Sunflower Cups: Photo Essay

“Necessity is the mother of invention.”
English Proverb


Sunflower Cups do taste kind of like Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, but healthier!

This recipe is NOT safe for someone on the Specific Carbohydrate Diet or GAPS.

I was trying to make some Dr Axe’s Salted Paleo Sunbutter Cups. Yes, I’ve made some changes to the original recipe. I did have a few problems. I didn’t have any waxed muffin liners or even a muffin tin. I did have some wax paper and some masking tape, so I made up my own wax liners by wrapping the wax paper around a metal tea strainer. I then used the masking tape to hold the shape. My DIY waxed muffin liners worked great!

Sunflower Cups

1 1/4c organic sunflower seeds, ground
6-8 organic dates, pitted and soaked
1-3T organic coconut oil
1T homemade vanilla extract
1tsp sea salt

Chocolate Topping
1 70-80% organic chocolate bar, melted
1T organic coconut oil

Make some wax paper liners by cutting the wax paper into squares. Fold the wax paper squares around some household item that’s a suitable size and shape. Tape the wax paper to keep the shape and put the liners into a glass tray.

Bring some water to a boil. Place the dates in a small bowl and pour just enough boiling water to cover the dates. Cover the bowl and let cool. Pitt the dates. In a food processor, grind the sunflower seeds to a fine texture. Add the soaked dates, coconut oil, vanilla extract and sea salt. The dough should be firm enough to roll into balls. If not, add some more ground sunflower seeds. Work all the dough into balls. Flatten each ball so it just fits into the wax paper liners.

Put the chocolate into a Pyrex measuring cup and place the cup into a sauce pan with water. Bring the water to a boil and simmer until the chocolate is just melted. Pour the melted chocolate over each flattened dough ball. Cool the tray in the freezer until the Sunflower Cups have hardened.

Twist each liner a number of times like a candy wrapper and tie with a piece of ribbon or string. Sunflower Cups make nice gifts! They do taste kind of like Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, but healthier!

One last tip. Save your Sunflower Cups’ candy wrappers if you are going camping. The wax paper makes excellent fire starter. It burns like a bugger!


Collect needed supplies: wax paper, scissors, tape and a kitchen item with the right size and shape.


Fold the wax paper squares around some household item that’s a suitable size and shape.


Tape the wax paper to keep the shape and put the liners into a glass tray.


The dough should be firm enough to roll into balls.


Melt the chocolate in a Pyrex cup in some simmering water.


Flatten each ball so it just fits into the wax paper liners.


Place each flatten ball into the liner. If the dough is too big, just re-roll and try again.


Just melt the chocolate. Don’t overdo it.


Pour the melted chocolate over the flattened dough balls. Put the tray into the freezer to cool completely before wrapping.


Sunflower Cups are a nice, healthy gift you will feel good about giving!

Car Camping, Special Diets and Nourishing Traditional Foods


Making hot drinks and breakfast at a rest stop in the United States.

Recently, I did a 5000km(3000 miles) road trip in the United States. Travel for someone on a restrictive diet can be difficult. I would like to share some of my strategies for finding and preparing food on the road. Even if you don’t have a special diet, these tips may help save money on food while traveling.

  1. Be aware of restricted foods before crossing any borders. I found a list of food items for the border police is very helpful and speeds up the process. Also, have a list of items with prices to declare for the trip back.
  2. Bring water for your trip. I bring a minimum of 2.5 gallons per person. I refill the containers along the way and always have a full supply of water. I also carry two stainless steel water bottles for easy use and refill them daily.
  3. Bring supplies from home. Bringing food from home helps keep one’s diet as close to normal as possible. This avoids stress from changes in diet that may result in illness. Typical supplies are: olive oil, apple cider vinegar, honey, coconut oil, creamed coconut, barley miso, chocolate bits, cocoa nibs, macha, coffee and tea. I also brought homemade salad dressing, homemade beef jerky, homemade nut granola, homemade coconut creamer and homemade mushroom broth.
  4. Bring a cooler with ready-made food that’s easy to eat. My ready-made food lasted for the first three days of the trip. My ready-made food included: bean salad, meatloaf, kimchi, butter, cheese and cream. Bring food that everyone enjoys.
  5. Have some way to heat water. Have enough kitchen equipment to cook on the road. Fill thermoses and travel mugs with coffee, tea and hot water in the morning for use throughout the day.
  6. Use new technology to find local, organic food. Finding food along the way can be tough but with new technology it’s getting much easier. Smart phones can search out organic food stores and other local food producers in whatever area you are visiting. If you don’t use a smart phone finding places to provision before you leave home is a must.

Here’s my water heating system. I use a simple alcohol stove fueled by methyl hydrate. The front of the cooking box can be closed up to stop the wind from blowing out the stove.

Over the years I have used many different types of stoves and camping kitchen equipment. Right now I’m using a small alcohol stove fueled with 99.9% methyl hydrate. You can find methyl hydrate at the paint or hardware store. I carry two stainless steel pots. One small pot and one larger pot that can boil 1.5L of water. A French press is good for making coffee. Stainless steel thermoses and insulated travel mugs are a great way to keep coffee, tea and hot water warm all day.

Recently, I have started cooking in a cardboard box. This may seem like a strange idea but the box is good for storing all the cooking gear in one place, and acts like a wind shield, making cooking faster while conserving fuel. When the box gets dirty it can be discarded. Just cut one side of the box with a box-cutter and fold up that side when cooking to reduce air flow. Of course, while cooking always watch the box so it doesn’t catch on fire!

Camping kitchen kits are great too. You can make your own or buy a ready made one. I bought a ready made one years ago and over time customized it. My customized kitchen kit has a cutting board, box-cutter, sheathed knife, 2-4 spoons, 2-4 forks, spice and condiment bottles, a lighter, scrubby pad and small bottle of dish soap for clean-up. I carry 2-4 bowl-shaped plates for cutting-on and eating which also fit inside the kitchen kit. I carry a supply of paper towels in a zip-lock bag for eating and wiping-off eating equipment for those times when there’s no water for washing-up. I’ve started carrying some small bars of soap and shampoo packages like the kind you would get staying at a hotel.


Here’s my customized, camping kitchen kit. It has everything I need to prepare simple meals. As you can see, the equipment sees heavy use. I really like having a sheathed knife to avoid damage to the kit. Bowl-shaped plates are great for liquids and can be used as a cutting board.

Here are some ideas for quick, simple snacks and meals while traveling:

  1. Soft-boil 2-3 eggs per person and serve with lots of butter, sea salt and pepper. It takes about 2 minutes to soft-boil eggs.
  2. Homemade nut granola with chopped fresh, local fruit served with yogurt.
  3. When there isn’t time to cook, add some butter, coconut oil or homemade coconut creamer in coffee or mushroom broth for a quick, filling hot drink.
  4. Eat a handful of whole nuts. On this trip, the local pistachios were fantastic.
  5. Eat a small amount of beef jerky.
  6. Eat cooked meats, chicken or fish using a lettuce leaf as a wrap. Add some fresh avocado slices for an extra filling meal.
  7. If you’re on the road and really desperate, Sally Fallon-Morell recommends eating pork rings with only added salt. I’ve found this advice has worked well for me even though I’m very sensitive to food additives.

For more information about my typical traveling rations please see: Emergency Preparation: Some Thoughts About Water and Food Security.

If you are looking for light-weight, calorie dense rations for travel please see: Emergency Preparation: Fasting or Ketogenic Rations.

Seaweed Salad


Seaweed Salad is easy to make and is great as a topping or in hot and cold salads. Homemade Seaweed Salad will not have the bright green color of commercial products due to not having artificial coloring.

This recipe is NOT safe for someone on the Specific Carbohydrate Diet or GAPS.

Seaweed Salad
1c dried wakame seaweed, sliced or chopped
1c filtered water
2T Homemade Sambal Oelek in Sesame Seed Oil
1T organic barley miso
1T local honey
1T organic traditionally fermented tamari
2T organic cider vinegar
1T organic toasted sesame seed oil
1T toasted sesame seeds or Homemade Furikake

In a bowl, soak the wakame seaweed in filtered water for 2-5 minutes. Less soaking time will leave the seaweed with more texture. In another bowl, mix the Homemade Sambal Oelek Sesame Seed Oil with the miso and honey until smooth. Then add the tamari, cider vinegar and toasted sesame seed oil. Remove the soaking water from the seaweed and add the seaweed to the sauce and mix well again. Top with the sesame seeds from the Homemade Furikake. Reserve the seaweed soaking water for making broth or sprinkle on house plants or in the indoor growing unit.

All seaweeds are high in polysaccharides which are not well tolerated by people on the SCD or GAPS. Miso and tamari are also restricted on the diet because both are made from soy or grains. If you have been on the SCD or GAPS for some time and all your symptoms have resolved you might like to experiment with different seaweeds, miso and tamari and see if you can tolerate them. Try each food one at a time for tolerance, not together in one recipe like this. Also, avoid all commercially prepared Seaweed Salads which have a bright green color from artificial coloring and additives. Homemade Seaweed Salad will have a dark green color but none of these dangerous additives.


In the winter, Seaweed Salad is a good way to spice up cabbage cooked in butter. Add some Sambal to the cabbage for extra zing.

Hot Alternations: In the winter, Seaweed Salad can be eaten hot with cooked cabbage or other vegetables or used as a topping for meat or fish.
Cold Alternations: Seaweed Salad can be eaten by itself or with finely chopped lettuce or microgreens.


Seaweed Salad is great on stir-fried vegetables or as a topping for chicken. Try some Homemade Sambal in your next stir-fry.

Here is a local source for seaweed and bonito flakes:
Cheng Kwong Grocery
Jenny Lu
864B 8th Street, Kamloops, BC V2B 2X3

Homemade Furikake

“Furikake [is] the salt and pepper of Japan. This crunchy, salty, nutty, earthy, briny topping that tastes slightly of seafood is a great all-purpose seasoning for rice, seafood, snacks, and more.”


Furikake is a traditional Japanese, multi-purpose seasoning that is easy to make and a great addition to meat, fish, seafood, rice, snacks, and assorted vegetables.

This recipe is NOT safe for someone on the Specific Carbohydrate Diet or GAPS.

Homemade Furikake

1c organic sesame seeds
1T sea salt
3T bonito flakes
1 sheet nori seaweed, cut into small pieces (optional)
In a cast iron frying pan, dry roast the sesame seeds over high or medium heat, stirring all the time. The sesame seeds will be ready when the seeds start to pop and brown slightly. Do not overcook. Remove the seeds from the fry pan immediately and pour into a bowl. Add the sea salt, bonito flakes and the optional nori. All seaweeds are high in polysaccharides which are not well tolerated by people on the SCD or GAPS. Remove the nori to make this recipe safe.

The trick to cutting the sheet of nori is to first fold the sheet of nori in half and then again into quarters, before cutting. Cut the sheet into stripes along the folds. Then cut each stripe into 1/4-1/8 inch pieces.

Here is a local source for seaweed and bonito flakes:
Cheng Kwong Grocery
Jenny Lu
864B 8th Street, Kamloops, BC V2B 2X3


Furikake is a nice topping for dressing up winter cooked cabbage.

Homemade Sambal Oelek


Sambal Oelek is a very hot sauce great for spicing up winter meals.

The recipe is safe for someone on the Specific Carbohydrate Diet or GAPS.

Sambal is a sauce that originated in Indonesian or Malaysian and can be made from many different types of chilies. Sambal Oelek means “ground chilies”. Making this sauce at home from fresh ingredients is called “Sambal Dadak”.

This recipe is made with both dried and fresh ingredients but for best results use fresh ingredients whenever possible. Be very careful when working with hot chilies as they can burn skin, eyes and lungs.

Sambal Oelek

1c organic dried red chilies
1/4c organic lemongrass
1c boiling filtered water
2/3c organic garlic, peeled
2/3c organic ginger, chopped
2/3c organic cider vinegar
1/2c local honey
1T sea salt
1 organic lime peel
Put the chilies and lemongrass into a bowl. Bring the filtered water to a boil and pour over the chilies and lemongrass. Cover and let sit for 20 minutes. In a food processor or Vita-mix machine, puree the garlic and ginger. Add the vinegar, honey, sea salt and lime peel and blend until smooth. Add the soaked chilies and lemongrass and puree. Reserve the soaking water. Add some of the soaking water if the sauce is too thick. Store in a glass jar in the fridge. The sauce will last for a year or longer if refrigerated.


For a milder Sambal Oelek add some of the sauce to raw or toasted sesame seed oil. This is raw sesame seed oil but using toasted sesame oil is very good too.

Sambal Oelek in Sesame Seed Oil

1 part Homemade Sambal Oelek
4 parts organic raw or toasted sesame oil
Sambal Oelek is a very hot sauce. One way to tame the hot flavor is to add some sauce to an oil base. Any oil can be used but raw or toasted sesame oil would be a traditional choice. If possible, allow a week for the sauce to infuse into the oil before using but the oil can be used right away. For a mild spicy flavor skim the oil from the top of the jar. For a hotter dish use a mixture of the oil and Sambal solids.