Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Day 7 of week's challenge

Day 7 – Monday

0630 – Quickly bake ONE-BOWL BISCUITS for breakfast: 
2 eggs
1/3 cup ghee
3 cups almond flour
½ tsp salt
½ tsp baking soda
½ cup currants (optional)
2 tsp cinnamon (optional)

  1. Warm eggs by placing them in a bowl of very warm water to cover.  Preheat oven to 350 F.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Mix eggs and ghee in medium mixing bowl.
  3. Add 2 cups almond flour, salt and baking soda.  Mix well.
  4. Add remaining cup of almond flour and optional ingredients.  Mix well
  5. Form into biscuits with 2 spoons or by rolling in your hands.  Makes 16 to 18 biscuits.
  6. Bake for 20-25 minutes.

0900 Transfer pork ribs from freezer to fridge for tomorrow.    Remove beef shank meat and bone marrow from crockpot.  Cut meat into bite-sized pieces and marrow into tiny pieces.  Put the shank fat back into crockpot, the meat and marrow in a container to refrigerate.
1600 Turn oven to 350 F.  Stab Kabocha squash a couple of times, put in pyrex casserole dish in oven. 
1700  Remove squash from oven to cool.  Chop 2 onions and sauté in duck fat.  Add meat, ½ cup tomato sauce., dried cranberries, pinch of caraway seeds.  Stir well.
1730.  Cut a lid in the top of the Kabocha squash, remove seeds.  Put meat sauce inside squash.  Top with sliced cheese, put in oven. 
1745  Wash lettuce, spin and break into salad bowl.  Cut 1 tomato into bite-sized pieces, open an avocado and spoon out bite-sized pieces.  Add to salad bowl.  Pour in 2 Tbs pickled veggies juice and 2 Tbs olive oil, toss.
2000 Turn off crockpot to cool.
2200 Strain broth and put in mason jars.  Reserve bones for the next broth-making.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Days 5 and 6 of week's challenge

Not much to report. Saturdays are usually busy cooking days - making sauerkraut, pickles, kombucha, bread and biscuits - but I've just been coasting, living on food that was prepared before or "instant" food like avocados, coconuts, bananas.  Sundays are usually my coasting days unless I have time to make pancakes for breakfast, but I now wake up 2 hours later than I used to (to make up for the 2 or 3 times I get up to make the baby a bottle and feed and burp her), so this one was no exception.  Also I've caught a cold and the runny nose and stuffy head have sapped my energy.  I thought my immune system was operating on High!  Maybe not getting a good night's sleep since the baby came home has something to do with it.  Maybe it's simply that the baby is now my #1 priority and food has taken 2nd place.

Sunday evening, put beef shank into crockpot with a few marrow bones, water to cover, 1 Tbs salt, cook on Low overnight.  

Friday, January 20, 2012

Day 4 of week challenge

For one week, I'm writing down everything I do to prepare food.  Not the buying, not the eating, just the cooking.  It's been mostly about making dinner, since breakfast is usually each person on his/her own, and lunch is usually leftovers from previous dinner. 


0900  Put chicken in crockpot on Low, sprinkle generously with sea salt.  Cover.

1100 Add ground turmeric, paprika and a little hot cayenne to the chicken - gives it a nice color and great flavor.

1215 Pretty late to start cooking lunch, but was busy with baby.  Wipe mushrooms with a paper towel, slice, sauté in ghee.  Meanwhile, wash and chop broccoli. Cut "bark" off broccoli stems and chop too.
1235 Remove mushrooms from skillet, add the broccoli and more ghee.  Toss frquently.
1300 Put mushrooms back in with broccoli, add salt and a crushed garlic clove. Serve with leftover spaghetti squash and meat sauce for lunch.But first a generous helping of picled carrots, green beans, broccoli, onions and garlic,with a drizzle of EVOO. 
1430  Chicken is cooked, but not too cooked.  Put skin on baking sheet for "chicken chips."  Remove all the meat from the chicken in the crockpot,  Return all the bones and cartilage to the crockpot, add 2 qts water, turn on High. Store the meat for later use, put skins in fridge.
1510 Done with sorting chicken,
1700 Turn crockpot to Warm,  Take open box of Aroy-D coconut milk from fridge, notice half of it is lovely clump of mostly oil, guess you couild call it coconut cream, and the rest is liquid.  Pour the liquid into a glass bottle, label it Lite coconut milk with yesterday's date (when the box was opened).  Spoon the "cream" into Vitamix blender (about 3/4 cup), add remainder of frozen mangoes DH left in fridge to thaw several days ago, must use soon, about 1 cup. Add 2 tsp Martinique rum. Process on High.  Pour into pudding cups, cover, refrigerate (found great glass pudding cups WITH LIDS (plastic) at a dollar store).
1720 Decide to make salmon for dinner.  Preheat oven to 375 F.  Defrost 4 salmon fillets in microwave, one at a time, about 2 mins each.  Meanwhile, clean up and dig into fridge to look for a side veggie to cook.  Find fennel bulb. Put salmon fillets in small square Pyrex, smear with coconut oil, sprinkle with Old Bay seasoning.
1735 Place salmon in oven.  Slice the fennel bulb.  Place slices on baking sheet.  No oil,, no seasonings.
1740 Put fennel in oven.  Peel one carrot, then keep peeling to make slivers for the tossed salad.
1745 Put baking sheet with chicken skins in oven (was in fridge).
1750 Remove salmon from oven. Continuing with carrot, switch to slices.  Put carrot slices and slivers in salad bowl. add previously fermented (pickled) carrot slices and 1 Tbs of the juice.  Add freshly crushed garlic clove and 2 Tbs EVOO.  Top with lettuce and sprouts.
1805 Fennel has brown tips. Remove from oven.  Wash cilantro, about 1/2 bunch.  Dry in salad spinner.
1810 Process cilantro in small but fast food processor until chopped fine.  Add about 1/2 cup previously fermented whipping cream yogurt and salt to taste, process until it's a lovely green sauce for the salmon (should also have put in capers, whole, or even pureed into the sauce).  Transfer to puddung cup to serve with salmon.
1820 Puree fennel in same processor without washing.
1830 Serve!
Crockpot still has simmering chicken broth, which I'll leave all night.

Day 3 of week's challenge

Forgot to write that yesterday, I took out a package of ground beef (extra lean, yuck) to thaw.
1300 – Have to go out but need to take a headstart on dinner: pop a whole spaghetti squash in the crockpot, set on Medium.
1630 – Get home.  Spaghetti squash is just right!  Pure luck.  Chop finely one large onion and 5 garlic cloves.  Take beef fat reserved from a too-fatty beef marrow bone broth, melt in frying pan, add onions, sauté until tender, add garlic and sauté 1 minute.  Remove onion and garlic from pan, add 2 Tbs coconut oil (I’m out of beef fat) and brown the ground beef, breaking into bite-size pieces with a spatula.  Meanwhile, finely chop the beef marrow (reserved from above-mentioned broth, DH does not like in soup).  Add to the browned ground.  Add 1 cup tomato sauce (bought in glass bottles) and 1 tsp dried oregano.  Cover and simmer.  Meanwhile, drop 2 roma tomatoes in boiling water in small saucepan for 30 secs.  Peel, chop into big chunks, add to ground beef, simmer 5 more minutes until tomatoes are just tender.
1730.  Slice some of the bread made yesterday and toast twice in toaster-oven, until somewhat dry on the surface.  Let cool, then rub with a peeled garlic clove and spread with ghee – garlic bread!
1745  Open spaghetti squash by cutting a door in the side.  I serve it just like that, using a pasta spoon.  Because, I’m out of time!  Quickly put together a green salad with previously washed lettuce. 

Not a big cooking day, just got by on leftovers most of the day.  There just isn't that much time with the baby here (3 weeks old yesterday) and I'm glad I have lots of sauerkraut and pickled vegetables on hand, and have perfected making yogurt and kombucha before the baby was born!

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Day 2 of Week Challenge

I’m going to attempt to write down everything I do to prepare food for one week.  Not what I eat, which includes munching on previously made foods and drinks.  Just the cooking.


1030 Look for a better ghee recipe. This one looks good.  Lots of pics and explanations.
1045 Start making ghee by putting 1 lb butter (regular unsalted, can’t afford organic) in my small 1 qt crockpot, turn on High, leave uncovered.  The recipe says to use a heavy saucepan but to watch carefully.  With an infant to take care of, watching is unpredictable so I’m giving the crockpot a try. 
1145 Mix leftover chicken livers cooked with onions and sweet peppers with some of the broth made yesterday and some of the beans cooked yesterday, for lunch.  Press and mix in a garlic clove just before serving.
1100 – 1500 Check ghee every half hour without disturbing.  Looks just like the pictures on the blog.  Great!
1500 Cut up 2 turnips, 2 carrots and half a butternut squash into tiny dice for tonight’s soup. 
1530 Ghee looks great but no brown stuff at the bottom yet. 
1600  Yes!  Brown stuff at bottom of pot, crackely foam at the top, and golden liquid in between.  Remove crock from heating element and set in a pan of cold water to cool down.  Smells wonderful!  Like butterscotch.  Next instruction is to strain it in a permanent coffee filter.  I’ll wait for it to cool down completely first.  Turn off soup.
1700 It’s a bit late to do so, but start making Lois Lang’s Luscious Loaf bread – from Breaking the vicious cycle with my additional instructions.  I make this so often (but am so forgetful) that I’ve photocopied the page and taped it to the inside of a cabinet door.  The additional instructions are, 1. Line the loaf pan with parchment paper.  2.  Put 3 eggs in a bowl of warm water to bring to room temperature so the melted butter (I’ll use ghee) doesn’t harden.  3.  Preheat oven to 350 F, etc as directed, skip the instructions to butter and flour the pan, and change “shape the loaf with wet hands” to “drop the batter onto a wet flexible cutting board, curve the board into a cylinder and roll the dough around until it has the right length for your pan, roll into the pan.”  Remainder of instructions unchanged.  Except, no need to run a knife or spatula around the edge, I just lift the loaf right out of the pan, and the paper doesn’t stick to it at all. 
1730  While the bread bakes (for 1 hour), take chicken meat cooked yesterday out of fridge.  In a small saucepan, mix about ½ cup of the chicken broth and legal “mole sauce” previously made.  Pour over chicken meat, mix, and put in oven next to bread. 
1745 Make a salad, same as Tuesday’s, except with avocado chunks and tomatoes.
1755 Check soup for seasonings, turn heat back on to warm up just enough to serve.  Pour into bowls and add 1 raw egg yolk to each bowl, mix well.  Save egg whites for next batch of crepes.  Reheat leftover vegetables as side dishes.  Should have made guacamole, terrific side for chicken with mole sauce. 

2100 Hm. Ghee has hardened.  Place crock into pan of hot water.
2130  Strain ghee through permanent coffee filter placed in 2-cup pyrex measuring cup.  Pour most of the ghee into a glass jar, because the measuring cup is too full.  Scrape everything out of the crock into the coffee filter.  looks and smells GREAT!  Thanks, Radhika!

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Week's worth challenge

For one week, I’m going to attempt to write down everything I do to prepare food.


0800 – Open crockpot to concentrate the beef marrow bone broth that has been simmering for about 20 hours – 3rd use of the bones, kept them in freezer in between.
0900 – Google scd coconut crepe recipe using the egg whites left over after adding yolks to DH’s broth.
0930 – Put navy beans to cook in small crockpot (1 ½ cups, soaked 24 hours) with nothing but water to cover.
0930 – DD & I start making crepes.  Alter the recipe because of missing ingredients, plus I want to make 4 times the recipe, since I have 4 egg whites.  Make more changes after tasting the first crepe - too mealy.  What’s “1 Heaping TBS of coconut flour” times 4, anyway?  Blame the original recipe.  Add more water (¼ cup), more coconut milk (¼ cup) and 2 tsp rum, for taste (the alcohol evaporates in cooking, but the rum gives the crepes a yummy yeasty taste).
1000 – ladle beef broth into mason jar.  Leave about ½ inch broth in crockpot because wearing baby (DGD), can’t pick up the crock.  Put whole chicken in crockpot, cover with salt and sprinkle with rosemary.  Change heat to High.
1025 – eat a crepe prepared by DD wrapped around shredded swiss cheese and salad sprouts.  Yum!  The elasticity of the cheese blends well with the mealiness of the crepe.  Leave the rest of the batter for dinner, surely DH will be impressed?  They don’t have the chewiness of real crepes, but have a nice flavor and a beautiful golden color.
1030 – start writing this post.
1040 – Clean up.  Notice beans are still cold, plug in crockpot…
1050 – Non-Food Related Activity (NFRA)
1145 – Think of dinner menu:

  • Chicken-carrot broth (w/ egg yolks stirred in j.b.serving)
  • Crepe chicken wraps with greens in yogurted whipping cream – or should I use the crepes for dessert?  Crepes with mango and whipping cream yogurt?
  • Carrot sticks (DGS’s fave shape) cooked in chicken broth.
  • Tossed salad with skj vinaigrette (regular vinaigrette using half skj, half ACV)
Go pick up crying baby.  Decide to go with the chicken-filled crepes and a lighter dessert. The crepes will replace the squash replacing starch for once.

  • Coconut yogurt mango smoothie, nearly frozen in individual pudding cups. With a dollop of whipping cream yogurt with vanilla & eensy bit of honey.  No bananas in the smoothie since they made DH sick last week.  Sprinkling of nutmeg. 
1200 Sprinkle paprika and turmeric over chicken.  Peel and cut carrots.
1205 NFRA
1315 Resume cutting carrots.
1325 Open coconut.  Spoiled coconut!  grrr…
1330 NFRA
1500 Transfer chicken breasts, legs & thighs, and wings from crockpot to pyrex dish.  Pull out bones and return them to crockpot. Cover chicken meat.  Add carrots and 2 qts water to crockpot. Cover.
1508 NFRA
1630  Make coconut yogurt-mango smoothie.  (1 cup cy, 1 cup thawed frozen mango chunks, blend in Vitamix).  Pour into cups, freeze.  Clean blender jar.
1645.  Make crepes with remaining batter.  Batter is still too thick, add more water.  Meanwhile, wash greens, cut off stems.  Slice stems.  Cut leafy parts into large pieces, sauté in duck fat in a large skillet, cover.  Toss occasionally.  Turn off heat after completely wilted.
1720 Take carrot sticks out of crockpot with slotted spoon and place in serving dish.  Cover.  Add sliced stems to crockpot.
1730 Chop some of the chicken meat and add to the greens.  Check that mixture is not too hot, add whipping cream yogurt, stir, spoon onto crepes, roll crepes, stack them in serving plate.  Cover with an inverted bowl to keep warm.
1745 Squeeze half lemon into salad bowl.  Sprinkle with salt.  Crush in 1 clove garlic.  Add 2 tsp skj + 1 Tbs evoo.   Mix.  Add lettuce and sprouts. Toss.
1800 Serve! 
1930 Cleanup.  In the madness that characterizes dinnertime in a household with three DGC aged 19 mos, 15 mos, and 2 weeks, the soup didn’t get served.   A headstart on tomorrow!
2000 NFRA
2100  Strain the broth, pour into mason jars.  Put the strained stuff in a container. Transfer cooked beans to jars and refrigerate everything.

So here’s the final crepe recipe.  And Yes! DH was QUITE impressed, wants crepes to be regular item.

Coconut flour crepes

4 eggs
4 egg whites
½ cup coconut flour
1 cup water
¾ cup coconut milk
¼ tsp salt
2 tsp rum (for flavor – optional)
fat for the pan (coconut oil or ghee)
small frying pan (bottom is about 6” diameter)

In a bowl, combine all ingredients except the fat for the pan.  Mix until smooth. 
Let it sit while preheating frying pan to low/med low.  Add 1/2 tsp ghee or coconut oil, swirl the pan around to coat entire bottom.  Pour about 1/8 cup (2 TBS) of batter to the pan, swirl the pan to coat the bottom but not all the way to the edge (for easier turning).  When the edge of the crepe is golden, turn and cook the other side briefly. The exact time depends on the heat, but these cook pretty fast.

Use with sweet or savoury fillings.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

You are what eats what you eat

That's right.  "You are what you eat" is passé.  The Gut and Psychology Syndrome (GAPS) theory gives us new insights on personality, heredity, and development, and adds new shades of gray to the nature/nurture debate.

What you eat goes through your gut, gets digested, and becomes you.  So we all learned in grade school.  But now a much more complex process is being uncovered by researchers everywhere.  Our intestines are host to trillions of bacteria, yeasts, bacilli and other microorganisms, all of which have a DNA of their own (all together, about 150 times the number of genes in the human genome).  They exist in a kind of organized ecosystem, vying for nutrients and space just like flora and fauna do in the seas or in a tropical rainforest.  I like to think of it as a coral reef, beautiful, fruitful, and fragile, with new layers building on top of older layers.  The first layer, as Dr. Natasha Campbell McBride explains so well, is formed during the first 20 days after birth.

The French wikipedia articles on probiotics and the microbiota mention that there are 400 different species of bacteria living just on the average human hand (yes, in spite of all that handwashing and dishwashing), and over 10,000 in the human gut (this article says 40,000!).  Meanwhile, the MetaHIT  (Metagenomics of the Human Intestinal Tract) research team, in Europe. presented a paper on Enterotypes (April 2011), which says the human population can be divided into three groups according to gut biota (biota is a more correct term than flora, because it includes both flora and fauna and anything in between).  So there’s all this diversity (40,000) but much similarity from person to person.  To quote: “each individual harbors some 170 bacterial species out of a total of about 1000 that are predominant in the gut. Most of these species are common to many individuals, showing that we are all rather similar.” 
As the GAPS book explains, the influence of gut flora on mental function is huge.  The heartbreaking stories of autistic children whose symptoms all disappear when the child receives Clostridia-eradicating medication, only to return after a couple of weeks because this medication itself is too toxic to be taken any longer than that, are illustrations in point.  The parents get a glimpse of who their child "really" is.  Who is the real child?  The autistic child that the parents live with day in, day out, or the child within, the child they hope to know some day? 

Wish I had time to read more, and write more.  But this is becoming clear as research confirms Dr. NCM's theory: we are what eats what we eat.  Our personalities are influenced, in varying degrees, by the gut biota that feeds on what we swallow.

So, "Be all that you can be", “To thine own self be true”, and “Discover yourself”: free yourself and your family from the microorganisms that undermine your mental health and alter your personality.  Eat the nutrient-dense foods indicated in the GAPS nutrition protocol, and avoid foods containing toxic ingredients like sugar, starches (i.e., almost all processed foods) and industry-created chemicals.  Listen to Mother Nature, who made our guts and all the food they’re meant to digest.