Wednesday, August 24, 2011

GAPS Fideo

I have loads of yummy GAPS recipes to post!  Now that I am getting the hang of the protocol, I am getting creative and banging out some pretty awesome meals.  Often I go to old favorites for my inspiration.  Everybody loves Fideo, it is one of my top hit posts, a great dish for a crowd, perfect for a potluck.  With a couple simple substitutions,  we are enjoying it once again.

One thing that makes GAPS fantastic in the flavor department is the liberal use of fat.  I always was pretty generous compared to American standards, but GAPS is a whole other level.  Of course you have to use the good fats, which are expensive, but sometimes not as much as you think.  Kerry Gold Butter, for example, runs about six times the price of the pale kind.  But when you compare it to extra virgin coconut oil, which is more of a like product in quality, it is half the price. Thus, I use a lot more butter.

I am pretty sure the intro diet did some detoxing of our sugar loving bacteria, because everything seems to taste better.  Besides, anything other than soup becomes a texture to appreciate.  In all reality, my husband, who didn’t do the intro, still thinks most of these GAPS meals taste fantastic.  So I will take the credit for being super talented.

Before the diet though, I could NEVER pass spaghetti squash off for noodles.  Three out of five family members would moan and struggle through the meal.  Fideo is just so flavorful, that the texture difference doesn’t really matter.  I am sure the butter doesn’t hurt either.  One thing that is important is not to overcook the squash, the “spaghetti” won’t stay as separate and turns a bit mushy.

If you leave out the cumin, cheese and avocado (stage 3) this considered a "casserole" that is legal in stage 2 , given you have successfully introduced dairy, otherwise, substitutions can be made.  Cumin and cheese can be introduced on Full Gaps.

1 medium spaghetti squash
½ cup Kerry Gold butter
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 bell pepper, finely chopped
2 carrots, finely chopped
1 tablespoon salt
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 teaspoons ground cumin
2 large tomatoes, diced
¼ cup fresh cilantro, chopped (reserve some for garnish if desired)
2 pounds boiled roast
2 cups Kerry Gold Cheese, shredded
1-2 avocados, diced as garnish
1 pint yogurt cream

Cut squash in half, scoop out the seeds.  Place face down on baking sheet and bake for 30 minutes at 350 degrees. Heat a large fry pan to medium, sautee onions, peppers and carrots with butter for 10 minutes. Add salt, garlic, cumin and tomatoes. Stir in boiled roast and let it fall apart with the vegetables.  When squash is cool enough to handle with your hands, scrape out with a spoon and separate “noodles” with a fork.  (I like to do this a day ahead).  Fold squash in with vegetables, combine thoroughly, adding cilantro as you mix.  Check for seasoning, may need more salt.  If your pan is oven safe, you can top with cheese and broil until melted, otherwise, transfer to a baking dish or 2 -9 inch pie dishes. Broil 5 minutes on medium until cheese is bubbly and beginning to brown. Garnish with diced avocado and copious amounts of yogurt cream (homemade yogurt made with heavy cream).

links; Real Food Wednesday, Things I Love Thursday, Creative Juice Thursday, Pennywise Platter

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Die Off

We have had some weird symptoms pop up in the first few weeks of GAPS.  These symptoms are known as "die off" and is essentially due to the gut detoxing.  Ours have been very mild and manageable.  We are not taking probiotic supplements, only getting probiotics from our food.  We eat probiotic food religiously at every meal and snack.  I have got to say that culturing cream with my yogurt starter is the best discovery I have made in my kitchen this year!  It is extremely tasty and we dollop it generously.  

My main symptom has been dull headaches above my eyes.  They don't slow me down any, just really irritating.  I have also lost weight unintentionally, but it seems to be stabilizing now, so I am not too worried about it.  It is likely water loss from not eating many carbohydrates.  Lastly, my eyes are a bit sticky in the mornings.

Number One had a day where he was sneezing like crazy, it was bizarre. He has also got a few pimple type bumps on his face last week

Number Two has started wetting the bed a couple times a week.  He is also a bit weepier that usual, but he is also transitioning out of taking naps. He has also gotten a couple headaches.

Number Three wets through his diaper most every night.  He also has this rash on his face that is baffling me.  It is around his mouth, he has gotten it a number of times before we started this diet.  I had thought it was a reaction to strawberries, then peppers and tomatoes, but it is inconsistent.  This morning he broke out really bad after having carrot soup for breakfast, which he has had plenty of times without a reaction.  It doesn't appear to bother him at all.  I know rash is a common die off symptom, but since he has had this rash many times in the past, I am wondering if it is something else.

A couple weeks ago we "lost"  all of the pacifiers and the rash went away for 6 days, but then he broke out again... aggravating.

I don't mind seeing symptoms of detox, because it means that this whole thing is working.  It is so hard to know if it is die off we are experiencing or the body not handling a food or environmental change well.  One thing is clear though, I still have a lot to learn.

Monday, August 8, 2011

GAPS Guacamole Chicken Salad

In the first two stages of the GAPS intro, there is really no way around soups for breakfast lunch and dinner. However, these stages are quick for most people (less than a week) and stage three opens up a lot more possibilities, though soup is still a mainstay. Instead of just a raw yolk in soups, you get scrambled eggs! Instead of just pickle juice in soups, you get to munch on pickles! My kids' favorite, by far, is introducing "pancakes" made with ground almonds, zucchini and eggs. And we all love avocados around here, which are worth their hefty price tag at the moment.

We are not acclimated to eating all the skin, connective tissues, marrow and organs in a whole chicken. I found this ingenious way to make all that stuff taste good and hide it well enough that you don't even know that you are eating weird chicken parts. It is our new chicken salad and we eat it plain, on "pancakes" or with lettuce. When I pick a boiled chicken, I put the muscle meat in one container and the weird stuff in another. This way, depending on what I am making, I can add it in the proportions I desire. I have also found that if there is any connective tissue that is tough, I can put it back in the pot with the bones and water, simmer for 12 hours or more and it pretty much dissolves.

1 avocado
1 raw egg yolk
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
1/2 cup shredded chicken
1/2 cup weird chicken parts

Mash avocado with egg yolk, salt and pepper. Add chicken and combine well.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Settling In

I love eggs.  Still.  Even after living on them for more than a week.  I am so grateful that we have an unlimited supply of backyard eggs right now for a mere dollar per dozen.  In the winter, I pay three dollars a dozen.  Chicken's don't lay eggs when the days grow shorter than 12 hours and few backyard farmers do artificial lights regularly to keep them laying, which isn't all that natural anyway.

Once we entered stage three of the GAPS introduction diet, we had turned the corner.  Scrambled eggs with cooked onions and zucchini...mmm.  I felt normal again, like we could leave the house and not be starving for food an hour later.  Coming up with take and go snacks eluded me those first days.  I did learn that although canned foods are a no, no on GAPS, if you canned it yourself and the ingredients are legal  it is fine.  So now I throw in a quart of canned carrots when we head out.

So with my super-egg-energy, I have gotten back to playing strenuous racquetball, caught up on the dishes and have put together some pretty tasty meals.  At least they are tasty to us.  I am frightened to cook for others at this point.  Day 6 (stage 3) my sister calls and is coming for dinner.  This freaked me out a little, but we are tight and I knew she would understand if the meal wasn't up to par.  She had dined with us our first night of the diet when we had chicken vegetable soup.  I made sure she had a nice piece of breast meat and not chunks of skin and liver in her bowl.  Besides the 110 degree weather we were sporting, it wasn't too weird.  Here is what she thought, in her own words;

"When I visit my sister, I usually get to partake in the gourmet dinners she serves her family on a regular basis (they are SO lucky). Because I'm used to eating junk from my dorm's dining hall, eating with my sister is like heaven. So after she told me about this new "GAP" diet, where she was making nothing but soup for breakfast, lunch and dinner, I died a little inside. 

I didn't doubt my big sis and her crazy new diet plan, but I knew it would be a challenge for a family that loves their grains and fruits. As a participant in the very first GAPS meal, I was pleasantly surprised that Kara pulled off the soup thing extremely well, and I was fully satisfied with a large helping of chicken, broth and veggies. 

For the next "GAPS" meal I had (about a week later), Kara got a bit creative and whipped up some "zucchini spaghetti and meatballs." Honestly, if I hadn't known about her nutso diet plan, I wouldn't have thought any differently about the low-carb meal. Other than replacing the noodles with strips of zucchini, nothing about the dinner seemed too out of the ordinary. It tasted like just another one of my sister's wonderfully creative and delectable dinners, and I didn't even crave carbs when I was finished. The kids and I gobbled up our spaghetti in record time, leaving behind only a couple of meatballs for her poor husband!"

So it is not all doom and gloom. My oldest even told me he likes this diet a little bit one day while eating carrot ginger soup.  I try to keep this soup in the fridge as an alternative at all times.  It is much like the old one I posted, but I don't saute, just boil everything together.  I usually add a small butternut squash and sometimes half a head of cauliflower.  I leave out the coconut milk, oil and cayenne pepper right now.

I did miss the carbs at first.  I felt like I could never get full and I needed some starch to feel satisfied.  That has gone away and I am satisfied most every meal provided I cooked enough.  I have used grains to stretch my meals for so long that when I remove them from my recipe we end up with half the food on the table than before.  I am finding that many GAPS recipes online are for 1-2 people not full families.  I am starting to get in the groove and next time I will remember to use 2 cauliflower to make those "mashed potatoes" instead of half a head.

Another problem that contributes to my skimpy meals is that I am afraid my kids are not going to like the new meal and I am going to end up eating it all myself.  This has yet to happen.  The kids are surprising me everyday with what they will eat.  Cauliflower for one.  I admit, I never liked it, but I have thrown it in pureed and non-pureed soups as well as the base for mock mashed potatoes and mock rice pilaf, all of which were gobbled up without complaints.  The first time I pulled out the fermented cucumbers, the kids could not get enough.  Number 3 requests pickled beets for a snack!

The biggest obstacle has been getting in a cup of broth at every meal.  When there is no soup, it is hard for the kids to choke down.  I have been working on just 1/4 cup at a time for now.  The older two have to have it gone to get their meal (caught Number 1 dumping it down the sink).  Number three, I coax between bites.  I have found that if I boil carrots in the broth first, the flavor is more palatable to them and they end up eating the carrots for snacks.  Any other ideas for me to get the broth down the hatch?
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