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Archive for April, 2013

Monday

  • eggs; oranges; milk
  • leftover turkey soup and banana muffins
  • taco salad stuff

Tuesday

Wednesday

  • leftover apple crisp; milk
  • brown bag: pb & honey sandwiches; sauerkraut
  • leftover turkey soup & muffins

Thursday

  • waffles with bananas, strawberry puree, and honey; milk
  • leftover taco salad stuff
  • slow-cooked sticky chicken; carrots; potatoes

Friday

  • leftover waffles & milk
  • leftover taco salad stuff
  • bbq meatballs; pumpkin gratin; broccoli

Saturday

Sunday

  • leftover pumpkin custard; kefir
  • leftover potato soup
  • leftover ?

Yet another incredibly busy week is behind me.  I’ve got extra rehearsals & performances this week so suppers will be more difficult to juggle.  My kids are doing a great job of going with the flow so as long as we do okay with snacks we should be fine.

We’ve got YET ANOTHER cold spell coming through this week!  It’s been the dreariest spring I can remember since moving to the Ozarks.  I know that once the cold weather is gone it will be HOT so I am going to take advantage of the low temps and bake one of my last two pumpkins.  I’ll try to do the other next week if it isn’t already too hot.

The cold weather means no veggies out in my garden yet.  I’ve had to keep a close eye on my poor fig but I do believe she’ll survive.  :)  It looks like my dad hoed up all my arugula seedings so no salad greens yet.  I have planted some radishes, onions, & dill but haven’t seen them come up.  Green beans should go in soon…

I’ll be buying eggs, bananas, carrots, and sausage this week.  Everything else on the menu is from our pantry supplies.  I was disappointed that my order of coconut milk did not come from Azure this month and we are down to our last can – so after this curry I’ll have to hold off on any more recipes requiring coconut milk.  I’ve been wanting to make that fish dish with bok choy that I can’t think of the name of right now, but it will have to wait a while.

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I’ve been using this recipe for several months now and decided it was time to give it the acclaim it deserves.  I’m mainly posting here so that I can keep track of the adjustments I’ve made…I keep losing the little papers that I write the adjustments on!

The only real changes I’ve made to the original are to add butter to the batter and to change the order of mixing & assembly a bit.  Here’s what I do (note that this is for a double batch, which makes 2 dozen medium-sized muffins for me):

  • 4 cups almond flour
  • 1 cup coconut flour
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 cup softened butter
  • 12 eggs
  • 1 cup honey
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 cups fresh or frozen blueberries
  • 1/4 cup chopped nuts
  • 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
  • stevia powder (optional)

I mix the almond flour, coconut flour, salt, and butter until well blended but still a bit crumbly.  Then I reserve 1/8 cup of that mixture for the crumbly topping.  Next, I mix the wet ingredients and add to the remaining dry ingredients.  Finally, I fold in the blueberries (I use frozen) and scoop the batter into greased or papered muffin tins.  Then I mix the reserved crumbly topping with the chopped nuts, cinnamon, and a tiny bit of stevia powder and sprinkle it over the tops of the muffin batter.  Because the blueberries are frozen and will cause the muffins to bake more slowly, I set my oven at 325 degrees to prevent them from burning (honey tends to do that!) and bake until the tops are brown and the middles are set.  I haven’t timed it but it is usually around 30-45 minutes.

Serve warm with a pat of butter or allow to cool and freeze for later.  Either way…yum.  You can make this dairy-free by using coconut oil instead of butter.

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I’ve been itching for a good cornbread for years now – corn being one of the foods that still causes me to break out in hives when I eat it.  When this recipe for a grain-free version of this comfort food popped up in my newsfeed a few weeks ago, I was eager to try it.  I was faced with a dilemma, though: do I use the arrowroot powder or skip it to keep it more GAPS-friendly and hope the recipe doesn’t flop?

In general, when I try a recipe I like to keep as close to the original as possible to determine if it is a keeper that I can later tweak.  In my opinion, it isn’t fair to gut and revamp a new recipe and then blame the flop on the recipe.  And in this particular instance, I was going to be making the recipe for the first time while we were visiting relatives.  I normally like to be reasonably sure a recipe is edible before I spring it on a guest at my table, but I just didn’t have time for a trial run and therefore I didn’t feel comfortable straying too far from the original.  Since I have done well with the few starches I’ve re-introduced, I decided to go ahead with the arrowroot powder.  We mixed the dry ingredients ahead of time and then just tossed the mix in with the wet ingredients once we arrived at our destination.  I *did* make one substitution:  I used kefir rather than almond milk, because I didn’t have any almond milk and because I felt the kefir would be more nutrient-dense.  Other than that, I followed the recipe as written.

Verdict:  A keeper!!  We ended up making a second batch the next day because my grandmother was so taken with the “corn”bread.  She even asked if we would leave her the leftovers!  And when I got home, I promptly made another batch for us.  Delightful.

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It looked like cornbread.  The texture was like that of cornbread.  Topped with butter and Vermont maple syrup, it tasted very, very similar to cornbread.  This recipe is a winner!

And now, the question I know you all are asking: can you leave out the arrowroot powder to make this recipe GAPS-friendly?  Well…I don’t know.  I will attempt it sometime in the future and update this post with the result.  I would think, however, that if you left out the arrowroot and perhaps added another tablespoon of coconut flour, you should get a similar result.  The end product may be a bit more crumbly, but I can’t imagine it would be a drastic change.

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Monday

  • leftover apple crisp
  • leftover hurry curry
  • slow-cooked beef tongue; sweet potatoes; broccoli

Tuesday

  • banana splits with kefir, pureed strawberries, and raw pecans
  • leftover curry
  • just me – leftover chili and cornbread

Wednesday

  • leftover waffles w/bananas, pureed strawberries, and honey; milk
  • brown bag: sandwiches; apples; escabeche
  • burgers; salad; cauliflower

Thursday

  • banana splits
  • burgers
  • turkey; sweet potatoes or butternut squash; broccoli

Friday

  • eggs; oranges; milk
  • ?
  • turkey soup; muffins of some sort

Saturday & Sunday

  • ? just me

We made a last minute decision to travel 7 hours away last week, which threw off my planning.  We did take a big pot of chili up with us and tried out a new “corn”bread recipe, which was a big hit with my grandma who lives on processed foods.  She even asked me to leave the leftovers for her.  Real food ftw!  I’ll try to get a review posted later.

We are pinching every penny again this week (really, as if you didn’t expect that from me…heehee).  We still have broccoli, cauliflower, pumpkin, and apples in good quantities and I’d like to make a concerted effort to get those eaten up soon.  I’d like to focus on using the frozen fruits & veggies in my freezer as well.  I’ve been using them sparingly because I wasn’t sure we’d have good crops with our crazy weather (and after a few years of no blueberry season, I may be more cautious than some) but this year looks to be a good one, late as it may be.  So…time to get that freezer cleaned out!  I’m also keeping in mind that our grand vacation begins in about 5 weeks so I don’t want to purchase large quantities of anything that might go bad during that time.

Happy news: our local co-op had a recent 10% off sale, and with an extra 10% case discount I was able to get decent chicken for a little more than $2/lb.  I am very happy about that.  :)  I also finally got some planting done in the garden.  If this weird cold snap will just move through, I might get some radishes and herbs to do something.

Snacks this week will likely be milk, pineapple, bananas, and apples.  My kids have been a bit more hungry this week so I might try to whip up some cookies or muffins for a little extra.

Shall we go over budget numbers?  It’s been a while.  The meals & snacks for this week’s menu should cost around $70 altogether, although the turkey was about half of that cost.  Since the turkey will provide meals for the freezer and for next week as well, it should balance out nicely.  At any rate, I’ll be falling under my $75 weekly budget so yay me!  Out-of-pocket expenses this week will be for milk ($10) and possibly eggs ($6 or so).  The rest will come from the pantry.  I did have two large expenses this month – my co-op shopping trip with 55lbs of honey and a case of chicken, and my Azure Standard order.  My Azure order this month replenished my stock of onions, butter, dates, frozen peas/beans, and shredded coconut and totaled around $85.  I’m not sure if I will order next month or not, since it will be scheduled to arrive not long before we leave.  I might be tempted to buy a case of something extremely perishable and regret it. :/

In other news:  I need to ferment something.  Soon.

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Monday

  • eggs; oranges; milk
  • leftover roast beef and butternut hash
  • breakfast for dinner: waffles and sausage

Tuesday

  • leftover waffles; milk
  • casserole w/ground beef, rice, and peas
  • lemon chicken with potatoes, broccoli, and carrots

Wednesday

  • leftover waffles; broth
  • brown bag: sandwiches; apples; whatever fermented veggies are left in fridge
  • leftover meatloaf; green beans; potatoes?

Thursday

  • eggs; sausages; oranges; milk
  • leftover lemon chicken
  • chili & “cornbread

Friday

Saturday

  • eggs; oranges; toast; milk
  • hurry curry and rice
  • slow-cooked beef tongue; sweet potatoes; green beans

Sunday

  • leftover apple crisp
  • leftover chili
  • leftover tongue or curry

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Ok…so I’m a little hot under the collar.  Hot enough that while I’ve barely kept up with working 4 part-time jobs and homeschooling my children this week, I am still squeezing out time to blog in rebuttal.  Or shall we say rebottomal?  I’d like to keep this nice. :)

I wasn’t going to link the blog in question because I didn’t want to make it seem I had a personal vendetta.  I don’t know this lady.  I have only read a few of her blogs.  I’m sure she’s perfectly nice and knowledgeable and caring.  That is not where my beef is.  I’m looking strictly at the arguments she posted for avoiding almond flour and I disagree.  It is as simple as that.  I decided that if I *didn’t* link the blog I’d be doing the author a disservice by not allowing her words to speak for themselves.  So…because it is late and I’d like to sleep sometime tonight, I’ll dive right in.  I’ll be posting her reasons for avoiding almond flour, followed by my rebuttal.

Reason #1: Almond flour skews perception about quantity.  The author of this blog says she has calculated the number of almonds per cup of almond flour, and that that number is around 90 almonds.

Rebuttal #1: If your argument against almond flour centers on the amount consumed, you might want to weigh it to be sure.  I weighed a cup of almond flour, scooped into my measuring cup with a spoon as I always do.  It was 2.4 ounces.  I weighed 90 almonds.  They were 3.4 ounces.  That would be about 25-30 almonds per ounce.  A half-ounce to an ounce of almonds is considered to be one serving size, depending on your source of data.  Using these numbers, I looked at a few of the recipes I use on a regular basis.  The blueberry streusel muffins I’ve been making lately use 2 cups of almond flour per dozen muffins.  That would be 4.8 ounces per 12 muffins; if each person ate one muffin (which is typical for one serving in our household), each person would ingest .4 ounces of almond flour per muffin.  That is less than the lowest recommendation I’ve seen for a serving size by 20% and would be the equivalent of 10-12 almonds.  I don’t see anything excessive about that.  And really, I don’t feel that eating 2 or even 3 muffins would be excessive at that quantity.

Reason #2: Almond flour is very high in inflammatory PUFAs.  The author of this blog highlights why PUFAs are bad, and then says that they’re only harmful when consumed in excess.

Rebuttal #2: I don’t argue that excessive PUFAs can have negative health consequences, but I think I established above that the levels in an average serving of almond flour are not excessive.  From my personal experience, I can say that I experienced a clinically significant drop in inflammation markers (double the referenced norms to practically zero, per my rheumatologist a few months ago) while consuming almond flour nearly daily over almost two years.  Clearly the PUFAs did not cause an increase in inflammation in my body.

Reason #3: The fats in almond flour aren’t heat stable.  And here she has a valid argument.  Oxidation IS a bad thing, and almond oil will oxidize when exposed to heat.  But her main point is that consuming excessive amounts of almond flour is going to increase this risk to dangerous levels.

Rebuttal #3: This is my purely personal opinion: I don’t think the average person consuming almond flour is consuming enough to make this a serious issue.  And I think any oxidation during the baking process can easily be offset by increasing antioxidant-rich foods in the diet.  I don’t claim to be an expert but I am going to pull the “grad certificate in nutrition right here!” card.  Eating a varied diet is going to go a long way towards keeping balance in the cells of your body.

Reason #4: Almond flour is high in oxalates.  And here she just basically says that almonds have tons of oxalates.

Rebuttal #4: I guess I just got annoyed with this one because it is a generalization.  And again, I’m going to go back to my original rebuttal: the amount of almond flour in a serving of baked goods is not likely to be excessive.  Is the author advocating avoiding spinach, which also contains high levels of oxalates? No.  In fact, she says here that spinach can be part of a balanced diet.  *If* excessive amounts of almond flour and other oxalate-rich foods are being consumed regularly, you might see an issue here.  In the amounts I’ve shown that my family consumes, I’m going to say it is not an issue.

Reason #5: Coconut flour is healthier than almond flour.  Bam!  The author notes that coconut flour has plenty of saturated fats (no argument there) and that you can use less of it than almond flour.  And…that’s it.

Rebuttal #5: I admit it.  This is the one that really got me.  I weighed the coconut flour I would use for 3 of my Cinnamon Bun Muffins  (1/4 cup) and it came out to 1.2 ounces.  Per muffin, that would be .4 ounces…which is the same weight as the almond flour in one of my favorite almond flour muffins.  So let’s compare them, shall we?  You can input the weight of almonds in this calculator and the weight of dry unsweetened coconut here.  Per .4 ounce, almond flour has 3 times the protein, 9 times the calcium, and 3 times the magnesium in this comparison.  You can look at the rest of the nutrients and judge for yourself which flour is healthier.

Conclusion:  The main reason I felt a strong need to rebut the above blog is that I see so much confusion in GAPS/SCD circles about whether or not certain foods are going to kill them or set back their recovery.  Most of the information that is floating around is not based on science – it is based on opinion.  Please, please, please…do some legwork of your own.  Listen to your body.  Use common sense.  Eat as many different types of foods as you can.  Ask questions.  Make sure you are eating enough food to encourage recovery (another of my pet peeves!).  Realize that what is working for someone else may not be best for you.  And if you notice misinformation, do your best to make it right.  GAPS/SCD does work when done correctly and we as a community are doing ourselves a disservice if we let misinformation define us.

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Monday

  • leftover waffles
  • leftover roast & veggies
  • chicken soup; muffins?

Tuesday

  • eggs; toast; oranges; milk
  • leftover chicken soup
  • burgers; fried potatoes; broccoli

Wednesday

Thursday

Friday

  • leftover pumpkin custard
  • leftover meatloaf
  • chicken hearts; fried rice; peas

Saturday & Sunday

  • ? just me

Ever had one of those moments when you realize summer vacation is about 7 weeks away and you haven’t earned the money to pay for it yet?  Yeah…me too.  So again this week we’ll be sticking to pantry meals.  We still have plenty of fresh broccoli, cauliflower, apples, potatoes, onions, and pumpkin plus veggies & fruits in the freezer.  The meat situation is good for the foreseeable future.  Almond flour is on the way and we have plenty of coconut flour.  Other than milk and eggs, we should be good to go for another week without any out-of-pocket expenses.

I have a rebuttal blog burning in response to this blog‘s take on almond flour but no time to put it in writing at the moment.  Maybe next weekend?

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