Archive for August, 2011

Soaking Nuts and Seeds

I remembered why I had bought the hazelnuts and brazil nuts!!  They are not supposed to require soaking!!  Now that I’ve started a batch of hazelnuts soaking…grumble grumble…anyway, I found a chart that gives soaking times for various nuts and seeds.  Hazelnuts are not listed here, but I think in the future I will not bother with soaking them.


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Today was one of those “slog through mud” days when you feel like nothing gets accomplished.  I think we were thrown off a bit by a visitor from the Czech Republic who wanted to sell us educational materials and stayed for 45 minutes during prime school time…but she was sweet, and she taught my kids how to say hi in Czech (it’s just like a pirate – ahoy!  heehee).  At any rate, our schedule was off until this afternoon and if we hadn’t had an afternoon class cancel, we might never have caught up!

I had gotten some broth out of the freezer last night but left it on the counter instead of putting it in the fridge.  It was still cold when I checked it this morning, but I decided to boil it just to be safe…so we had to drink it after breakfast instead of with breakfast since it was so hot.  We finished the leftover pancakes and pumpkin custard and we had some cultured cream, too.  yummmmmmm  For morning snack, we each ate 2 oranges!  Which reminds me…when the next batch of water kefir is done fermenting, I want to try to add some fresh orange juice.  I have a feeling that could be pretty fabulous.

I read a recipe for “egg muffins” or something like that last week but I lost the link.  I kind of made up my own recipe so we could have something ready-made for breakfast this morning:

  • leftover cooked meat, snipped into small pieces
  • raw goat cheddar, sliced
  • 7 eggs and2 egg whites (leftover from the last time I made ice cream)
  • 3/4 cup whey
  • 1/2 cup homemade coco mayo
  • salt

I put a small amount of chopped meat (just enough to cover the bottom) and a cheese slice in the bottom of 4 heart-shaped ramekins and then whisked together the eggs, whey, mayo, and salt.  I divided the egg mixture between the ramekins and put them into the Sun Oven to cook.  However…it clouded over as soon as I took them outside.  So I waited.  And waited.  And…waited.  Then the sun finally came out around lunchtime and the Sun Oven heated up enough to cook those babies by 1:30pm.  I felt like I had spent alllllll day making breakfast for tomorrow!  Haha!  Anyway, they look cute and I took a tiny taste of one and I think they’ll be good for tomorrow.  I haven’t decided if we’ll eat them cold or not.  Next time, I think I’ll just cook them in the toaster oven and we can have them fresh and not have to worry about the clouds!

For lunch, I stir-fried some broccoli and onions with the leftover steak from last night.  I added some pickled garlic and it was yumm-o!  It was weird eating the stir-fry without rice, though!  We all had a date and a brazil nut after lunch for “dessert”.  :)

For afternoon snack, we had peaches with frozen blueberries and yogurt.  I put in a handful of cherries too, but I didn’t pit them.  That was a little annoying as we ate but it did save me some time.  heehee :)  I still had some peach ice cream mix sitting in the fridge so I froze those as popsicles for snacks another day.  We had an early supper (4:30pm) so we could make it to church in time for my piano lesson and then rehearsal.  I had put a chicken in the slow cooker with some carrots and onions at about 8am this morning so it was ready by 4pm.

When we got home, I de-boned the rest of the chicken.  I’ve gotten to where I can de-bone the whole bird and start a new pot of bone broth in about 10 minutes.  I know, I know, impressive!  heehee :)  I also started some hazelnuts soaking.  I think you are supposed to rub off the skins of hazelnuts to remove more of the enzyme inhibitors but I couldn’t find any information on whether that was to be done before or after soaking.  Since most recipes said to roast the nuts for a short time before rubbing, I decided to try soaking first and then roasting.  We’ll see if this is worth the effort or not.  I want to make a fruit tart now that I can make my own cream cheese and I think hazelnuts would be just delightful in the crust!  I found a recipe that I might tweak here but I’m not sure what I’d use in place of the arrowroot powder.  Maybe coconut flour?  Oh well.  It’s late and I’m tired.

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Trying Tuesday

Whew!  If it wasn’t for my blog titles, I’d have no clue what day of the week it was!  All right, maybe it’s not that bad.  I was pretty sure today was Wednesday for the first half of the day.  But, since it is Tuesday – and the last Tuesday of the month – my Azure order arrived!

Hello, Orangey Goodness!

Look at those oranges!  Yes, we have a lot.  A LOT. This picture was AFTER I had taken 3 dozen oranges out of the box.  We will be drinking lots and lots of juice! :)  But $0.60/lb for organic oranges is pretty awesome, you must admit.

The mangoes were HUGE as well!  Each one was about a pound in weight!  Oh my.  I guess we’ll be stepping up the mango ice cream and mango sorbet for a while.  :)

I’m glad to have some dates finally.  I bought some pitted Deglet Noor dates for about $2.69/lb.  I’ve never bought the pitted dates before – it seemed like an extravagance!  But the ones with pits have always been more expensive than these Deglet Noors so dates were always an extravagance anyway.  :)  I can try them in some of my recipes now as sweetener!  The book on tooth decay that I’ve been reading frowns on dried fruit as a sweetener though – so I’ll probably mainly stick to honey as my go-to sweetener and save the dates for foods that bake better without the extra liquid honey would add.

9 lbs of almond butter is roughly a gallon, in case you were wondering.  :)  I was glad I was sharing it with my mom.  Although, we went through a quart pretty quickly the last time I bought it so maybe I’ll be glad for the extra.  I also got some brazil nuts and some hazelnuts.  I seem to remember a specific reason for ordering those but now it escapes me.

So…what did we eat today?  Hmm…

We had broth with pancakes and pears for breakfast.  Midmorning snack was peaches and yogurt.  We had stuffed peppers for lunch, using the leftover filling from last week’s peppers.  That was a time-saver!

For afternoon snack, we basically just sampled all of the stuff we brought home from Azure.  We had some dates, nuts, oranges, and almond butter.  By the time we were done tasting and repackaging the bulk items, it was time for ballet.  We were hungry when we returned, so we ate some of the almond butter “candy” that was in the freezer.  Then I chopped some zucchini and onions and got the steak ready to cook and taught piano lessons.  After my students were gone, I just had to turn on the burners and supper was ready in about half an hour.  My son had a popsicle before he left, but my daughter was too full.  You know E is full when she doesn’t have room for dessert!  :)  I had some peach ice cream after the kids left.

We skipped the cod liver oil/butter oil yesterday since we had liver for dinner.  I had meant to serve some today but forgot!   We need to get back into the swing of it tomorrow for sure.  I wish I could afford to do another blood test after a few more weeks of the cod liver oil to check my vitamin D levels.  I’d really like to see if it is bringing those levels up or not.

My beef supplier emailed today to say she had some new bones for me.  Yay!  I’m not sure exactly what they’ve got – I’m hoping for some good marrow bones this time.  I think there will be some more oxtail, which is one of my favorites.  There should also be some heart and tongue.  We’ll see what they bring me on Thursday!

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One of my students switched from Tuesdays to Mondays, so we lost our usual recovery day after the busy weekend.  I felt like I was rushing through all of my chores and fitting in as much housecleaning as I could in between homeschool subjects.  I was glad I had finished my menu plan for the week, but I didn’t get my homeschool plan written down so I was still flying by the seat of my pants quite a bit this morning!

I promised a friend some peach ice cream this afternoon, so I blended that first thing this morning and put the mix in the fridge to chill.  Then I opened my pantry and realized I needed to culture the last gallon of milk and put away the cultured cream and yogurt that were staring me in the face.  I also noted that the water kefir looked foamy, as if it was preparing to escape the confines of its large jar.  I’ll spare you the lengthy details of how I tackled all of this and still managed to feed us.  Instead, I’ll just tell you that we had some broth and some pumpkin custard with yogurt for breakfast.  Somehow I feel cheated now!  Ha! :)

I made Apple-Chicken Salad for lunch:

  • 2 tart apples, chopped
  • 2 stalks celery, chopped
  • 2 cooked chicken breasts, chopped
  • 1/4 onion, chopped
  • 1/2 cup walnuts, chopped (are you seeing a pattern here? :)  heehee)
  • 1/2 cup cilantro, chopped
  • 1 cup homemade mayo

I think a little mustard might have given it a bit more tang, but we practically inhaled it as it was.  :)  I served this salad on a bed of red lettuce and arugula.  This recipe made enough for two meals for my family of three.

We shared our peach ice cream with our friends for afternoon snack and then I made liver for supper.

I do not like liver.

At all.

Never have.

Anyway, I found some in the freezer so we had it for dinner.  Smoked salt helped a little, but blech.  I also made a salad with cucumber, tomato, onion, and a splash of apple cider vinegar.  After I choked down the liver, we had some almond butter “candy” for dessert.  This time I had poured the batter into some silicone molds that I had – mini-muffin shape.  The last time I had used these molds, I had made crayons for the kids so when I popped the frozen “candies” out of the mold, my daughter called them “crayons”.  My son thought they were cookie dough rounds!  I guess he didn’t recognize the same “candy” that I had been making for weeks now.  heehee  It just goes to show the power of visual presentation.  :)

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Summer Sunday

We had a rushed start this morning due to a tick infestation.  I was leisurely shaving my legs at 6am when my daughter came to the bathroom door and informed me she was itchy.  I wrapped up my shower quickly and we got the tweezers out to begin the tedious process of removing itty-bitty seed ticks from cracks and crevices.  That set me back a bit and I didn’t get the broth warmed up like I had planned.  Instead, we snarfed leftover pancakes and pears and ran out the door for the long morning at church.

The kids ate sausage at church this morning but I did not have a snack.  When we got home, we each had a Pink Lady apple while I reheated the leftover ground beef/eggplant casserole for lunch.  We all decided that we needed peach ice cream to top us off, so I froze the prepared mix about an hour after lunch.

It was sunny enough today that I was able to cook a pumpkin custard this afternoon and still cook supper in the Sun Oven afterward.  We’ll have the custard for breakfast tomorrow with some homemade yogurt.  I think I still have some broth in the fridge too, so I’ll try to remember that in the morning.

For supper, I mixed

  • 2 cans tuna, drained
  • 1 can artichoke hearts, drained
  • 1  can olives, drained
  • 4 small tomatoes, diced
  • 1/2 bunch shredded kale
  • 2 cloves minced garlic
  • 1/2 cup homemade coco mayo (which set up BEAUTIFULLY, I might add!).

Then I sprinkled the casserole with freshly ground pepper and put in the Sun Oven at around 4pm.  The temp in the Sun Oven was 250 degrees when I brought it in at about 5:15pm.  I snipped some fresh basil into the pan, then stirred and allowed to rest for 10 minutes.  It was pretty good!  Although, technically not GAPS because of the canned foods.  I am not sure if the canned foods no-no is because of the exposure to BPA in the can lining or if there is another reason…if I’m not mistaken, canned olives and tuna are okay on the SCD.  At any rate, I was comfortable eating these today, mainly because I’m tired and I needed something quick and cheap to make for dinner.  (Not that any of the ingredients I used were particularly cheap…but since they were in the pantry, I didn’t have to spend the money this week!)  Anyway, back to the tuna casserole…I think it would have been even better with pita crisps or even tortilla chips.  It needed something crunchy for sure!  I ended up making some celery sticks to eat alongside for a change in texture.  Maybe some nuts would have also added some contrast.

On a different note, I read a bit about widening the palate today.  Cheeseslave’s Q & A briefly touched on two options, the Homeoblock and Damon Braces.  My teeth have gotten more crooked and crowded in the last couple of years, and at my last dental checkup, for the first time EVER, a dentist suggested I might want to consider braces in the future.  I’ve wondered if my narrow palate was contributing to TMJ and may look into one of these options in the future.  The Homeoblock is already more attractive since it is only worn 4 hours during the day and then all night…but I don’t know what the costs would be, and there are no local practitioners using this method.  I’m not sure a trip to Kansas City or Little Rock every 6 weeks would be feasible!  Damon Braces look to be between $4k and $8k, neither of which would fit my budget.  I plan to continue the cod liver oil and butter oil for enamel’s sake (sorry, kids! heehee) but I don’t think that a simple change in diet would achieve the results I would need at this point.  I am hopeful that the kids will not need intervention if they are furnished with the proper nutrients as their jaws and palates are still forming.

Okay, back to food…I’m making some more “candy” for dessert tonight.  I don’t feel like we had enough calories today!  We had no dairy, other than a small amount of whey in the ice cream.  We’ll do better tomorrow, since the yogurt should be ready.

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Saturday Shuffle

The way I envisioned this weekend and the way it is turning out are two different things.  :)  I had planned to go to the farmers market this morning and then spend some time on food prep for next week.  I had also planned to take a dish to a potluck after church tomorrow.  Instead, we went to the farmers market Thursday, which freed up our morning…which meant a trip to Grandma and Grandpa’s…and which meant that I would forget about the food prep and then be too tired to even think about the potluck.

We had broth before breakfast, and then I made another batch of peach ice cream mix to wait in the fridge for an opportune time.  heehee :)  Then I blended up pancakes for breakfast, using

  • 3 cups of soaked walnuts
  • 3 cups pureed cushaw squash
  • 4 egg whites
  • 2 whole eggs
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • tiny bit of stevia

I made enough pancakes for this morning and tomorrow morning, then put the rest of the batter in the fridge for later in the week.  We each had a pear with our pancakes, but no honey.  We left about an hour after breakfast and did not have a snack before lunch.  We had a roast chicken and green beans at my parents’ house, and the kids also had some garden potatoes.

I made another apron today.  I need to tweak the pattern but I think it came out okay this time.  I’d like to think that my next apron will be for me, but I know that isn’t true.  :)

My mom served some cantaloupe, banana, and blueberries for afternoon snack and then we went home.  My menu just said “leftover chicken” for supper tonight, so I had to spend a little time fleshing out that plan.  :/  Finally, I was so hungry I just diced up a huge zucchini, added a pint of chicken broth and about 1 lb dark meat to the pot, and simmered until the zucchini was soft.  I added salt and a pat of butter in each bowl, and we had our ginger cod liver oil and butter oil with our meal.  NONE of us likes the ginger flavor.  We cannot WAIT until that one is gone.  Ugh.  However, I have informed my children that if they cannot say something nice like “Thank you, Mommy, for taking such good care of my teeth” when I serve the cod liver oil, they have to be quiet.  No complaints.  My daughter gags down her cod liver oil and then says cheerfully, “Thank you, Mommy, for taking such good care of my teeth!” and my son gags his cod liver oil down and sits quietly.  heeheehee

After dinner, the kids each had a peach popsicle and I had the last of the peach ice cream.  I was just bemoaning the fact that I’ve used the last of my almond butter so I can’t make any more “candy”, and then I happened to glance up and see a jar of almond butter on the shelf!  Yeehaw!  Now we can survive until Tuesday, when my 9lb tub of almond butter will come from Azure.  :D

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I suppose I don’t need to count days any more to record our progress!  Two months is long enough.  :)  We are definitely in the swing of things and as long as we don’t have social events with food on our schedule, we have no problem coming up with appropriate foods to eat.  Things I miss:

  • Chocolate.  However, this always gave me a stomach-ache so I avoided it most of the time anyway.
  • Corn.  I do miss my tortilla chips, especially during salsa season.
  • Gluten-free cereal.  Convenience.  Enough said.
  • POTATOES.  Sweet and/or white.
  • Chocolate.  Oh, did I already mention that one?
  • Oatmeal.  I could do a lot with oatmeal!!!  Of course it would have to be combined with
  • Sugar.  And of course, a glass of homemade lemonade at a friend’s house is hard to pass up.  And there are just times when I don’t want to taste honey in my food, to be honest.
  • Beans.  We used to eat them several times a week, and my budget feels the difference.  Opening a can (GAPS no-no) and throwing together a meal is a lot easier than soaking and sprouting beans before cooking.  3 or 4 days preparation for a meal with beans means that we have not eaten any in the last 61 days.
  • Chocolate.  What?

I’ll have to put together a list of things I love about GAPS.  Not today, though.

We started the day with fresh chicken broth and a pear for each of us.  I made some peach ice cream mix to chill for this afternoon and then I started some walnuts soaking for tomorrow’s pancakes.  I froze another quart of tomatoes and put a pan of sliced apples & cinnamon out in the Sun Oven, and then I made eggs & pork side for breakfast.

I had planned to make chicken and apple salad for lunch, but I noticed that we had not eaten all of the devilled eggs I made earlier in the week (most likely because none of us liked them with the olive oil mayo, heehee).  So I changed plans and we had devilled eggs, salad with cucumbers and tomato, and sun-baked apples for lunch.  This weekend is shaping up a little differently than I had anticipated so I’m not sure yet what that means for my menu.  Hmm.

My parents had some of the ice cream when they stopped by to help out this afternoon.  Here is the recipe I used today:

  • 5 large ripe peaches, peeled and halved (pits removed, of course)
  • 1 can coconut milk (Natural Value has no added stabilizers)
  • 1/2 cup whey
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 2 whole eggs
  • 2 large spoonfuls of honey – probably about 1/3 cup
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/8 tsp salt

This recipe made enough for 5 popsicles and a full 1.5 qts ice cream.

For supper, I browned 1 lb ground beef with a diced eggplant.  Then I added 1.5 cups broth, 2 cups pureed squash, and some seasoning and simmered for about 15 minutes.  When the casserole was about ready to serve, I stirred in 2 cups frozen peas and turned off the heat.  I put half the casserole in the refrigerator for another meal and then we divided the remaining half between the three of us.  If we hadn’t had big bowls of ice cream just an hour before, we might not have had enough to satisfy us but the amount I served was sufficient for tonight.

Mom brought over some coconut flour so now I can try a few different recipes to see if I still get that “heavy” feeling that I get when I eat nut flours.  We still have 2 lonely scones left.  The kids will probably eat them before bed tonight and then I won’t feel bad about them going to waste.  :)

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