Innovation can be awesome sauce!

It’s 97 in the shade. Let me tell you firsthand, when our normal high is 80, 97 truly sucks. Wadly, in his grocery foray yesterday, got a two-pack of rib steak, my absolute favorite cut of beef. Last night was a really plain undecorated fry in butter and garlic oil. It was good but nothing compared to the innovation of tonight.

Usually the rib steaks we get are thicker than 1″. I put them in the toaster over for 30 minutes at 200 degrees, then sear them in butter/garlic oil. Good. Plenty good. Up until tonight this has been our standard.

This time there were two steaks that were about 3/4″ thick, not the norm for us. Simply fryint was good but . . . OMGosh, the innovation tonight is really better..

I put the steak in the toaster over (200deg for 20 min) and while it was preparing for a reverse sear, I put a couple tablespoons of red wine, a tablespoon of garlic oil, a tablespoon of Worcestershire Sauce and a dash of salt in a flat dish. To prepare the pan I ground a 1/4 teaspoon of hing (asofoetida) and added that, butter and garlic oil in the (hot) pan, sloshing it around to ensure the flavor is well distributed. Quickly, so the butter wouldn’t burn (HOT pan) I gaive the wine/Worcestershire/salt/garlic oil a quick stir, drop the steak on it and flip it over to coat both sides and then dumped the steak into the frying pan to sear on both sides . . . OMGosh! I’m thinking this is a new favorite.

Canned Tuna

I can’t eat commercially canned tuna and I can’t rely on family to can it for me. They simply cannot can enough. I have a solution that works for me. Wadly buys frozen tuna steaks. As I need canned tuna I use my Instant Pot to “can” it. It’s not processed in a way that gives it a long term shelf life. I don’t need that. I need tuna I can make sandwiches out of now, today.

Because I like my salads with everything but the kitchen sink (exaggeration but you get my point), I add all sorts of things. Today’s favorite is green onion, radish, cucumber, olive slices, pimento and Sir Kensington Classic Mayo. SO good! I would have added grated carrot but . . . no carrots.

When I can tuna I pack the tuna in a half-pint wide mouthed jar, add a little salt to the top, add the lid and process it in my Instant Pot (9 minutes on high pressure, natural release, leave until cool) I usually start it in the afternoon or evening and leave it until morning.

Peggy

Once the jar is empty of tuna I give it to our pug. She adores cleaning out the jar, picking it up and carrying it around to whichever spot suits her. Because her muzzle is so short it takes her quite a while and quite a bit of effort to get all the goodies out.

Breakfast Frittata, the deluxe version

I’ve got a new breakfast food love, a frittata with a hash brown hat. It’s so good!

This requires breakfast sausage. I make my own with fresh ground pork (store bought, Hempler and Smithfield both rock) with a seasoning mix my brother gave me. The rest is eggs and fresh veges and it’s very good!

We have farm grown eggs. Some of our hens are banty cross descendents which gives us big eggs from our new girls and bitty little eggs from our banty cross hens. I can do this frittata with one big egg or two little eggs. Much of my baking calls for big eggs so I’m perfectly happy to use the small eggs for my breakfast.

Dice green onion, mushrooms (I use shittake) and red and green pepper. Grate half a baked russet. I always have baked russet on hand. I use them for hash browns, fries and as a meal with chili, sour cream, butter and chives for a special occasion dinner. Using cold baked potatoes speeds the cooking and improves the flavor.

Cook the grated russet in butter, stirring fairly often. The goal is to lightly dehydrate and brown the individual gratings rather than turn it into one mass of hash browns.

In a separate pan cook the green onion, peppers and mushroom. When they’re close to fully cooked add the sausage. Stir the sausage in thoroughly breaking up any lumps.

In a separate bowl whisk the egg with a tablespoon of cream cheese, sour cream or yogurt. Add the cooked veges/sausage. Pour into a hot buttered pan (I use a small 6″ skillet). Arrange the hash browns over the top. Cover and turn the heat down to low. Once the egg sets it’s done. Serve with diced tomato.

So good!

Impromptu chili verde

I had a craving for chili. It needed to be flavorful without being hot and totally low FODMAP. And like just about everything I make, it had to use up stuff I had on hand. I’m out of red and green peppers or you know I would have added them as well.

  • 1 pound hamburger
  • 1/2 pound ground sausage (home made, really super mild)
  • butter
  • tomatillos (small, about a dozen) – watch the big ones, they can be bitter.
  • tomato (1/4 large tomato)
  • green onion (3-5 depending on size)
  • garlic oil
  • red wine
  • bone broth
  • coriander
  • cayenne
  • paprika
  • cumin
  • cilantro
  • salt
  • 1.5 cups nacho beans (instant pot cooked beans with gorugachu chili flakes, bacon and salt) – soak/rinse/soak/rinse the beans before cooking to make them low FODMAP
  • lactose free sour cream
  • tortilla chips

Add a couple tablespoons of butter to a frying pan. Add a bit of garlic oil. Add chopped green onion. Once the green onion softens add the meat. Once the meat is browned add diced tomatoes and tomatillos. Add seasoning (1/2 tsp cumin, 1 tsp each of coriander, paprika, cilantro, chili powder (cayenne), dry mustard, salt, 1+ cup bone broth and a dash of red wine and a sprinkle or Worcestershire sauce.

Simmer until the tomatillos break down. Serve with a dollop of sour cream and tortilla chips.

It’s really good! It’s flavorful and super mild. AND it’s low FODMAP.

Instant Pot Bone Broth!

I use bone broth all the time. If a recipe calls for liquid (assuming we aren’t talking dessert) and it’s not milk, I use bone broth. If I can add nutrition and flavor, you know I’m going to!

The only problem is the time it takes to slow cook bone broth. Enter Instant Pot! Bone broth in 2 hours! Okay, I lied. First I have to roast the bones (an hour), then I have to fill the Instant Pot with bones, drippings, spices, whatever veges I want for flavoring, wine or apple cider vinegar, water . . . so let’s say I’m being efficient and I manage all that in two and a half hours . . . even though we both know it actually takes longer. For me it works best if I can wait on a natural release of the pressure in the cooker (close to an hour). Regardless of whether it’s two and a half or four hours, that’s SO much better than two days. So much better. I can make and use bone broth all in the same day! Plus it gives me an additional fillip! I can tailor a batch of bone broth to me OR us!

Yesterday I made bone broth with leeks (the coarse green bits no one eats), turnip, parsnip and carrot, kosher salt, bay leaf, peppercorns and Korean red pepper! The smell when I popped it open last night was amazing! Three of the five pints are going into the freezer for “just for me” cooking.

I really need to get some good gluten free rice noodles . . .

 

 

Breakfast frittata

I love food with a plethora of tastes and textures. Being a celiac and needing to eat low FODMAP hasn’t stopped me for creating some awesome meals. Okay, awesome to me. Wadly isn’t a huge fan of some of the stuff I cook. He’s not into mushrooms or peppers or any cheese except America eaten cold . . . or vegetables or spices or foods with lot of ingredients. And there, in a nutshell, is why we might share one meal a day. For us, it works.
Today’s breakfast, a loaded, stuffed to the max, frittata. Ground sausage (mild), red and green peppers, green onion, shiitake mushrooms, fresh farm egg and milk, extra sharp cheddar, home cooked black beans, tomato. OMGosh SO good! Wadly would eat it and be entirely NOT a fan.
I sauteed the green onion, mushroom, red and green pepper. Then I added the sausage to reheat (cooked earlier) and the black beans (also cooked earlier). I added that mix to the egg/milk, added the cheese, stirred, poured it into a hot/buttered 6″ cast iron frying pan and stuck it in the oven on 350 for 10 minutes. Diced tomato on top and oh so good!

My hot chocolate!

Want the world’s easiest recipe for hot cocoa? SO easy. 2 tbsp choc chips, 1 cup milk. Warm until chips melt. DO NOT over-heat. Once steam starts rising off the milk, STOP. Scalding the milk changes the flavor in a not-favorable way.
Want to make it beyond awesome? Once you finish heating, pour it into a cup and stir in 2 tbsp peppermint schnapps. If you’re a no-alcohol person let it sit for 2 minutes before drinking. The heat will burn off the alcohol.
BEST DRINK EVER.
If cocoa upsets your stomach, consider this. Buy organic/gluten free/soy free/non-GMO chips (I use Enjoy choc chips) and use low FODMAP (lactose free) milk. You’ll never see hot cocoa the same again! Wadly says the lactose free milk tastes like a milk shake. To me, it just tastes like milk . . . really good milk!

Pork Stirfry

OMGosh! Dinner was so good! I made a pork stir fry. I wasn’t intending to but . . . I picked the last of the tomatillos. I was going to make a dipping sauce for pork I was going to deep fry and . . . well . . . uh . . . you know how I cook. When I veer of course it’s usually a pretty thorough affair. This was a deliciously thorough affair. Tomatillos, tomatoes, green onions, peppers (red & green), shiitake mushrooms, butter, cilantro, gochugaru (Korean red pepper), salt, bone broth and chopped up pork. OMGosh! SO good!

Nacho Beans!

Problematic food . . . I developed a recipe I call “Nacho Beans”. OMGosh! It’s REALLY hard to not eat it all at once. I make it to add to things like soup and stir fry and . . . stuff. But it’s SO good!
1/2 cup black beans. Soak the HECK out of them. Soak and drain until they no longer produce any dying of the soak water. Soak overnight, rinse and resoak . . . clear water after soak means they’ve been adequately soaked.
Beans (soaked as above)
handful of diced bacon ends
1/4 tsp hing (get the good stuff, the resin lumps. Run through blender/grinder before use)
1 tsp oregano
1 tsp gochugaru (Korean red pepper)
1/2 tbsp ancho chili powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup water
Instapot for 8 minutes with natural release.
OMGosh! SO good!

OMGosh! So good! Parsnip and turnip breakfast hash!

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.

Awesome low carb, low FODMAP chowder

Shrimp chowder

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.

Dice bacon.

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.

Epiphany

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.

Awesome low FODMAP Nachos

I had the best nachos tonight. The recipe makes enough for two and it’s completely low FODMAP.

Brown 1 lb of hamburger. Drain the fat (or not).
Add

  • 1/4 tsp Ancho Chili Powder (not mixed chili, make sure it’s just Ancho and nothing else).
  • 1/4 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 1/8 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 4 oz tomato paste
  • 2/3 cup liquid (I use home made bone broth, you can use water or any broth that suits you)
  • Simmer until reduced.

    While the meat and spices are reducing lay the corn chips out on your plate. Grate cheddar cheese over the top and heat to melt the cheese. I use the microwave but an oven would work as well.

    Once the meat has reduced, spread it over the chips. Add sliced olives, green onions and more cheese. Heat to melt the cheese and enjoy!

Fabulous chili!

Awesome chili!

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.

Beef/Pork Soup . . . OMGosh.

Beef Pork Soup

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.
 

Ready to go in the freezer

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.

OMGosh stir fry

I’ve got a new super fast stir fry.

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!

OMGosh!

Burger Bowl!

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!

Personalized spice mixes

SpiceMixesI 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.

No soy/sugar non dairy creamer

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.

Awesome Chocolate Waffles/Pancakes

This recipe uses zucchini from my aquaponic bed. I’m getting enough zucchini to be able to eat a whole one a day, sometimes two a day. Woot!

ChocWaffles
Mmmmm.

These are SO awesome!  Fresh zucchini, coconut flour, eggs, cacao powder, medjool dates, butter and baking soda.


2 eggs, 2 medjool dates, 2 tbsp melted butter, 1/2 cup grated fresh zucchini
2 eggs, 2 medjool dates, 2 tbsp melted butter, 1/2 cup grated fresh zucchini

In a pint jar add 1/2 grated fresh zucchini, 2 large organic eggs (warmed in hot tap water before opening), 2 tablespoons melted butter, 2 medjool dates (pit removed).  Spin on the blender attachment and run on lowest setting until everything is chopped and mixed.


After blending
After blending


Cacao powder, coconut flour and baking soda added and blended.
Cacao powder, coconut flour and baking soda added and blended.

Spin the top off and add 1 tbsp coconut flour, 1 tbsp cacao powder, 1/2 tsp baking soda.  Spin the top back on and blend until the powdered ingredients are integrated.

Step4
Cook and serve with butter. Mmmmm.

Chunky Chicken Soup

Chunky chicken soup
Chunky chicken soup

This is a fast and simple recipes.  If you’re like me and mostly just cook for yourself and maybe another, you will love this one.

Wadly got a nice buy on some boneless skinless chicken thighs.  I like thigh meat as it’s tastier and juicier.  Already boned and skinned means no fuss . . . though this recipe would work with skin on and bone in and it would work for chicken breast if you don’t mind less tasty.  If you go the whole thigh route, fillet it out a bit so it’s not so thick and put it skin down.  The skin and bone will add flavor.

Cut a handful of baby carrots in half lengthwise or peel a whole carrot and cut it in diagonal slices just under 1/4″ thick.

Cut two 1/4″ slabs of zucchini.  I cut off the length I want and then cut it in lengthwise slices.

Chop some red and green pepper.  You’ll also need a 1/4″ thick slice of onion.  Don’t dice the onion.  Cut it into big chunks.

Take the stem end off a roma tomato and slice it open.  Don’t cut it in half, just make a single slice up the side and a few short slices in top and bottom so you can lay it out flat.  Pull the middle bit out and rough chop it.

Melt a generous tablespoon of butter in a small pan (I use the really small cast iron skillets for a lot of the “just me” stuff).  Turn the pan down to really low, the low side of simmer.  This won’t take long to cook and cooking it slowly will make the chicken super tender and keep the veges from becoming mush.

Put the two slabs of zucchini down side by side in the middle and arrange the carrots around them.  Sprinkle the onion and peppers on the top.  Stick the chopped bits of the tomato on top.

Place the chicken on top.  Don’t cut it up, just lay it over the top of the veges.

Sprinkle oregano, salt and pepper on top the chicken.  Lay the tomato skin side up over the top of the seasoned chicken.

Cover and cook slowly until the carrots are tender.  Lift the skin off the tomato and discard.  Lift the chicken out and cut it into big pieces.  Return to the pan, stir and pour into a bowl.

This soup is simple, fabulous and no fuss and the perfect meal for a dreary spring day.  You can bump the flavor a bit more by adding a couple tablespoons of your favorite “with chicken” wine if you’re feeling posh.

Enjoy!

Orange and ginger creole?

One of the unspoken mandates for celiacs is really tasty food to compensate for all we can’t partake.  Of late I’ve been marinating everything . . . hamburgers, steak, pork or chicken and it’s been wonderful.  I thought I’d share, both the recipe I use for my creole seasoning (pork or chicken) and the twist it got this morning.

My creole seasoning is spicy but not too spicy if you like spicy.  Use only organic seasonings.  If you haven’t gone organic with everything you can, herbs is a must for where to start.  When an herb is dried the flavor is concentrated, but so are any chemicals ON the herbs.  Go organic with your spices and herbs.

  • 2 tbsp cayenne
  • 2 tbsp pepper
  • 4 tbsp paprika
  • 1 tsp thyme
  • 1/2 tbsp garlic (powder)
  • 1 tsp onion (powder)

This mix is just a tablespoon or two more than will fit in a recycled spice container so plan for the extra you’ll have to store if you can’t use it right away.

This morning’s deviation from the norm included freshly grated ginger (micro-grated) and fresh squeezed orange juice.

For a single serving, squeeze the juice of 1/3 of an orange into a bowl.  Add grated ginger (1 tbsp?), the diced pork (or chicken) and shake a couple teaspoons of the creole seasoning over the top.  Mix thoroughly and set aside while you prep the veges.

I’m a little short on ingredients this morning.  For those of you who read my blog, you’ll know that’s not unheard of.   This morning’s stir fry had zucchini, onion and mushroom.  With a bit of bell pepper it would have been even better, and it was awesome!

Make sure you saute the mushrooms separately until thoroughly browned so they come out tasting like mushrooms.  Once all the veges are cooked set them aside.  Add more butter and a tablespoon of peanut oil to the pan.  Pour in the marinade laden meat.  As soon as it looks nearly done, return the veges to the pan.  Stir to incorporate and it’s done.

If you’re a thickened sauce person, spoon out the chunks and thicken the broth. 

This is lovely, full of flavor, healthy and a quick fix.  

Portable crisper

Portable crisper
Portable crisper

I eat a lot of vegetables. Because I am a fuss-less person I’ve come up with a way to get my veges out of the fridge without spending forever pulling them out of a drawer, stacking them on the counter, whack off what I need only to stick them back in the fridge again every time I cook. This portable crisper sits on top the glass shelf that is the cover for the existing crisper in my fridge and, with the handy handle molded into the front of the drawer, allows me to pull it out of the fridge with one hand.  It contains most if not all of the veges I need.

This crisper is the drawer and glass shelf from a small portable fridge. With the addition of a brass piano hinge and some aquarium sealer, a piece of washable non-skid shelf liner for the inside and very little effort, I have streamlined and shortened my prep time.  The lid fits flush against the top preserving the moisture in the veges.

The paper sack is cut down from a large grocery sack and holds mushrooms at the perfect humidity to keep them fresh.  Strong smelling veges like onion are zipped in plastic but everything else is pre-cleaned, unwrapped and ready to use.  A cut-to-fit non-skid shelf liner keeps the veges up off the plastic bottom to avoid accumulation of moisture where veg and plastic meet.

Current content of the crisper include zucchini, yellow squash, onion, celery, mushroom, red and green pepper.  The larger build-in crisper contains overflow and backup stock.

Breakfast Frittata

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Shrimp frittata with peppers, onion, zuccini, chevre and fried baked potatoes on top

If you’ve never had a frittata, I’m going to recommend you try one. They’re very easy to make and delightfully flexible. I go through periods where I want seafood, other times when my preference is for breakfast-y stuff.

Today my frittata had sausage, bacon, Danish Havarti, chevre, zucchini, onion and asparagus. Oh, and hash browns on top though next time I might try potatoes O’Brien instead. The pictured frittata has rounds of baked potato

Frittatas aren’t fast food, but they are quality food and can be as simple or complicated as you choose with everything you need in a single dish.

To make a frittata, prepare the filling. For delicate seafood you can choose to lightly precook or not as you choose. If you don’t precook the seafood, make sure you bake it long enough to completely cook it and expect the result to be a little moister than using precooked seafood (drain it before you put it on the plate).

Prepare your meat. If you’re using anything except seafood, precook. If I’m having both sausage and bacon I will cut them up reasonably small and cook them in the same pan until done. Saute the vegetables in butter until tender. I cut my zuccini in small (smaller than 1/4″) cubes, fine-dice the onions and cut the asparagus in small rounds (1/8″ cuts). If you find you like bigger pieces of vegetables, you have the freedom to make it your style. I’ve used peppers (I didn’t today because I’m out), broccoli, cauliflower, carrots (not the best), red and green peppers and mushrooms (not today, I’m out).

If you’re making a single serving frittata, use one or two eggs. Beat them a bit and add your cheese and sauteed meat and veges. Pour the mixture into a small (6″) frying pan that’s been heated and buttered. If you’re adding hash brown, sprinkle the cooked hash browns over the top. Pop it in your over (or toaster over) at between 325 and 350. How done you would like it is totally up to you. You can cook it just until the egg is set or you can cook it until it’s brown on top. Instead of hashbrowns you can add cheese. Or tomato. Or . . . This is a dish that never has to be the same twice and it’s easily delicious.

I think I’d better go shopping. I’m out of a lot of things . . .

Basil carrots

Wadly’s not a fan of vegetables.  He’s tall and thin and lives on meat and starch.  Getting him to eat and enjoy vegetables not loaded with starch is a personal quest.

My latest shot at Wadly-edible vegetables is basil carrots.  He thinks they’re okay (not high praise but close) and I love them.

Saute onions, carrots and a very light sprinkling of basil (it’s strong and can easily overpower the carrots so take care) in butter.  Reduce the heat after the onions become transparent to finish the carrots.

That’s it.  Did you think I’d make it more complicated?  Nope.  It’s so tasty and so sweet it’s almost like dessert.