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.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Octopus Squash Birthday Cake

My baby is one! I made chocolate bean cupcakes for everyone else, but for my highly sensitive baby, I wanted to make her a cake she could squish, cover herself in, and eat without any reactions. So far homemade yogurt, mashed avacado, pre-chewed meat, and butternut squash are happy foods for her. So I cooked up a squash until it was nice and mushy, and squished and squashed and molded it into an adorable little octopus. Little bits of broccoli made the face, and my baby had a marvelous time.

On the Menu

Bacon Butter Baby Cabbage

I got a couple adorable baby cabbages from the CSA last week, and didn't want them to languish in the fridge. Not a big cabbage fan normally, I already knew that buttered cabbage was delicious. Add some onions and bacon fat as well, and you'll have a dish that makes you love cabbage.

2 fist sized baby cabbages (could also use full size, just increase recipe overall)
3 green onions
2 cloves garlic
2 Tbsp  butter
2 tbsp bacon fat

Chop all veggies while pan is heating with bacon fat. Sauté garlic on high heat for a minute or two, then turn heat to medium and add other veggies. Cook until slightly softened, about 10 to 15 minutes, stirring often, and trying to have the thicker portions closer to the heat. Add butter, and salt to taste, around a tsp or so.

(Pictured with chicken cooked into the mix as well.)

(Can also use more bacon fat and skip the butter if not using dairy yet :)

Eating illegal food - Week 8

This was a party week, a celebration week, a running around week... and we took a break from GAPs on more occasions than we probably should have. It is interesting now that I can really taste the artificial processed additives that I never noticed so much before. Fortunately, despite all compromises made, we stuck to the diet for most meals, and are not suffering major set-backs that we can see. Just a little more of the discomforts that remind us why we want to be eating this better way.

I've also begun my experiments with stevia. The verdict still seems to be out as to whether or not it is GAPS legal, but given that it is like an spice in regards to use and digestion, and how little is needed, I'm assuming it to be fine. No one has reacted badly to it, and it definitely will slow how quickly honey is used in this house even when there are birthday parties. I followed the recommendation of many bloggers and purchased the NuNaturals pure extract powder. No weird additives, no added sugar alcohols, no weird aftertaste, and incredibly sweet. I may have gotten used to less sweet desserts, but I need less stevia than I've seen others use - 1/2 tsp replacing 1&1/2 cups regular sugar. Pretty impressive. So far combining it with a little honey has made for delicious desserts, and no one has noticed the lack of processed sugar in the treats I made.

I am truly amazed at how much more satisfying real food is. I survived on meals out here and there before, but now they just leave me wanting. My body has learned to crave good food!

Chicken Fingers

Time to do something with chicken... how about.... CHICKEN FINGERS! Chickens don’t have fingers you say? Well, that may be a topic for debate, but in the meantime I can certainly make "breaded" chicken deliciousness.

1 lb chicken
1 egg
1 cup (maybe more) almond flour
paprika, salt, pepper, italian seasoning blend

First, cut up your chicken into finger sized pieces. In a small bowl, beat the egg. In another dish, put in almond flour, and seasoning to taste. I threw all kinds of flavors in there, but you could also make it really simple with just salt and pepper. Just lick your finger and dip it in the almond flour blend to see how it will taste as breading. Turn on the oven to 400º, grease a large stone or baking pan, and line everything up. I found it easiest to use a fork to dip several pieces of chicken into the egg, let the excess run off, and then put in the almond flour. After I had several pieces in the almond flour, I put the lid on the container and shook it around to coat the chicken, before using my fingers to transfer coated pieces to the pan.

Bake at 400º for about 20-30 minutes, until cooked through, flipping once. Let them cool a couple minutes on the pan before transferring to your plates and dipping in homemade ketchup.

(I think I like almond "breading" even better than the usual grain version :)

Sloppy Joe "rice" bowl

There are certain flavors that evoke memories and make you happy. Like sloppy Joes. The warm red sauce and meat oozing out of the bun onto your hands, plate, and lap. Woops. I hope you have a napkin. Somewhere along the way I heard of eating sloppy Joe’s with rice. It makes it less messy (and therefore, less fun) but the flavor is nonetheless satisfying.

Sloppy joes

  • 1/2 lb ground beef (preferably grass fed)
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 1 large tomato, finely chopped
  • leftover steamed, grated cauliflower (half)
  • Organic, non-irradiated BBQ seasoning
  • honey
  • red wine vinegar
  • worcestershire
  • a few cloves garlic, (optional)

Sauté onions in a little fat, along with chopped garlic if you desire it. Add ground beef and cook, stirring frequently until about half-way done. Add tomatoes and put the lid on so it can simmer for about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Tomatoes should be quite mushy. Add about a Tbsp or so of honey, a couple tsp BBQ seasoning, a swish of red wine vinegar or apple cider vinegar, and a couple swishes of worcestershire. Stir, simmer a couple minutes, and taste for flavor. I used to like it really sweet, but now I like it really tangy. This is quite flexible. Simmer another few minutes or so, while you reheat your cauliflower rice (or steam it if you didn’t have any leftover. You can throw it in the pan along with the sloppy joes, or have it separately for layering.

Note - if you want to thicken the sauce a bit more, you can add a little yogurt to the excess liquid. Stir vigorously while on medium heat.

Shared on Wheatless Wednesday.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Minestrone Plus

This is yummy no matter what time of year. Minestrone is usually an italian vegetable soup, but we like the additional protein. For GAPS, I skip the potatoes and pasta that it usually involves, and sometimes add pre-cooked butternut squash.

3 cups beef stock
4 large tomatoes
3 onions
1 bulb garlic
4 ribs celery
1/4 to 1/3 lb ground beef or shredded roast beef, cooked
enough additional filtered water to cover
salt, seasonings

Also would be good:
1 large zuc
2-3 carrots

Pull out your dutch oven or stock pot. Chop onions and celery, and add to pot along with beef stock and begin to simmer. While that is heating, chop tomatoes into smallish pieces and add to pot as you chop them. Carrots would be good to add at this point too. Add enough water to cover and turn your fire to high. Once it all reaches a simmer, add your chopped garlic and quick cooking vegetables, reduce heat to medium, and simmer for a couple minutes. Add beef, seasonings (Basil, thyme, oregano, marjoram, salt, pepper, etc. sorry, I didn’t measure these, I just add, taste, add some more.)

Great with freshly grated parmesan, a dollup of crème frache, and a good place to hide your essential fatty acids and cod liver oil.

Cheeseburger Broccoli

This is a nice quicky meal when you get home and need to cook up dinner in a hurry. 

And of course, it is delicious. You can't go wrong with broccoli and cheddar.

2 heads of broccoli

1/3 lb pre-cooked ground beef

1 cup shredded cheddar

bacon fat


other additions as desired

Chop broccoli into bite-size pieces. Cook broccoli gently with a little fat in a cast iron pan over medium/low heat. Try to keep stems closer to the base of pan and turn once or twice to cook evenly. When color has just changed, add already cooked ground beef, and heaping Tbsp bacon fat. Stir to incorporate and cook a few more minutes. Top with generous amount of cheese and salt to taste.

Welcome additions could be carmelized onions, seasoned and slightly cooked tomatoes, bacon, cauliflower “rice”, etc.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Week Six

Wow... is it really week six?

It is the little successes that encourage me to keep going even when I’m tired of struggle. Not that this is a huge struggle anymore. Aside from the desire for bread and mozzarella cheese, I really don’t miss other foods too much. It is the convenience I miss. However, my husband told me some great news: an infected toenail that he had decided to start treating again with an anti-fungal medication is finally healing! He had tried to treat it with the same product several years ago, and gave up after several months of little success. Additionally, the product he is using is expired as of last year, which makes it’s potency questionable, and even more proof that the diet is making the difference. Other oddities and skin ailments that he has had are starting to show significant signs of healing as well. Woo hoo!

So with that happy news, we push on despite the lack of our beloved starches. We’re taking breaks here and there (though not recommended by GAPS :-/ ) and we’re working toward our goal.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Cheese Gnocci

This especially goes out to people like CheeseSlave, and all lovers of cheese. Much thanks to SCD recipes where this was posted.

Cheese Gnocci
An alternative to potatoes and pasta

    •    1 cup DCCC (dry curd cottage cheese)
     (I substituted Farmer's cheese and it worked well.)
    •    1 egg
    •    1/2 cup parmesan cheese
  Run in food processor, transfer into a bowl and add

    •    1/4 cup almond flour
    •    1/2 cup grated cheddar

Mix well, form into 4 balls (moisten hands) roll into ropes about 1/2" thick. Length will vary as to the thickness. Pat down slightly, cut into 1" pieces. Alternatively you can just grab little bits and roll into 1 in. balls as I did, but I think the rope is more efficient. Fill a small bowl partially with ice water and have nearby. Bring pot of water to boil, then lower temp. to where the water is simmering, drop gnocci into the water - when they rise to the top after a minute or two - remove and place into cold water, drain, refrigerate for 1 hour. Do not overcook or they will turn into a cheesey blob!! Reheat and serve with tomato sauce with added mushrooms, SCD bacon, sausage, ham etc. These gnocci freeze well.

I took a picture of the prettier ones - but I learned from experience not to let them overcook. Some of my gnocci was very blobbish instead of cute little pasta balls. Oh well, it still tasted very yummy. I skipped the fridge time and added these to some leftover beef-tomato-garlic soup. They were wonderfully good.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Shrimp Fried Cauli-rice

I know, I know. Cauliflower? Again? Really? We got an abundance this week, so that is what went on the menu. Honestly, I didn't really notice eating cauliflower almost every night. Each time it was a completely different dish. The secret is the seasoning and the egg. Your mouth will believe you are really eating fried rice. And you don't need to tell it otherwise.

1 lb shrimp, peeled

1 head cauliflower

2 beaten eggs

4 ribs organic celery
1 large onion
4 green onions
3-5 cloves garlic
juice of 1 lemon


bacon fat or butter

sliced carrots (opt.)
snow peas (opt.)
water chestnuts (opt.)
pineapple (opt.)
green pepper, chopped (opt.)

If you are doing proper stir-fry and have a wok or a really big skillet, then grate your cauliflower (or process it into tiny bits) and set aside till the end. If you don't have such large cooking tools, then just put your crumbled cauliflower into a stainless steel pot with a little olive oil or butter and cook on a medium to low heat for 8-10 minutes, stirring often till it all turns clear.

Prepare all of your vegetables, and have your shrimp ready. Sauté veggies in skillet or wok, moving them quickly over high heat. Add the longer cooking ones first - onion, garlic, carrots, celery, and when half done add the ones that cook more quickly - peppers, peas, green onion. Salt lightly. Once vegetables have changed in color remove from pan and set aside. Turn heat to medium, add more fat if needed, and add shrimp. Season to taste. Once cooked, add lemon juice and vegetables and stir to incorporate, then set all aside so you can cook cauliflower. On medium heat, fry cauliflower until just starting to turn clear or change color. Add beaten egg and stir quickly to incorporate - but not so quickly that there are no chunks of egg. Season with lots of paprika, salt, and pepper.

Pile your cauli-rice on the plate and top with shrimp & vegetable mixture and dig in. Mmm!

Spiced Squash & Kale salad

This was a little too much winter warmth and spice for my taste this time of year, but it was good and my hubby liked it! Paired up with a slow-cooked roast and you have a wonderful GAPS meal that is loaded with nutrients.

 Spiced Squash & Kale salad
  • 10+ leaves of kale and swiss chard, cut into bite sized pieces
  • 1 cup or so of butternut squash, already cooked and cut into 1 in cubes
  • couple cloves garlic
  • enough olive oil to coat
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • couple pinches of salt
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • couple of pinches of black pepper or cayenne
Toss all in a bowl until evenly coated. Throw in skillet and cook on medium heat till warm and veggies are wilted - a few minutes. Stir constantly. I had to cook this in shifts in my 12 in skillet, but it stayed warm for a bit so I just transferred it directly to our plates.

The original recipe had pomegranate, which I do love, but I don't think my baby will like me eating, so I left it out.

Great way to eat some of these more bitter greens!
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