I Heart (or at least don’t usually mind) SCD

One of the questions I get asked, almost universally, after telling someone I’m grain, starch, refined sugar and (mostly) dairy free is “What in the world do you eat?”  I usually reply something like “Well, a lot of veggies and meat”, which is true but definitely only part of the story!  My SCD story would have lasted oh about, 2 weeks if it was only veggies and meat. 

Today I had a typical, all-american lunch: sandwich, salad and sweet.  The only difference is in the substitutions: three nut bread for wheat bread, homemade basil and apple cider vinigairette instead of store bought and a delicious strawberry shortcake cupcake instead of one made with wheat. 

Hello gorgeous…

I’ve got Danielle from againstallgrains.com to thank for the three nut bread and strawberry shortcake cupcake recipe.  The basil cider vinigairette is my own.  Both the strawberry shortcake and the bread are fairly time intensive but made on different nights, very do-able.  I had my sandwich with Harvati cheese, turkey and mustard.  Love that it’s not in a lettuce wrap!

like biting into a cloud!

I can’t wait to serve the strawberry shortcake cupcakes again.  I loved the strawberry merringue frosting– my favorite SCD frosting so far!  Cheers to “normal” lunches!  🙂

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Crock-pot Apple Pork Chops with Spiced Golden Beets

Sundays are busy days for us, even more so since we just got back from a fantastic vacation with our dear friends!  I decided to pull out the crock-pot to prepare the thick, juicy pork chops that I bought from the Logan Square Farmer’s Market last week.

The second part of the meal was a lucky find when I was digging around the internet for a good recipe for Golden Beets.  I can’t believe I have waited 25 years to taste golden beets!  They are so delicious and satisfying with their full, sweet and earthy flavor.  We paired the pork chops with a spicy golden beet recipe and sweet melon.  It was a wonderful end to a great weekend.

The golden beets I made courtesy of a great recipe from Sonnet at For the Love of Food.  I decided to peel them and chop to look like house potatoes.  After mixing the spices and tossing with coconut oil, I roasted them at 400 for about 35 minutes. They tasted better than french fries!  Ok, that’s a lie, but fantastic all the same and so much healthier.

The apple pork chops were my own recipe and a launching point for more!

Apple Pork Chops

1 gala apple, sliced

1 sweet onion, sliced

3 small carrots, sliced

1/2 cup of raisins

1 cup fruit juice (I used natural black cherry but apple would be great too!)

1 TBLS apple cider vinegar

1 cup water

1/4 cup honey

Salt and pepper to taste

Slice apple, carrot and onion and layer bottom.  Put chops on top of veggies and put another layer on top.  Combine juice, vinegar, water and honey.  Mix and pour over chops.  Salt and pepper.  Sprinkle with raisins.  Slow cook on low for 8 hours.

 

 

 

Spaghetti Squash with Pesto and Breaded Zucchini

At the Logan Square Farmer’s market, I bought the most adorable eggplant!  A comely lavender, speckled with white, diminutive in size,  they are appropriately named “Fairy Tale Egg Plant”.  I was so delighted I bought three!  The only problem was trying to figure out what to pair it with.

I decided on spaghetti squash and basil pesto.  I figured if I breaded it, it would taste like chicken.  The pesto, I had on hand.  I made a huge batch earlier this month and froze it in plastic bags.  I grabbed a bag after work and put it in a bowl of water to defrost.  I cut the spaghetti squash open, Mike seeded it and cooked it at 350 for about 30 minutes until tender.  Then drag a fork through the squash and put in a large serving bowl.  Mix in pesto.

Meanwhile, I cut the eggplant into bite size pieces and breaded it.

Coconut Flour Breading

1/2 cup Coconut Flour

1 tsp minced onion powder

1/2 tsp garlic powder

1/2 tsp black pepper

1/2 tsp salt

1 egg

Beat egg and put into a bowl.  Combine all dry ingredients in a separate bowl.  Dip the eggplant in the egg and then in the breading.  Sauté in a TBLS of olive oil for 15 minutes until toasted on each side. Sauté 1/2 sweet onion and add to serving bowl.  Serve with grated parmesan.

A Farmer’s Market Feast! Cashew Breaded Chicken with Sauteed Yellow Tomatoes and Garlic Aioli


There is so much I love about farmer’s markets.  I love being able to stroll among the vendors, admiring the different sized tomatoes and cucumbers, beets and carrots.  I love the humanness of being able to talk to the people who grow it and know about their farm.  In an urban environment, where I am starved for connection to my food sources, a farmer’s market allows me to feel like a small part of something bigger.  I’m amazed at the diversity of plant life and the abundance that God has showered on us.

 

Plus it makes for some seriously awesome recipe planning.

 

Today’s haul included mint infused raw honey, organic yellow tomatoes and sweet southern Illinois peaches.  Not bad for a late arrival.  Once I spotted the yellow tomatoes, I was hooked and the meal came together really nicely.  This past week I made a bunch of staples that made prep time for this meal a lot less burdensome.  I feasted on Danielle’s Cashew Palieo bread for tasty sandwiches throughout the week.  I also made Coco’s flat bread and have been eating it with homemade garlic butter and last week’s find, sugar-free balsamic!  

I decided to make breaded chicken on a bed of sauteed spinach and yellow tomatoes with garlic aioli.  To that I added our peaches and flat bread!  It was the perfect meal to bring with us for a picnic near the lake.  For the breaded chicken, I did the following:

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees

1.) Toast 4-6 slices of palieo bread until the bread is hard but not burnt.

2.) Put in food processor and pulse until you have small, grainy bread crumbs.

3.) Pound two large chicken breasts until tender and about 1 inch thick.

4.) Roll chicken breasts in a layer of almond flour (need approximately 1/2 cup)

4.) Whisk 1 egg and dip chicken breasts in egg.

5.) Dip egg covered chicken breasts in cashew bread crumbs.

Add 1 TBLS olive oil to a skillet and place chicken breasts in on medium heat.  Brown for up to 10 minutes on each side being careful not to burn.  After this, place in covered dish and cook for 15-20 minutes or until chicken is cooked through.  I used Coco’s garlic and chive aioli recipe though I omitted the chives.  I poured over right before we were about to serve.  For the garlic butter, I minced 2 cloves with 2 TBLS butter and brought it with us for the flat bread.

Sauteed Spinach and Tomatoes

1 TBLS Olive oil

2 cups spinach

4 yellow tomatoes

Chop tomatoes into slices.  Add olive oil to skillet and once heated, add tomatoes.  Sautee for 3-4 minutes before adding spinach.  Sautee for 1 minute and then remove from heat.  Salt and Pepper to taste!

It was a feast by the lake!  After we got home, I made up coconut milk smoothies for us with homemade SCD yogurt for a final treat.  Can’t wait for tomorrow’s farmer’s market!

Pot Roast and Beef Pot Pie

The weekend of the 21st, my mom came to visit!  My mom is responsible for most good things in my life, one of them being my introduction to the crock pot.  My crock pot has made the Specific Carbohydrates Diet about a 100 times easier both by cutting down the amount of time I have to babysit my oven and by creating massive amounts of left-overs.

Once I cut out potatoes and milk, I decided to recreate my favorite pot roast recipe by substituting different veggies and using plain old water.  It’s the easiest recipe ever but incredibly savory and flavorful.  The key is to get a truly great cut of meat and veggies that can stand up for themselves (best when organic and in season).  Also, Penzey’s spices makes a killer salt and pepper.

Pot Roast

6 salks celery

1 acorn nut squash

6 carrots

2 vidalia onions

2 lbs beef (best when grass fed and the actual pot roast cut)

1 tbls salt

1 tbls pepper

2 cups water

Chop up the veggies and put them in the crock pot.  I like to soften the squash first for easier chopping by cooking for 15 minutes in the oven at 350 degrees.  Pour half the salt and pepper over veggies.  Put in meat.  Pour remaining s/p and 2 cups of water.  Slow cook in crock pot for 8 hours on the low setting.

It was it’s usual delicious, savory and filling self.  It also got me thinking.  Could I turn the simple pot roast into a beef pot pie by adding a crust?  This past week I tried with an almond flour and coconut flour crust.

While delicious, it crumbled the second our forks hit the crust.  My husband really liked it but while the taste was great, I missed the study wheat crusts of a year ago!  Still, it was a fun variation and worth trying to mix it up a bit.

Almond Flour “Pot Pie” Crust

3/4 cup almond flour

1/4 cup coconut flour

2 tbsp. butter

1/8 tsp. salt

1/3 cup coconut milk

Cook pot roast in slow cooker for 5 hours. (Note: I added 1/4 cup coconut milk and 1 TBSP almond flour to pot roast to help the broth thicken.)  Then place in large dish with cover and set aside.  Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.  Combine dry ingredients.  Cut in cold butter and stir.  Gradually mix in coconut milk.  Make into a ball and place between two pieces of parchment paper.  Roll into a thin crust.  Remove top parchment piece and lay crust face down on top of pot roast.  Remove second piece of parchment.  Cook for 35 minutes at 350 degrees.

Voila!

Substituting Staples: Cauliflower for Rice

I think one of the hardest things about starting the Specific Carbohydrates Diet was finding acceptable substitutes.  Oh “they” claim they’re out there but every time I tried one, my palette raised an eyebrow in disdain (read: hamburger crust pizza- nasty).

But cauliflower rice wasn’t a disappointment.  It was actually awesome!  I think the best part was that the texture was similar to rice- halfway between couscous and rice.  The taste of cauliflower wasn’t overwhelming and I’m sure the more you seasoned it, the better it would disguise the cauli taste if you don’t like it.

I tried just a simply substitute, as a base for left over curry.  Next time, I’m planning variations!

Cauli-Rice

1 head cauliflower

1 TBLS olive oil

1 TBLS butter

3/4 cup water

Salt and Pepper to taste

Cut off stem of cauliflower.  Feed florets into food processor and process into small, rice-like pieces.  Heat oil in sauce pan.  Add water and bring to boil.  Lower heat and add cauliflower.  Simmer for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Remove from heat and stir in butter.  Add salt and pepper.

Voila!  Hello cauli-rice!

Simple Curry with Homemade Coconut Milk

Last night we fell back on a recent favorite.  However, due to the guar gum present in most commercially canned coconut milk, I decided to try and make my own!

Slight rant, why oh why do places that can coconut milk have to add guar gum?  It’s so annoying!  It’s used as a binder, thickener and in some cases volumizer.  In the case of our coconut milk, it’s used to keep it from separating (binder). Lovely.

I’ve read of a couple of different ways to make coconut milk and I tried one of them last night.  I’ll try the other another night.  I combined two cups shredded coconut with 4 cups boiling water.  I then let it sit and cool for 15 minutes.  After that, I put the whole thing in the blender and set it on “liquify”.  After that, I strained it through a cheesecloth.  It made about 2 1/2 cups.

I can’t take credit for the recipe.  My friend Amanda gave it to us after we raved about her cooking!

Curry Recipe:

 

1lb boneless skinless chicken breast

3/4 tsp salt

1/4 tsp black pepper

4 medium carrots

1-2 sweet peppers

1 medium onion

1 tsp olive oil

2 tsp curry powder

1/2 cup golden raisins

2 cups coconut milk

2 tbsp cilantro (or more!)
Cut chicken into 1 in pieces.
Combine salt and pepper.
Coat chicken in 1/2 of it.
Cook chicken in skillet with olive oil.
Set chicken aside.
Add more oil to skillet and saute carrots, peppers, and onion for 5 minutes or until tender crisp, stirring occasionally.
Stir curry powder, raisins, coconut milk, and remaining salt/pepper mixture and add to skillet.
Add chicken and simmer for 3-5 minutes or until sauce begins to thicken (usually it thickens a little, for some reason mine last night didn’t).

Serve with cilantro!  We also served it over kidney beans but it’s also great with lentil beans or rice if you’re not SCD!

 

 

 

 

Almond-Flour Enchiladas with Mexican Rub Chicken, Vidalia Onion and Sauteed Kale

Today’s Almond-Flour Enchiladas were my attempt to cook some of my husband’s favorite food, and while acknowledging that most of the breaded, casserole-y mid-west comfort foods that we were raised with are now firmly out of reach, this was a win!  I combined a couple of different recipes and tossed in my own two sense and the result was caliente!  (Yes, I have been planning on using that word since dinner).  In all honesty, I really enjoyed the whole meal.  It was spicy but still kept a lot of the freshness through using uncooked tomatoes and fresh cilantro as a topper.  By using a minimal amount of cheese, it was saved from being too greasy and instead, we were able to enjoy the taste of chili pepper against the subtle backdrop of crispy almond flour tortillas!

It was a bunch of work but by splitting it up over a couple of days, I never spent more than an hour at a time.  On Saturday, I assembled the tortillas.  I cheated and used “Get Real’s” Almond Flour Recipe.  It made 4 tortillas- perfect for my husband and I!  However, it would be worth doubling or even tripling the recipe and freezing them if making tortillas often.  Also, let’s be real- these aren’t going to be the thin, flexible wheat flour tortillas or the delectable, crispy corn tortillas.  They will be almond flour tortillas, so therefore not quite as strong.  But by making them thin enough, they can be flexible enough to hold their stuffing.  And though they weren’t the perfect circles of their store bought counterparts, I liked the irregularity.  It was like a visual high-five to the fact that I made them myself.

Ingredients- makes 4 tortillas

  • 2 eggs
  • 1 -3 tsp water
  • 1 teaspoon(s) paprika
  • 1/4 cup(s) almond flour
  • 1/2 cup(s) shredded Monterey jack or cheddar cheese  (I used aged Boar’s Head Cheddar)

Directions

  • Mix all of the ingredients in a blender to create a smooth batter.
  • Coat griddle with coconut oil and place over medium heat.
  • Once the skillet is well heated, pour the batter onto the skillet to create the tortillas, thinning the batter with a spatula if necessary.
  • Let the batter cook untouched until it is set on the bottom, then carefully flip the tortilla and cook the other side for a minute or less.
  • Wipe the skillet with a paper towel every now and then to prevent burning.  Add coconut oil as needed.

Today I made up the red sauce and chicken rub.  Both were fairly simple.

Rub 

Team effort! Mike mixed and spread the rub. What a guy!

1 tsp onion powder

3/4 tsp Salt

3/4 tsp Pepper

1 clove minced garlic

1/2 tsp Chili Powder

1/4 tsp Cumin

1/2 tsp cayenne pepper

Mix ingredients together and rub into chicken (We used three, 5 ounce chicken breasts) .  Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees and cook in covered pan for 30-35 minutes.

Red Sauce

5 roma tomatoes

1/2 vidalia onion

1 clove garlic

1 jalapeno pepper

1 tsp Chili Powder

1 tsp cumin

Blend in high speed blender or food processor until pureed.  Then  cook in sauce pan for 20-30 minutes. * Note- we used half for our enchiladas tonight and froze half for future evenings.

PLUS!  Sautee 2 cups of kale and 1/2 vidalia onion in about 1 tbls of olive oil.

Vitamin K overload!

Then…  assemble!

We situated our four tortillas in a small corning ware and stuffed them with kale, onion and chicken.  We couldn’t get them to wrap without being a bit crumply so we simply folded them in half like a taco.

I then poured about 3/4 cup of red sauce over the entire patch, coating them all.  Then I cut up an additional roma tomato and dropped it over the red sauce. Lastly, I shredded a cup of Boar’s Head Montery Jack cheese over the top.  I suspect more would have been tasty but since dairy and I have been in a long term conflict, I decided not to give much ground.

We stuck it into the oven at 375 degrees for 20 more minutes and then served immediately with chopped cilantro and 1/2 lime each to squeeze onto the enchiladas.  Delicious!

Warning, this is not for the faint of palette.  These babies pack a punch!

Banana Bread with Almond and Coconut Flour

Well, thank you Honeyville for providing me with finely milled flour.  And thanks to Erica of Comfy Belly for the awesome recipe!  Her pictures are lovely- check it out!

I made mine without walnuts and in a smaller 5X8 pan so that it would “rise” but was pleasantly surprised by how moist and light it was.  I’m encouraged that mixing coconut flour with almond flour can lighten up the recipe so much because if there is one thing I don’t dig about almond flour, is how dense it can be!  I’ve started trying out some of the treats from my childhood using a very flexible 3/4 almond to 1/4 coconut flour ratio and so far so good.  It has to be tweaked according to each recipe but it’s nice to feel like I’m starting to understand and predict how these flours will react.

This week has been a rough one, what with stress on the job and health concerns so I felt really grateful to be able to curl up with netflix and a couple of slices!  As I’m learning to try and practice self-care more consistently, I’m grateful for the time that cooking gives me to focus and be still.  And I’m grateful that the result is food that both nourishes and helps me fight this disease.  Praise the Lord from Whom all blessings flow.

Raw Walnut Tacos, Spiced Melon Soup and Watermelon Mojito Popsicles

I’ve been waiting for a good night to blog about these particular recipes.  We tried them almost a month ago and I took pictures, intending to put them up but then got distracted by other dinners!

Well, I got my chance tonight because I BOMBED with a pizza.  The sauce was too sweet, didn’t go with the aged cheddar and was all around average.  But the Greek Vinaigrette that I whipped up was notable so we didn’t starve and I’ll post that recipe later.  BUT, it’s a good night to flaunt someone else’s recipes since mine averaged a B- for the day.

Ever since Coco of Roostblog posted this, I’ve been dying to try it!  Her meal included the following recipes:

Tacos- made with lettuce wraps and walnuts, chopped and spiced to taste like meat.

Spiced Melon and Avocado Shooters- Notable here is the combination of avocado, nutmeg, ginger and cayenne.

Cashew Sour Cream- Tasty on both tacos and chilled soup!

Watermelon Mojito Popsicles- Made by squeezing watermelon through a cheesecloth and mixing it with SCD legal light rum and fresh mint (fresh from my garden)!

In addition, I whipped up some easy guacamole and pico de gallo.  I think Coco bought hers from Whole Foods and while I love their stuff, it’s a lot less expensive to make my own.  The only real substitution I made was honeydew melon for cantaloupe since I really don’t like cantaloupe.  (I know, weird).

The whole meal was incredible and such a joy to consume.  The tacos were so filling.  I bought butterball lettuce from the Logan Square Farmer’s Market and was overjoyed at how good it was!  Pre-soaking the nuts is always annoying but the cashew sour cream and walnut filling made it worth it.  The whole meal is raw and incredibly good.

Loved sharing it with my loved ones.  Peace and health to us all.