I’m taking the challenge!

Captain Caveman by Hannah-Barbera Productions

Since finding out I have fructose malabsorption, and adjusted my diet accordingly, I thought the weight I put on last year would just start to drop off….it hasn’t.  My doctor also thought the weight would start to drop off…surprise!

It has been suggested to me (by my doctor, nutritionist and friend) that I try to reduce my carb intake, especially in the evening.  I’ve decided to try the Paleo challenge.

My husband had great results on South Beach, but I gained weight during Phase 1.  Yes, I thought that should be impossible too.  But that was years ago, before I knew all of my food restrictions.

It will be a bit tough going Paleo since I can’t eat large amounts of vegetables.  But I’m going to give it a try.

Today’s menu:

  • eggs and cheese for breakfast (cooked in butter),
  • homemade chicken salad for lunch (made with grilled chicken thighs, leeks, and homemade mayo),
  • hamburger with cheese and roasted broccoli (1/4 cup) and yellow squash (1/4 cup)  for dinner.
  • Snacks included another hamburger patty, and some peanuts.  Oh and a Bubbies dill pickle.  I’ve found that I can tolerate fermented cucumbers much better than I can raw cucumbers.  (So glad I love Bubbies, but I do miss raw cucumber…perhaps  some day.)

I hope that will get me through for the day.

I may not know all the rules for going Paleo, but I think what I’ve done is pretty close.

All my meat and eggs are from local, pasture raised sources.  Even the cheese I ate today was local.  The broccoli was organic, but I don’t think it was local.  The squash was local and organic.

I will not be eating any grains, fruit, or potatoes during the first couple of weeks at least.  (I know you can have some fruit on the Paleo diet, but since I have troubles with fructose I decided to forego the fruit for a while.)  Trying to keep this low carb.

Have any of you done the Paleo Challenge?  Any success?

Today I’m still feeling very lethargic, and had a migraine start but aborted it with meds.  (these are not new symptoms so I wouldn’t think they have anything to do with how I ate today)

I also had diarrhea today, but that was probably because of things eaten before today.

Tilapia with Almond Flour Coating

I will admit, I don’t cook fish often.  I know we should eat it more often, but I just don’t like to touch raw fish.  Also my husband only likes fish when it’s fried, so we don’t have it very often.   I’m trying to get over my aversion and cook it more often.  I thought I’d slowly introduce my hubby to different ways of cooking, so this time I lightly fried the tilapia after coating it will some onion-garlic herb seasoning, and some almond flour.  Next time I plan to bake this.

Tilapia with Almond Flour Coating served with Roasted Squash

Tilapia with Almond Flour Coating

Rinse fish.

Dredge in Egg (this part is optional, it will help the coating stick, but I didn’t use it last night and just had a light coating and it was very good).

Liberally sprinkle the Onion/Garlic Herb seasoning on the fish.

Place fish in Almond flour and coat both sides.

Heat Olive Oil over Medium High heat, when oil is hot fry the fish.

Cook on one side until about 1/2 cooked, then turn and cook through.  If you can see the side of one of the fillets you can see it turning white on from the bottom up, when it’s white about half way up turn over and cook until the entire fillet is white and the coating is browned.  Timing will vary depending on how thick your fillets are.  One of mine was pretty thin and one was thicker.  I started the thicker one a little before the thin one so they would be cooked at the same time.

I served this with Roasted Zucchini and Yellow Squash.

  • 1 each a Zucchini and Yellow Squash about the same size
  • Onion/Garlic Herb Seasoning
  • Olive Oil Spray

This is very easy to cook, I made it in my toaster oven.

Coat the squash with olive oil (I used spray olive oil – I have a pump sprayer from Pampered Chef, you just add your oil, pump and spray.  No more buying canned oil spray.)

Sprinkle both sides of the squash and zucchini with Onion/Garlic Herb seasoning.

Place on a cooking sheet (I used parchment paper to ease clean-up)

Broil until as tender as you want.  (originally, I tried to brown them a little, but the squash gets to soft before that happens.)

Grass Fed Burgers Seasoned with Caramelized Onions

Grass Fed Beef Burgers with Caramelized Onions

I’ve been craving a good burger lately.  I often find my burgers disappointing.  I use local grass-fed beef and my burgers are usually tough.  So I did a little research and found out that grass-fed beef needs to be cooked about 30% less time than normal beef.  The farmer’s site also recommended to add something to your burgers to add some juiciness.  I decided to add Caramelized Onions.  These were some of the best burgers ever!

Grass Fed Beef Burgers with Caramelized Onions

  • 1 lb Grass Feb Beef
  • Onion Powder
  • Garlic Powder
  • Celtic Sea Salt (I used Real Salt)
  • Pepper
  • 1 medium Onion cut in half and then in thin slices  (if needing to be low FODMAPS, use leaks if tolerated, if you can’t tolerate leaks, you could use the green part of green onions)
  • oil of your choice – butter, olive oil, coconut oil, or bacon grease

Heat oil in a fry pan or griddle on medium high.  Add onions and cook until brown, do not burn, if your onions start to burn turn your heat down, they should be a rich light brown and be translucent.

Mix the onions into the ground beef.  Make into patties.  Sprinkle each patty with Onion Powder, Garlic Powder, Celtic Sea Salt, and Pepper.  Cook on the grill or on a griddle on the stove.  (it was a very windy day so we had to cook ours indoors.)  I seared one side of the burgers then turned them over and seared the other side and turned the heat down and let them cook.  I made very thick burgers (about 1/3 lb each) so it took a little while.  Sorry I didn’t time how long I cooked them, I was called away from the stove and my husband finished the cooking so I’m just not sure.

I still think I over cooked them just a little, but they were so much better than ever before, and the flavor was wonderful!

I served these burgers with Roasted Broccoli.

Roasted Broccoli

  • Broccoli florets (I made enough for the 2 of us to have a heaping serving each)
  • Olive Oil (just enough to coat)
  • seasoning  (I used an Onion / Garlic Herb Blend.)

Combine Broccoli florets, Olive Oil, and Seasoning in a bowl, stir to coat broccoli.   Place on a cooking sheet, and broil until the broccoli starts to brown, stir so the green sides are on top and cook until that side starts to brown.   The broccoli should be a little crunchy and have a good roasted flavor.

Top the burger off with a little grainy mustard and this was wonderful.  It really satisfied my taste for a good burger.

This post shared on Food Renegade’s Fight Back Friday blog carnival.

Spiced Almonds

Spiced Almonds

For a tasty protein snack I made some Spiced Almonds.  I made two different batches with different seasonings, so you get 2 recipes today.

Garlic and Herb Spiced Almonds

This recipe is really a guesstimate on proportions.  It’s one of those recipes where I just threw things together to see how it would turn out.

I had about 1 lb of Raw Almonds and soaked them over night.  For this recipe I used about half of them.  So here are my best estimates for the amounts I used:

  • 1/2 lb soaked Raw Almonds.  (I found that if you let the almonds dry out for a day after you soak them they get crispier faster.)
  • 1 – 2  tsp.  garlic/onion herb mix (I made my own mix that has garlic powder, onion powder, basil, oregano, marjoram, bay, and parsley in it.  It’s a lot like Mrs. Dash with a lot of Garlic and Onion powder added.)
  • 1 tsp Cumin (or perhaps a little more..I really like Cumin)
  • 1 tsp Chili Powder
  • 2 Tablespoons of Olive Oil (or coconut oil, or even butter)
  • 1 tsp Celtic Sea Salt – use more or less to taste (I used Real Salt)

Mix the nuts and oil until they are covered, if you need more oil, add a little more.  You want to make sure the spices stick to the nuts.  I felt like these needed a bit more spice, so next time I will add more of the seasonings.  They have a good flavor, they just needed more.  So make sure your nuts are really covered with your spices.

I cooked mine in a 4 qt slow cooker for about 4-5 hours, stirring every 20-30 mins.  (I cooked this batch right after I drained them from soaking and they took a long time to get crispy, I kept trying them and turning them back on.  I’m really not possitive how long I cooked these.  But the next batch….I cooked for just about 3 hours on high stirring every 20-30 mins. and they came out crispy!  They had been drying out over night.)

Asian Spiced Nuts

Again the amounts are guesstimates.  I just sprinkled the spices in the pot until it looked like the nuts were covered well.

  • approximately 1/2 lb Raw soaked nuts that have been drained and drying for a day.
  • 1Tablespoon of Chinese 5 Spice Powder
  • 1 Tablespoon Garlic Powder (maybe a little less)
  • 1-2 Tablespoons Soy Sauce
  • 1 Tablespoon Butter

Combine all ingredients in slow cooker (I used a 4 quart) turn it on high.  Stir until the butter is melted and all the ingredients are mixed.  Cook for about 3 hours on high stirring 20 – 30 mins.

I really liked these nuts!  They don’t smell great, but they taste wonderful!  I will be trying to do this one again, and next time I’ll try to get the measurements down so I can make sure to be able to repeat this over and over.

The main thing I can tell you is to add an oil so your seasonings will stick to your nuts, and then add your favorite spices, and cook.  You’ll never know how it will turn out until you try.

 

This post shared on Pennywise Platter.

Slow Cooker Balsamic Chicken with Veggies

Slow Cooker Balsamic Chicken and Veggies with Biscuit

Once again I found a recipe in Stephanie O’Dea’s book Make it Fast, Cook it Slow that I adapted and ended up with a keeper!

The original recipe can also be found on her website A Year of Slow Cooking.   Her recipe is called Balsamic Chicken with Spring Vegetables.   I used less vegetables, I think you could adapt this and use many different kinds of vegetables, so I just called mine:

Slow Cooker Balsamic Chicken with Veggies

  • 4-6 pasture raised chicken parts (Stephanie used all boneless thighs, I used a mixture of dark and white meat, but it was all boneless.  Her’s were frozen, mine was partially thawed.)
  • 1 med – large onion cut in chunks (remove when done if Low FODMAPS)
  • 3 big cloves of garlic chopped  (remove when done if Low FODMAPS)
  • 1 zucchini cut into large chunks
  • 1 yellow squash cut into large chunks
  • 1/4 cup Balsamic vinegar
  • 1 Tablespoon GF soy sauce (I used San-J Tamari)  Stephanie uses Worcestershire sauce, but I’m not eating that right now.

(Stephanie also uses bell peppers, and more garlic.  We just don’t care for bell peppers that much, and I was running low on garlic, but my cloves were very big.)

Directions

  1. Salt and pepper your chicken if desired.
  2. Place Chicken in your slow cooker.  (I used a 4 quart cooker)
  3. Wash and Cut up your vegetables.  (If you need to make prep time shorter in the morning you could cut these up at night and have them ready for the morning.)
  4. Put your veggies in a bowl and mix with Balsamic Vinegar and Soy Sauce.
  5. Pour veggies over Chicken
  6. Cover and cook on low for 6-8 hours, or on high for about 4 hours.

I served this with Almond Flour Biscuits.  They didn’t turn out quite as good as I would have liked, so I’m going to give it another try before posting this recipe.

Both Stuart and I liked this recipe.  We both felt like I could have used a little less balsamic vinegar, and possibly added a little more soy sauce.  We’ll see next time.  This was also very good warmed up.  I also liked it when I cut up the chicken and veggies into small pieces and added it to chicken broth, it made a nice soup.

Steak Fajitas – Blood Sugar Diet

I probably mentioned that I’ve been having some gastrointestinal troubles and decided to see a nutritionist about it after many months of being poked and prodded by doctors.  My nutritionist is working on getting my digestion working better and right now we are also working on stabilizing my blood sugar.  So, I’m on a mostly protein, fat, and non-starchy vegetable diet for the next 2 weeks.

Last night we had Steak Fajitas, I got most of this recipe from Paleo Girls.com, I used their suggestion for spices, but I didn’t have any bell peppers (I know they are traditional with fajitas, but I don’t like them).  Hubby had tortillas with his, I didn’t.  That was fine with me.  Look at this plate of food!

 

Steak Fajitas with Braised Cabbage and Guacamole

Steak Fajitas (adapted from Paleo Girls.com)

Ingredients for the marinade:

  • 1lb Grass fed Beef Strips (I used pastured raised local beef, bought from our local co-op)
  • 2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
  • 1 Garlic Clove Minced
  • 3 Tablespoons Lemon Juice
  • 1 teaspoon Garlic Powder (I left this out and added more fresh garlic.)
  • 1 teaspoon Onion Powder (I left this out and added sliced onion.)
  • Dash of Hot Sauce (They show Rooster Sauce in the photo, and I used that too.)
  • salt, optional, to taste (I meant to add a little Real Salt for the minerals, but I forgot.)
  • black pepper, optional, to taste  (I left this out because I don’t care for black pepper very much, it hurts my tummy.)

For the vegetables you will need:

  • 1/2 – 1 medium onion (I used 1/2 large onion and put the other half in the marinade.) – this is for cooking with the meat.
  • 2 Bell Peppers any color you like (I left these out, as I said before, I don’t like them.

In a container of your choice that has a lid (the Paleo girls suggest a heavy-duty plastic bag), I have a Pyrex dish that is flat and has a lid on it that I used.  Combine your meat, all the rest of the ingredients for the marinade.

Heat your grill or pan, I used a griddle pan, on Medium High.  Remove the meat from marinade and discard marinade.  Cook steak and veggies at the same time.  About 7-8 minutes depending on the thickness of your strips.  Remember, grass-fed beef cooks quickly and can dry out easily, so be careful not to over cook.  (my onions gave off so much water that my steak was more braised, instead of seared, if you want them nice and dark brown I suggest cooking them separate from the veggies.)

I had mine with braised cabbage.  I just added some water to the griddle and threw some cabbage on and let it cook.  I can’t eat raw veggies right now or I might have had raw cabbage or lettuce.  Hubby had raw cabbage on his fajitas.

I added some guacamole.  (I actually didn’t have all the ingredients for guacamole, I just mashed up some avocado with some lime juice, green onion, and garlic.  It was very tasty.)  I also topped the meat with a little bit of local salsa.

I was very pleased with this dish.  (of course, I don’t post about the dishes that turn out to be complete failures.  Wonder if I should sometime?)

I wasn’t able to marinate the steak as long as suggested but I still got some of the flavor from the marinade, next time I’d like to make sure and marinade it longer.  Perhaps even longer than the suggested 1 hour.

Left over Pot Roast with Fried Cabbage

Left over Pot Roast with Fried Cabbage

Yesterday I made a Pot Roast in the Slow Cooker.  I adapted the recipe from A Year of Slow Cooking’s Old Fashioned Pot Roast.

Pot Roast in the Slow Cooker

  • 2 lb Chuck Roast (I used local pasture raised beef.  You could also use a different cut of roast if you prefer.)
  • 1 onion cut into large hunks (I used an organic onion.)  Just cut the onion in eights, then break it apart.
  • I threw in a few local turnips because I had them in the fridge and they needed to be used.  (you can use veggies of your liking, like carrots and potatoes…)
  • 2-3 stalks of celery sliced, but the slices can be a little large. (I used organic)
  • seasoning of choice – I used Real Salt, and an onion/garlic blend I made.  It has onion and garlic powder with other herbs like oregano, thyme, parsley, sage, and basil)
  • 2 Tablespoons Worcestershire Sauce (make sure it’s gluten-free) *
  • 1/4 cup water *

*If I would have had some home-made beef stock made I would have used it instead of these 2 ingredients.

Season your meat.

Add onion to the bottom of your cooker.  Place meat on top of onions.

Add Worcestershire sauce, and the rest of your veggies.

cook on low for up to 8 hours.

I have a 3.5 quart slow cooker.  If you have a larger cooker you can use a larger cut of meat.

Today I had left over Pot Roast and added Fried Cabbage.

Fried Cabbage

  • cabbage
  • sausage or bacon

Today I had baby cabbage with the looser leaves from a local farm.  I just washed it and cut it into strips about 1 inch wide and 2 inches long.

Crumble either sausage or bacon  and cook it thoroughly.  The amount of meat you need will depend on how much cabbage you use.  You want enough that the cabbage won’t stick to the pan and will be lightly coated with the fat.

Add the cabbage and cook on low until the cabbage is as wilted and tender as you like it.

Left Over Pot Roast

Slice the pot roast thinly.  Then after you remove the cabbage from you pan add the roast beef, cook on medium until heated through and browned a little.  I also threw some of the onions and other veggies in the pan to heat them too.

This was a lot like a salad, but I can’t eat raw veggies right now so this really hit the spot.  I was very pleased with this lunch.  A great way to make more from an original meal.

What S.O.L.E. ingredients did I use?  All the ingredients were Sustainable, Organic, and Ethical.  The onion and celery were not local but they fit the rest of the criteria.   I don’t know about the seasoning, or the Worcestershire sauce.

Chicken Broth/Stock – an update

(clip art courtesy of Weston A Price website)

I’ve been told to drink Homemade Chicken Broth to help my digestion.

Well, I’ve been making my own Chicken Broth/Stock for years.  However, there was one ingredient that my stock has been missing and I didn’t even know it.

Vinegar.  Did you know that you should add Vinegar to your stock to help extract the calcium from the bones?  Well, I had no idea.  It makes sense.  Remember the experiment you probably did when you were in elementary school where you soaked an egg in vinegar and the shell became all rubbery?  That was because the calcium was extracted.  Cool huh?

You can read much more about why “Beauty is Broth” on the Weston A Price Foundation site.

Here is their Chicken Stock recipe.

Chicken Stock (Sally Fallon Morell’s recipe found on the Weston A Price site and in her book Nourishing Traditions….)

(words that are in italics are my own words, how I do things.  Just for your information.)

  • 1 whole free-range chicken or 2 to 3 pounds of bony chicken parts, such as necks, backs, breastbones and wings* (I think it gets expensive to use a whole free-range chicken for making stock, so I save parts in a bag in my freezer.  When I need just breast, I save the bones with a little meat on them and the skin.  I also buy some cheap pieces that are on sale to add to make my stock.  If I find a whole chicken on sale, I will use it, then I will use the meat for other uses.  Usually chicken soup, because hubby loves it.)
  • gizzards from one chicken (optional)  (when I roast a chicken I always save the giblets and include them in my stock)
  • 2-4 chicken feet (optional)  (I’ve never seen chicken feet in a store, and I don’t know if I could handle this part.)
  • 4 quarts cold filtered water (make sure your water starts off cold, your stock needs to go slowly heating the stock helps to bring out the flavor.)
  • 2 tablespoons vinegar
  • 1 large onion, coarsely chopped
  • 2 carrots, peeled and coarsely chopped (if your carrots have tops I also add those.)
  • 3 celery stalks, coarsely chopped (If your celery has leaves, I also add those.)
  • 1 bunch parsley 
  • (At the advice of my nutritionistI’m also adding 1 Tablespoon of Celtic Sea Salt, or Redmond’s Real Salt to my batch of stock for the added minerals.)

*Note: Farm-raised, free-range chickens give the best results. Many battery-raised chickens will not produce stock that gels. (plus battery-raised chickens will most likely have been fed antibiotics.)

If you are using a whole chicken, cut off the wings and remove the neck, fat glands and the gizzards from the cavity. Cut chicken parts into several pieces. (If you are using a whole chicken, remove the neck and wings and cut them into several pieces.) Place chicken or chicken pieces in a large stainless steel pot with water, vinegar and all vegetables except parsley. Let stand 30 minutes to 1 hour. Bring to a boil, and remove scum that rises to the top. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 6 to 8 hours. The longer you cook the stock, the richer and more flavorful it will be. About 10 minutes before finishing the stock, add parsley. This will impart additional mineral ions to the broth.

Remove whole chicken or pieces with a slotted spoon. If you are using a whole chicken, let cool and remove chicken meat from the carcass. Reserve for other uses, such as chicken salads, enchiladas, sandwiches or curries. Strain the stock into a large bowl and reserve in your refrigerator until the fat rises to the top and congeals. Skim off this fat and reserve the stock in covered containers in your refrigerator or freezer.

I’m drinking a cup of broth 2-3 times a day now.  I love the warm cozy feeling of it, and I find that I right afterward I don’t have as much post nasal drip, which is a constant this time of year for me.  We’ll see how it helps with the digestion!