, fructose.

Food sensitivities are HUGE triggers that lead to digestive system issues. The number one ‘problem food’ is dairy. So many people have issues with dairy; in fact, I heard everyone is a little sensitive to dairy. Lactose intolerant or sensitivity to whey or casein (a protein found in milk) are a few roadblocks to dairy digestion.

The second big one is gluten. Gluten is the protein found in wheat. People who have Celiac disease cannot have any gluten. Most people with digestive issues steer clear of gluten as well. This bugger is hard to digest and wreaks havoc on your innards. Talk about inflammation! It’s just not worth it folks.

Other popular food sensitivities and allergies are nuts, eggs, soy, white sugar, nightshades, and fructose.

How do you know if you have a food sensitivity?

Pay attention to how you feel after you consume it. Do you have a headache? Is your skin itchy or throat? Heartburn? Do you have gas cramps within an hour of eating? Dizzy? How about your nose, is it runny? What about severe congestion? Are you rushing to the bathroom?

Hormones: can’t live with them, can’t live without them.

This is a tough one to figure out. Hormones play a factor in digestion? Women get a chance to pay close attention to our system every month (if we’re still menstruating). Both progesterone and prostaglandins can mess with your bowels. Even though prostaglandins focus on your uterus, they can also affect the colon that is nearby. Plus our friend, Progesterone, can pilot our trip to the bathroom more often.

On the flip side, when estrogen declines, cortisol rises, which can slow the digestion process down and cause constipation…a.k.a. too little progesterone. Without the proper balance of estrogen and progesterone, your bowels get a bit confused.


Who knew that a kink in your back could cause issues in digestion and elimination. The vertebrae in your spine are connected to nerves that send signals to the digestive system which includes the stomach and intestines. When the vertebrae are off or twisted this can affect those nerves and give you symptoms like bloating, gas, diarrhea, constipation, and bladder issues. Before you head to the chiro, talk to your doctor or physical therapist.

A bug

There are some pesky bugs out there. Bacterial infections, viruses, and parasites, all of these cause inflammation. And when inflammation is present and not calmed down, irritation of the intestinal lining is sure to happen. E-coli, Guardia, Norovirus, and the stomach bug are the main culprits of diarrhea, not to mention vomiting. Yes, even though these are short-lived 1-7 days on average, they can mess up your gut flora and cause silent inflammation in your digestive tract. 

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How to help your digestive system? Reduce stress

Constant stress on the body and mind can be a doozy for your digestion. It can throw your whole system off! From muscle tightness, knots in your gut, to indigestion, stress can physically hurt you. One thing you can do right now in answering the question of how to help your digestive system is to learn some stress-relieving techniques.


Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAID) like acetaminophen and ibuprofen if taken on a regular basis can actually cause inflammation in your intestines. Yep. Too much of a good thing can backfire. This is true for anything, even food! When inflammation is present, cramps and diarrhea are sure to show up.

Lack of probiotics and digestive enzymes

Sometimes our bodies need a little help getting back on track. Probiotics and/or digestive enzymes are here to save the day. Getting the right bugs in your gut makes a big difference in your digestive health; a game-changer for most folks. The hard part is figuring out what probiotics or digestive enzymes you’re lacking. This is especially important if you’ve been on a regimen of antibiotics. Antibiotics kill everything in your gut, so it’s important to get your gut back up and running as it should. Incorporating probiotics after your antibiotic treatment will help you bounce back a little quicker.

Probiotics may need to be taken every day depending on your condition. The added bonus is they also help your immune system and even skin.

If you have heartburn or stomach acid issues please read my post about stomach acid, it goes more in-depth about digestive enzymes and food combining, you will get a digestive enzyme chart as well!

Bile acid

This sounds kind of gross but excess bile acid from your digestive system can cause diarrhea. Bile acid diarrhea (BAD) or bile acid malabsorption (BAM) is what can cause that urgency, watery, and bloating feeling. Bile acids are produced by your good ole liver and stored in your gallbladder. Their job is to help break down fats to put it simply. For people who have had their gallbladder removed, you may experience a bit of diarrhea…at least now you know why. However, sometimes the body can get confused and cause large amounts of bile acids to exit into the large intestine, hence, diarrhea. Normally there is very little bile acid in the large intestine. I highly recommend you continue to investigate this; check out for starters.  


Where do we start with yeast? Is it good or bad? Well, if you get too much of it, it can trigger diarrhea. Along with yeast-associated diarrhea, you may see other signs of too much yeast by looking at your tongue. If it has a white coat on it, you probably have more yeast than you need. You could also have sinus infections, fatigue, and skin fungal issues. The medical term for an overabundance of yeast is Candida. Check out Dr. Axe about Candida.

In conclusion: how to help your digestive system

WHEW! That was a lot to take in. But how to help your digestive system is no joke. From my personal experience, I wish I had this post in my hands when it all started in me. Again, I can’t tell you how many hours I researched diarrhea. I’ve probably clocked as many hours as a gastroenterologist. Anyway, healing is possible, but you must want it to happen. And if you really want it bad enough, you’ll be able to manage it without drugs and their nasty side effects. You got this. Healing takes time so keep moving forward. To help you get started in healing your gut I wrote this mini book: Triggers and What to do for IBD: How to Identify and Heal for Good. It only takes a few minutes to read, but could contain your path to healing! Download it today and start reading!

Please note: talk to your doctor or find a functional doctor before you jump into anything new. If you want to go the natural way without prescriptions, I’ve had success with a functional doctor.

Before you go, check out these other great posts:

Chronically sick? Choose the right water filter.

Food Combining Does What? Manage stomach acid now!

9 Gift Ideas to Warm the Body & Soul

Quick Healthy Meals On a Budget? 5 Criteria

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By CT Copyright © 2022 Simplify Firefly. All Rights Reserved
The BEST Gluten-Free Granola Bar Recipe EVER!

The BEST Gluten-Free Granola Bar Recipe EVER!

This is by far the BEST homemade gluten-free granola bar recipe EVER! These granola bars are actually healthy for you. There is no added sugar other than natural honey. They are also gluten-free, dairy-free, egg-free, and nut-free! My gluten-free granola bar recipe delivers chewy with a little crisp, and the chocolate chunks are amazing!

no-bake gluten-free granola bars on a plate
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What to know about oats

My digestive system is pretty sensitive, so I need to be careful of what I eat and how much I eat. These granola bars are oat-based. I used verified gluten-free rolled oats. If you need to be gluten-free, make sure the oats say “gluten-free”. Many oats when processed can have cross-contamination with wheat and other grains; therefore, are not considered gluten-free. There are many oat-based cereals that claim they are gluten-free, but when you check out the ingredients, the oats are not certified gluten-free. Please be careful out there if you have celiacs or are super sensitive to gluten, oats might be a trigger for you.

For my granola bars I like to give the oats a little pulse in the food processor, it just helps me digest them easier. But, it’s totally okay with going the full oat route. Use whatever you like.

More about oats

Oats have tremendous health benefits. They are full of manganese, which is great for bones, muscles, and tendons. It also helps reduce inflammation and regulate blood sugar. For more benefits of manganese, you can check out Healthline.

Rolled oats also have phosphorus, magnesium, and copper to name a few big ones. All and all, oats are high in antioxidants and fiber, which help in weight loss, blood sugar levels, lower cholesterol, and they’re good for your heart. This grain is a good one. If you need to be gluten-free, make sure the oats say they are gluten-free.

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Gluten-free granola bar recipe add-ons!

These no-bake gluten-free granola bars are not only great snacks for the family, but if you’re running low on time, slab some peanut butter on them and you’ve got lunch! I did this today…so good. My husband prefers to put goat cheese on his. Really anything that spreads would be delicious on these yum yums.

There are a few other ingredients I want to bring to your attention. Of course, you can add a lot of different things to these, like dried cranberries, ground flaxseed, peanuts, almonds, walnuts, or diced dried apricots. If your budget allows you, definitely try dried cherries!

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Recipe secrets. Shhh!

The ‘No-bake” is super important for this recipe. I tried this recipe by baking it in the oven and it did not work! I actually made granola, so if you’re looking for granola, just bake the recipe on a cookie sheet at 350 for 20 minutes. However, if you want true bars, melt the wet ingredients in a saucepan then mix them all together!

For my recipe, to get that extra crisp, you must add the gluten-free crisp rice cereal. Yes, this is one of my secret ingredients. Please don’t tell anyone. 😊 The crisp rice really makes these granola bars come together. I use Malt-O-Meal Crispy Rice Cereal. It comes in a large bag, so if you’re a fan of rice-crispy treats, you’ll be all set. The only place I’ve been able to find it is at Walmart. It’s a lot cheaper than the gluten-free crisp rice from health food stores.

Another secret ingredient is ground cloves. Don’t you just love the smell of cloves? When I was little my friend, Jill, would stick an apple full of cloves and hang it in their kitchen. It smelled SO good! Cloves give this recipe a warm comfort feeling, in fact, the cloves might be the culprit of why these are so dang delicious!

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One more ingredient that will make a big difference: chocolate chunks. Because of all my food sensitivities, I spend the extra money and get the Enjoy Life chocolate chunks. These chocolate chunks or chips are free from major allergens including dairy, gluten, soy, and nuts. The chucks in my gluten-free granola bars really give them amazing texture. You, of course, can use the chocolate chips or mini chocolate chips, but if you get a chance, try it with chunks!

More you should know about the recipe

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The trick to this gluten-free granola bar recipe is to add enough coconut oil. Coconut is not a tree nut, it is a fruit. My son has a nut allergy, and he can eat coconut. Think of it this way, if the coconut was a nut, wouldn’t the ‘nut’ be formed like walnut or pecan? Instead, coconut is meat that surrounds water. This, of course, is my opinion. I know some of you disagree with me. But in this recipe, coconut is not a nut. For the coconut oil, I use Kirkland’s from Costco. I always have it on hand.

Coconut has a slew of health benefits. I have another recipe that lists how good coconut is for you, if you want to check it out you can find that here.

As for the sweetness of the homemade gluten-free granola bar recipe, I chose honey to do the job. There is no other sugar added to this recipe. No brown sugar, no white sugar, and definitely no high fructose corn syrup! Just all-natural honey. Now. If you want to experiment with maple syrup, go for it! There are some recipes where I put half honey and half maple syrup. I just like to try to avoid white sugar if possible.

gluten-free granola bars

The Most Amazing Gluten-free Granola Bars Ever!

Simple to make with natural ingredients, gluten-free, dairy-free, no-bake, and delicious. This is what a homemade granola bar should taste like!
Course Breakfast, Dessert, Snack
Cuisine American
Keyword dairy-free, dairy-free granola bars, gluten-free, gluten-free granola bars, granola bar, homemade granola bars, no-bake granola bars, nut-free granola bars
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 4 minutes
Total Time 14 minutes
Servings 12 servings
Calories 200kcal
Cost $6


  • 8×8 pan
  • saucepan
  • large bowl


  • 1 1/2 cup gluten-free oats
  • 1 cup gluten-free crisp rice (cereal)
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp ground cloves
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup coconut oil – heaping 1/2 cup
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/4 cup + 2 tbsp Honey
  • 1/4 cup raisins or dried fruit
  • 1/4 cup nut-free roasted sunflower seeds
  • 1/2 cup dairy-free, nut-free chocolate chunks or chips


  • Line your 8 x 8 pan with parchment paper
    lined pan with parchment paper
  • Pulse the oats a few times if you would like them in smaller bits…I prefer this. Otherwise, it's okay to keep the oats whole.
  • Grab a large bowl and put in the oats, cinnamon, cloves, and salt. Stir with spoon or clean hands. I prefer to use my hands.
    oats and spices in bowl
  • Add the dried fruit, crisp rice, sunflower seeds, and chocolate chunks to the bowl. Stir.
  • Combine coconut oil, vanilla, and honey into a saucepan over medium heat. Stir occasionally until the mixture is bubbling. Remove from heat.
  • Take the honey/oil mixture and pour over the dry ingredients. Stir using a wooden spoon or spatula.
  • Once everything is coated with the honey/oil mixture, dump it all into the lined 8 x 8 pan. PRESS FIRMLY INTO THE PAN. This is how they stay together. Super important!
    granola bars in a pan
  • Cover the pan with foil and place it in the refrigerator for at least an hour. Two hours+ is ideal. Once formed, remove the block of mixture from the pan and cut it into bars to the size of your liking.
  • Store the granola bars in a Zip-Lock bag or air-tight container in the frig. for up to 7 days.


Please note the calories and cost are estimated. These would be more expensive if you went the organic route. And the calories will differ depending on the size you cut them…not to mention other ingredients you may add.
These bars are excellent on their own, but feel free to add peanuts, almonds, walnuts, or other nuts for a meater bar. You can experiment by adding peanut butter, if you do, put it in the saucepan with the honey/oil mixture. Dried cranberries, chopped dried apricots, or dried cherries would be amazing in this granola bar recipe as well.  Enjoy! 

In Conclusion

Having a teenage son and trying to get him to make wise menu options can be challenging. However, having this gluten-free granola bar recipe on hand has really helped. I hope you enjoy these no-bake gluten-free granola bars as much as my family has. Enjoy!

Be sure to check out my other sweet treats!

All are gluten-free and dairy-free. Simple and delicious.

No-bake Cookies with Coconut!

Gluten-Free Molasses Cookies with Peanut Butter

Christy’s Gluten-Free Chocolate Chip Cookies

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By CT Copyright © 2021 Simplify Firefly. All Rights Reserved.

Brat n Bacon Stew Recipe

Brat n Bacon Stew Recipe

The combination of brats and bacon is amazing! Add them into a stew and you got yourself a hearty winter meal. This simple and tasty bacon stew is loaded with flavor. It might not be the leanest, but if you want to splurge on a cozy winter evening, this is a stew you should try!

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More about yams and butternut squash

As for nutrition for this stew, we’re getting protein from the brats and the bacon, we’re getting carbohydrates with the noodles or mashed potatoes we serve with it, and we’re getting a slew of vitamins with the add-ins.

Yams or sweet potatoes. There is a difference and you can use whichever one you want for this stew. As for yams, their nutrition label looks great. Yams are a great source of manganese, copper, and potassium. They have a little bit of folate and magnesium too. Yams are an excellent source of fiber and vitamin c. These orange tubers may help our brain function, ease symptoms of menopause, help manage blood sugar, and are a great alternative to white potatoes.

If you go the Butternut Squash route, it’s easy on digestion and has great flavor. This squash is a good source of calcium, potassium, vitamin A, E, folate, B-6. It helps lower blood pressure, cancer risk, and asthma. Butternut squash is also great for your hair, skin, and immune system.

Tools I love for this dish

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The number one tool for this dish is the trusty cast-iron pan. It gives the food an extra layer of flavor. Believe me, I’ve done a lot of research on what pan is the healthiest to cook with. One that won’t leach chemicals, aluminum, or Teflon into my food and the cast iron wins every time! It may be heavy, but it’s extremely low maintenance. In fact, if you’re anemic (iron deficient) it helps put a little iron in your system.

One more thing about the cast iron pan, it’s SUPER easy to clean, no soap required. Seriously, no soap, you’ll wreck the ‘seasoning’ of the pan. I highly recommend getting a cast iron pan, even if it’s the small one. You can find them on Amazon.

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Other ingredients and variations

As for other ingredients, I recommend a leaf to two of basil, chopped fresh tomato, or chopped kale to give it some color and an extra nutrition boost.

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The piece that brings it all together for me is the olive oil. I use a little bit in the pan, and if I serve gluten-free Ramen noodles I add olive oil to the noodles with a dash of salt. I absolutely love the flavor it brings to each ingredient. My favorite, hands-down olive oil is California Ranch Olive Oil. It’s 100% olive oil. With that said, be sure you get an olive oil you trust is 100%. We don’t need no stinkin’ canola or vegetable oil fillers. I have more information on what oils are best here.

On to the recipe!

Pork stew with bacon

Brat n Bacon Stew

This bacon n brat stew brings amazing flavor to the table, easy to make, quickly gobbled up.
Course dinner, Main Course, Soup
Cuisine American
Keyword bacon, brats, dairy-free, egg-free, gluten-free, nut-free, stew, stew with bacon
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Servings 4 people
Calories 309kcal
Cost $16


  • 1 large sauce pan
  • 1 Cast Iron Pan optional


  • 4 links brats, any kind you like
  • 1/2 package pork bacon
  • 3/4 cup finely chopped celery sticks (about 2 stalks)
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped white onion
  • 1 1/2 cup pre-baked yams cubed or butternut squash
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp pepper for taste
  • 1 1/2 cup filtered water
  • 1/2 cup white wine (this is optional)


  • Chop the onion, celery, yams (or squash) and make sure they're ready to go.
  • Slice the brats into 1/4 inch slices (chuncks) with skins removed.
  • Slice the bacon into small 1/4 inch to 1/2 inch slices.
  • Put the 2 TBSP of olive oil in the saucepan or cast iron pan, turn on the burner to medium heat. Braise the brat slices.
  • When brats are halfway braised, add the bacon and cook lightly. Do not over cook the bacon so that it is crispy, we want the bacon flimsy. If you used a cast iron pan, transfer cooked brat slices and bacon sliced into a saucepan.
  • Add celery and onion and cook slightly. Stir while cooking.
  • Add the water and garlic powder and bring to a boil. You can add the yams at this time if you want, but I recommend adding them a little later since they are pre-cooked.
  • Once boiling, turn down to a simmer with a top on the pan but slightly cracked.
  • After 10 minutes, add the pre-cooked yam cubes or squash, along with a dash of black pepper, and add the wine (wine is optional).
  • Simmer for the remaning time, checking on it frequently. If it looks like it needs more water, add just a 1/2 cup at a time.
  • Allow to cool to your liking, serve over mashed potatoes, pasta, or Ramen noodles.


brat and bacon stew
The calories are per serving, which is about 1 1/2 cups; this is an estimate and depends on the type of brats and bacon you choose to use. 
This dish is amazing with Ramen noodles and a side of spinach. Add some fresh tomatoes to give it some color, or a nice piece of garlic toast! 

Check out my other simple and delicious recipes that your family will love. All are gluten-free and dairy-free!

Simple Bacon-Wrapped Chicken Leg Recipe

Better Belly Steak Recipe

Simple Game Day Sloppy Joe Sandwiches

Fried Walleye Recipe

Salmon in a Skillet Recipe

By CT Copyright © 2022 Simplify Firefly. All Rights Reserved.
Versatile Grain-Free Pasta Salad Recipe

Versatile Grain-Free Pasta Salad Recipe

Try this amazingly simple grain-free pasta salad recipe. Only seven ingredients and easy to make. Plus it has bacon! I love this recipe because it is versatile. Going gluten-free is hard enough, but grain-free is even more challenging. The beauty of this grain-free pasta salad recipe is that you can have for the main meal, use it as a Meatless Monday recipe, or you can serve it as a side dish to your favorite protein.

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What’s so good about grain-free?

Let’s face it, grains can give your body inflammation. Yep. There is something about the grain that can wreak havoc on your digestive system, allergy response, skin, and even mood! If you have IBD, colitis, IBS, or Crohn’s disease, going grain-free might help your situation.

Chickpea pasta is simply chickpeas. There are no grains involved. My family uses Banza Rotini. The last time I looked, it was still available at Costco. Otherwise, you can look in your local grocer or get it online.

Some chickpea nutritional facts include being an excellent source of manganese and a great source of folate to name the top two. Manganese is important for your bone health, nerves, and is good for your thyroid to name a few. Folate is super important for red blood cell formation and healthy cell growth and function. It also helps reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s disease and lowers blood pressure. Chickpeas in general are a good source of plant protein.

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Chickpea benefits

Some great chickpea benefits include helping to control blood sugar levels. They also help with weight loss by helping you feel full and to curb your cravings. Chickpeas are full of fiber which helps with digestion and to keep things moving! There are more benefits that you can find at Dr. Axe.

Grain-free Pasta Salad Recipe Go-to’s

This pasta salad recipe is awesome for lunches, camping meal ideas, main dishes, and side-dish. My family enjoys it with roasted chicken. Serve it warm or chilled, you could even add a dollop of hummus on top! This is a kid-friendly dish, meaning, there are not super bold flavors. Yet, you can make this dish you own by adding your favorite ingredients like diced cucumbers, cherry tomatoes, olives, or avocados.

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Let’s get to the recipe!

grain-free pasta salad

Versatile Grain-Free Pasta Salad

Simple, delicious, and nutritious Grain-Free pasta salad recipe. Easy to make, only 7 simple ingredients, and a great side dish to compliment any protein. Serve alone as a "Meatless Monday" dish. This recipe gives you the flexiblity to be creative!
Course dinner, lunch, Main Course, Salad, Side Dish
Cuisine Mediterranean
Keyword gluten-free pasta salad, pasta salad, pasta salad no mayo, simple pasta salad
Prep Time 35 minutes
Cook Time 12 minutes
Total Time 47 minutes
Servings 6 people
Calories 410kcal
Cost $5


  • 2 cups Banza Rotini Made from Chickpeas Grain-free Pasta
  • 1/2 package bacon, cooked and chopped
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped broccoli
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 cup Greek salad dressing, your choice, but prefer "Ken's Simply Vinaigrette Greek"
  • 3/4 cup feta cheese or non-dairy feta cheese
  • 1 tsp salt to taste


  • Boil pasta in a large saucepan and cook until noodles are soft. Drain pasta and wash cold water over it. Dump cooked pasta into a bowl.
  • Lay bacon strips on a lined cookie sheet and bake at 350 for 20 minutes. Remove cooked bacon and blot with paper towels, then chop into smaller pieces.
  • Chop washed broccoli. You may either leave broccoli raw or you can steam it, your choice.
  • Add broccoli and bacon to the pasta bowl and toss.
  • Add olive oil and salad dressing then toss.
  • Sprinkle salt on top, and add feta cheese. Tossing is optional.


This gluten-free pasta, grain-free pasta, is an excellent source of protein. It’s a fantastic main meal or side dish. Add tomatoes, olives, or diced avocados to make it your own. Use any kind of pasta to make for your family. Simple, delicious, and good for your body. Serve it with roasted chicken and you’ve got yourself a meal. 

Hope you enjoy this amazing recipe. I know your body will love you for it. Be sure to check out my other great gluten-free recipes to go along with this dish!

Simple Bacon-Wrapped Chicken Leg Recipe

Better Belly Steak Recipe

Simple Game Day Sloppy Joe Sandwiches

Fried Walleye Recipe

Kale Salad Recipe

By CT Copyright © 2021 Simplify Firefly. All Rights Reserved.

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