Friday, December 16, 2011

Grain-free Christmas Cookie and Treat Round-up (gluten-free, paleo/primal, GAPS)

As Christmas approaches, I think about cookies and sweet treats. We seldom eat desserts, so we are rather excited when the holidays arrive. Here is a list of some grain-free, GAPS-friendly cookies and treats for the holidays. Some of these recipes are from my blog and some are from other sources.
Nourishing Tip: Freeze the cookies and treats you make!  This will prevent you from feeling like you've got to eat so many before they go bad.  And then you can enjoy the fruits of your labors for several months to come.

I'll be taking a short holiday blogging break.  Happy holidays to you all, and see you in 2012!

This post is part of Frugal Days, Sustainable Ways, Fat Tuesday, Monday Mania and Fight Back Friday!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Bacon-wrapped Salmon Cakes Revisited (GAPS-legal, nut-free, gluten-free, grain-free)

Some of you may recall that I posted a recipe for bacon-wrapped salmon cakes almost a year ago. I admit to being a person who has a hard time following recipes without adding a few tweaks. Sometimes this is a good thing, and sometimes not so much. But, the latest version of these salmon cakes is definitely a winner and is my new standard for this recipe.

This is a great recipe for those out there who aren't fond of fish. Tartar sauce and bacon make everything better! Both kids and both adults in our house love this recipe.  This recipe would also make a great appetizer at your holiday party!

Bacon-wrapped Salmon Cakes with Tartar Sauce
Serves 6
Salmon Cakes

  • 3 - 7.5 oz cans of wild-caught Alaskan salmon, drained
  • 2 Tb butter
  • 1/3 of a white onion, chopped
  • 1/2 red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 medium clove garlic, minced
  • 2 whole eggs
  • 1/2 Tb coconut flour
  • 1.5 tsp dijon mustard
  • 3/4 tsp Old Bay seasoning
  • 2 tsp dried parsley
  • 1/2 tsp dried dill
  • 2 tsp dill pickle juice or lemon juice
  • 1/4 tsp Celtic sea salt
  • freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • 8 oz nitrate free bacon
  • Tartar Sauce (recipe follows)
  • Equipment required: food processor (or you could try mashing everything together)
  1. In a small skillet, saute the onion and red bell pepper in butter until soft and translucent.  
  2. Add garlic and saute for 30 seconds, until fragrant.  Remove from heat and allow to cool.
  3. Put eggs, coconut flour, dijon, Old Bay, parsley, dill, lemon/pickle juice, salt, and pepper in food processor.  Pulse to combine.
  4. Add the onion/red pepper mixture to the food processor and pulse until well mixed and chopped. 
  5. Add canned salmon and give a few pulses (if you pulse too much, the consistency will get very smooth instead of slightly chunky).  Stir if necessary to ensure that the mixture is well-combined. 
  6. Cut bacon in half (so the slices are half as long). Scoop 3 Tb salmon mixture onto each slice of bacon, and wrap tightly.  Place into glass baking dish (you will need either two 8X8 square baking dish, or one 9X13 dish).  
  7. Refrigerate for at least one hour, or preferably several hours (overnight would be fine as well).
  8. Bake in 325 degree oven for about 40-50 minutes, turning once to allow bacon to crisp on top and bottom.  Remove from oven and allow to cool slightly.  
  9. Serve with tartar sauce.  A bed of fresh greens dressed with lemon juice, olive oil, salt and pepper makes a great accompaniment.
Tartar Sauce
  • 1/2 c. homemade mayo
  • 1/4 c. sour cream
  • 2 dill pickles, chopped
  • 1/2 tsp dried dill
  • 2 tsp dill pickle juice or lemon juice
  • 1/4 tsp Celtic sea salt
  • freshly ground pepper
  1. Combine all ingredients.  Stir, and refrigerate until ready to use.
This post is part of Fat Tuesday, Monday Mania, Fight Back Friday, Pennywise Platter and Frugal Days, Sustainable Ways!

    Sunday, December 11, 2011

    Warm Vanilla Milk (GAPS-friendly, no refined sweeteners)

    Even though cocoa is allowed occasionally on the Full GAPS Diet, I try to really limit it on our house.  With our recent snowy weather, I've wanted something warm-and-cozy to drink as a nice treat.  Vanilla milk is a delicious alternative to hot cocoa.

    Our family has progressed far enough on GAPS to tolerate raw milk with no problems, and I like to keep the temperature of the milk low enough to keep the milk "raw".  If you can't drink raw milk, try this recipe with coconut milk or raw cream instead.

    Warm Vanilla Milk
    • 2 cups raw milk OR 1 cup raw cream* plus 1 cup water OR 1 cup full-fat coconut milk plus 1 cup water**
    • 3 Tb raw honey
    • 3/4 tsp organic vanilla extract
    • dash celtic sea salt
    • optional: pinch ground cinnamon
    1. Combine all ingredients in a medium saucepan. 
    2. Heat gently over medium-low heat and whisk to fully incorporate the honey.  NOTE: If you want to keep your milk "raw", make sure you don't heat it past 110 degrees F.  I find a digital probe thermometer to be crucial for keeping the milk from getting too hot, as I can set the thermometer to alert me when 110 degrees is reached. This also ensures that the milk is the perfect temperature for kids to drink without having to blow on it or burn their tongues.  If you are using coconut milk or aren't concerned about keeping the milk raw, then go ahead and heat until nice and toasty hot.
    3. Serve immediately.  If you find that the warm milk coos too quickly for slow drinkers, try serving it in a thermos.
    *Raw cream may be easier to digest for people with lactose problems as it has hardly any lactose at all.
    **You may want to add a touch more vanilla if you use coconut milk instead of dairy.

    This post is part of Fight Back Friday, Pennywise Platter, Frugal Days, Sustainable Ways, Fat Tuesday and Monday Mania!

    Wednesday, December 7, 2011

    Pork Carnitas (GAPS-legal, grain-free, gluten-free)

    Carnitas translates to mean "little meats".  These pork carnitas cook all day in the slow cooker.  This recipe is subtly spiced, and the flavor of the pork shines through.  These carnitas are wonderful when served in grain-free tortillas and garnished with sour cream, salsa, and avocado.

    The latest issue of Wise Traditions had a very interesting article showing the results of live blood cell analysis on people who ate pork prepared in various ways. Based on this article, I chose to make the pork healthier by using a traditional method: marinating in lime juice. The results are tender and flavorful, but not overly tangy.

    Pork Carnitas
    Serves 6
    • 6 bone-in pork chops (or use a roast that has been cut into several pieces)
    • 4 medium limes, halved
    • Celtic sea salt
    • 5 cloves garlic, sliced
    • 1/4 tsp ground cumin
    • 1 bay leaf
    • 1/2 tsp chili powder
    • 3-5 Tb leftover bacon grease, or more! (no brown bits)
    • Garnish: sour cream, avocado, and salsa
    • Optional: grain-free tortillas
    1. Place the pork into a large glass dish and season with salt. (I would not use anything other than clear glass since the lime juice will be very acidic; I would especially not use a metal dish.) Use a reamer to juice two limes over the top of the pork chops.  Flip the pork chops over and juice the remaining two limes over the top.  Use a spoon if necessary to ensure the lime juice is distributed evenly over the meat. Cover and refrigerate overnight. 
    2. In the morning, place the meat and any juices into a slow cooker (or use an oven-safe pot).  Sprinkle the sliced garlic and spices on top.  Add the bacon grease in a few plops (use more if your meat was very lean or less if your meat is fatty). Traditional carnitas are cooked in lots of lard, so don't be shy with the bacon grease!
    3. Cook on Low for 8-10 hours (or in the oven at 225 degrees).  
    4. 30-60 minutes before dinner, pull the meat out onto a cutting board.  Shred with a fork, and discard the bones.  Put the meat back into the pot, stir around a bit, and check the saltiness.  Add more salt as needed, 
    5. Turn the heat to Warm (or put back into the oven and just turn the oven off) for 30-60 minutes.  Do not skip this step, as it will allow the meat to become very tender and flavorful. 
    6. The carnitas can be served over a green salad, in lettuce wraps, or in grain-free tortillas.  Garnish with sour cream, avocado, and salsa. Enjoy!
    This post is part of Fat Tuesday, Monday Mania, Fight Back Friday, Pennywise Platter and Frugal Days, Sustainable Ways!

      Sunday, December 4, 2011

      Homemade Christmas Presents

      Homemade presents are a wonderful way to celebrate the winter and Christmas holidays.  They are also a great way to be frugal. 

      Gifts for Everyone
      These ideas are sure to please.

      Gifts for Grandparents
      Gifts for grandparents can be especially easy.
      • photo albums featuring the grandchildren
      • handprint or footprint ornaments
      • letters, stories, or pictures made by the kids

      Gifts For the Real Foodie
      All of these recipes store well, which makes them great for gift-giving. They are all grain-free.
      What are your favorite homemade gifts?

      This post is part of Fight Back Friday, Pennywise Platter, Frugal Days, Sustainable Ways, Fat Tuesday and Monday Mania!

        Thursday, December 1, 2011

        Tallow Container Candles

        Tallow, which is rendered beef fat, was traditionally used to make candles hundreds of years ago.  The last time I rendered some tallow, I found that making tallow candles is very easy! We've been enjoying the soothing light created by these tallow candles in the evenings.  And I have not noticed any beefy smell from these candles. They would also make a wonderful Christmas present!

        Tallow Container Candles
        Equipment and ingredients needed:
        • hot glue gun and glue sticks
        • small mason jars (or other glass containers of your choice)
        • cotton wick material
        • pure tallow
        • spoons and clothespins (for centering the wicks in the jars)
        1. Plug in your glue gun so it can start warming up.  I like to place it over a paper towel to catch any little drips.
        2. Cut wicks to the appropriate size for your containers.  Make sure you leave a bit extra to be glued onto the bottom of the jar, as well as for holding the wick in the center of the jars.  It worked well for me to make the wicks about 2 inches longer than the height of my jars.
        3. Use hot glue to glue the wicks to the middle of the bottom of the jars.
        4. Use a spoon and clothespin to stand the wick upright in the jar.  Try your best to get the wick right in the middle of the jar.OF course, if you pull too hard the glue wil detach from the bottom of the jar.
        5. Melt the tallow.  I actually just scooped it right off the top (once it had been strained) the last time I rendered tallow, which saved the step of melting it.
        6. Pour the tallow into the jars.  Let them sit for several hours or overnight to harden before you remove the spoons and clothespins.
        7. Allow the candles to fully harden before you light them.  This will take at least 12 hours. Beware that the tallow does not get super-hard like paraffin candles from the store (I'm sure this depends on just how cool your house is in the winter).
        8. Trim the wicks and light the candles. Enjoy the soothing atmosphere of candlelight! 
        This post is part of Frugal Days, Sustainable Ways, Fat Tuesday, Monday Mania, Fight Back Friday and Handmade Christmas Gift Carnival!