Grain Free Pecan Sandies (and a Book Review)

Grain Free Pecan Sandies

I am always on the hunt for easy, nutrient-dense, grain and dairy free recipes for my food sensitive family. How could you go wrong with a low-sugar, grain free version of the Pecan Sandie?

I must confess that this recipe is so yummy and so easy, that my family and I have enjoyed a batch of these at least once a week for the last month.

But I don’t feel guilty about it, and when you see the ingredients in these little bits of heaven, you’ll understand why.

This recipe for grain free Pecan Sandies came out of a wonderful new e-book I just finished called Nourished Baby, by Mommypotamus blogger, Heather Dessinger.

Not only does this book have some amazing grain and dairy free recipes, but it also affected me in a profound way…

My Real Food Story

We all want our babies to be healthy. And what we feed our babies—and how we feed ourselves as mothers when we are pregnant and nursing—is vitally important to their health.

I learned this too little, too late.

I really wish I had this book before I got pregnant with my daughter. My daughter was a total surprise, and so my diet and lifestyle before conception—well, let’s say, while not totally SAD, left a lot to be desired.

While I cleaned out all the obvious no-nos like coffee and blue cheese, and followed the Brewer diet during pregnancy (which is not a bad diet if you do it with whole, organic foods), I was brand new to whole food eating, exhausted and nauseous all the time, and really didn’t eat in a way that would fortify my body for the mental and physical stresses of pregnancy and childbirth. In fact, for many months, white rice and organic, store-bought yogurt were all I could keep down.

After my daughter was born, she developed severe colic and eczema, and cried unconsolably for four or five hours every night. I began frantically researching possible solutions, and I learned that, because my digestive health was so compromised, she could be allergic to foods that I had eaten via my breastmilk.

Over the course of many months, I eliminated and reintroduced dozens of foods and food groups in search of the combination that would stop the pain in my dear baby’s gut and skin.

It turns out she was allergic to almost everything I liked to eat—especially white rice and cow’s milk. Finally I found the answer to her miserable colic, eczema and green poop, but it required eliminating artificial anything, all grains, all dairy, most tropical fruits and nuts, soy and most beans, most fish and seafood, onions and garlic, celery, and a handful of other odd things.

And, after I cut these foods out of my diet so they wouldn’t be in my breastmilk, I discovered that I felt a lot better too, and about a third of my energy and health returned, just like that. And within two weeks, Babyzilla’s colic and her horrible eczema were gone! Just like that.

But living the rest of our lives on such a restricted diet was just not acceptable to me. I had to learn why we were allergic to everything, and why I barely had enough energy to pump my heart if I ate the wrong things. I had to learn to cook and I had to learn to heal.

Thus began our real food journey.

Hindsight is Always 20-20

If I had had Nourished Baby before I became pregnant five and a half years ago, I would have had the information I needed to make sure my body was up to the sacred and stressful task of providing the raw materials for the growth of a whole new person.

After all, a woman’s blood volume has to double during pregnancy to support the fetus. Imagine the level of nutrition it must take to do that, let alone build the bones, muscles, organs and skin of your developing child!

As I learned the hard way: If a steady, robust supply of raw materials for the baby’s growth is not coming from the mother’s diet, it will come from the mother’s own body

Such depletion often has consequences to the health of the mother’s teeth, skin, thyroid, adrenal and sex hormones, digestive system and even her ability to feel happy and think clearly. (How many women do you know who had issues with these areas during or after pregnancy?)

Nourished Baby shows you how to get optimal nutrition during pregnancy, nursing and weaning, ensuring both a healthy baby and a strong, resilient mother.

In hindsight, while I was eating plenty of calories, I was clearly not nourishing myself or my child how I really needed to. I’m confident that eating a nutrient dense diet like Nourished Baby recommends could have made a big difference in the health of both myself and my baby, and possibly have saved us years of digestive problems, rashes and other painful symptoms of nutrient deficiency and food sensitivity.

I know this because the same nutrient dense diet recommended in the book is exactly what is healing us today.

This is why I think every mother and would-be mother should have a copy of this important book.

While not every mother develops health problems after giving birth, and not every child develops food allergies and eczema, gestating a child is a tremendous stress on a mother’s body—a stress that can only be successfully managed with know-how and wise action.

Therefore, it is vital that every mother have the knowledge to get the very best nutrition she can during this critical time in both her and her child’s life.

Nourished Baby Helps You Optimally Nourish Your Baby

You are what you eat, as the saying goes. And so is your child.

And, according to two new genetic studies, you are what your mother, father, grandparents and great-grandparents ate, too.

In fact, we now know that diet, be it poor or healthy, can so alter the nature of one’s DNA that those changes can be passed on to the progeny.

It turns out that many so-called “genetic” diseases might not be so hereditary at all. Rather, they are simply the result of passing down poor eating habits from one generation to the next. This means that biology is not destiny, and that real food can turn the tide for your children and for generations to come!

But while modern science is just figuring this out, our ancestors have always known that deeply nourishing parents results in very healthy children. Most cultures had “sacred foods” that they reserved just for couples trying to conceive and for pregnant mothers and nursing children. Many still do.

What’s even more impressive is that these “sacred foods,” if eaten regularly, can actually prevent the need for braces or fillings! They can make it less likely your kids will need glasses, even if you have worn them all your life. And these sacred superfoods can help your kids act less cranky and learn better, too.

These foods can even provide your daughters with the bone structure needed to give them an easier labor with their own future children!


In Nourished Baby, Heather tells you all about these superfoods, and how to prepare them in a way the whole family will enjoy. She even shows you how to make bone marrow look and taste utterly delicious!

For someone like me, who is extremely squeamish of organ meats and other extremely nutritious animal parts, this is worth the price of the book alone!

Nourished Baby explains:

  • How eczema and allergies can be prevented if you establish good gut bacteria in your baby or child (Oh how I wish I had this information 5 years ago!)
  • How you can prevent your child from needing braces
  • How you can actually heal decayed teeth!
  • How the actual birth experience can affect a child’s cravings for life
  • Why a 2001 study found that the breast milk of North American mothers did not meet the minimum requirements for many essential nutrients–-and how to make sure your baby gets the absolute best at your breast
  • How to decode your cravings while nursing so you get the nutrients you need most
  • Why you should skip rice cereal and go for digestion enhancing stews instead
  • What the latest research says on introducing peanuts, eggs and other “allergenic” foods, and how improper feeding can lead to food allergies.
  • When children’s “picky” eating habits can actually indicate a serious problem—and how to correct it
  • Tips for raising an adventurous eater
Blackened Wild Salmon With Pineapple Mango Salsa

There are also over 30 baby- and kid-friendly (not to mention parent-friendly) grain-free, dairy-optional recipes—with gorgeous color photos.

From Blackened Wild Salmon With Pineapple Mango Salsa (right) to Kale Chips to the Pecan Sandies below, every dish I’ve made so far has been grain free and dairy optional, nutrient dense, easy to prepare, and ridiculously delicious—even to my finicky 4 year old.

Click here to get an excerpt!

I know you will enjoy these outrageously yummy, very healthy, grain free cookies. They are just a small taste of all the good stuff in this invaluable book.

Be sure to get a copy of Nourished Baby for more recipes that make deeply nourishing your baby (and the rest of your family too) delicious, easy and fun.

Grain Free Pecan Sandies
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  1. 1-1/2 cups crispy pecans, plus 12 half pecans for tops of cookies
  2. 1-1/2 cups crispy walnuts
  3. 5 Tbsp. plus 1/4 tsp. grass-fed butter or coconut oil
  4. 5 Tbsp. honey or maple syrup
  5. 1/2 tsp. sea salt
  1. Pulse all ingredients (except 12 whole pecans and 1/4 teaspoon butter or oil) in food processor until the dough just comes together. It will look "sandy." Do not overprocess.
  2. Scoop out cookie dough in heaping tablespoon increments and place on cookie sheet lined with parchment paper
  3. Toss whole pecans in butter or oil and press into cookies
  4. Bake at 375 for 12-15 minutes (check often so they don’t burn)
  5. Enjoy with a tall glass of homemade coconut milk!
  1. Food processor
Adapted from Nourished Baby
Adapted from Nourished Baby
Small Footprint Family

About the author

Dawn Gifford

Dawn is the creator of Small Footprint Family, and the author of the critically acclaimed Sustainability Starts at Home - How to Save Money While Saving the Planet. After a 20-year career in green building and environmental sustainability, chronic illness forced her to shift her expertise and passion from the public sphere to home and hearth. Get the whole story behind SFF here.


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