Tag Archives: cooking

A Month of Paleo

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As a family, we decided that we all needed to be watching more of what we ate.  Keep in mind that we are already eating gluten free (3 of us are celiac), we eat very little sugar, and we eat all organic, grass fed, farm fresh foods.  You may ask yourself what else we could we possibly do.  Well, we decided to try a strict Paleo diet for one month.  Now, we are for the most part doing that with adding in a few extras like butter, and the rest of the milk we have plus a few cheeses.

We are finding it to be fairly easy, however, eating on the fly is harder still as I have to think about everything and we cannot just make or eat a GF muffin or GF bread with the turkey meat.  So, I’ve been coming up with a few recipes and buying lots of veggies to supplement some of our stand bys.

Tonights meal is stuffed cornish hens with rice.  Ha, that’s not paleo you say!  Well, actually it is.   Stuffed with veggies and nuts, and the rice is actually cauliflower that has been shredded.  It smells delicious and it looked great.

Stuffing –  I chopped up and sauteed the following veggies:  Carrots, small red and orange peppers, garlic, sugar snap peas, swiss chard, baby bella mushrooms, 1 large leak and 1 cup of pecans.  (I actually only used 2/3 of a cup of the chopped pecans in the stuffing, and the rest of the cup I put into the “rice”.)

Using sea salt, I salted the inside cavity of the hens and stuffed them with the above stuffing mixture of veggies and pecans.  See below:

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“Rice” – 1 head of cauliflower shredded in food processor.  Add 1 large stalk of fresh basil and about 4 garlic cloves,  both chopped, and the rest of the pecans.  Then I sauteed in a little butter, 1 tsp. sea salt and about 1/2 pint of homemade chicken broth.  Just prior to serving, I added a goat cheese that was like a feta.  Keep in mind that the pecans turned the cauliflower a light tan color making it looked like either a fried rice or brown rice.

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Can you say Yum?  🙂

 

Gluten Free Sweet Potato Muffins

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Packing a punch when it comes to vegetables, Sweet Potatoes are full of nutrients.  Containing Vitamins A & C, Potassium, Calcium, Manganese, B6, B3, B1, B2, Biotin, Fiber, Copper, Pantothenic Acid, and Phosphorus, sweet potatoes were a main food staple for early settlers in America.  Christopher Columbus introduced sweet potatoes to Europe and the Spanish also contributed to the introduction of sweet potatoes all over the world.

Sweet potatoes have been known to be high in antioxidants and anti inflammatory properties as well as have been used to help in the detoxing process of heavy metals.  Even though they are called “Sweet Potatoes” research has shown that they actually are a low glycemic index food, helping to regulate blood sugar.

Sweet potatoes are not Yams.  Yams are a starchier potato native to Africa and Asia.  When it comes to buying sweet potatoes it is likely that even if the sign says Yams, you are most likely buying Sweet Potatoes in this country.  Buying true Yams are usually only found in specialty stores.

Once again, I had leftover sweet potatoes and rather than making those yummy sweet potato pancakes, I decided to try my hand at making muffins.  Now, keep in mind that with all of the information above, sweet potatoes are best eaten steamed or baked with a little fat added by using a little butter or olive oil.  My muffin recipe, although healthier than a store bought muffin, certainly does have starchy carbs therefore minimizing the benefits of the sweet potato.  The benefit of using them in the muffin is that I’ve not wasted a leftover sweet potato and I have still added in some additional nutrients to our otherwise simple sugar carb overloaded morning muffins.

Gluten Free Sweet Potato Muffins

2 small or 1 medium cooked Sweet Potato(s), flesh removed from peal

3 farm fresh Eggs

1 tsp Apple Cider Vinegar

1/4 C Raw Honey

2 TBS Olive Oil or Avocado oil

1/2 C. Raw Cream, or heavy cream that is NOT ultra pasteurized

Mix the above until well blended.  Then add:

1/4 C. Arrowroot Flour

1/4 C. Potato Flour

1 C. Sorghum Flour

1 tsp. Baking Soda

1 tsp. Sea Salt

1/4 tsp. Cinnamon

1/4 tsp. Allspice

Lightly mix all ingredients.  Don’t over beat.  Then slowly fold in 1/4 C. chopped raisins or currents and 1/4 C. chopped pecans.  Place into muffin cups or well oiled muffin tins and bake at 350 for 30-35 minutes.  If you kiddos like a little extra treat, try a light sprinkle of brown sugar on the top prior to baking.

They are dense, so a little raw butter goes well when serving.  🙂

 

Resources:

www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=64

http://articles.mercola.com/sweet-potato.aspx

Fall is Here and The Soup is On

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Fall… The trees changing colors remind me of a painting in a museum.  God’s palatte of colors amuse the eyes and challenge the imagination.  A tree stands tall with it’s summer leaves expressing it’s desire to hold on to summer at the bottom of the tree, while the middle hesitantly relinquishes  it’s leaves to the cooler temperatures and the top willingly submits in excitement over the seasonal change.  From green to an orange hugh to the glaring red with a hint of purple creating a color unknown to the crayola crayon pack.

College Football games, warms coats, turtle necks and gloves.  The flip flops are put away and the shorts hit the storage bins.  As the heat turns on and the air conditioning is turned off, the blankets are pulled out of the basket as we snuggle up on the couch by the fire place.  Once again, the menu choice that takes center stage is soup.  Especially when the fall harvest is bringing in the squash and the last of the winter storage vegetables.

As we drove home last night from another weekend away, I looked forward to the yummy butternut squash soup I had made before we left.  Simple, quick, healthy and full of nutrients.  Butternut squash is a wonderful source of  vitamins A, B6, C, and Potassium.  It is also filled with anti-oxidents and is good for inflammation.

Spicy Butternut Squash Soup

Start with cutting 2 butter nut squash in half long wise.  Scoop out seeds and place the squash into baking dishes flesh side down with enough water to steam.  Cover and bake at 350 degrees for about 1 hour, or until flesh is cooked through and soft.

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1/3 stick of real Butter

1 large Onion, chopped

4 Celery sticks  with tops, chopped

3 Garlic cloves, chopped

Melt butter in pan and saute the onion, celery and garlic.  When sauteed to look translucent, add:

2 small or 1 medium Red Pepper, chopped

bunch of Parsley, chopped

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When the squash is done, scoop out the flesh from the shell and add it to the sauteed vegetables above.  Add also the water from the baking dishes.  Do not let it boil.  After cooking for about 10 minutes, add:

1 Pint of home made Chicken broth concentrate, I used my canned broth (recipe on previous post last fall)

2 cans of Organic coconut milk

dash of Red Pepper Flakes, add more if you like really spicy

1/8 tsp Chipotle Pepper

1/8 tsp Turmeric

1/2 TBS Sea Salt

Pepper to taste

Cook until all are tender.  I use an immersion blender right in the pot to blend.  If you don’t have one of those, use a strainer or a slotted spoon to pull out the chunks of vegetables and place them in a blender, blending until smooth.  Add back in to the soup pot and serve warm.  Make sure not to boil or it will burn.

A warm and tasty treat served with a nice warm piece of baked home made bread.  Or, with a grilled cheese sandwich, my kids favorite.  By also making a grilled cheese sandwich on home made gluten free bread and using raw cheddar, the kids are more inclined to enjoy any soup I make.   🙂

Hope you enjoy!

Swedish Pancake Spin

Breakfast is such an important meal of the day.  It provides the energy boost our body needs after a long evening of rest and repair.  It’s too bad that in our home breakfast is usually eaten between 10-12 a.m.  By the time I wake up, wait an hour after taking my thyroid medicine, then take an hour and a half to ingest all of my Lyme meds, wait another half hour before consuming anything, it ends up being at least 10.  Then if I get creative and decide to make something other than eggs, it can be at least another hour if not more.  Fortunately for us, there is enough to do in those hours we are up so that no time is wasted and everyone enjoys waiting for a little something warm and home made.

One breakfast treat that the kids really enjoy and I rarely remember to make, gives me the warm fuzzies as I am reminded of my youth.  When I was at college, one of my grandmothers came up to visit me and she saw lingonberries in my pantry.  She told me how lingonberries go well with Swedish pancakes and she would show me how to make them.  Well, it just so happened that I had the recipe for Swedish pancakes in my cookbook “Where’s Mom Now That I Need Her”.  So we both went up to the store and bought the other ingredients and made Swedish Pancakes filled with lingonberries.  A warm memory that makes me smile.  🙂

As I pulled out that book this morning, I looked at the recipe and decided to try and make them a bit healthier with the ingredients I had on hand.  I must say, it was the first time the kids said they were like a pastry, very soft, sweet and the best I’ve made yet.  So, that being said I thought I’d share what I did.

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Swedish Pancake Spin

3 eggs

3/4 C. Organic whole milk vanilla bean yogurt

1/4 C. purified water

2 TBS Raw Honey

1/2 tsp Sea Salt

2/3 C. Sorghum flour, Sifted

Start with the first 5 ingredients and whisk them together until well blended.  Then add the flour by sifting it into the bowl and mix well.

Heat a cast iron skillet with a little butter and once hot, pour very little of the batter into the pan in a circle.  If need be, lift the pan with the handle gently allowing some of the batter to spill into a larger circle.

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The batter should look like an extremely thin pancake.  Flip it when it begins to look dry on the top.

Place onto a plate and fill with lingonberries if you have them or with fresh cut up peaches, nectarines, strawberries or blueberries.  Roll them up with the seam at the bottom of the plate.  We also like to dust them with an ever so little bit organic powdered sugar just before serving.

Can you say Yum?

Back in the Kitchen…

This week has been spent putting up more vegetables for winter.  From green beans to tomatoes to even more fermented vegetables.  I’m so excited to be back in the kitchen, at times too excited as my legs and feet don’t hold up the way they used to before Lymes.  I do however, take breaks to rest between projects so getting it all done plus making dinner actually gets accomplished…most nights!   🙂

Tonights dinner was one of our son’s favorites.  Ahi Tuna with a wasabi sauce.  Easy to make and very tasty.  I found a great recipe out of Make It Paleo, however, didn’t have all of the ingredients as they listed, so I improvised a slight bit.

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Ahi Tuna

Mix the following ingredients together in a bowl and pour in a bag over 4 Tuna Steaks:

1/4 C. Coconut Aminos

1/8 C. Fish Sauce

1 TBS. Chopped Garlic

1 TBS. Garlic Tea Tree Oil

2 tsp. Ginger (if you have, fresh even better)

1 tsp. Sea Salt

Let marinate 2 hours prior to cooking.  Before placing on the grill, dip each side in a bowl with sesame seeds, poppy seeds, sea salt and ginger.  Lightly coating.  Cook each steak on the grill or in a grill pan for about 2-3 minutes per side depending upon how rare you can handle it.  It’s far better the rarer it is.  One of our children does not like it rare so I compromised and did the 3.  It was slightly over cooked for my taste, however, all ate dinner so that was an accomplishment.

Wasabi Dressing

Homemade mayonnaise (see previous post on recipe) with some wasabi powder.  Wasabi is strong and it’s taste gathers steam to the palate the longer it’s in the dressing so be careful when using.  Start small and gradually increase quantity to your personal taste.

Served along side the cucumber, tomato, olive and basil salad.  Yumm!

 

Sherry’s Quick Mayonnaise

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Many times I am quite surprised at the lack of information people have regarding the food they eat.  For example, many do not realize the hazards of GMO’s,  high fructose syrup, MSG, soybean oil, margarines, preservatives, dyes, flouride, farm raised fish, conventional beef, chicken, fat free ingredients,  etc.   The list goes on and on.  In the age of technology all it takes is the push of a button and one can experience information overload.  Is all of the information you read accurate?  No.  Is all of the information you read possibly out to sell you a product?  Yes.  Can you be easily misled by information?  Yes.   That being said,  my philosophy is to look at the sites that hold credibility by posting their resources from where they themselves found their information.  It is also possible to pull up research done at Universities or through research firms that have published their findings.

That being said, our family only buys organic products and when possible we make everything from scratch.  I’ve taught my children how to cook and how to creatively make lunches out of leftovers and healthy breakfasts that consist of non sugar non cereal ingredients.  Rarely do they eat cereal or sandwiches.  On occasion they do like a gluten free organic shaved turkey sandwich or even an albacore tuna sandwich (bpa free can wild caught tuna).  Mustard is okay as a condiment option, however, their favorite is mayonnaise.  Have you seen the ingredient list on a jar of mayonnaise?  I used to buy an organic brand that was made with coconut oil, however at $15 a jar, I just couldn’t stomach paying the price any longer.  About 2 years ago a friend found a recipe made with the coconut oil and I began making it myself.  The family however, after a time, just plain old got sick of the coconut flavor so I began learning more about oil choices and changed the recipe to the families liking.

By making our own, we are also able to make other wonderful dressings that satisfy the need for something more creamy.  With this recipe we dress cole slaw, potato salad, salads and more with just a change in the seasonings.  Flavored mayonnaise is also great depending upon the sandwich.

Hope you’ll give it a try.

Sherry’s Quick Mayonnaise  (makes a little over a pint)

1 whole farm fresh egg

2 farm fresh egg yolks

Sea Salt to taste

1 TBS Organic Dijon Mustard

1 tsp Organic Apple Cider Vinegar

(Optional additions depending upon what you are making it for:  Wasabi powder, variety of herbs, anchovies, dash of cayenne pepper, dried mustard, turmeric…)

Place all ingredients above in a food processor and process until completely mixed.

Make sure when you begin pouring the oil in, that the processor is on. Do not stop the processor while adding the oils.  There should be a cup with a hole in it in the top of the food processor. This is where you will slowly pour in the oils.

Please note: the slower you pour in the oil, the better your mayonnaise will be. The oils will separate from the other ingredients faster if you pour the oils in too quickly. This is the secret.   Slow…

1 – 8 oz.  bottle of Almond Oil, Olive Oil,  Avacado Oil,  Grapeseed Oil  (These are the ones I use and I like the flavor.)

1 – 8 oz. bottle of another oil  (use a second oil from the list above)

I usually store the mayonnaise in a jar with a lid, not plastic, in the fridge.   Enjoy!

Little Tidbits:

Partially Hydrogenated Soybean Oil – manmade fat; known to cause cellular disruption in the body; obesity; reproductive problems; heart disease; US grown soybeans are 90% genetically engineered;  soybeans contains Omega-6’s and can lead to inflammation; soybeans contain phytates which block the absorption of minerals; affects negatively on the thyroid;

(References: http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2013/01/27/soybean-oil.aspx https://www.lewrockwell.com/2013/01/joseph-mercola/soybean-oil-one-of-the-most-harmful-ingredients-in-processed-foods/)

Avacado Oil – reduces inflammation and oxidation; helps to fight against free radicals; studies show it kills cancer cells; contains more vitamin D than Olive Oil; contains carotenoids that help fight cancers;

(References:  http://healinggourmet.com/article/avocado-oil-the-healthiest-cooking-oil-youre-not-using-yet-853;   http://www.naturalnews.com/027509_avocado_skin_health.html )

Olive Oil – rich in monounsaturated fatty acids; reduces inflammation; reduces chances of heart disease and hypertension; lowers risk of depression; may reduce breast cancer risk; may reduce risk of stroke in elderly; helps to maintain healthy cholesterol levels; helps to protect liver and pancreas; 

(References:  http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/266258.php;  The research is numerous… take a look.)

Almond Oil – High in Vitamins E & D & K; helps with digestion; protects and maintains healthy brain tissue; reduces LDL and aids in raising HDL; helps in protecting the skin; reduces blood pressure; aids in protecting from heart disease; rich in folic acid; high in minerals; contains anti-oxidents; 

(References: http://www.medindia.net/patients/lifestyleandwellness/health-benefits-of-almond-oil.htm;  http://www.livestrong.com/article/119876-health-benefits-sweet-almond-oil/;  http://www.seedguides.info/almonds/)

Grape Seed Oil – full of anti-oxidents; lowers LDL; may help to inhibit cancer cell growth; helps with acne; may help in PMS symptoms; may help with cavities; can be cooked at higher heat without releasing free radicals unlike Olive Oil; 

(References:  http://www.livestrong.com/article/406768-the-health-benefits-of-grape-seed-cooking-oil/;  http://www.homecookingadventure.com/articles/grape-seed-oil-benefits)

Keep in mind that you need to do your research.  Not all oils are alike and you need to understand each one and how to keep them from spoiling.  Note also that there is a great amount of information available.  Choose wisely what works best for you.  

Know what it is that you are putting in your mouth.