Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Ham Wrapped Asparagus

I loved those little baby dill pickles wrapped with cream cheese in corned beef appetizers, but dairy is off the table, and it's really surprising how many "trusted" brands of pickles actually add dyes to their pickles! I'm running low on homemade pickles, so this is a fun party-snack alternative I made this morning:

Ham Wrapped Asparagus

Nitrate-free honey deli ham (I used Hormel brand)
Ripe avocado
Farmhouse Culture's Garlic Dill Pickle Sauerkraut
Asparagus (I used purple asparagus), cut into 2" lengths

Slice the deli ham lengthways.  Spread on a little avocado and sprinkle with a wee bit of sauerkraut.  Place the asparagus on top and wrap them up.  Use a toothpick if necessary to hold them closed.

It doesn't matter which color/variety of asparagus you use as long as they are fairly thick stalks.  I used purple asparagus; it has a nuttier flavor. 
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Monday, April 4, 2016

Pink Deviled Eggs and Beet Red, Cabbage, & Kale Coleslaw

Deviled eggs don't have to be the same old thing time and time again.  Have a little food fun!  I saw a photo online of deviled eggs that had been dyed pink with beet juice, and the filling made green with avocado.  Yep, had to try that one!

For the first attempt, I only had pre-cooked pink beets on hand, so I chopped them into small pieces and covered the (hard cooked, peeled) egg with beet pieces.  After a couple hours, I had very pretty pink-speckled eggs!  The downside to using beet juice for dye is that it starts turning brownish after awhile, so these are not something you can make up ahead of time and expect them to stay looking pretty.  Make them and then serve them right away.

After the beets, I tried sliced raw red cabbage and also some blueberries.  I thought the blueberries made the eggs look a bit weird but the red cabbage had a nice blue effect:

So, onto Pink Deviled Eggs!  In case you were wondering, the flavor of beets does not stay in the egg; you can dye the eggs without worry they'll taste like beets.

First, hard cook the eggs any way you like - I like to bake mine.  Let them cool, then peel. In order to attempt to prevent the eventual browning the beet dye does (and hoping for a cool mixed color look, which didn't work) I placed the cooled, peeled eggs into a gallon size bag with both pre-cooked, chopped pink beets and thinly sliced raw red cabbage and let it all marinate for 24 hours in the fridge, moving the eggs around in the veggies every few hours to thoroughly coat.

The result?  Very nicely dark-ish pink eggs!

The bright yellow of the yolks makes a striking contrast and is quite pretty the way it is, but I wanted a green colored mixture.  Instead of using mayo & mustard for the filling, I used 2 avocadoes, lemon juice, white wine vinegar, garlic granules, sea salt, and a very tiny bit of pepper, all mashed together until the mixture was fairly smooth.  (I meant to put a little mustard in there, but I forgot.  It was good anyway!) Scooped it back into the egg whites (pinks?), sprinkled on some fresh chives, and here they are - deviled eggs (nightshade free, at that!) - perfect for a fun spring or summer dish!

As a side note, mixing the red cabbage in with the beets did have an effect on the color: instead of turning brownish, the eggs whites turned a more pinky-lavender color after a few hours.  Definitely better than brown!

So, since I'm not the type of person to waste food - what do you do with the leftover beets & red cabbage?  Add some kale and coleslaw vinaigrette (page 5 of Cavemom's Cooking), and you've got another tasty salad to add to the table!

Happy Spring!

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Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Hen of the Woods (Maitake) Jerky

It's been a bit dry down here for this year's late summer/early fall mushroom harvest, but I have already harvested several Hen of the Woods mushrooms (maitake).  I love them in stir-frys, hot dishes, thinly sliced and boiled up as noodles, and my new favorite: Hen Jerky.

You can get fancy and try to slice them as uniformly thin as you can or you can just tear the lobes from each other.  The bottom center can be quite tough, so remember to cut out the tough parts.

I've made 3 batches so far this fall - while they won't hurt you if you don't boil the mushrooms before dehydrating them, they do smell quite awful (in my opinion anyway!) if you dehydrate them raw. Also, I don't have a fancy dehydrator - mine only has an on/off switch so I just keep an eye on the mushroom pieces to see how done they are. Makes a great snack!

Hen Jerky
1 large Hen of the Woods mushroom, torn or sliced
1 gallon size ziplock bag
spicy brown mustard, about 2 Tbsp
pomegranate red wine vinegar, about 1/4 c.
raw honey, about 2 Tbsp
maple syrup, about 1 -2 Tbsp
sweet basil (dried), about 1 Tbsp
ginger, freshly grated, about 1 -2 tsp
sea salt, about 1 tsp
pepper - as much as you want!
The amounts you use will largely depend on the size of your hen.  Boil the cleaned hen pieces in water for about 10 minutes. Drain and add to the ziplock bag.  Stir up your marinade with a whisk until the raw honey is fully incorporated; pour into the ziplock bag over the hen.  Seal bag leaving some air space and shake, roll, squish to coat.  Once the hen is fully coated, squeeze out the air from the bag, reseal, and let marinate in the fridge for at least 24 hours.  Place in single layers in your dehydrator, dry until as chewy or brittle as you like.

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Saturday, June 20, 2015

Banana Pancakes - Sneak in some veggies!

These banana pancakes are ridiculously easy to make with just a few ingredients.  You won't really even need to measure anything!  The only things you really need are bananas, eggs, a pinch of salt, a little coconut oil for fat, and enough almond or coconut flour (or whatever your preference) to make a thick batter.  I use one egg and about 1/8 tsp salt per banana, so 2 bananas = 2 eggs and 1/4 tsp salt, etc.  For coconut oil I use about 1 Tbsp per banana, but really, I just pour some in.

Then it's time to get creative in adding veggies!  For today's batch, I used kale and collard greens, but I've also used spinach and other leafy greens - just whatever is on hand.  Chopped the "green stuff" fine, and the amount is largely up to you. 

To sum up today's breakfast:

3 ripe bananas, mashed
3 eggs
3/4 tsp salt
3 Tbsp coconut oil, just melted
almond flour - enough to make a thick batter
finely chopped green stuff

a nice thick batter

Then I melt a little coconut oil on the griddle and cook low and slow.  Typically banana pancakes are crumbly and hard to flip on the griddle - but  you can get around that by covering the griddle with a pan lid - a 12" skillet lid fits nicely over a standard-size griddle. Cooking the pancakes under a lid - still low and slow - makes them flip almost as easy as traditional pancakes!  You will still want them to be smaller - about 4" around or so.

And it really is that easy - with ripe bananas, you won't need to add any form of sweetener, and they are tasty enough by themselves I don't top them with anything. :)

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Friday, April 3, 2015

A note on misinformation about Paleo

After an article in a magazine, a recent incident, and then a little while ago (and certainly not for the first time), enjoying a stroll through my Facebook newsfeed - it just never ceases to amaze me how much mis-information there is out there about the paleo way of eating. 

Here are just a few of the common misconceptions: That we are all high-protein eaters.  That we eat meat with every meal.  That because we've embraced paleo means we all do crossfit.  That we try to live "like cavemen".   That it's a fad diet, a new trend.  That there's only ONE way to eat paleo.  I've seen people completely misinformed about what the AIP protocol is, or how it works.  Then there are studies, flawed with cherry-picked results.  And my personal favorite: that because just because today's name for it is the word "paleo", it means we only eat what was available to paleolithic cavemen - which is impossible, given today's worldwide locations of the human race and the availability of food varieties - and that since it's impossible, that we are all idiotic frauds.

But you know what else I've seen? I've personally seen how many people eating "paleo" has helped.  Some do AIP, some do primal, some consume nightshades (our personal nemesis), some consume dairy.  There is no "one" version of ANY diet style that fits absolutely everyone. 

It's about real, nutrient-dense, whole fresh foods.  It's about finding what foods do and do not work for you, so your gut, your body, can heal. 

In our personal journey, we've learned what foods both I & my son cannot tolerate, and keep with a modified version of AIP - staying away from nightshades is a must - not just for my son, but for me.  We don't stay away from foods "just because it's the paleo way" as some have assumed, it's because those specific foods cause us issues, some more severe than others.  Sure, there are "paleofied" (is that even a word??) modern foods that we eat - let me be clear - which I also make note of in my cookbook - these are meant to be transition foods for those finding it difficult to commit to a whole fresh foods diet, and the more one commits, the less one consumes these transition foods.

I've been attacked, questioned, judged against many times since we began this journey almost five years ago, by those who have no idea what we've been through, what health issues we've overcome. Some assume I don't know what I'm talking about because I don't go into great detail (here, on this blog) about how it all works, like some of the many awesome paleo blogs out there.  Does that mean it doesn't work because I didn't personally write about it?  No.  (But you'd be surprised how many THINK that!) I know that it works for us and I encourage others to find their path to better health, be it Feingold, GAPS, Weston-Price, the mucusless diet, or any other diet-style that, at it's core, centers on whole fresh foods instead of processed, and is meant to help heal the body.

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Monday, March 30, 2015

Spring is here!

Robins are back, and the ice on the lake is out. The rhubarb is up, strawberries, chives, and some herbs are leafing out.  Finally!  Can't wait to start on the garden again and hang laundry out on the line . . . If the weather cooperates, it's only a few more weeks to morel season.  I have a spot that has been a good producer - it's just getting there at the right time. 

This winter has been a busy one - between the holidays, birthdays, and now really ramping up therapy for the little guy is taking over!  I haven't been working on too many new recipes, but my latest ones include dumplings, soft shell tortillas, and nightshade (and carrot!) -free tacos!  I'm really ridiculously excited about the tacos, since having to be nightshade free means no tomatoes.  The only other recipes out there I could find involved carrots, which my little guy can't have either. I suspect it's because of the falcarinol in them (aka carrotatoxin).

One of my favorite things to do is scour the grocery store for new and unusual items - or at least items I haven't seen or used before.  I recently tried some red palm oil.  By itself, I can say I'm not a fan . . . but I like to mix a wee bit of it into unrefined coconut oil with a little bit of salt to make what I like to call "paleo butter".  It's not exactly like butter, but does make a delicious substitute when using it as a spread.  Back onto the subject of carrots - red palm oil does have a carrot-y flavor, so I tried adding it to mashed parsnips - and that tasted just like cooked carrots!  Which led me to creating my own version of the no-mato taco recipes to get the flavor I wanted (no-mato uses carrots & beets as a base).  I always liked the Ortega brand mild taco sauce, and it came pretty close!  Using my heritage beets, I didn't get any color since they are white inside, and the beets at the grocery stores in winter are the red ones.  I'm looking forward to making the recipe with golden beets (and a wee bit of the red beets) to get the color *just right* for photos.

That's all for now - keep your food whole and keep it fresh! :)

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Sunday, December 28, 2014

A guest post :)

I did part of a guest blog post over on Down Syndrome: A Day to Day Guide. The first half of the article is regarding seizures, our part is about half way thru! This is the reason we journeyed into paleo. :)Seizures in the Down Syndrome Population: Information and Natural Treatment

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