Rodney’s Most Amazing Brownies

For Jenn and Joe

Ingredients

  • 10 tablespoons of coconut oil
  • 1 1/4 cups of sucanat or coconut sugar
    (we have reduced it to 1/2 cup, but start here)
  • 3/4 cup teaspoons of organic unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon of pink salt
  • 1/2 vanilla bean
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup of almond meal
  • 2/3 cup of walnut or pecan pieces or chocolate chips (optional)

Preparation

Position a rack in the lower third of the oven.

Preheat the over to 325.

Line the bottom and sides of the baking pan with baking parchment, leaving an overhang on two sides.

Combine the butter, sugar, cocoa, and salt in a medium heatproof bowl and set the bowl in a wide skillet of barely simmering water. Stir from time to time until the butter is melted and the mixture is smooth and hot enough that you want to remove your finger fairly quickly after dipping it in to test.

Remove the bowl from the skillet and set aside briefly until the mixture is only warm, not hot.

Scrape the vanilla bean and stir in the vanilla paste with a wooden spoon. Discard the vanilla shell or put it aside for making vanilla sugar.

Add the eggs one at a time, stirring vigorously after each one.

When the batter looks thick, shiny, and well blended, add the almond meal and stir until you cannot see it any longer, then beat vigorously for 40 strokes with the wooden spoon or a rubber spatula.

Stir in the nuts, if using.

Spread evenly in the lined pan.

Bake until a toothpick plunged into the center emerges slightly moist with batter, 20 to 25 minutes.

Let cool completely on a rack.

Lift up the ends of the parchment or foil liner, and transfer the brownies to a cutting board. Cut into 16 or 25 squares.

Chocolate note:
Any unsweetened natural or Dutch-process cocoa powder works well here. Natural cocoa produces brownies with more flavor complexity and lots of tart, fruity notes. I think it’s more exciting. Dutch-process cocoa results in a darker brownie with a mellower, old-fashioned chocolate pudding flavor, pleasantly reminiscent of childhood.

November 11, 2012

I experimented with adding honey to my homemade skin lotion and it does indeed keep my skin feeling soft longer. It feels nice and will be more important as the weather gets colder — so I’ll add it to my lotion bars, too, next time I make them. (Probably fairly soon, since I seem to be going through them pretty quickly.)

My home made skin lotion is even easier than the lotion bars — just melt coconut oil and combine it 50/50 with extra virgin olive oil (in winter) or jojoba oil (in summer). Add a few drops of essential oil, and you’re done. Pour it into a shallow jar that you can easily reach into the bottom of, because most of the year the lotion will firm up as it cools. Scrape a bit off, warm it between your hands, and then smooth it over your skin. I use a little witch hazel or aloe vera on my face under the lotion to help to thin the oil a bit and let it soak in more completely. If I’m wearing makeup, I pat the extra off my skin with a washcloth or bath towel after a few minutes, if I’m not wearing makeup, I leave it to soak in longer and it’s generally gone within a couple of hours.

Continue reading November 11, 2012

October 2012

The absolute BIGGEST news this month is the birth of our youngest grandson Rhazel James Motto on Friday, October 5, in Adelaide. He’s the third son of Rod’s son, Joel, and Joel’s partner Makita Motto. Word has it that the birth was quick and smooth and mother and son were home to same day. Rhazel is gorgeous, but that will have to wait – we’ve been asked not to post photos of him publicly just yet.

This is one VERY happy grandma! I have also been seeing more photos of most of the grandchildren on Facebook! They don’t have to be babies to make me smile. That may be as a response to whinging there that I’d lost all my photos a few weeks ago, but that just makes it a bright side of the loss.

It fascinates me how happy my grandchildren make me. I have always been a sucker for photos of my children – but I am just as much a sucker of photos of our grandchildren. I expected to love them, but I wouldn’t have thought it was possible to love them as much as I love my own.

Continue reading October 2012

BIG pot of soup

CZECHOSLOVAKIAN CABBAGE SOUP (Adapted)
Serves 12.

Cheyanne and Sereniti Havens - 2012 photo sitting

3 lbs. pork soup neck bones
4 bay leaves
2 tablespoons lemon juice
8 c. water

1 medium chopped onion
2 stalks celery, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 carrot, chopped
1 small head coarsely chopped red cabbage
1/4 eggplant, chopped
4 stalks chard, chopped fine
1 zucchini, sliced
1 summer squash, sliced
1 jalapeno pepper
2 pint cans tomato sauce

3 tablespoons dried thyme
2 tablespoons paprika
2 tsp. sea salt
1/4 c. parsley

Continue reading BIG pot of soup

Grain free, dairy free breakfast burrito

3 tablespoons un-hydrogenated lard
1/2 red onion, diced
1 stalk of celery, diced fine
2 cloves of crushed garlic
1 pound of ground pork or beef
1/2 red (or green) bell pepper, diced
1 tablespoon cumin
1 teaspoon chipotle pepper (or cayenne)
2 teaspoons ground black pepper
1 tablespoon ground oregano
5 large eggs
6 large lettuce leaves (leaf lettuce, romaine, or iceberg)

***
1. Saute the onion, celery, and garlic in the lard over low heat until the celery is soft.
2. Crumble the meat into the sauteed vegetables and saute until the meat is almost cooked.
3. Add the spices and the bell pepper, and stir to combine.
4. Stir in the eggs and cook until the eggs are the way you like them.
5. Serve the burrito filling in the lettuce leaves.

– you can add salsa if you like it and if dairy is in your work, it would be terrific with shredded cheddar, too.

Serves three — or six light eaters.

There is plenty to say … I hope to blog sometime today– but meanwhile, it would be good if I didn’t burn the burrito filling. :p

Chia seed “pudding”

1 can of full fat coconut milk
4 tablespoons chia seeds
a dash of cinnamon
a splash of vanilla

Tjamu (Grandfather) Rod with the boys
Tjamu (Grandfather) Rod with the boys

1. Put the seeds, vanilla, and cinnamon in a bowl and stir them up.

You want to make sure the cinnamon is mixed in so it doesn’t just float on the top when you add the liquid.

2. Stir in the coconut milk.

3. Let it sit on the counter for several hours to sprout the seeds, then refrigerate overnight.

4. Next morning, mix it with a cup of your favourite berries and eat. Yum

Serves 4.

Note: I used a lot of vanilla and quite a bit of cinnamon because Jack doesn’t like coconut milk–and next morning I used a tablespoon of honey in his share. He loves it.

Next time, I might try a tablespoon of lemon juice in the coconut milk to see if I can get a more sour, yogurty flavour.

 

Chia seeds are high in Omega3, high in fiber, low in carbohydrate, has a very good ratio of omega-3 oil to omega-6 oil, is 20-30% protein, 35% oil, 25% fiber. Gluten-free and very low-sodium. Contains the important mineral boron, a catalyst for the absorption of calcium, so it’s good for your bones,

Constituents: linolenic acid, linoleic acid; antioxidants: chlorogenic and caffeic acids, myricetin, quercitin, and kaempferol flavonol. chlorogenic acid, caffeic acid and flavonol glycosides; mucin, fibre; 8 essential amino acids (score 115.)

Vitamins: A, B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, B15, B17, C, D, E, K, choline, folic acid, inositol, PABA.

Minerals: boron, calcium, copper, iodine, iron, magnesium, manganese, molybdenum, phosphorous, potassium, silicon, sodium, strontium, sulphur, zinc, amylose (a slow-burning starch helpful in treating hypoglycemia), and electrolytes.

 

Paleo Stuffed Cabbage Casserole

I adore stuffed cabbage, but I can’t tolerate the rice anymore.  I also rarely have the time to make a real stuffed cabbage meal (an hour and a half *after* it’s assembled?  Oh dear).

Anyway, I had a hankering for it tonight– and I went looking for a paleo stuffed cabbage recipe to adapt into a sort of “casserole”.  I found one!  Yay! Thanks to Jeff Nimoy for the head start recipe!

Technically, Rod and I shouldn’t be eating tomato sauce, but we’re compromising by not adding the tomato paste my recipe calls for.

8 leaves of cabbage
1 pound of grass-fed beef
1 head of cauliflower
1/4 Cup Olive Oil
1 1/4 cups of chicken or beef stock
2 stalks of celery
1 large onion
I pint of tomato sauce
Paprika
Black pepper to taste
Garlic powder to taste
Onion powder to taste
Lemon juice to taste

My beautiful Bella, looking more like her Mamma every day. What a sense of style she has!

Chop the cabbage into bite sized squares.

In a food processor add the cauliflower, celery, 1/2 onion, and chop until cauliflower is the consistency of rice.

Saute the “riced” cauliflower in 1/4 cup olive oil, then add about a cup of chicken stock. Cover and simmer gently for 20 minutes.

Saute 1/2 onion and 3 cloves of fresh garlic in olive oil in a deep frying pan.  Add the ground beef, paprika, and black pepper and fry up until the beef is lightly cooked. (Optional, I like to extend the beef with a thick slice of eggplant chopped up.  Once it cooks down, it adds bulk without much flavour.)

Add the tomato sauce and garlic powder, onion powder, and lemon juice (until it’s sour enough for you.  (For a sweeter sauce, you could add in raw organic honey to taste).

Add the cabbage to the meat sauce mixture, a cook until the cabbage is limp.

Serve the cabbage and meat over the vegetable “rice”.

Barbeque brine with no sugar!

We’re doing a barbeque for 20 or so today — and none of our barbeque sauces or brines we going to work for us, because we’re on the zero sugar, almost zero carb detox until October.  Never a pair to let a little thing like that stop us, we did some research and found Lou and his sugarfree brine recipe.  (A barbeque sauce without any sugar at all – no molasses?!?!? — just doesn’t sound that appealing.)  Thanks for sharing, Lou!!!

Lou’s Most Excellent Chicken Brine

 

Audrey, from her summer 2012 photoshoot.

Many brines call for the addition of sugar, the theory being the sugar helps crisp the skin. I say that’s bullshit and hence no sugar.

½ cup kosher salt
1 TBS coarse ground black pepper
6 garlic cloves, crushed (skins on are OK too)
½ medium yellow onion, coarsely chopped
1 bay leaf, crushed
5 whole parsley sprigs, coarsely chopped
1 TSP dried oregano
1 TSP dried or fresh chives
1 TSP dried thyme
1 TSP dried rosemary

In a 4 quart bowl or pot fill with 2 quarts of cold water. Add the pepper and salt and stir until dissolved (this will take a bit of time)., then the onion and garlic. Take all the herbs – fresh and dried – and coarsely chop together. Add chicken and place in fridge according to times below. Try not to exceed these times as the chicken may become too salty.

Boneless chicken breasts: 30 minutes
Bone in chicken parts: 40 minutes
Whole chicken: 60 minutes

Rinse chicken under cold water prior to doing anything.

 

Berbere Powder Spice Mix (for Nerida)


Berbere Powder Spice Mix

  • 1 tablespoon of ground cardamom
  • 1 tablespoon of ground coriander
  • 1 tablespoon of ground fenugreek
  • 1 tablespoon of ground nutmeg1 tablespoon of ground allspice
  • 1 tablespoon of ground cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon of ground turmeric
  • 1 tablespoon of ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon of sea salt
  • 1 tablespoon of ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon of ground cloves
  • 2 teaspoons of ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon of ground cayenne
  • 1/2 cup tablespoon of ground paprika

This is great in Berbere Lentil stew — a traditional Ethiopian dish.  It’s also fantastic in any kind of meat – -meatballs, stews, roasts.

Keep the rest stored in a tightly closed jar in a cool dark place.

 

Gotta try this!

Thanks, Emily!

 

Dairy-Free Ranch Dressing

16 servings, or about 2 cups

1 cup coconut milk
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
1/2 cup mayonnaise, preferably homemade
2 teaspoons raw honey
1 teaspoon kosher or sea salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly-ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon dried mustard
1/4 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
2 teaspoons garlic powder
2 tablespoons chives, finely minced
2 tablespoons Italian parsley, finely minced

In a small bowl, whisk the coconut milk with the lemon juice and vinegar and let it sit for 5 minutes. Whisk in the remaining ingredients until smooth and  creamy; cover and refrigerate for at least half an hour to allow the flavors to meld and the dressing to thicken.

Keeps well refrigerated for up to one week.

 

Lebanese Tahini Sauce

This is an excellent recipe that we like to use for a rich creamy salad dressing, over f’lafel, and with lamb.

  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/2 cup additive free tahini
  • 1/3 cup lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup filtered water
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • Optional: (lovely with f’lafel or lamb, a bit strong over salad.)
  • 1 tablespoon powdered cilantro
  • 1 tablespoon  dried parsley
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
  • Put the garlic through a garli press, then mash into the sea salt. Whisk together the garlic paste and the ingredientds other than the tahini and let sit for up to 4 hours.  Add the tahini, whisk, and serve.  Keeps for a week or so covered in the refrigerator, I’m told, but we have to to have leftovers.

    Makes about a cup and a half.

     

    (We’re thinking we could cut the oil down or maybe out completely to let the garlic and lemon shine.  I’ll let you know if that’s a disaster.)

     

    Grain free pancakes and dinner bread

    1 cup almond flour = 180g = 6oz 
    1/4 tsp salt = 1g
    1/4 tsp baking powder* = 1g
    1/4 cup coconut oil (melt if solid) = 56g = 2oz
    1/4 cup maple syrup* = 125g = 4.4oz
    4 large eggs (233 g or 8.2 oz without shells)

    Mix the flour, salt and baking powder thoroughly in a small bowl
    Whisk eggs, oil, and syrup together in a medium sized bowl
    Add the dry ingredients to the wet and whisk thoroughly.

    We use a small 1/4 cup ladle in a medium-hot well-oiled skillet to make 8 pancakes. Your regular pancake instincts will tell you when to flip them. (Basically, when the top side has ceased to look runny -it is still shiny though- they are ready to flip… the air bubbles may or may-not make it through…. haven’t worked out why yet.

    They are not quite as durable as their wheat-based cousins, but they are good eating. *We use half the syrup (2 tablespoons) because that’s plenty sweet enough for our palates. We can and do swap syrup for honey on occasions.

    I’ve included weights because I always work better with weights.


    Coconut Pancakes

    Grain Free Dinner Bread
    (pictured above)
    Preheat oven to 405°F (210°C)

    1/3 cup coconut flour = 56g = 2oz
    1/4 tsp salt = 1g
    1/4 tsp baking powder* = 1g
    1/4 cup coconut oil (melt if solid) = 56g = 2oz
    2 tbsp Honey = 63g = 2.2oz
    4 large eggs (233 g or 8.2 oz without shells)
    1 cup almond flour = 113g = 4oz

    Mix the coconut flour, salt and baking powder thoroughly in a small bowl
    Whisk eggs, oil, and syrup together in a medium sized bowl
    Add the coconut flour mix to the wet ingredients and whisk thoroughly. Place (dry) stoneware cookie sheet(s) in the oven 5 minutes before your batter is done.
    Add 1 cup almond flour to the batter (keep adding ‘till batter is fairly firm)
    Remove the cookie sheet from the oven and oil it.
    Dollop batter onto hot, oiled cookie sheet (about 6 per sheet)
    Bake for about 10 minutes (until the edges turn dark brown and the top is dry).
    You’ll need a spatula to lift these from the sheet. Serve hot.

    *baking powder
    1/2 tsp cream of tartar
    1/4 tsp baking soda
    1/4 tsp arrowroot flour

    English Style Birthday Pudding!

    English Style Birthday Pudding
    based on a recipe Erin at 

    We got this recipe and then adapted it a bit to suit our needs. We got a texture more similar to a sweet English Pudding than a cake. It’s delicious, though not the texture we were expecting. (The original recipe calls for coconut flour, which Jack doesn’t care for. We used all almond meal and that may well be the difference.)

    Preheat oven to 350º
    4 eggs
    3/4 cup coconut milk (canned) or cream
    1/2 vanilla bean
    1/2 cup sugar
    1 cup blanched almond flour
    1/4 teaspoon unrefined sea salt
    Scant 1/2 teaspoon baking soda

    1. In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs and the coconut milk
    2.  In a spice grinder, whisk the vanilla bean and the sugar.
    2. In a smaller bowl, combine the vanilla sugar, almond flour, salt and baking soda.
    3. Mix dry ingredients into wet with a whisk.
    4. Grease an 8×8 inch baking dish and pour in batter.

    Bake for 30 minutes
    Cool for 1 hour

    Morrocan Style Pork Balls

    1 lb ground pork
    1/8 cup starch potato, arrowroot, etc)
    1 large or 3 small eggs
    5 cloves garlic, minced
    1 tablespoon cinnamon
    1/2 teaspoon cloves
    1 teaspoon ginger
    1 tablespoon cumin
    1/4 cup chives
    1 cup spinach
    1 tablespoon tomato paste
    1 cup lemon juice
    1 cup stock (chicken or beef)

    Mix the eggs, half of the starch,  and spices well, then add the meat and chives.  Mix thoroughly.

    Form small meatballs – – about 1 tablespoon each.

    Fry them up in coconut oil until they’re browned but not cooked through.

    Pour off the excess oil.

    Add the lemon juice and stock, then the spinach and simmer until the meat is cooked.

    When you’re ready to serve, add the tomato paste and a little more starch to thicken.

    Serve over steamed, shredded cabbage.

     

    YUM!  🙂

    Salmon Cakes recipe

    Salmon Cakes from Every day Paleo

    18 oz of canned wild caught Alaskan Salmon

    3 pastured eggs (I used duck)

    4 diced scallions

    3 tbsp dried dill

    4 tsp ground ginger

    a few shakes of red pepper flakes

    about 2 tsp fresh ground pepper

    sea salt to taste

    about 1/4 cup coconut oil

    3 tbsps of lemon juice

    Drain the water from the canned salmon and dump it into a large mixing bowl.

    Add the eggs, scallions, dill, ginger, red pepper flakes, black pepper, lemon juice, and salt and mix well.

    In a large skillet heat the coconut oil over medium to medium high heat – make sure there is more than enough to cover the bottom of the pan. You’ll know the oil is hot enough when it crackles after flicking some water into the pan – but do not get the oil so hot that is smokes.

    Form the salmon mixture one at a time into patties or “cakes” and place gently into the oil.

    Fry for 3 minutes on each side.

    IMPORTANT – do not mess with the patties once they are in the pan. Let them go for the full 3 minutes before you touch them or flip them or they will stick or fall apart.

    March 23 Faux Pork Giniling

    1 pound of ground pork
    2 small carrots, diced
    1 thick slice of rutebaga, diced
    1/2 cup chicken stock (or more)
    1/4 cup coconut aminos (or soy sauce)
    1/4 cup tomato sauce
    1/4 cup raisins (optional)
    3 or 4 small pieces of dried mango, cut small
    4 cloves garlic minced
    1 large onion chopped
    garlic powder, onion powder, and curry to taste
    lard
    salt and pepper to taste

    Heat the lard in a frying pan pan and saute the onion and garlic until they’re soft and fragrant.

    Add the ground pork and saute until it’s cooked through.

    Add the stock and tomato sauce. Stir and bring to a boil.

    Add the coconut aminos, salt, and pepper. Stir until combined. Cover and simmer for a few minutes.

    Add vegetables and fruit. Stir, cover and simmer for a few minutes until liquid is reduced by half and the vegetables are tender. Turn off heat.

    It looked pretty plain when I finished making the original recipe, so I embroidered it considerably. I expect no one who knows gniling would recognize this. :p It tastes good, though.

    The photos are from the lecture series Rod and I participated in last weekend. We had a lot of fun and I think it went pretty well.

    Paleo style Dublin Coddle — an idea in the making

    Dublin Coddle is the sweetheart of the cooking world this Saint Patrick’s day.  It sounds so yummy — but we are keeping potatoes to a minimum these days while we’re flirting with the SCD or GAPS diet, so I reworked it.

    • 2 tbsp lard or tallow
    • 2 large onions, thinly sliced
    • 4 oz of salt pork
    • 3 slices of bacon
    • 6 fat, pork sausages
    • 6 carrots, peeled and finely sliced
    • 8 oz rutabaga, cubed
    • Salt and pepper
    • 2 cups beef stock

    Heat the oven to 425°F

    • Heat the fat in a large frying pan, add the onions and cook slowly. Cut the salt pork into  into ½”/1 cm cubes. Add it to the onions and stir well. cut the bacon into bite sized peices and cut the sausages in half and add them to the onion.
    • Raise the heat and stirring constantly, cook until the sausages start to brown.  (Don’t burn the onions.)
    • In a clay casserole dish, place a layer of the onion, bacon and sausage mixture followed by the layer of sliced carrots and the a layer of rutabaga. Season with salt and pepper. Repeat the layering until used up, finishing with a layer of rutabaga.
    • Pour the stock over your layers. Cover and bakefor 45 minutes. Top up with more stock as needed but don’t flood the stew. Lower the heat to 350°F/175°C/gas 4 and cook for a further 30 minutes until bubbling and the vegetables are cooked through.
    • Remove from the oven and rest for 10 minutes before serving.

    I’ll be trying this as soon as I find some pastured fat back … or maybe I’ll just use all bacon.

    Gingersnaps recipe

    Rod found an amazing recipe for ginger snaps that don’t contain any of the foods we need to avoid. Even better? They’re utterly fantastic! Hot from the oven, they also “snap” perfectly. They become softer as they sit because the honey is hygroscopic but they still taste really good.  Being us, we had to play with it, of course.

    the lonely remainder of the batch -- now gone

    Paleo/GAPS ginger snaps recipe
    – notes: requires a food processor
    – makes about a dozen cookies

    1 1/2 cups of almond flour
    1 1/2 ounces of dried dates (pitted and chopped)
    1/4 cup of honey
    large thumb-sized piece of fresh ginger, chopped
    3 tsp ground dried ginger
    a pinch of sea salt

    Put everything except the honey into the food processor and process it until the dates and ginger are well incorporated, but stop before the nut meal gets oily.

    Add the honey and pulse until the dough forms a rough ball.

    Scrape the dough onto a piece of baking parchment and flatten it into a disk with your palm. Cover with more parchment and freeze for 1 hour (we consider this optional — it’s entirely for ease of handling.)

    If you froze the dough, roll the dough out as thin as you can and stamp out shapes with a cookie cutter, rinsing th cutter periodically to remove the sticky dough.

    If you skipped the freezing step, like we so, make small balls of dough and flatten them onto the cookie sheet as thin as you can get them without tearing.  You can make a pattern on the cookie’s face with a fork.  It’s pretty but optional.

    Bake for 10 minutes at 285F, then reduce the heat to 250F for another 20-30 minutes or until the cookies are crisp and have a light nut colour.

    Cool on a rack, and if any manage to get cool before they “disappear”, you can keep them crisp longer by storing them in an airtight cookie jar.

    Rod has adapted this further by increasing the ginger and reducing the sweetener, but we like a hot, spicy, not really sweet gingersnap.  This is the recipe Jack likes.

    Tonight’s dinner: Pork and Egg ‘Muffins’

    In a deep bowl whip together:

    8 large pastured eggs
    1/2 c. stock
    sea salt and ground pepper to taste*
    a dollop of olive oil
    a dollop of coconut aminos or soy sauce
    rosemary, sage, and oregano to taste*
    onion powder and garlic powder to taste*
    1/2 cup of almond flour

    Saute in coconut oil in a deep frying pan:

    1 slice of bacon
    1/2 pound ground pork
    1 onion
    1 stalk of celery
    5 cloves of garlic
    1 medium mushroom

    Line a muffin tin with paper cup.  Fill with the meat mixture, and then ladle the egg mixture into muffin tins over the filling.

    Bake at 350 degrees F for about 15-20 minutes, or until firm.

    * I leave this to you because by most people’s standards, I use way too much.  Start with a teaspoon herbs and a 1/4 teaspoon of salt and pepper and adapt to your taste if you’re not sure.

    We’ll serve them with roasted vegetables and  kombuch beer — and maybe we’ll try that cake recipe from last weekend, if we have time.

    Adapted from: http://nourishedandnurtured.blogspot.com/2011/01/egg-muffins-gaps-friendly-gluten-and.html

    Yum! Single serving cake!

    Jack has a sleepover with Connor tonight, leaving Rod and I at loose ends.

    Rod spent half of the evening  designing some new shelving for my redesigned craft room ad then make a fabulous dinner while I finished up some of the (way too many) condolance cards I need to get out on Monday.  Roasted salmon over salad, with a lovely glass of wine.

    I had discovered this recipe earlier in the week, and we decided that it was a good idea to try it tonight.

    Single serving cake adapted from Paleo Baby

    1 egg
    1 Tbsp honey
    2 Tbsp almond butter
    1 Tbsp coconut flour
    1 Tbsp unsweetened cocoa
    1/4 tsp baking powder
    1 Tbsp of chocolate chips
    1 Tbsp  coconut oil for greasing the ramekin

    Directions:

    In a measuring cup, stir the egg, sugar, nut butter, coconut flour, cocoa and baking powder with a fork. Stir in the chocolate chips and pour batter into the greased ramekin. Bake for 20-25 minutes.

    Serve on a plate or eat it right from the baking dish.

    Serves 1.

    Perpetual soup …

    Rod has had to cut many of his favorite snack foods and quick meals from his diet — dried fruit, peanut butter, and eggs are now off the menu leaving us with the need for a way to have a quick snack or an easy meal available at a moment’s notice.

    After several weeks of experiments that were either not terribly easy or not terribly appetizing, we tried soup.  I vaguely remembered reading stories about the pot of soup perpetually on the back of the old wood stove and we decided to give it a try.

    Two weeks in, we are finding that not only is it low-effort, it’s also delicious and because it changes every day, it never gets boring.  I figured that I’d share our solution.  Everyone needs easy, quick, nourishing options, after all.  I don’t think it will work for vegetarians, though you might be able to get the right culinary effect using dried kelp instead of bones..

    So, this is how we make perpetual soup:

    Roast one pound or two of meaty soup bones until they’re cooked.

    While they’re roasting, slowly saute an onion, a few cloves of garlic, and some celery in a few tablespoons of clean fat (I like olive oil) in a soup pot.  When they are soft and translucent, fill the soup pot half full of *cold* water.  Add the marrow bones and a tablespoon of lemon juice.  When the soup bones are ready, add them as well.  Bring the water temperature up slowly to a boil then reduce the temperature and simmer the stock for a couple of hours.  If you want to add any dried vegetables, this would be the time to do it. (I like dried mushrooms and sea vegetables.)

    Next, chop a little of every non-cruciferous vegetable you have in the house into bite sized pieces.  We like onion, garlic, carrots, beets, jicama, winter squash, celery root, lambs quarters, fennel, spinach, leeks, and parsnips.  (And I sometimes cheat and use rutebega, daikon, and turnip — but you *must* keep the temperature low if you do that.  Overcooked brassica lets loose an awful sulphery smell that no one will want to eat.)

    Toss the vegetables into the soup and let them cook very slowly.  If you want to add more meat, that’s yummy, too.  When the vegetables are soft to your taste, you’re ready to have your first taste.  About five minutes before you serve it, toss in some dried herbs in to the pot. If you like onion and garlic powder, you can add them now, too.

    OK, so far that’s just soup.

    What makes it perpetual soup is that you leave it covered on the stove at about 170 degrees. Help yourself all day. After serving the soup, add enough water to replace what you’ve taken out.  Leave it covered on the stove over night.

    Next morning, you’ll find that the vegetables have just about disintegrated. Bring the soup stock up to a boil for a couple of minutes, while you raid the vegetable bin.  Chop the vegetables up into bite sized pieces, then lower the temperature under the stock back to a simmer and put in the vegetables and another tablespoon of lemon juice.  If you use a different variety of vegetables every morning, the soup will be a new feast every day.  (This is a good time to wander through the produce section picking up vegetables you’re not in the habit of preparing.)

    When the vegetables are soft, your soup is ready to face the day.  Bon apetit!

    We have been keeping our soup going for a week at a time, and on the last day, the cruciferous vegetables and tomatoes go in for a totally different effect.  We finish that up, and start it all over again.

     

     

    Almond Meal “Graham” Crackers

    Almond Meal “Graham” Crackers
    (Adapted from http://www.fivestarpaleo.com/)

    Ingredients:
    1/2 cup butter softened or grape-seed oil
    1/2 cup honey
    1 tsp ground vanilla bean
    3 cups almond meal
    dash sea salt
    1 tsp cinnamon
    1/2 Tbsp baking powder
    1/4 cup water

    Directions:
    1) With a whisk, beat the liquid ingredients until they are well blended.
    2) Add the dry ingredients and continue mixing..
    3) Add water.
    4) Put the dough in refrigerator for 1 hour.
    5) Butter or grease a baking sheet then dust with almond flour.
    6) Spread out dough in a square. Sprinkle top with almond flour.
    7) Use a marzipan or fondant roller to roll the dough out to ¼” thick.
    8) Score the flattened dough with a pizza cutter to about 1.5 inch by 4 inch rectangles
    9) Bake at 325 for about 15 min.

    Mabon Stew

    The garden is now in full production, with another large bowl of tomatoes and a zucchini about every other day. We also have peppers and eggplants coming in, though not as quickly. You know what that means, don’t you? It’s ratatouille season! Of course, being me, I can never do it exactly by a recipe, so I call mine Mabon Stew.

    3 large carrots, roll cut
    2 1/2 lb multi-coloured heirloom tomatoes (I used red, black, orange, pink, and yellow)
    10 large garlic cloves, minced
    20 fresh basil leaves, chiffonade
    1/4 cup of fresh oregano, chiffonade
    1 1/2 lb onions quartered lengthwise and sliced
    1 1/2 lb assorted bell peppers (green, red, yellow), cut into 1-inch pieces
    2 lb zucchini assorted colours, quartered lengthwise and crosscut (I used green and golden)
    2 eggplant, 1 white, one Japanese, cut into 1-inch cubes
    black pepper
    sea salt
    extra-virgin olive oil
    garlic powder
    rosemary powder

    Optional: stock and sausages

    Put the roll-cut carrots into a little cooking water in a small sauce pan and cook them until they’re soft. Set them aside.

    Blanch the tomatoes and peel them.

    Coarsely chop the tomatoes and put them into a wide, heavy bottomed soup pot with the garlic, herbs, and enough oil to keep them from sticking. Simmer the tomato herb mixture gently, stirring occasionally, until tomatoes break down and sauce is slightly thickened.

    While sauce is simmering, toss the eggplant with some salt and put it in a large colander over a bowl and let them stand until you’re ready for them.  At least 30 minutes.

    Meanwhile, salt the onions and cook them in oil over moderate heat  in a large heavy skillet  until the onions are soft and starting to become translucent. Transfer the onions into a large heat safe bowl.

    Add more oil to the skillet and cook the zucchini with a little salt over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until just tender. Transfer the zucchini into the large heat safe bowl with the onions.

    When the zucchini are finished cooking, add remaining oil to the skillet and cook the eggplant over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until soft.

    Add the vegetables, salt and pepper, garlic powder, and rosemary powder to the hot tomato sauce.  If you’re using them, now would be the time to add stock and the sausages.

    Simmer the stew, covered, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are very tender.

    Cool, uncovered, and serve warm or at room temperature.

    While the stew is cooking, sauté the mixed bell peppers with a little salt and oil over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until the peppers are soft. When the stew is almost done, add the peppers.

    This turned out so well (in the vegan version) that everyone had two servings — even Jack!

    Dijon Mustard recipe I want to try…

    Home made Dijon Mustard Recipe

    6 oz brown mustard seed
    1 cup white wine
    3 cloves, ground in a spice grinder
    15 peppercorns, crushed in a mortar
    1 teaspoon ground ginger
    ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
    1 teaspoon dried thyme
    1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
    5 garlic cloves, chopped
    3 bay leaves
    1 teaspoon sea salt

    Soak the mustard seed in the wine, mixing in the herbs thoroughly. Leave for 36-48 hours, topping up with a little extra liquid if necessary – the seeds should be just covered. Cover the jar or bowl but don’t seal tightly.

    Place in the food processor and puree for 3 minutes, then leave to stand for 3 hours. Reprocess for 5 minutes. Pour into a conical strainer (mesh size approximately 15 per inch/6 per cm) and with a plastic spatula work the paste through the strainer. Transfer the paste to a finer trainer (mesh size approximately 30 per inch/12 per cm), and repeat the process.

    Spoon the mustard into small jars and store, out of direct light, for at least 2 weeks before using, preferably a month. We have found the flavour good for up to 4-5 months, but without the colour-reserving sulphur dioxide it goes dark quite quickly. Small jars help to reduce the oxidation. Makes 300-450 ml / ½-¾ pint, depending on the swelling powers of the seed, and the fineness of the sieve.

    With thanks to The Guardian.

    Busy, busy…

    What a weekend!

    On Saturday, it was stinking HOT! The boys spent much of the day at the dojo, playing in the pond, fishing, and stayig cool. I stayed home and scrapbooked. Later, Rod got some photos of the storm that almost happened. (We were warned about massive storms. We got a bit of wind and a little rain — but the garden still needed watering.)  (I’ve tried linking a dozen times.  I’ll try again another day.)

    Sunday, we went to Lansing to play with John. That went really well!

    We’ve settled into a routine that seems to work well for John. We arrive bearing ice cream. (coconut based, or frozen bananas covered in chocolate, from the health food store down the block.) We sit and eat that, which gets John’s energy up. Then we pile into the car and head for a park. In the car, we’ve taken to playing music — chants from the old days John and I share. He never fails to sing along, which gets his energy up, further so that he’s energized when it’s time to get out of the car. Once we get to the park, we have a long, relaxed picnic. Sometimes we grill and sometimes we have a cold picnic. Then, when John starts to look droopy, we pick everything up, pile back into the car and deliver John back to his room to sleep. Usually about three and a half or four hours after we arrived.

    I’m still looking for just the right paleo-vegan fare to keep us all happy, but a fruit based dessert has always been a hit. A meal that ends well has to be at least sort of OK, right?

    Today, I did some more crafting — five Lughnassadh cards and two Imbolg cards.  🙂  The we went to the pool.  Then we have an amazing barbeque: we had brined a pastured hen, then we broken it down into parts, patted it dry, and oiled it. Then we grilled it.  All we needed on the side was a packets of roasted vegetables and we were gorged and sated!  Yum!  We were sold on brining for turkey, but it made sense that it would also make for a lovely barbeque.  It is — it’s moist and flavorful and doesn’t need any more seasoning – the smoke and the bird are enough.

    Then we wrote a few letters and the boys headed out to blow things up.  (Me? I miss Independence Day at The Pinery.)

    Speaking of food discoveries — having tried sprouted nuts, I’m not sure we could go back to raw or salted and roasted.  Sprouted simply taste so good!  Better yet, if you have a dehydrator (or an oven) it couldn’t be easier.  We soak the raw nuts in salted water for a couple of days, until they sprout.  If the weather is warm, drain and rinse them every day and put them back in salt water.  (Walnuts and pecans won’t sprout, so just soak them for  couple of days.)  Drain the nuts, spread them in the dehydrator trays and dry them for about 36 hours.  Store in sealed jars.  So far we’ve tried almonds, walnuts, and pecans.  They’re all amazing!

    And now?  I’m exhausted.  I’m going to go put a pillow over my head and try to sleep.