Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Other yummy recipes and brilliant ideas...

-Pecan-glazed butternut squash pudding   (this takes a little bit of time, but it so worth it!)

-Chicken Satay with Peanut Sauce  I modified this recipe a lot and it still turned out wonderful. I didn't bother with sticks and just pan fried the chicken and piled it on top of some cauli-rice.

- BLT spagetti

- Egg White Cake (Pavlova)  I make this cake a lot. Sometimes with as many as 8 or 12 egg whites! You really can use very little sweetening with it (I've used just a TBSP honey for 8 egg whites before) and it goes wonderfully with the GAPS Russian Custard.

- Think the absence of starches means no more gravy? Think again!

 - If you find truly uncured bacon (or want to make other types of bacon): How to cure your own bacon at home.


Not  recipes: 

- useful info about Honey!

 - Recognizing the true cost of different cuts of meat. (I don't recommend using TVP or soy ever, of course, and certainly you want to be eating the fat, but this is nonetheless helpful info. Don't forget the huge savings by making your own stock from leftover bones!)

- Also coming soon - a GAPS cookbook! 

I'll be adding more to this page as time goes on :D -


Friday, December 3, 2010

Sweet & Sour Soup

I wanted stir fry.... but I wanted to stretch it, and therefore, we had sweet and sour soup. If you aren't avoiding starches, it would thicken nicely with a little arrowroot (mix with water before adding to pot) but it tastes quite good without. You can also drizzle beaten egg into the simmering mixture, but I chose to scramble my eggs in another pan before adding. You can also skip other veggies and merely add a few green onions so this is a side dish. So really, this is very versatile. Here are the requirements to make it sweet and sour soup:

1 part vinegar (use a good one!) to 1 part sweetening (honey is wonderful! Just keep in mind, it is doubley sweet.)

and here is what I did:

4 small organic carrots
1 whole celery
1 large red onion
2 large pastured eggs
6 cups chicken stock + added filtered water
2 cup lentils (sprouted would be best)
3 Tbsp pineapple vinegar
2 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
2 Tbsp honey
lard or coconut oil
1-2 tsp ginger
2 tsp salt
couple swishes wheat-free fermented Tamari sauce

See this post for how to sprout lentils. Sprouting increases bioavailability of many nutrients, including vit. C, and makes them easier to digest. You can also just soak in water and a Tbsp whey for most of the day or overnight.

Simmer lentils along with stock for about 20-30 minutes, until tender. (You could also add the other veggies at this time too, but I wanted some crisp to them.) Chop all veggies and heat skillet with a little of your favorite fat to medium-high heat. Sauté one at a time (unless you have a really big skillet and they all fit!) and add to pot just before they are all the way done. (If you don't want to overcook them, you can transfer cooked veggies to a plate while the lentils finish cooking. Onions and carrots will withstand the most cooking.) Scramble eggs and add to pot.

Add ginger, salt, and Tamari sauce. I also had a little fish sauce on hand as well. Turn off heat and add vinegar and honey. Taste and add more salt if needed, and serve.

Linked up on Monday Mania.

Navy Bean Squash Stew

This is rich, filling, flavorful and so gooood! It requires a little bit of prep, but the pay-off is high. No it doesn't look very attractive in the bowl. I could have thinned it with water more, but I left it gloppy. My husband called it gruel, and then asked for seconds.

1 med. butternut squash
1 lb navy/white beans, soaked, sprouted
1 leek
4 cloves garlic (or more)
4 ribs celery
leftover beef roast (about 1-2 cups cubed)
3 cups beef stock, or several beef bones
2-3 Tbsp stock paste

This is a true crock pot meal - but you don't have to use one, just keep a close eye on your stove.

the night before, soak your beans in water with some baking soda, or soak *without* baking soda a couple days before so you can sprout your beans. The previous day is when you cook your beef roast too and set some aside for this dish.

Drain beans and put them in the pot with beef stock, (or with a couple beef bones and a Tbsp vinegar). Add the stock paste (I had some frozen from chicken stock) and add enough filtered water to cover. They should simmer for about 3 hours.

Peel and chunk your butternut squash. You can do larger cubes if you are tired of chopping, but they will need more time. I ut them into bite-sized peices, and they simmered with the beans for an hour and a half.

Chop onions, garlic, celery, and leeks, add them the last hour of cooking.

Chop your leftover roast into small pieces and add a little before serving, a long with a little red wine vinegar, a couple teaspoons salt, (taste as see) and oregano, thyme, and other seasonings that strike you.

This so so hearty and rich and wonderful on a cold day, even if it does look like gruel.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Taco Salad Soup

Taco style salads are the mainstay of my summers. During cold days, who wants to eat salad?

Why not salad soup?

1/4 lb ground beef, cooked
1 bunch kale or other bitter greens, chopped.
3 tomatoes
1 bunch fresh cilantro, chopped
1 red onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
several green onions, chopped
a few bell peppers, chopped
4 cups beef stock

Chop all your veggies. I like to do bigbarches in the beginning of te week so I can throw meals together. Sauté red onion in lard on medium heat for a few minutes, then add garlic. Continue cooking until onions turn clear, then add rest of ingredients. Add filtered water if needed to thin, and bring to a simmer. Simmer briefly and season with salt and your organic taco seasoning,(Cumin, paprika, coriander, etc.). Serve with freshly shredded cheddar and sour cream (yogurt!)


And yes, there is lettuces in this soup, it works! Kale, spinach and other hard greens should be cooked slightly anyway before eating, and everything tastes good in a taco.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Salmon and Swiss Chard Soup

 So warm and delicious on a cool fall day.
1 lb salmon
3 cups chicken stock (fish stock would be even better)
1 bulb garlic, chopped finely
2 onions, chopped
4 ribs celery

1 tsp dill
1/2 tsp paprika (more to taste)
1 tsp salt
Water to thin

Sauté onion in a little lard or other fat for a few minutes while you chop garlic. Add garlic and continue sautéing for a minute or two. Add stock, celery, and swiss chard. Add filtered water to thin to your liking. Bring to a boil and turn heat to medium. Cook fish in another pan with more lard, breaking into pieces as it cooks. Once fish is almost completely opaque (do not overcook) add to soup. Season and taste.

Topped with fresh havarti cheese Mmm....

Monday, November 8, 2010

Fried Squash Chips

This is an easy recipe. No exact measuring... just a addicting way to eat veggies. I call them chips because my hubby said they tasted like potato chips, only they were squash. Yum!

Pattypan squash seems to work the best as far as flavor, though you could use any summer squash.
Slice it thinly (about 1/4") while skillet is heating on medium/high heat with coconut oil or lard. Use lots of fat. Lay slices in a single layer on the hot pan (they should sizzle when you put them in) and immediately sprinkle with salt and paprika. After a minute or two, flip them over and cook the other side. Once slightly browned and the flesh is turning clear, put onto a ready plate. It's best to let these cool a minute before eating...

You could also make these in the oven by tossing with fat and salt and baking. Probably 400º for 20 minutes or so would do it.

Thickening soups

A little trick I learned recently (and making even more use out of "waste") is to save the mushy stuff leftover from making stock and add it to soups and stews. I just separate the bones (though, if they are soft enough, I blend them up too) and put it all in the processor until it makes a nice paste. It will look pretty gross, don't worry. Add a few big spoonfuls to your soup as it simmers, and it will add flavor, depth, richness, and extra nutrients!

Enjoy the soup weather!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Key Lime Pie (cheesecake!)

This is so simple and delicious. Definitely for those who like limey & tangy. (Which does not include my mom - but does include one of my brothers!)

3/4 c pecans
3/4 c almond flour
1 egg
2 T lard
2 tsp honey
1/4 tsp salt
vanilla (opt.)
1/4 tsp nutmeg

Puree pecans in food processor (if almonds are whole, grind those first) then add rest of ingredients. bake at 325º for 15-20 minutes. Allow to cool completely before adding filling.

4 c tangy yogurt, strained overnight (Should yield 2 cups cream cheese)
juice from 1&1/2 limes, plus rind for extra limey-ness
1/2 c heavy cream, optional
1/4 tsp vanilla, optional
1/2 c honey
1/4 tsp pure stevia extract powder (or an additional 1/2 c honey)
(You may like it sweeter, I enjoy the tanginess.)

Beat all ingredients aside from cream, taste for your preference. If you want a fluffier result, beat cream with electric mixer until you have firm peaks, and then gently fold into lime mixture. Spread into cooled crust and put in freezer for a few hours until firm.

(Alternatively, you can make the day before and leave in freezer overnight, and just put it in the fridge to soften a couple hours before serving.)

Thanks to GrainFreeFoodie for getting me started on the crust!

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Liverwurst (aka. superfood sausage!)

I just made this tonight, and I was really thrilled! Everything is approximate - so play around with the recipe. Try different spices too... I'm still obsessed with cumin & cayenne :)

  • 1 lb grass fed beef liver
  • 1 lb pastured organic ground pork
  • half bulb garlic
  • half small onion
  • 3 tsp kosher salt
  • pepper (as desired - up to 2 tsp)

Use whatever sausage seasonings you like - One recipe I looked at for liverwurst used allspice, sage and marjoram. This is what I used:
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne
  • 1 tsp ginger

Put in onions and garlic (pre-chopped a little) in processor. Then add liver and puree. Then add ground pork and spices. I stuck my nose in and smelled it - if I still smelled liver, I added more spices. Once pureed, it should be the consistency of gloppy pudding. If anyone comes in the room and asks what you are making, you can tell them that it is pudding. Hee hee. Heat cast iron skillet on medium heat. Drop by big spoonfuls onto skillet (no need to pre-grease unless the pork is lean) and spread with spatula into 1/4 in patties (bread shaped for sandwiches!) Brown for a few minutes on each side, and then serve up for a super-powered meal.

Keeps in the fridge at least a week, and freezes nicely too!

Linked to Monday Mania

UPDATE: Check out my updated recipe

Friday, October 8, 2010

Rosemary Squash Faux-tatoes

Forget mash potatoes this thanksgiving. This is SOOO good! It tastes like super rich mash potatoes and the rosemary is wonderful.

4 cups mushed cooked butternut squash
3/4 cup yogurt, or sour cream or soured cream (raw cream that sat in your fridge too long)
2 heaping tsp salt
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp rosemary (fresh would be even better)

Mix all ingredients together and bake at 400º until warmed throughout. Probably about 20 minutes.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010


I've updated this recipe to skip the processor and use just one pot!

I make cauli-rice quite a bit. Not just for stir-fries, I also like it underneath some sloppy joes instead of a bun. Or any other dish that formerly used rice. Here is the simplist way to do it.

  Wash cauliflower, break into chunks and run through processor until it becomes small crumbles. You’ll probably have to do that in batches. (You can also grate it.) Put all of it in a large pot or skillet with a little bit of coconut oil or other fat. Stir often on medium heat. 

When cauliflower is becoming more translucent, make a shallow area in the center. Add some additional fat or oil.
Pour two or three beaten eggs in shallow area and gradually stir into cauliflower, leaving chunks of egg throughout.

 Season with paprika, wheat-free Tamari sauce, salt, garlic, onion, and anything else that strikes you. Pile on protein and other veggies and dive in!

Oh... Liver (with brussels and salt pork)

I've been working hard trying to figure out how to include liver in my diet. Chicken liver is easy to just blend into chicken salad or soup - it's flavor is incredibly mild. Beef liver on the other hand, is strong! Whew! And I have about 24 lbs of it in my freezer from grass fed wonderful cows. Here was one success and we'll try to do this monthly:

(Based on a recipe by Real Food for Less Money)

1 pound grass fed beef liver
1 1/2 cups almond flour
1 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon chili powder
1/4 lb salt pork
2 onions- cut in half and sliced thin
1 lb brussels sprouts

Slice liver while frozen very thinly, and soak overnight in lemon juice or whey.

I liked doing this in one pan - but you do have to start it fairly early. Cut salt pork into small peices and cook up on medium heat until cooked through. Set aside, leaving drippings in the pan. Meanwhile, slice onions thinly and wash and trim brussels sprouts. Cook onions and then sprouts  in salt pork drippings (can put in another pan so liver can cook at the same time) until browned, and then turn heat to low and continue cooking slowly for about 10-15 minutes until caramelized. Mix almond flour with salt and spices and coat both sides of liver slices with flour mixture. Cook in salt pork drippings on medium heat until browned, flipping to cook both sides.

Serve with the crumbled salt pork and don't tell anyone they're eating liver :)

Peanut Chicken Wraps

Chicken salad is my favorite packable food. It is also a wonderful way to use the little-too-dry chicken from making stock. (and a great place to hide ground up bones, mushy weird organs and nutritious  bits that no one wants to eat. Shhh!) For GAPS, I wrap it in steamed cabbage leaves, or just eat it out of the bowl. I like adding almonds and green onions and cheese and egg and random leftovers and make it a million different ways. I've made chicken curry salad a few times and it was really yummy - a spicy twist on the usual chicken salad. Then recently I tried a peanut chicken stir-fry and thought it was amazing! So this is a fun blend. My husband even thinks this is ok (he doesn't like cold chicken, any time, anywhere.) I feel this is still a recipe in progress, but it is still too yummy not to share.

3 cups chopped cooked chicken

1/4 c peanut butter (organic, unsalted is best)
1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar (or pineapple vinegar)
1 Tbsp honey
1/4 c cream or coconut cream (could also use yogurt possibly for different flavor)
3 Tbsp oil - coconut, olive, sunflower seed
1 tsp curry powder
2 tsp ginger
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped, or 1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp salt

1 small onion, cooked, finely chopped (opt.)

If using coconut oil, gently melt in a sauce pan. Sauté garlic, then add ginger and stir til fragrant. Mix rest of sauce ingredients thoroughly. It should be a gloppy brown sauce.  Since I used pineapple vinegar, which I find to be a little more mild than apple cider, I used a bit more. You may like more ginger too. Just taste it and see what you think. Mix in chicken and onions.

For wraps, break off (carefully) a few cabbage leaves (I filled 8 with this recipe) and put them in a pot, stems down, with an inch of water to steam for a couple minutes.

Serve warm or cold!

Friday, September 10, 2010

Naked Salmon Tacos!

I finally tried this recipe for southwest salmon and oh is it yummy! Mix it up with sautéd veggies, pile on fresh greenery and a dollop of sour cream (or yogurt). I'm going to make this tonight and add some beans as well, flavored with lime, salt and good stock. You could also add avocado slices, fermented salsa, shredded cheese....

(Recipe is easily double or tripled, this should be good for two people or more if you have beans with it)
  • 2 salmon fillets
  • ghee, butter or coconut oil, to grease pan
  • juice of 1 
lime (or lemon)
  • 2 Tbsp yogurt or SCD mayo
  • 1/2 tsp
 oregano, dried
1/2 tsp
 cumin, dried and ground 
  •  1/2 tsp
  • 1/4 tsp 

crushed red pepper or chili powder, (use less if you like it less spicey)
  • 4 tsp 
Basil or Coriander(cilantro), Fresh 
Mix yogurt or mayo with seasonings & lime juice, then spread over fish, and allow to marinade in the fridge for an hour or two (or overnight) till you are ready to bake. Marinating isn't critical if pressed for time, but does enhance the flavors. Heat oven to 400º. Grease a pan and put fish with yogurt mixture in it, and bake for 12-15 minutes, until fish flakes easily. Salmon doesn't like being overbaked.

Shred and mix with the rest of your taco fillings that you prepared while fish was baking, and eat while warm. This also tastes good as leftovers!

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Filling up on Fat

I've been asked a few times now where I get my fats. I use many different kinds, primarily saturated animal fats, since those are the best for your body and best for cooking, but I try to use a variety and am learning to include coconut oil in my diet more. If you still think saturated fats will increase your waistline, I encourage you to read the book "Eat Fat, Lose Fat." and read what the Weston A. Price foundation says about fats. Fats are essential for energy, digesting, satiety, and lower the glycemic index of foods. They make up every cell of your body, so why not make sure you body is made up of good, strong fats? Here is a list of the fats I use, where I get them, and what they work best for.

Bacon fat
I save every last drop of drippings when I make bacon. I usually cook up about a lb of nitrate free farm fresh bacon each month, and the drippings are usually enough for the month. Try to find a pig source where the pigs are farm raised and pastured. Happy, well fed pigs make more nutritious (and  better tasting!) meat.
Good for: sautéing veggies, meat, fish, flavoring veggies with bacon flavor.
Keep in fridge, fairly soft right out of fridge.

I don't have any lard at the moment, but will have some soon! My mom and I will be distilling some lard from pork fat that we are buying from a local farmer. You only need to simmer it in water all day, and then strain out the rich fat and let it cool. Be careful purchasing lard already prepared, it is often hydrogenated to make it more shelf stable.
Good for: frying, baking, sautéing, etc. Nice neutral flavor and very heat stable. Also excellent to add to beans when mashing them.
Keep in fridge, soft after a few minutes in room temp.

Beef tallow
A lot like Lard, only from beef fat. It used to be the frying fat of choice at McDonalds before the whole "saturated fat is evil!" scam came about. I save the fat whenever I cook beef, the rind from steaks, the big chunks on roasts, or the drippings from ground beef (if there are any, grass fed is pretty lean.) Simmer in a pot of water for several hours, strain, and refrigerate, the fat will rise to the top and can be kept in the fridge.
Good for: adding to soups, baking with meat and vegetables, frying, gravy.
Keep in fridge, will be hard until closer to room temp.

Chicken fat
I usually don't have any of this in my fridge, as whatever fat sits on top of my chicken stock I use with my soups and drink with my broth. The fat helps you assimilate more of the minerals and nutrients in the stock - so why would I remove it? Well, sometimes there is a lot more fat than I need, and then I'll scoop it off the top when the stock & fat are cold, and store it in the fridge for future use.
Good for: adding to soups that need more fat and flavor, sautéing, adding to beans when mashing, flavoring potato-like dishes or chicken dishes that have little fat on their own.
Keep in fridge, softens when warmed. 

Oh, how I love butter. When grains return to my diet I will be slathering my bread in butter. For now, I slather my eggs in butter (a wonderful combination for digestion.) I also try to add lots of butter (or another fat) to any vegetables I eat, since fats help you digest greens, and greens help you digest fats! I used to use generic store butter, and while that is certainly better than margarine, it is usually made from leftover whey and is very low in nutrients - that is why it is so pale. If I had access to as much cream as I wanted, I would certainly make my own butter. It is really easy, and you can even let the cream sit out for half a day so you can have cultured butter! For now, I found a source for grass fed cultured butter made from the cream, that is pasteurized (cooked) but is at least not ultra-pasteurized, and tastes wonderful. It is a rich yellow color and I find that I'm happy to use a lot less than store butter.
Good for: slathering on everything, baking, frying, etc.
Keep in fridge (or freezer if longer than a couple months), softens after a few minutes in room temp.

Forgot to mention ghee as well! - ghee is clarified butter and has virtually no milk proteins or sugars in it. Often people unable to tolerate dairy handle ghee just fine. You can make your own ghee fairly easily, but you can get excellent ghee from Pure Indian Foods.

Palm shortening/ Palm kernel oil
Mild neutral flavor, and very inexpensive. This is what I use now for pretty much all my baking when flavor is not needed (cookies and brownies are richer with butter, for sure.) I get it through Tropical Traditions (when they have their half-price or free shipping sales) and it lasts me for a good half of the year. High in saturated fat so good for lots of uses and doesn't need to stay in the fridge.
Good for: pan frying, baking, etc. 
Keep in cool cabinet, soft at room temp.

Coconut oil
I'm learning to use more of this in my dishes. Coconut is a natural detoxifier and has strong antifungal and antimicrobial properties, so I'm working my way gradually with it. It also adds a slight coconut flavor to certain dishes, which can be delicious if you like the coconut flavor. I don't personally, but I don't notice it in stir-fries or in flavorful dishes. A lot of people also use it for skin - from deodorant to natural sunscreen, I'm learning to do that as well. Be sure to find cold pressed and organic, this is often over-processed as well. Tropical Traditions carries good quality coconut oil for fairly inexpensive.
Good for: baking, any kind of frying, binding for granola, smoothies, skin.
Keep in cool cabinet, or fridge. Softens when heated, very hard below about 80º.

Olive Oil
I try to minimize cooking with this wonderful oil, is it is high in monounsaturated fats, which are very good in moderate amounts, but more easily damaged by cooking. I use it plenty in other dishes though. Be sure to buy cold pressed extra virgin. Be sure to test your bottle - it should turn completely solid after a couple days in the fridge, there are a lot of misslabeled bottles out there. It should be in a dark bottle and be richly colored and cloudy.
Good for: salad dressings, pesto & other sauces, some baking.
Keep in cabinet, use within two months of opening.  

This mom also has good tips on cooking with fats.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Lemon ice

Oh.. happy accident. I was trying to make the lemon curd... and I didn't cook it long enough, and skipped straining so it was a little too thin even after going in the fridge. I also think I added too much lemon juice. But I had some frozen yogurt in the freezer, so I dumped it in and stirred it up. Oh... lemony goodness!

Lemon Ice

4 egg yolks
juice of 1 large lemon or two small lemons
1/4 c honey
1/4 c coconut oil/butter/palm shortening

3 cups tangy yogurt
3 tbs honey
little vanilla

Mix up the first four ingredients, and put in double boiler (bowl on top of small pot with a little water in pot.) Whisk quickly while it thickens somewhat. Once it blends well and starts to bubble a little, it's done! Take it off, and allow it too cool.

Now, there are two ways to do this - you can freeze the yogurt and swirl in the lemon, or you can mix it all up and then freeze it. Personally, I like the lemon swirl, but it is up to your preference.

Mix the yogurt with the honey and little vanilla and pour into ice cream maker and freeze according to manufacturer's instructions. Once frozen to the point of soft serve, add lemon egg mixture and continue stirring and freezing. Transfer to freezer to firm up, and serve.

If you wanna be really fancy, pull out a (well-ripened for GAPS) banana and slice it up. Lemon and banana - yum!

Thursday, August 26, 2010

On the Menu

I haven't posted a menu in a little while - I know I find it helpful to look at other's weekly plans. Here is what we ate during this week. Lunch is leftovers or whatever I find in the fridge. Frozen yogurt or yogurt with banana makes a wonderful breakfast or snack!

        B- squash gratin
        D- alfredo (thickened with bean paste) on salad & spaghetti squash
        B- bacon, egg crepes, yogurt
        D - steak, mashed cauli-potatoes, salad with tomatoes and garlic dressing
        B- egg drop soup
        D- naked burritos
        B-fried eggs
        D- Chicken nuggets with sauteed summer squash
         B- soft fried egg with lots of butter
         D- Pesto on spaghetti squash with fresh tomatoes and romano
          B- rest of squash gratin
          D- Sweet & sour lentils
          D- Southwest salmon with grilled bell peppers
          D- Peanut chicken

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Crispy Kale

Mmm... this is so addictive! Think potato chips only lighter with crumble in your mouth salty flavorful goodness. And so easy to make!

1 bunch kale
olive oil or coconut oil
tsp (or so) salt
other seasonings, as desired

Turn on oven to 350º. Wash and cut kale into bite sized pieces, discarding hard stem. Melt coconut oil, if using (better for high temps than olive) and toss kale pieces in oil. Toss with salt and other seasonings - I used garlic along with another house blend I have - you can really do anything you want! Spread on pan or stone in a single layer and bake for 10-15 minutes, turning once or twice. Once cool, you can store in a paper bag to keep them fresh and crispy. If they last long enough to be stored that is.

I recommend doubling or tripling this recipe... I think my husband I finished these before they finished cooling. :)

Monday, August 23, 2010

Pasta pasta!

What to do when you can still make your favorite tomato sauce that is GAPS legal, or learned how to thicken gravy with a little yogurt, or just miss pasta because it sounds so exciting?

Here are a few different pasta methods:

Vegetable pasta
Veggies that work best include:
  • Carrots
  • summer squash (zucchini, yellow squash, pattypan)
  • kohlrabi, beets
  • cauliflower
  • spaghetti squash
  • winter squash 
Cut it down to size:
  • grate 
  • process into tiny bits for "cous cous"
  • sliver or chop into shreds
  • run through a thin french fry cutter
  • spiralizer
  • or peel into strips with a vegetable peeler (as pictured)
How to prepare:
  • soak 1 hr in salted ice water (best for summer squash, carrots)
  • drop in boiling salted water (sum squash only needs a minute - Just cook till color changes.)
  • steam
  • use raw
  • spaghetti squash should be baked for an hour, then you scrape out the "pasta" shreds
  • winter squash can be eaten raw, but will benefit from baking or boiling - you want it a little underdone for pasta
Egg Noodles
Make super thin crepes with 1 tbsp water per egg, 2 eggs per person. Slice into wide long noodles after cooled somewhat.  The trick to thin crepes in a greased, (but not over-greased) pan and a quick hand. Beat eggs with water and put in just enough to cover pan with a quick swishing around. Use med/low heat and flip carefully with a spatula. Don't worry if you utterly tear up the first few - theses are becoming pasta anyway. Make sure they cool flattened out, not folded, and cut after cooling.

 see my recipe here.

Or just eat your sauce as a soup and skip the pasta :)

For those of you who can handle buckwheat (not GAPS legal, but technically a fruit, so some people can handle it when sprouted or soaked) this mom has details on how to make pasta with buckwheat flour.

Shared on Pennywise Platter Thursday.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Pizza Egg

Another way to eat eggs that is yummy, different, and helps with the pizza cravings! I came up with this a long time ago when my body didn't tolerate fried eggs on their own, but I wanted to include more in my diet. It takes a little bit of time, but it so well worth it.

2-3 eggs (depending on size of your pan and how hungry you are)
1/6 c milk or yogurt
half a large tomato, thinly sliced
half a green pepper, chopped into strips or small pieces
1/4 small onion, already cooked or little dried onion
1/4 c pizza cheese
little salt
little oregano (be fairly generous)
other pizza seasonings or toppings you like

Grease skillet Preheat to a medium fire. In a bowl, mix eggs, milk or yogurt, seasonings. Add pepper, onion, other “toppings” and half the cheese. Pour into pan. and cover with lid. Cook until edges are done and nearly cooked through, 3-5 min. Using spatula (or fork if you’re talented) flip over omelet without breaking. Quickly top with sliced tomatoes so the whole top is covered, and replace lid. Cook for two more minutes, until tomatoes have softened slightly, and then, (this is the tricky part) flip whole thing onto plate, so the tomatoes are spread underneath the eggs. Push back underneath any tomatoes that decided to slide out. Top with rest of cheese, which should melt as egg cools.

In the picture I show this with mozzarella - my favorite cheese - which is not GAPS legal. For GAPS I have been doing this with cheddar or other cheeses. Keeping the tomatoes underneath the egg as you eat it helps keep them warm - and all the flavors make this really taste like pizza!

Alternatively, you could also make this as a crustless quiche - just chop the tomatoes up and mix them in with the other ingredients before baking.

Spagetti Squash Gratin

Eggs are wonderful. Inexpensive, excellent source of protein and other nutrients, and endlessly versatile. For how to cook the squash, see this post on butternut squash. Spagetti lends itself more to just being cut in half and baked, and then having the stringy insides scraped out with a fork for "pasta." It can also be boiled and then well drained to have it cooked a little faster. You could use other types of squash for this recipe very easily though - so try out different kinds!

3 cups cooked squash
6 eggs
1/4 c yogurt
4-5 green onions, chopped
1/2 tsp salt
dash pepper
cheddar and parmesan or romano cheese
other seasonings, such as paprika, garlic, thyme...

lightly grease the sides of an 8x8 pan, cover the bottom with shredded/mashed squash. It should be loose so as to let egg fill in spaces and hold the dish together. Sprinkle green onions (and any other veggie add-ins) on top of squash. Beat eggs, then add yogurt, salt, and seasonings. Pour on top of squash. Sprinkle top with cheese. I used cheddar and some stinky romano, which ended up tasting wonderful. If you have ham, bacon, sausage, etc. - they could be wonderful additions as well.

Bake at 400º for 30 to 35 minutes.

Allow to cool some before removing from pan, slice into sections, and enjoy!

The yogurt takes on a sweet flavor when baked, so keep that in mind - I really enjoyed having the squash, then sweet egg, then cheese flavors on top of each other. It reheats well and tastes good cold for a quick breakfast too!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

How to turn milk into yogurt goodness

Homemade yogurt... full of delicious cultures and cheaper than the store. Tangy, no lactose to bother me with, and delicious with a little honey and vanilla and frozen in my $1 ice cream maker. I especially like to mix in a little sliced banana.

So how do you make such a masterpiece?

The first step to find a good quality culture - I used to use just plain yogurt from the grocery (be sure it says "active cultures") and preferred Dannon brand. You can also get starters from Cultures for Health. They have both heirloom starters and one-time-use starters. Right now I'm using Custom Probiotics Yogurt Starter #1 (they have two different ones.) There are lots of options out there and it's worth trying a few and finding your favorite. You can save some yogurt from a previous batch of your own to use within a couple weeks, but just be aware that it must be "pure" (not raw milk yogurt) and overtime the strength of the culture may fade. I could go about 2 batches past the store starter. Freezing starter only seems to extend the life of the cultures a week or two.

The next step is to heat (or not heat) to prepare the milk for culturing. Milk heated to 180º F will be thicker in the final product, milk kept closer to raw (so only heated to 105º F or so) will have more complex probiotics and the benefits of being raw. This type of heating is *not* the same as pasteurizing, which is an intense method and quite destructive of the milk. If your milk comes to you pasteurized though, do heat to 180º before making into yogurt, as you are more likely to have undesirable cultures in the milk, and you don't want to promote those! I hate heating milk, but I think breaking down the proteins somewhat, especially in such a gentle way, helps make it more digestible too. My dear husband likes the flavor and thickness that way as well.

Before heating, make sure your tools are perfectly clean, sterile is ideal, but I don't stress it personally. I just pour my milk into a pot and use a thermometer to check. Once it hits 180º F, I turn the heat off and stir throughout the heating and cooling time. For a crockpot method, heat on low for about 2 hours.

After heating, cool to about 110º F  before adding your cultures. Adding them when it is too hot will kill them. Yogurt cultures are finicky about temps. For store yogurt, add about 2 heaping Tbsps culture per half gallon of milk. For other starters, follow the included instructions. Mix very thoroughly. Avoid stirring with plastic, as plastic never truly comes clean and tends to harbor other bacteria.

Now here is the tricky part... how to keep it nice and cozy warm (and undisturbed!) for 24 hours. If you only want standard yogurt, 8 hours is fine, but for GAPS yogurt, it needs to go the full 24. This helps eliminate all of the lactose. Some yogurt makers have a lot of trouble staying warm long enough, though if you have one it is worth a try. Some people like the cooler method, or going in the crockpot, or a warm oven, but I have a dehydrator now and love it's consistent temp control! However you decide to tackle this, the temp needs to be about 95-110º F consistently for the whole duration, and sit in a spot where it won't be bumped or jostled during culturing.

For the crockpot - at least in summer - heating the milk for 2 hours on low, then turning off and adding cultures 2 hours later, and then sitting with lid on for the next day can work well... If you can find a warm spot in the house, put a towel over it (cultures don't like light) or a empty microwave that will keep the light on with the door cracked... use a spot like that. Check and see if it keeps the temp you need.

A heating pad inside an oven is another effective method, just check that your heating pad doesn't have an auto-matic shut off! The oven insulates, so when I did this I just had the yogurt on one rack and the heating pad on another.

For the cooler -hot water method, check out this link.

In the dehydrator, just put it in, and turn it on. It must be a dehydrator with temp control, such as an Excalibur. I got one for cheap on Ebay and love it.

Once it is finished culturing, stick it in the fridge. I find it does better if I don't stir until it has cooled. It has a smoother consistency. Some fancier-bloggers out there have experimented with adding gelatin or sweetening or other fun stuff, but I like to keep it simple.

Finally - just a quick note on containers. When I started, I was so super fancy, I just used a big ol' pyrex bowl. It was what I had and it worked. Later on I switched to Mason jars, and now I use Fidos. A sealed jar helps prevent other cultures that live in your house from entering in and taking over. Yogurt cultures are weaklings, I'm sorry to say. You have all kinds of yeast and other microbes hanging out in your house all the time, even if you don't have kombucha, kraut, carrot pickles, and a hundred other ferments bubbling away nearby, and if any of them pop in and start chewing on the milk sugars before the yogurt guys do, then all of a sudden you'll have yeasty milk instead of yogurt. Kefir is a much more robust culture (it is far far more complex) and is a lot less picky. So by fermenting in sealed jars (and burping them before going in the fridge) I can avoid yeast-yogurt that is only good for breadbaking. And it tastes better too! If you have an air-lock on your fancy jar and it fits in your fermenting hot spot, even better.

So there you are. You have conquered the mystery of yogurt making, and you can culture the world! Or at least your stomach.

Sweeten to taste if desired, strain for cream cheese, use to thicken sauces, as a base for smoothies, ranch dressing, or soak your skin in it. Yogurt is wonderfully useful.

 Curious about other ways to make yogurt? Here are some other methods and tips:

Raw Yogurt - cooler method
Incubator method and oven & heating pad method
Another heating pad method for smaller batches
Coconut milk yogurt (I would recommend sweetening with honey, not agave though.)

Getting Whey & Cream Cheese - Video
Another cream cheese method from buttermilk

How do you like your yogurt?

Crackers and Dips

I was inspired by Health Home and Happiness to make some dip. Spinach dip just sounded so good. I also wanted to make some liver paté, but I don't have any wine, or a lot of the other ingredients... So I ended up with french onion type dip that happened to have liver in it. (Neither hubby or I noticed the liver.) Forgive me for not making my own cream cheese this time, my yogurt is just too precious and I got organic cultured cream cheese for super cheap. But in the future, I will be good and just drain my yogurt through a cheesecloth overnight.

Spinach dip
2 packed and overflowing cups spinach
2/3 c cream cheese
2 cloves garlic (if you want it less strong you can cook it before hand)
1/2 onion, cooked
couple pinches salt
Parmesan would have been a good addition, I didn't have any available.

Put everything through food processor, then fridge for an hour or two till more firm.

French onion with (shhh!) liver
2 cloves garlic
1/2 onion, cooked
lots of parsley
1/8 c cooked chicken liver (cook with onions in bacon fat)
1/3 c cream cheese
pinch salt

Whirrr in food processor, fridge for an hour or two.

Tip: Cutting garlic a little bit before adding to processor helps to make sure there are no big chunks at the end.

For the crackers, check out this recipe by Grain Free Foodies. I used mostly sunflower seeds, and threw in some cashews because they were sitting there. I highly recommend using soaked and dehydrated seeds and nuts to make them more digestible. Also be sure to watch the crackers carefully - they go from "done" to "burned" very quickly. Once done, immediately cut and lift from pan. They can cool on the pan, but if you wait too long to loosen and cut... you'll end up with a lot more crumbs. (oops!)

Best Ever Grain Free Brownies!

It's taken a lot of experimentation, but I finally have a grain free brownie recipe that I'm happy with. I tried the bean recipe, I tried avacado, coconut flour, almond flour... and finally came back to squash. I tried different amounts of butter and cocoa and decided pecans with chocolate is divine. When I do bring back grains, I think I'll just sub them out for the squash. It is that good. I think I like it even better cold. It kept us very happy while we were on vacation!

(Note: Cocoa is technically not GAPS legal, but I'm allowing it to keep sane, and I don't think it hurts my progress too much. Everything else is GAPS legal.)

1 c pecan butter (put crispy pecans in processor till they turn to butter.)
1/2 c overcooked, mashed butternut squash - could increase to 1 cup for more volume
4 eggs - increase for more cakey brownies
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract (make sure no corn syrup or additives)
1/2 tsp salt
1 c cocoa
1/2 c palm shorting/ coconut oil/ butter (butter would give a richer flavor)
1/4 c honey & 1/8 tsp (scant!) stevia    OR 1/2 c honey (taste to see if it needs more)

Soften your fat and add other wet ingredients. Mix everything aside from cocoa thoroughly and preheat oven to 350º. Fold cocoa in gently until completely mixed in, but do not overmix. Pour into well greased 8x8 or 9x9 pan and bake for 30 minutes. Wait until cool before cutting into, if you can manage!

These are rich, soft, and dense. I'd like to try using some unsweetened chocolate instead of the some of the cocoa. The conversion is 3 T. cocoa powder and 1 T. butter for 1 ounce of unsweetened baking chocolate, so I would use 3 oz. unsweetened chocolate and lessen the cocoa to 3/5 cup, and the fat to 1 heaping tablespoon.

Many thanks to all those who inspired me with their recipes!

Shared on Pennywise Platter Thursday 8/19.

Lamb Meatballs with Braised Cabbage

I finally was able to get some ground lamb!

Then I looked at the recipe again and saw mint, cinnamon, and allspice and wondered if I should really try something Lebanese. So I skimped on the odd flavors and overdosed on garlic. Yum yum.

Lamb Meatballs with Braised Cabbage
(meatball recipe modified from this one for Lebanese Lamb Meatballs.)

1/4 c dried onion, or 1/4 finely chopped fresh onion
3 Tbsp parsley
2 Tbsp dried garlic, or 1 clove finely chopped
3 mint leaves, finely chopped
1/2 tsp cinnamon
sprinkle pepper
1 tsp salt
1 lb ground lamb

bacon fat or sausage fat for cooking

1 head of cabbage
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp garlic powder
tsp italian seasoning blend
tsp salt
olive oil

Mix all ingredients for meatballs and shape into balls, and put in large skillet with a little fat so they don't stick. I had made sausage that morning, so the leftover drippings were a wonderful base to brown the meatballs in. Put the lid on and cook on medium/low heat.

Take off outer leaves and any browned parts on cabbage. Cut out core and put in pot with a couple inches of filtered water. Steam for about 7 minutes. Check on meatballs periodically and rotate them. When cabbage is looking clear, drain, rinse in cold water so you can handle it, and cut into smallish chunks. Return to pot and toss with olive oil and seasonings.

When meatballs are browned on all sides (Don't forget to rotate them!) remove from pan and set aside. Put cabbage in skillet that had meatballs (it probably won't fit very well, that is ok.) and cook on medium/high heat, turning frequently with tongs until browned.

Serve immediately.

Hubby and I really enjoyed, though I think I did more pepper than I should have (I lessened the amount for recipe.) It was fun to have a different flavor, and the cabbage took on some of the flavors from the meat nicely.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Week 12 - What GAPS has helped so far

Our vacation was great! I planned meals carefully and am glad that slightly spicey/flavorful dishes taste just as good cold as hot. We had a fridge/freezer and a stove, so we could do eggs in the morning and ate lots of salad and frozen yogurt with the heat. I also made awesome grain free brownies so we wouldn't be tempted by all the desserts. It was a good week.

Now that I'm back (and trying to post a backlog of recipes) I thought I would make a list of all the complaints that have gone away or improved since I started GAPS.

  • mental clarity
  • no longer chronically cold, even in the summer - basil body temp much higher
  • chemical sensitivity is much much less
  • sensitivity to scents, strong flavors/odors
  • sun headaches are gone
  • sunburn less easily
  • chronic nausea is gone and there are only a couple foods that cause very mild queasiness
  • gas discomfort
  • skin problems - acne is much improved, dandruff is gone
  • no more severe symptoms when hungry
  • blood sugar issues
  • less sleep needed
  • symptoms of thyroid problems 
  • hair fall out
  • body odor
  • confusing fertility signs completely cleared up
Not to mention my palate has widened and I like things with a lot less sweetness than before. We've discovered a lot of new vegetables and learned to like foods that are more bitter, sour, tangy, spicey, etc. 
    Keep in mind the GAPS changes for me include:
    • lots of good fats -  organic, grassfed butter, virgin coconut oil, palm oil, bacon fat, beef tallow, chicken fat, lard
    • only buying grass-fed or pastured animal meats and eggs and following this guide for fish
    • daily fermented cod liver oil
    • daily sauerkraut
    • daily probiotic
    • daily stock
    • raw milk, lots of homemade 24+ hour yogurt
    • raw honey, stevia as sweeteners
    • lots of fresh, cooked, fermented vegetables, buying organic where it counts.
    • soaking and dehydrating nuts and seeds
    • no grains - although I will be bringing back sprouted and fermented grains soon, since they do not seem to bother me.
    We've also been very illegal here and there - at parties or eating out, and it always reinforces how beneficial this diet is. I also have not dis-allowed chocolate, but am sweetening it with the allowed sweeteners. Allowing chocolate in small quantities and raw dairy and cheese has made this doable for our family for long term - especially since I can't really have fruit.

    We'll be doing grain-free full time for another couple weeks, but after that we are going to bring back grains in smaller quantities than pre-GAPS, and make sure they are properly prepared by soaking, sprouting, fermenting. I can't wait to make some sourdough!

    Skillet Fish with Summer Medley

    This is my "we-need-to-eat-in-a-half-hour-and-nothing-is-prepared!" dish. Simple, quick, frugal, and yummy.

    • 1 serving of fish for each person
    (pulled out of freezer, throw in warm (not hot!) water to defrost)
    • 1 small summer squash per person
    • 1 or 2 small tomatoes per person
    • (Other random veggies about to die if not consumed.)
    • fresh basil, oregano, or parsley if available
    • little bacon drippings or other fat
    • salt to taste
    • garlic, paprika, dill

    While fish is defrosting, wash and slice thinly the summer squash or zucchini. That goes into the pan on medium heat along with the fat. Stir often while slicing tomatoes. When squash is starting to turn clear and get lightly browned, toss in tomatoes. Continue to move quickly, add more fat if needed, and season with a tsp or so of salt, and fresh spices. Basil is the best of course, either dried of fresh.

    Once that is done transfer to a plate, add some more fat to the pan and put in the fish. Turn heat down a little bit. Season generously with garlic, paprika, and dill. Put a lid on and allow to cook for a few minutes, until fish starts to be flaky. You may need to rotate the fish depending on how evenly your pan heats, but their should be no need to flip the fish with the lid on.

    Serve immediately and don't have leftovers. These don't reheat well, but taste amazing when first prepared!

    Pineapple Vinegar - Making use of waste

    When we had our barbecue, I got some fresh pineapple for munching, roasting, and salsa. Have you ever roasted pineapple over open flame? It's a lot healthier than roasting marshmallows! There were a lot of scraps leftover - and you can use them before they go in the compost!

    If you haven't read Nourishing Traditions (where this recipe comes from) then this may seem like a foreign concept, and what do you do with pineapple vinegar anyway? Anywhere else you would use vinegar - but could use a pineapple zing!

    Heres how:

    Stuff the core, skin, and other pineapple trash into a quart sized mason jar. The scraps from one pineapple will easily fill two jars. Add a tablespoon of whey, 1 tsp dried oregano, and 1/8 tsp red pepper flakes to each jar. Fill the jar with filtered water and make sure everything is submerged, while still leaving an inch or more of air-space in the top of the jar. Seal tightly, and leave on the counter at room temp for 3 days.

    When finished fermenting (there should be a nice "pop" and a vinegar smell when you open it.) Strain and throw the scraps in the compost, and store the vinegar in the fridge!
    I'm looking forward to using this next time I make stir-fry - I sometimes use pineapple juice as the liquid base for the sweet & sour, but I can use this instead!

    This recipe is linked to the 6th edition of Simple Lives Thursday

    GAPS Granola

    Much thanks to Grain Free Foodies & The Prairie Mom for inspiring me to make granola. I never was terribly interested in granola - but I wanted another munchy snack for our eight hour drive. It was also a good breakfast when I couldn't cook anything. I also appreciated that I couldn't really taste the coconut oil, as I don't like coconut yet. I shared samples with some friends very much buried in the SAD (standard american diet) and they loved it too!

    I combined ideas and came up with this recipe:

    3 cups of stuff - soaked and dehydrated pumpkin seeds, flax seeds, slivered almonds, & sunflower seeds.
    I processed about half of it so some could be a little more finely ground (and more surface area for honey!)
    Add 2 heaping Tbsp coconut oil, and 1/4 c honey, melted. Mix thoroughly until evenly coated. It will be very sticky and require frequent finger licking.

    At this point you can allow to cool and harden on it's own, or make it crisp in the oven. I think the philosophy of GAPS would prefer it un-baked.  I baked at 350º for 25 minutes - stirring half-way through. Break off from the pan before it completely cools.

    (I also recommend soaking everything for a long while in order to clean :)

    I think it will keep at least a few weeks outside the fridge - especially if not baked. I wouldn't know as we ate all within the week - and had to force ourselves to not eat it all in a single sitting! My husband thinks it's candy.

    You can also add a cup or more dried fruit, coconut, good chocolate chips, etc. to this recipe. Yum yum!

    Making six eggs look like a lot - Fluffy Layered Frittata

    I had six eggs for dinner that night and I was planning to make quiche. Normally, I like to do as many as 10 or 12 eggs to fill my 9x9 pan, and have some leftovers for breakfast. But it was not possible. I also had 2 tiny pieces of bacon and little cheese and a little green onion. No matter how dense a dish is, if it looks really small on the plate, it seems like a small meal. So what to do? Unleash the space-filling power of the egg whites.

    6 large eggs
    1/4 c milk (opt.)
    1/4 c shredded cheddar
    little bacon
    little green onion or other add-ins
    pinch salt
    tsp vinegar (opt.)

    Separate yolks from whites carefully. Make sure the bowl you put the whites in is perfectly clean, and not a speck (Not a speck!!) of yolk gets into the whites. I usually crack the egg in half and gently toss the yolk back and forth between the two shells to get out all the white. Turn the oven on to 350º. Beat the eggs yolks with the milk, if using, greens, some of the cheese, and any other add-ins. Grease thoroughly you 9x9 pan. I usually use butter for this, but any kind of good saturated fat will work.

    Beat egg whites with clean beaters until stiff. Add salt and vinegar as you go along. The vinegar is not critical, but I think it is supposed to help it stay fluffier as it bakes. Once egg whites are stiff, pour the egg yolk mixture into the pan, followed by the egg whites. A spatula is helpful to spread them in the pan - keep in mind that the center will become taller as it cooks - if you want it more even, then make it slightly more shallow in the center. Top with the rest of the cheese and chopped up bacon bits.

    Bake for around 40 minutes. I flipped upside down onto our plates, to emphasize the layered look, but, either way it will taste delicious!

    Friday, August 6, 2010

    Honey Ginger Carrots

    Wait... I thought you said your daughter is sensitive carrots. Yes yes. These came from the CSA we are in, and my husband likes carrots. And once my daughter weans - I'll be eating these too! This is one of my mom's recipes that I've always loved. Thanks Mom!

    • enough carrots for everyone, either baby carrots, or larger carrots cut into smaller pieces. 
    • little butter
    • little honey
    • few pinches ginger

    Steam the carrots for a few minutes until just soft, drain. Add rest of ingredients - to taste. You don't need much butter, honey, or ginger to give it a wonderful flavor. Yum!

    (Could also substitute another fat instead of butter, such as bacon drippings or coconut, but butter tastes best in my opinion.)

    Spicey Lentil Stew on Salad

     This is another gem from Grain Free Foodies. Since this is summertime and I wanted to make it packable, I didn't add the greens to it as a stew, but eat this cold on top of the fresh greens as a summer salad. Lentils are frugal and take on other flavors well, and the spiciness of this dish makes it taste just as good cold as warm.

    Here is the recipe from Grain Free Foodies, my modified summer version below:

    2 T butter or ghee or coconut oil
    1 large onion, chopped
    3 (or more!) cloves of garlic, finely chopped
    2 heaping tsps of organic, non-irradiated curry powder
    1/2 tsp paprika
    2 cups of lentils, soaked for 24 hours and drained
    2 cups of chopped greens, somewhat tightly packed
    2 cups (or more) of meat stock
    1 T apple cider vinegar or lemon juice
    salt and pepper to taste
    Two large tomatoes, chopped
    1/2 lb sausage, cooked, crumbled
    4 ribs celery, chopped

    To sprout lentils, soak in water overnight, drain, and use a cheesecloth on a container or a sprouter to let extra liquid drip out and air to circulate so they can sprout for a day or two. Rinse twice a day. I sprouted mine for two days and decided the tails were plenty long.

    Saute onions in fat for several minutes until they become soft.  Add the garlic, celery, salt and spices and continue to saute on moderate heat another 5 minutes or so.

    Add the lentils and cook another few minutes.  Add the stock, sausage, and tomatoes, and bring to a boil.  Simmer until lentils are tender, 30-50 minutes depending on lentils.

    If the stew is thicker when done than you want, add more stock and heat through.  Remove from heat and add lemon juice or vinegar (real balsamic vinegar is the best if you can get it).  Taste and adjust the seasonings. 

    Wash and shred your greens, top with stew mixture after cooling, or eat warm.

    Week 10

    This has been a busy week getting ready for our vacation. We are staying in a cabin with cooking privileges, fridge, etc. but I still want to have as many things pre-prepared as possible, and need lots of foods to eat cold while on the road. Lots of salad! I'll be posting our quick and packable recipes as much as I can. I'm also going to make some GAPS desserts so we are less tempted by the very poor quality food that I know will tempt us while we are there.

    When I get back I plan to post on what conditions this diet change as helped, as well as how this is different from our "healthy" diet that we had before, and what changes I would still like to make if we can.

    Meanwhile, my baby loves sauerkraut, plain home-made yogurt, avacado, and mashed navy beans! Now if I could only get her to not make a mountainous mess each time she eats....

    Thursday, August 5, 2010

    Preparing almonds & other nuts

    Did you know you can make your nuts more digestible and gain valuable enzymes from them by how you prepare them?

    Nuts have wonderful enzymes - the trick is making them available (by soaking) and then not destroying them (roasting at high temps). My oven only goes as low at about 170º - not low enough to maintain the enzymes (below 150º is best) and heats up the house besides. I don’t have a dehydrator right now (though I wouldn’t mind a nice Excalibur) but I certainly have plenty of summer heat, and a car.

    First soak them for 7-24 hrs in salted filtered water. Use about 1 TBS sea salt per 4 cups of almonds. Soaking (and sprouting) also eliminates phytates that rob your body of minerals and nutrients. Drain, and spread in a single layer on a cookie sheet or stone. I like to add some additional salt at this point, just sprinkled on to taste. Then dry them. I have done them in the oven sometimes, but with the heat, I just put the pans on the dashboard in the morning where the sun would be shining in. When I went to take them out later that afternoon, I need hotpads! It took two days of sunshine to get them crispy, but then I can store them in the cabinet for a quick snack.

    This past time, I peeled them. It isn't hard, and makes them a little easier to digest, and a little tastier and nicer when ground up for baked goods. Before drying them, right after draining, just squeeze the skins off. They will go flying, so have the other hand there to catch them while you squeeze with the other hand.

    Hold in your fingers like so. Then squeeze toward the smaller side of the nut.
    What do you do with the skins? Well, you could add them to ice cream while you make it to add a touch of almond flavor,(just drain out before you freeze it), put in alcohol to make almond extract (let me know if you try this!), or just throw in your compost.

    And other nuts? Do the same thing! Peeling is not necessary, but soaking and drying works the same way for most nuts. Cashews are a little different. They should only soak for 6 hours and be dried at 200º - 250º. They do not come to you truly "raw", because heat is required for removing them from their shells. For more info and ideas with nuts, check out Nourishing Traditions.

    Sunday, August 1, 2010

    Fluffy Wheat-less Pancakes

    Pancakes are one of our favorites. Prior to going grain free, I made some sour-dough pancakes almost every Sunday. And when we are done with GAPS, I know we'll be going back to that. In the meantime, these are pretty deceptive. They look like wheat pancakes. They taste kinda like wheat pancakes, but you know by the slightly nutty flavor and crumbliness that that they aren't. Definitely a little lighter in texture, but very good. And filling! Topped with real butter and syrup, they were wonderful.

    This recipe is a gift from Grain Free Foodie. I highly recommend the lemon honey syrup she mentions as well. I made a few modifications, so I list her recipe with my changes here:

    1 C pureed, cooked squash
    1/2 C peanut butter
    1/2 C almond flour                
    5 eggs
    1/2 tsp salt
    pinch stevia

    Separate the eggs, and beat the whites until fluffy (soft peaks are fine). In a large bowl, mix together the 5 egg yolks, the squash, the nut butter, and the salt and sweetening. Blend thoroughly. Fold the egg whites into this mixture gently, so that the resulting batter is airy and light.

    Cook on a well-greased griddle on a somewhat low heat, (medium to low) as they do burn easily. Flip them gently as they do not stay together as well as regular pancakes.

    Spread them on the pan with a spatula.

    When edges look slightly dry (it is hard to tell!) flip gently. I flipped with a little too much force here.

    Thanks Grain Free Foodie!

    Honey Pineapple Shrimp & Red Cauliflower (Sweet & Spicey goodness!)

    This was one of those haphazard experimental meals that turned out really well. It was the end of the month, (and therefore I cook whatever we have left in the house) so I pulled out some leftover pineapple salsa, and a head of cauliflower. I also had some whole, raw shrimp I had gotten from the Farmer's market. I even had followed the recommendation to let it thaw for a day in the fridge. Food with Kid Appeal had posted a fun recipe for cauliflower that I really wanted to try, so I didn't make the usual cauli-rice I would have thought of making to go with pineapple shrimp. Then I was sitting there eating spicey cauliflower, and sweet shrimp... spicey, sweet. Sweet, spicey. Wait.... sweet and spicey? I mixed them all up together, and Mmm... Hubby still ate his mostly separate, but he enjoyed the mix as well.

    Honey Pineapple Shrimp
    (from Better Homes and Gardens)
    • 1-1/2 lbs shrimp
    • 1 lime
    • 1 garlic clove
    • 1/2 c fresh cilantro (can sub parsley) chopped
    • 1 tbsp olive oil
    • 1 tbsp honey
    • 20 oz peeled pineapple
    • 1 red onion
    • 1/8 tsp salt

    Finely chop garlic, cilantro, and pineapple, and chop onion. Grill onion, pineapple, shrimp - basting with some of sauce made from other ingredients and pineapple juice, reserving extra sauce for after cooking. Or just pan fry everything, cooking onions and garlic first, then adding shrimp to cook until just pink on one side, then adding the rest of ingredients and cooking for another couple minutes.

    This recipe is very flexible - I like more greenery and not quite as much pineapple, just use whatever you have.

    For red cauliflower recipe, see Food with Kid Appeal's post. I cut the cauliflower into smaller peices than she shows in the picture, but still had decent sized chunks. I also used a little less lemon and a little too much cumin. Yum!

    Note on the shrimp: I got whole raw wild shrimp. (See photo) It was kinda creepy to cut the heads off, and a little more work to peel and de-vein, but the resulting taste and texture was well worth it. I'd previously always gotten the pre-cooked and de-veined shrimp that was really easy to peel, but the flavor and texture was nothing like these. The meat was more flaky and lingered in your mouth so much longer. I will definitely be buying these again even if they are looking at me!

    Thursday, July 29, 2010

    Salsa + stuff = lunch

    Its summer time, therefore, time to eat salsa! Not only is it raw (or super-powered raw if you ferment it) but it is a great way to eat your garlic, acids, onions, and makes whatever you top it on flavorful and good.

    I used to add corn and black beans to my salsa, but otherwise, this is the same approximate recipe I've used for years. The addition of a food processor is wonderful, and any excess liquid (if you don't remove the juice from the tomatoes) can be used to flavor soups, make guacamole, or as a soaking liquid.

    I usually make salsa every other week and keep it in the fridge (it stays good for a while with all the acids and garlic in it!) and just pull out protein, cheese, and some other greens if desired, and voila! lunch!

    Fresh Salsa
    (adjust to your own taste buds, very flexible!)

    1 large onion - red or white
    1-2 jalepeños (I usually taste after adding one, I like it mild, but often I use two.)
    1 large bunch cilantro
    juice of 1 lime or lemon
    2 bell peppers
    4-6 cloves garlic
    5-7 large tomatoes (I like mixing different kinds for a complex flavor.)
    tsp salt - to taste

    Wear gloves for handling jalepeños, and scrape out seeds into compost unless you want it really spicey. Chop finely or put in processor first. Chop garlic and onion finely as well, along with cilantro. I find bell peppers and tomatoes are nice to keep chunky as well as finely chopped, so I sometimes process everything but a couple tomatoes, and then have those larger. Add lemon/lime juice and salt, mix and let flavors meld for a couple hours.

    Keep in a non-reactive (glass) bowl in the fridge for a quick topping to everything!

    Have you tried salsa on eggs? It a delicious wake-me-up breakfast. Yum!

    Week 9

    No major updates this week. Continuing to eat GAPS food, continuing to see healing which is slow but steady. Pediatrician was thrilled to see that my baby no longer has any rashes or signs of yeast, is pleasantly plump, no diarrhea, and looking happy. She has perfect baby skin these days that eluded us those first nine months before I figured out the problem.

    I also discovered another GAPSer that has a bunch of phenomenal recipes! I wish I had discovered this blog before. Check out Grain Free Foodie for more recipes to keep you excited about food even when you've cut out entire food groups. There are also lots of fruit recipes that you won't find here.

    Meanwhile, I need to start planning GAPS meals for vacation. We'll be in a cabin for a week and have a stove, fridge, etc. but I will have to pack everything and have lots of quick meals. Any suggestions?

    Tuesday, July 27, 2010

    Sweet & Sour Lentils

    I tried out this recipe from Keeper of the Home. It is seriously yummy, it just doesn't score high on the presentation factor. To make it more exciting, I topped it with fresh chopped pineapple and crispy cashew pieces. I think next time I make it I will also add a tiny bit of pork and other veggies such as green pepper, carrots (for hubby), leeks, water chestnuts, and other stir-fry type veggies.

    If you like sweet and sour, try it out. The taste more than makes up for it's odd appearance.

    Sweet and Sour Lentils
    by Keeper of the Home with my modifications in italics.

    (I double this recipe for our family of 4, and it gives me enough leftovers to serve it to the kids and I for lunch)

    2 1/4 cups water or bone broth
 or mixture of both
    1 cup lentils (green or brown, not orange)

    1/2 medium onion, diced (I used a whole one)
    3 Tbsp apple cider vinegar

    2 Tbsp honey
               (I used half as much honey)
    1 Tbsp olive oil

    1 tsp. sea salt

    1 tsp. basil

    Soak the lentils with a tbs whey, overnight or start them early in the morning (using the 2 1/4 cups liquid).
    Without draining, bring the lentils to a boil, then turn low and simmer for 1/2 an hour. Add the onions and cook for another 15 minutes.         ---- I did half hour total, they were plenty tender, they soaked a full 24 hrs.
    If there's still quite a bit of liquid remaining, remove the lid and simmer for 10-15 minutes more.
    When tender, add oil, vinegar, honey and seasonings. Cook again for 5-8 minutes, mixing well. (I skipped additional heating to preserve enzymes in the vinegar. Turned out just fine.)

    topped with a little bit thinly sliced fresh pineapple, and crispy cashews.

    Egg in a Squash Basket

    I eat cooked butternut squash for breakfast a lot. I usually add a little bacon fat or butter, and a pinch of salt. Reheating it in the toaster oven is pretty fast, so along with my egg drop soup, I have a "quick" breakfast. Baby likes it too.

    But once in a while it is nice to look at something a little different.

    1/2 c leftover winter squash
    1 egg
    1 tbs butter

    Lightly grease your pan and preheat oven(or toaster oven) to 400º - alternatively, this can be done on the stove, just put a lid on the skillet and cook it gently. Spread squash into a mound, then make a bowl in the center for the egg to go and drop egg in. Bake for 15 minutes till egg white is done and yolk is still slightly runny. Put butter on top of egg while still warm so it can melt, and sprinkle with a dash of salt to taste.

    Looking at other recipes - it looks like this is best done with a broiler for about 7 minutes. I've not tried that though, but I have cooked it longer so the yolk is more done.

    I especially like how the sweet flavor of the butternut squash plays with the salty flavor of the egg and butter. Mmmm...

    Shared on Pennywise Platter Thursdays.

    Cilantro Lime Navy Beans

    I finally got my order of navy beans in. They are so much cheaper when you order 5 lbs at once! I love throwing beans in soup to help spread the meat farther, but with the heat we didn't feel like soup. This had a slightly mexican flavor and was super yummy.

    Basic recipe:
    • 1 cup beans, soaked for 24 hours with a little whey, simmered for 6 hours
    • juice of 2 limes
    • handful of cilantro, chopped
    • 3 cups chicken stock
    • 2 medium onions, 1 red, 1 white
    • half bulb garlic
    • little salt to taste
    • little organic, non-irradiated taco seasoning
    Other add-ins:
    • several handfuls of green beans
    • 2 chopped bell peppers
    • jalepeño
    • cooked chicken from making stock

    Soak beans the day before in about 3 cups water and a couple tablespoons whey, vinegar, or salt. This helps tremendously with digestibility. Simmer in the chicken stock for 6 hours, You should use up most of the liquid this way, if there seems to be too much you can just take the lid off, or if you are running out too early, just add some filtered water. When nearly done, chop onions and garlic, and sauté for about 5 minutes in bacon fat, lard or ghee. Add other vegetables and cook for another few minutes till onions are clear and other greens have just changed color. Add bean mixture, along with lime juice, cilantro, salt, and seasonings.

    Top with fresh avocado and dig in.

    This post is a part of Real Food Wednesday hosted by Kelly the Kitchen Kop.
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