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Archive for the ‘Resources’ Category

Nut-Free Strawberry Banana Bread

Tuesday, August 7th, 2012

I’m always trying to mix up Preschooler’s weekday breakfasts. We don’t have time to make her bacon and eggs in the morning, and her day care is nut-free, so that limits our options greatly. Our general cop-out is yogurt, but that can tend to have a lot of sugar in it, so I prefer to make her something homemade. Lately I’ve been making this recipe, and it’s almost indistinguishable from real bread. Last night Husband and I ate the heel slices with a bit of Rawtella, and it made an awesome dessert. For those of you who are coconut-phobic, you absolutely can’t taste it in here–it just tastes like banana bread.

Preheat your oven to 350. Set out two mixing bowls, one small and one large. In the large bowl, mash two or three very ripe bananas with 1/3 cup of melted ghee or coconut oil (or butter, if you’re not dairy-averse). Whisk in six beaten eggs, two tablespoons of honey, and a teaspoon of vanilla.

In the small bowl, add a half-cup of sifted coconut flour, a teaspoon each of baking soda and baking powder, a half-teaspoon of salt, and a tablespoon of cinnamon. Mix it with a fork, then dump the whole bowl into the wet ingredients. Whisk them together, then put the bowl aside. Slice up 6-8 strawberries into small bite-size chunks. Whisk the batter again to make sure you’ve gotten all the lumps out, then fold in the strawberries. Bake in a well-greased loaf pan at 350 degrees for 45 minutes.

The cool thing about this recipe is its versatility. You can leave the strawberries out, or replace them with a different berry. You can add nuts or chocolate chips if you want it to be more of a dessert than a breakfast. You’ll end up with a moist bread with a nice soft texture and a golden brown crust. I apologize for not having pictures for this one. Hopefully I can take a picture of it soon and add it later.

Pressure cooker pot roast with carrot and parsnip gravy

Friday, June 15th, 2012

Husband just spent five days on a business trip, and likely did a lot of things to wreck his gut. I texted him as he was heading home to ask what he’d like for dinner, and he asked for something with bone broth. Being a good wife who is well aware of the health benefits of bone broth, I obliged.

You’ll begin this one by browning all sides of a seasoned (I used smoked sea salt and pepper) 2.5 pound roast of some sort. Mine was a heel of round, but this would work fine, possibly even better, with a chuck roast of some sort. You’ll want to brown it for about five minutes per side, in a tablespoon or so of coconut oil, olive oil, or bacon grease.

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While it’s browning, peel and coarsely chop a large onion and five small parsnips. When the roast is browned, remove it from the cooker and set it aside in a bowl or on a cutting board. Add the onion and parsnips to the cooker, along with a few handfuls of baby carrots, three cloves of minced garlic, a teaspoon of Italian seasoning, and some more salt and pepper. Cook them for a few minutes, stirring occasionally, until the onion starts to soften.

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Add two cups of bone broth and a teaspoon of coconut aminos, and return the roast to the pan, submerging it as much as possible. Put the lid of the pressure cooker on and cook at high pressure for an hour. Allow the pressure to go down naturally.

When you can open the cooker, remove the meat and set it aside. Use an immersion blender to blend the vegetables and broth into a smooth purée.

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If it’s not thick enough, boil it to reduce. I boiled it for about fifteen minutes while I was making some roasted asparagus. When the gravy is thick enough for you, reduce the heat to low and return the meat until it’s warmed back up. Serve the gravy over the meat. This one would be good with mashed cauliflower or cauliflower rice. I just served it in a bowl with a side of roasted asparagus and roasted garlic aioli for dipping.

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Cold sesame kelp noodles

Sunday, June 10th, 2012

I heard recently that kelp noodles are low-carb, low-calorie, and taste pretty decent, so I made Husband order some. It’s 90 degrees outside today, and I took Preschooler to the playground this morning while Husband mowed the lawn, so both of us were not interested in a hot lunch. I also had some leftover sliced cucumber and some cold salmon that needed to be used. Cold sesame noodles seemed like a great treat.

Start with a one-pound bag of kelp noodles. Rinse them off, shake them dry, and toss them with a teaspoon of toasted sesame oil. Put the bowl in the fridge while you make the dressing.

Put six tablespoons of tahini in a small bowl. To that add cold water, a tablespoon at a time, whisking after each addition. Do this until the texture is thick and creamy. I used probably five tablespoons of water total, but it depends on how oily your tahini is–mine was pretty thin to begin with. You’ll notice it actually thickens with the first couple of tablespoons of water, before eventually thinning out again as you add more.

In another small bowl, whisk together three tablespoons of coconut aminos, a tablespoon of rice wine vinegar or white vinegar, two cloves of minced garlic, and a tablespoon of grated fresh ginger root. If you can’t find coconut aminos, use an equal amount of wheat-free soy sauce (also called tamari) with a teaspoon or so of honey added. Whisk that mixture into your tahini. Add two minced scallions. Toss this with the kelp noodles and add half a sliced cucumber.

To serve, put the noodle and cucumber mixture into bowls and sprinkle with toasted sesame seeds and another minced scallion if desired. Add any cold leftover meat you want; I used salmon, but it would be great with shrimp, chicken, or sliced pork.

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Totally homemade grass-fed ghee

Sunday, June 10th, 2012

Husband and I have bought lovely grassfed ghee from Pure Indian Foods a number of times, but I’ve always wondered if it was economically feasible to make my own. And by make my own, I meant starting from cream and ending at ghee. I love the grassfed cream from Snowville Creamery in my area (and chances are you have someone doing something similar in yours), but it comes in half-gallons only, and I find it very difficult to use before it goes bad. Making butter is an easy way to use up cream that’s nearing its expiration date. Plus, I’m starting a Whole30 tomorrow, so having dairy around won’t do me any good.

For butter, all you need is cream and a blender or food processor. Fill your vessel up not much more than halfway (for a full half gallon, I do two batches), and blend. About a minute in, you’ll have nice whipped cream, if you want to stop and grab some for berries. Keep blending, and you’ll notice that the whipped cream will start to look a bit crumbly and yellow. That’s the beginnings of butter. Eventually it’ll separate into butter and thin whey. When the butter clumps together into a large ball, you can take it out. Drain the whey off by pouring your blender contents into a strainer set over a large bowl. Let it drain for about ten minutes, then turn on the sink and make sure the water is as cold as it can get. Roll the butter into a ball, getting any small scraps that may have been separate from the initial clump, and massage the butter under the water, then take it out and squeeze out all the water. Keep doing this until the water that comes out of the butter is clear–that’s how you know you’ve washed all the remaining whey out. At this point, you could add salt if you want salted butter, and just store it in the fridge.

But we’re making ghee. Stick your butterball into a heavy-bottomed saucepan over low heat (I used my simmer burner for this). Very slowly allow it to melt and bring it to a boil. You’ll hear it crackle–that’s all the water cooking out of the butter from the butter-making process and from the milk solids that naturally occur in butter. Make sure it’s just barely boiling and the butter remains yellow; if it’s brown, you burnt it. The top will get very foamy.

Stir it occasionally. Eventually, about ten to fifteen minutes after it started boiling, when you stir the foam away you’ll be able to see to the bottom of the pan. That means your milk solids have all separated from the clarified butter. Turn off the heat and wait about 20 minutes, then pour it through a fine mesh strainer or a couple of layers of cheesecloth into a jar. It should look like liquid sunshine.

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I got a little less than three cups of ghee out of one $10 half-gallon of cream, which seems like a good deal. If you don’t have a good source of grassfed cream, you can always start with a few sticks of unsalted Kerrygold butter. The ghee will keep in your fridge for at least a couple of months. I’ve never had it go bad before using it all. Use it for cooking in place of butter. It also makes a great dip for seafood or artichokes when heated and sprinkled with a bit of sea salt.

Why we remodeled our kitchen

Monday, May 21st, 2012

We lived in our kitchen for a year before we started the remodeling process. In that year, we got to think about exactly how we wanted our kitchen to be. We wanted a space where both of us could work without tripping over one another. We wanted adequate storage for our utensils and small appliances. And most importantly, we wanted ventilation. Every time I made hamburgers or roast chicken, our house got smoky and smelled bad for hours.

Well, we have it now. Behold, as I sear some sous-vide steaks on a cast-iron grill pan while finishing the side of sautéed spinach and leeks. Yes, those are six-inch high open flames.