Sunday, September 16, 2012

Under the Weather (and a recipe for Butternut Squash Soup)

We've been feeling a little under the weather here lately so I thought this would be a good time to share my favorite cold and flu remedies. I wish I could say we never get sick bc I am such a baby about being sick, I just hate it it always feels like such a waste of time. I have to remind myself that times of illness are really just a time to strengthen and build my immune system and submit to the rest my body needs and unfortunately gets deprived of in everyday life. Here's my arsenal of remedies to help us feel better when we have "the crud":

-Broth broth and more broth!!! (I add a spoonful of coconut oil and a clove of 
 pressed garlic to each cup as well)
-Probiotics, in both pill and food form.
-Fermented Cod Liver oil
-My "should kill it all" tea which consists of organic ginger tea, a slice of 
 fresh ginger, a few drops of thieves oil, a spoon full of coconut oil, a splash 
 of apple cider vinegar, a squeeze of lemon juice, a clove of crushed 
 garlic, and a touch of raw honey.
-Hot (as hot as you can stand) baths with Epsom salts, hydrogen peroxide, 
 crushed garlic and ginger essential oil (or fresh ginger pressed)
-Humidifier with essential oils (Raven, which is a blend by Young Living for a 
 dry cough or eucalyptus oil, and/or Thieves which you can also buy as a 
 blend from Young Living but its much cheaper to buy the individual oils from 
 another reputable company and make it yourself.)
-Chicken or turkey and veggie soup of course :) I like to add some coconut oil 
 and additional fresh pressed garlic to each bowl for added antiviral/antibiotic 
-Butternut squash soup (Recipe below)
-Homemade cough, congestion and sore throat syrup (honey, whiskey, dry 
 peppermint,  horehound, slippery elm, thyme, cinnamon and sage)
-Thieves Lozenges (bought from Young Living)
-Hot and cold showers
-Super tonic, which you can buy (Dr. Schultz brand) but also cheaper to make  
 yourself and super easy too.
-Yin Chao (Plum Flower brand) and Yin Chao Jr. (Health Concerns brand)
-Elderberry Tincture (also most affordable to make yourself)
-onion poultices, so soothing for coughs and helps to break up congestion
-garlic, as much you can stand both raw and cooked.
-SLEEP, as much as possible!! Which is always harder for mom than anyone 
 else but so crucial for our bodies to heal!
-Did I mention broth ? ;)

Just an note here regarding Young Living oils... In my opinion they are good oils and products for the most part. I do buy a couple of their blends (Raven and RC) and their Thieves lozenges regularly. My husband LOVES their toothpaste but my homemade works just as well (I think better but he disagrees) and theirs is VERY expensive. We do buy it for him just bc I love him ;). I also love their thieves mouth wash but as far as the oils go, they are expensive, even if you are a distributor, and in my experience of no better quality than several other reputable companies out there who's oils are much more affordable.

Butternut Squash Soup
-1 large Butternut squash cooked
-about 4-6 cups chicken or turkey broth (add as much as you like to achieve 
 the desired consistency for your soup, amount will vary of course depending 
 upon the size of the squash)
-5-6 large cloves garlic
-bit of honey to taste
-good slice of a sweet onion
- a couple good sized chucks of fresh ginger pressed through a garlic press or 
  a few drops of ginger essential oil
-good large table spoonful of coconut oil
-salt to taste (I prefer Himalayan but any good quality sea salt is fine too)

puree all with immersion blender and simmer (while stirring frequently) until flavors are nicely melded together

This soup is so simple (which is nice when your sick and don't have extra energy for cooking), has only a few ingredients, its super nourishing and so warm comforting when your not feeling well. It's a good way for me to get a good amount of garlic into my little ones who don't take the raw garlic as well as myself or my big kiddos.

Since having children (my eldest will be 13 soon) by Gods grace, there hasn't been any bug to hit us that these remedies and time have not been able to concur.  Bc there is evidence that even one round of your average antibiotics will irreparably destroy your gut flora for life, it is crucial to me that my kiddos (and my husband and I) avoid them at all costs. As a child and even as a young adult before having children I was on antibiotics regularly (My parents nor I, didn't know any better at the time) and I'm convinced that antibiotics are one of the main contributors to many of my health troubles today and also to the many many allergy and asthma troubles I struggled with as a child. I pray that by having been able to avoid antibiotic use my children will be blessed with better health throughout their lives.

What are your favorite natural tips and tricks for cold and flu season?

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

GAPS Gharam Crackers! (Gluten, dairy, grain and egg free)

After an exceptionally long hard summer this yr for all of us due to my husbands busy summer schedule we are all overflowing with excitement that we will soon get to take a family camping trip!!!! If feels like we've been waiting forever to have some family time together and can hardly count the days fast enough until we get to go :)

As I've been planning, making lists and thinking mostly about what food to bring I just could hardly imagine a camping trip without s'mores. I have a GAPS legal marshmallow recipe we've used for roasting and the chocolate is easy but had not yet played with any graham cracker recipes. I'm delighted to say that the following recipe is as close to perfect as I can imagine. I am so excited about it I can hardly wait to make a cheesecake with a real graham cracker crust!! That will have to wait until after camping though ;)

Here's what I did....

mix together:
 4 cups almond meal
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp bkng soda
1/2 cup coconut oil (I think butter would work if one were allergic to coconut oil but maybe decrease the 
     salt a bit if using butter)
1/3 ish cup honey (or to taste)
6 TBLS cinnimon

Press and/or roll dough onto a parchment paper covered, flat, baking sheet to about 1/8" thickness (if rolling you will want to cover dough with parchment paper on top before rolling or it will stick terribly to your rolling pin). Score into squares and prick with fork and bake at 350 until edges turn brown. Remove from oven and cut into squares, let cool, if any are still soft or chewy, dehydrate until all the moisture is gone and they are nice and crispy (if you don't own a dehydrator you could do this in your oven on its lowest setting). My poor baking sheets are pretty warped so my crackers weren't as evenly rolled as I would have liked and some of the thicker spots needed a bit of dehydrating. I'd imagine if you had nice flat bkng sheets and your dough was evenly spread the need for dehydrating would be eliminated.

They were super easy, the kiddos love them and we will have GAPS legal s'mores for our camping trip :)

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Zucchini Chips

We've begun harvesting zucchini from the garden and I planted lots this yr as summer squashes are one of my favorite veggies to preserve for use throughout the yr. I dehydrate them shredded and also in sliced rounds to throw into soups, stews, casseroles or baked goods. I also "noodle" a bunch with my spiral slicer and dehydrate them to use as noodles too. Personally I think zucchini noodles that have been dehydrated are much more "real noodle" like than fresh raw zucchini noodles. I rehydrate them in water but drain them while they are still just a bit chewy for use in recipes. Dehydrated shredded zucchini also makes a great ground beef stretcher in many recipes. However, one of my very favorite things to do with it though is make chips.

I'm sure most people have either had or at least heard of Zucchini chips but I wanted to share them with you here since we've been enjoying them so much lately using the South African Smoke Seasoning Blend from Trader Joes to flavor them. It makes the best zucchini chips (wonderful on Kale chips too). The flavor reminds me a little bit of BBQ flavored potato chips :)

-Extra Virgin, Cold Pressed, Organic Olive Oil
-Himalayan salt (or other quality sea salt) 
-Seasonings of choice, in this case South African Smoke Seasoning blend 
 from Trader Joes is my current favorite but you can use whatever you like. 
 I've  made a ranch style blend to use on them, I've used curry, taco  
 seasoning, garlic salt, onion powder with salt and parsley, nutritional yeast 
 with garlic and onion, other store bought seasoning blends (read ingredients 
 of course).... The possibilities are endless really.
Zucchini chips are made by thinly slicing zucchini (other summer squashes work well too as long as they do not have large hard seeds as some yellow varieties do). I use a mandolin so they are evenly sliced. 

Place the slices in a large bowl, drizzle with olive oil and add seasonings of your choice to taste and toss well so all the slices are evenly coated.

Once the Slices are nicely coated and you've tasted them raw to make sure you are happy with the amount of seasoning you've put on them, place them on dehydrator trays or on a parchment paper lined cookie sheet. Dehydrate until dry and crispy or use your oven on the lowest setting if you don't have a dehydrator. 

I'm pretty sure I've eaten the equivalent of at least three large zucchinis while typing this post, they are just so good :)

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Super moist and Yummy Chocolate Cake With Rich Chololate Frosting (Grain free with diary free options, GAPS legal)

My sweet Levi's third Birthday was last week and I made for him what I think is the most perfect chocolate cake ever and its even GAPS legal. I was (am) so impressed with this one I had to share it with you. I wish so much I could post a picture for you!! I will post one as soon as I am able!

1/2 cup butter (or coconut oil if you can't have butter) 
4 cups white beans (soaked and well cooked)
2 big splashes of vanilla
about 3/4 cup strongly brewed coffee
10 eggs
4 tsp baking soda
about 1 cup honey (or a combination of honey and stevia extract to taste which is what I did)
1 1/2 cup cocoa powder
about a tsp salt (I used Himalayan)

I put everything in the vita-mix and mixed until it was well blended scraping the sides as needed. You could use a mixing bowl and mixer if you ran the beans through a food processor first and you might want to melt the butter if you do it this way too or at least make sure its very soft. An immersion blender would work as well you just need to make sure the beans are completely pureed.

Pour batter into 2 well greased (coconut oil or butter) and floured (coconut flour) round cake pans (or square or 1 sheet cake pan or alternately you could make cupcakes too...) and bake at 350 until done (I know that's not very helpful, sorry) I just bake it until I can smell it them I check it to determine how much longer it needs after that.  Let cool and frost. 

My very favorite chocolate frosting is not GAPS legal and I have to admit that I do cheat on birthdays and use it anyway but I'll share a legal one too for those who are more disciplined than I or who need a dairy free frosting.

Best Ever Chocolate Frosting (with Dairy)
1 c Heavy Whipping cream (raw is of course best if you have access to it)
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1/2 cup honey
Good splash vanilla

Beat all together until thick and fluffy. Make sure cake is completely cooled before frosting!!

Chocolate Frosting (Dairy Free)
1 c cream taken from top of canned coconut milk (Native Forest Brand). Its 
   helpful to put the can in the fridge until chilled before opening and 
   removing the cream
1/2 c cocoa powder
Honey and stevia extract (vanilla flavored is best) to taste (I prefer more 
   stevia than honey or all stevia in this version of the frosting) 
Good splash of vanilla
Optional is a couple pinches of pumpkin pie spice 

* This serves as a lovely mousse also ;)

Beat until well mixed, thick and fluffy. Again its very important that the cake is completely cooled before frosting!!

Friday, July 6, 2012

Chocolate No Bake Cookies (grain free, dairy free, honey sweetened)

In a large sauce pan, mix and bring to a boil:

1.5 cups coconut milk,  homemade or Native Forest canned full fat coconut milk (Native Forest is BPA free)

1 cup butter, ghee, coconut oil or a combination of any of the three
3/4 c cocoa powder

honey and/or stevia to taste (I use both approximately 1 dropperful of stevia extract and 1/4 cup honey)

a couple good glugs of vanilla

Then add:

1.5 cups nut butter (we use cashew or almond)

6 cups shredded coconut (or a combination of chopped nuts, coconut and if you like some dried fruit is nice too.)

Mix well and spoon onto waxed paper and place in fridge or freezer until firm.

Menu for Week of July 9th - 13th

Here is my latest menu for those interested. We will be away from home a lot this coming week and eating packed lunches everyday so all meals are planned with that in mind. I have been preparing this week to have many of my foods ready ahead of time. I will try to post the recipe for the Chinese Chicken salad dressing this weekend if time allows.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

GAPS Legal Refried Beans

I was surprised to discover that one of the foods I missed the most when we started GAPS was re-fried beans. I solved that with the following recipe, they even look like re-fried beans plus they are loaded with broth so that makes them even better :) 

8 cups soaked white beans (as I've mentioned in other posts, when I soak beans I soak a 
             bunch and store them in pre-measured bags in the freezer soaked and ready to cook.)

1 large onion finely diced 

4 large cloves crushed garlic

Bone Broth (beef or chicken is fine) 4-8 cups

Tallow for sauteing the onion and garlic and for "frying" the beans (refined     
    coconut oil will work too but tallow gives a nicer flavor. You don't want to use raw coconut oil 
    bc your beans will have a hint of coconut flavor to them)

Salt (Himalayan or Celtic) to taste

Cheese to melt on top for serving if desired

In a large pot bring the beans to a boil, reduce and simmer until they are completely tender and mushy. Do NOT add any salt to the water while they are simmering!! This is very important bc if you do they will never get totally soft, they will always have a  bit of a crunch to them.

While the beans are simmering away (which takes a while) saute the onions and garlic in tallow or coconut oil in a large frying pan. Also in a small sauce pan reduce (by simmering) two cups of broth until until you have about a half a cup of a slightly thick, dark golden brown paste/liquid left in the pan. 

Once your beans are soft and mushy, drain any remaining liquid from them and add them to the frying pan with the garlic and onion adding more tallow or oil as needed to "fry" them. Now mash them with either a potato masher or an immersion blender adding broth as needed until you reach the desired consistency (taste them and you'll know). White beans are dryer than pintos so you might find you need more broth than you would expect to make them nice and creamy tasting. Add the reduced broth, salt and taco seasoning and serve with melted cheese (optional of course). Use them on taco salads, or make burritos with them using cheese salsa and coconut flour crepes / tortillas (these crepes are a staple in our home that I try to always have on hand both in the fridge and in the freezer as they are so handy to use for all sorts of things),  make quesadillas using the crepes and cheese and serve them with these beans, make a bean dip from them by adding cheese and salsa... 

I love that these are an easy, versatile, nutritious, filling AND affordable food to incorporate into my meals :)

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

So Good, Honey and Apricot Spiced Chicken

This is soooo tasty and wonderful! Even my husband who doesn't usually like fruit and meat together (I think he's crazy!) likes this one. 

The other thing I like about this is that it's easy to throw together even if I forget to get the chicken out of the freezer ahead of time ;)

3-4 lbs chicken thighs (or whatever part of the chicken you prefer)
2 cups dried apricots
1/4-1/2 cup capers (adjust according to your liking)
1/3-1/2 cup honey (this is very approximate, I'll explain below, also if you're not on GAPS 
   grade B maple syrup is WONDERFUL in place of the honey)
1 tsp good salt 
1/2 inch or so slice of fresh ginger (or a few drops ginger essential oil)
1/2 tsp. Cinnamon (or a couple drops Cassia essential oil)
1/2 tsp fennel powder (or a couple drops fennel essential oil)
1/2 tsp ground star anise
1/2 tsp ground cloves 
1 tsp (or more if your family likes spice) chilli paste

(PLEASE remember, these measurements are just a guess, if it sounds like too much or too little of something to you, use less or more and taste it after mixing to see how you like the flavor, remembering of course that it will taste quite different once cooked but the flavors should be pretty balanced with the apricot and ginger being the strongest)

Put all but the chicken, capers and honey into your food processor, now drizzle enough honey over these ingredients to glaze everything and add some moisture to help it move around the food processor easily, process until well mixed . Place the chicken in a glass baking dish and spoon the capers over the chicken.  Now spoon the apricot mixture over the chicken and capers, drizzle with a bit more honey and bake until done (about an hour or so if the meat is thawed,  much more if frozen ;) )

This is wonderful served with cauliflower rice (real rice or quinoa if not on GAPS) and some mixed sauteed veggies.

Honey Custard (dairy free)

This is a very simple, delicious rich yummy dessert or we even like it for breakfast with fresh fruit. 

This also makes a great baby food if you omit the honey and use extra egg yolks instead of whole eggs.

2 cups full fat or homemade coconut milk, the richer the milk the better.  (use  
   whole raw milk if not on GAPS or allergic to dairy)
4 large organic and pastured eggs
1/3 cup honey
1T gelatin
1 good splash vanilla

In a large sauce pan dissolve the gelatin in part of the coconut milk, add the rest of the ingredients and stir constantly as it cooks until it thickens. Pour into cups or small dishes and dust with nutmeg, chill until set. 

If not on GAPS this is amazing with a bit of maple syrup drizzled over the top ;) 

Friday, June 29, 2012

Mexican Lasagna (Grain Free) and DIY Taco Seasoning

This is a super easy yummy dinner. This will make one large casserole or two 9x13 casseroles)

Brown 5 lbs hamburger (or 5 lbs hamburger plus one pound pureed liver mixed in. Also you can sub some of the hamburger for grated dried summer squash if you like. I don't like to freeze my excess summer squash so I grate it and dry it in the dehydrator. It is great to have on hand for soups stews casseroles.... It is a good ground beef extender.)

with one large onion and 3-4 large garlic cloves

Season to taste with Taco seasoning (see below for recipe)

You'll need 8-10 grain free Tortillas (I use this recipe here. These are a staple in our home that I try to always have on hand in the freezer ready for use, we use them in all kinds of recipes)

2 quarts tomatoes I use home canned but diced fresh or store bought in a BPA free can will work the same. (Drain most of the liquid, if using fresh you will have excess liquid in your casserole but it won't effect the flavor and personally I don't mind it, sometimes I'll drain it off and add it to a soup later.

about two cups?? yoghourt cheese (or cream cheese)

1 can green chillies (or more, I'd use two if I were making this for my husband and I only, but two is too much for the kids)

grated cheddar cheese (about six cups??) (a bit of Parmesan mixed in is good too)

green onion and cilantro

Sour cream and/or guacamole for garnish 

spread a nice layer of yoghourt cheese on each "tortilla" and spread the green chillies on top of the yoghourt cheese. 

In your casserole dish (or dishes) layer the meat mixture, prepared tortillas, cheese and tomatoes. Top the last layer with cheddar cheese and garnish with green onions. bake until its bubbly, hot all the way through and the cheese is melted. Serve with sour cream, guacamole and fresh cilantro on top.

To make your own taco seasoning mix together:

4 T chilli powder 
1 t garlic powder
1 t onion powder
2 t paprika
2 T ground cumin
2 T coriander
1 T plus 1t good salt (I prefer Himalayan)
1T plus 1 t black pepper
1 t dried oregano *I prefer to omit this ingredient and add oregano essential oil to whatever it is I'm cooking bc the flavor is so much better but if you don't have oregano oil on hand to use then add the dried to your seasoning mix.  

Store in a jar to have on hand whenever you need it.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Simple All Pourpose Spray Cleaner

This is pretty much the cleaner I use for everything. It works great, smells great, is so simple and super cheap.

Before you can make your spray cleaner you'll need to put a gallon of cheap white vinegar in a glass jar and add citrus peels to it, I save my citrus peels in the freezer for this purpose.  I let this sit in my pantry for at least a week before using (though longer is nicer). Sometimes I strain it, sometimes I don't, I haven't found that it really matters. You can certainly make less than a gallon, I just prefer to make a gallon at a time so I always have it on hand.

Now to make the spray cleaner I add about an inch of this citrus infused vinegar to a large spray bottle (the kind you kind find in the garden dept. called plant sprayers)

Fill the bottle the rest of the way with water and add some essential oils. 

It really is that simple. Occasionally if I have a super greasy job to do (like the oven vent) I'll add some Sals Suds or liquid dish soap (just a few drops)  but I don't find that for everyday use its necessary.

Beef Breakfast Sausage

This recipe was adapted from a turkey sausage recipe I got from a friend years ago. Since I don't have access to affordable, quality, ground turkey,  I have adjusted and tweaked that original recipe to use with our hamburger meat instead.

For every pound of grass fed hamburger add:

1 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp rubbed sage
1/2 tsp thyme
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp sea salt
ground black pepper to taste
1 or 2 large cloves of garlic crushed

I usually cook a tiny bit in a small pan after mixing it to make sure I don't need to adjust the seasoning but otherwise that's all there is to it.

I prepare about ten pounds of this at a time. Some I fry up ground to freeze and have on hand for soups, casseroles and such then I make the rest into patties which I keep in the freezer to fry up when ever needed for breakfast.

Because I can't eat eggs, my staple breakfast is one of these patties simmered in broth with squash or whatever leftover veggies I have on hand.

White Bean and Chicken Stew

This is the perfect winter comfort food, but we like it so well we eat it throughout the year and unfortunately even though its June, here in Central Oregon it feels like "soup weather" today (personally though, I think any weather is soup weather).

To make this simply throw all the ingredients in the crock pot and let it cook all day.

From experience I can tell you it is crucial that you remember to both turn on AND plug in the crock pot in order to come home to cooked meal, oh yes and putting the lid on the crock pot is crucial too ;) 

3-4 cups white beans that have been soaked overnight in water with a splash of whey in it (whenever I soak beans I always soak as many as I can at once then I freeze the soaked beans in four cup packages so I always have soaked beans ready to use.)

3-4 lbs uncooked organic pastured chicken thighs (boneless is nice if you access to good boneless chkn thighs, however bc I prefer to use the meat we raise and I've no clue how to de-bone a chicken, I have made this with thighs with the bones in. It's really not a big deal for our family to pick the bones out once its cooked and I figure it adds to the nutritional quality of the meal to have them in anyway.)

5-6 cups homemade chicken broth

1 can green chillies (from BPA free cans) 

3 large cloves of garlic crushed

1 large onion diced

About 1/4 tsp cayenne (adjust according to how hot your family likes their food)

1 good tsp paprika

1 heaping tsp coriander

2 tsp cumin

2-3 drops oregano essential oil

1 tsp fresh ground black pepper

about 1 tsp sea salt

We garnish this with any combination of the following; finely chopped cabbage, fresh cilantro, diced onion or green onion,  diced avocado, sour cream, cheddar cheese and sometimes some fresh diced up tomatoes too :)

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Carrot or Zucchini and Raisin Muffins (grain and dairy free)

These are a favorite with our family, I make a a huge batch and keep them in the freezer for days when we have to pack a lunch or grab a really fast breakfast.

6 Large organic and pastured eggs
4 Tbls butter or coconut oil
1/2 cup honey (or 1/4c honey plus several drops stevia extract) 
1t sea salt
2 or 3 good splashes vanilla
1c homemade coconut flour (1/2 cup commercial)
Good pinch aluminum free baking soda
1 cup shredded carrots or zucchini (or you could a combination of both if you wanted too)
1/2 cup raisins
2Tbls pumpkin pie spice (or 1Tbls cinnamon, 1/2 Tbls cloves & 1/2 Tbls allspice)
1/2 cup chopped nuts (optional)

Mix all together and bake in lined muffin pan at 350 until done (when you can smell them and are firm to the touch but not hard)

Monday, May 28, 2012

Lemon Garlic Kombucha Salad Dressing and Marinade

This is my very favorite salad dressing and it makes a lovely marinade too. 

Salad dressings are a great way to use Kombucha that got a bit too sour for drinking.

To make it I put in my Vitamix...

1 large whole lemon with the ends trimmed off  and seeds removed (cut it in half and remove any visible seeds)

3 large cloves garlic

1/4 of a large shallot

1 good three finger pinch Celtic sea salt (or to taste)

Fresh ground pepper to taste

Honey to taste (about 2T) 

2 cups extra stout Kombucha (you can use ACV if you don't have Kombucha on hand but you may need to
           adjust seasonings)

1 cup extra virgin olive oil

whiz it all together and enjoy.

Mango and Avocado: Two of Gods Most Delicious Gifts

Without question, it is my opinion that avocados are one of the most delicious foods God ever created. I'm fairly certain I could eat them every day with every meal and never get tired of them.

The following recipe was made by a very creative friend of mine and it has become one of my all time favorite ways to enjoy avocados!Thank you so much Heidi for introducing me to this delicious mixture of goodness :)

I'm not certain my proportions are the same as what she uses but this is how I've been making it and my family LOVES it!!  We could eat it by the bucketfuls if not for the fact that it really is very filling.

Mango Basil Avocado Dip

2 large avocados diced (I dice them in the skin before scooping the fruit out  
     with a spoon)

2 ripe mangos

Generous 1/2 cup or more of finely chopped fresh basil 

4-5 large cloves of garlic, minced

1 medium sweet onion finely diced

4 med tomatoes peeled and diced (blanch briefly and the skins will peel off 
     easily. I don't bother peeling the tomatoes when they come from my
     garden or other reliable source but if have to buy them from the
     supermarket I don't want to eat or feed my family the "food grade
     polyurethane" and other who knows what that they coat store bought
     tomatoes with,which is why I take the time to peel them  )

1/4 of a large jalapeno crushed, more if you like things hot! (I used my garlic

Juice of 1 lime

Sea salt to taste

Fresh ground pepper to taste

Splash of apple cider vinegar

A couple three good tablespoons or so of olive oil

Mix all that deliciousness together in a bowl and enjoy!!

This is amazing on chips as dip or on veggie sticks, salad, chicken, fish, off a spoon from the bowl....


Sunday, May 27, 2012

Creamy Mexican Chicken Soup (Dairy Free)

I cleaned out the fridge the other day and found I had quite a bit of cauliflower I needed to use up, some chicken and 1/2 an onion. I was pleased with what I came up with using these ingredients so I thought I'd share it with you:

1/2 gallon chicken broth

1/2 can of diced green chillies (I get mine from Trader Joes bc I read once that as of fall 
   2011 all their veggies are in BPA free cans. I really should check this out to be certain its true 
   but bc I don't use canned chillies very often I went ahead and hoped for the best)

1 head cauliflower cut into large chunks and lightly boiled

1 med carrot (boiled with the cauliflower)

a few drops of oregano essential oil 

a heaping tsp or so of paprika

a large heaping tsp of cumin, 

about a tsp of coriander

3 cloves crushed garlic

1/2 a small onion minced 

2 or so cups of cooked chicken cut into bite size pieces

sea salt and ground pepper to taste

Bring the broth to a boil, add all but the chicken and let simmer a bit. Blend until smooth with an immersion blender, add chicken and continue to simmer until flavors are all nicely melded together. If you prefer to have the soup completely smooth you can blend the chicken in too.

Serve with some fresh chopped cilantro, diced avocado, a touch of fresh lime juice, also sour cream and grated cheddar cheese if you can have them.

Tooth Paste

Here is how I make our family's toothpaste:

I fill a pint jar about 2/3 full of coconut oil

add a couple squirts of Dr. Bronners Peppermint Castile Soap

about 20 - 30 drops of thieves essential oil (you can use others or none if you 

add a couple good spoonfuls of aluminum free baking soda (leaving enough 
  room to stir it all together)

about 1/4 tsp sea salt (more if the taste doesn't bother you)

mix it all together, put a lid on it, and there you go :)

Friday, May 25, 2012

Homemade Deodorant (It works and won't hurt you)

As most people know, antiperspirants contain aluminum which of course is horrible for your health, as well as a host of other nasty harmful chemicals. 

After trying several natural versions that either didn't work, caused my pits to break out or left me feeling sticky. I came across two brands I almost really liked. Pit Putty by Bubble and Bee and Clean and Fresh by Personal Care. 

The Pit Putty worked well but was way too messy and so hard it was almost uncomfortable to put on. The Clean and Fresh didn't work quite as well as the Pit Putty but had a nice texture. Also for whatever reason, while it smelled nice in the tube I didn't like the smell of it on me. So, I decided to take ingredients from both and come up with what I think is the perfect deodorant. It works better than anything I've used ever and I can customize the smell to suit my mood or hormones. 

Here's what I do....

In a small sauce pan melt

2 T beeswax 

Turn off the heat (but keep it on the burner) and add...

1 heaping T coconut oil

1T  aluminum free baking soda

1/2 T zinc oxide powder

1/4-1/2 tsp vitamin E oil (castor oil works too I discovered one day after  
         realizing I was out of vitamin E oil) 

20 drops Tea Tree essential oil

10 Drops Lavender Essential oil

10-20 drops whatever other oil you like to achieve the smell you like, (I 
          currently like Patchouli and a bit of rose for me & for my husband I 
          add myrtle or fir)

Now remove it from the burner and let the mixture cool as much as possible making sure it is just warm enough to pour/spoon into my recycled deodorant bottle but, before you transfer it  add...

3 capsules (broken open) of a good probiotc, I use  Bio-kult or NTV adult complete Biotic . (Thank you Pinterest for this idea ;) )

Now I pour/spoon the mixture into a recycled deodorant tube and let it cool.

You may have to adjust this recipe to fit your particular container but this should give you a good starting point. I'd love to hear from you if you if try it.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Laundry Detergent

I've been making our own laundry soap for years now but its taken me a while to tweak the recipe to get it just the way we like it without the use of Borax. Here's the combination I am finally very happy with...

1 bar of Dr. Bronners Castile soap grated
1 cup washing soda
1 cup baking soda
1/2 cup salt

I use about a tablespoon of this soap per load of wash in my HE front load washer.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Our Favorite Pancakes (grain free with dairy free options)

I've not been posting bc my camera is broken and blog posts to me are just so much more interesting when there are pictures included. 

It may be a while before I can replace my camera though, so I'll share with you now and add the pictures later.
We had our favorite pancakes for breakfast today and while they are not the lovely fluffy flour pancakes you're used to, they are the best GAPS legal alternative we've tried.

Using my Vita Mix, bc it makes the whole process so much easier, I throw in...

2 med bananas (we like banana flavor, if you don't, use 1 instead instead of   
                 two, you won't notice the flavor but the banana helps the texture)

2 cups coconut milk, raw dairy milk or cultured buttermilk  (unfortunately kefir 
                             does not work well) 

8 Organic pastured eggs

2 good pinches of baking soda

A nice big splash of vanilla

A couple good pinches of cinnamon 

About 1/2 a tsp or so of a good sea salt 

3/4+ cup coconut flour

Spoonful of a good beef gelatin (this is optional, you won't notice a difference in the pancakes if you add it or not, but I like to add gelatin to anything I can)

Some delicious additions we often add are organic blueberries or sliced bananas. Obviously we stir these in by hand after we have blended the rest of the ingredients.

Fry them as you would any pancake in butter, coconut oil or Ghee and enjoy with honey butter, some nice pure grade B maple syrup (sadly maple syrup is not GAPS legal)  or some fresh fruit and yogurt.  

I recommend you make these the size of a silver dollar or just slightly larger bc they can be a bit tricky to flip if they are too big.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Lemon Kefir Smoothie (Popsicles and Ice Cream too)

I love smoothies, my kids love smoothies, and even more they love popsicles made from the leftovers! They are fast, filling and super easy plus I can pack loads of nutrition, protein and good fats into them. Because of this they are often my "oops I forgot to plan something" meal if dad's working late or they serve as the perfect breakfast for hurried mornings.  Lemon Kefir happens to be one of our favorite smoothies so I thought I'd share the "recipe" with you. 


-Raw whole milk kefir,  enough to fill my vita-mix about 2/3's full (can you
                           see all that beautiful cream on top of mine :)  )
-One whole Meyer lemon with ends sliced off, cut in half and any visible  
                           seeds picked out
-Good splash or two of vanilla
-5  raw egg yolks ( I leave these out if making it for myself as I'm allergic but
                                   they add loads of nutrition and nice rich creaminess if not
                            allergic. Also omit them if you don't have access to good 
                            eggs from a source you trust. I would never use store 
                            bought eggs raw.)
-Good tablespoon of a clean beef gelatin free of MSG (I get mine in bulk 
                             from Azure Standard but Bernard Jensen is a good brand
-Raw honey to taste (a pure stevia extract can be used instead if you have 
                            blood sugar issues)
-Nice big spoonful of raw coconut oil (optional but a good way to get more 
                             coconut oil in you)
-Extra kefir grains if you have them (smoothies are a great place to use up
                            extra kefir grains if you have them to add a nice extra
                            dose of fantastic probiotics and no one will ever know)

* See below for tips on making this into ice cream 


Place all in blender and blend until nice and smooth. If there is any left over it makes great popsicles! 

* This also makes a beautiful ice cream! However, I have always omitted the oil when I make it into ice cream, I'm not sure if the texture would be as nice with it in. Also when making ice cream a very nice addition to this is a few good scoops of homemade sour cream.  If I get carried away with the vanilla, as I sometimes do, it doesn't set up well (due to the alcohol in the vanilla) so I prefer to use the seeds from a few vanilla beans in order to get a nice rich vanilla flavor without compromising the set up of the ice cream.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Broth, a GAPS Essential and a Beautiful Super Food!

I have so much I want to share on this blog that I've had a hard time deciding where to begin. Because GAPS has become such an important part of our life, I want to share as much about how GAPS fits into our life as I can. Often I'm asked questions about how we find time for GAPS, how  I get my kids to eat these foods, how  we afford it... I hope to eventually get around to writing posts on each of these topics, but I decided  the best way to start would be to share with you a few of the basics, the habits I've had to develop to make this all work. Two of the most important elements of GAPS are Bone Broth and probiotics, both in supplement form and in the food we eat. We try to eat as many fermented foods and beverages I can stuff into us. Ferments are not hard, they just require some new habits. I found when we started, that once I jumped in and did each new task, none of them were hard. It just took doing it to find that out. I started with one new thing and added that to our routine, then I added another and another....

Bone broth was easy for me as it was something I already made often. I have always LOVED soups and we eat a lot of them. A good broth is essential to making a good soup and to so many other recipes. Broth has so many health benefits I wish that everyone would drink it daily and I am convinced that it is the most important food a pregnant mom can consume.  I'm assuming most people know how to make broth but I have encountered a few who don't, so because it is such an important food that everyone can benefit from I'll give a quick rundown here of how to make a great broth. 

As with any recipe, your results are only as good as the quality of your ingredients and the same is true here. Bones from grass fed cows or a carcass from an organic and preferably pastured chicken or turkey  are your main ingredients. Because poultry, even pastured poultry, are fed grains, buying organic is crucial with poultry. Most poultry feed is made from genetically modified corn and soybeans that are terribly detrimental to your health. You are better off avoiding poultry if it has been fed these genetically modified grains.  We are so pleased to have been able to find a beautiful, organic, whole grain, soy and corn free feed for our chickens. Beyond this you will need vegetable scraps, good quality salt (I prefer Himalayan but Celtic or Real Salt are good too), pepper and a good splash of Apple Cider Vinegar.

I save veggie scraps in a 1/2 gallon tub in my fridge that I collect from making meals throughout the week, this way I don't have to "waste" usable vegetables in my broth. Onion skins, carrot and celery ends, broccoli and cauliflower stems, garlic peels and ends are the ones I most commonly save. I often add additional garlic to my broth as well.  If I know I'll be making beef broth I save left over tomatoes.

For chicken or turkey broth, simply place the carcass and veggies in a stock pot, add your salt and pepper, add a good splash of apple cider vinegar and just enough water to barely cover it all. Bring to a slight boil, reduce to a slow simmer and simmer overnight. Strain the broth through a colander and that's it.

If you have access to them, chicken feet make beautiful gelatinous broth. We save the feet from the chickens that we raise and butcher in the freezer so I usually throw one or two in with the carcass. Chicken feet do need to be peeled and have the toenails removed before adding them to your broth, but once you get over the oddness of peeling a chicken foot it's quite simple and you'll be over any squeamishness in no time, especially once you see what they do for your broth ;) . Ours are generally frozen (I rarely remember to remove things from the freezer before I need them) so to prepare the frozen feet,  I blanch them by tossing them into a pan of boiling water for about ten or so seconds, just long enough to see the toes start to stretch out. Then I drop them into a bowl of ice water for a bit. To peel them, use a paring knife to lift the yellow from the rest of the foot, it should then just pull off rather easily with your fingers. Chop the toenails off at the knuckle above the nail, rinse it off well and you're all set. The purpose for doing this is to expose the good stuff under the yellow, the good gelatinous tendons and bones, as well as to get rid of any dirt that is under the skin around the toes.

For beef broth, the only difference is that the broth is so much better tasting if you roast the bones in the oven before adding them to your broth. In addition I prefer beef broth when tomatoes have been added along with the other vegetables to simmer. If you buy beef soup bones from the butcher they will likely have a lot of meat left on them. I pick this off after I have strained my broth and use it to make shredded beef tacos or  I add it to my soup if I am making vegetable beef soup. If you can get them, the good joint and marrow bones are the best for broth making. Once you have roasted your bones you can scoop the marrow from them to use right away, (I like it melted over veggies or on a GAPS legal toast) or once your broth has simmered, scoop it out with a spoon and add it back into your broth (if it hasn't already simmered itself out). It is so good for you.

Some people make broth perpetually in a crock pot which is an easy, great way to make it as well. I prefer my stock pot though since our family is larger and because I always cook in bulk, I generally have more bones than my crock pot can hold. We use gallons of broth a week. I've learned to love drinking it from a mug as you would tea or coffee, it's just the most nourishing comfort food.

To help convince you to add broth to your daily diet, here is a great article about "Why Broth is Beautiful"!