Wednesday, October 24, 2012

musings while offline

menu planning

Just a heads up - I have not completely abandoned this blog. I just have had a few months of nausea with a new pregnancy (yay!) so I've been laying low and not trying out much new in the kitchen for a while (yes, we're off gaps while I'm pregnant). And now we're moving out of state. So... it will be another month or more before I'm up to cataloging my recipes and trying new things again.

Meanwhile, I'm looking forward to getting some beeswax from my sister's second honey harvest to experiment with at Thanksgiving. I want to try making some diaper cream and herbal salve with it. And maybe even some hard lotion bars if there's enough. I purchased some of the lotion last year and really enjoyed it.

And I'm excited to feel up to doing some homemade Christmas gifts - hopefully. If I get to it soon enough, I may actually make some vanilla extract this year (but with bourbon) - I've been meaning to for about 3 years in a row now. Or maybe I'll stick with the drink mixers I was so excited about - but never made - last year (just add sparkling water for a non-alcholic party drink). So many delicious choices!

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Pipe Cleaner Toys

Well I haven't done much cooking lately - more on that later - but this afternoon the Monkey and I put together these pipe cleaner toys for a busy bag exchange I'm doing next week. There ended up being 21 people that signed up! So I'm going to get a ton of fun little games to keep the kids occupied. Which is perfect timing because we'll be going to Boise next weekend and they'll need something new and exciting to help them survive the 15 hour car ride. Sheesh.

Anyway, these are super simple and my kids have not been able to leave them alone. Our toy was non-stop fun for the whole of church last week for both kids. It was pretty great.

Just get any container with a plastic lid. Punch holes in the lid. Use markers to color reinforcements with coordinating colors to the pipe cleaners you have. Stick reinforcements over holes. Fill container with fuzzy pipe cleaners. The kids are 'supposed' to match the colors and poke the pipe cleaners down the corresponding holes but for some reason just taking the pipe cleaners in and out of the container has been hours of fun.

Also, I bought a bag of 50 lids because that's how they came and holy cow - stacking plastic lids is apparently the best game ever. I may just go get another $5 bag of lids. They loved those things.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Tomato Soup

I made the best tomato soup I've ever made for lunch the other day. The bar was pretty low - I have not been happy with any of my previous attempts - but I would totally make this one again. It started with this recipe from 101 cookbooks. Except I was trying to put zero effort into it and had 'stuff' to use up. It ended up being, roughly:

1 28 oz can Muir Glen whole tomatoes
2/3 small can tomato paste (opt. - it was leftover from a failed bbq sauce attempt)
2 TB butter
1/2 cup caramelized onions (leftover from liver and onions)
1 1/2 tsp curry powder
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp coriander
1/2 can coconut milk

Saute onions in butter until warm. Add tomatoes, paste, and spices. Heat thru. Blend with stick blender, keeping careful track of where your fingers are at all times. Stir in coconut milk and serve.

Note: an added perk of this recipe is that the coconut milk at the end cools the soup down enough that you can eat it when it's served instead of blowing on it for 10 minutes first. Also, V added red pepper to his at the table.

Saturday, August 4, 2012

GAPS Breakfast Ideas

Coconut Cream with Raspberries and a Muffin

Green Smoothies

Warm Applesauce with Coconut Cream and Crispy Walnuts

Pumpkin Bake with Coconut Cream

Or Eggs - poached, fried, boiled, or scrambled.
This was inspired by a brainstorm post I read here a while ago. It's just nice to have some new ideas for menu planning. We generally have eggs with fresh juice or green smoothies for breakfast but it's nice to mix things up a bit sometimes.

Sunday, July 22, 2012


Dhal is an Indian lentil soup. I read about something like it but with rice here a long time ago and have enjoyed the version of it at our favorite Indian place in town. Then I found this recipe at epicurious and decided it was gaps friendly. It ended up being really satisfying and yummy. Plus, it's easy enough that I can make it without using a recipe now that I've done it a few times. The pictured version subs regular lentils for the reds in the recipe. I've done it both ways and I like it better with reds but I have greens in my food storage and it's still yummy that way. It's currently in our regular soup rotation since both kids love lentils. Love them.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Chocolate Peanut Butter Swirl Ice Cream (GAPS)

Yup. This stuff is better than the coconut dream stuff you can buy in the store in my humble but accurate opinion. Go here for the recipe and delicious looking pictures. I realize the gaps legality is debatable but it fit my current description for legal party food. And it's rich enough that you really don't want to eat the whole batch. I was very happy with my ramekin sized portion. Delicious!

Spicy Pepper Drumsticks

We made these for the 4th of July party. We've made them before but they were WAY spicier this time. I blame the habanero chipotle tabasco sauce that I used. Apparently I had a milder version the last three times. I'm not a fan of spicy but I do like these (when I use the milder tabasco). The drumsticks are paired with a blue cheese dressing dip and fresh fennel, chopped into matchsticks. The recipe is from Batali's Italian Grill, pg 142 (paraphrased).

12 chicken drumsticks (pastured!)
kosher salt (sea salt for me)
1/2 cup buttermilk
2 TB Tabasco sauce, preferrably chipotle
1 TB fennel seeds, lightly crushed in a spice or coffee grinder
2 TB freshly ground pepper

Place drumsticks on a baking sheet and season well with salt. Bake at 400' for 20-25 minutes. In a bowl, stir remaining ingredients. As soon as the drumsticks come out of the oven, dip them into the bowl and place on a rack to drain (toaster oven rack over a baking sheet works well). Spoon a little of the mixture over each one. Grill drumsticks on a hot grill, covered. Turn occasionally at first and then more often as they start to caramelize, about 10-12 minutes. Serve with Gorgonzola dressing and fresh fennel sticks.

Note: May bake and marinate a day ahead, if desired. If so, leave on rack, then cover and refrigerate, bringing to room temp. before grilling.

Creamy Bacon Potato Soup

I was visiting my parents this weekend and wanted to make my Dad some bacon potato soup but apparently I've never posted the recipe here so I didn't have it! If I were a thinking person, I'd have realized it was on dropbox but that didn't occur to me at the time. So now that I'm home, here is the recipe in case it ever comes up again. There's no picture because I'm not making it for myself since it's not gaps legal. It's a great recipe to feed a large crowd with though. Doubling it goes a long, long way.

1 lb bacon, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
1 cup onion, finely chopped
1/2 cup finely chopped carrots (in food processor)
2 cups potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/4 inch cubes
1 qt chicken stock
1 qt half and half
3/4 cup butter
3/4 cup flour
1 1/2 tsp salt
pepper to taste

In a frying pan, fry bacon.  Remove bacon from pan, set aside, and discard all but 2 tablespoons bacon fat (or keep it all in there...yum).  Sauté onions in bacon fat.  Put soup stock in a large sauce pan.  Add pota­toes, car­rots, and sautéed onion.  Bring to a boil and then simmer over medium heat until potatoes are tender, stirring occasionally.  Make white sauce by melting butter, then adding flour.  Cook for 1 minute, then add the milk, salt & pepper.  Stir constantly with whisk until mixture is thick and bubbly. Add, with bacon, to vegetables in pan.  Stir to blend.  Warm all the way through and serve immediately.

Note: this recipe really doesn't need cheese added to it but feel free to use some cheddar as a garnish if desired. Also, if you think you'll have leftovers, you may want to add the bacon to individual bowls because it loses it's delicious crispness pretty quickly.

Friday, July 6, 2012

Cucumber Bites

These were something I came up with the other day and I keep making more! Just slice a cucumber, make the feta schmear and top with half a grape tomato. I also liked it with a slice of green onion on top. Yum!

To make the schmear, start with a glob of labneh. Add as much feta as the labneh will take without getting totally dry. Squeeze lime juice into it until it's the consistency you want. Add sea salt to taste. Assemble and top with freshly ground pepper.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

GAPS Birthday Party

Well this is a terrible picture but I didn't get any good ones - I was having too much fun! The Monkey (irl Alice), wanted a party for her 4th Birthday. I thought a Tea Party would be really fun. And yes, I even got her an 'Alice' dress to wear (you're only 4 once).

I made fresh apple juice for the 'tea'. They used toothpicks to pick up the strawberries, grapes, nitrate-free ham (slices were halved and then folded into triangles), and organic string cheese (that had been sliced into little rounds). We filled up the sugar bowl of the tea set with dates and filled the two cream containers with crispy nuts and dried strawberries.

Each little girl also had a personal serving of chocolate creme. I made this recipe for chocolate frosting and then mixed in coconut cream (chill two cans of full fat coconut milk, then scrape off the top 2/3rds of solidified 'cream'). For individual serving cups I used 4 oz mason jars. They were cute and gave the girls a reason to use the spoon that comes with the tea set.

For the 'cake', I made mini carrot cake muffins with cream cheese frosting (I used labneh for the cream cheese but it was pretty drippy). The Monkey had a regular sized muffin with candles in it when it was time to sing and we did a bigger pancake-sized cake for her family birthday party that I'd made with leftover batter from the muffins.

We had 6 girls at the table (including Alice). I bought this tea set as a present for her and then we borrowed the other two place settings and teapot and cream container from a friend who had a gorgeous Strawberry Shortcake set. 

The girls seemed to really enjoy the party. We decorated party hats first but most didn't choose to wear them to the table (maybe they would have if I'd made these instead). We helped them get started at the table with a serving of everything and then left them to themselves - which is when the giggling got going. After the tea party, we opened presents and then put on some music for a dance party. It lasted about an hour and fifteen minutes. 

It was very fun and honestly not that much work to put on. I think keeping it small helped that a lot. I'm mostly just so proud that I put on a good party that was also GAPS friendly. Next year though, I'm making the real carrot cake recipe. Um, boy.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Cardamom Cupcakes (GAPS)

I made these cupcakes for the Baby Boy's birthday. The frosting was a failed attempt at marshmallow creme. It worked brilliantly the first time I made it but this time it didn't fluff up. It still tasted good, but not at all like marshmallows. My kitchen scale needs a new battery so I think I just didn't use enough honey.

The better news is that the cupcakes were great. They were V's favorite version of a coconut flour cupcake/muffin. A close second are the honey buttered ones. Most of the rest of my coconut flour attempts are failures - they usually just taste like eggs. I will definitely be making these again though - as soon as I get some more cardamom. And find the ground stuff. It took for-e-ver to get all enough of the spice out of the pods.

GAPS Intro in Hindsight

I've been meaning to post my thoughts about the Intro now that it's over with. I'm really glad I did it. I'm also really glad it's over. I feel like I could have stuck it out a lot longer if I didn't have a family to feed. They ate what I was eating but weren't nearly as happy about it. And I couldn't handle doing two meal plans. So I just moved thru as quickly as possible.

I think I spent 4,5,3,4 days on each of the first 4 phases, respectively. After phase 4, I just added one thing a day and kept going until we were on full gaps. Which didn't take long. I didn't notice any adverse reactions when adding things but I know I would have felt more healing if I'd stayed on the beginning phases longer or added things back in slower. My general feeling is that I did 'too much, too soon'.

Currently, I'm still off dairy, grains, sugar, and anything processed. We go thru a ton of produce. I'm using all-natural products and using a tongue scrapper and a skin brush. I do fresh juice or a green smoothie every morning and take BioKult and fermented cod liver oil daily. I eat soup at least every other day and am still very sparing with grain-free baked goods and honey.

I need to do a much better job of keeping up with the 'protocol'. Mostly drinking the broth and eating soup every day. I found a bunch of new soup recipes I'm interested in so hopefully that will help. And I'm going to try my sister HOF's recommendation to reduce my broth so I don't have to drink as much of it to get the same benefit. And I need to get back in the habit of doing detox baths. I think those helped me a lot.

We started gaps almost 6 weeks ago. It feels so much longer than that. The most dramatic improvements for me have been my increased energy level and my weight loss - which are probably related. I've lost 20 lbs and haven't had this much energy for a few years at least. It's so nice to feel rested when I wake up and have energy for the day. My memory seems to have improved and a post-nasal drip issue has been resolved too (that I didn't even know was there until it was gone - my head feels so clear!).

And there's a new level of confidence in my will power. Honestly I haven't been very cravy or felt deprived at all. But just the whole experience of sticking with Intro has me rethinking what other areas of my life could use a re-haul - early to bed and early to rise is the big for me one right now.

Diet-wise, I'm ready to start eating less meat. It just doesn't sound good to me lately. My plan is to up the broth consumption and start using lentils and more white navy beans. I'm also adding in more coconut milk and in a few short weeks, I can try to reintroduce dairy. The rest of the family eats yogurt daily but I'm doing the full 6-week dairy cleanse so I'm not quite there yet.

All in all, I'm really proud of us. I did the best I could. I had some great results. I fit into my skinny jeans. I've successfully not gone out to eat for over a month. And I finally feel like I understand the difference between GAPS and other grain-free diets. I don't want to speak too soon, but I really feel no desire to 'cheat' on grains or sugar. Having done Intro, there seems to be a lot more to lose by falling off the bandwagon now than earlier this year when we kept starting and stopping our full gaps programs. So I'm feeling really hopeful that we'll make it the whole year.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Whipped Broccoli

I love fake mashed potatoes with cauliflower - so I tried that same method with half cauliflower, half broccoli and it worked really well. If you're doing pure broccoli, make sure to drain it well or it will seem pasty (from experience). Basically, boil or steam the cauliflower and/or broccoli until soft. Add to your food processor with lots of ghee (or butter if you can have it), add sea salt and whip until smooth.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Simple Salad Epiphany

This was my lunch today. And it was amazingly filling. Simple salad greens, boiled egg, avocado, crispy walnuts, and some heirloom tomato I found at Mother's yesterday. It's a little early still but it smelled right and it tasted pretty good. The tomato. The salad as a whole was very satisfying.

I read this book a few nights ago called How to Cook Without a Book. I got a lot of good ideas out of it but the biggest change so far is that I have removed making salad dressing from my list of duties. I like to eat salads but I always dread making the dressings. I don't have a good reason for this. They're not hard. They just seem like one more thing that I don't want to deal with while making dinner.

Anyway, no more. Now I simply drizzle some olive oil over my greens, grind a little salt and a lot of pepper onto them, and massage them well with my (clean) fingers. Then I sprinkle some acid over the top (half a lemon of juice, or some red wine vinegar) and I'm done. If I add a lot of toppings after that, I like to add some more pepper on the top again. The technique in the book has you add the toppings before the massage step but I don't like it that way.

The couple of people I've told my exciting no-dressing shortcut news to actually already do it this way. So I guess I'm slow to join the club but seriously, I feel such a relief that I don't have to stop dinner prep to make a vinaigrette anymore. Hopefully this means we'll be eating more salads!

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Pumpkin Bake

I've been making a generic squash bake a lot lately because it's one of the few things that Baby Boy will go to town on. And that's a good thing because he could use some more chunk on him. Well, tonight I got a little fancier and succumbed to putting honey in it and used canned organic pumpkin instead of home baked kabocha squash and it was soooo much better. We've eaten half the pan already. I love this stuff. The amounts on this are approximations because I was just dumping stuff into the food processor but it should be close enough to help me make it again.

2 cans organic pumpkin (15 oz)
10 eggs
1/2 cup ghee (or coconut oil or butter)
1 cup almond flour
1/4 cup honey
2 tsp vanilla
2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp allspice
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
crispy walnuts

Put all but the walnuts and last bit of honey in the food processor and process until well blended. Pour into a greased 9x13 pyrex. Sprinkle with crushed walnuts and drizzle with honey. Bake at 350' for 45 minutes or until the fork comes out clean. It is a bit soft - more like firm pudding than cake.

The generic version was the same method with 2 kabocha squash cooked and scooped, 8 eggs, ghee, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, vanilla. I would serve it with a tsp of honey on the plate for the Monkey to dip her bites into or with a little bit of honey drizzled on the top.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Beet Chips

Go here for this recipe for beet chips. I found the recipe a while ago and felt up to destroying the kitchen tonight so I went for it. V entertained the kids nicely outside while I deep-fried in the kitchen. And then we had delicious burgers with chips for dinner.

Next time I would slice the beets a bit thicker. And prep fewer beets. Two beets would have been plenty for tonight and I sliced 5. I actually quit frying them after about 2.5 so I'm going to experiment with freezing some of the uncooked slices. If by some miracle they thaw and still fry up well, I could make this recipe more often. As it is, it's just too much prep and cook time for anything but special occasions with few eaters.

They were really good though. The sweetness of the beet really comes thru. I'm definitely making them again. I'm also interested to see how the leftovers keep for tomorrow. Yum. Yum.

Thursday, May 31, 2012

RAW Brownie Bites

not the best picture but they were so good!
So last night I made these RAW brownies with cacao powder. They don't need a dehydrator or anything - just a few hours in the fridge. And then I saw the chocolate frosting recipe. So I made that too and slathered it on top. Delicious.

I took the frosted brownies to a baby shower last night so I'd have something gaps-like that I could eat. They are pretty sweet so I can't pretend they're fully gaps ok this early on for me but they definitely kept me from an actual 'cheat'. So I'll take that as a success. And I have a go-to dessert now that can work for non-gaps people.

Update: I added coconut cream (from the top half of a chilled can of coconut milk) to the leftover frosting and it became chocolate mousse. It was unbelievably good.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Roasted Beets and GAPS Day 12

We had a lovely dinner tonight. It seemed like a real meal to me. Probably the first one we've had like that since starting GAPS. Well, last night we had King Crab dipped in ghee with roasted asparagus. That was delicious but this meal we could actually have people over for - and we did! Tonight's menu was shrimp scampi, roasted carrots and butternut squash, roasted beets, and whipped caulitatoes. And a few soaked, dehydrated walnuts for dessert. The beets are a revelation. I had something like them at my friend JL's bday dinner and have been making them ever since. Who knew lemon could make such a difference?

Roasted Beets
1 bunch red beets
1 bunch golden beets
olive oil or ghee
1 large or 2 small lemons
sea salt and fresh pepper

Basically, you make home-fries out of beets. Remove tops and ends of beets. Peel with a vegetable peeler. Slice into chunks. In a bowl, drizzle ghee or olive oil over beets until they're well coated. Zest some of the lemon (usually as much as I have patience for) and mix the zest plus the juice into the beets with salt and pepper. Stir to coat. Bake in 400' oven for 45 minutes or until beets are no longer crunchy.

Roasted Carrots and Squash - Chop carrots and butternut squash into chunks. Drizzle ghee until they're well coated. Season with salt and pepper. Any fresh herb would work well here too. Bake at 400' with the beets for 45 minutes or until soft.

Whipped Caulitatoes - Boil or steam cauliflower until very soft. Put in food processor ghee with salt and fresh pepper. Taste it and then add more ghee. Do not oversalt.

Scampi - Thaw and peel tails off shrimp. Saute garlic in ghee. Add shrimp and cook until just pink - about 1 minute. Remove shrimp and cook down liquid that remains in pan. Pour over shrimp and serve.

I also made carrot popsicles for the Monkey. Because I am soooo nice ;)

Well day 12 I'm feeling pretty good. I haven't really had any setbacks since we started. I've taken some things slower and sped up other things but I feel like it's more of a sanity gauge for me - like I am going to give up if I can't eat nuts by Sunday or I could eat this again tomorrow - I'll wait a few days to move forward. But digestively, I'm feeling good and haven't felt setback by anything specific. So that's awesome.

And my outlook is much improved. I feel like I'm on the downhill slide now that we can eat something that resembles real dinner to me. I have breakfast solved now with scrambled or poached eggs. Lunches can easily be soups and I can make delicious, non overcooked veggies again for dinner. Yay.

I do need to be better about drinking my broth though. I thought my chicken backs would be here quicker than they were so I've been in scarcity with my broth. I still have some but if I use it, then I'm out. I could do more beef broth but that just has never turned out well for me. I have a really hard time drinking anything but chicken broth. I cook my veggies in the beef broth but I don't like how it tastes as-is. In fact, I need to research delicious broth recipes now that I can actually saute the aromatics first. My broth could definitely use an upgrade.

So yeah, I'm feeling optimistic about our menu. And I think this week will be the last 'hard' week to get thru. Which will be much easier than the two previous 'hard' weeks we've made it thru already. Well, almost two weeks. Sheesh - our carrot cake bash seems like it was eons ago.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Intro GAPS Day 10

Yay we made it thru day 10! My saving grace has been this menu plan. I just keep looking at it when I'm discouraged and thinking about how delicious something sounds that will be just a few days away. That's helped me a lot.

Also, I did the colonic this morning. And it was awesome. I feel a ton better. Not all the way better but it sounds like you need to do 3 within 10 days to jumpstart your system. So I've got another one scheduled for Tuesday and I'll do a third after that. I think I'm going to feel amazing when I'm done and it's a huge load off to not have to worry about being constipated for at least the next 10 days - which should take me to the point in the diet where I'm eating actual food again.

I'm definitely losing my interest in broth and soup right now. I need to try a new recipe to switch things up. Maybe the onion soup will be delicious but I'm not holding my breath since there will be no cheesy toast floating on the top.

I got some bad news today and totally wanted to throw things out the window and go out to eat. But I didn't. So I'm proud of myself. Honestly though, there's no way I'd actually do this 10 days again so I'm really happy I didn't fall off the bandwagon. We're getting really close to eating actual food again. Like by the end of next week I think. It will be much more manageable by then for sure.

A big part of this diet for me is reexamining my relationship with food - emotional eating, licking my fingers, finishing up the kid's last few bites, snacking, after dinner grazing - those are all just not happening right now. It always surprises me though when I start moving towards doing one of those things. It's just so engrained that I still have to catch myself in time to stop. Anyway, I'm glad I stayed home for boiled burgers, avocado, kraut, and steamed broccoli. My guts and future children will thank me.

And seriously, if I were starting Intro again, I'd set up the colonics ahead of time. I should have done it last week. It just sounded so scary. But it totally wasn't. It was just a relief. And the lady was super nice. Also, they had a health step so I bought one for our downstairs bathroom :)

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Poached Eggs and Day 8

Poached eggs for breakfast put me in a much better mood for most of the day. It was really nice. And I fit into my skinny jeans today so that also improved my outlook on this whole diet thing. I crashed (as in felt super tired) by 3pm today but it was because I wasn't drinking my broth. Tomorrow I'm going to have broth warming in the crockpot all day so that it's no big deal to just drink some warm broth whenever I get crabby. Broth is pretty much what makes this 'GAPS' instead of some other 'crazy diet'. I think.

Back to the poached eggs - they were amazing. They tasted soooo good. And I am more than a little excited about how awesome my method for poaching worked. You may recall that I have previously used ramekins in my pan (don't click on that link if you're currently on GAPS. just don't.). Anyway, it occurred to me this morning that I could try out my new 4 oz mason jars instead of the ramekins.

I fit 8 of the mason jars into the same pan that I'd previously fit 5 ramekins into. I wiped the insides with ghee and cracked an egg into each one. Topped with salt and pepper and placed in a pan that already had water in it. Covered with lid and cooked until desired firmness. The most amazing part was taking them out. They literally came right out - I didn't even go around them with a knife. No hassle at all. Seriously. And here's a picture of just after I popped them all out:

Can you even believe how clean they are? I am so amazed. I put these into the dishwasher as-is. Honestly the pain of scrubbing my ramekins was the limiting factor on how often we ate poached eggs. Now we can have them anytime! I'm really excited about this. And making 8 per batch means I only need to make one batch for my family's breakfast. Plus, they come out looking extra tall. V suggested we make deviled eggs with them once we can do mayo. They'd be really cool looking.

It was all downhill after breakfast today though. But breakfast was really nice at least. I made a big menu plan on my whiteboard this afternoon that will get me thru the hard part. Which feels like a relief. I'm starting phase 3 tomorrow with avocados. Very exciting. I'll post my menu plan if we actually end up sticking to it. Things still feel very much day to day as far as what I can handle thinking about:

"Take therefore no thought for the morrow, for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient is the day unto the evil thereof." 3 Nephi 13:34

The menu: poached eggs (yay!), yogurt and honey for everyone but me, cauliflower soup and leftover salmon, broth, squash bake (food processed squash, eggs, chicken, onion, garlic, salt and baked at 350' for 45 minutes. not good.) with bubbie's pickles and sauerkraut (the actual veggies this time, not just the juice.)

The prep: did a ton of dishes today - they'd been piling up like crazy. and some quick grocery shopping. and cleaned out the fridge - freezed that chicken from all of the stock making. no stock going right now actually. I'm out of chicken backs (went thru 18 lbs in 1 week! but I've ordered more). And I do have enough stock to get us thru at least 4-5 more days, especially since I have a ton of cauliflower soup made up already.

The tip: the Monkey drinks her broth smoothie (broth plus raw egg) without complaint now *as long as I* count for her while she drinks it thru her straw. It happened by accident one night. I think I told her to see how much she could drink while I counted to 4 because she'd been staring it down for a really long time. Well, it totally worked. And tonight she wanted me to count to twenty-eleven while she drank her 'broth smoovie'. haha. Basically, she picks a number and I count while she drinks. And if there's more, she picks a different number or I do the same number or I just start counting and stop randomly. For whatever reason, it's working like magic to get her to drink her broth. Also, she's decided she loves sauerkraut. Which is awesome.

The tmi: still having constipation issues so I scheduled a colonic. I'm so nervous! But everyone I've known that has done it said it was a good thing. Also, while clicking around after watching youtube colonic movies, I found out about the squatty potty! I need one. Now. Just can't quite bring myself to pay their $12 shipping. Gah. I hate shipping costs on principle. Amazon prime has set the bar high.

One more GAPS day down :)

Monday, May 14, 2012

Intro GAPS Day 6

It's starting to feel hard now. Not like I'm going to quit - just that it feels hard. The novelty of the broth has worn off. My cycle of soups is starting to get old. And we're just ready to start eating more 'real' foods. Mentally, anyway. Physically, I think we've got a solid week left of the rough intro phases.

The good news is that we're into Phase 2. So that's something. And we're all seeing some nice improvements - skin, behavior, food aversions, sinus drain, and the inevitable weight loss isn't a bad side effect either. I feel like things will be a ton easier by about Sunday when we should be able to start in on nut pancakes. It sounds like a long week between now and then at the moment but last week went by pretty quickly so I can hope that the same will happen this week.

The menu: water with lemon until noon (shouldn't have waited so long to eat but I got distracted). broth smoothie. squash soup with chicken. fresh homemade applesauce for the kids. broth. boiled hamburger patties with cooked carrots and kraut juice. water.

The prep: more broth. applesauce. dishes. hamburger patties and cooked carrots. I really should deal with the pile of boiled chicken that's amassing in my fridge. I'll probably just freeze it but it will take some doing to get it packaged into usable portions.

The distraction: I did appreciate having the Monkey's swimming lessons to get us out of the house this morning. And I got totally lost in a book all afternoon - which was fantastic. Diablo III comes out tomorrow so V will have a nice distraction too. We have a lot of food as entertainment habits to overcome to make this work long-term but I'm confident that things will seem much more doable once we're out of Intro.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Intro GAPS Day 4

Well things aren't getting easier yet but I'm feeling more confident in my willpower to stick with it. Honestly if it were just me doing this in a vacuum, I think it would be pretty easy. The problem is that there are three other people that I'm bringing along with me on the journey (who don't like the food) and I still have to go to the grocery store (with the Monkey asking for everything we pass) and give up social events that center around food (2 this week alone). Those things still seem really hard. But I really don't mind the food regimen, personally. I expected to be craving sugar like crazy and I'm not. It still sounds delicious, but it's not driving me insane like I though it would.

I made a simple squash soup today with kabocha squash. I had previously baked and scooped out the squash and had it ready to go in a ziploc. So I just added it to the pan with some chicken stock and salt and blended it with the stick blender. It has a surprising amount of flavor just like that. V likes ginger in the butternut squash soup so I'm going to try it in this one as well but I think the kabocha flavor would go really well with a bunch of roasted garlic in it (once I can roast my garlic again - hello phase 3!).

Oh, and notice the 2 qt mason jar that it's in. I bought 6 of those with my last Azure order and I can't believe I waited so long to convert. Seriously - love them. Also, if you don't already do this - use a wet erase pen on the mason jar lids to label them. I used permanent marker for a long time before figuring that one out.

The Monkey's 'Milkshake'
Baby boy seems to be doing much better now that he has some finger foods to eat (steamed salmon, boiled carrots and broccoli, boiled chicken). He's only had one container of yogurt today so that's a huge improvement. I felt worse about so much repetition in his diet until I realized that some kids his age live on cheerios and goldfish. The Monkey asked for a milkshake today made with milk and yogurt. I told her it wouldn't taste very good but she was still insistent. So as a reward for finishing her lunch (broth with raw egg 'smoothie' and chicken), I made her a milkshake. And she was super excited about it. Her Daddy convinced me to add a teeny bit of honey to it as well. Like 1/2 tsp. Teeny. But it made it that much more thrilling.

I've decided I'm done with the kids being on Intro at this point. I'm seeing behavioral and food phobia improvements with the Monkey already so that's encouraging. But I also feel like I'm making it harder on them than it needs to be. They don't have serious symptoms to begin with and they heal quickly because they're little. I'm still only introducing one new item a day and I'm going to use them as rewards for drinking their broth but I'm not going to feel guilty about them eating foods that aren't on our current phase. Tomorrow will be carrot juice, Monday will be applesauce, and then I think I'll do blueberries or something to put in the 'milkshake'. We'll see.

The Menu: water and lemon until 10. broth with garlic and kraut juice. kobocha squash soup, boiled chicken, boiled carrots. milkshakes for kids. broth. steamed salmon and broccoli again with a little squeeze of lemon.

The Prep: more broth forwarding. and i made the squash soup. but that took like 5 minutes of effort. I did do a bunch of grocery shopping over the last two days. and ordered more chicken backs because we're going thru them at a prodigious rate. researching more natural shampoo options - i bought stuff to make a homemade shampoo bar and a different brand (beautiful curls) to look up on skin deep.

The Equipment: I have three crock-pots and have been using all of them for broth nonstop until now. Today I have the smaller one just keeping our finished broth hot so that it's more convenient to have a little bit thruout the day without washing a pan or getting another one dirty. I really like the convenience of that so far.  I may invest in a large 12 hour thermos for a no-energy solution to that at a later point. We'll see. Also, I've decided that straws are indispensable for the kiddos. It really makes a huge difference to the Monkey that she gets to use a straw. And it's a lot easier for me to feed Baby Boy with a straw than to constantly be washing sippy cup lids. We're going thru them quickly but they're a cheap thrill that makes mealtime a little more bearable.

The Whine: Can Trader Joe's PLEASE stock organic apples already? Seriously, I feel like they're only there half the time I go. And they're one of the main things I go there to get cause they're sooo cheap. And they're little enough to fit in my juicer. And why does there have to be a recall on my raw milk this week??? A month from now, fine, but now? Gah. The FDA needs to quit harassing my raw milk producers. Seriously.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Intro GAPS Day 3

I probably won't keep up the daily log for long but I think the beginning days seemed so overwhelming in my imagination that I'd like to journal their reality for my reference.

Today is going pretty well. I am starting to worry about the kid's caloric intake tho. The Monkey is still not eating much other than broth. I added egg yolk to the kids' broth this morning and called it a "broth smoothie" - which I thought was genius on my part. They both drank it up. She will eat broccoli soup and a few pieces of chicken but won't touch anything else yet. I'm planning on moving them forward with soft boiled eggs tomorrow, carrot juice the next day, and applesauce the day after as long as they keep drinking their broth.

They don't have severe symptoms and the Dr. said most kids can go straight to full gaps anyway so I'm just not willing to enforce phase 1 for very long with them. Plus, I'm feeling more confident in my ability to feed them food that I can't eat yet without cheating.

I have modified it so they can both have raw milk and yogurt so maybe that's why they're not thrilled about all of the foods yet. The Monkey is getting pretty hungry so maybe that will encourage her to eat more. We'll see. She's started to negotiate for raw carrots rather than muffins though - so that's progress. I compromised by cooking the carrots half way to mush instead of all the way. She didn't touch them. I thought they were delicious - though not strictly on phase one for me. And I want to say that she's been a total champ about the whole thing - no tantrums, just lots of negotiation. I'm really proud of how well she's handling herself emotionally.

Baby Boy is much more black and white about what he'll put in his mouth. I just keep rotating thru all of hte options as he rejects them and eventually, he'll go for one thing or another. Often, he'll reject the first offer of broth but then gulp it down (thru a straw) after he's had a few bites of something else. So I just keep rotating thru the broth, milk, and soup for the meal. He enjoyed the carrots for lunch and usually eats some meat as well. If nothing's going very well, I break out the yogurt. Which he puts down with no problem.

For my part, I'm actually more committed to staying on phase 1 a full 5 days than I was when I started ( says most people without severe symptoms do 1-3 days of phase 1). This is mostly because I don't want to do this again anytime soon, but also because it's honestly not as awful as I thought it would be. I guess I've been dreading phase 1 for long enough that my expectations were significantly low enough to make it not seem so bad. haha. I do plan to be fully thru phase 3 within 2 weeks though (5 days allotted to each phase). Once we hit phase 4, things seem like they'll be a lot more doable so I'm just mentally preparing myself for 2 weeks of broth. And hopefully I'll start seeing results soon that are motivating as well.

The Menu: lemon in room temperature water until 11am. (broth smoothies and yogurt for the kids). broth with fresh garlic and kraut juice. remaining cauliflower soup, squash soup, cooked carrots, boiled chicken. broth. steamed salmon and broccoli.

The Prep: cooked carrots and dinner but mostly it's a lot of heating up pre-made broth and soups. still have 3 crockpots of stock going 24/7 since we started. I feel like I'm finally gaining some ground there though - as in I have a decent supply of stock in the fridge ready to go. I'm almost ready to start freezing some of it. Almost. Still in a bit of broth scarcity since I started this thing without a buffer (not recommended).

Equipment comments: The thermoses I bought are indispensable. I send two with V to work and take one with me whenever we leave the house. Any time I hear the whines for snacks, I have broth to offer. And it's a nice pickmeup when I'm starting to feel tired while we're out. Also, I have decided that the size of my large pot is the limiting factor for my soup production. I could justify making 3 gallons of soup at a time and freezing a bunch of it if I had the facilities to do it that way. As it is, I can only do about a gallon at a time. I should maximize that with recipes I know we like and start making a freezer supply of soups rather than just broth. Because we're going to be eating a lot of soup over the next year. I'll probably wait until I can at least saute the onions in butter first though.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Cauliflower Soup (GAPS Intro) and Day 2 update

I'm still trying to figure out how to use the camera on my phone since my other one broke a few weeks ago. So sorry for the blur. I know it doesn't look like much but this is some delicious soup. Well, delicious to me since there are only about 8 things I can eat right now on Phase 1 of Intro GAPS. I think I like it well enough to eat normally though - you know, with some delicious side dishes to dress it up a bit. Anyway, the soup...

6-8 garlic cloves, smashed.
2 onions, chopped
4 10oz pkgs frozen cauliflower florets
chicken broth
sea salt and pepper

Put 1 cup of chicken broth in the soup pot on med-high until it's really hot/starting to boil. Add garlic and onions and pretend you're sauteing them even though you're actually steaming them. I'm sure this step was only for my personal sanity and not for any actual function in the dish, so feel free to skip if you'd like (Or use butter if you're not on gaps intro!).

Once I was done pretending that I was sauteing them in butter (and they were pretty soft), I dumped in the frozen cauliflower and added chicken broth until it just barely covered the cauliflower. Cook until cauliflower is soft (45 min-ish). Remove from heat. Puree with an immersion blender. Season with sea salt and pepper. Serve warm.

Update: We're on day 2 today. I'm feeling lethargic and have a sore throat but no flu yet and not cranky yet. I'm just happy it doesn't feel like the world is ending like I thought it might. It's been much less dramatic than I thought it would be for us. Still, only day 2. The Monkey has refused everything but broth and yogurt until lunch today - she went for the broccoli soup (broccoli plus broth with an immersion blender).

Menu today: water. broth with fresh garlic and kraut juice. butternut squash soup. broth. yogurt and raw milk for the kids. cauliflower soup. broth. shank, beef broth, broccoli soup. ginger tea. also detox baths with apple cider vinegar.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

GAPS Intro Starts Today

The day has finally arrived! We started the GAPS Intro diet this morning. I feel like I've been thinking about this day since Christmas when I read the book. Baby Boy is officially weaned so we're starting. I have to say, I thought I'd be more hungry and more in scarcity. I was completely terrified of broth for breakfast. But it wasn't bad at all. It was actually pretty good. That's probably just a sign of how much my body really needs healing. But I'm encouraged at least.

The kids are doing better than expected. Probably because the hunger and detox hasn't really started up yet. They're both napping right now (rare treat) and when they get up, I'm going to give them a detox bath and then some more broth.

I'm still feeling pretty nervous about the whole thing - waiting for the drama to ensue I guess - but so far it's been no big whoop. All 5 hours of it. haha.

The menu: sipped water on waking. cup of chicken broth with crushed fresh garlic. butternut squash soup (squash plus broth). broth. boiled to death broccoli. broth. cauliflower ragu soup. ginger tea.

The prep today: two crockpots of chicken stock going. one crockpot of beef shank broth going. made butternut squash soup. baking four kombucha squash. lots of waiting for the brita to filter water today.

I'm excited to see how things go. I'm planning 3-5 days of stage one. We'll probably do 3 days and then do a slow transition into stage 2. But we'll see how things go. I do feel a general sense of industriousness right now. As in, since I'm home tending my broth anyway, maybe I'll tackle the closet that needs to be organized. But then again, the kids are napping so I'll probably go lie down instead.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Blood Orange Salad

I found some blood oranges at the Farmer's Market and got this recipe to make with them from my friend JL. It's her favorite salad. It was delicious. And simple. Which is the best kind of delicious.

1/2 cup raw almonds
15 dates, honey or medjool
4 blood oranges
1/2 lb. Parmigiano-Reggiano
2 oz arugula
3 TB almond oil

Toast the almonds at 375' for 8-10 minutes. Pitt the dates and chop them in half. Cut the oranges so there is no pith and then slice in thin circles. Slice the Parmesan thinly with a cheese slicer. Put down the arugula, then layer the toppings on, drizzle with oil and some juice from the oranges. Top with pepper and Fleur de sel. May also use hazelnut oil or walnut oil.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Wednesday's Menu

For breakfast today we did scrambled eggs with cabbage, celery, apple juice. Then I made some coconut flour muffins that turned out really well. Especially because I made some honey butter to go on top of them. We had brats with kraut and mustard for lunch with more spinach salad from yesterday and the muffins. Snacked on apples and more muffins during the afternoon and ended the day with beef stock, seed crackers, and goat cheese from the Farmer's Market.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Tuesday's Menu

I always tend to draw a blank when thinking about what we eat so I thought a pictoral guide would be useful for me so that when I actually start menu planning again I can come up with more realistic ideas. We were out of eggs this morning but the yogurt was done, so for breakfast we had 'smoovies' with yogurt, raspberries, banana, and vanilla extract. We also had more of the leftover banana pudding from last night.

After breakfast, I made poppy seed dressing, beef stock, and seed crackers - which I didn't burn this time, thankfully. It was my first time making the beef broth though and I really should have read the recipe a little better first. I roasted the bones in the oven for a while before putting them in but apparently I should have soaked them in vinegar first. So I just added some apple cider vinegar to the broth as it was boiling. I'm not sure if that did anything helpful or not but oh well. They are pastured bones that I got at the Farmer's Market though so I'm sure it's still going to be super healthy to eat.

beef broth
seed crackers
I made some spinach salad with the poppy seed dressing, spinach, strawberries, feta, walnuts, and some chopped apple. We had leftover salmon from yesterday that I had broiled with just salt, pepper, and some lemon juice and oil. Apples and peanut butter and seed crackers were snacks and then we had bok choy in chicken broth for dinner again. It doesn't look like much but the broth for dinner is surprisingly satisfying.


Monday, April 9, 2012

Banana Pudding

This comes from Paleo Comfort Foods. Love that book. I have the kindle edition so I can't tell you what page it's on but it's under 'desserts'. I have to say, this did not turn out very sweet at all even though I had well-blackened bananas. I imagine once I've detoxed sugar for a few weeks though, it will taste sweeter. It was nice and creamy and definitely pudding-ish. And was a good enough placebo for my dessert craving for tonight.

1 can coconut milk
2 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1 TB coconut oil
1 TB coconut butter (or real butter)
3 super ripe bananas, smashed
1/2 tsp cinnamon

Heat coconut milk, eggs and vanilla over medium heat, whisking until it starts to thicken. Remove from heat. Meanwhile, heat oil and butter and add smashed bananas. Let them start to carmalize. Then combine with milk mixture in a blender and blend until smooth. Place in a bowl. Let cool slightly and then place some plastic wrap directly on the surface of the pudding so that the gunky layer doesn't form on the top. Chill. Serve with sliced bananas. Or get super fancy and make it a parfait.

Supposedly this is also good frozen but I haven't tried that yet. And really, I would double or triple the recipe next time because we can really put down the pudding in our house.

Back in the Saddle Again

apple celery purple cabbage beet jui

Yup, we're back on 'GAPS'. Or at least our version of it. I'm still not doing intro for a few more months but I hope to be better about including all of the good foods this time (broth, raw yogurt, kraut) as well as keeping out the toxins (processed food, sugar, grains). I'm sick of catching flus and feeling tired all of the time though so I'm definitely ready to get our diet back on track!

On that note, I was super productive in the kitchen today. Juice and eggs for breakfast. Broiled salmon with swiss chard sauteed in butter with some sea salt and a squeeze of lemon for lunch. And chicken broth with bok choy, green onions and a splash of sesame oil for dinner. With some banana pudding for dessert. Because I still love dessert. And I made some banana nut muffins to snack on. Which disappeared fast.

The tragedy of the day was the double batch of crackers that got completely burned and ruined because I was making lunch at the same time and juggling hungry kids. It wasn't pretty.

Also, I started some 24 hour yogurt and finished some labneh yogurt cheese. I added vanilla and cinnamon to half of the cheese to spread on the muffins and saved the rest to go with crackers...gah.

But all in all I did get a ton done. Plus 7 loads of laundry. And 4 chapters of Charlotte's Web for the Monkey. And bathtime for the kids and even a blog post! Now tomorrow I just need to get some beef broth going and work up the gumption to do the crackers again. And soak some seeds. And make some blueberry raisins. Sheesh. GAPS is really a lot of cooking just for the record. But it's good to be back.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

A few 'real' looking GAPS meals

Whilst our family has fallen completely off the healthy bandwagon amidst moving stresses and the accompanying flu cycles, my sister HOF has been doing amazing things for herself with the GAPS diet. She started with the intro and is almost to full gaps at this point. It has been so instructive to get to watch her go through it first. And I am so proud of her for sticking with it!

Here are a few of her first 'real' looking meals coming off the early stages of the intro:

scrambled eggs, avocado, homemade breakfast sausage, sauerkraut

spaghetti squash with pesto

pot roast with butternut squash fries and green beans
Well those mobile picts didn't turn out quite as well as I'd hoped. Oh well. As for me and my house, we'll be starting back into full GAPS on Monday. I hope the transition isn't too rough for us but there will definitely be some serious sugar detoxing going on. I'm just going to enjoy all of that Easter deliciousness first...