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.