Friday, December 6, 2013

Hot Turkey Gravy Salad

This is as simple as it gets. Sorry for not pulling this out at Thanksgiving, but hey, you have more turkey and drippings in your freezer right?

1. Pull out leftover turkey.
2. Pull out leftover gravy (or make GAPS onion gravy, Mmmm...)
3. Wash and prep lettuce while meat and gravy is warming
4. Pile meat and gravy over greens
5. Enjoy!

And don't tell me gravy on lettuce is weird. It's a meat based dressing. Everyone likes wilted bacon salad, why not gravy on salad? Maybe when I'm done with GAPS I'll put some crusty sourdough bread on the side. Yum yum.

Wilted Red Caviar Salad

Recently, thanks to Fish Hugger, I acquired some wonderful red salmon roe. I brined it, dried it in my fabulous dehydrator, and now have a superbly convenient, extremely nutrient dense seafood treat. I won't lie and say that the taste is incredibly superb, but I just haven't developed much of a taste for fish. That being said, dried, you mostly taste salt, not as much fish flavor, and I could definitely see raw caviar in sushi. Mmm... sushi.

This takes the slightly bitter chard, the salty fish, the sweetness of caramelized onions, and classic parmesan for a nutrient dense party in your mouth.

1 bunch Swiss Chard
1 large onion
a good spoonful of lard or other frying fat
generous amount fresh shredded parmesan
couple spoonfuls dried cured salmon roe
drizzle olive oil

Preparing this is pretty straightforward and quick.
Slice onion thinly, add to skillet with lard on high heat. Once starting to brown, reduce heat to low and put the lid on. Meanwhile, wash chard, remove any sad looking pieces, and break into bite sized shreds. Keep the core slices separate so they can go into the pan first and cook a little longer.

 Once the onions are almost browned to your liking, add the core pieces of the chard and some more fat. Replace the lid and allow to cook for a few minutes. Then turn the heat a little higher to medium heat, add more fat and the rest of the chard leaves. Once they are wilted, you're done!

Transfer everything to a waiting plate and add parmesan to soften as it cools. Add roe and olive oil and dive in!

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Angel Eggs

A perfectly hard-boiled egg is a thing of beauty. One that makes me reflect on the great tenderness with which God strews visual delights everywhere. Getting a perfect hard-boiled egg is another matter all together. But whether it comes out perfectly or no, transforming ordinary eggs into angel eggs makes them a fantastic treat. And a quick food at that.

So first, let me share some of the best secrets for perfect hard-boiling. I was blessed to learn how to make them growing up, though I no longer put the eggs in cold water, but put them directly into the water boiling. This is a multi-step process, but it really doesn't take that long. Oh, and a timer is your friend.

First - get some older eggs. The ones from your farmer are often fresher than what is carried at the grocery store - so let them sit for a while. Newer eggs will still work, but the white will stick to the shell more and they won't be so pretty.

Fill a pot with enough water to cover your eggs. Your best estimate is ok. If you didn't quite have enough water, you can add more. Turn the heat on medium-high.

This is the trick I learned growing up: use a knife to gently tap the eggs and just barely crack them. To do this, hold the egg in one hand, and (carefully!) the blade of a knife in the other. Then let the handle of the knife tap the egg gently until you just hear it crack. This lets the egg release air while cooking and not stick to the shell. After all the eggs are just barely cracked, your water should be ready.

Once the water is simmering, add your eggs with a ladle or spoon. Continue to let the water simmer - but not boil - until the eggs are done. For my medium eggs (though comparatively, grocery store size large) 10 minutes came out perfectly. Do slightly less time for smaller eggs, more for larger. Cooking mixed sizes will still be ok - though you may have yolks that are drier if overcooked.

Once the timer beeps - hurry! Turn off the heat, and gently pour off the hot water. Immediately put cold water in the pot, and dump in a full tray of ice cubes - being careful not to crack the eggs as the ice falls in though! Swish them around a little bit to stir in the ice.

The eggs should sit in the ice water for a while until they are completely cool. I usually figure 10 minutes, though often I get busy and it is much longer.

To peel, gently tap the egg all over on the counter, rolling it until the whole surface is cracked. This link gives a great demonstration. Using the side of your thumb helps to not dent the surface.

And voila!

For a different method (and this was my standard for a long time) Check out It's Fitting blog. Everyone's stoves and subtle differences require a little bit of tweaking to get consistent results.

Now, once your have these pearls all peeled and ready to go, open them up and put the yolks in a bowl. (If you're not ready to do this right now, they'll keep for about a week un-peeled, or a few days peeled.)

Does anyone else find that when they change their lives, they have to discover new ways of doing things, instead of just modifying the old? When I first switched to real food, I tried very hard to make deviled eggs the old fashioned way, but it just didn't work as well. Then one day I realized I could just use butter! (Of course, bacon fat wouldn't be bad either. )

To make angel eggs - add about equal amounts butter as there is yolk, and mash it all together. It may need more butter to get to the right consistency. A sprinkle of salt is good too. You did pull out the butter to soften before you started all this right?

And who says that the egg yolk filling has to be piped? Personally, I enjoy the contrast of the shiny smooth egg white and the rough chunks of egg yolk filling. Besides, these never last long enough to be eye candy.

This has become a favorite GAPS convenience food now - high protein, high fat, wonderfully delicious and beautiful to boot. 

Monday, August 5, 2013

Thoughts on GAPS

This post is the fruit of many conversations with friends about GAPS. Just little tidbits of things I've learned and strive to keep in mind as I journey. These are tips for myself more than anyone, but I hope it is helpful to you.

•The quickest way to quit something is to simply eliminate it. Having it stare you down from the pantry every time you go in there is much more difficult that simply giving it away and moving forward. Eliminating the option to cheat is easier than leaving the rules vague.

•The quickest way to get started with something is to set a date and start regardless of whether you are ready or not. Pick a day, do it.

•The four meal pillars I always have in mind are: broth, fat, protein, veggie. The latter two are the most expensive. Keep that in mind. And don't forget your ferments!

•Detoxing wastes minerals. Lots and lots of minerals. Consume gobs of broth. Consume as much as you can make and tolerate. Don't be afraid to fill capsules with salt. Soak in salt, and salt everything you eat heavily. We do not realize how much salt we consume when we eat SAD food, because it is covered up with gobs of sugar. I find that people switch to real food and slack on salt. Salt is good! real salt has minerals. We do not realize how little salt we can end up using when we make things from scratch and only and always add salt at the end.

•Butter is your friend (if you tolerate it.) Top everything with butter. The only thing better than butter for everything is bacon. Mmm... bacon.

•No one says you have to make meals at normal times.

•Detox baths rock. Yes, they are kinda boring, but don't do GAPS without them. They have resurrected me from being a jittery zombie to feeling like a human being again.

•Nuts and fruit are beautiful things, and you can save hundreds of recipes that utilize them, but ultimately, they are nutrient poor expensive treats.

•Most people are deficient in Magnesium. It seems that deficiency is made more apparent when bread is removed and detoxing is had. Magnesium oil is your friend if you are ready for it.

•I still can't believe that I'm more energetic, have better body temp, and more satisfied without bread and starchy foods. So many walls have knocked me down and convinced me I just didn't do well without huge amounts of sugars and carbs, but the more I've healed, the more fat I can eat, and the less I feel dependent on starches. No, it wasn't a quick change. I'm still kinda in shock really.

•And GAPS Intro. It's not so scary or terrible. Of course, it can be. But what will you find on the other side?

This info-graphic for guiding you through intro is fantastic. Put it on your fridge. 

•Did I mention fat? It's delicious.

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!

Related Posts with Thumbnails