Not All Honey Is Created Equal

Opening our 4 gallon bucket of raw, local apple blossom honey is an event each September. We all stand around the bucket, waiting for the first whiffs of flowery sweetness. It’s creamy. I spoon it into jars to avoid using a pickaxe later after it hardens.

This year we bought 2 four gallon buckets, and we are nearing the end.

I had read about honey being diluted with corn syrup, so I did a little searching. Looks like that’s not the worst of it; much commercial, highly filtered honey may be imported illegally to the US from China or India and carry chemicals and heavy metals.

Read this link to see the importance of leaving the pollen in the honey; it can be tracked as true honey.

http://www.foodsafetynews.com/2011/11/tests-show-most-store-honey-isnt-honey/

I will continue to purchase local raw honey in 4 gallon buckets, and supplement with Mesquite honey from Trader Joes. And no more using honey packets at restaurants.

Last Week’s Meal Plan

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Mock Parmesan Chicken and Greek Salad

I made a meal plan last week, and actually stuck to it. Seems like I usually end up switching my days up, or failing to plan part of the week and ending up in a scramble, or stretching the leftovers in odd ways. Not this week!

This was my plan; just dinners, as breakfast is smoothies, eggs, yogurt, or muffins and lunch is leftovers, veggie chicken bone soup, or Applegate Farms excellent organic grassfed sugar free uncured hot dogs.

M: herb roasted pastured chicken, celery sticks and herb yogurt dip, cantaloupe
T: spinach bacon mushroom quiche and kale salad
W: chicken divan
(meat from Monday’s bird, a bag of frozen organic broccoli, mock hollandaise sauce with some added nutmeg and curry powder, topped with quatro formaggio cheese and baked at 350)
T: greek salad alongside mock chicken parmesan (4 jumbo chicken breasts in the crockpot layered with a jar of marinara, a package of sliced havarti or provolone, 1/2 cup almond flour, and 1 cup of Parmesan, cooked on high for 6 hours; cut up chicken and leave lid off for last two hours)
F: hamburgers in SCD buns with bacon and all the fixings, spiced pear tart for birthday dessert
S: grilled sirloin steak, grilled summer veggies, cantaloupe: gorgeous weather and we ate out on the patio
S: Leftovers, mainly lunch soup and chicken marinara

I planned an oven dinner for Wednesday so the oven would be warm when I began the yogurt that night, and a crockpot meal for Thursday so I wouldn’t need to use the oven while the yogurt was still in there. I soaked walnuts and almonds on Tuesday to have them ready to dry in the warming drawer while the yogurt was going in the oven. This worked so well, I’m going to do it weekly.

Also, instead of drying all the almonds, I reserved 1.5 cups of soaked almonds to make almond milk, and used the leftover meal from making the milk to make pancakes on Friday morning.

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The kids were delighted to have pancakes (with blackberry syrup) and “peach tea lattes” made with almond milk and honey on Hudson’s birthday this week. 🙂

Spiced Pear Tart

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My son requested “apple pie” for his birthday cake this week. I felt that I could fake a single crust pie better than a two crust pie while using almond flour rather than real flour.

So it was going to be an apple tart, until the kids ate up all the apples the day before the birthday. So then it became a pear tart. We did have one half of an apple remaining, which took center stage, literally, in the center of the tart.

At this morphed stage of the birthday pie, I was thinking fondly of a spiced pear tart recipe from Healthy Bread in Five Minutes a Day, which is where my inspiration came from to make it upside down in a cast iron skillet.

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Preheat oven to 350.

In a large, clean (no savory flavors left over…if unsure, scramble eggs in butter and remove…there shouldn’t be flavors left after that) cast iron skillet, melt and stir:
1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup honey
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
1/4 tsp. cloves
1/8 tsp. cardamom
1 tsp. orange zest (I didn’t have this, but I’m adding it here because I think it’d be great) 🙂

Stir this syrup while it bubbles, about 5 minutes. I had my 8 year old daughter stir this while I cored, pealed and sliced:
2 pears (about 12 slices for large pears)

Lay the pear slices in the syrup, in a circular fashion, starting in the center.

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Let the pears cook in the spiced syrup for about 7 minutes, until soft, while you make the crust in the food processor:

2 cups almond flour
3 dashes cinnamon
2 Tb soft butter
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp soda
Blend, then add:
1 tsp vanilla
1 egg
1/3 cup honey
Blend just until smooth. Turn out onto greased parchment paper. Cover with seran and roll to a round the size of your iron skillet (just guesstimate the size), about 1/2 inch thick. Remove seran, turn off stovetop, and invert onto top of pears/syrup. Press down slightly until dough is touching pears all around.

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It was at this point I wished I had greased the parchment before rolling out the dough. If you do, it may come off neatly at this point. Of course, it may also slip off while inverting it. Anyway, I baked it in the oven with the paper on top. After 15 minutes I pulled it from the oven and removed the paper. Only a little stuck, so not much harm done.

Allow it to cool on your stovetop or a cooling rack before inverting it onto a display plate.

This is quite sweet; we enjoyed it with dollops of smooth and tangy Creme Fraiche.

Quiche and Kale Salad (Honey Bunny Salad)

Have I really never posted the recipe for Kale Salad? Hmm… Shame on me. We call it Honey Bunny Salad -a thinly veiled attempt to entice the children to eat mouthfuls of vitamin-K-rich Kale. They actually do like this salad pretty well.

I served Honey Bunny Salad beside Quiche for Tuesday’s dinner this week; it seems like such a nice contrast of flavors. Since we are doing SCD (no grains or starches), I made an almond flour crust for the Quiche, and it’s fine but doesn’t steal the show like a regular white flour crust. So I made sure what was in the pie was super yummy.

Bacon Spinach Mushroom Quiche

Prepare pie crust earlier in the day, at least 30 minutes before assembling quiche. (See below.)

Grate 2 cups of cheddar cheese, and spread 1 cup in the bottom of the pie crust, reserving one cup. (New Zealand Grassfed is what I used; it took about half the block.)

Fry 4 oz. bacon, snipped into bits, in large fry pan on stove, until crisp. (I used natural pork bacon from Trader Joes. There is a tiny amount of sugar in it, which we can handle, but you might look for bacon from Applegate Farms if you avoid even this small amount.)

Add 8 oz. washed and sliced Crimini mushrooms (button will work, but don’t have as much flavor)

When mushrooms are nearly soft, add half a bag fresh spinach leaves. This will overfill the frying pan, but will soon wilt down.

While the filling is cooking on the stove, whisk together:
7-8 eggs (depending on size)
1 cup SCD kefir or yogurt
1 tsp. good salt (Himalayan Pink is what I used)
1/2 tsp. fresh pepper (Trader Joes Flower Pepper grinder)
2 shakes nutmeg
1 shake paprika

Spoon fried bacon, mushroom, spinach mixture into pie crust, on top of the cheese. Do this when the spinach has just wilted. Leave any excess water in the fry pan. Pour egg mixture over filling; this should just cover the filling, and not spill over the edge. Cover with reserved cup of grated cheese.

Bake in 400 degree preheated oven for 45 minutes, or until golden brown. Allow to set 5 minutes before cutting and serving.

SCD Pie Crust (savory)
In food processor, blend together:
1 cup fine blanched almond meal
1 T. coconut flour
1/4 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese (pure, no fillers)
1/2 tsp. salt
2 Tb. soft butter
Add:
1 egg
1-4 tsp. water, just until it all incorporates smoothly

Press into a large buttered pie dish, using plastic wrap to smooth it evenly on bottom and up sides of dish. Bake in 350 preheated oven for 10 minutes. Remove and cool.

And here is the amazing Kale salad recipe.

Honey Bunny Salad

1 bunch Kale, snipped with kitchen sheers to bite sized pieces, large veins removed (or do Easy: grab a bag of chopped organic Kale as is now available in Trader Joes. Downside: a lot of veins left in there. Hope you like crunch.)
3 handfuls raisins (go for organic!)
2 handfuls raw sunflower seeds, or pine nuts (I used a blend of sunflower seeds and almonds this week)

Dressing: whisk together the following with a fork until emulsified:
1/4 cup honey (mine is raw, and is now crystalized, but it works just fine without heating)
1/8 cup EVOO (the new term for Extra Virgin Olive Oil; always buy organic)
1 tsp. salt
2 cloves fresh garlic, pressed (chopped garlic in a jar won’t work; you’ve got to use fresh)

Pour dressing over salad, mixing very well until it is coating all the leaves, not just the top. This is more like massaging than the proverbial tossing. Don’t worry, it’s gonna taste awesome, and your kids are going to eat kale! (And you are too!) This keeps well in the fridge until the next day.

Lemon Artichoke Chicken

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We had a quick but fun visit this weekend from my sister-in-law and her three children. I made a crock pot dinner on Saturday so I could spend the afternoon with my sister-in-law thrift/antique shopping. How wonderful to arrive home to a dinner all ready!

Lemon Artichoke Chicken
In crock pot, layer:
2 Tb. EVOO
1 large onion, chopped finely
4 jumbo chicken breasts, frozen
1 tsp. granulated garlic
1/8 tsp fresh ground pepper (I like Trader Joes flower pepper grinder)
1 Tb. course mineral salt, such as Celtic Sea Salt (moist and gray)
2 Tb. Capers with a little of the brine (I use Trader Joes; about 1/3 the 7 oz. jar)
1 bag frozen artichoke hearts (12 oz? -from Trader Joes)
Juice from 2 large/3 small lemons

Cook on high for 6 hours, then cut chicken into small pieces for serving, and cook for additional half an hour before serving to allow juices to permeate chicken. Check for salt balance and serve.

I served this strained from the juices, next to a large salad of mixed greens with a plum/raspberry/olive oil dressing.

The picture above includes roasted chunked zucchini and quartered crimini mushrooms which I added the next day when reheating this as leftovers. If adding at the start, use about 3 zucchini and 8 oz. mushrooms. This was more like a stew as leftovers, as the excess liquids are left behind from day one.

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And this is what I found while dinner was cooking: a cake platter just right for the fairy birthday cupcakes we are planning. $10 made it mine, which made me pretty happy.