Category Archives: Helpful Tips

Real Mayonnaise


I confess, I like mayonnaise, the stuff that comes out of the jar, made out of soybean oils, and that has “natural flavorings”.   But for the most part, I stopped it eating it years ago when I stopped consuming soybean oil and MSG.

I have gone through those periods of time when I have made homemade mayo but the flavor really wasn’t as good. And as is my habit, if I consider it  unhealthy and can’t easily duplicate it, I just leave it out of my life.  In most cases, I can be just as satisfied with mustard or salsa as a condiment….But I really like a good homemade ranch or blue cheese dressing made with mayo.

On one of those rare occasions, when I had a few moments of free time and decided to flip through my grandmother’s Household Searchlight Recipe Book (copyrighted 1937) to see what it had to say about mayonnaise.  Mom, always told me the old-timers made their mayonnaise and how good it was. And while the modern recipe that we find all over the internet and in the modern cookbooks is good, to me it was just not good enough, yet I knew it needed a touch of something to make it better.  With cookbook in hand, it took me about two seconds before I was doing one of those hand slaps to head and saying “why didn’t I think of that!”

The secret to having that store bought flavored mayonnaise is so simple, add a little honey.  And if this still is not quite right, do half lemon juice and half vinegar.

The recipe reads like this:

1 egg yolk (without the white)

2 tablespoons of lemon juice or vinegar (or a blend of half lemon and half apple cider vinegar)

1 cup of sesame oil

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon of honey

dash of cayenne

Place the egg yolk, lemon juice/vinegar, honey, salt and cayenne in a blender or food processor.  Turn on and then begin to gradually drizzle in the oil….blend until smooth.  Adjust honey, salt, vinegar to taste.

Once you get your ingredients worked out just right, add a bit of whey for safe keeping and it will keep for several days.

A quick and simple method:

Recently, I had a friend encourage me to make mayo with my immersion blender.  Put in all the ingredients and then the blender…and you have a no fuss mayo, without having to drip the oil, and almost instant mayonnaise!!  I tried this and it worked—EXCEPT, for this version I had to use the whole egg (white) to make it whip up. It did alter the flavor a tad but overall, still very good.

And a last word on this topic, please make sure if you are making mayo from scratch that you use an egg source that you can trust.  If you are using eggs from the supermarket, for safety sake make sure the eggs shells are in good condition with no fissures or weak spots in them.


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Posted by on October 15, 2013 in Condiments, Eggs, Helpful Tips, Mayonnaise


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The Lowly Meatloaf

Meatloaf is very economical, easy to make, can be made up in advance and frozen then reheated, and is VERY GAPS/SCD approved.  AND the combinations for making one are as endless as the stuff you like and keep in your kitchen.  The history of the meatloaf goes back into ancient history but it probably rose to stardom during the 1940’s during the war years.  Food rations existed and budgets were still being kept due to the hard depressions years that came before the war.  Women needed to make every penny count and nothing was wasted or overlooked.  Let’s face it GAPS/SCD can be a budgeting nightmare at times for those families that are doing this as a whole.  My primary focus with this blog was to encourage others to look around their kitchens and to be creative with what you have on hand, with what you can afford, and to do the best you can with what you have.

I believe the meatloaf is one such idea.  The diversity is incredible whether you start with a cheap package of frozen turkey, or use an $10 pound of buffalo meat.  Your starter is ground meat (poultry, pork, or beef), your fillers are what you have on hand and you must use at least one egg per pound.

The meatloaf I made today probably cost me a total of $1.50 to make. I used a package of ground turkey I bought on sale for $1, I added in one egg, a shredded carrot, and some leftover spinach.  Oh yes, and onion is essential.  I will top it with a layer of Swiss cheese and offer some cucumber ketchup I made with honey.

I could have used coconut or almond flour as a filler but since I am serving some coconut flour bread with it I did not want the added roughage (the nut flours do not totally agree with everyone in my family.)  Also, meatloaf is a place where we can pack in more veggies. You can put just about any type of veggie into a meatloaf.  Squash would work but we are not limited to eating squash all the time. If you do not grow your own or if you do not have a cheap outlet for them, they can begin to add up quickly in cost.

These diets are all about maximum nutrition and we need to be packing as much variety as possible into what we are making.  As an exercise in planning a pound of ground meat can be mixed with smushed peas, ground up green beans, grated carrots, radishes or rutabaga, cooked and drained frozen spinach or kale (or chopped up fresh), shredded cabbage (this is becoming my rice replacement), cooked and drained eggplant, chopped tomatoes, green peppers, lots of onions, and of course squash of any variety (winter or summer).  You could also add fruits.  It is just a matter of finding combinations that you like and have on hand.  If you are consuming nut flours with no problems, adding in a spoonful or two of these will make the meatloaf even bigger and denser for added volume for more mouths.

So whether you are feeding a large family or just one, the meatloaf is versatile with a lot of benefits like being made up in advance, easy, and filling.  So the next time you face a “something different moment” or want to plan for freezer meals, remember the lowly meatloaf.


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Posted by on October 30, 2012 in Beef, Green Beans, Helpful Tips, Spinach, Squash


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Roast Beef with Butternut Gravy

It is pretty much agreed that gravy goes well over pot roast.  So today, I took the time to plan the meal with gravy.  Since the GAPS/SCD diets do not allow flour or cornstarch one has to take another approach to making gravy.   This then means that gravy cannot be an afterthought but something we have to plan.

There are all kinds of suggestions for making gravy using blended veggies.  And really any veggie will work.   I had extra butternut squash cut up and ready to use in my refrigerator so I tossed that in with my roast, carrots, and mushrooms before baking my in the oven.

After the roast was done, I took the butternut squash out of the roasting pan and smashed them up with a fork.  I added about a cup of broth and a package of plain gelatine. (Blending it all together well.)   In a skillet, I placed three or four tablespoons of coconut oil and fried two onions until tender.  Once done, I stirred in the smashed up squash, added salt , pepper, and garlic to taste.   For a smoother gravy (or for people who do not like the texture) the onion could have been blended as well.

I cut up the roast and placed it in a serving dish, then added the other veggies from the roasting pan.  I poured this wonderful gravy over the top.

Because winter squash do not have a lot of flavor they make a great binding agent for gravy.   I have used zucchini’s before and found that they changed the flavor a little more than I liked.  I have also made gravy with coconut flour.  It tastes fine but I really don’t like the gritty texture.

So the next time you want something with gravy, take the few extra minutes to make one with a blended vegetable.

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Posted by on April 23, 2012 in Beef, Cooking Helps, Gravy, Helpful Tips, Squash


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Rambling On About Fermented Foods


As I mentioned in an earlier post, fermenting is sort of a hobby that I have. I have tried all kinds of things, finding some totally not to our liking and others very good.   Because we make gallons of kefir we always have excess whey so I use lots of whey and not a lot of salt.  This allows each family member to adjust their salt usage to their individual tastes and needs.   Whey fermentation seems to speed up the process a bit so soft foods like cucumbers do better with a bit less whey and a little more water.  All the more dense veggies do well with a lot of whey.

Removing kefir grains

When a family is eating fermented foods regularly, there is always something “cooking” on the countertop.  It makes for a messy looking kitchen and my Mum likes to comment on that fact regularly…but I try to ignore the negative remarks and enjoy with relish all the good things that we are eating.


Mixed Veggies ready for fermenting

One of the things that is recommended in the GAPS book is to fill a crock with an assortment of veggies and put them in the fridge.  Well, we don’t own an expensive crock and I do all of my fermenting in glass jars.   But the assorted veggie idea works just as well in jars.   I have found this a fun way of putting together a variety of fermented things.   The success of this is to use only dense veggies with dense veggies and less firm veggies with other less firm.

Cucumbers, onions, peppers, and tomatoes go well together. Cucumbers seem to be very time sensitive.  In other words if you are making “pickles” make only small batches at a time or they will get overly soft on you quick.  I have done the pearl onions and loved them but was a bit skeptical about throwing in chunks of sweet onions to my fermenting stews but after the first try I was hooked. The crunch and zizzle has so much mouth appeal.  But like the cucumbers, they need to be eaten sooner than later or they will get mushy.

Any coarsely chopped dense vegetable combination will work well. Cabbage, broccoli, carrots, celery, etc.. I lay the veggies in the jars then cover it with about half whey and half water, let it sit out on the cabinet for 24 hours and transfer to the fridge.

The exception to the rule is with tomatoes.  I recently did a combination of cabbage with tomatoes.   I was making fermented salsa and didn’t have enough tomatoes so I added in some sliced cabbage.  WOW this one was good.  The combination of the tomatoes and the cabbage went very well together.  While the tomatoes were soft the cabbage had a crunch to it.   It came out of the jar like a salad.

Tomatoes with Cabbage

Anything fermented with tomatoes leaves a wonderful “juice” that can be drank or mixed into soup and other foods.  My Dad who is not too keen on the “fermented stuff” recently enjoyed the juice from my last batch of salsa and said it was good.

You can also ferment freshly squeezed juices.  This might be very helpful for those trying to get the health benefits of fermented foods into picky eaters. It is also good for those trying to break a soft drink habit because half of that battle is wanting something cold sweet and fizzy over ice.

Another cool thing to consider when fermenting is using various spices and herbs.  Cinnamon and cloves are good.  Ginger and garlic go well together. Again it is finding combinations that you like.  If you try someone elses recipe and you don’t like it consider changing the spices/herbs or try making it without any to determine what you think might be an asset to the flavor.  Fermenting like all recipes is open to your personal interpretation.

Well, that is probably enough of my ramblings for the day.  I just want to encourage you to not let your fermenting jars (or crock) run empty and to keep being adventurous  in developing your own favorite combinations.


Posted by on February 24, 2012 in Fermented Foods, Helpful Tips


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Scrappy Pate

Well, I have been at it again. Attempting to figure out what to do with the leftover stock pot meat.  Last time, I thought I might try to give my patties a sausage flavor.  Well, last night I wasn’t in the mood for sausage and not really in the mood to do anything extra (like standing around frying patties) but I had this stuff to do something with and a meal that needed to be prepared so I set out to try sausage….

But I got side tracked in the process.  I put all the “scrappy” meat into the food processor with an onion and ground it up until it was a less than coarse.  I tasted it to figure out what kind of sausage seasonings would be right for this mixture.   I decided that this was pretty good as is and decided that it was time for me to try the meat pate’  mentioned in one of the GAPS/SCD books.  So I added some salt and pepper and ground it up until it was totally smooth.  I then scooped it out into a nice small serving dish topped with fresh parsley and sat it in the fridge to chill.

With the rest of the mid-day leftovers we had a simple meal using what I had on hand and I didn’t have to spend a whole lot more time in the kitchen. I really think the ginger root that I added to this particular pot of stock made this taste so good.  I frequently use ginger root in my stocks but not always.  We couldn’t really decide on a name for this concoction. So we decided Scrappy Pate would work okay. 

In flavor, it was akin to liverwrust which was odd since it didn’t have any liver in it.  My kids all learned to enjoy liverwrust while we lived in Germany so there were no grumps about it. They thought it was good.  

We decided it could be used as a veggie dip.  Or chilled and sliced into nice little slices that can be served with a salad or put on a cracker.  (We haven’t talked about making those yet, but we will…)  One could add in cooked veggies and make a molded salad to be eaten with one of the approved special mayo’s or mustards. 

Will I be making this again?  Most assuredly.   It was simple to make and used up the leftover meat efficiently.

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Posted by on February 3, 2012 in Helpful Tips, Meat Leftovers


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Scrappy Burgers


GAPS and SCD both require a lot of bone broth and meat stock.  I am not one that likes to waste food. With the cost of food rising, I am attempting to learn more and more inventive ways to make this diet affordable.   At times frugality can almost be a game to me.  Today was one of those days.

As I have mentioned in previous posts, I make about a gallon of stock daily and that requires bones and meat.   Some days we have a meat roast or chicken.  But other days I use other stuff. Because of where I live, it is culturally not wierd to find trotter (pig feet), neck bones, and other various bones at affordable prices.   I have tried various ways to use the meat and gelatin off these bones in the past and I usually come up with something akin to meat cooked with onion and mushrooms.  While with the right seasonings this is not anything to really complain about it does get boring.  So today, I decided to try something different.

My bone broth was made out of trotters and a chicken back with chicken necks and a couple chunks of ginger.  I pulled the meat out and let them cool. Then I picked off as much meat and gelatin tissue as possible trying to be very careful to not get any bones.  I put the bones in my freezer bag to be reused and then proceeded with my creativity.

In the food processor went all the scrappy meat.  I ground it up well, using a rubber spatula to push it down from the sides a couple of times.  I then added in two eggs and chopped it up some more.   I dumped this out into a mixing bowl and then folded in some chopped onions and green peppers, salt, pepper, paprika, and fresh parsley.   After that I stirred in a scoop of coconut flour to thicken the dough up a bit.

I fried this in coconut and palm oil following the same method as I did yesterday for the Mackerel Cakes.   I wasn’t sure how well it was going to taste.  I tried something similar to this one other time without much good to say about it.

Well, I gave my first cake a nibble to see if it was going to be edible.  To my surprise it was good.  I decided to add some fried onions and a honey sweeten mustard as condiments.  I feed them to the family asking what they thought and was rewarded with “it’s good”.  Even daughter number three who is a bit more reluctant with things like this said it was pretty good. (Not her favorite but okay.)

In looking back at the success, I think I would have to say that the trotters is probably what made these “burgers” successful.  Their gelatinous nature made the dough very sticky.  This gelatin is extremely good for the body, helping the digestive process.  But getting some GAPS people to eat it can be an exercise in futility.

I can think of all kinds of ways that I can build on this successful attempt.  I am thinking that approved sausage seasonings would make for wonderful sausage patties or links.  Also other veggies could be added to it like grated carrots, spinach, etc to make a protein rich veggie fritter.

Well, that was my cooking adventure for today….

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Posted by on January 28, 2012 in Helpful Tips, Meat Leftovers


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Reviewing the GAPS and SCD Food Lists

Chickory Flowers

I have been rather busy with other things of late and blogging has had to fall by the wayside. Today, I will attempt to get something useful written.

We have been at this diet for a bit over a year now and overall doing well but we cannot say that the problems plaguing us are all better.   So as we continue to work toward recovery I periodically have to step back and check the food lists making sure that everything I am cooking with is okay.     So I thought for today, in this blog I would talk about the importance from time to time to step back and check to make sure nothing has crept into the diet that should not have.

This link   will take you to a site that gives you a neat little sheet that can be printed off and taped inside a kitchen cabinet door for easy reference.  For me, I do best checking the avoid list first then go to the recommended list.  Perhaps that is because we were on a limited diet to begin with and so for us, going GAPS only required cutting out a few extra things.     For those that are new and used to eating a more typical diet I recommend studying both lists, first the avoid and then what is allowed.  Some of the foods on the allowed lists may be new so thus with time you will be learning new flavors to incorporate into your cooking.   It is also important to compare the two lists because some things are listed on both lists with guidelines.  For example, coffee, you are allowed to drink freshly brewed coffee, but not allowed to drink instant- this is due to the processing.

You will find the SCD diet list here

I highly recommend that if you are doing GAPS to please spend some time studying the SCD list.  I find it to be very helpful in understanding some of the do’s and don’ts of both diets.

So please take the time to periodically stop and review the diet lists.  Today, as I was checking and rechecking I found two things I need to eliminate.  Recently, to save a few cents on coffee I bought one with chickory in it.  Chickory is a no-no.  Perhaps that explains why my entire family has been a bit off normal this week?   Also, checking my hubby’s vitamin, I found that it has a small amount of iron in it.

I am not discouarged, as Scarlett was known to say, “Tomorrow is another day.”  Tomorrow we remove the offending items and go on….


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Posted by on January 24, 2012 in Helpful Tips


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Adding Ginger Root

Some times when I am standing in the kitchen cooking I will remember things that I forgot to put into a post or something that I “should” include but usually I promptly forget as I go on with my daily chores of life.   Well, this morning I thought that instead of trying to remember it all I might just start a Helpful Hints category enabling me to include some of these things that I forget at the time of writing.

Yesterday, as I was making a yummy pot of chicken stock, I remember that I had forgotten to mention something I learned a lot of years ago from the Korean culture. The Koreans put ginger root in their chicken when they boil it.  They will often stuff the cavity of the chicken with ginger.  This adds a clean yummy flavor to the chicken stock and I am sure that is the reason they use it.  But I have found that the ginger root also seems to cut the impurities that cooks out of the meat.  I was once told it cuts the unpleasant smell of cooking chicken, which I have found to be true.

It seems that only the Koreans use ginger like this in their chicken.  One day while shopping in the Asian store run by a Chinese woman, another Asian woman from a different cultural background came in.  From the conversation between the two I gathered the details.  This woman was involved in having a special graduation dinner for a Korean young woman.  This young woman had requested a particular recipe–chicken stuffed with ginger.  This lady was not Korean didn’t have a clue to what the young woman wanted, and was asking the Chinese woman for help, which she was unable  to give….And so there I stood, the obviously white caucasian, what else could I do but interjected into the conversation?  I explained to both women how the Koreans stuffed the chicken full of ginger.

Here you will find a traditional recipe

Not GAPS/ SCD approved but the basic tenants of the good flavors are still there.  Take out the rice and soy sauce and add in some of your own substitutionary ideas.  GAPS/SCD isn’t really that hard, we just have to get to the basics of good food and then work outwardly, eliminating those things we are not to eat and adding in those that we are allowed to eat.  For instance, I would replace the rice with carrots and celery.

In closing, Ginger root isn’t just for when you are sick but has many daily uses.  So the next time you are walking down the store aisle and see a clump of ginger root grab a hold and give it a fresh try.



Posted by on January 11, 2012 in Chicken, Helpful Tips, Soup


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