G Free & Tasty: Leftover Lunch

April 22, 2011

This is a continuation of my Step 1 in combating infertility with food: Goodbye Gluten!

Part Three of this G Free & Tasty series is sort of a cheater post. Going G free is supposed to be very time-consuming and challenging, and this, well it just isn’t friends. It will be our little secret. So its lunch or dinner time what to do? A huge subway sandwich? Pass. How about a loaded baked potato? Doesn’t sound filling? Let me “fill you in”.

Started with a baked spud. This takes a bit of planning. Next time your using your oven (perhaps when your making some poppers?) give a couple of spuds a good rinse, stab them with a fork and toss them in. If your only baking for, say 30 min, leave the spuds in after you’ve removed your primary dish and turned the oven off. The residual heat should be enough to finish cooking the spud. Plus you get Green Points. Your carbon footprint is smaller. Al Gore is happy. It’s a win-win-win!

So you have a baked potato.

Mmmm Carbs, the way God made them.

Ok, the spuds a little boring. Lets add some Cheese and Sour cream that we have on hand from the Chili.

Now that looks purdy tasty...

Wait! Don’t dig in just yet! Why not add some meaty protein goodness?

Oh yes I did....

Leftover Chili? Don’t mind if I do…

Mmm looks good right?

But what if we went just a little crazy?

These are the ones you had to hide from yourself/spouse/kids/dog.

Chop Chop little pepper. It will be messy.

Spicy Topping Goodness?

Well…. ok….

Looks like a mess. Tastes like a YUM.

Although you may not guess from looking at it (note my sarcasm) this is great food for if you have a man who is unconvinced about this whole G Free bit.

Lunch is served!


Fertility Food Friday: Not-So-Scary Chili!

April 22, 2011

This is a continuation of my Step 1 in combating infertility with food: Goodbye Gluten! It will someday be a part of adding in good vitamins…

Part Two of G Free and Tasty is being hijacked by Fertility Food Friday. That guy….

AND… I am participating in Fight Back Friday on Food Renegade. Go see all the other fabulousness: http://www.foodrenegade.com/fight-back-friday-april-22nd/

Scary Chili is actually pretty normal chili with a bit of liver added to it. Liver is one of THE BEST fertility foods you can eat. I will be posting my Ode To Liver and all the fat soluble vitamins it possess, and how easily you can absorb them and how much you NEED THEM TO GET PREGNANT in a later post. For now, I just wanted to continue with the G Free and Tasty series. If the thought of liver sends you into the fetal position, by all means just skip it. I’ll work on convincing you later!

Chili is one of the most versatile, easy foods to make. It doesn’t hurt that most people enjoy it. This is my basic recipes (with some liver). I like to mix it up with lots of farm stand veggies in the summer or root veggies/ winter squashes in the winter.

Basic Chilli:

  • 1.5 Lb Grass Feed Ground Beef (or 1 lb plus 1/2 lb grass-fed beef liver, or 1.25 plus .25 which is probably the best if this is your first liver rodeo. For this particular batch I am using 1 LB GFB & 1/2 LB GFBL)
  • 1 Onion
  • 2-4 Cloves of Garlic
  • 16 Oz Red beans (best if you soak them, here I got lazy and used a can)
  • 1 32 Oz Can tomatoes (or fresh tomatoes)
  • 2 TBS Chili powder, or to taste
  • 1/2 TBS Red Pepper, or to taste
  • 1/2 TBS Cumin, or to taste
  • assorted veggies if you would like (summer i do yellow squash/zucchini/mushroom, winter maybe butternut squash) This time I don’t have any veggies. Which is kinda a bummer.

Process

Conquering Liver:

You will probably need to ask your butcher for this. I cannot say enough about Grass Feed Meat, so if at all possible try to get grass-fed liver. Good news in, it’s going to be pretty cheap. It looks something like this:

Hey...your not so scary!!

Go ahead and give it the stink eye. Tell it who’s the boss. Tell it you would like all the vitamins, right now. Tell it you know why your both here, and that’s to get pregnant. If I know liver, it will get on board.

The cube it up.

Show it whos the boss.

Toss those cubes into a food processor. A blender would work too, but a FB is easier.

Give it another stink eye. Youre in charge here!

Food process until smooth. Not unlike a meat smoothie.

Now for a confession I am not proud of. This is where I freaked out the first time. I walked away, I swore I would not do it, I swore all those “experts” who had smarty pants degrees where dumb. Then I remembered that I would in fact like a baby. For extra motivation I pulled out a Pottery Barn Kids catalog and checked out some nurseries (don’t lie, I know you have at least on PBK cat). Beatrix Potter Bumper Pads strengthened my resolve. With renewed determination I headed back to the kitchen to dominate this recipes.

Now it gets all “normal old chili”

Chop up your onion and garlic. I like 4 cloves of garlic, because I want some strong flavors covering the liver.

Not scary, but can make you cry.

Saute these bad boys in your choice of butter or coconut oil. I chose CO.

Add your GF Ground beef. Then add your liver puree. Let the two brown together until you can’t tell which is which. Feel powerful.

Heres the part I’m also not proud of, because they come in a CAN. Don’t be like me. Soak your beans. Use fresh Tomatoes.

2 Cans Red Beans, 1 Big can Tomatoes

Rinse your beans, then add them and the tomatoes to the beef & veggie mixture. You could also add whatever other veggies you would like.

Spices (do what tastes right to you):

2 Tablespoons Chili Powder. I Like it hot.

1/2 Tablespoon Red Pepper. Fire Burnin, Fire Burnin

1/2 Tablespoon Cumin

Simmer this mixture for 30 minutes or so. The longer is sits the better it will taste. My man prefers it the next day. Than serve with cheese, sour cream, and a deep sense of satisfaction that you came, you saw, and you conquered. Scary Chili that it.

Bets Enjoyed with the Self Satisfied Smugness of a True Victor and a Pottery Barn Kids mag.

** This is a meaty chili. I have seen lots of great recipes, including the one in Nourishing Traditions that included Beef Stock and are a little more soupy. They taste good too, so experiment! Go Banana’s!**


G-Free & Tasty: A Snack

April 21, 2011

This is a continuation of my Step 1 in combating infertility with food: Goodbye Gluten!

Who says G Free food can’t be delish? Or that it has to be weird and complicated? I will be posting three of my favorite simple recipes that naturally have no gluten over the next few days, including my very first fertility food friday! Make sure to check back!

Jalapeno Poppers: Yum

Often people I talk to associate eliminating grains from their diet with removing everything fun. It just ain’t so friends. This poppers are my one of my favorite snacks/appetizers. In my humble opinion they beat the heck out of dry pretzels. But don’t take my word for it…. This is a half adaption from our awesome neighbors with a little bit of the Pioneer Woman mixed in. This is the basic recipes, but you can do all sorts of crazy things to suit your own taste!

Ingredients:

Some very yummy beginnings...

  • 8-10 jalapeno: depending on how large they are and how much cheese filling you like. Mine are big guys and I like lots of cheese.
  • 8 oz (1 package) of cream cheese.
  • 8-10 slices of bacon (one per whole jalapeno)
  • 1 Cup whole Milk + 1 Cup Water or 2 Cups Chalk Water Skim Milk

How to:

Slice all your jalapeno in half, length wise (you may want to wear gloves)

YeeHaw

Do all the lovely green peppers. Line them up on your cutting board and bask in the excitement of your adventure.

Purdy

Using a small spoon, Scrap the seeds out. Unless you like your food fire burning hot. Its your call.

Weak Sauce

Texas called. They want their residency back.

Now here is my super secret, that I can up with all by myself (shh, I don’t want to know your grandma does this. I want to feel smart!). Take your milk water mixture and SOAK THE JALAPENOS. Heres my gauge of hotness:

  • Fire breathing Texan skip this, plus leave some seeds.
  • Eats “Hot Salsa” with ease: Get rid of the seeds, skip this step, or perhaps give the peppers a good rinse with water.
  • Medium Salsa (Me): Soak Peppers in Milk Water for 5-10 Minutes
  • Mild Salsa: Soak Peppers for 10-15 Minutes.
  • Prefer Green Peppers to jalapeno: Soak for 20

Bath Time

Give them a good rinsing, and off we go.

Cut your bacon in half. Heres where we go so wrong its right from my neighbor & the Pioneer woman. Use half a strip of bacon, instead of 1/3. Its delish, plus you don’t have to worry as much about securing it with a toothpick come assembly.

More Bacon please!

If you want to stop reading right here because you think bacon is the root of all things health evil, please do not. A little bacon isn’t going to hurt you, and there is a lot of research that says that bag of pretzels will. I highly encourage you to get your hands of some Weston A Price & Paleo literature and read up on why our body NEEDS fat to function. No, vegetable oil/processed garbage/whatever’s not next to how God invented it does not count. I plan on writing about that here, but until then, please go read. We will wait…

Ok your back! Lets get to it!

Stuff each of your halved, rinsed, and somewhat dried (don’t be a perfectionist) peppers with cream cheese. Fill depending on how much cheese to pepper you think you may like. I like lots of cheese.

You may need to mash the cream cheese in with your fingers. Its ok. Get Messy!

Wrap each of these little amazing creatures in half a slice of bacon.

Swoon!

Look Ma, no annoying toothpick!

Line them up on your pre created jalapeno Popper 2000.

Oh, you don’t have one?

Ok, here’s how to make one:

Jellyroll Pan from Goodwill, Foil, Cookie Cooling Rack

You could also just put these on the grill. But sometimes I want them at, say 10 am on Tuesday and I don’t want to fire up yee olde grill.

Layer a piece of foil on the jelly roll pan (cookie tray would work)

Top with the Rack.

The end.

Line your little delicious friends up on the rack.

Popper 2000

Now here comes the controversy. The Pioneer Woman slathers on some BBQ sauce. I am not a fan. Husband is a HUGE fan. Compromises must be made.

This is the High Fructose Corn Junk Free, Hailing from Austin Texas (Heart!) BBQ Sauce I Use:

Yum

Brush your BBQ sauce on as many Poppers as you feel compelled to. In my house that’s half of them.

JUST HALF. You can do what you want...

Bake these bad boys for 25-30 Minutes at 325. At the end I like to do 2-5 Minutes under the broiler (on High) to crisp up the bacon. Again, these work well on the grill. But, please don’t take my word for it:)

Finished Product

 Even though my picture taking is not great, you will want to shove one of these bad boys in your mouth immediately. Be warned! They are HOT on the inside. Let them cool for 5 or so minutes.

Say Hello to my little friend.

These keep well in the fridge for maybe a week, but they won’t last that long. My husband came home from work and shoved 4 in his mouth. REALLY. Maybe you should think about hiding them. The when someone is like, oh yum I’m eating a crusty dried pretzel, you can be all like, I gonna go eat some Amazing-ness. You could be nice and share then. That would be the right thing to do.

So to vary this lovely recipes you could:

  • Add shredded cheeses to the cream cheese, mix together than stuff. Sonic Cheddar Peppers have nothing on yours!
  • Add a piece of pineapple to the pepper before you wrap it. Mmm Spicy Sweet.
  • Add a piece of chopped shrimp before you wrap it.

You do what you want, its your popper!


GFree & Smarter than Bee!

April 18, 2011

This is a continuation of my Step 1 in combating infertility with food: Goodbye Gluten!

Don’t take my word for it…take these people! Recipes and studies that is. Here are a smattering of the cool things you can find on the internet about G Free cooking and the gluten/infertility link.

Bloggers with great recipes:

The Gluten Free Homemaker: http://glutenfreehomemaker.com/

Glugle: http://glugleglutenfree.com/

Elana’s Pantry: http://www.elanaspantry.com/ I’m not sure I could love this gal more. She blogs about utterly amazing G free food from her kitchen on Boulder, CO. Growing up, I spent my summer vacation & some Christmas’ in Boulder and the surrounding area. It feels a lot like home to me. I want to go to Boulder & convince Elana to be bff. That’s not Nutty at all, right?

Articles that Reference Gluten Sensitivity and Infertility:

Gluten Free Society: Article on Gluten & Infertility: http://www.glutenfreesociety.org/gluten-free-society-blog/gluten-intolerance-causes-infertility/

Newsweek Article: Waiter Please Hold the Gluten: http://www.newsweek.com/2007/09/15/waiter-please-hold-the-wheat.html

Living Without: A discussion on a Study Linking Gluten Intolerance and Infertility: http://www.livingwithout.com/blog/inside_living_without-2407-1.html

Happy cooking/baking/reading!


12 Steps and.. Desperate Housewife NuttyBee??

April 18, 2011

Some of the steps I purpose may seem too harsh or daunting. Or, just plain Nutty. I must stress that this is what worked for me. My motivation was desperation. I do not wish that one on you. I hope your motivation is all about positive changes in your life. I wish I could guarantee that these steps will also work for you. I can’t. My magic wand is broken…sigh. What I can tell you is, these changes will lead you to an overall physical and mental health improvement. For most people, that will mean a big old fertility boost. Or a healthier pregnancy. Or a healthier kiddo. Or a happier life. Not a bad option in the bunch.

These are hard changes to make. If you have the time, try just one change a month. You won’t be so shocked, will have less withdrawal symptoms and you significant other won’t feel like the carpet has been ripped out from under him. If your already eating a mostly whole food diet (little or no processed foods, meals typically take place at home instead of at fast food/restaurant chain (for most of the country. I know there are some fabulous whole food options available to certain zip codes.)) try one step a week. If your crazy like me, do them all at once. I was eating a mostly whole food diet and was pretty convicted on all these points before I got started. I was also desperate to avoid IVF or another miscarriage. Desperate housewife NuttyBee. Of course, I am nutty. The first week was rather rotten. Then for me, it was mostly fine. I know other people take longer to adjust. Lots of people, who are much smarter than I, take 6 months to a year to prepare their body to conceive. This give you the luxury of cutting back on gluten, than eliminating it, trying one or two HFCS free products a week, easing out of the sugar habit, etc.

That’s the smart way. I went the desperate way. For me it worked. You need to listen to your own body’s needs. It’s a very hippie way to put it, I know. But the hippies they are always right. I found that I had gone to great lengths to “shut my body up” that at first it was nearly impossible to hear, understand and meet its needs. But that’s another story!

Desperate. But not like these ladies.


Breaking up with G- The How.

April 3, 2011

…with Gluten

I was on a swim team on and off from elementary through high school. On of my events was the 50 meter free style, which is a sprint to the end of the pool and back. You wait for the starting gun longer than you actually swim. Through high school I would try to do with without breathing, hoping to go faster. My head sounded like this:

Gun/Buzzer…Dive…. Go, go,go…. I need air. I need air. Air. Air. Air. AIR. NOW. BREATHE. (give in and breathe) … worthless pathetic wimp. worthless pathetic wimp.

Pretty right? I bring this up because I think going gluten-free can either be this physically and mentally painful OR it can be like a well planned race, focusing on strengths and setting yourself up for the best possible success.

So here are some strategies to make the transition from G-full to G-free as smooth as possible.

  1. Meal Plan: fail to plan and plan to fail or something. This one takes time, but you’ll be glad you did. Think through your entire week, then brainstorm out what you would like to eat in those occasions. Random hunger attack? Have a plan. Cheese sticks or apples with nut butter are great and way more nutritious than pretzels. Aunt Millie’s 90th Birthday party? If its going to be nothing but cakes, cookies, and bread?Eat before hand, untill you are full. The compliment the hostess on her great party throwing/shoes/kindness. She’ll never notice you are skipping the donuts.
  2. Be Full: Many an excellent intention has been felled by an empty belly confronted with a bread basket.
  3. Eat enough carbohydrates: this is complicated, as most carbs you are used to eating contain gluten. Start by adding lots of starchy veggies and fruits to your diet. Sweet potatoes, white potatoes, apples, pears, etc. Secondary options include things like rice or quinoa. For example: breakfast could be eggs with oven roasted potatoes (make a double batch at dinner) instead of toast, lunch could be turkey, sweet potato, and rice, instead of a turkey sandwich, dinner could be any combination of meat/veggies/and perhaps a non gluten grains like quinoa. Snacks could be yogurt with fruit and g-free granola, cheese slices with grapes, or jerky and dried fruit.
  4. Give up (most) white sugar. If there is a sugar/gluten combo (and just about all the them are) that’s a definite skip. Bridal shower brunch? Skip the zucchini bread and load up on fruit salad. Your gut will be so happy.
  5. Indulge! There are some amazing food that have no G. How about steak and veggies on the grill? Jalapeno’s stuffed with cream cheese, wrapped in bacon? Baked potatoes stuffed with toppings? Sweet potato oven fries? Yes, it is a sad, sad lifestyle having to eat all this goodness, but someone’s got to do it!
  6. Tweak your recipes: I adore the Pioneer Woman’s Comfort meatballs. The recipe needed a tiny tweak (with no flavor change whatsoever) and I had G-Free Comfort Meatballs. Get creative, you’ll suprise yourself with what you can do.
  7. Try new things! Quinoa for breakfast? With berries and whole milk, its amazing. Get a little crazy.
  8. Read, read, READ your labels. Gluten and wheat sneak into the darndest places. Like your store-bought granola bars. Look for words like hydrolyzed vegetable protein, flour, malt/malt flavoring, modified starch/modified food starch, vegetable gum, to name a few. Soy sauce, unless otherwise noted, contains gluten.
  9. Beware of deep friend stuff. Why do you think they call it “breading”?
  10. Allow yourself a sweet treat. Yes this sorta goes against #4. But I don’t mean drown yourself in a sea of cell altering white sugar. I mean, have a great piece of dark chocolate, or melt it and dip some strawberries into it. Or some fresh pineapple and raspberries. This is a great way to reward yourself for another day well done and one great step in the right direction.

I do think certain gluten-free products and sprouted/soaked grains have their place. However, when your starting out I feel they should be avoided, because often they just remind you of what you’re not eating. Every now and then I love a bowl of brown rice pasta. But if I went straight from traditional white pasta to brown rice I would feel dissatisfied and frustrated and miss my “normal” pasta. Many gluten-free products contain a lot of hidden sugars, which send your blood glucose on a roller coaster, often leaving you hungary and cranky. Hungary and cranky are not your friends in wise decision-making.

I’ll be posting some of my favorite G-Free, but in the meantime check out All Recipes extensive selection of G-Free recipes. Let me know what was good and what was not!

http://allrecipes.com//Recipes/healthy-cooking/gluten-free/Main.aspx


Tasty Tuesday, March 29, 2011- Breakfast in a Crock pot

March 29, 2011

What's wrong with a hug?

Breakfast is a big deal in our house. When I first met my husband, that meant almost an entire box of cereal possibly with a protein shake on the weekdays and pancakes with half a bottle of syrup of the weekends. Yikes. I gave up cereal a long time ago, and although he still likes a bowl of cereal, we both love something hot and nourishing in the morning. I have had lots of success with two crock pot breakfasts set them up the night before, stumble down the stairs in the morning and feast. Couldn’t be easier.

* There is some discussion about leaving a crock pot on for extended periods of time (greater than 12 hours) leading to leaching of such lovely things as lead into food. My thoughts are to invest in a timer or program the pot to switch to “warm” after 8 hours.*

Breakfast 1: Egg Casserole

Yes, your Christmas favorite is back in honor of… Tuesday. This recipe is really a guideline, you can throw in whatever suits your fancy. Makes a great, frugal way to use extra veggies and meat. This will serve 6 Large appetites or maybe 8-9 small ones. Make the leftovers into breakfast tacos by warming them and rolling in a sprouted grain tortilla.

Ingredients:

Butter for the crock pot

potatoes: 1-2 pounds, diced or shredded. Sometimes you can buy these frozen, but check the ingredient label carefully!

1 1/2 cup cheese jack/cheddar works great, but be creative!

1 Green pepper + 1 Onion: or mushrooms, chillies, jalapeno, etc.

Meat: Ham works great, as does sausage.

12 Eggs (Cage-free if you can)

1 Cup of whole milk

Salt & Pepper

Process:

Rub butter/Coconut oil around the bottom and sides of your crock pot. Layer in thirds:

Potatoes, Veggies, Meat, Cheese, Potatoes, Meat, Veggies, Cheese, Potatoes, Meat, Veggies, Cheese.

In a separate bowl whisk the eggs, milk, S&P together until smooth. Slowly pour over top the PVMC in the crock pot.

Set crock pot to low for 8 hours, switching to warm after the time has elapsed. Wake up to awesome. This is this mornings (after man had helped himself to a generous portion). It was shredded potatoes, green pepper, onion, leftover chorizo sausage, leftover ham, Monterey jack and cheddar cheese. I served it with a big fruit plate. Please excuse the picture quality.

Yum

Some variations that would be delish:

Chorizo sausage, potatoes, jalenpano’s, onions, tomatoes, and cheddar cheese. In the morning you could serve with sliced avocados and sour cream.

Ham, Spinach, shredded taters, and Swiss cheese fancy fancy.

Breakfast 2: Steel Cut Oatmeal

Steal cut (or irish oats) are so much better than that chopped up stuff Quaker tries to pass off as “instant”. I am very new to soaking my grains, but I am pretty sure the oats (grout) would benefit from soaking. More on that later. Steel cut oats can be bought from places like Whole Food in bulk which is a cost effective route. So is Trader Joes.

Basic Recipe:

1 Cup of steel cut oats

4-5 Cups of water (err on the high side, dry oatmeal is….well dry oatmeal)

– Set the crock pot of low, wake up to delicious, slightly nutty oatmeal. Top with what tickles your fancy. Yum.

Get Crazy:

Please mess with this recipe! You will be happy you did. Be aware when you add something watery (apples) you may need to slightly decrease the cooking liquid. Add dried fruit, you’ll need more. Our favorite way to add chopped unpeeled apples and flaxseed in the evening. The apples essentially dissolve overnight. A dash of cinnamon and a sprinkle of walnuts makes its perfect. Other ideas: dried figs, cranberries, or raisins. Or, add everything! No ones judging go nuts! We also like to make it plain and in the morning top it with blueberries, cinnamon and whole milk.

Never let breakfast be boring again!