Saturday, July 13, 2013

Broth and why I love/hate/love it.

Broth is awesome. You can make so much stuff with it. Soup without broth? You can pretty much forget about it. (I'm not talking about the fruity cold summer soups.) BUT, have you read the labels on the stuff at the store? It's ridiculous. Finding one that actually SAYS it is dairy free or vegan is difficult. Finding one that's gluten-free....I think there's one store that sells one brand in the city. And I'm talking about Las Cruces, not Silver City. SO, I've been making my broth for a while now. It's super delicious and is more nutrient dense than the boxed or canned stuff, too. And it's EASY. You literally throw stuff in boiling water and wait. And then if you're using bones, you can reuse them a few more times. That's like 4+quarts of broth for about $2. And you can freeze it! Yes, please!

Bone broth
Beef, chicken, or turkey bones (or whatever other kind)

Vegetable broth
Celery (~3 stalks)
3-4 medium-large carrots
Bay leaf
Optional--fennel fronds
Salt and pepper to taste
Roughly chop all veggies

For both broths, boil water and add stuff. Wait a while. An hour is probably good, but to really break down the bones to get the micronutrients you can simmer up to 24 hours. Strain stuff back out and you have broth! Voila! Use it right away or freeze it in batches. If you boil it down too much you can just add more water and cook a little longer.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Paleo Nut Clusters

So, these are the delicious morsels of nutty goodness that I took to Santa Fe in a variety of favors. I got the original recipe here : So far nobody has told me they're gross or anything and you can personalize them as much as you want. Here's the recipe with the changes I made.

1 cup walnuts
1 cup almonds
1 cup cashews
1-2 Tbsp ground flax
2-4 Tbsp chia seeds (because seriously, who couldn't use more chia seeds in their diet?)
1/3 cup honey
1/2 tsp vanilla

Crush/blend/grind nuts and set aside.
Add flax and chia seeds to the nuts and mix well.
Warm honey and vanilla over low heat until it gets more melty.
Pour honey mix into nuts and mix well.
Spread on a cookie sheet, preferably over a piece of parchment paper or a silpat. Mainly because I hate washing cookie sheets.
Bake at 350 for 20-30 minutes and cool. The fridge would probably work well, but I never have space. I have put a tray in the freezer before overnight after it had been out of the oven for a while and it worked well.

If you want to try different favors, add dry ingredients to the bowl of nuts and wet ingredients to the honey mix. Keep in mind that you might need to add a little more honey if you add something like coconut that will soak it up more than, say, cinnamon powder might.

Some of my favorites are:
Coconut curry: add lime juice, salt, curry powder, turmeric, unsweetened coconut shreds
Coconut chocolate chip: add chocolate chips and unsweetened coconut shreds
Double chocolate chip: add chocolate chips, a little unsweetened coconut shreds, and cacao powder
Red chile chocolate: add cayenne powder, chocolate chips, and cacao powder

Go nuts!

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

A new chapter begins...

So, I've been meaning to write this for a while, but here we are, November already. Around April or May Nadia started complaining that her stomach was hurting. This was nothing new. We've been giving her chamomile tea for that since she was about 1 here and there, and it always seemed to help. When she started complaining more frequently, I thought she just wanted more tea because she really likes it, but she would usually say "No, my tummy really hurts, I don't just want tea to drink". I started trying to figure out if it was something new she had eaten or if she had gotten dairy somewhere. I couldn't figure it out. Meanwhile, she had worked up to needing "tummy tea" every day. Then is was several times a day. Then it was all day every day and she didn't want the tea any more. I had asked a few people about their experiences with gluten intolerance and Celiac disease. It seemed like that COULD be the problem, but it  seemed strange that the symptoms would appear so suddenly. Finally one Friday afternoon, after the all day every day thing had been going on for about a week, I told Ricky I was going to put her on a gluten free diet over the weekend and if she wasn't better by Monday I was taking her to the doctor. Sunday morning she asked for tea because her tummy hurt--ONCE.

The rest of the week she got better and better. She stopped having borderline diarrhea all the time (literally). She was eating better. She was eating more. We decided to do GF for Aidan, too, just to make life easier since they eat all the same things. One day after being gluten-free for a few months, they both unintentionally had something that had gluten in it. They BOTH got sick. So, now we know both kids need to be gluten free. And we also know that I'm relearning how to cook.

The picture is Aidan eating gnocci (little pasta-like balls) with chopsticks, right before we started doing GF with him. I think this was his last meal before.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Gluten-free Cinnamon Raisin Granola

Mmmmm, granola...
Ok, so I'm totally cheating and posting the cinnamon raisin granola recipe I found at The Spunky Coconut blog. ( ) It's grain-free and sugar-free, AND dairy-free! Can you believe it? Oh, and it's AH-mazing!
Since we figured out that Nadia was having trouble with gluten we've had a challenge finding breakfast cereal options that work well. We don't eat cereal all that often, but when we do the kids almost ALWAYS want whatever Ricky is having. The challenge was to find something that everyone likes and that doesn't cost $8 for a 10oz package. I thought I'd try out a granola recipe or two and see what happened. The first couple of recipes we tried were ok, but they weren't great. This one has been my favorite by far and is very filling. Some days, Ricky isn't even famished by lunch time. Yeah, you read that right. This stuff has some staying power.
Here's my take on it:

Soak 4 cups of nuts for about 8 hours. (I used 1c cashews and 2 1/2c almonds. I added more stuff later to make up the last cup.) This is in bold because I always forget this is part of the process and start way too late. 
Rinse and strain.

Add to a bowl with:
1 cup shredded unsweetened coconut
1/2 cup raisins
1/2 cup almond meal flour
1 cup applesauce with no added sugar
1/4 tsp of vanilla liquid stevia (I used NuNaturals.)
1/4 c pumpkin seeds
1/4c flax seeds

In a separate bowl mix:
1/4 cup Chia Seed meal (I used the coffee grinder like the original author recommended.)
1 tbsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp sea salt

Combine the two bowls.
Spread onto baking sheet or roasting pan.

The original post said to "dehydrate at 130 degrees overnight, or until it’s dry and crunchy", but I only have my totally unfancy oven. SO, (yes, this is tedious, but I usually forget there's something in the oven to begin with if there's no timer, so you can blame it on that--partially) what I did was turn the oven to 250, let it preheat, then turn it off and let the granola sit in there overnight. The next day I turned it to 350 with the granola still in the oven, let it preheat, then turned it off. There it sat, all day long. Then that night I turned the oven to 170, as low as mine goes, and left it for a couple hours, stirring pretty frequently to make sure it wasn't getting too crispy in one spot. As soon as it felt dry all over I took it out. (Well, Ricky did, but whatever.) I'm sure you could just put the oven at 170 and watch it really closely and stir frequently to make sure it doesn't overcook or prop the oven door open with a towel or something, but as I mentioned before, I forgot about the soaking part, so I got started a tad late and couldn't (wouldn't) stay up all night to watch granola bake. But anyway, now it's delicious. Nadia kept stealing pieces all the next morning until I got it put away. And Aidan's a big fan, too. And that picture up there is my bowl of yogurt--covered in granola! Yum!

Monday, September 12, 2011

Veggie Pot Pie, #1

Pies were one of the first foods I really got excited about making on my own. When I was about 5 I got the recipe for a minty chocolatey "grasshopper pie" and made it with my mom's help. Then when I went on a sugar-free diet in high school I made a lot of no-sugar-added apple pies.

But I've never quite mastered the veggie pot pie. It seems like it would be so easy, but I seem to always mess up. Most of the recipes I find for veggie pot pie have either a ton of mushrooms or tofu, and I hate mushrooms and just don't really want to eat a tofu pot pie.

Recently I've been reading a book called Appetite City: A Culinary History of New York, which states such amazing facts as "an estimated 22 million pies were consumed in New York in 1895. ... The largest pie bakery, just north of Canal Street, baked up to twenty thousand pies a day..." And then one of my good friends has gotten really into pie-making recently because she's been reading a lot of M.F.K Fisher. And then I bought some pre-made pie crusts for a party a few weeks ago, but ended up with two crusts leftover. It seemed like a good time to try my hand at a veggie pot pie, and I ended up with one that was pretty good! I'm labeling this as Veggie Pot Pie #1, because I'm going to make some different styles of veggie pot pie throughout the upcoming fall and winter and try to post about them here.

It's mostly potato, which I always appreciate. Next time I would use one sweet potato instead of two, just because this made such a huge amount of food. And I would definitely add in a thin layer of grated cheddar right under the top pie crust. I meant to do that this time, but forgot, so we just melted some cheese slices on top of our pie slices.

Here it is:

And here's the recipe as I would recommend making it:
1 large sweeet potato*
1 blue potato**
1 small bunch carrots
1/2 a small yellow onion
2-3 cloves garlic
1/2 cup frozen corn kernels
1/2 cup frozen peas
1/4-1/2 cup sweet potato bisque or other creamy veggie soup
salt and pepper
1/4 cup grated cheese (we used Cotswold, but sharp cheddar would also be good)
2 store-bought pie crusts (10")

1. Use the food processor to slice the potatoes into thin discs. Boil them until cooked through.

2. Slice carrots in the food processor. Finely chop onion and garlic.

3. Preheat oven to 425.

4. Stir all of the veggies together in a large bowl. Season well with salt and pepper.

5. Fill bottom pie crust with veggie mixture. Pour on enough soup to cover the top without overflowing. (You could also try stirring the soup into the veggie mixture before putting it into the crust. You want just enough to very lightly coat the veggies.)

6. Grate cheese and sprinkle over veggies.

7. Add top crust. Seal edges well with a fork or your fingers. Cut a few vents in the top crust.

8. Bake on the bottom shelf of the oven for 15 minutes at 425. You might want to put a cookie sheet under your pie pan in case anything bubbles over, but that didn't happen to me. Reduce heat to 350 and bake about another hour, or until pie crust is golden brown.

9. Let cool for a few minutes before slicing. Enjoy!

It doesn't make neat slices, but I think that's typical of pot pies, right? Or is it really only a pot pie if I make individual serving sized pies? I have so much to learn.

*Or yam? We always called these sweet potatoes, but they were labeled "yams" in the store - maybe it's a regional thing. The ones I used had brownish skin and orange flesh.
**You could also use a white (Russet) baking potato, but the blue makes the finished product a little less orange.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Fried Rice

So this is one of the first actual meals I remember learning to cook. Connie Lin's mom told me how to make it when I was 11 or 12 and I still make it about once a month or so, sometimes adding things I never would have thought of putting in it when I was 12. I love it. Ricky loves it. And the kids love it--unless they're just in an eating strike kind of mood. And it's EASY! I'm wondering if you could make it Paleo by using cauliflower instead of rice. Might be worth a shot. The thing about this recipe is you can play with the ingredients to make it suit you better.
1 cup white (or brown) rice, cooked
sesame oil for frying
6-10 eggs
3-6 green onions, sliced
ham sandwich meat, chopped--or turkey, or chicken (optional)
1-2 carrots, shredded
soy sauce
Other stuff to add: broccoli, sugar snap peas, snow peas, asparagus, bell pepper strips
Cook 1 cup of rice in the morning. Let it sit out to dry all day, or at least for several hours.
Put a little sesame oil in wok on medium/low heat. Scramble eggs in the wok.
Add meat, cooking until slightly brown. Stir frequently. (***If you use raw meat, you should cook this before the eggs, so as not to burn the eggs.***)
Add green onions and carrots, cooking until they are to your desired texture. I like mine less raw, more cooked. (Add other veggies here, too)
Add the rice, stirring well to mix everything together. Add soy sauce to taste. Cook, stirring frequently, for another 5-10 minutes.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Biscuit-top Spinach Pie

I made up a recipe! I was trying to make something else, but enough stuff went wrong that I ended up with something new and miraculously delicious. I had some phyllo dough in the fridge that I wanted to use up. At first I wanted to make a zucchini pie, but Channing hinted that he would refuse to eat zucchini. So then I was going to make a spanakopita-esque thing with a little bit of added zucchini and tomato. But, when all of the fillings were combined I opened the dough and it was all moldy. I actually meant to use it a week ago, so I had moved it from freezer to fridge, but I guess it really meant it when it said "keep frozen" because it was definitely unusable. So at that point remaining options were to make a pasta bake or to use baking mix as a topping and make a spinach cobbler kind of thing. I did the biscuit-top route and it was delicious! And a lot less time consuming than spanakopita. This recipe has lots of stuff that mom and Leslie can't eat, but I wanted to post it anyway because I haven't posted anything in a long while and I liked this a lot. It also seems like the kind of thing that could be pretty successfully altered in lots of different ways.

Serves 4, or more as a side dish.

~3 TBSP sesame oil for frying
5 cloves garlic, chopped
1 small white onion, chopped
~1/4 cup chopped fresh dill
~1/4 cup chopped fresh Italian parsley
1 zucchini, sliced thin
1 bunch spinach, washed and squeezed dry if you use the kind you have to wash
3 smallish tomatoes, sliced thin
6 oz. crumbled feta cheese (I just looked it up and there is such a thing as soy feta)
2 eggs
salt and pepper to taste
~2 Cups baking mix (I used Trader Joe's Multigrain Baking Mix)
~1 Cup milk (or water/soymilk/whatever liquid you usually mix baking mix with)

1. Sautee garlic, onion, and zucchini in sesame oil in a large pan over med-high heat until zucchini starts to brown. Stir in dill and parsley.

2. Add in spinach and cook for another few minutes until wilted and remove from heat. You can add spinach in batches if it won't all fit at first.

3. In a separate bowl, lightly beat the eggs and stir in feta. Add this mixture and tomatoes to spinach and stir until well combined. Salt and pepper to taste.

4. Preheat oven to 350. (I do this close to the end because my oven is fast.) Lightly oil a 9x13 baking dish and pour in the spinach mixture.

6. Mix the baking mix and milk to make a fairly thin mix (a little bit thicker than pancake batter) and pour this over the spinach mixture. I eyeballed the amount of topping, and kept adding a little more of each until I had what looked like enough to make a thin layer over the whole pan.

7. Bake for about 35 minutes, until biscuit topping is golden brown.