Monday, January 30, 2012

GAPS Week Two Menu Plan

B: carrot orange, ginger, basil for V and apple, cabbage, celery juice for me
L: leftover fishsticks
D: chicken stock with kale

B: apple, celery, purple cabbage juice, fried eggs
L: chicken salad lettuce wraps
S: cake
D: green pea soup with ginger

B: orange carrot juice, applesauce with coconut cream
L: salad with mushrooms, green onions, chicken, and lemon basil dressing
S: cantaloupe and boiled egg
D: chicken broth with kale

B: apple celery purple cabbage juice, fried eggs
L: Jamaican jerk salmon with broccoli
S: pistachios
D: green pea soup with ginger

B: apple celery purple cabbage juice, scrambled eggs with mushrooms and green onion
L: white beans, grape tomatoes, clementines, apples (at the park)
S: clementines
D: butternut squash soup, seed crackers

B: beet, cucumber, celery, carrot, kale, apple juice, boiled eggs
L: salad with chicken, salami and roasted garlic dressing
S: macadamia nuts and raisins
D: butternut squash soup, seed crackers, grapes

B: beet, cucumber, carrot, orange juice, boiled eggs
L: chicken brats, kraut, mustard, sauteed fennel
S: apples and peanut butter, pistachios, raisins (at the aquarium)
D: white bean hummus, seed crackers, kalamatas, grape tomatoes, salad

GAPS Week Two Journal

I'm getting really sick of doing so many dishes. I really don't like dishes anyway but there are just always soooo many dishes to do on this diet. That's my main gripe at the moment. Everything else seems a lot more manageable than last week. Not sure why though because not much has changed. I imagine it's the sugar and casein getting out of my system or something.

I kept my every other day lunch prep system with simple breakfasts and dinners. I still felt like I was going to the grocery store a ton and I ordered a bunch of specialty products online so that took more time on top of the produce runs. Having specialty items helps me feel like I'm doing more of the 'official' diet rather than my own made-up version though so that's good. I bought bio-kult, baby biotic, ghee, cod liver oil, and soapnut shampoo.

We're really happy with the results still. Energy is up and we feel really good. We really love juicing for breakfast. It is so delicious and feels so healthy. I'm down another 2 lbs and V is down another 4. The Boy's food reactions actually seem bigger than they used to be (redder rashes more often) so I'm excited to get him onto the Intro diet asap. My plan is to do that with him this week and then the rest of the family when I'm done nursing in June.

Guess I better go deal with some dishes...

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Danish Pastry

Danish Pastry is a Christmas tradition from my Mom. We were able to go visit for New Year's this year and she surprised me with my very own pastry! It was fabulous.

3 TB yeast
3/4 cup warm water
4 1/2 cups flour
1/4 cup margarine (1/2 a cube)
1 cup milk
2 TB sugar
2 eggs
1 1/4 cup cold margarine (2 1/2 cubes)

1/2 cup butter (1 cube)
1 cup sugar
1 1/2 TB almond extract

1 whipped egg
1 TB sugar
3/4 cup sliced almonds

1 egg white, whipped
1 1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 tsp lemon juice
pinch salt

For dough, combine yeast and water and set aside. Mix flour and 1/4 cup margarine together until crumbly. Make a well in the flour and add yeast mixture, milk, sugar and eggs. Mix until dough forms a ball. Roll out onto a floured surface into an 18"x12" rectangle.

Slice remaining 1 1/4 cup cold margarine (do not sub butter) into thin slices and lay on 2/3 of the rectangle, leaving 1/3 of the dough blank to lay over the top. Fold into thirds starting with the blank side folding onto the middle piece. Fold again into thirds starting at the top open fold and folding up the bottom. Carefully roll out into a 18x12 rectangle again. Repeat 3 times or until the margarine is worked into the dough. On the last time, roll into an 18x18 rectangle and cut into three equal pieces of 18x6.

Place 2 of the pieces in the fridge. With the remaining piece, cut 1" slits on both sides of the rectangle, leaving the center for filling. Mix Filling ingredients together and spread down the middle. Sprinkle with additional sliced almonds or raisins if desired. Braid dough, folding under at the bottom.

Put into greased pan shaped as a half moon and let rise 1/2 an hour (while you repeat with the other two sections of dough). For Topping, brush with beaten egg, sprinkle with sugar, toss on almonds and bake at 400' for 1 minute. Then turn down to 350' and bake an additional 20 minutes or until slightly browned. Mix together frosting and drip on pastry while warm.

Other Filling ideas:
Cream cheese: 16 oz cream cheese, 1/4 cup sugar, 2 TB lemon juice
Vanilla cream: 2 1/2 TB sugar, 2 TB cornstarch; stir in 1 yolk, then beat in 1 cup milk. Cook over double boiler 10 minutes or until thick, then cook without stirring 5 min longer. Pour into small bowl, add 1 tsp vanilla and cool.

What a lot of work! Thank you Mom for such a fabulous treat :)

Rhubarb Cream Pie

V made this rhubarb cream pie for himself a while ago because he loves rhubarb. I'd never heard of such a thing and I have previously hated all rhubarb pies I've come in contact with. Yes, hated. But seriously, I could not get enough of this one. So delicious. The pie crust was also a revelation. You can tell V made it because 1- the crust looks great and 2- there's no way I would have made a recipe with rhubarb in it. Oh yeah, this comes from the Professional Baking Book, page 253.

10 oz pastry flour
7 oz shortening (we used butter)
3 oz cold water
1 tsp salt
1/2 oz sugar

Cut shortening into flour until pea sized. Dissolve salt and sugar in water. Add to flour mixture. Mix just until water is absorbed. Refrigerate 4 hours before rolling out. Makes 2-3 crusts. Bake at 450' for 10-15 minutes. Cool completely before filling.

1lb 4 oz rhubarb, fresh or frozen, in 1-inch pieces
12 oz sugar
4 oz water
4 egg yolks
4 oz heavy cream
1.5 oz cornstarch
1 lb fresh strawberries, hulled and quartered

Simmer the rhubarb, sugar and water over low heat until sugar is dissolved and rhubarb is soft. Beat the egg yolks and the cream together in a separate bowl. Add cornstarch and stir until well blended. Remove rhubarb from heat. Stir in the cream mixture. Return to heat and bring to a simmer for about 1 minute or until thickened. Pour mixture into a bowl and stir in the strawberries. Let stand until slightly warm. Mix again to blend in strawberry juices. Fill baked pie shells. Chill until firm. Slice and serve. 

Tip: Roll the pie shell out, place into pan, flute the edges as normal. Then place another pie plate into the first one so the dough is between the two pans (you should probably grease the bottom of the 2nd pan). Bake the shell upside-down in the oven between the two pans. Flip right side up and remove top pan for the last few minutes of baking to brown the top.

Party Hats

Completely unrelated to food but I thought it was adorable. The Monkey wanted to make these party hats for her friends to wear to the Christmas party at church. I used this template for them. They were very fun to do.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Baby Blessing Luncheon

Well, this has taken me forever to post about. We had a really lovely baby blessing for the June. Since I was still recovering from having the baby, we decided to have a mostly no-cook luncheon afterwards. I made a bunch of deviled eggs and a big spinach salad with feta, apple, toasted pecans and poppyseed dresing. V went to town at the charcuterie counter at Surfas and got a bunch of fun cheeses, some speck, some lardo and some pate for me. We had some baguettes sliced, Irish butter, grapes, and cherries, and Harry's Berries strawberries to round it out. I was happy that I thought of serving water bottles. It was simple and easier to manage since we weren't eating at the table. And we finished with banana cream pie. Yum.

Barley Risotto

I made this barley risotto with butternut squash a while ago and we both loved it. You may recall my previous risotto drama. Well, this one goes in the oven and is way less work. The barley gives it a great nutty flavor. I was thrilled to have a risotto that actually worked for me.

Saute squash and onions. Add broth. Add barley and bake.

Add butter, spinach and Parmesan when it comes out of the oven.

Anchovy Dressing

This anchovy dressing turned out really well today. I've been excited about the idea of an eggless caesar-style dressing ever since we had the Tricolore with Parmigiano Reggiano and anchovy dressing at Mozza's last month. This dressing captures the concept and was simple to make.

Nut Muffins

I made these grain-free biscuits because I like something chewy with soup. They were pretty good. Mine didn't turn out much like biscuits though. More like nutty dense muffins - but they were good even if they didn't look anything like the picture in the recipe.

GAPS Week One Menu Plan

Rather than do a menu plan, I'm writing down what we actually end up eating. I think that will be more helpful to me in the long-run since I usually don't stick to my plan very well. And I'll add links in as I post the recipes.

B: carrot apple juice, fried eggs
L: chicken broth with carrot, celery and chicken (made fresh broth)
S: apples and celery with peanut butter
D: coriander tritip, green beans, greek salad

B: apple celery cabbage juice, boiled eggs
L: curry chicken lettuce wraps
S: crispy walnuts and cantaloupe
D: chicken broth with kale and chicken

B: carrot orange and carrot cucumber juices, boiled eggs
L: tritip, kobucha squash, bubbies kraut (made acorn squash here too)
S: asian pear and macadamia nuts
D: green pea ginger soup with nut muffins

B: carrot orange juice, applesauce with coconut cream and walnuts
L: chicken lettuce wraps with avocado (leftover)
S: apples and peanut butter, clementines, nut muffins (we were at Disneyland)
D: green pea ginger soup, coconut ice cream (leftover)

B: grapefruit juice (yuk!), apple cucumber and tangerine carrot juices, boiled eggs
L: tritip with kraut and acorn squash (leftovers - squash was not delicious)
S: asian pear
D: butternut squash saute with salmon and green beans

B: tangerine juice smoothies, boiled eggs
L: chicken salad lettuce wraps (new batch - doubled it)
S: carrots and peanut butter
D: chicken broth with kale, banana splits (made fresh broth)

B: tangerine juice smoothies with blueberries, boiled eggs
L: butternut squash soup
S: apples and peanut butter
D: mahimahi fishsticks (made triple to freeze) with mango avocado salsa, orange ginger basil soda

Notes: The general plan is to do fresh juices until 10 am and then have an egg. Lunch is meat with veggies and kraut. Snacks are fruit with nuts. Dinner is brothy soup.

GAPS Week One Journal

Well we made it. One week of GAPS. Or at least our best estimate of it. Day 1 and 2 were fine. Day 3 and 4 were really rough - mostly with the Monkey being extremely cranky and begging for all the food she couldn't have. It's gotten steadily better since then. I was worried she'd be living on boiled egg whites (she picks out the yolk) and apples with peanut butter but thankfully she has started eating the meals with us now. Ok, so I bribed her with cake. No, I'm rewarding her with gaps legal cake for eating meals with us for three days in a row. And it seems to be working. She loves cake. And she's on track to get some tonight after dinner.

My general feeling about it? It's a lot of work. A lot of dishes. A lot of planning ahead with the broth. But honestly if I were more organized and had a solid prep time every week to make broth and start ferments and chop stuff, it would be a ton easier. Not that that's going to happen any time soon. I will say, I think when I get into a groove with it, it will be easier than my previous meal planning and prep - mostly because we're eating super simple soups for dinner almost every night. That may get really old but I'm happy with it right now - especially since dinner takes me 5-10 minutes total with my premade broth. And there are barely any dishes to do. I love that.

Lunches take more time. Mostly in the chopping department. But I try to make double so I only have to cook lunch every other day. That cuts the dishes in half as well. It was my previous system for simplifying dinner but now that dinners are brothy soups, I'm using it on lunch meals instead. It works out nicely because we tend to have outings every other morning during the week.

So the food prep part is busy right now but simple in concept enough to be sustainable for me. The part that freaks me out still is the finality of it all - we cannot go out to eat. Being too lazy to make dinner now means we're not going to eat until I figure something out. I haven't used the too-lazy-to-cook card in a while but I liked that it was still an option. But no more. Period.

And the shopping part is really hectic. I've been to the store a ton this week. Like 5 times. Two were in one day. That part is definitely not sustainable for me. Mostly we've been going thru food a LOT faster than I thought we would. The juicing has a lot to do with that but just in general, we are eating a huge volume of produce. So I just need to get used to eyeing things in my cart better when I'm out shopping. And eventually, I'll know enough of what we need to order some bulk produce from Azure Standard. A lot of stuff we're eating could easily last 3-4 weeks if I knew how much of it we'd need (apples, oranges, carrots, celery, squash, onions, garlic, ginger).

But in general, I'm really happy with the results so far. I feel good. I have more energy. My sugar cravings are diminishing. And I've lost 9 lbs. V is down 11. The Monkey is actually eating fish and vegetables. No noticeable differences from the Boy yet but it is nice that he can now eat anything we're eating because it's all healthy food. And he has 3 new teeth to chew things up with.

I have noticed also that I'm a lot more bothered by chemical smells than I remember being previously. And the Boy had a huge reaction to avocado a few days ago - red bumpy face rash. The Monkey is currently experiencing a flu that I'm sure is die-off. Hopefully it doesn't last too long for her.

The great part is that we're not feeling deprived at all. I'm definitely satiated and I feel like there is a lot of room for creativity and recipe finding within the rules of the diet. So I'm feeling really optimistic that we'll be able to do this for the whole year.

BLTs Bruschetta-style

Way back at Thanksgiving, my sister HOF made us this BLT lunch with what we had on hand. Sauteed mushrooms, bacon, lettuce, tomato, and avocado with garlic-rubbed pan-toast. It was lovely. We ate them open-faced mostly because we were short on bread.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Peanut Butter Banana Toast

I prefer to have something chewy to go with my smoothies and this is a quick and dish-free option that always sounds delicious. We used to eat smoothies regularly for dinner in an effort to simplify my evening routines so this worked well.

Tritip Roast

My local Trader Joes carries this free range tritip roast. It's the only free range beef I've found there so I was excited about it. We've made it at least three times now. The first time, I followed this tri-tip recipe for the rub and made the carmelized onions to go with it. But we don't have a grill since we have no outdoor space in our apartment so I used this recipe to figure out how to cook it in the oven (sear it in the pan, then bake at 425' for 25 minutes).

We've been more creative with the spice rub the last few times and I haven't made the onions again. They were sooo good though. I should really put in the effort next time we do the roast. Last night's rub for the roast used coriander, cumin, garlic powder, salt, pepper, and some ground cardamom. It was great too.

Overnight Whole Wheat Bread

This may be my favorite recipe for bread. At least, I think it has great potential to become my standard because of the overnight/hands off method. This comes from Peter Reinhart's Artisan Breads Every Day, pg 83. I was lucky enough to find this book at the library.

6 1/4 cups ww flour (794g)
2 tsp salt (14g)
3 1/2 TB honey (71g)
1 egg
1/4 cup oil (56.5g)
1 1/4 cups lukewarm water (283g)
1 1/4 cups lukewarm milk (283g)
1 1/2 TB yeast (14g)

Whisk flour and salt together. In separate bowl, whisk egg and oil. Separately, combine water, milk, honey and yeast until dissolved. Add egg mixture and water mixture to the flour mixture.

Mix with paddle attachment for 1 minute on lowest speed. Let rest 5 minutes. Mix with dough hook 2 minutes on medium low. Add flour or water as necessary to get a supple and slightly sticky dough. Mix for additional 4 minutes, increasing to medium-high for last 20 seconds.

Knead by hand in bowl for a few seconds, adjusting flour and water as needed to get a slightly sticky dough. Form into a ball. Stretch and fold from front, back, and both sides, flip dough over and tuck into a ball. Cover and let rest for 10 minutes. Repeat stretch and fold two more times, completing within 30 minutes.

Place in large oiled bowl, cover with plastic wrap, immediately refrigerate overnight or for up to 4 days. May portion into 2 bowls if making loaves separately.

On day of, remove dough from fridge 3 hours before baking. Divide into 2 loaves, if you haven't already. Shape into loaves and place into greased pan. Mist with oil, cover loosely with plastic wrap and let sit at room temperature for 2-3 hours or until 1 1/2 times its original size.

Bake at 350' for 40-55 minutes, rotating direction in oven after 20 minutes. Bread is done when temperature is 185' in the center. Remove from pans and cool at least 1 hour before slicing.

Update: Now that we're on GAPS, I'm not really using this but I did want to preserve it for the future. And I never got a picture of it!


These pizzas were part of my last - I'm way too busy to cook - phase. The crust is the whole wheat pizza dough from Trader Joe's (in the refrigerator section). Costco carries the fresh mozzarella and the nitrate-free canadian bacon. It comes together really quickly and is still cheaper and healthier than eating out.

Tapenade Butter

This tapenade butter was pretty fun. I served it over mahimahi that I'd sauted in butter with some salt and pepper. I piled it on the fish after it was almost finished. It was a simple way to add some variety to the meal and the butter lasted for a long time in the fridge. I think I threw some of the leftover butter into some sauteed kale another night. It's pretty versatile - but then I've kind of been excited about anchovies so that may be why I liked it so much.


V made this mole a while ago. It's not 'the one' but it was our first foray into homemade mole and I wanted to catalog it so we'd have a starting point for picking thru recipes next time we're in the market for homemade mole.


2 lbs grass fed hamburger
1-2 onions
8 lg mushrooms
4 anchovies
5-6 cloves garlic
1 1/2 tsp salt
1/2  tsp cumin
1-2 tsp pepper (more)

Food process anchovies with garlic. Add mushrooms and onions and pulse a bit. Knead in hamburger and spices. Pat out and fry until cooked thru.

Note: In the batch pictured, I food processed everything together so it was pretty thin and pasty before fying. They tasted amazing but I would have preferred more chunkiness.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Happy New Year!

It has been a long time since I've posted. I don't have a lot of free time to be on the computer lately and we were out of town for the last two weeks (yay for family!) - but I am still trying out new recipes and taking pictures so I'll catch up again at some point!

Above is a burger with bacon, cheese, avocado, and onions wrapped in lettuce. It was really good and a bit of ketchup made me not even miss the bun. Which brings me to my real point -


I've been putting off reading the book for a while because I knew I would love it and it would require a lot of work to change our lifestyle to fit the GAPS diet. I got the book for myself for Christmas and read it over the break - and I do love it and feel like it's a really important thing for us to do right now. So we're taking the plunge.

There are a lot of other places you can read about the GAPS diet so I'm not really going to blog about all of that (start here, here, and here if you're interested). But I will be cataloging my recipes as I go and you will notice that most of them are grain free and sugar free (at least once I catch up on those other fun things I made last month). And along the way I'm going to need to learn how to use a juicer and cook bone marrow and other fun things.

We're starting Sunday - it will be an adventure!