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Archive for February, 2012

I’ve modified my banana bread recipe and I think the texture and flavor are better this way!

  • 1 cup of coconut flour
  • 1/4 cup schmalz or melted coconut oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon of sea salt
  • teeny bit of stevia powder (if you like a more-sweet banana bread)
  • 8 eggs
  • 2 over-ripe bananas
  • 1/3 cup of honey
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda

I mixed the coconut flour and schmalz thoroughly, then added the salt and stevia.  Next I added the over-ripe bananas and mixed until smooth.  Then I combined the wet ingredients in a separate bowl and added them to the banana mixture.  I let the mixture sit for about 5 minutes so the coconut flour could absorb the liquid, then I beat the mixture thoroughly and added the baking soda.  I divided the batter into two mini-loaf pans and baked at 350 degrees until the loaves were set – about 45 minutes.

I barely got a photo taken before we had inhaled this loaf!  The kids see no reason now why our home should not be filled with the aroma of banana bread on a daily basis.  This loaf was moist enough that we didn’t even miss the butter!

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  • 12 chicken wings
  • salt-water brine
  • 2 Tblsp honey
  • 2 Tblsp homemade mustard
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/8 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/8 tsp Chinese 5-spice powder
  • a small bit of cayenne powder, to taste

Thaw wings, if necessary.  The morning before you plan to cook the wings, snip the wing tips off and reserve for stock-making.  Separate the remaining two sections of wing at the joint, if desired (I am too lazy to do this anymore!).  Place wing sections into a salt-water brine and let soak until ready to cook (several hours is best).

To prepare the honey-mustard glaze, mix the honey and mustard thoroughly; then add whatever spices you can tolerate from the list.  This recipe is fairly mild, so if you like a bit of heat or spice, you’ll need to add more seasoning than I have listed here.  Likewise, if you enjoy a saucy wing you should double the honey-mustard glaze.

Grease a large baking pan and turn the oven on to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.  Drain the wings but do not rinse.  Set the wings in the pan and bake for about 20 minutes, then flip the wings over and bake for another 10 minutes or so.  Before the wings begin to brown, drizzle half of the honey-mustard glaze on the tops of the wings and return to oven until that side is browned (about 15 minutes for me).  Then flip the wings, drizzle the remaining honey-mustard glaze on the remaining side of the wings, and return to the oven until browned.

Allow to cool slightly, then serve with GAPS-friendly side dishes.  Any honey-mustard sauce drippings left in the pan can be drizzled over the wings before serving.  We like these wings with baked butternut squash, broccoli or cauliflower, and sauerkraut.

I’ve baked these wings at anywhere from 350 degrees to 400 degrees and they’ve turned out the same either way; so if you are in a hurry, you can bump up the temperature a bit to speed things along.  I often like to bake other things while I’m baking the wings so I tend toward the lower temps.

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Monday

  • leftover coconut pancakes; baked chicken skin; broth
  • sirloin steak; sautéed carrots and kale
  • lamb stew and muffins

Tuesday

  • leftover coconut pancakes; baked chicken skin; broth
  • leftover steak and veggies
  • honey-glazed wings; squash; sauerkraut

Wednesday

  • pumpkin custard; broth
  • leftover soup and muffins
  • brown bag – tuna salad and apples

Thursday

  • pumpkin custard; broth
  • burgers with guacamole and lacto-fermented salsa; green beans
  • leftover tuna salad and apples

Friday

  • baked eggs and chicken skin; oranges; broth
  • leftover soup?
  • chili and muffins

Saturday and Sunday

  • leftovers or what-not (just me this weekend)

I’ve started soaking the beans for chili tonight, and they should be sprouting by Thursday.  Then I can cook them overnight and they’ll be ready for Friday’s chili.  I need to make mayo if we’re going to have the tuna salad, and the way this week looks it may not happen.  I made it without whey last time and I just feel more comfortable making it with whey.  That requires straining some kefir, though…and I may not remember to do it once I’ve finished this post.  :)

We have a dress rehearsal and a performance this week that may throw us off a bit.  I didn’t get meat for the lamb stew cooked ahead of time and we may end up too busy to do it tomorrow…not sure what my backup will be in that case.  I’ll just try to be really industrious tomorrow, I guess.  :)

For snacks this week, we will likely do apples or nuts and dried fruit.  The kids have been asking for cheese, too.  That may be an emergency snack.  I will admit that the past two days I have just handed the kids a mug of milk when they’ve needed a snack – and I’ve had some too.  Probably not the best re-introduction of dairy.  heehee :)  But I’ve been thankful for something easy and quick to tide us over.

Budget-wise: I think we’ll slide in at less than $50 this week for the cost of all meals and snacks (assuming I don’t go crazy on the weekend, heehee).  However, I spent $75 on groceries from Azure Standard and $50 at our local health food store so out-of-pocket is a bit more this week.  We were running low on honey, so I picked up a quart and a half of local honey ($15 – ouch!) and I think that will last us about 6 weeks or so.  I haven’t compared prices with Azure Standard – not even sure they carry raw honey – but I need to remember that the next time we are low.

 

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I’ve talked about trying coconut pancakes again…so far, we’ve just not found a coconut flour recipe that we really like for pancakes.  But it’s been long enough since I made them last (and we are getting tired of the nut-based pancakes) that I decided to fool around with AnnMarie’s recipe today.  Her recipe yields 6 pancakes, each 3″-4″ diameter.  Since I wanted enough leftover pancakes to get us through the weekend, I decided to quadruple the recipe.  I figured we would each eat about 4  4″ pancakes for breakfast, so 24 4″ pancakes would be enough for two meals.  I usually make my grain-free pancakes smaller than that so I counted on 30-40 pancakes total.

When I looked over the recipe, I decided there must be a typo- surely 4 teaspoons of salt for 24 small pancakes was too much!!  I also had an overripe banana that I wanted to use, so I altered the recipe.   Here’s what I did:

  • 11 eggs
  • 12 Tblsp melted oil (3 Tblsp butter, 9 Tblsp coconut oil)
  • 1 1/4 cup kefir (this was the first batch after rehydrating grains so it was very thin)
  • 1 banana
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 12 Tblsp coconut flour

I blended it in my blender and let it sit for about 5 minutes while I heated the pans.  Then I made pancakes for a Very Long Time.  I made my pancakes about 2″ in diameter for easier flipping and ended up with ONE HUNDRED PANCAKES.  Seriously.  100.  Since they are smaller, we’ll eat more of them – I ate 10 for my breakfast this morning – but still.  That’s at least three breakfasts.  And quite a way off from the expected 30 or 40 pancakes.  So next time I might try tripling AnnMarie’s recipe instead and see if that gets me closer to our two-breakfast goal (and hopefully shortens my pancake-flipping-time considerably!) or maybe I’ll decrease the milk more to get a slightly thicker batter and make bigger pancakes.  Hmm.

Flavor-wise, these pancakes were probably the best coconut flour pancakes I’ve tried yet.  The banana flavor was not very noticeable.  The texture was not as grainy as some that I’ve tried.  I think I would make these again, but I still prefer nut-based pancakes.

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I love me some beef brisket.  :)  It’s my dad’s specialty, and I never fooled around with it myself since he did such a great job.  Plus, it’s pretty time-consuming.  My dad’s version consists of cooking in a slow oven overnight, trimming fat, then cooking in a slow oven all day in his special sauce.  After watching him do it a few times, I decided I would never attempt it.

Then I found a brisket in my freezer.  Eeek!!  Yes, I panicked.  My dad didn’t want to make it and quite frankly I doubted his ability to pull off the same brisketty beauty with my grassfed beef as with his grainfed version.  That meant…I had to do it.

So I dug up a few recipes online and tried to piece together a workable solution as I faced my brisket-making phobia head-on.

I didn’t want to run my gas oven for 24 hours straight.  That would be some expensive brisket!  And I didn’t want to make a sauce.  That left my slow-cooker and a dry rub.  Ok, decision made…now on to implementation!

My first attempt was good.  Not great, but good.  I found that my slow-cooker does not seal well and so the meat was too dry.  Not jerky dry, but still.  Flavor was decent, though it didn’t pack the punch I had hoped for…and, well, it was dry.  Without sauce, it was not something I’d want to make again.

Then my beef supplier had a bit of a sale on brisket and I bought some.  I know, I know…but I couldn’t help it.  :)  It sat for several months while I tried to decide what to do with it.  And then my friend from Romania came home and I decided to make dinner for him.  The last time I had made him a meal, it pretty much sucked.  I had not planned on him eating with us and we were going super-cheap that day so I was pretty sure he got the impression I didn’t know how to cook.  This time needed to be better.  A LOT better.  I looked through my freezer and found…The Brisket.

*angelic chorus*

I’ll be honest: I was frightened.  It would either turn out very, very good or go horribly, horribly wrong.  And up until I tasted that first bite, I was sweating.

*crickets*

It was very, very good.

*angelic chorus*

And here it is:

J’s Killer Brisket

You’ll need a beef brisket, honey, a dry rub, some broth, and a pan large enough to hold the brisket.  Prep should start the day before you want to eat it.

Dry rub:

  • freshly ground black pepper (I used about 2 tsp)
  • smoked salt (about 2 tsp)
  • garlic powder (about 1 tsp)
  • chili powder (about 1 tsp)
  • ground mustard (about 1 tsp)
  • cayenne powder (about 1/4 tsp)

So I ended up with a little more than 2 Tblsp dry rub.

Place the brisket in your pan and drizzle a spoonful of honey onto one side.  Spread as evenly as possibly, then sprinkle half the dry rub over the honey.  Flip the brisket over in the pan, drizzle another spoonful of honey over the remaining side, and sprinkle with the last of the dry rub.  Cover and refrigerate overnight.

In the morning, transfer the brisket to a slow-cooker.  Pour anywhere from 1/2 cup to 1 cup of broth into the slow-cooker (I tried to avoid pouring directly onto the meat so that the spices would stay in contact with the meat).  I’d use more broth if your slow-cooker was a bit leaky and less if it’s pretty air-tight.  Then turn the slow-cooker onto “Low” and cook for 10 hours.

When done cooking, remove the brisket from the slow-cooker and slice against the grain.  Feel free to eat all of the little bits that aren’t perfect slices.  Then feel free to pretend the brisket was much smaller than you anticipated when your family wonders what happened to that huge chunk of beef they saw you put into the slow-cooker that morning.  Premature brisket consumption can often be attributed to “shrinkage”.

If you won’t be eating it immediately, I’d suggest ladling 1/2 cup broth over the sliced meat, covering with foil, and setting in a warm oven until mealtime.

Okay, so 10 minutes of prep and then 10 hours of slow-cooking yielded me more “mmm”s than I’ve had all year.  This is definitely my new “go-to” for company meals.

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Clawing my way through this week…

Monday

  • baked eggs and chicken skin; broth
  • “taco” stuff
  • drums & plums with banana squash (eek!  our last one is on the verge of spoiling.)

Tuesday

  • slow-cooked apples; broth
  • leftover “taco” stuff
  • wings, cauliflower, sautéed kale, and baked butternut squash (bake muffins at the same time)

Wednesday

  • muffins; broth
  • leftover wings, broccoli, and butternut squash
  • tuna salad with pickles and raw apples

Thursday

  • pancakes; broth
  • leftover tuna salad etc
  • brisket?? with sauerkraut, broccoli, baked squash, and some kind of potato? possible guest!

Friday

  • baked apples and chicken skin; broth
  • leftover drums & plums
  • ? scrounge up something before my night out

Saturday

  • pancakes (kids will eat with grandparents)
  • meal for workers??  I MAY FINALLY GET MY WINDOWS INSTALLED!! heehee
  • burgers, green beans, ?

Sunday

  • leftover pancakes; broth
  • leftover brisket
  • cod with lemon & broccoli

So…since I might have windows coming this weekend…I have to clean my house.  For realz.   And I need to unclog my bathroom sink.  And possibly replace the seal on the guest bathroom toilet.  And…well, a million other household things besides school and work.  My priorities are NOT going to be on food for the next while and I am wary of the consequences.  If I don’t stay focused, we don’t do broth.  Or cod liver oil.  Or even much on probiotics.  So…I will have to work on strategy to promote compliance.  And maybe I need to be less of a nerd.

Snacks this week will be who-knows-what.  Nuts maybe?  Oranges?  I will probably cave and let the kids have some gluten-free crackers, too.  My son has been asking for sardines when he gets hungry, and that’s cool…but I have a hard time eating them myself.  :)

Budget-wise, my out-of-pocket expenses were basically for eggs, broccoli, onions, garlic, and kale so yippee for that!  Oh, but I’ll be ordering from Azure Standard tomorrow so I guess out-of-pocket will be quite a bit more.  :/  I haven’t broken down costs for each meal but it looks like I’ll stay well within our $75 weekly budget.

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Ok, I should qualify that: I might have made beer.  My alcoholic experience is extremely limited so I could be wrong.  But I am drinking something fizzy and not sweet at all that has a tinge of a burn as it goes down.  If I get silly in a moment, you’ll know for sure.

So what did I make?  I assume it’s ginger beer.  I made so much ginger ale (a la Nourishing Traditions) a few months ago that I had to store a few pints in my garage on a shelf, thinking it would be cool enough (in Arkansas midwinter) to virtually stop fermentation.  Apparently I was wrong.

So now the question: what to do with it?  I’m not much for alcoholic drinks and the ginger flavor limits how I could use it in recipes.  If I drank an ounce or two per week, I’d have enough to last…a year.  Hmm.  Are the health benefits worth it??  Something to dig into…

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