I really enjoy using older kitchen equipment. I have an old KitchenAid K5-A fixed stand mixer I use often. I bought it used in an inoperable state and repaired it. I use it to mix bread and cookie dough a couple times a week. I have a Universal 2 meat grinder (just got it! Woot!) I use for making pork patties, and that’s just the start of what I’ll use it for. SO exciting, the possibilities! I have an old manual WearEver food processor I use pretty much daily for grating cheese (nachos) and vegetables for soup. I only have two of the five cylinders (fine and coarse grate) but will definitely be hunting down the others.
Having such a nice variety of old tools expands my cooking.
We don’t eat a lot of potatoes. They make Wadly’s joints ache and they’re a bit difficult for me to digest, so they’re eaten just a couple times a month as a treat. That means more frequent meals like chowder, fries and hash have got to have remakes to make them great menu choices. I’ve got the chowder figured out (it’s truly awesome, one of our favorite meals), fries are in the works and hash is now having it’s day in the sun! OMGosh, SO good! I will fix this menu item regularly, it’s that good!
So, this morning I’m having breakfast hash. OMGosh. This is a keeper recipe! No boiling vegetables, not a lot of chopping or dicing! Fast AND easy, my favorite kind of recipe!
In an iron skillet add butter, freshly ground pepper, coarsely grated (not diced, equal amounts of) parsnip, turnip and carrot, chopped green onion (low FODMAP, no white parts), finely chopped red pepper and bacon. Throw all of those in the pan and cook on medium high, stirring often, until tender. OMGosh! SO good! The true challenge with this dish is to not eat it all by yourself! Please note I’m practicing great restraint to leave Wadly some for his breakfast.
One of our family staples growing up was an awesome clam chowder. As a family, it was a favorite. Made with a roux, it was rich, creamy, tasty and filling. It was also fairly high in carbs and high FODMAP due to the addition of onions. Today, for us, that’s a total ouch. I do best when my meals are low FODMAP, low carbs. I just don’t have a way to put the carbs to productive use. After much experimentation, I’ve finally got a chowder recipe that’s every bit as good as the one I was raised on without the carbs and high FODMAP ingredients.
Finding a bacon we could eat was a challenge. Most bacon has high FODMAP ingredients, usually garlic and onion, sometimes wheat. As much as I love bacon, eating it and living with the resulting gastrointestinal distress is not my thing. It’s like getting stung. After a time or two, you avoid the beasties causing the pain. Our local Safeway carries Hempler products which are perfect for our needs, GMO free, gluten free, free of this, that and whatever that horrid other thing is. Hempler’s bacon is fab. Wadly started buying the package of bacon trimmings which work perfectly diced for chowder. If you’re cutting it into little bits anyway, it doesn’t matter what size or shape it was when you started.
Replacing the potatoes in chowder was the next challenge. I love potatoes but I don’t digest them well and they cause Wadly’s arthritis to flare up. My stomach tells me the next day I shouldn’t have eaten them however much I love that potato-y goodness. A 50/50 turnip/parsnip balance is a really nice replacement! Not kidding! I grate them fine and get great taste and texture with no carbs. Win/win!
The onion also had to go. Onion is ridiculously high FODMAP. There’s no point in adding something that gives me indigestion. I tried leeks, cutting away the white portion but with leeks there’s so much waste. Most of the green stuff is too tough to eat so with discarding the white parts, I’m throwing away half the leek! Ugh! Instead, I switched to using green onion. They’re readily available from the grocery store all year round and the white part is a relatively small portion of the plant and I don’t feel guilty discarding it! Super win! I split the base lengthwise, cut in 1/4″ lengths and I’m good to go!
I’ve tried using heavy cream (supposed to be low FODMAP) and my tummy just wasn’t happy. Now I buy organic half and half and add lacteeze. After 48 hours it’s ready to use. AND my tummy likes it! I’m back to having it in my coffee! OMGosh! And home made ice cream! Go me!
So, here’s low carb low FODMAP, fabulously tasty, creamy, full of super good nutrition chowder.
Finely grate equal amounts turnip, parsnip and carrot (coarse grate). The combination of finely grated white veges (potato replacement) and coarsely grated carrot (nutrition, flavor and sweetness) gives the resulting chowder a really nice texture.
Prep green onions (wash, remove white part, trim previously cut ends, split the solid part lengthwise and cut into 1/4″ lengths)
In a sauce pan add butter (a fair amount) and bacon. Once the bacon is cooked, add green onion and stir. Add carrot and stir. After a couple minutes of cooking, add parsnip and turnip and stir. Cook for a minute or two.
Add liquid (bone, chicken, fish or vege broth). The liquid should not cover the veges. Add the liquid until you can see it peeking up through the veges. I use home made bone broth. It’s a natural tummy healer/soother, full of vital nutrition and even though it tastes like bone broth (not really appetizing), the taste, added to the other flavors, enhances the flavor of the chowder. If you aren’t a bone broth maker, use vegetable broth or chicken broth. Either will work. Watch the salt content if you’re using a commercial product. They are enhancing the “taste” by adding salt, not nutrition, which is not a healthy option. If you’re trying to stay low FODMAP, make your own broth. Many commercial broths have celery which is an “avoid” item.
Add salt and pepper. If you’re using a commercial broth consider skipping the salt until the very end. Taste test before adding more salt. If you prefer, add a couple teaspoons of fish sauce to enhance the seafood bit of the chowder.
Simmer until the turnip and parsnip are close to falling apart.
Add raw seafood. Our current favorite is shrimp. I use shell-on, peel and cut them into chunks. Sometimes I use minced clams when I can get fresh (seasonal). I may try a seafood chowder with a selection of in-shell little necks, shrimp, orange roughy chunks and minced razor clams. I think that would be really good.
Once the chowder has just started to simmer, add enough half and half to cover the other contents. If you like your chowder on the runny side, add more half and half.
Continue to heat until the chowder starts to simmer. Turn the heat off and let the chowder rest.
This chowder is awesome but it’s even better the next day.
I had an epiphany this morning. Here’s where it started.
I had an excess of chicken. I cooked the last of it yesterday, frying two pieces for Wadly snacks and baking two pieces with leeks, halved russet potatoes and butter (really good stuff). Normally I break up the potatoes, pour the chicken/butter/leek juice over the potatoes, dice up the chicken to go on top and it’s an awesome meal, simple, filling and flavorful.
But at this point in the “what’s for dinner” cycle I’m running a little low on groceries. It turns out I’m out of potatoes. I didn’t realize that until I thought about using some of the fried chicken to make chicken pot pie for dinner . . . which can’t happen without potatoes. So . . . time to improvise.
That’s when the epiphany hit. I do the same thing with knitting as I do with cooking! I look at what I’ve got to work with and improvise. So tonight’s chicken pot pie will be sauteed carrots, frozen corn, leeks and the chicken and potatoes I baked with all the associated juices. I’ll dice the chicken and potatoes and add some bone broth for additional liquid. It will be awesome served with home make biscuits, a simple, fast and delicious result.
Here’s the “step back and punt” half as it relates to knitting.
I bought two balls of Sublime Evie Prints in blue for socks. When it arrived I realized it was totally unsuited for that and let it set while my brain worked out how to use it.
I’ve always thought there should be an adult version of those cute little girl dresses where the top is knitted to an empire waist and a cloth skirt is added. One of those for running around at home would be perfect on cold February days. So now I’m playing with a knitted yoke for a navy sweatshirt fabric skirt. I bought the sweatshirt fabric on EBay to make a run-around-the-house full length sweatshirt. If I knit a yoke, extend the sleeves and create the skirt I bet I can get two or possibly three out of the fabric I bought. Because of the way my conti-something base fits, the softness of the yarn and the coziness of the sweater shirt fabric, this could be a really good thing!
My first attempt didn’t go so well. The neck was smaller than I wanted and I ran out of yarn before I got anywhere near having the real estate I needed to match my plan. Digging through my meager stash I came across a navy bamboo cotton of the same weight to use for neck edge and sleeves. At this point I am most of the way through what looks like a varsity (sleeves and trim one color, body another) themed yoke. I don’t think I’m going to make it to anything resembling an empire waist. I may get to the bottom of the armscye which would be great. I can work with that. Stay tuned. I’ll post pictures soon.
I made a huge pot of chili last night. It’s fabulous! I’ve finally wised up and am getting my spices from Spicely. No chance of gluten cross contamination and that’s a truly wonderful thing. I’m getting smoked paprika and chili powder in one pound containers and that too is a wonderful thing! Next time I order cumin I’ll do the same. Garlic powder came in a resealable bag. Yummy stuff. So chili . . . here it is.
3 carrots, diced
equal amount of mushrooms, diced (volume, not weight)
sautee in butter
Once the carrots have started to soften add 1/3 pound of ground sausage, 1.5 pounds ground pork, 1.5 pounds ground beef and stir until broken up, then stir occasionally until browned.
Add 3-4 heaping tablespoons of spice mix (listed below). Stir this in and let it simmer just a but. This seems like a lot for a pot a chili but it’s a super mild mix so taste test and add the amount that suits you. If Wadly’s not going to share in the feasting (not a fan of anything spicy) I will add a bit of red pepper flakes for a bit more bite.
Add 1 pint bone broth (I make my own), 1-16oz can of diced tomatoes (organic), 1 pint of kidney beans (organic – I cook them in my crock pot).
Let simmer on the stove for a while to ensure all the flavors are fully integrated.
Serve with a huge dollop of sour cream. Mmm, heavenly.
Spice mix. I can’t take credit for this. I got the recipe somewhere in internet-land. I multiply this times four and store it in a glass jar with a screw-on lid. Don’t be afraid to use this generously as it’s mild . . . and super-tasty.
1 tbsp oregano 2 tsp cumin 1 tsp black pepper 2 tbsp chili powder (here the recipe calls for 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce. I ran out and didn’t get any more. Add to the chili making if it suits you, I like it just fine without) 1.5 tsp ground garlic
The original recipe shows a substitution of 1 tbsp minced garlic which cannot be added to a mix you will be storing. If you elect to go with minced garlic, you’ll need to add it to the chili pot instead of the mix.
I decant the chili into pint jars while it’s hot, seal them. Once cooled I store them in the freezer for easy quick meals.
OMGosh. Awesome soup today. I made chicken soup for Wadly yesterday, which smelled fabulous, and beef/pork soup for me today. Amazing beautiful nummy soup
Prep: Make bone broth. Wadly gets huge intact beef leg bones from our local butcher. He whacks them apart into big chunks using a dedicated chop saw which gives both marrow and cartilage for bone broth. Roast the bones for 1 hour at 400 deg. Place in crock pot with 1/4 c apple cider vinegar, bay leaves, peppercorns and fill to the top with filtered water. Let sit for one hour, then cook on low for 3 days. Bottle the broth. Freeze in pint jars until needed. Wadly gets multiple bones at a time and stores them in the freezer in clean pet food bags with a zippered top (reuse/recycle/re-purpose) and cuts them up when I’m ready to run a new batch of broth.
Prep: Black beans. Clean and rinse, add to crock pot, 5.5 cups water, 2 cups beans, sea or Himalayan salt, 1/2 c orange juice, 1/2 onion. Cook for 6 hrs. Drain off liquid and freeze in wide mouth pint jars until needed.
Prep: Canned diced tomatoes . . . run a 16 oz can through the blender. It’s about 1 pint of tomato sauce. Most blender rings will fit a small mouthed pint jar. I dump the 16 oz can into the pint jar, spin on the blade/ring and blend it for about 30 secs. Instant tomato sauce.
Dice meat (2/3 beef / 1/3 pork, hamburger and ground pork works just fine, 1.5 to 2 lbs). Sautee in a couple tbsp of butter. When it no longer looks like raw meat add spices. Oregano or marjoram/ thyme/rosemary/crushed red pepper, black pepper, a bit of sea salt (not too much). Add 1 cup bone broth. Add 1 cup tomato sauce. Let it simmer for a while. The acid from the toms add tenderness, the bone broth adds nutrition and flavor. The spices (use what suits you) adds flavor.
While that’s doing its thing . . .
Cut up three good sized mushrooms, sautee in butter.
Peel and dice 2 carrots (about 3/4 cup)
Dice onion (about 3/4 cup)
Dice zucchini (about 3/4 cup)
Add one more vege. I used asparagus as it’s what I had. Pick something you like. Squash, broccoli, cauliflower, etc. Same thing, about 3/4 cup. The stronger the flavor of the vege, the more it will change the flavor.
When all the parts are ready, add them to a 6 quart or larger stew pot. Add an additional cup of bone broth, the rest of the tomato sauce and let it stew until the carrots are tender.
Turn the pot off and stir in the pint of black beans. The result is a chunky almost stew-like soup loaded with nutrition and flavor. Serve with rolls, bread, salad . . . whatever your favorite side is. Store what’s not used in pint jars in the freezer for when you need a quick and nutritious meal.
I bought a new gadget. I got a Zoodle from Amazon for $11. OMGosh. Game changer.
New fav meal. Oriental(ish) pork stir fry. OMGosh.
Thin-slice pork. Marinate it in sesame oil, basalmic vinegar and ground candied ginger (not available commercially, you’ll have to make your own – dehydrate candied ginger and run it through a food processor to grind it up).
Use the Zoodle to noodlize zucchini and rutabaga (yeah, new fav veg). Thin slide onion and break up into “noodles”. Add thin-sliced green pepper and some bamboo shoots (comes in a can).
You’re gonna need two frying pans, one for the marinated pork and one for the veges.
Add butter and sesame oil to both pans. Stick the veges into one and the pork into the other. Once the pork is most of the way done add the pork pan to the veges pan. When the veges are al dente the cooking us done!
In my continual search for really good food I can eat, I’ve discovered . . . Hamburger Bowl!
I have two version (with or without avocado) and they’re both wonderful. Those of you who eat carbs and bread/buns/etc. won’t think it’s so great, but for me . . . few carbs and no grains . . . it’s awesome!
On medium low, cook diced mushrooms and diced bacon in a 6″ skillet with a teaspoon of butter.
While that’s cooking dice a roma tomato and a slice of onion (choose the one you like, I’m using the basic yellow). Add two heaping teaspoonfuls of Farman’s Dill Pickle Relish in a bowl, add the diced onion and tomato and warm it in the microwave. Don’t COOK it, just get it warm so it doesn’t chill the hot ingredients. For my puny little microwave I use 55 seconds on cook, stir, then back in for another 15 seconds.
When the bacon and ‘shrooms are done or nearly done add the raw hamburger. The shape isn’t important, it’s getting chopped up when it’s done cooking. (I buy hamburger in bulk and package it in snack bags in the freezer for easy use. I get the amount of hamburger I need when I need it at a lower cost.)
When the hamburger is nearly done, dice up the hamburger and add 3/4 cup of black beans (drained and rinsed). Stir the beans into the mix. once it’s all heated up lift out the goodies (leave all the fat in the pan) and add them to your bowl of warmed and diced goodness.
Stir it all together and eat it with a soup spoon. OMGosh good! Heads up, this is more than will fit in a regular soup bowl.
When doing the avocado version I wait until everything’s mixed together and add the diced avocado to the top. Yummy stuff!
I use a lot of spices and herbs when I cook, and I cook a lot of the same stuff all the time. Rather than opening 4-6 different spice/herb bottles to season something I started using the empty bottles to make the mixes I use all the time.
The spicy pork seasoning is BBQ Boys mix with doubled ground onion and ground garlic.
The S&R is a steak and roast mix with rosemary, thyme, black pepper, onion and garlic.
The marinara is the spice mix I use for the tomato sauce I use for anything requiring tomato sauce.
I also have an apple mix of cinnamon, nutmeg, clove and xylitol I use for apple compote and apple custard I make for Wadly.
I’m sure I’ll being adding more mixes to my array. Having premixed organic spices speeds cooking and ensures the taste stays consistent across the dishes I make.
Having food allergies makes life very interesting in a way that cannot be appreciated by those who don’t have food allergies. I’m not saying that in a disparaging way, just as a fact. Anyone with food allergies is nodding their head at this point.
Given soy and milk allergies, finding a coffee creamer that works is a challenge. In researching creamer alternatives I found a recipe using water, vanilla, raw cashew butter and medjool dates. My recipe is an outtake of that recipe.
In trying the above recipe there were a few things I didn’t care for. Using water instead of coffee as the liquid made no sense. It waters down the coffee which to me is counter-productive. I didn’t find the vanilla added anything. If I’m adding anything extra it is organic cacao powder with another date to counter the bitter.
My most pleasing recipe, sans cacao powder, is 1/3 cup raw cashew butter (organic), 3 medium to large medjool dates (organic) and about 1/2 cup fresh coffee as the liquid. Mince the dates and blend it all together until the dates are liquefied. According to what I’ve read this should stay fresh and viable in the fridge for 3 days. I use about 1/3 of the above in my gigantic cup with fresh brewed coffee. Mmmmm.