Thursday, September 29, 2011

Garden Journal 2011 {Protection}

Birds are my latest garden vice. They pecked the heck out of every single summer pepper and tomato and are currently doing a number on my winter squash and melons. I pushed through the sweltering heat last month to get my beans and cucumbers in early. Only to have the menaces pluck the seedlings out of the ground. Every. Last. One. I wish they would fly South for the winter!!

There is so much hope in planting a seed and seeing it sprout and eventually fruit and ripen. There is great disappointment when that hope is snatched from under your nose time and time again. I’ve had lots of squirrel trouble in the past especially in the winter seasons. When worse comes to worse, I pull out the netting and drape it over the most sought after plants. It is not fool proof, often the squirrels still find a way in, the netting is a pain to work with, it gets caught on things and the plants get tangled and damaged, then there is the constant fidgeting with it to keep it in place. It is surely a subpar deterrent.

So my husband and I discussed the reoccurring problem and before building a complete enclosure, we are trying out a low scale version. Netting secured to a simple PVC frame. They are light and pretty manageable; fit perfectly over half of a soil bed (10 feet) and so far, have kept pests out of the picture well enough to get some good seedlings going.

I am really happy with these simple structures. My plants are looking great, compost is amazing. They are easy to tilt up on one side to weed and harvest and keep plants from growing out into the aisles. We had a tornado last month and our neighbor’s gazebo landed in our garden. These PVC frames kept many plants from being crushed!

I am still brainstorming however, since this won’t protect any of my vertical growing plants and I would like to eat my tomatoes myself, thank you very much.

P.S. Anybody know how to get rid of a peacock? This guy has been hanging around for breakfast, lunch and dinner…

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

GAPS Resource

Besides THE GAPS book and website, I have been finding some great resources online put out with people that are in the throws of the diet with their families.  Cara, who not only shares my name, but the state in which I reside, has put together an e-book on GAPS intro recipes.  I have heard many good things about this resource and have witnessed Cara's talent through her blog, Health Home and Happiness. I have been pinning recipes like mad since I have found it.  Cara’s giving away a free copy of her GAPS Intro Diet e-book, What Can I Eat Now? Enter to win over at

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

GAPS Meatzza

We miss our once-a-week pizza nights for sure and I am not even going to pretend that this makes up for it.  Yet, it is a meal we all look forward to, which is one big perk about the old pizza night.  Actually, we are making sourdough pizza for guests this month after Number One’s baptism and he asked if I could make meatzza too.  He also requested that his Sunday school teacher change their class reward from a pizza party to a meatzza party, so he is pretty well converted.

Meatzza is basically a pizza with a flat meatball in place of the crust and is the perfect example of how drastic the expense is when preparing grain free meals.  Grass fed organic beef runs around seven dollars per pound, while my sourdough crust is around 50 cents per pound.  Anyway, it will all be worth it one day…

I do stretch this as much as I can with veggies, also making a double batch is great for having quick meals on hand, it is great paired with a side salad and a glass of kefir (which everything is lately.)

1 pound ground meat
1 onion, shredded
1 bell pepper, finely diced
1 zucchini, grated
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons pizza seasoning
2 eggs
2 tablespoons coconut flour
2 teaspoons salt

Mix all ingredients thoroughly with hands and press onto a pizza or quarter sheet pan.  Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes.  Remove from oven, spread with marinara sauce, spinach (I used purslane) and sprinkle with cheese.  Transfer the pan back to the oven and turn it on broil for a couple minutes to melt and lightly brown the cheese.
links; Real Food Wednesday, Works For Me Wednesday

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

GAPS Salmon Cakes

We are still doing GAPS and feeling more and more committed as time goes on.  The food gets easier all the time and the kids are really on board.  They tell people about the diet and what they are and mostly aren't allowed.  Number two lost his snack on the playground before school one day. His teacher, noticing that he was bringing fresh foods and not crackers each day, offered him her grapes from her lunch.  He asked first if they were organic because that is all he can eat.

I have been really proud of Number one, he has been my sneaky one that tries to get anything and everything he is not supposed to have.  He was at a birthday party and I made sure to pick him up before the cake and ice cream.  He reported that he was thirsty at the party and there was a cooler with drinks for them that were filled with juice boxes and only a couple waters and he chose the water.  He also went in for an interview with the Bishop for his upcoming baptism and was offered a treat from his candy jar.  Number one just said “No thanks, I am on a diet.”  I was not even in the room and was so proud that he had the self-control to do that on his own!

Here is another excellent recipe for full GAPS.  You should be able to substitute the coconut flour for almond flour to use this in the intro as well, maybe as early as stage 3. They are great to use in lettuce wraps (Stage 5).  Tonight we had them on a bed of My Slaw that I substituted quartered green grapes for the oranges and honey for maple syrup, with a glass of kefir on the side. I also lacto fermented my mayonnaise.  Next time I will add some shredded carrots for color.  It was simply delicious.

1 pound wild salmon, cooked, cooled and flaked
1 small red bell pepper, diced fine
1 tablespoon butter
3 eggs
1 small onion, grated
2 garlic cloves, pressed
1/4 tablespoons cilantro, chopped
1 teaspoon salt
juice of 1 lime
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
3 tablespoons of coconut flour
¼ cup butter, ghee or oil for frying

Cook pepper in butter for 10 minutes while salmon cools.  In a medium bowl beat the eggs, onion, garlic, cilantro, salt, lime juice, and cumin. Mix thoroughly. Add the salmon and cooked pepper to the egg mixture. Mash the salmon and bones with the back of your fork and mix thoroughly with the egg mixture. Sprinkle coconut flour on top of mixture and combine until liquid is absorbed.  Preheat a fry pan over medium heat. Add 2 tablespoons butter to the fry pan and form patties with salmon mixture.  Place patties in hot fat and cook 5 minutes per side or until golden brown.  Continue to add more butter and more patties until mixture is all cooked.  Serve with over My Slaw, with sour cream and avocado on lettuce or make a simple yogurt sauce with cumin, lime and salt.
links; Real Food Wednesday, Creative Juice Thursdays, Things I Love Thursday, Simple Lives Thursday

Thursday, September 1, 2011

GAPS Progressive Soup

I love how going through the introduction diet gives you a new appreciation for foods that you never really enjoyed before.  This goes for the kids too.  My anti tomato kid, eats them easily now.  My oldest two hated winter squash in any form, now they eat it on a daily basis.  I never thought too highly of cauliflower, now I buy 3 heads each week.  In the beginning, the limits were confining and my creativity was stifled by it, but now I look back and see how much good it did for our relationship with food.  Once our bodies regulated our constant need for sugar and starch to fill us up, we were able to find complete satisfaction in these highly nourishing, healing foods.

Although the first stage is known as "just soups"  there is actually a lot of variety right off the bat.  A huge assortment of meats to choose from with ten different veggies mixes and matches in to quite a few options.  Then, slowly you begin to add in small amounts of new things, one at a time.  We have been transitioning out of the intro for three weeks now, and have not even scratched the surface of all the things we are allowed to have on the Full GAPS diet because we still have to add things slowly to check for reactions and become accustomed to foods that are harder to digest than soup and eggs.  Our ingredients are adding up and we tend to feel like we are no longer on a special diet.

A soup that has always been a family favorite for years is tortilla soup.  Although I am making it differently now, it still has the same flavor from our memories.  Taking out the corn chips and millet (GAPS illegals) and adding lots of chicken, olive oil and sour cream makes for a tasty, filling, meal.  When I first went back to this recipe it ended up being chicken, carrots, onions, zucchini and garlic simmered in chicken broth with a small spoon of sour cream (stage 1).  In stage 2, I added an egg yolk, cilantro and larger spoons of sour cream.  Stage 3, I got to include avocado and we had worked up to around 1/3 cup sour cream.  Stage 4, I added peppers (not sure what stage these become legal, but after I was confident Number 1 was not allergic by this time, I was happy to add them in because they add so much flavor. Speaking of flavor, the homemade broth MAKES this soup!

I tended to make double or triple batches so it would last a few meals.

6-8 cups chicken stock/broth
6 carrots, chopped (stage 1)
2 zucchinis, chopped (stage 1)
1 large onion, chopped (stage 1)
5 roma tomatoes, diced (stage 2)
2 red bell peppers, chopped (stage 4?)
1 small jalapeno (full GAPS)
2 cups boiled chicken (stage 1)
3 garlic cloves (Stage 1)
2 teaspoons ground cumin (full GAPS)
2 green onions, sliced (stage 5)
½ cup cilantro, chopped (stage 2)
Juice of 1 lime (full GAPS)

Salt and pepper to taste (stage 1)
1/4 cup beef tallow (stage 1) ghee (stage 2) coconut oil (stage 4)
1 egg yolk per bowl (stage 2)
1 avocado, diced (stage 3)
GAPS legal cheese like colby (full GAPS)
homemade sour cream

Skip the ingredients listed that are past your current stage.

Boil carrots, zucchini, onions, peppers and tomatoes in broth until tender. Add chicken, garlic and cumin, cook 1 more minute. Mix in green onions, cilantro, lime juice, fat, salt and pepper to taste. Crack one egg yolk per bowl and whisk warm soup into it. Garnish with avocado, cheese and sour cream.
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