Clean Eating Day 12 [SCD, GAPS, Whole30]

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Breakfast
Hot tea, scrambled eggs, pork breakfast sausage (made with turkey sausage recipe), orange slices, baked squash soufflé with coconut topping
Lunch
Veggie soup with avocado, grassfed hot dog or chicken sausage, apples
Snack
Apples and veggies
Dinner
Asian meatballs with dipping sauce, green onion soup

At breakfast, everyone turned up their noses at the pumpkin soufflé, so the baby and I ate about half of it ourselves. It’s just all the pumpkin and other squash I roasted this week, blended with nutmeg, cinnamon, pear cider, and 2 eggs, topped with unsweetened coconut and baked at 350 for 30 minutes.

In the afternoon, Mr. Wonderful took me to see Les Miserables in the Theater. Loved it. Then we all got home at 6:30 -hungry- and I hadn’t started dinner yet.

While waiting for their dinner, the kids all gobbled up servings of cold squash soufflé, amazed that it tasted like pumpkin pie.

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These are the Asian Meatballs, recipe from my new friend Katherine. Thanks, Katherine!

Asian Meatballs
2 pounds ground pork
2/3 large head of green cabbage (napa cabbage is alternate)
5 stems cilantro with leaves
2 green onions
3 cloves garlic
Real salt
Sesame Oil
(Ginger is optional; I didn’t add ginger)

1. Put the pork in a large mixing bowl and use a hand mixer to beat it so the meat loosens into threads. Lightly season the meat with salt and sesame oil.

2. Finely chop the cabbage in the food processor, salt well, allow to sit for a few minutes, then press as much liquid out as possible; too much liquid will cause the meatballs to fall apart. Add pressed cabbage to meat.

3. Finely mince onion, garlic, cilantro, and ginger if adding it, add to meat, and blend the mixture together.

4. Form into balks the size of ping pong balls. These may be made ahead and frozen or refrigerated.

5. To cook, fill a large pot half full with water; bring to a boil over high heat. When boiling, add enough meatballs to cover bottom of pot without them crowding/sticking together. Leave over high heat, and when it returns to a boil, add a cup of cold water, which will cool the water below boiling. Repeat this step once more, and when it has returned to boiling the third time the meatballs are done. Fish them out and serve immediately with dipping sauce.

Dipping Sauce
2 parts soy sauce (I used coconut aminos)
1 part sesame oil (I used olive because I didn’t have sesame, but sesame is on my shopping list since olive is not a very good substitute)
Green onions, finely minced, to taste
Garlic, finely minced, to taste
Chili oil or minced fresh chilies to taste (I didn’t have this, so I used a dash of cayenne red pepper)

Surprisingly, the sauce tasted good, despite all my substitutions. And the meatballs were delicious. Next time I will definitely do more than two pounds.

Green Onion Soup
2 qts chicken stock
6 stalks green onions, sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced
10 stems cilantro, minced
4 oz crimini mushrooms, sliced
1 cup sliced green cabbage
Salt to taste (at least 1 Tb if stock is unsalted)
1 Tsp coconut aminos
Mix all ingredients in a soup pot and simmer until green onion is soft.

I used stock which I had made from our Plum Mustard Drumsticks, which was very dark and rich from a bit of the sauce being cooked with the bones. If your broth is light, you could mimic the dark flavor of the broth by adding a small bit of plum purée and Dijon mustard.

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Clean Eating Day 7 [SCD, GAPS, Whole30]

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Breakfast
Hot tea, egg scramble skillets (one with turkey breakfast sausage and one with leftover chopped Italian sausage link and kale…we liked the turkey sausage one better), grapefruit, banana
Lunch
Veggie soup, grassfed hot dog or chicken apple sausage, apples
Dinner
French onion soup with leftover shredded T-bone steak, leftover brusselsprouts, salad with green apple, avocado, soaked and dried walnuts, and dressing.

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I like to make French Onion Soup the day after having a roast or steaks…some leftover beef to mince and add for a heartier main course than just broth and onions. But, a soup with so few ingredients requires each part be the best. I used beef bone broth which I made from gelatin rich knuckle bones (they come no extra charge when we buy 1/4 cow), and simmered them for 2 days in the crockpot. I did this a few weeks ago, so all I had to do was remember to defrost a couple quarts this morning.

Below is the steak shredded and ready for the soup and the leftover brusselsprouts awaiting the oven. I have been successfully broiling brusselsprouts all autumn long, but when cooking them yesterday they did not get tender. I rebroiled them today thinking I hadn’t done them long enough, but barely better. These were in a bag from Costco…perhaps this is end of season and they aren’t fresh anymore.

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French Onion Soup
2 large sweet yellow onions
2 Tb ghee
2 qts beef stock
1/2 tsp thyme
Celtic sea salt to taste (about 2 Tb)
Fresh ground pepper (Flower Pepper-TJs)
1/4 allspice
2-3 cups shredded cooked beef
Melt ghee in large heavy enameled pot. Slice onions into 1/4 inch thick quarter moons, then break into single strands while coating in the heated ghee. Caramelize over medium heat, stirring every 5 minutes until a rich golden brown, about 30 minutes. Add beef stock and spices. Add half of salt and allow to simmer, then taste and adjust seasoning.

Of course, this is best with toasted bread and cheese melted on top, but we enjoyed it plain. It’s only 30 days!

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Clean Eating Day 5 [SCD, GAPS, Whole30]

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Breakfast
Hot tea, Banana crepes, grapefruit, berry compote, turkey sausage, fried eggs
Lunch Snack
Salted almonds, bananas, applesauce crushers
Dinner
Crock Pot Squash Chili garnished with avocado and olives, green apple slices

We have been “visiting” France in our Homeschool cultural studies, so I wanted to make a crepe-like meal for the kids. I think Whole30 technically calls for no baked goods even from approved ingredients, but…oh well! 🙂 And they were delicious. (I tripled this recipe.)

Banana Crepes
1 ripe banana
2 eggs
Dash salt
Blend till frothy, pour into crepe pan heated with ghee. Add ghee before making each crepe. Fill with sliced bananas, wrap, and top with blueberry compote.
Makes about 3 crepes.

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Turkey Sausage
1 lb ground turkey (not breast only)
1tsp salt
1.5 Tb Frontier Herbs Poultry Seasoning (it’s sage, thyme, onion, marjoram, black pepper, cayenne pepper)
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp allspice
Knead until incorporated evenly. Best to make at least 8 hours ahead to let flavors combine in the fridge before frying.

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Crock Pot Squash Chili
Layer in the crock pot:
2 cups fresh Pico de gallo (Costco)
2 12oz cans diced tomatoes (TJs organic)
1 tsp garlic
1 tsp cumin
2 lbs ground beef, fried with legal taco seasoning (grassfed from my freezer, Oregon Spice Co. Taco Seasoning from Azure Standard)
3 cups diced butternut squash (Costco)
Heat on high for 1 hour, then cook on low for 4-6 hours.

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We are trying to schedule non-food treats for our children this month. Today we took them to OMSI, a children’s science museum. We ate the snack lunch while there, but were pretty hungry when we arrived home. Great to walk in the door to a hot crock pot meal all ready (and smelling wonderful)! Makes me feel like supermom.

And squash is a surprisingly good substitute for beans in chili.

Clean Eating Day 1 [SCD, GAPS, Whole30]

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Breakfast
Hot tea, Scrambled eggs in lard (both eggs and pork pastured)
Turkey sausage patties
Half grapefruit or banana
Lunch
Veggie Soup (see recipe below)
Hot Dog link (Applegate farms from TJ’s: organic grassfed with no sugar or nitrites)
Pear Wedges
Dry roasted salted almonds
Dinner
Roasted pastured chicken (sprinkled inside and out with herbs, garlic, and coarse salt, roasted at 375 for about 2 hours)
Roasted carrots (bag of baby carrots with olive oil and coarse salt in 375 degree oven for 20? minutes alongside chicken pan, splash with balsamic and roast additional 10 minutes at 500 degrees) -wow, yum
green beans
Romaine salad with pears and soaked/dried walnuts and dressing:

Salad Dressing
juice of one lemon
1/4 cup white balsamic vinegar (TJ’s)
2 tsp. dijon mustard (TJ’s has no sugar added)
1/4 cup apple cider or juice
1/2 tsp fine salt
1 tsp tarragon, crushed fine
1 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil (TJ’s has a great price for organic)

Veggie Soup made with bone broth
Sautee 1 chopped onion, 2 lbs chopped carrots, and 1 bunch chopped celery in 4 TB ghee in a large soup pot. I do it until the sugars are released/begin to caramelize, about 30 minutes, while stirring occasionally. Add a qt. of strained bone broth, either directly from crockpot or from jarred broth. Salt with coarse sea salt, about 1 tsp, then wait 5 minutes for it to dissolve, then add more if the broth flavor tastes bland or sweet. Add water if there is not enough broth ratio for veggies and chicken. Allows to simmer until veggies are all soft, about 30 minutes. Optional: 1 Tb. curry powder. Optional: puree of all soft tissues strained from broth.

The dinner picture above doesn’t really look blog worthy…but I was too busy devouring my dinner to mind. 🙂

After dinner I removed all the leftover chicken from the bones, then put the carcass, a lemon halved, and about 3 qts of water into the crockpot to make into bone broth for lunch soup throughout the week.

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.

Soup and Scones Weather

Mmm…raindrops on the window, and soup on the stove. Fall is so cozy.

The secret to really rich soup? Sautee the veggies long and low in butter, onions first. The carmelization of the sugars in the veggies will give the broth wonderful flavor when you add the stock and/or water.

I love biscuits with soup, and have a fabulous gluten free recipe which I’ve developed. I make them as scones, since it’s faster/easier/cleaner than rolling them out.

Here’s the GF Biscuit-Scone recipe:

In food processor, with blade add:
2 cups My GF All Purpose Flour -scooped, not sifted (equal parts sorgum, brown rice, and tapioca flours)
1 TB baking powder
1/2 tsp. fine sea salt
1 tsp. xanthan gum
1/4 tsp. baking soda

Whir together, then add:
7 TBS cold butter, cut into pieces

Whir to cut butter into flour, then add:
1 egg
1 cup plain yogurt or kefir

Whir until combined, should resemble wet biscuit dough.

Turn out as a solid lump onto a baking stone, or a grease cookie sheet. Press into a circle, about 9 inches in diameter. Using a butter knife, cut the dough like a pizza into 8 equal wedges. This scoring will allow the biscuits to be divided after baking.

Bake 22-25 minutes at 350.

Serve hot with good butter, jam or honey.

French Onion Soup

Mmm . . . what could be more comforting on a dreary winter evening than a bowl of cheese-encrusted French Onion Soup? Made with a base of homemade Beef Bone Broth, it’s also a immune boosting, gut healing, blood and bone building elixir. The addition of steak is optional: I landed on it as a great way to use day-old steak, and my husband loves finding hearty meat in his soup!

4-5 yellow onions, sliced
3-4 shallots, sliced (if unavailable, use an additional onion)
5 T. butter
1 quart strong beef bone broth, tallow removed
2-4 cups water
1 tsp. dried thyme
1/2 tsp. black pepper
2 bay leaves
day-old steak, sliced thinly against grain, or shredded roast (optional)
1-4 tsp. unrefined sea salt (see note)
crusty bread for topping, artisan soudough or french bread is good
sliced cheese for melting, such as Havarti, Jack, or Gouda

Melt butter in a large heavy enameled dutch oven. Add sliced onions and shallots, stirring to coat with the butter. Cook uncovered over Medium-High heat for 15 minutes, stirring every 3 minutes with a wooden spoon, or until onions have turned a dark brown as they caramelize. Cover and cook another 25 minutes on Medium-Low, stirring occasionally. Onions will shrink during cooking.

Add broth, water, thyme, bay leaves, pepper, meat if desired, and half of salt. Bring to boil, reduce to simmer for 30 minutes. Remove bay leaves, and add salt to taste (see note). This soup has a lot of sweetness from the carmelized onions, so I like it best when I’ve salted just enough for my tongue to tell me “savory” rather than “sweet/bland”. (Since the homemade broth isn’t pre-salted, you may be surprised by the amount of salt it will need.) I can not overemphasize salting correctly, as this brings out the delicate onion/shallot flavor, bringing it from frumpy to fabulous.

Set oven to Broil. Toast bread, unless it is the ends, then slice into 1 inch strips. Ladle soup into oven-proof bowls, and top with toast slices, then top with sliced cheese. Place bowls on top rack of oven and leave door open slightly so you can watch them; they are ready when cheese melts and bubbles, with light brown edges.

Serve straight from the oven to the table; warn your family of the hot bows and set potholders at each spot to protect your table top.

Note: different salts have differing amounts of saltiness. Unrefined salt (usually grey, red, or another color because of the minerals still in it) is less salty than refined salt, which has additives (including aluminum -yuck!) for dryness and easy pouring which give it a harsh or bitter flavor and dextrose sugar to cover this flavor. Unrefined salt is the better choice, but you will need to adjust the amount you add according to taste. If the salt you use is the moist coarse kind (such as the wonderful Course Sea Salt from Trader Joes), wait a few minutes after adding salt to the soup pot before tasting. Since it has large salt crystals, it takes a little longer for it to dissolve; it would be easy to oversalt it in haste.

Bone Broth: Body Builder

Homemade broth has become a lost tradition of good cooking, and good health. Bullion cubes, with their dubious list of ingredients (hydrolized fat, lots of salt, chicken “flavor”?), and watered-down boxed broth, are in common use for instant flavor in soups and other recipes, but they boast none of the amazing health benefits of their predecessor, true bone broth.

Centuries of chefs have prized a good stock (their term for broth) as the basis for soups, sauces, and glazes, and centuries of mothers and grandmothers have prized it as the best immune-boosting food for the sick and invalid. Chicken soup used to be known as the “Jewish penicillin” as it was standard treatment for the ill in the Jewish community.

But bone broth is not just for the sick; it’s for building healthy bodies and strong bones. By slow cooking bones over several days, the mineral elements of the bones are leached into the broth and broken down for easy absorption by the human body. If the bones being cooked have cartilage attached to them, this is also broken down into easily absorbed gelatin, which directly nourishes the intestines, and then the joints of the body. Marrow inside the bones dissolves into the broth, providing nourishment for the immune system and building blood.

And the good news is, bone broth is easy to make in a crock pot, and is made from ingredients which you are likely already just throwing away!

Bone broth can be made from any bones: red meat, poultry, or fish. I have not made a fish version, but I plan to with the next “whole” fish I have (and then I’ll delve into oriental soup). Chicken and Beef broths are my staples, as these meats are the most common in my home (turkey broth only gets made once or twice a winter, when we have a holiday feast).

Obviously, the more nutrient-dense the animal that you are cooking, the more nutrient-dense the food will be. So bones from organic free-range poulty, and organic grass fed beef/lamb or wild shot game will yield a better broth.

Poultry Broth
Read my recipe for Poultry Broth, which is the basis for innumerable soups, or can be thickened with potato starch or wheat flour to substitute as “cream of chicken soup” in casseroles.

Beef Broth
Read my recipe for Beef/Game Broth, which is the basis for beef flavored soups, including my favorite, French Onion Soup, and can be used for sauces, glazes, and gravies.

Poultry Broth

Plan to make chicken (or other poulty) broth immediately after roasting a whole bird. I like to roast a chicken for dinner, and as each person cuts the meat off their respective bones, they put the bones back into the roasting pan (casual family dinner). After dinner, remove the roasting pan to the kitchen, and remove all the remaining meat from the carcass. If it was properly roasted, the meat should be sliding off the bones. Refrigerate or freeze the meat separately as an addition to a future soup or casserole.

Place the rest of the carcass and the drippings from the pan into a large crock pot. (Wait, aren’t those drippings just a bunch of fat? No, there’s a lot of good gelatin in there too, and don’t worry, you’ll have a chance to skim the fat off later.) Add enough purified water (3-5 qts) to cover the carcass by 1 inch (you may break up the rib cage to fit in better; a turkey carcass may need to have one half frozen for a second batch). Add 2 tsp. of apple cider vinegar; this acidifies the water and causes more leaching of minerals from the bones.

Turn the crock pot on high. After an hour or two, when you notice that the water has heated thoroughly, turn down the crock pot to low, and let slow cook for 24-48 hours. If you see skum form on the top of the broth during cooking, carefully skim away and discard. If you wish, you can add spare ends of vegetables during cooking. . . a carrot end here, extra chopped onions there. This will add richer flavor, but is unnecessary.

When the broth is finished, you should be able to easily crush a chicken drumstick bone with a spoon. Remove chicken carcass with a slotted spoon, and discard. Place a sieve over a funnel fitted into a quart size glass canning jar. Ladle broth through sieve into jar, leaving about 1.5 inches at the top. Continue to fill additional jars until all broth is stored; cover and refrigerate overnight. In the morning, you will notice a hardened white layer at the top in each jar; this is fat, and may be removed with a spoon and discarded. As you remove it, you’ll notice that the broth under it is actually Jello-like in consistency. This is caused by the minerals and gelatin which are suspended in water.

Freeze all the jars of broth which you will not use within the next 2 days. Defrost in the refrigerator 1 day prior to use.

Poultry broth is the basis for innumerable soups, or can be thickened with potato starch or wheat flour to substitute as “cream of chicken soup” in casseroles.

Update January 2013: For the last year I have been using a single lemon, halved as a substitute for the apple cider vinegar, with a more pleasing end flavor.

Beef or Game Broth

Each year, we invest in a quarter of beef from a local ranch which humanely raises cattle on a grainless diet (grass fed). The butcher offers the bones to us, and I always say yes, as these “discards” are my little nutrient goldmine! The bones, all shank or knuckle/joint bones, are cut into 2-5 inch lengths and bundled in bags.

Maybe you’ve had similar bones in your freezer, and you’ve wondered what on earth to do with them. Here’s what you do:

Place one large, or two small, beef bones into a large crock pot. Fill with enough purified water to cover bones by 1 inch (3-5 qts?). Add 2 Tb. red wine (vinegar can be used, but I find that it fights the beef flavor); this acidifies the water and causes more leaching of minerals from the bones.

Turn the crock pot on high. After an hour or two, when you notice that the water has heated thoroughly, turn down the crock pot to low, and let slow cook for 24-48 hours. If you see skum form on the top of the broth during cooking, carefully skim away and discard. If the marrow of the bone is exposed from the bone cut, you will notice after a day that it has become soft. Scoop it from the bone, mash into the broth, and continue to cook it down.

When the broth is finished, you should notice that the bones have seemed to shrink slightly in size, and that they appear quite porous as so much of their minerals have been leached into the broth. Remove bones with a slotted spoon, and discard. Place a sieve over a funnel fitted into a quart size glass canning jar. Ladle broth through sieve into jar, leaving about 1.5 inches at the top. Continue to fill additional jars until all broth is stored; cover and refrigerate overnight. In the morning, you will notice a hardened white layer at the top in each jar; this is fat, and may be removed with a spoon and discarded. As you remove it, you’ll notice that the broth under it is actually Jello-like in consistency. This is caused by the minerals and gelatin which are suspended in water.

Freeze all the jars of broth which you will not use within the next 2 days. Defrost in the refrigerator 1 day prior to use.

Beef broth is the basis for beef flavored soups, including my favorite, French Onion Soup, and can be used for sauces, glazes, and gravies.