Cream Chese Frosting- the SCD way

For my 28th birthday, I wanted to make myself a carrot cake.  I tried making a carrot cake about 2 months into the SCD diet, almost three years ago, but since I couldn’t use cream cheese, I made a glaze out of coconut butter.  It just wasn’t the same.  I missed the tangy creaminess of the cream cheese frosting.

During my last flare, I pinned a picture of Primal Palate’s Carrot Cake with the caption, “This is going to be my celebratory meal, once I’m out of this flare.”  I didn’t quite live up to that promise, but my birthday presented the perfect chance to give it a try.

I followed their recipe for the cake, which you can find here.  It was delicious- one of the best carrot cakes I’ve ever had in my life.  I decided to try  cream cheese frosting that used SCD legal Farmer’s Cheese in place of cream cheese.  After a few trial and errors, I came up with one that tasted very similar to the same thing, though with a slightly different (though still delicious!) consistency.  In fact, my husband said that he preferred it to real cream cheese frosting!

Ingredients:

6 ounces Farmer’s Cheese

6 ounces butter

1/4 cup honey

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions:

1.) Melt the butter and cheese, so that they are soft, but not entirely runny (about 40 seconds in the microwave).

2.) Place in blender and blender until smooth, which takes about 30-45 seconds.

3.) Add honey and vanilla and blend until incorporated.

4.) At this point, it will be runny and in a liquid state.  Remove from blender and place it in the freezer for 10 minutes.  It will harden and become spreadable.  Don’t put it in there for too long or it will freeze!

5.) Remove from freezer and spread on cake (or muffins).  Enjoy!

Cream Cheese

Back in the saddle again

It’s been hard to blog lately and the biggest reason for that is that I just climbed out of yet another Crohn’s flare.

It’s galling to admit, and somehow feels like a personal failure, but it has reared it’s ugly head and I was once again caught in the undertow.

It actually started last February but was really mild. I altered by diet and started eating the SCD intro diet. It seemed like it was getting better but after a month of minimal progress, I went into the doc and made the hard decision to start another temporary medication.

After that, it felt like a series of concessions. In May, I tried eating the AIP modification for SCD since I still felt like I wasn’t getting better as rapidly as I wanted to. I added in yoga and removed as much stress as possible from my life. While yoga was an incredible addition and I’m so glad I’ve found it, it didn’t stop the flare. At the end of May, we left for a much anticipated European vacation. Reluctantly, I agreed to increase one of my medications.

I think what sparked the craziness is the European trip. The combination of lack of sleep and new foods (although I still ate 100% on my diet and made the majority of my food there- more about that in another blog post) I think my body just couldn’t handle it. It mostly held together while we were in Europe and then promptly fell apart when we got home.

Within a week of getting back from Europe, the flare had spiraled into something unmanageable by diet and minor medication modification. Two ER visits and an emergency abscess surgery removal later, I made the decision to temporarily go on Remicade again to try and stop the madness. While the SCD diet has helped me maintain my health for 2 years, it wasn’t working and I was running out of options. It’s so frustrating and feels like a personal defeat but it’s where we’re at.

One thing that has been running through my head in the last 12 months and was only re-enforced as I lay in the hospital bed recovering from the surgery, is my inability to control my health. One of the amazing things about eating the way that I do is that it has given me back a much needed sense of control and I feel like I can actually effect some positive change in my life. However, this sense of control is ultimately incomplete. I’m not in control. I cannot cure myself from this disease and no medication or diet can either.

God is in control though. This is true for everyone but I think being chronically ill gives you a panoramic view of this inescapable fact. God controls healing; we don’t. Eating healthy can help you be healthy. Eating the way that I do mitigates some of the effects of this awful disease but I can’t fiot my cure.

Nowadays I am much better. I’m still on some heavy duty meds but I’ve persisted with the scd diet and the combination seems to be working. It’s not what I want but I’m grateful to be healthy again. As I continue to heal, I hope to rely more on the diet. For now, it’s in God’s hands.

Asparagus Breakfast Skillet

Breakfast has been a bit of a challenge on the Auto Immune Protocol. Luckily, I happened upon this delicious veggie skillet and have been eating it like a fiend! It’s really flavorful and still tastes like breakfast. Pair it with a banana and coconut milk whipped cream and you’re in business!

image

Ingredients:
5-6 small to medium asparagus stocks
3 pieces of bacon
1 cup shredded golden beet
1 tablespoon coconut oil
Salt (and pepper if you can have it) to taste

Directions:
1. Wash, chop, and shred veggies. Cut bacon into bite sized pieces.
2. Heat coconut oil over medium heat in a medium sized skillet for about 2 minutes and then add beets. Cover with lid and cook for about 5 minutes.
3. The beets should be getting brown on the bottom. Flip them with your spatula and add the asparagus to your skillet. Cover again for 3 minutes.
4. Remove cover and use spatula to shift beets if they are starting to burn. Add bacon. Don’t cover but continue to shift them around occasionally, checking frequently to prevent burning. Cook for about 5 minutes and remove from heat.
5. Salt and pepper if desired. Enjoy!

image

Chicken and squash soup

I’ve been battling a mild flare for the last couple months. It’s frustrating and discouraging after two years of being virtually flare free to be struggling again. Luckily it’s relatively small, at least compared to previous flares, and doesn’t seem to be getting worse. One step I’ve taken this past month is to try the paleo auto immune protocol. It’s designed to eliminate common irritants and has a whole science of its own, but suffice it to say, this month in addition to the rest of the food I don’t eat, I’ve added nuts, seeds and seed based spices, nightshades, dairy and eggs. Ugh.

I kind of hate it but I keep reminding myself that it’s not forever, that healing comes first, and that it’s a privilege to live in a country where it is possible to make these kind of choices for myself. One food that we’ve been eating fairly regularly, as in multiple times a week, is this simple soup. I buy a whole chicken every week, roast it, and use half the chicken to make this and the bones to make bone broth.

image

We love it. It’s simple, rich and filling. Perfect for the AIP. My biggest fans have actually been my in laws who are about as far from being paleo as humanly possible.

Ingredients:
The meat from a roasted chicken, about 3 cups
2 large carrots, chopped
2 cups cubed butternut squash
1 cup acorn squash (about 1/2 squash)
2 cups spinach
2 cups bone broth
2 cups water
Salt and pepper, or simply salt

Directions:
1. Add chicken, carrots, butternut squash, bone broth and water to a pot and bring to a boil. Adjust heat and simmer for 20 minutes.
2. Roast or microwave acorn squash (40 minutes in the oven at 375 or 6 minutes in the microwave). Once cooked, add to pot.
3. Chop or tear spinach. Add after 20 minutes and simmer for an additional 5.  Remove from heat and add salt.
4. Serve and enjoy!

For more information about the auto immune protocol, I recommend reading The Paleo Approach by Dr. Sarah Ballantyne.

Strawberry Shortcake with Coconut Flour

Once again, it’s been a long time since I’ve posted but I wanted to post some pictures of the incredible grain-free Strawberry Shortcake that I made for my birthday!  I used the recipe last July for some patriotic triffle and was excited to see that Jenni, over at the Urban Poser, had made it into a cake as well.
IMG_20140401_113321
It was incredible and does not taste grain-free at all.  It’s dense, like a lot of coconut flour recipes, but very moist, sweet and the coconut whip cream gives it a sort of airiness.

I used 9 inch pans so my creation did not turn out as ethereal and lovely as Jenni’s but it was mouthwateringly delicious and a definite crowd pleaser.  Find the recipe and instructions here!

Paleo Korean Inspired Stir Fry

I recently had the awesome experience of a restaurant completely catering to my dietary needs.  My company hosts a lot of lunches there and the hospitality manager worked with the chef to create a dish specifically for me.  It was pretty significant as it’s a Korean-American fusion restaurant that makes its bread and butter with foods I can’t eat.  They made an awesome ground turkey stir fry and talked with me about what they put in it.  I think I’ve been able to replicate it almost to a tee.  They didn’t add coconut aminos but I couldn’t resist.  We’ve eaten it about 5 times over the last month as it takes less than 30 minutes from start to finish and tastes awesome.  Enjoy!

Ingredients:

1 Tablespoon Toasted Sesame Oil (plus 1 Tablespoon for saute)

3 Tablespoons Coconut Aminos

2 Teaspoons honey

1 Teaspoon salt

1 Teaspoon ground ginger

1/2 Teaspoon ground onion

1/2 Teaspoon Chili Pepper Flakes

1 Clove Minced Garlic

1/2 lb Ground Turkey

1.5 cup chopped carrots

1/2 cup finely chopped yellow onion

1 cup finely chopped mushrooms (I like Cremini)

1 cup spinach or kale

Directions:

1.) Combine the first seven ingredients in a blender and blend until sauce forms, minus 1 Tablespoon of Sesame Oil.  Heat 1 Tablespoon Sesame oil in large pan over medium heat.  Add garlic and saute for about 2 minutes.

2.) Add ground turkey to garlic and brown on both sides.  Drain any access liquid and add carrots and onions.  Cook for 5-7 minutes or until carrots soften and onions are translucent.

3.) Add mushrooms and add sauce.  Cook for another 3 minutes and add spinach.  Cook for another 2 minutes or until the greens are wilted.

Enjoy!

Paleo Sonoma Chicken Salad

Chicago has been horrible this winter.  Snow so formidable that I’m afraid to drive the two miles to the grocery store.  Cold so fierce that I literally spent three days in my house, until I literally couldn’t stand it any longer- and I’m from Minnesota!

You would think that it would have resulted in a burgeoning of this blog, as I filled your news feed with stories of my snow induced cooking.  However, hibernation seems to have had an all encompassing grip on my creativity and I’ve found myself recreating other bloggers’ recipes for most meals.  The light has also been fairly poor and so all of my food photos have been fairly cave-like and unappetizing.

However, I have been loving this easy recipe that I recreated based on an non-paleo favorite of mine.  It’s hearty and filling and easy to transport for lunch.  I love the creamy, semi-sweet taste of the mayo with the firm crunchy of the celery and sweet burst of the grapes.  It makes enough for four large servings.

IMG_20140211_084423

Ingredients:

4 Large Chicken Breasts

2 Cups Grapes

1 Cup Packed Pecan Halves

3 Stalks Chopped Celery

3/4 Cup Homemade Paleo Mayo

1.5 Tablespoon Honey

1 Teaspoon Poppy Seeds

1 Teaspoon Salt

1/2 Teaspoon Pepper

Directions:

1.) Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees.  Prepare the chicken breasts with the salt and pepper from the recipe.  Cook for 40 minutes.

2.) Chop celery, half grapes and pecans (if needed).

3.) Cube chicken and add to celery, grapes and pecans.  Combine Mayo with honey and add to mixture.  Add poppy seeds.

4.) Chill for 1 hour before serving.

A Paleo Baby Shower

My sister is having a baby girl in November!  She is the first grand-baby in the Morris household and we are all over the moon!  In honor of our lovely, literary Amy, my mom and I decided to throw baby girl a children’s book themed shower.  When I talked with Amy about it, she told me that she wanted me to be able to eat everything at the shower.  And thus, a Paleo Children’s Book Baby Shower was born.

Image

We used this theme and template from Martha Stewart.  Ex-con or not, she is still about as picture perfect as they come!  I wanted the food to be pink and dreamy, whimsical and playful.  I spent weeks going through websites and books, picking out the best recipes.  Three weeks before, I bought Danielle Walker’s amazing new cook book and my menu suddenly flew together.

Image

Amy’s Paleo Shower:

Strawberry Shortcake Meringue Cupcakes

Image

Dark Chocolate Fudge Brownies (in Danielle’s book)

Image

Watermelon Arugula and Feta Salad

Image

Almond Thyme Crackers and Baked Brie (from Roost Blog)

Image

Black Mission Fig Jam (in Danielle’s book)

Image

Lemony Apple Carrot Bombs (from The Urban Poser)

ImageImage

 

It was so beautiful.  Friends and family from all over Minnesota came to celebrate our new life!  Our Grandma came with a cozy sleeper and Mary Poppins themed gift.  My younger sister flew in from Chicago and surprised my mom and sister!  The mother of the family Amy nannied for as a teenager came with a book from France that Amy had bought for them as a nanny.  Stories of love and encouragement were paired with the most delicious grain-free, sugar-free spread this side of the St. Croix.

Image

Needless to say, we can’t wait for little girl Williams to appear on the scene in November!  And when she does, she is going to have so many fun new books to greet her and hopefully, a taste for Paleo cooking!

 

Thai Red Curry

Without a lot of fuss, pomp, or circumstance, I have recently passed a large milestone in my personal history.  As of May 1st, I have been 1 year on the Specific Carbohydrates Diet.  I can’t believe it has been a full year.  I have been flare free now for nine months.  As short as it is, that is a victory for me.  In June, I start decreasing my medication intake to see if my body is ready to start relying fully on the diet.  For now, I am just so grateful to be well.  On May 2nd, I took my company’s annual wellness assessment.  For the first time in three years when asked “How would you rate your physical health?” I answered “Very Good”.

IMG_2163

This recipe is for your traditional Thai Red Curry.  I was inspired by memories of nights in Chicago eating at Cozy Noodles, an eclectic Thai Restaurant on the north side.  I am elated at how it has evolved and turned out.  Creamy and sweet, with subtle heat and a plethora of vegetables.  I started out with a recipe from Eat Live Run but adapted it to fit the SCD diet.  The original recipe includes sweet potatoes, sugar and fish sauce.  I left out the sweet potatoes and fish sauce and substituted 1 TBS of honey for the sugar.  It was great!  We like to serve it over cauli-rice but it makes a nice soup as well.  I made the Thai curry paste from scratch and have included the recipe.  Enjoy!

 

Thai Curry Paste

Ingredients:

  • 1 shallot, chopped
  • 2 stalks lemongrass, minced
  • 1 and 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 1 thumb-size piece of ginger, peeled and chopped
  • 2 Tbsp. tomato puree
  • 1 tsp. ground cumin
  • 3/4 tsp. ground coriander
  • 1 TBS honey
  • 1+1/2 to 2 Tbsp. chili powder
  • 3 Tbsp. thick coconut milk, or just enough to keep the blades turning
  • 2 Tbsp. fresh-squeezed lime juice
  • 1/4 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1 TBS peanut oil

Directions:

  1. Put everything into the food processor and pulse until you have a paste consistency.  If you are like me and have a rather feeble processor, you may have to migrate to the blender to get the consistency you want.  Add coconut milk if the consistency is too thick.
  2. Now you are free to use it in your curry!  It makes about 9 TBS (enough for three curries).  I like to bag it up and put it in the freezer for further use.

IMG_2145

The Best SCD/Paleo Chili you have ever tasted!

This delicious savory, spicy and sweet chili is the culmination of over a year of fairly tragic SCD legal chilis.  No really.  Everyone send Mike an air-five for being a champ and eating burned, bland, s0-hot-your-nose runs, oh and did I mention bland, chilis.  However, by painstaking trial and error, I have created the BEST chili recipe!  It reminds me of Fresh Fields chili, if anyone remembers the tiny yet incredible diner, in tiny yet incredible Stillwater, Minnesota.   Hands down, this is the best SCD/Paleo chili I have tried.  I started with this recipe from Paleo Pot and it evolved from there.  Credit where credit is due, the Paleo Pot recipe was great but not sweet or substantial enough for an entire meal.

So far we have served it a bunch of ways- plain, over spaghetti squash, over cauli-rice, with Roost Blog’s Almond Thyme Crackers, with onion and avocado, with cheese, etc.  Try it out and let me know any fun new combos!

IMG_2134

Sweet and Spicy SCD/Paleo Chili Recipe:
2 Bell Peppers (1 Orange, 1 Yellow is my favorite)
1 Red Onion
1 Yellow Onion
1 Jalapeno pepper (Leave half of the seeds in or adjust according to heat preference)
1 lb. Ground pork
1 lb. Ground sirloin
1/4-1/2lb. bacon
4 cups diced tomatoes
1/2 head of garlic (5-6 cloves)
1 TBS Cumin
1 TBS Cayenne Pepper
1 TBS cocoa (optional- remove to make SCD legal)
1 TBS salt
1 tsp black pepper
1 tsp red chili flakes
1/4 cup honey
1 cup red kidney beans (pre-soaked according to SCD specifications)
1 cup water
Instructions:
1.) Heat oven to 425 degrees.  Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper and place bacon strips evenly.  Cook for 9-12 minutes until finished cooking.  I love cooking bacon in the oven because it cooks evenly but feel free to cook in the skillet as well.
2.) Brown the pork and beef.  Strain the fat and set aside.
3.) Cook all of your veggies to roughly the same size.  It doesn’t have to be perfect because you’re going to put half of them in your food processor or blend after cooking.
4.) Combine the spices in a separate bowl.  Add all of the veggies, beans and meat to your crock pot.  Add the water, spices, and honey and cook on low for 8 hours.
5.) Remove the top and stir to combine.  Take roughly half of your mixture (about 5 cups) and blend it in your food processor.  Add the un-blended portion to the blended portion and stir to combine.
6.) Serve and enjoy!  We like it with avocados, served over spaghetti squash, with grated cheese on the top or just plain.  Yum!