Saturday, November 30, 2013

Yuletide veggies

Yuletide veggies
 Are you a Christmas person? Or are you someone who slowly warms up to the idea of the holidays? I guess I fit into the later category. But for some reason, even my food is beginning to look a lot like Christmas.
Chard, green beans, cauliflower mash and beets provide the perfect combination for a colorful holiday meal. Add your choice of protein to yuletide veggies  to make a complete meal or serve as a side dish. I guarantee you'll start warming up to the idea of the holiday season when you eat this meal!
 Here's what you need for 1 main dish or 2 side dish servings:

1/2 head of  small cauliflower
12 green beans, trimmed
1 beet, peeled and sliced
1 head of Swiss chard
1/2 yellow onion, sliced
salt and pepper
olive oil 
1/4 cup coconut milk or other milk

 Here's what you do:

Heat oven to 400 degrees. Prepare your veggies. Cut cauliflower into small pieces. Trim green beans. Peel and slice beet. Wash and chop Swiss chard. Thinly slice the onion.

Roast the cauliflower, green beans, 1/4 onion and beet in your oven for about 15+ minutes. Green beans will be ready first, followed by cauliflower and then beets. 

Make the cauliflower mash by transferring roasted cauliflower and onion slices to food processor. Add salt and pepper, to taste, and coconut milk. Pulse until cauliflower is pureed. Add additional liquid, if needed. Set aside.

In a large skillet, heat drizzle of olive oil. Add remaining onion slices and saute until tender. Next, add chopped chard and continue to saute until chard is tender. Season with salt and pepper. 

To serve, put a generous portion of chard on your plate. Next, spoon on the cauliflower mash. Arrange green beans and beets, sliced into matchsticks, on top.

Am I cute or what?
Recipe contributed to:

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Avocado joy bars

Feline/canine buddies
Thanksgiving is just four days away but right now, I'll have to admit I am more focused on just trying to find things I can eat on a day-to-day basis while following the Paleo Autoimmune Protocol. This elimination diet for individuals with autoimmune disorders can be quite limiting but especially if you throw in the candida/bacterial overgrowth factor.

Avocado JOY bars
Avocado JOY bars are something I can eat right now and not feel overwhelmingly limited by my low starch/low carb/paleo diet. They are patterned after my Lemon Bars 

Both recipes have lots of good stuff but this latest one has a full avocado added. Avocadoes are great nutrition for anyone but make a nutritious staple for anyone on the anti-candida diet  or autoimmune protocol.

Here's what you need for the crust:

(makes about 6 bars)

3 T. coconut flour
3 T. finely shredded coconut flakes
3 T. coconut oil or coconut oil/coconut butter blend (softened)

Here's what you need for the filling:

1 ripe avocado
2 T. coconut butter (softened)
2-3 T. coconut milk
1 tsp. vanilla extract
liquid vanilla stevia, to taste
juice of 1 lemon
1-2 T. coconut flakes (any size, you pick)
extra coconut butter for drizzling on top

 Here's what you do:

Press the filling ingredients into a 5 X 7 loaf pan (silicone works best). Put the loaf pan into the freezer to harden up the crust. In the meantime, blend the avocado, lemon juice, stevia, vanilla, coconut milk and coconut butter in a food processor.

Remove the pan with crust from the freezer. Spread the filling on top of the crust. Sprinkle on coconut flakes and drizzle on additional softened coconut butter. Just as easy as the original lemon bars and no seeds, grains, nuts but with the additional nutrition and flavor of an avocado. You will need to place them in the freezer for a few minutes before cutting into bars.

Recipe contributed to:

Friday, November 22, 2013

Winter veggie pile-up for Thanksgiving

 Bailey, the cat, spent hours trying to figure out how to "catch" a leaf that was plastered to the outside of the window by a rain and wind storm. Once again, this proves that cats have dogged determination, just like their dog buddies, who in this case, provided the moral support.

 While Bailey and canine sidekick kept busy with the leaf project, I was whipping up a delicious dish that would be perfect for Thanksgiving or anytime. It was not only tasty, but visually appealing and chocked with nutrition. Add your protein of choice to make a complete meal.

Here's what you need for 2 servings:

1 delicata squash or similar small squash
6 brussel sprouts
1 beet
6 or more large kale leaves
1/2 small yellow onion
salt and pepper
olive oil

Here's what you do:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line several baking sheets with parchment paper. Wash, trim and cut brussel sprouts in half. Cut squash in half and remove seeds. Peel and cut beet into slices. Toss all veggies with olive oil and salt and pepper. Spread veggies on baking sheets and roast until golden and tender. Times vary but brussel sprouts will take about 15 minutes, squash 20-30 minutes and beets 20+ minutes.

In the meantime, slice onion and cut kale into small pieces. Saute the kale with onions until tender. Season with salt and pepper.

To serve, pile half of kale on a plate. Top with half a squash. Cut beet slices into small pieces. Arrange remaining veggies on top.

Recipe contributed to:

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Eat-your-broccoli cupcakes with carrot-coconut frosting, AIP-friendly

Mom makes yummy cupcakes, AIP-friendly! Even I can eat them!
I never thought I could make cupcakes or muffins without being able to use one of the traditional binders, such as eggs, or chia or flax seed. But I did it! Now, I've been enjoying muffins for breakfast, snacks or dinner. Want to know the secret ingredient?

Eat-your-broccoli cupcakes with carrot-coconut frosting

 The secret is using gelatin eggs. Make the equivalent of various quantities of  eggs by mixing gelatin from grassfed cows with water.

I love broccoli but it tastes even more delicious when transformed into a cupcake.

Here's what you need for the cupcakes:

1 gelatin egg (directions below) Note: if not following the AIP diet, you may use 1 organic egg or 2 flax or chia eggs instead.
1 cup steamed broccoli
2 T. coconut flour
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 avocado
Drizzle of coconut milk if needed to thin out batter
Drop of stevia

Here's what you need for the carrot-coconut frosting:

1 tsp. gelatin (For a vegan, non-AIP version, use 1/4 tsp. xanthum gum.)
1 can full-fat coconut milk
2 carrots, peeled and steamed
stevia, to taste
1 tsp. vanilla extract, no alcohol

 Here's what you do:

For the cupcakes:

Mix up your gelatin egg. Take 1 tsp. gelatin and sprinkle it on 3 T. cold water. Mix the gelatin and water with a spoon. Add 7 tsp. boiling water and stir until gelatin dissolved. Place this mixture in the freezer until thickened.

Take steamed broccoli, coconut flour, avocado and stevia, thickened gelatin mixture, and place in a food processor. Blend until mixed into your cupcake batter. Add a drizzle of coconut milk if needed to get everything to blend. Spoon the dough into 3-4 sections of a silicone cupcake pan. Bake at 400 degrees for 30-40 minutes or until tops become slightly browned and firm. Remove from the oven and allow to completely cool before attempting to remove the cupcakes. If you try to remove the cupcakes too soon, they will fall apart. Place in the fridge to hasten the cooling.

In the meantime, make your carrot frosting. Place steamed, cooled carrots in a food processor with a can of coconut milk, 1 tsp. gelatin, stevia and vanilla. Blend until mixture is thickened. Place in a small container and put in the fridge where the frosting will continue to thicken.

Once everything is chilled, frost the cupcakes.

Recipe contributed to:

Friday, November 15, 2013

Lemon bars, no seeds, nuts, grain

Lemon bars, no seeds, nuts or grains
In all my years battling candida, my health care practitioners never explained the difference between low carb and low starch. I was simply told to avoid carbohydrates in the initial phase of the anti-candida diet and then reintroduce some as I moved through the stages of the diet and as symptoms improved. For me, this has never worked. Every time, I up my carb intake to include such foods as seeds, quinoa, legumes, etc., the results have been devastating. The symptoms return with gusto.

Now, I am beginning to get a clue as to why this keeps occurring. Low carb means eating "good carbs" or low glycemic carbohydrates, such as whole grains, fruits and vegetables, legumes, while avoiding simple carbs. With the exception of vegetables, most of these "good carbs" create havoc with my digestive tract.

The amount of starch and types of sugars in these "good carbs" seems to be the problem. I need to eat not only low carbohydrate but also low starch which is a low-starch diet.  All carbohydrates are starches, but not all starches are carbohydrates. Many people cannot digest some starches but in people with intestinal disorders, the digestion of starches is further compromised.

So, that explains it! Every time I've eaten sunbutter, seeds, legumes, whole grains, I am eating starchy carbohydrates that I cannot digest. All this undigested food creates more fun for bad bacteria. The end result is I get an overgrowth.

I have been following the low starch diet for 10 days with positive effects as well as lots of die-off symptoms.  If you want to know more about low starch versus low carbohydrate, go to

Here's a low starch version of one of my favorites---lemon bars.

You'll need for the crust:

3 T. coconut flour
3 T. unsweetened coconut flakes
2-3 T. melted coconut oil

You'll need for the filling:

2 T. each coconut oil and coconut butter
juice of 1 lemon
vanilla stevia, to taste
1/2 tsp. alcohol-free vanilla extract

Misha rests while waiting for the lemon bars.
Here's what you do:

Press the filling ingredients into a 5 X 7 loaf pan (silicone works best). Put the loaf pan into the freezer to harden up the crust. In the meantime, soften the coconut oil and coconut butter in a small bowl. Squeeze in the lemon juice and stir until mixture is thickened. Stir in the stevia and vanilla.

Remove the pan with crust from the freezer. Spread the filling on top of the crust. Voila, you have lemon bars! So easy and simple to make. You may need to place them in the freezer for a few minutes before cutting into bars.

Recipe contributed to:

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Berrylicious cobbler, paleo autoimmune protocol

Berrylicious cobbler, AIP-friendly
 I'm beginning to feel like I'm from some alternative universe as far as what I eat goes. I am following the Paleo Autoimmune Protocol (AIP) which eliminates more foods than the regular paleo or caveman diet. Eliminated are: all grains, legumes, processed food, nightshade veggies, seeds and nuts, dairy and eggs. Many individuals following the AIP have achieved remission from symptoms of various autoimmune diseases.

With these restrictions, it is difficult to find recipes. Eileen of Phoenix Helix has started a recipe roundtable where fellow AIP'ers share their recipes. Here's the link:

How do you make a berry cobbler given all the restrictions of the AIP diet? I decided to put my culinary skills to a test and give it a try.
My napping fur kids obviously were of no help!

The first challenge was coming up with a thickening agent for the berries as starches (flour, arrowroot, gums, etc.) and seeds (flax, chia) are not allowed. My alternative was a bit of gelatin. Then, there was the whole topping or crust problem. That's where coconut flour saved the day. Anyhow, the result was berrylicious!

Here's what you need:

For the filling:
2 cups mixed berries (I used 1 cup each of blackberries and blueberries)
1 tsp. gelatin
vanilla stevia drops, to taste

For the crust:
4 T. coconut flour
4 T. coconut flakes
3-4 T. coconut oil (melted)

AIP cobbler can be eaten for breakfast or dessert

Here's what you do:

Preheat your oven to 425 degrees.

Heat the berries in a small pan until they are warm and softened. Place the berries in your food processor along with the gelatin and stevia. Process into a berry puree. Set aside.

Mix the crust ingredients in a small bowl or right in your baking pan. Reserve 3 T. for topping. I used a silicone bread pan. Spread the crust mixture on the bottom of the pan. Press down with your fingers.

Spoon the berry mixture on top of the crust. Sprinkle the reserved topping mixture on top. 

Bake for 15-20 minutes. Serve with homemade coconut yogurt (recipe coming) or sprinkle with additional coconut flakes.

Recipe contributed to:

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Apple pie kale chips

Apple pie kale chips
Day 30 of the paleo autoimmune protocol (AIP) is coming up in just two days. I went on this elimination diet in hopes of isolating foods that might be contributing to my fibromyalgia, an autoimmune disease.

When I started the diet, this is what I wrote about how I was feeling:

some daily stomach upset, sometimes interrupts daily activities
many foods are not tolerated but not as many as before
no chronic sinus pain or headaches
daily pain is generally mild but sometimes more intense
able to exercise and return to many physical activities, although with some increased pain
pain seldom interrupts sleep
able to travel but with increased stiffness and pain
good energy
less morning stiffness and pain

Apple pie kale chips
During the past 30 days, sometimes I've felt better than described above but I haven't achieved a consistent remission of symptoms. I'm still working on it!

I've been turning kale into a real treat during my time on the AIP. There has been pumpkin spice kale chips , carrot cake kale chips  and now, apple pie kale chips.
Misha, the husky, strikes another one of his relaxation poses.
Here's what you need:

1 bunch of kale leaves, removed from stems
1/2 apple, such as Pink Lady or gala, cored and cut into small pieces
1/4 cup coconut milk, unsweetened
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract, alcohol free
stevia, to taste
1-2 tsp. cinnamon

Here's what you do:

Wash your kale. Remove the leaves from the stems and set aside to dry. Set you oven to 325 degrees or get out you food dehydrator to make a raw version.

Cook the apple pieces in coconut milk, cinnamon, stevia and vanilla extract until you get chunky applesauce. Omit cooking the apples if making a raw version. Process the applesauce in a food processor until it's smooth.

Toss the applesauce with the kale. Massage in the mixture to make sure all pieces are coated.

Place the coated kale on several large baking sheets, covered with parchment paper. Drizzle on coconut butter for an extra special treat.

Recipe contributed to: