Wednesday, August 13, 2014

This snail is getting there....

Healing can be slow. Sometimes it can be    s       l       o       w......

In the past month I noticed that my older daughter wakes up happy in the mornings. I wish I could say when that started, but the sad things is, we don't tend to notice health. Maybe it started in April or May when the longer hours of daylight seemed to suddenly mean that she needed less sleep, and she started waking me up an hour and half earlier in the mornings. (Yaaawwwwn!) Or maybe it was earlier than that. I'm not really sure. We only realized it recently. Regardless, this is new! This is healing! The first 4+ years of her life, every day started with tears and whining and cuddling with mommy for well over an hour until she could be happy about the day. To have her start the day with, "I love you mommy!" and smiles and giggles and encouraging her little sister to wake up and play, that is wonderful. Even if I am a bit groggy.

And certainly more recently, the eczema on her legs, and elsewhere, is pretty much gone. I can feel a few bumps, but she doesn't have "chicken skin" everywhere. I wish I could say what we did, but it has just been time and healing. Eczema was never a huge concern for us, as it didn't itch or bleed, but it was rather sad, and not pretty. I don't know if she'll ever have baby soft skin there, but lack of bumps is pretty good!

These things seem so small to me, given that her diet is still a short list of foods, so many other symptoms are still present, and right now we goofed and gave too much of a new probiotic so her behavior and mood have been difficult.... It is helpful to look for the sunshine amidst the clouds. Every day I praise God that despite her system being a mess, she's growing and learning and happy. And that is happening with food.

Monday, June 23, 2014

Sprouts in jar - the easy way :)

 Have you ever looked the price of sprouts at the store? They certainly charge for the powerful nutrition! They are so easy at home though.

Step 1:
Put a little bit of seeds at the bottom of the jar. They will explode. Don't put many in there. These are broccoli seeds. So yummy!
I think for the pictures below I had a bit more seeds than this shows.
Mountain Rose herbs - I love them!
Step 2:
Fill jar half to 3/4 full with filtered water. I add a few drops of grapefruit seed extract to help ward off mold. You don't want mold.
Allow this to sit for a day or overnight.

Step 3: Put some kind of filtering material on the lid of your jar. On some sprouting site they recommended buying some tulle and using that, since I have some laying around, that was quite convenient. Ultimately I'm going to get a plastic lid though, since the metal ones are prone to rust. The rubber band was ripping the tulle, and seeds would get caught on the side and not stay moist, so just using a rubber band didn't work well. You'll have to experiment. Some people use a cheesecloth, but the kind I have has holes too big for broccoli seeds.

Step 4. Drain the seeds! And place them in a place where they can drain and you won't forget them. A cool dark area is great, but if they'll get forgotten about, then it is better to just have them out where you'll see them.
Tada! A sprouting contraption!
 Step 5: Later that day, rinse again. Here is the big thing with sprouts : you can't rinse too much, but you can rinse too little. I shoot for 3 times a day. Twice a day is the minimum. They sit next to my sink (except for these pictures) so that it is really easy to do.

Look! On day two the sprouts are forming.
 Step 6: Keep rinsing and draining (you don't want them to sit in a puddle, they'll mold.) Usually on the second day, I add a few drops grapefruit seed extract again to the water and let them soak a minute before draining.
Day 3: time for some sun!
Step 7: Also, smell them at each rinsing and look for any signs of mold. If your house is warm, then you know what warm and damp does. If they start to smell just a touch off, I'll do the GSE rinse, and that fixes it. Do note though that the sprouts will get very very tiny hairs that almost look like mold when they need to be rinsed more often. If you look closely, you'll see they're tiny white hairs on the stem of the sprout, not the seed head itself. Just give them more water and they'll be happy.
See, no hairs means well watered sprouts.
 Step 8: When you see the first green leaves, give them a bit of sun here are there. Indirect is best, you don't want them to get overly warm. 

See how much greener they are?
Step 9: These seemed done at the end of the day, day 3. Sometimes they go a full 4-5 days. I rinse one more time, drain well, put on a regular lid, and stick in the fridge. I try to eat these within another 3-4 days, maybe rinse once or twice in there.

Step 10 (optional): If you want to eliminate the seed hulls (those brown pieces), then dump all of the sprouts into a bowl of water and swish them around. I scoop out the brown bits and throw them in compost, and take the sprouts back and forth between two bowls of water to get as much hulls out as I can. Then drain and put back in your jar.

Different sprouts need different amounts of time. For grains and pulses, you generally want the tail to be only as long as the seed itself, or it starts turning bitter. You can look up the best length of time for the seed you are using, or just taste and see when you like it the best. If I recall correctly, certain types of sprouts should be cooked before eating, but a lot of them can be eaten raw.  I particularly like broccoli seeds because they have a bit of spiciness and pep, which is delicious on it's own, but a great addition to a salad or sandwich or soup. Yum!

Saturday, April 5, 2014

No mess Cauli-rice!

If you hang out in the foodie blogosphere much, you'll come across many many recipes for cauliflower rice. Most of them involve either grating the cauliflower, or running it through a processor. I've done both plenty of times. And I perfected the cauli-rice flavor with the addition of eggs and select spices. Yum!

So now I give you the further improvement of skipping all the mess involved with making it!

one head of cauliflower (around 3lbs)
1 onion
2-3 cloves garlic (opt.)
2 cups broth
2-3 eggs
3-4 T lard or other fat
1 tsp salt (to taste)
1/4 tsp each of ginger, coriander, majoram

Trim and wash cauliflower, and place stem down in large pot. If you cut off most of the stem, it will be resting on the bottom most florets, but don’t worry about that. Pour broth into pot; it will not cover the cauliflower. Cook on high heat with the lid on until the whole head is very soft. This will take about 15-20 minutes or so. Check periodically for softness with a knife.

Mmm... the white vegetable.
When ready, use a knife to cut up some, right in the pot. Ultimately, you want to cut out the hard center of the cauliflower. Once the hard center of the head is out, use a potato masher (or if you’re not too picky, just the wooden spoon) to crush everything further. You’ll eventually have nice crumbles. If there is any liquid, then turn the heat back on and continue to cook, stirring often. Add a minced onion and garlic at this time too. If there isn’t much liquid, then add a couple tablespoons of lard.

See the florets being cut away from the center?
And look, here is the center, ready for the compost.

When everything is sufficiently soft, make a bowl in the middle, pushing all the cauli-rice to the sides. Add more lard and pour beaten eggs into the space. then slowly fold the eggs into the cauliflower as they cook.
Cauliflower bowl, ready for eggs.

When finished, season with spices and salt to taste. I usually stir-fry or boil a few other veggies and toss those in, then add in some fish or chicken or pork and a little fish sauce to taste!

This tastes closest to fried rice, though if you season right I bet it could go with sloppy joes too.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Egg white buns : Air to wrap around meat!

We eat a lot of egg yolks. Which means a lot of egg whites, collecting in the fridge. Though my first favorite way to eat these is pavlova or meringue cookies, I've also used the egg whites to add to scrambled eggs or baked goods, or to make oopsie style wraps (cream cheese blended in to make thin pancakes). However, since we don't have chickens to eat these extra egg whites, the problem still piles up. I'm very grateful that egg whites keep in the fridge for some time!

In the meantime, I've tried several recipes for GAPS burger buns. Most of them are glorified air, much like the puffed discs you find numerous fast food places. Air is good. The main purpose of buns is to be a delivery device, right? However, given our limitations (oxalate avoidance, minimal cheese) I wanted to figure out something that didn't involve nut flour or dairy. And I wasn't so concerned with having buns, really, I just always have a lot of egg whites!

So enough of my jabbering, check out what I've come up with. I don't think I have the technique quite perfected yet, and I've not yet tried baking these, though I've done enough similar recipes I'm pretty sure it would work well.

2 cups egg whites
2 Tbsp coconut flour
3-4 Tbsp cooked squash
1 tsp honey (opt.)
pinch salt

First fluff egg whites with electric mixer, you don't really even need peaks to form, but getting to soft peaks does mean more air at the end. Then blend in rest of ingredients. Cooked on low heat on a greased griddle, using a spatula to make little rounds, about 1/2 inch thick. These do need to cook low and slow, a bit tedious, but worth it, I think.

Or bake for burger buns: 300-325 degrees for  30 minutes or so depending on thickness. Parchment paper will help prevent sticking, though I have well loved stones and grease that seem to do the job well.

You could also make these up without beating the egg whites, but that would make crepes, not puffy flat bread.

Ultimately, these do deflate and end up more like the mashed down buns you have with one of those fat burgers, but who cares? It tastes similar enough to cheap white buns to make the meal happy. 

Friday, March 21, 2014

What my day would have looked like before GAPS...

Today was a full day.

Starting off sleep-deprived and groggy, the mild residuals of the previous day's headache still weighing me down, we moved slowly in the morning.

But I wasn't completely useless, I was able to wake up and get going.

A surprise interruption to my quick lunch plans and outing's preparations should have thrown me for more of a loop, but it wasn't a big deal.

I didn't turn into a clumsy person just because of surprises and playing "host" for a bit.

The stress of quickly grabbing kids, chowing down food, collecting what we needed, all while watching the clock anxiously bothered my stomach a little, but nothing terrible. I didn't forget anything either.

Then once there, I carried my toddler on my back, ran to the car for forgotten items, enjoyed the spring air.

I wasn't sneezing horribly despite forgetting to start my herbs early enough.

When I went into a room and had butterflies flying everywhere, I was able to marvel at them and felt calm.

Instead of getting jittery and squeamish.

I noticed a nasty chemical or burning smell in another building.

But it didn't give me a migraine.

Outside there is dirt and heat and the anxious watching of kids as the mingle with many others, climbing and laughing.

Meanwhile my sensory issues were very mild and I could ignore them.

And after a long afternoon visiting and giggling and playing, I drove home. In the sun. The direct sun that used to give me horrible migraines.

I only had a mild headache after the days affairs.

Arriving home, I still had energy to fix dinner and have someone over.

I didn't collapse in a chair, grateful for leftovers in the fridge and a capable husband.

Am I totally healed? Not yet, but I'm so much better.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Cabbage noodles

Cabbage makes amazing noodles. Slightly sweet and mild flavored, they go especially well with asian dishes, but I like them with sausage and bitter greens too. Slice thinly for more true "noodles" or you can do this with just bite-size pieces for anti-noodle kids like mine.

1 head of cabbage (about 3 lbs), thinly sliced into long shreds
1 c broth
1/2 c fat (lard works well)
1-2 onions, thinly sliced
generous amount of salt

In a large pot on med/high heat, put in fat, then onions and cabbage. You may not be able to add all the cabbage initially, but as it cooks down, there will be more space. Do not let them brown, but stir often.

Continue to cook on medium/high heat, stirring frequently. After all the cabbage is in the pot and it is starting to turn clear, add broth. Simmer with the lid off, continuing to stir often, until all cabbage has turned soft and transparent.

Salt to taste and serve.

Wonderful with stir fry, sausage, gravy, etc.

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