Sunday, July 28, 2013

It's a birthday (with honey-free buttercream)

Every birthday and event I like to try more things that I can possibly succeed at. Do all of my grand schemes work? Certainly not. However, something always works out, and fun is had, and every so often something amazing happens. Such as honey-free buttercream. Or the perfect pink icing on the cake. Or her smile while everyone sings the long-anticipated song. Yes, my photography was terrible and my flowers completely flopped; no one said that everything had to pinterest worthy. I think I'm more sad at being so successful with my low-oxalate pulled pork recipe that all the guests ate it and there was nothing left!

So ignore the fact that my buttercream was taken out of the fridge, and hastily put on the fun-fetti cupcake for this photo. It is still chunky, because it is real buttercream, and needs to sit out and soften at room temp (and possibly be re-whipped a little bit) before slathering with abandon on cupcakes.

Yes, yes, I know. You're wondering how I have such fantastic looking fun-fetti cupcakes. I'll tell my secrets, don't worry.

First you have to see the faux carrot cake again. Yum. This was eaten with delight, even if it did taste like squash.

There are apple chunks in it too. Because apples are delicious.

And have you ever discovered the delight of dying things with beets? I grated a beat, squeezed the shavings through a cheese cloth, and had a super-concentrated pink dye. Really, a few drops transformed mostly white cream cheese frosting into pink amazingness. Did you notice that the pink fades from dark pink to light pink at the top? Very fancy. It would have been fancier as roses, but that was not meant to be.

And the leftover shavings of beet made a boring old yellow cupcake more exciting. Along with the zucchini shavings.

Zucchini and beets in cupcakes? Yes, I've been doing the GAPS diet for too long. I'll have you know, some non-gapsters liked these.

Oh buttercream. I only really knew about so-called buttercreams, people even dare to call them real, but if you're not talking about silky emulsified butter deliciousness, then it's not the same thing. I still love the classic cream and powdered sugar concoction. It has a nice flake when it dries some and is excellent for decorating. But real buttercream? Wow. It makes me want to learn how to make really good cakes just so I can properly compliment it.

My downfall with so many of these delightful sugar-free recipes has been the use of boiled honey. Whether or no it actually turns honey into toxic substance, I don't know. I just hate the flavor and get a migraine from it, and that is enough for me to avoid it! So applejuice is my willing substitute for the liquid, and it works wonderfully. God has blessed us with new foods and new inspiration. I just sat back and thought, if I can emulsify magnesium "oil" and fats to make magnesium lotion then surely I can emulsify any liquid with a fat right? All I need is the technique.

Before you make any attempts to follow this deceivingly simple recipe, read ALL the instructions given by this other gracious blogger here. Read the comments too. Then read the whole recipe again. I thought this had flopped several times, then I re-read her comments and had success!

And here are my substitutions for said recipe:
  • 1/2 c concentrated apple juice syrup (1 c juice simmered until reduced by half)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup (8 ounces) butter  (Use salted for a salty sweet buttercream, or unsalted for a purely sweet. We liked the salted a lot. )
  • 1/16th tsp stevia powder (I'm still using nu-naturals brand, even though it is processed stuff, this is equivalent to around 1/2 c sugar)
  • splash vanilla (opt.)

The apple juice gives a subtle delicious overtone of sour-sweet fall flavor, without most people putting their finger on what it is and simply asking for more.

To make, gently simmer apple juice until the volume is reduced by half. This took some time, but I did the day before while I was cooking other things. Then measure out a half cup and have it ready to bring to a boil.

 I mixed the stevia powder and vanilla with the eggs, and beat until very very frothy. It seems like a very long time to beat for just two eggs, but keep going. Continue beating right up to the moment the apple juice is boiling and ready to add in. Pour it down the side of the bowl slowly while beating.

If you goof (as I did) and the whole concoction is too thin after adding the apple juice, put the (metal!) bowl over the pot with a little water in it, and continue beating as you heat every thing up. The eggs need to cook into marshmallowness before adding the butter.

Then add the butter (when everything is the same temp!)  a little at a time and beat until you have a smooth delicate icing. Spread on ready cupcakes that cooled earlier, or just eat it off the spoon.

And when you're guests compliment you on such delectable icing, bow gently and tell them it is honey and sugar free. 

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Healing update part two: Mommy!

I post this primarily for my various friends and family who have supported me and loved me even while I've been much less than my perky self.  I also share to bring hope. God made the body magnificently - it not only can survive, it can heal.


I dreaded doing the Introduction diet for some time. Surviving on just meat and veggies? No raw milk? Going without eggs for a couple days? How would I get enough calories? My biggest fear was just what monsters would come out of me when doing major cleansing. Retracing is pretty common, and I have a lot I never want to retrace! Setting a date and committing a month to it were critical, otherwise I may have put it off indefinitely.

And ultimately, Intro really wasn't that bad. My liver has been definitely healing, as I only felt I needed ox bile to help with fats a few times, as I've been gradually switching to a much higher fat diet for a long while, and low and behold, I can survive without huge amounts of dairy and piles of high carb veggies! When I first went on GAPS, it was a huge struggle to eat enough, and I couldn't keep my calories high enough. Now I've healed enough to just eat more fat. I ate less than I anticipated, and I felt much better than I had hoped for. I found it funny that healing can be so delicious!

As my nursling is still eating little food, I went through the Intro very carefully, going backwards through the stages and then forwards to reduce die-off.  (Check out this awesome info-graphic of the Intro diet.)Frequent long detox baths and doses of chlorella helped absorb toxins. And I tried to keep my obligations low so that I could be home and resting as needed. Extra vit C and continuing to take Bioray LiverLife also helped the cleanse be easier on my body.

Somewhere in the middle of this process - my cravings evaporated, my mood lifted, and I found myself playing with my kids!!! Though overall Intro was a rollercoaster emotionally and physically, reaching a high I hadn't experienced in well over a year was a huge blessing. You never know how bad off you were until you experience what normal should feel like. Having battled depression, ( which was a lot better, but not totally gone) finally feeling joyful and energetic again is amazing.

This is what you wanted to know though: What is better now?

•My mood! I'm still working on some bad habits that have developed over the past year, but I feel much more chipper and lively. It is wonderful.
•Energy levels are a lot better. My adrenal fatigue was already much improved over where I was a year ago, but now I feel like I have the drive to get things down and not just mope around the house.
•I can eat fruit again! Previously many different fruits bothered my nursling through my milk, and now I've re-added many items without issue! I hoping to try those pesky nightshades again soon.
•Less liver support needed. Bioray LiverLife is a fantastic supplement, but is pretty expensive when you depend on a huge dose every day, I've cut my dose in half without my sensory issues coming up to bite me.
•Less cravings. Granted, I still want my chocolate - but I'm much happier with just meat and veggies now.
•Better habits - I'm more consistent about ferments, I learned that some foods really do taste good boiled, and I renewed my commitment to lots of broth.
•Histamine tolerance is better. It's still allergy season, so avocados are still a little much for me, but I'm eating yogurt and bubbies pickles and not getting a histamine response. Yay!
•Sensory issues are much better - I'm walking barefoot in the house, something I couldn't tolerate before because the sensation on my feet made me crazy. I'm folding laundry and touching papers all the time, as opposed to waiting for my "good days." And I'm feeling normal hunger symptoms, something I've very rarely experienced before!

I'm not done healing, as what is torn down in years takes years to build back up, but I finally feel like I've recovered from the onslaught of stress and then wear and tear of a pregnancy immediately following that stressful period. Never underestimate stress! Through all the events I attended with my soups and boiled sausages and the hours spent soaking in the bath, my motivation has been my kids. God be praised for giving them to me, I wouldn't be here without them!

Sunday, July 7, 2013

GAPS INTRO: Because healing can taste delicious.

Whooo! I'm finally done with one full month of the GAPS introduction diet. I will freely admit that I did tire of all the broth and soup, but the results were well worth it. Probably the hardest part was simply all the un-expected social events that required a lot more packing and planning. Hear about what intro helped me with in an upcoming post. For now, enjoy photos of food!

(Please note, these are in no particular order, as I started with stage 6, worked my way backwards to stage 1, and then moved forwards through intro again. On top of that blogger is quriky, and just getting images up is a trick by itself! I tried to note as best I can what foods were for which stages, but I know I didn't do things perfectly! My DD is still low oxalate as well, so there were several veggies I didn't use much, it's too much work to cook different meals for both of us.)

Sandwiches on intro? No way! Pumpkin Pecan Pancakes, with simple sausage (boiled) for stage 3

 Beef and mushrooms on salad - stage 5

  Beef and broccoli soup (use fresh herbs for stage 2)

A huge chuck roast! cooked for several hours with garlic and onion, with broccoli nestled around for the last hour. Yum. (stage 4)

Bok choy and sausage soup (stage 2 - although, bok choy is pretty fibrous so probably not ideal.)

Fishcakes (stage 3)

  Green eggs and sausage (stage 3)

 Lemon grape fruit frozenyogurt (my intro cheat stage 5, Dr. NCM says grapefruit is full GAPS though, woops!)

Mushroom Zucchini in lamb broth with boiled eggs (stage 3, softboiled eggs for stage 2) I know it looks really weird, but it was really good! You can see my plate is half-finished.

  Scrambled eggs with sausage and squash - stage 3 - shouldn't have had browned bits though!

  Simple beef stew (shouldn’t have mushrooms for stage 1)

Roast chicken and cauliflower - a staple. (If baked or boiled - stage 2)

Simple chicken cilantro soup (stage 2) Doesn’t look like anything special, but it is my favorite!

Egg custard - my blood sugar stabilizer when fixing a meal. Egg yolks + honey + butter. Stage 2.

Squash and garlic scapes soup - with a little chicken and lots of garlic. Fresh parmesan adds a nice touch, but without that you can have it on stage 2!

 Photo dissapeared, but another staple: Basic green bean and broccoli stew. yum! Stage 1

Buttered spagetti and meatballs - stage 2 (if you boil/bake all)

Garlic Green Beans! I think they might be too high fiber, but they are in season and we don't have trouble with fiber. Bake in a little broth and fat for stage 3

Bok choy soup with fish (stage 2)

 Boiled Brussell Boats (stage 2) - when well boiled (in chicken stock that had sausage boiled in it first for flavor) you can squish the little sprouts with a fork, and use them as delivery devices for huge chunks of butter!

 Salad soup (it was going to be chicken romaine soup, but cilantro was thrown in) Should have pureed avocado before adding for stage 3)

Ginger Shrimp with green beans - (stage 2 I think) - 2 hunks ginger (about 2 tsp) a few garlic cloves chunked, 1 lb shrimp, 1 lb green beans, a little cilantro (optional) - add shrimp last after green beans are done. So so good!

 Angel eggs! Mix egg yolks with melted butter and salt. Yum! (Regular mayo would be legal stage 4 if made with just olive oil, eggs, and vinegar/lemon juice.)

Didn’t take a picture till after I started tasting it! So yummy! This is a terrible photo, but it had amazing flavor. A whole red snapper, baked in broth and onions, with herbs stuck inside the cavity. Yum yum.

 Snapper Teriyaki - leftover snapper joins other veggies (boiled or baked) and then all the broth from baking and cooking the fish and veggies is boiled with garlic and fresh ginger to a wonderful sauce. Add a little honey to tone down the spice, and some SK juice to add some tang. Cauli-rice on the side. Stage 3/4

Egg drop soup with real fish broth. Mmm! Stage 2.

Stage 4 means olive oil! Simple mayo with boiled chicken, boiled eggs, and other goodies turns into chicken salad. Mmm... I went ahead and added spices since our issues are mild, so we put in plenty of mustard. Don't forget your mug of broth on the side!

Simple but delish - Chicken and zucchini soup. Some lard added for fat and flavor. (Stage 1)

Roasted burgers! So much better than boiled. Perched on top of veggies for better finish. Stage 4. A couple eggs yolks per lb of meat helps them hold together well.

Beef and Zucchini bake - with lots of garlic of course! I added a little oregano as well. Stage 3/4

Leftover Beef and zucchini becomes quiche the next day! Add cheese if you’ve introduced dairy, though it was still excellent without. Stage 3.

Fresh salad! Bitter greens from the garden, apple sauce, a few roasted pecans, and a smidge of honey and olive oil. Yum! Stage 6 - I also did a variation with some leftover ham roast in it too. Mmm!

Ham Hash - uncured ham roast with mustard is tossed with boiled cauliflower and other veggies. Reduce the leftover liquid and pile on the butter. Stage 4.

More salad - this is excellent for packing and a perfect mix of the springtime season. Roasted butternut squash, fresh grapes if you have them, sour cream, and some chicken or turkey. Wonderful way to use bitter greens from the garden! Stage 6.

Classic intro food - egg poached in chicken broth. A little cilantro because it is my favorite. Stage 2.

Another easy "snack" food - boiled peas with butter and chicken. Stage 1/2 I think.

My goodness, I guess I did do a lot of eating! There are a lot of other foods I didn't even photograph or note! Stay tuned for my next post about what GAPS intro helped with!

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