Sunday, October 24, 2010

Saturday's Meals

Hello Weekend!  Time for some breakfasts that take a little extra time.  I got this breakfast idea from another GAPS momma who is on the Yahoo list serve (I will credit her when I can find her post...).  This has been a hit with my family, and certainly my husband who's favorite breakfast pre-GAPS was Biscuits and Gravy.

Saute sausage, onions, spices.  Steam Cauliflower in bone broth, blend.  Add blended cauliflower to sausage.  Stir.  Add pepper and salt to taste.  Biscuit recipe here.  I used bacon fat instead of coconut oil. They were a hit for the family, but a little to "cookie" like for me.  I meant to cook up some cabbage too, and I am not entirely sure why that went unnoticed.

For lunch, we took it on the go.  We heated up the leftover soup from Tuesday (No leftovers from last night, they were all eaten up!).  I made a squash puree, grabbed an avocado and we headed out to the Sacramento Waldorf Harvest Festival.  We had a blast, but were a little limited on food, and luckily there was a farmer's market there and we bought some fruit too.

Thankfully, my husband had made dinner that morning, so it was ready when we arrived home from our big rainy adventure.  He used the pressure cooker to make a brisket.  I made some green beans and mushrooms, and bone broth and that made dinner.

Friday's Meals

Steamed squash and scrambled eggs with onions this morning.  Easy.

Left over chicken from roasting made a beautiful chicken salad that my family will easily eat for lunch.  (Except Maeve who does not care much for mayonnaise).  I cut up the chicken into little bite sized pieces.  I added the following: celery, chives, grapes, apple, red pepper, dill, onions, salt, and home-made mayonnaise.

For dinner I made a recipe adapted from Diet for a New World by John Robbins called, "Curry in a Hurry".  I have changed the original to add meat and to make it GAPS friendly.
4 T. animal fat
1 lg. onion
2 chicken breasts, cut up into small bite sized pieces
3 carrots, cut into small pieces
1 small cauliflower, cut into florets
1 head of broccoli, cut into florets
1 cup squash, cut up into small pieces
1 Tb. curry powder
1/2 tsp. ground cumin
1/2 tsp. turmeric
2 cups bone broth
1 cup fresh or frozen peas
3 T. coconut aminos

Saute Onions and Chicken with animal fat (I used pork fat).

Add Cauliflower, Carrots, Broccoli (I forgot mine), & Squash

Add Curry Powder, Turmeric and Cumin.  It calls for soy sauce, but we use Coconut Aminos which have a salty hearty flavor like soy sauce.  Add several cups of bone broth and simmer until veggies are soft.  Add frozen peas at the very end.  The heat of the curry will defrost them quickly, no need to continue to cook.  Serve.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Roasting a Chicken: Mason Jar Style

Beer-can chicken was all the rage for a while, and it is quite moist and delicious.  The first time I made a chicken in this fashion I was amazed at how JUICY it was.  I want to share my tips for what makes a perfect chicken, every time.

First, I make sure I remove all the innards.  Nothing worse that cooking a bag of plastic with your bird.

Then I take a small Mason jar (12 oz), and fill it with a variety of things.  I usually start off with salted broth, but you could use water, juice, beer, tea, lemon juice, etc.  Then I add seasonings.  Usually I base these ingredients on what I will be coating the chicken with and how it can compliment my side dishes.  This particular one I put in bruised lemongrass pieces and an onion.  You place this jar in the middle of your pan.

Then salt and pepper the bird while it is laying down.  Or you can get creative and add cumin, or rosemary, or cinnamon.  The options are limitless.  Then, place the bird on top of the mason jar, pushing it down a bit to have it fit snugly.  Sometimes I can get the legs to cross, not this time.

Then, I fill the roasting pan with veggies.  Again, options are limitless.  I used brussel sprouts and onions.  But I have used: carrots, cauliflower, squash, garlic, beets, etc.  I also pour chicken fat over the veggies and give them a bit of salt.

Bake low in the oven at 350* for about 1 1/2 hours.

To ensure a chicken is baked well enough, you should be able to pull the wing off with ease.  Let the chicken rest for several minutes before cutting.  I used to try to wrestle the chicken off the jar, but now I cut all my bits off while it stands there at attention.

Once you have collected all the chicken off the carcass, you now have half the makings for some bone broth.  You can start a pot now, or throw this carcass in the freezer for another day.

Thursday's Meals

I am not sure why this week is behaving so crazy, but it is.  We all woke up this morning at 7:15, and need to be out of the door by 7:40!  Yikes, we were moving like chickens with our heads cut off!  So, I altered the breakfast plans a bit.

I quickly ground up some pork, onions, and salt in the Cuisinart and fried those up.  While those were cooking I made beautiful smoothies with Mint, Banana, Mango, Spinach, and Water.  I served some leftover pesto and avocado with the sausages, and there you have it. Breakfast.  Bone broth was also served.  No time to slowly cook those onions to soft deliciousness.

We were all on our own for lunch, but eating the same thing.  We had steak leftover from the evening before, steamed beets, and cucumbers.  Nothing fancy, but everyone ate their lunch up.  Maeve had pineapple too.  No photo, as I forgot my purse today and could not document my lovely and colorful lunch option.

For dinner I roasted a chicken with my "Mason Jar Method".  I used to use the "Beer can method", but I don't drink beer or anything that comes in a can; so this limited my can resources.  I roasted the chicken with brussel sprouts and onions.  I also baked some kale to accompany this lovely assortment of goodies.  Bone broth was served at dinner.

Baked Kale:
Tear into bit sized bits.  Place in a large bowl.  Liberally douse in animal fat (I used pork fat), salt.  Spread out on a baking sheet.  Bake in oven at 350* for 10-15 minutes.  They will be crispy, like chips.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Wednesday's Meals

Today was another crazy day, but thankfully we all ate and we all ended the day happy.  Breakfast in my household is often packed with protein.  I want to send Arabella off to school with a full belly, knowing she often has fruit for snack.

I made these Almond Meal, Coconut flour Cinnamon muffins from Elana's Pantry again, with my modifications (coconut oil, honey, add raisins).  They were super delicious and quite a hit!  Served with our favorite... Bacon!  Yikes, it has been the week of bacon with it's reappearance at our Co-op.

I made lunch the night before again.  While cooking the stew, I was steaming squash & green beans, and mixing up meatballs.

Today I made a smoothie too.  Sometimes I find this necessary, and other days I skip it.  To make this particular smoothie I separate the 2 eggs (organic, free-ranged and pastured) and blend the whites in the Vita-Mix.  After they have gotten frothy, I add the rest of the ingredients: frozen banana, 1/2 cup frozen pineapple, and 1/4 cup coconut.  Creamy and like ice-cream!  That was the first time I used shredded coconut, and I have to say, I am not a fan.  Perhaps coconut milk next time.

Dinner was really easy.  Grilled organic grass-fed T-bone steaks and grilled asparagus.  We also grilled a Buffalo Rib-eye, but I didn't get to try that one.  Bone broth was also included with this meal.  Tonight, while making dinner, I steamed the beets for lunch tomorrow.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Tuesday's Meals

Ah, Tuesday.  The busiest day for us.  Girls are off to school and River Days, and I am off to work.  Everything must be in "proper" order by 7:30am for all this to run smoothly.  Today, some minor bumps, but our eating was properly on track.

Our breakfast has been a Tuesday favorite for a while.  Bacon and Avocados!  Fat, fat, fat!  Yes, I am trying to fatten them up.  I don't think I took a photo, I guess I figured you knew what those looked like...

Lunch, I made the night before with the leftover chicken from dinner.  I made a quick pesto and steamed some carrots.
Pesto: Puree 2 cloves garlic, add bunch of basil and a handful of almonds.  Add a shake of salt.  Blend until slightly smooth, add olive oil to make a smoother consistency.  Serve over chicken.

For dinner I made Cowboy Stew, slightly modified.  This blog is awesome and I frequent it regularly for inspiration that is GAPS friendly.  My modifications: added shredded carrot, 1/4 shredded cabbage, no squash, no green pepper.  While I was making the soup I used the Cuisinart to chop up carrots, onion and red pepper.  I added a pound of organic grass-fed beef, some mustard, and salt and made meatballs for lunch tomorrow.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Monday's Meals

Winter is certainly coming, and waking up when it is dark does not suit me very much.  Nevertheless, when you have children who wake up bright and chipper it forces you to at least try to act happy.  I was grateful that I could stumble with my eyes half shut and make the breakfast for today.

This morning I sauteed some onions in bacon grease and made Scrambled Eggs.  Easy and no-fuss.

I made the lunches last night after everyone had gone to bed.  Normally I do not send out bacon, but our meat options were minimal and our GAPS friendly bacon has just appeared at our local Co-op again.  For lunch I gave them both bacon, cucumbers, an almond cookie, and avocado.  Maeve got some mango because Arabella gets fruit at school.

I was a little late in starting dinner, and grateful that everything was planned out and all the groceries were available and defrosted.  This chicken is one of my go-to recipes, because it does not require a recipe at all. I much prefer cooking without all that measuring and fuss.

I started with the family pack of Organic bone-in chicken thighs.  First, I ripped off all the skin, and fried them until crispy; I also added a little salt.  These are wonderful treats for all and there is never any waste.  I then dump the chicken grease into a mason jar for later use.

Leaving a little grease in the pan, I slightly pan fry the thighs and turn them.  While waiting I chop up onions.  I add the onions and then chop mushrooms; I place all this on top of the cooking chicken.  I then pour chicken bone broth (1-2 cups) onto the chicken mixture and cover for 15-20 minutes on medium heat.

Then, I remove the chicken and boil down the broth to make "gravy".

I also sauteed greens and garlic to have as a side dish.  Salt to your liking.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Meal Plan for the Week

Follow along this week as I take you on a journey of what I feed my family.  We are currently on the Gut & Psychology Diet and have been since January of 2010.  We are out of "intro" stages and working on foods that are friendly to everyone in the family.  I would love feedback throughout the week from GAPsters and others too.  

Breakfast: Scrambled Eggs
Snack: Mango
Lunch: Bacon, Avocado, Cucumber, Almond Cookie
Snack: Green Smoothie
Dinner: Honey Chicken Thighs with Onions & Mushrooms. Sauteed Greens with Garlic
Breakfast: Bacon and Avocado
Snack: Persimmon
Lunch: Chicken with Almond Pesto.  Steamed Carrots, & Almond Cookie
Snack: Green Smoothie
Dinner: Cowboy Stew with Sauteed Green beans

Breakfast: Almond Muffins & Bacon
Snack: Pear
Lunch: Meatballs, Steamed Squash & Green Beans
Snack: Green Smoothie
Dinner: BBQ T-Bone Steak, Roasted Asparagus, and Bone Broth
Breakfast: Sausage Patties and Sauteed Onions
Snack: Pineapple
Lunch: Steak, Steamed Beets, & Cucumbers
Snack: Green Smoothie
Dinner: Roasted Chicken with Gravy, Roasted Carrots and Brussel Sprouts,  Baked Kale Chips
Breakfast: Steamed Squash & Eggs
Snack: Blueberries
Lunch: Chicken Salad and Baby Carrots
Snack: Green Smoothie
Dinner: Chicken Curry with Peas, Carrots, Cauliflower, Broccoli, and Squash
Breakfast: Sausage Gravy with Almond Flour Biscuits, Sauteed Cabbage
Snack: Avocado
Lunch: Leftover Curry with Squash and Carrot Pie
Snack: Fruit
Dinner: Pressure Cooker Brisket with Green Beans, Carrots, and Mushrooms
Breakfast: Coconut Flour Muffins with Coconut Yogurt
Snack: Avocado
Lunch: Quiche, Broth, and Coleslaw
Snack: Green Smoothie
Dinner: Roasted Fish, Salad, Steamed Squash

Meal Planning

Fridge on Saturday
I have gone in and out of meal planning and I have found that when I do it, I not only save money, but my time, which is far more valuable to me.  When every meal is planned I don't waste food, I tend to not over eat, and I tend to have a LOT less stress.  I feel like I have a good rhythm now to how I accomplish this goal every week.  First, I assess what I have in the fridge (I do this on Saturdays).

Farmer's Market Bounty Sunday Morning
Master List on Left, Grocery List on Right Sunday Evening

Next, I shop at the local Farmer's Market to get what is local and in season (I do this on Sunday).  Then I take that Master list (fridge & freezer food, food from Market) and I look at my past meal plan and adjust meals according to what our activities are in the week and what foods have changed seasonally.

At this point I make a grocery list, listing the foods in similar categories to make for easy shopping.  Then, I shop for the remaining items at my local Co-op (I do this on Mondays).  

Sunday's Meals

This beautiful drizzly day started out with some nourishing foods.  Before breakfast we started with juicing 3 carrots, 1 beet, handful of mint, 1 pear, 1/2 of a cucumber.  I ran the pear and the carrot through first and saved the pulp for a pie later in the week.  Tip: wash juicer immediately, even before you drink the juice; it is so easy to clean when you commit to this ONE rule.  I was considering adding the date/time stamp so you could follow along with how long things take, but it bugs me a little to have that writing in the corner.

For breakfast today I made muffins from an amazing gluten-free website.  They were called cinnamon muffins!  (My little helper on the left there).  This was the first muffin we tried that combined a nut flour and coconut flour.  They were yummy!  We also had bacon.  While I was waiting for the bacon and muffins to cook, I reheated our planned lunch and packed for our outing that day.  Here you can see the beautiful muffins and the bacon are finished.  I am heating up some bone broth and left-over grass-fed organic ground beef that I made into taco meat the night before.  I have also steamed some beets that will be served with several Tablespoons of bacon grease.  In the cup there is not tea, but I am straining the bacon fat so there are not bits of blackness in it.  I find this metal tea strainer works great!

We spent the day outside at the Farmer's Market, the park, and went to the Pumpkin patch today.  Lots of fun, but planning meals for everyone can be a little stressful for me.  We ate some organic fruit that we purchased while shopping.  After we stopped at home to drop off our beautiful bounty of mostly organic veggies from the market, I through together some cookies and we were off to a party!  These cookies are super easy and only have these 6 ingredients :
2 1/4 cups almond meal,
1/4 cup cacao powder,
2 Tb. arrowroot powder,
1/2 tsp. baking soda,
1/4 tsp. salt,
 & 1/2 cup honey.
Blend dry ingredients by hand or in the cuisinart.  Add honey, blend.  Scoop with wet hands little flattened balls on a cookie sheet.  Bake for 10-15 minutes at 350*.  They were all eaten at the party in approximately... 3 minutes, maybe less!!!

For dinner tonight, as following the meal plan from
last week, we had fish.  We bought some sushi grade Ahi Tuna and fixed it up deliciously.  The cooked was sauteed in bacon grease, and the raw was sprinkled with salt and toasted sesame seeds.  We had the tuna served with a big green salad (greens, grated carrot, cucumber, tomatoes, avocado); dressing was ground-up almonds with some home-made mayo, fresh dill and chives, and salt.  Served with more avocado and bone broth.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Saturday is meant for taking inventory of what is in the fridge...

This helps me with meal planning for the week. I look through what has been eaten, what is left, and what needs to be replenished. Today's meals have been mainly made of the leftovers or extra veggies/meat in the fridge. This picture is before I clean it out, as I am sure that there are some items in there that could be useful in the compost.

To walk you through, slightly...
Upper shelf: Lettuce, Spinach, Kombucha, Eggs
Next shelf: Several jars of Bone Broth, Mushrooms, Cabbage
Next shelf: Leftover soup, brussel sprouts, green beans, misc.
Lower shelf: Carrots, kale, cucumbers
Upper Drawer: Beets, asparagus, broccoli
Lower Shelf: Honey cured Bacon