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Butternut Casserole

 

 

I have some extra squash that needed to be used.  I am not a huge casserole fan, but for some reason I decided to try to make a butternut casserole.   I wanted a fusion of flavors.   So this is what I did…

I sauteed an onion in a blend of sesame and coconut oil.  I then added in one butternut squash cut up into small chunks.   I allowed this to cook a bit, enough to soften the squash.

In a small skillet I toasted 1/3 cup of pumpkin seeds in some sesame oil.

While this was going on at the stove, I combined a cup of yogurt and 2 eggs with 2 tsps of curry powder, 1/2 tsp of salt, and added in some hot pepper flakes.  I sat this aside.

Then I sliced up 10 prune.  Grated some Parmesan cheese, and measured out 1/2 cup of unsweetened coconut.

After oiling a casserole dish, I combined all of the ingredients and put it in the oven for 45 minutes.

I served this up with some fresh salmon fillets and navy beans.

The casserole could stand alone if it had more cheese or ground meat added to it.  Instead of pumpkin seeds, nuts could be used.

Overall, we thought this was very good and something we will make again.

 
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Posted by on April 29, 2013 in Squash

 

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Stew vs Soup

I  started this blog with the sole purpose of encouraging others to not be put off by the cost and work of GAPS/SCD.  A major thread within the blog is to learn how to use what you can afford most efficiently.  True pasta, rice and bread go a lot further in feeding hungry kids than squash and cauliflower.  And it does cost money to make meat and veggies the center of focus but with diligence one can afford these diets.

Every family has their own unique food budget and their own unique challenges.  But there are some basic things that can be helpful.  Start by really looking at the diet, not just what is allowed and disallowed.  Look at the overall goal of the diet.  It is to heal, but it is also a retraining process.  Neither of these diets advocate spending two to three years of healing and then tell you to go back to eating the junk.

With that in mind, it is not all about trying to see how many alternative desserts one can make.  Or how many ways we can substitute one food item for another.  It is about changing our eating habits. Teaching our kids (and ourselves) to eat their meat and veggies.  The goal is to create a life time of good eating habits.

The GAPS/SCD diet does not have to be excessively costly.  There are ways to make it affordable for the family.  One idea is create one pot meals.  Not “soups” but “stews”.  Soups are the broths, with a little something throw in…Stews are hearty meals within themselves and rich in variety.

I call stews, “old world” food, because they were the staple diet of our ancestors. Meats cooked in a pot with water and a variety of whatever was available.  The old nursery rhyme Pease Porridge Hot, is about stew. Prior to cold storage the way to keep food safe for consumption was to keep it heated. If they had leftovers that were not completely consumed they did not throw them out, instead they kept them hanging over the fire, or off to the side. The next day they would add fresh contents to the pot and create a new stew. That is where the phrase “nine days old” comes in.
My family once tried this with our modern day crock pot. It was interesting to see how each day the stew tasted differently and just as good. We only made it six days before we consumed it all.

And no, I am not advocating that you keep your crock pot going endlessly, but I tell the story because it shows the history of Stew and how our ancestors managed to feed their families with some ease without all of the modern day appliances. The concept of stews as a filling and nourishing meals still works today and with our modern appliances, it can be almost effortless.

Stews allow you to use cheaper cuts of meats, favorite vegetables and adding in new ones that perhaps are less familiar.  Things that often are not to a person’s liking can be quite complimentary in a stew.  Thus stews can be packed with a variety of nutrition and flavor.

There are all kinds of recipes for stews that can be found on the internet….but the bottom line is start with meat, a lot of veggies, maybe tomatoes, a splash of wine (red for beef and lamb, white for chicken, pork or fish) add enough water to almost cover and cook. Slow cook until the meat is tender. They can be made on the stove top, in the oven, or in a crock pot…the key is slow cooking.

In my opinion, onions go in about every thing and most assuredly stews. Onions are very affordable and I use them liberally.  Carrots too flesh out stews very well.  But so do other things like cabbage, green beans, peas, or mushrooms. Or what about a rutabaga, at less than a dollar a pound they go nicely with stews.   Or things like greens.  They are inexpensive and a few collards or kale in stew adds flavor without tasting like greens.

Then there are things like Saturday Stew, which is a combination of any leftovers. Maybe adding in a few fresh ingredients.

The thing is that stews are dense in variety but also they have the broth from the meat and veggies so they are quite filling when served with an  approved bread, cut raw veggies, or even boiled or pickled eggs.

One of the things that I did for my family was buy soup plates.  This way I can set an elegant table with a simple meal. Stews are best served in a bowl and these flat soup plates make stew feel less like a “bowl of soup” and more like a meal.

Also stews can be made up in advance and frozen for later. What a great way to always have a meal on hand!!

 
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Posted by on April 29, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

Chopped Liver (Pate)

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Liver is one of those things that most people either love or hate. I have one daughter that likes it prepared as chopped liver better than any other way. Most chopped liver recipes call for chicken liver and that is very good. But today, I made it with grass fed beef liver.

First I fried the liver in a good amount of coconut oil, browning it on both sides and cooking it until it was completely done but not overdone. (Putting a lid on the frying pan to let it steam a bit.)

I then removed it from the skillet and added in a couple of onions and fried them up in the juices in the skillet. Cooking them until they were tender. The more traditional recipes will tell you to boil the liver, but I personally do not see that it makes any difference in the taste, if anything, I think gently frying it improves the flavor.

I tossed all of this into the food processor and ground it up until it was smooth. I added in yogurt to moisten it up a bit. But on another day, I might add butter, beef or chicken fat, or even more coconut oil. Then I sprinkled in salt and pepper to taste, a couple cloves or garlic and ground it up a bit more.

It is simple and fast to make. Like most everything I make, there are ways to vary the original recipe. I have made it with raw sweet onions ground into it. I have put boiled eggs in it. I have not tried it with avocado but thinking I might next time.

The liver is then served with some GAPS legal bread, or used as a veggie dip. We have even been known to eat it a top a bowl of salad.

 
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Posted by on April 29, 2013 in Beef, Liver

 

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Pickled Eggs

Pickled Eggs

These have become a new staple in our home.  I have always liked pickled beets and I have always put boiled eggs in my leftover pickle brine, coming out with lovely purple eggs with all the pickled flavor.

Recently, I have learned to make pickled eggs differently.  They taste different but super good. Even the daughter that does not care for boiled eggs likes these.

You start by hard boiling your eggs.  You will need to cook a few extras just in case you have some that do not peel perfectly. (You do not want to use any eggs that have the yolks showing or that are split.)  Once your eggs are hard boiled (and this varies with altitudes) drain the hot water off of them, gently roll them around in the pan while running cold tap water over them…you want to gently crack the shells….Cover with cold tap water and allow to cool. Then further crack and peel.

This recipe is a guideline.   For a quart you want to use the following…

12 very hard boiled eggs

5-6 cloves of peeled garlic

The eggs and garlic go into the quart jar

Then in a sauce pan combine the following:

2 cups of vinegar and 2 tablespoons of salt (sea or non-iodized)

To that add about 5 TBSP of honey(you can use more or less)

Added in about an 1/8 tsp of the following spices and then adjusted them to taste–Mace, nutmeg, and ginger.

15 whole cloves and a good shake of paprika to give it all a good reddish color.  Oh yes, and a sprinkling of black pepper.

Hot Peppers are optional.

Bring all of this to a boil and pour over your boiled eggs packed into a quart canning jar.  (Wide mouth is necessary)  Put on the lid and when cool transfer to the refrigerator.  Allow to sit for two weeks. (If you can wait that long!)

 
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Posted by on December 26, 2012 in Eggs, Holiday Foods, Snacks

 

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Oyster Omelet with Cheese

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It was so good we forgot to get a picture before we ate it!!

My ancestors come from the mid-westerner section of the United States.  It is traditional for this region of the country to eat oysters as the holiday fare.  It goes back to the days before the modern transportation and certain foods only got shipped into the country during the holidays.   Every year, my mother has told me that Grandpa used to buy a gallon can and Grandma made the best scalloped oysters, and Mom could never make them like Grandma…..a few years back I found the old time recipe that surely was how my great ancestor made this treat.  It was cracker, cream, and oysters

Well, GAPS/SCD does not allow the crackers…and I have tired other things but not to my satisfaction, until this morning.  Normally we have oysters on Christmas Eve, that is the tradition….but yesterday, did not go as planned so we ate chicken instead.

It was my plan to make a quiche with the oysters for breakfast but I forgot that I only had one oven and a large turkey to go into it…

So I decided to make oyster omelets.  This came out better than I expected.  I mixed the cup of fresh oysters with 6 eggs and about a 1/4 cup of coconut flour and a couple tablespoons of raw cream.   I mixed all of this together and proceeded to fry omelets in butter.  When I make omelets I fry them on low heat and cover them with a lid to steam the tops.  I flipped these (perhaps not perfectly) and made an omelet stack.  I put a layer of omelet and then some white cheese, and then another layer of omelet, until there were three layers.

I must tell you that this turned out far better than I had expected!!!  And we will certainly do this again and it will be much sooner than next Christmas.

I know that some of you will not appreciate this recipe but for those of you that like things like fried oysters, oyster dressing, fried oyster, or scalloped oysters and have not been able to find a good GAPS/SCD “oyster substitute” I can highly recommend trying the oyster omelet.  You will not be disappointed.   I am afraid we were hungry and forgot to take a picture.

Merry Christmas 2012!!

 
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Posted by on December 25, 2012 in Oysters

 

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Holiday Cranberry Sauce

 

The GAPS/SCD diets can make the holidays difficult, particularly when we gather with extended family members.  Cranberry sauce is one of those things that for some must go with the turkey.  Cranberry Sauce is also loaded with sugar.

The following is a GAPS/SCD friendly version of cranberry sauce.

I package of fresh cranberries rinsed and put in a sauce pan with 1 cup of water.

I add a cup of raisins at this point.

Bring it to a boil, letting the berries pop. Turn off the heat, stir in a package of plain gelatine.

Add about 1/2 to 3/4 cups of honey, (really to taste, you might want as much as a cup)

Let it cool, stir in chopped walnuts and celery.

Place in a dish to chill.

Serve with the turkey.

Happy Thanksgiving!!

 
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Posted by on November 21, 2012 in Holiday Foods

 

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Coconut Risotto

This was so easy and something totally different for us.  I admit the photo is really lacking but the flavor was very good.

It all started this morning when I was shopping for coconut oil.  I was contemplating whether or not I wanted to include any more coconut flakes in my order.  And then I slowed down a bit to read about the various cuts of the flakes and all of a sudden this jumped out at me… “about the size of white rice”!

Like many of you, rice was a staple in our home and some recipes are just not the same without it.  And while I have found cabbage to be a good rice replacement, there are some things that it is not right for.  So I got to thinking about ways to use coconut like rice.   The thought of making risotto popped into my mind.

This is what I did.  I put about a cup of coconut in the bottom of my pan and covered it with water.  Then I added a chopped onion, and a stalk of celery.  On top of this I placed 5 chicken legs and covered the pan.  I let this simmer until the chicken was done.
When the chicken was finished, I removed the chicken and put the rest of the contents of the pan into the blender and blended it up until it was creamy.  I then returned this to the pan, added sliced mushroom and about  a 1/3 cup of Parmesan cheese and a splash of white wine. It was a little thick so I added a splash of kefir to it.  I let this rest on warm until the mushrooms were cooked.

I served this with the chicken, mustard greens, and carrots.  It was a great meal!  I am very excited about the results of this.  I plan to research other risotto recipes and see what kind of modifications I can come up with.

So while this will not be as cheap as rice, it will make a nice variation from time to time.

Buon Appetito!

 
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Posted by on November 8, 2012 in Coconut Risotto

 

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Dehydrating Cheese

This is an idea that I read about and decided to try.  Dried Cheese.  I love my dehydrators and use them for all kinds of things.

I had so much fun doing this that I just wanted to share this with everyone.  Granted it was a bit messy and some people might wonder why bother but I liked the final product so well that I plan to utilize this concept more in the future.  It is a way to buy cheese on sale and then store it up for later.  It also makes a great on the go snack!  The cheese can also be grated and added into just about anything like  GAPS/SCD breads, pancakes, etc. with the moisture already reduced

The first thing  you do is start out with a GAPS/SCD approved cheese.  That would be any of these cheeses: Cheddar, Asiago, Blue, Brie, Camembert, Colby, Edam, Gorgonzola, Gouda, Havarti, Jack, Muenster, Parmesan, Roquefort, Stilton, Swiss, Romano and uncreamed cottage cheese.

I slice the cheese about a 1/4 inch thick or a little thinner.  And place it on my trays that I lined with parchment paper.  (Parchment works much better than wax!)

I have done this a couple of different ways and have decided that the one I am giving here is the best. After turning the dehydrator on, I let it run for about 15 minutes or until the cheese begins to get soft.

The oil will begin to come out of it and this is where it can get tricky.

I tilt the tray and allow the oil to run off.  (I slanted the tray and let the oil run into the sink.)

Then as the cheese cools a bit I lift if off the tray and wipe the oil off with a paper towel.  Wiping both the cheese and the tray.  At this time I turn the cheese over.

I repeat this process until there is little excess oil and then I just allow it to dry, turning it every so often until it is hardened.  I then store it in a airtight jar.  I now have cheese and dried fruit to keep in the car for ready to eat snacks.

 
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Posted by on November 4, 2012 in Cheese, Dehydrating Foods, Snacks

 

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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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What to do with Eggplant

Eggplant is a good GAPS/SCD food if it is tolerated.  It is high in fiber and very versatile.  I make a side dish out of it by cooking it with tomatoes, onions and peppers.  As a fusion food, it can be spiced up to go with about any main entree.  For Italian flavor add the Italian herbs such as oregano and basil and of course a lot of garlic.   For Mexican meat add cumin, garlic, hot peppers and paprika. And if you want to make it taste Asian try adding a touch of honey, some toasted sesame oil and fresh parsley.

Eggplant can be added to soups. Cube up the eggplant, add ground meat, onions, tomatoes, peppers, carrots, and stew it.  Add your favorite seasonings.

One of our favorites is eggplant mini- pizzas.  You cut eggplant rounds brush with olive oil and top with your favorite toppings.  Bake.

Also you can cut eggplant into lasagna noodles and make it up like a regular lasagna.  It helps to fry the eggplant in a bit of olive oil before placing it into your baking dish. Layer it with ground meat, sauce and cheese.

I usually soak the eggplant in salt water for about and hour before cooking it. The soaking releases the bitter enzyme that resides in the fruit.  After soaking I rinse and then allow to drain for a couple of minutes.

If Eggplant is not part of your regular food regiment, and if you can tolerate it, consider including it to your GAPS list.  There are all kinds of eggplant recipes on the internet, many of them are gaps friendly and others easily converted to GAPS.

 

 

 
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Posted by on October 12, 2012 in Crock Pot, Eggplant, pizza, Soup

 

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