We will have soup for breakfast, and soup for lunch. And for dinner we will have broth! - my 10-yr-old son

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Chicken "Lo Mein"

This is a variation on the Stir Fry....and tonight it went like this.

2 chicken breasts, cut into bite-sized pieces
4 chicken sausages, also bite-sized

Cooked them up in a skillet until browned.

several handfuls baby carrots, cut into matchsticks
1 head broccoli, crowns only

Cooked until softish.  I did add a bit of water here and there to make sure it didn't burn.  I wasn't going for tender-crisp, but soft-tender.  It would have been much better to add chicken broth, but I had none.

When everything was basically cooked I added:
salt to taste
2 medium zucchini turned into "noodles"

Cooked a few more minutes until zucchini was warmed through and soft.

The kids inhaled this and later told me it was "really, really, really, really, really, really good".  I think I might have missed a few reallys in there...but they liked it.

This would also work well with beef and/or shrimp or other sausages.  It would also be great with onions.  Sadly, my kids only eat onions in soup.

I'm thinking it's a Stage 4 when you start baking things and cooking them on the stove.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Beefy Squash Bake

What do you call something that you just threw together?  Goulash?  Bake?  Dinner?

Tonight I used the other half of the squashes that went into the Crockpot Chicken Curry.  I totally improvised and it actually worked.  GAPS is taking me so far out of my comfort zone!!!

In a 13x9 pan add the following, and stir to distribute.

1/2 butternut squash, small cubes
1/2 acorn squash, small cubes
1 onion, diced small
1 calabaza squash, small cubes

Take 1 pound of ground beef and break into small, small bits.  Top with lots of salt (a few teaspoons?) and gently mix together.  Cover with aluminum foil and bake at 400 degrees for 30 minutes.  Take off the foil and stir around, breaking up the ground beef as needed.  Bake for another 20 to 30 minutes, or until most of the liquid has been absorbed/cooked off and the squash is soft.

Everyone ate this without complaint, although there was a lot of picking out of the meat to begin with.  This is a Stage 3 recipe, "stews and casseroles".

Crockpot Chicken Curry

You know you found a good recipe when your 10-year-old comes up to you the next morning and says, "That was some good curry you made yesterday".

I followed a recipe from The Well Fed Homestead.

I used 3 different kinds of squash, all uncooked -
1/2 butternut squash, small cubes
1/2 acorn squash, small cubes
1/2 spaghetti squash, chunks about 2 inches long and 1/2 an inch wide

I threw all those in the crockpot and added:
1 LARGE onion, diced small
one can coconut milk (I should have used homemade but didn't)
1 to 2 cups chicken stock (I just ladled it in and didn't measure)
3 tsp. curry powder (I added another 1 tsp. later)
2 tsp. salt (and added more later)

Stirred it all together and let it cook for 7 or so hours, on low.  Instead of adding cooked shredded chicken to the crockpot, I cubed some chicken and fried it up on the stove (in coconut oil) and stirred it in the crockpot right before serving.  I liked the texture better that way.

It had a good flavor and texture.  I served it in bowls because it was a little soup like, closer to chili.  Two of the boys ate it with no problem (one had seconds).  The little boys picked the chicken out.  This fed our family of 6 dinner and then lunch the next day.

Because of the coconut milk this is Stage 6.  You could probably make this in Stage 5 (due to spices) if you added more broth instead of the coconut milk.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Raw Veggie Crackers

So, even though we're doing GAPS I find it hard to completely walk away from my raw food interests.  I do think the two dietary philosophies can work well together and this was one attempt to do so.  I'm not baking with nuts these days - we use them for snacks in their raw (soaked and dried) form.  The expense is just too high and the frustration level is too.  So, veggies seemed like a good compromise for crackers.  I used the recipe from Simple, Healthy, Tasty and while they were good, it needs some work.

2 1/4 c. carrot chunks (peel and chunk some big ones)
1/2 c. raisins
juice of 1 lemon
2 c. raw sunflower seeds (use soaked and dried seeds)
3/4 c. golden flax seeds
1/2 small onion
2 cloves garlic
2 tsp. salt

In a food processor, blend the carrots and raisins until finely chopped.  Add lemon juice, then sunflower and flax seeds, pulsing until incorporated.  Then add the other ingredients, pulsing as you go.

The original recipe states "The mixture does not want to be completely smooth."  I disagree somewhat.  My flax seeds never really got crushed and unless they are ground/smashed to bits they just pass right through you.  Good for "roughage" but not good for absorbing nutrients.  The next time I make these I will use my Blendtec to grind the flax and sunflower seeds.  Then proceed with the food processor steps.

Add a little water as needed if it's too thick.  Spread, about 1/4 inch thick, onto dehydrator teflex sheets.  (I just used my holey ones and they made pretty funny looking spiky crackers).  Dehydrate at 125 degrees for 6 hours, flip and dry another 6 or so hours.  Cut into squares (or break into chunks) and store in airtight container.  If you want it truly raw, dehydrate at a temperature no higher than 105 degrees.

Mess around with flavors.  Check the original recipe for some ideas.

We tried the Mexican one with:
2 tsp. chili powder
1 tsp. cumin
1 jalapeno

And the Pizza flavored one:
1 1/2 tbsp. oregano
2 tsp. fennel seed
2 tsp. ground fennel (didn't have)

Nobody had a clear favorite and so we'll keep trying.  I don't like biting into whole fennel seeds so I might skip that and try to find the ground fennel instead.

I'd save this for the Full Stage.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Ground Beef Soup

I've been fighting a cold and not feeling peppy.  Two of my boys and my husband are sick as well and they all requested soup.  Since I wasn't wanting to spend a lot of time 'prepping' I made a lazy soup...and we loved it.

1 onion, pureed
2 or 3 large carrots, peeled and pureed
2 or 3 cloves garlic, pureed
2 to 4 quarts broth (depending on how much soup you need to make)
1 to 2 pounds ground beef
a few handfuls broccoli heads (stalks removed, just the little flowery parts)
several large handfuls of spinach, sliced small
2 large leaves of kale, cut into tiny pieces
2 zucchini, made into "noodles" (use a julienne peeler or spiralizer)

Puree the onion, carrots and garlic.  Add to a large stock pot with the broth and bring to a boil.  Once it's boiling drop in small bits of ground beef, no fancy meatballs this time around.  Alternately, you could dump the whole chunk of meat in and use a masher or spoon to break it up as it cooks.  After adding the beef, reduce heat and cover with a lid.  Let simmer 15 to 20 minutes.  Add the broccoli and let cook about 10 minutes.  Add the zucchini noodles, kale and spinach.  Cook about 5 minutes or until zucchini noodles are soft.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.

I cooked this until the broccoli and other veggies were MUSH.  Several of us had sore throats and didn't want to swallow "rough" things.

Fast, easy, tasty, very nourishing.  This would also be great with sauerkraut or kimchi, avocados and olive oil drizzled on top.

This is a Stage 1 recipe.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Simple Chicken Noodle Soup

I know I've posted about chicken noodle soup before, but this is the latest version and we like it lots better.

1 large onion, diced (I try to get this super small)
several chicken thighs (or any type of chicken meat), cut into small bite-sized pieces

In a soup pot, saute the onions until soft, about 20 minutes.  Add the chicken and cook until browned.  Throw in:

2 to 3 stalks celery, sliced
3 or 4 handfuls baby carrots, sliced
chicken broth - 2 to 4 quarts, depending on how many people you need to feed

Bring to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer, covered, for 20 to 30 minutes or until carrots are soft.  Meanwhile, make zucchini noodles.  To do this, wash and dry some zucchini (I use 2 or 3 for our family of 6).  Using a vegetable peeler or julienne cutter (small, hand-held peeler that creates noodles!) slide the peeler down the zucchini.  I go until I hit the seeds.  I also cut large zucchini in half so the noodles aren't a foot long.

Once the carrots are soft, add the zucchini noodles and return to a boil.  Let boil for 2 to 5 minutes.  Add salt and pepper to taste.  I often add in a few cloves of crushed garlic at this point as well.

This is good with a little olive oil drizzled in.  We've added sauerkraut as well, but kimchi would be better (I'm out right now).

Without the celery this is a Stage 1 recipe.  If you add celery then it's Stage 3.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Curried Lentil Soup

I made this several days ago and froze 3 quart-sized bags of it.  I have since re-heated one and it didn't effect the taste or texture.  The soup was okay, but not nearly "curried" enough for me.  I LOVE curry.  It's rather an obsession of mine.  In fact, it was sort of bland.  I like the concept of the soup (nourishing, filling, inexpensive) but need to tweak it a bit.  One of the boys said it needed "bits of meat".  I agree.  When I re-heated it I added some cooked steak and it greatly improved the flavor.

The original recipe is found here.

3 large onions, chopped
4 carrots, peeled and chopped
2 tbsp. butter or ghee
2 tbsp. coconut oil or tallow
2 quarts stock (any flavor will work)
2 c. red or brown lentils*
1/2 tsp. dried green peppercorns (I will leave out next time...it didn't add)
2 tbsp. curry paste, red, green or yellow (which may or may not have GAPS legal ingredients -read the label carefully)
sea salt or fish sauce, to taste

In a large soup pot, cook the onions and carrots in butter/ghee and coconut oil/tallow until soft.  This takes about 30 minutes on medium low.  Once the veggies are soft, add the stock and lentils and bring to a boil.  Skim off the foam, reduce heat and add the curry paste.  Cover and simmer until the lentils are soft.  Mine took about 45 minutes.  Puree with an immersion (handheld) blender.  I left it about half chunky, half pureed.  Season with salt (or fish sauce) and pepper to taste.

*Soak the lentils at least 7 hours before cooking with 3 tbsp. whey or apple cider vinegar and filtered water.  Use a bit more water than covers the lentils.  Drain and rinse before cooking.  Green and brown lentils don't turn mushy or dissolve like red lentils tend to do.

We all added sauerkraut to it (which was great) and some tried it with kimchi.  Also great.

Some additions I tried when I re-heated and would definitely do next time around:
chopped avocado
garlic cloves (1 per bowl or else in the pot of soup)
cooked meat (beef, chicken or pork)
olive oil - drizzled on the top
fermented food - sauerkraut, kimchi, etc.
sautéed, chopped greens - spinach or kale

Lentils can be eaten when you reach the Full Stage of the diet.

Curried Cauliflower

This also came from Everyday Paleo (we ate it with the baked breaded chicken).  My boys didn't really care for it but I loved it.  In fact, I was sort of hoping they'd hate it so there'd be more for me!  Well, one of them said it "wasn't spicy enough" and I should add more chili powder next time.  What is happening to my children?

coconut oil, melted - maybe 1/4 cup, perhaps less
1 head cauliflower - cleaned and separated into florets
1 to 2 tsp. curry powder
a few shakes turmeric
a few shakes garlic powder
a shake or three chili powder
maybe 1/2 tsp. sea salt
a few grinds black pepper

Mix some coconut oil and the spices in a large bowl.  Add the cauliflower and stir around until coated.  Place on a baking sheet and cook at 350 degrees for between 30 to 45 minutes.

Because of the spices, this would be a Stage 5 recipe.

Baked Breaded Chicken

This recipe comes from Everyday Paleo.  I used chicken breasts and halved the "stuff" because I only used a pound of meat.  It ended up being a bit dry so if I make this again, I'll cook it for less time.  My boys said this was "good, good, good".

I served it with curried cauliflower and raw sugar snap peas.

chicken (breast, thighs, whatever) - enough to feed your family
1/2 to 1 cup almond meal*
1/2 to 1 cup coconut flour
garlic powder (to taste)
black pepper (to taste)
salt (to taste)
2 to 3 eggs
coconut oil or tallow

Cut the chicken into 'chicken strip' size pieces.  Scramble the eggs in a dish with sides.  Mix the coconut flour, almond meal, garlic powder, pepper and salt in a second dish with sides.  Dip the chicken in the eggs, then roll it in the flour mixture.  Place in a pan that has been greased with coconut oil or tallow.  Bake for 30 to 45 minutes at 350 degrees.  My chicken was dry at 30 minutes.  It might also help to drizzle oil/tallow on the chicken at some point in the baking.

*I ground 1/2 cup soaked and dried almonds in my food processor until fine.

This is a Full recipe because of the coconut flour.

Friday, August 5, 2011

My favorite ways to eat eggs

I've made this multiple times and love it still.  It's usually the same base recipe (eggs, carrots, onions and something fermented) and I add things here and there, depending on what I have in the fridge.  This recipe is enough for one person (my kids won't touch it) so adjust as needed.

matchstick carrots, one large handful
1/2 onion, sliced
2 eggs
1/2 avocado, chopped
olive oil
sea salt and pepper
sauerkraut OR kimchi OR cortido
green onions, sliced

Cook the carrots and onions in ghee with some sea salt until soft (you decide if you want them mushy or slightly crispy).  Remove to a plate.

Fry two eggs in ghee (or butter if you can tolerate it).  I like to cook mine until the whites are set and the yolks are runny.

Place the eggs on top of the cooked carrots and onions.  On the side arrange the avocado.  Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper.  Add 2 or 3 spoonfuls fermented food of choice.  Sprinkle with cilantro and green onions, if desired.

Because I'm a bit weird I try to make sure I get a bite of each thing on my fork, but I DON'T like to mix it all together and stir it around.

Due to the avocado and fermented foods, this is a Stage 3 recipe.

Shredded Beef Soup

I made some shredded beef soup the other day, following this recipe from Grain Free Foodies.  My older boys, the kimchi lovers, thought I was disgusting to put it in my soup....and then they tried it and went crazy.  One of them had 3 bowls of it!  The original recipe is for one bowl of soup, but I adapted to make a large pot.

Beef broth (enough for a pot of soup)
beef, cooked and shredded (the meat picked from soup bones works well)
2 or 3 cloves garlic, minced

Heat the above until warm.  Ladle into bowls.  At the table add any of the following:

kimchi OR sauerkraut (we tried both and loved it both ways)
green onions, sliced
cilantro, chopped
hot pepper sauce (like Tabasco)
olive oil

This is a Stage 3 recipe due to eating the fermented foods as well as avocado and cilantro.

Some housekeeping matters

You probably noticed...but I'm not doing daily updates anymore.  It was just too time consuming and I have lots of other things I need to be doing, including cooking for the GAPS diet.

We are still plugging along and I'm going to continue to update with recipes that we like and any interesting information that I find.