Saturday, June 16, 2012

Bare Fruit {Winner}

Thank you to all those who participated and congratulations to winner, Wendi and Matt (comment #5), who has won a case of 12-2.6 ounce packages of Bare Fruit Cinnamon Apple Chips ($28.73 value) Please email me to claim your prize by Tuesday, June 19. 

Monday, June 11, 2012

Bare Fruit Cinnamon Apple Chips {Giveaway}

I do a lot of dehydrating, especially in the past year since I received my Excalibur. Dehydrated snacks like fruit leather, peanut butter crunch and cheesy kale chips are staples.  I have also had fun preserving vegetables from my garden and taking advantage of sales on high quality fruit (pineapple). Buying dehydrated fruit usually involves added sugar and preservatives, which I have avoided completely for nearly a year now.  Another downside is that it is hard to find organic dried fruit, which I believe is important when concentrating foods because chemicals are also concentrated.

Bare Fruit is one company that set the bar higher than the rest. Their products contain only one ingredient; organic fruit, except for the Cinnamon Apple Chips, which contain two and I bet you can guess what they are. They sent me a sample of their Cinnamon Apple Chips and boy howdy, they were delicious! The crunch is amazing, seriously as addicting as potato chips! The apples are bake-dried, so they will not have the enzymes of low-temperature, home-dehydrated apples. The texture that this "baking" gives the apples transforms them into a completely new category of snack food. I couldn't taste the cinnamon at all, but it didn't matter because the apples had excellent flavor

I am planning to buy more for our upcoming family reunion.  My kids with think they are cool eating packaged food.  There are not many convenience foods we enjoy anymore because of our strict adherence to the GAPS protocol. I am grateful to companies like Bare Fruit who raise the bar for everybody. Keep in mind for both cost and serving size that dehydrated fruit is super concentrated. One 2.6 ounce bag contains more than five apples, so you may not want to eat the whole bag!

To enter for your chance to win a case of 12-2.6 ounce packages of Bare Fruit Cinnamon Apple Chips  ($28.73 value), simply "like" both Bare Fruit and Taste is Trump on Facebook, come back here to Taste is Trump and leave one comment telling me that you did both. Contest closes at 11:59 p.m. mountain time on Friday, June 15, 2012 and the winner will be announced on Saturday, June 16, 2012. The winner will have three days to claim their prize, so be sure to check back.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Palm Shortening {Winner}

Thank you to all those who participated and congratulations to winner, Nicole (comment #26), who has won   1 gallon organic palm shortening  ($40.75 value) from Tropical Traditions  Please email me to claim your prize by Tuesday, June 12. 

For everybody else, purchase your palm shortening by tomorrow, Sunday, June 10 to get the sale price of $23.59 and the double bonus of free shipping on your entire order by entering promo code 11126 at check out!

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

BBQ Beef

Or pork, or venison, or lamb, or chicken…

 I usually start with a roast and cook it in the crock pot until it falls apart, and then I have all the great meat stock to use, bonus! I still simmer it a good deal more with the vegetables, sauce and spices so that everything melts together and becomes one pile of lip-smackin’ goodness.  Mmm, mmm, it’s BBQ season. I think this salad recipe could be the perfect accompaniment.

I still haven’t found a very good grain free bun substitute; the pancakes work fine, but can get soggy quickly and don’t have the nice chew to them that I really want.  Last time I actually served these up with some acorn squash and lacto-fermented pickles and it was a winner.  Squash isn’t really a summer time food though, so it felt weird.  But seriously, you can’t go wrong with this blend of flavors.

2 tablespoons butter
1 large onion, thinly sliced
1 teaspoon salt
2 pounds tender meat, shredded
2 cups tomato sauce
1 tablespoon ground cumin
2-4 tablespoons honey
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar

Heat butter in large sauce pan, cook onions and salt until completely translucent. Add meat, sauce, honey and cumin.  Simmer 30 minutes adding meat stock to the pan as needed to keep from scorching. Once onions have melted into the meat, add garlic and vinegar, cook for five minutes and remove from heat.  Serve hot or cold.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Palm Shortening {Giveaway}

One of my favorite parts and the popular book "The Help" by Kathryn Stockett is when Minnie is teaching Miss Celia how to cook and sings the praises of Crisco. I've gotta admit to using it and loving it. Making twinkies with my grandma as a child always brought out the glorious blue can of snow-white, solid vegetable oil. Since then, we have all learned the dangers of transfats and have learned to do without once again, the laboratory made cooking fat.

There are oils that are highly saturated in nature with very little processing. Lard, tallow and palm oil. Good quality lard and tallow are hard to find, many will have hydrogenated fats added to them and most of them will be from poorly raised animals in feed lots eating corn and soy.  You will spend a pretty penny sourcing out pastured lard and tallow products. Palm oil is bright orange in color and has a very strong flavor. It is an incredibly healthy tropical oil.  The flavor takes some getting used to and every dish will have bright tumeric-colored look. It withstands high heat and is mostly solid at room temperature.

Tropical Traditions makes Palm shortening by removing some of the unsaturated fats in palm oil, leaving it colorless and tasteless, similar to Crisco with no hydrogenated fats. It an excellent substitute in grandma's recipes. It is also great in baking, frying and because it is ultra stable it is perfect for food storage. Palm shortening gives homemade flour tortillas an incredibly light texture.

To enter for your chance to win 1 gallon organic palm shortening  ($40.75 value) from Tropical Traditions, simply follow the link to subscribe to the Coconut Oil Newsletter, come back here to Taste is Trump and leave a comment telling me that you did. Contest closes at 11:59 p.m. mountain time on Friday, June 8, 2012 and the winner will be announced on Saturday, June 9, 2012. The winner will have three days to claim their prize, so be sure to check back. 

Tropical Traditions provided me with a free sample of this product to review, and I was under no obligation to review it if I so chose. Nor was I under any obligation to write a positive review or sponsor a product giveaway in return for the free product. If you order by clicking on any of my links and have never ordered fromTropical Traditions in the past, you will receive a free book on Virgin Coconut Oil, and I will receive a discount coupon for referring you. Click here to learn about Tropical Tradition's Virgin Coconut Oil.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

GAPS Hawaiian Haystacks

I never was much for this hodgepodge of a meal.  Never had it growing up, can you believe we never even had rice, ever? Weird, right? Not only did the flavors and textures not mesh with me, but the chicken sauce was always made with some cream of something in a can and those tinned globs always have grossed me out.  Even when I was ten, I despised my mom’s green bean casserole because of that mystery goop. Since I have discovered the roux, and more recently the GAPS roux (white bean flour and butter), I have been able to enjoy thick gravy sauces in abundance.

A Hawaiian Haystack doesn’t have to be Hawaiian for me, but it does need to have a theme of flavors.  Cheese and coconut with tomatoes and celery? That is too weird for me. A Chinese haystack with peppers, onions, broccoli and cashews, sounds good.  A Thai haystack with carrots, bean sprouts, basil, spring onions and peanuts, yep. Italian stack with hot peppers, tomatoes, oregano, zucchini and pinenuts, mmm.

I get that the point of the meal is to clean out your fridge.  The kids love to pick and choose their favorite toppings and don’t care much about the culinary blend of complimentary flavors.  To each his own. At any rate, it is a great dish for a crowd and by using cauliflower rice or buttered and salted spaghetti squash for your base, while subbing the “can” or flour roux with a bean roux, it can be GAPS friendly too.

¼ cup butter
1 onion, diced
1 cup rich chicken stock
2 pounds boiled chicken
1 cup homemade sour cream
Salt and pepper to taste

Melt butter is sauce pan, add onions and cook down 10 minutes.  Stir in bean flour and cook 5 more minutes.  Add stock and stir constantly while sauce thickens.  Add chicken and sour cream, salt and pepper to taste.  Remove from heat. Serve over buttered spaghetti squash with toppings of your choice.


Monday, May 28, 2012

Fermentation Series {Winner}

Thank you to all those who participated and congratulations to winner, Joel, Jes & the rest, who has won Jenny's Get Cultured Online Class  Please email me to claim your prize by Wednesday, May 30. 

Everyone else; remember to use coupon code "TRUMP" to save $50 off the sale (through May 31). price of $147.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Fermentation Series {Giveaway}

I started making homemade yogurt for my first baby eight years ago, I was die-hard, bringing it and making it on vacations.  When I learned about kefir, hello! 300% more live cultures than homemade yogurt. The kids loved it right off the bat, I took a while to get used to it. 

Three years ago I decided I wanted to venture into fermenting vegetables.  I did a lot of research and tried my hand at it a few times.  I had all kinds of problems, molds (which I didn't know was okay), bitter sauerkraut (which was because I use radicchio instead of red cabbage) mushy pickles (fermented too long) and acetone flavored ginger carrots (still not sure about this one, maybe since I didn't peel the carrots.) I was discouraged with all my vain efforts and backed off the project.

Jenny's Get Cultured Online Class restored my confidence completely. She is a pro, her information is clear and concise. She keeps her recipes simple for the newbie and gives ideas for those who are ready to start branching out.  I would play her videos on my laptop, placed on my kitchen counter and make the recipes right along with her. The recipe would turn out, I was not afraid to eat it in the end and the next time I made the recipe it was no big deal.

This morning I listened to Jenny's webinar replay as I was unable to attend the live webinar and WOW! Loads of great information focused on troubleshooting, safety and starter cultures.  I love that she points out all you need is something to ferment (a single vegetable), something to ferment it in (a mason jar, crock-pot insert, food grade bucket), and time. The time it took when I was learning compared to the time it takes now is a completely different measure and that time decreases quickly after just one recipe, so jump in! Remember to use coupon code "TRUMP" to save $50 off the sale price of $147 (through May 31).

If you can't afford to sign up for this excellent online class check out the payment options, be sure to listen to the FREE webinar replay and enter to win my giveaway!

To enter for your chance to win  Get Cultured Online Class ($199 value) you must be a public follower of Taste is Trump and leave a comment sharing how you will benefit from the series. Contest closes at 11:59 p.m. mountain time on Sunday, May 27, 2012 and the winner will be announced on Monday, May 28, 2012.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Get Cultured

One of the main principles of the GAPS diet is to propagate a healthy gut ecology.   Ones gut flora becomes out of balance due to processed foods, sugar, stress, lack of sleep, antibiotics, environmental toxins and the birth control pill. We are even born, our sterile tummies become off balance from those first gulps of amniotic fluid. When opportunistic bacteria take over in your body a myriad of symptoms pop up, it might be simple headaches or joint pain, often as time goes on it will get more drastic with symptoms like allergies (food and seasonal) or an autoimmune disease.  It is a wide spectrum and gut health is complicated.

Probiotics are the beneficial bacteria that keep opportunistic and pathogenic bacteria under control and in the right balance.  It is a gradual process to build up the good bacteria in your system because the bad guys fight back, it in not a quick fix.  Probiotic supplements have become a big thing in the past ten years and most of them are helpful, but pale in comparison to fermented foods which have more active cultures, a wider range of types of bacteria and cost much less, so you can consume even more.

Fermenting foods is a traditional food preparation that preserves food for many months in cold storage.  The most popular fermented food is yogurt.  Pickles and sauerkraut used to be fermented, but now they are made with vinegar and no bacteria.  You can ferment your condiments like ketchup and mayo just by adding some whey and leaving at room temperature for 24 hours to inoculate the batch.  You can do many vegetables by soaking in a brine for a week.  You can make probiotic drinks and of coarse cultured dairy all in your own home.  Homemade ferments are optimal because they are fresh, live active cultures die over time, counting the time they are transported and sit on the grocery store shelf.

I took an ecourse a couple years ago called Get Cultured by Nourished Kitchen.  I was so impressed by the quality of the information.  Above all, the videos were so helpful.  These ferments are easy, the big hurdle is getting started. Here is an overview of what the course covers;

Fermented & Cultured Dairy: Greek- and Bulgarian-style yogurt, fil mojlk, kefir, sour cream, bonny clabber, clabbered cream, yogurt and kefir cheese, farmers cheese, cultured butter, buttermilk.
Dairy-free Coconut Ferments: coconut yogurt, young coconut kefir.
Probiotic Beverages & Tonics: kombucha, water kefir, beet kvass, rejuvelac, wild cider and mead, natural sodas, probiotic herbal tonics.
Condiments & Relishes: Lacto-fermented mustard, mayonnaise, ketchup and barbecue sauce, pickle relish, horseradish, salsa and hot chili sauce.
Fruits, Chutneys, Fruit Butters & Jams: Preserved lemons, lacto-fermented fruit chutneys, fruit butters and jams.
Sauerkraut & Shredded Vegetable Ferments: Basic cabbage ferments, pickled greens, sauerruben, gingered carrots.
Brine Pickling & Whole Vegetable Ferments: Sour pickles, sweet pickles, pickled garlic, pickled beets.
Naturally Cured Meats & Fish: Corned beef brisket, bacon, gravlax, anchovies.
Fermented Legumes & Naturally Fermented Soy: natto, tempeh, Japanese-style miso bran pickles, fermented bean paste.
Sourdoughs & Naturally Leavened Baked Goods: sourdough starter, gluten-free sourdough starter, sourdough bread, gluten-free sourdough bread.

Go to her site for more information.  Sign up with the coupon code "TRUMP" to save $50 off of the current sale price $147!

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Tropical Traditions Coconut Flour {Winner}

Thank you to all those who participated and congratulations to winner, Sue D, who has won  2.2 pounds Organic Coconut Flour  from Tropical Traditions Please email me to claim your prize by Saturday, May 19.

Follow this link to purchase coconut flour for the sale price of $11.99 today.
1 Organic Coconut Flour - 2.2 lbs.

Monday, May 14, 2012

One Chicken; Four Meals

I roast a chicken once a week; it has been the tradition for the past few months.   I have found a way to stretch one six pound bird to feed my family more than four meals.  Each weekend (Saturday or Sunday for dinner) we have the brined and roasted chicken, usually most of the dark meat, wings and half of the skin (the crispy half) with a couple vegetable sides. After dinner, I take the remaining meat from the bones and refrigerate to use for dinner in a couple days. I collect all the skin in a small bowl to fry up for a snack in the next couple days, we call them “chicken chips” and they are delicious.  I just lay out all the skin in a fry pan and turn up the heat, like bacon, it has its own fat that crisps and browns it.  Since the chicken was brined, it doesn't need salt. I even save the chicken fat left in the pan to cook eggs in for breakfast.

The bones go in a crockpot with a gallon of water, any extra parts that came with the chicken, bay leaves, ginger, onions, celery, herbs, peppercorns and vinegar to make a wonderful rich stock.  This stock is later used to make a nice chicken soup like my progressive soup or chicken chili and some for drinking plain.  When I strain the stock, 24 hours later, I let the bones cool slightly and pull off all the little shreds in the nooks and crannies that I missed the first time.  This meat will be super tender and in small pieces.  I also break up the organs and mix them into this boiled chicken.  I use this meat with sautéed onions, peppers and navy beans (cooked in stock) seasoned with my favorite taco spices for yummy taco salads.

I do a second batch of stock with the same bones.  This time I put them in the crock pot with a gallon of water and vinegar and cook on low for 24 hours.  I add the veggies, herbs and spices and cook for another 12 to 24 hours.  This stock is less rich in flavor, but it is still rich in minerals.  By midweek, this stock is ready to make a big pot of carrot soup, which in efforts to get more stock into my kids, has become a breakfast time routine.

The chicken meat that is still in my fridge is used cold on a salad for lunch early in the week. I make a large batch of soup, chicken curry, enchiladas, chicken pot pie or another chicken creation, which we eat for dinner midweek.  Usually, there is enough to freeze or eat as leftovers the next night.  If it won’t stretch for two full meals, I divide it up for the kids to take for lunch.

The most nutrient dense parts of animals are the ones that typically go to waste in modern American culture. I buy free range birds and can easily justify the cost when I am making use of every last bit!

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Tropical Traditions Coconut Flour {Giveaway}

The first time I had used coconut flour was quite an experience. I had bought a package from Tropical Traditions on a whim because it just sounds so delightful! It sat in my pantry for many months lonely and untouched.  After getting through the GAPS intro diet we needed a treat.  Although being an advanced food on the diet I felt we could handle a little experiment. I substituted it cup for cup in a muffin recipe. YIKES!! I am glad I made a small batch as it was a brick!

Coconut flour is a whole different animal.  Not only is it gluten free, so it doesn't hold together, it also absorbs liquid like no other. To make up for this, recipes using coconut flour are typically heavy on the eggs, which act as a binder. Also, coconut flour is used by the tablespoon not by the cup because it soaks up much more moisture than a grain flour. For creating my own recipes, I have found a ratio of one egg to two tablespoons coconut flour to be a good base.

Coconut flour has a wonderful, deep coconut flavor, just like you would expect.  It would be an awesome flour to add in to baked goods made with whole grain flours. It doesn't need to be soaked like whole grains, so add it at the end and be sure to compensate with extra liquid. With GAPS baking, I find mixing coconut flour and almond flour has the best results.  The texture of 100% coconut flour breads takes some getting used to, don't expect a light, fluffy, chewy end product. Most successful recipes turn out a dense, egg-y baked good similar to a firm bread pudding, still a nice treat for those of us who are grain free. For coconut flour recipes check out Tropical Tradition's Free Recipe Blog.

To enter for your chance to win  2.2 pounds Organic Coconut Flour ($15 value) from Tropical Traditions, simply follow the link to subscribe to the Coconut Oil Newsletter, come back here to Taste is Trump and leave a comment telling me that you did. Contest closes at 11:59 p.m. mountain time on Tuesday, May 15, 2012 and the winner will be announced on Wednesday, May 16, 2012. The winner will have three days to claim their prize, so be sure to check back.

Click here to learn about Tropical Tradition's Virgin Coconut Oil.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Pineapple Candy Chips

So sweet.  Seriously tastes like an awesomely flavorful, chewy, full-of-sugar candy. I am so excited to have discovered these treasures.  My kids took them to school today and all their friends were jealous, so they look appealing too! I might do these for birthday treats if I can keep them around long enough. It might be hard to find a good pineapple in December, but you never know.

Pineapple is a super sweet fruit and dehydrating concentrates the sugars, so it would be really easy to eat too many.  They are an excellent substitute for candy, but if candy is your weakness, these will be too, fair warning.

I left the core in to keep the prep work simple.  The core is a bit woody, my kids don't care, I nibble around it.  I prefer to save the step.  All you need to do is to cut off the top and the bottom with a sharp knife and carefully trim around the sides.  These slide through a madoline really well, but you could also slice the rounds with a knife. I used three mm slice, but am going to try some seven mm as well. I laid them out on dehydrator sheets and dehydrated for 12 hours on 130 degrees.  You could also lay them on cooling racks and  lay out in the sun on a hot, dry day.  Oven temperatures do not typically get low enough for fruit.

Check out my Pina Colada Kabobs post for tips on choosing a great pineapple.

Monday, April 30, 2012

GAPS Burger Stack

The Backyard Farmer is now delivering grass fed beef at a great price! Sometimes there is nothing like a good, juicy burger. Grain free hamburger buns are not all that great; too dry, too dense, wrong flavors (shoot me a recipe if you have found a good one).  I really love iceberg lettuce, chopped burger-sized, a few layers thick on both sides of the patty with tomato and guacamole, a slice of bacon wouldn’t hurt either.  Unfortunately, it is messy and I always end up eating it with a fork, which led me to my burger stack idea.

It is pretty simple and versatile; all you need is a little creativity for a nice presentation.  Basically, you use whatever fixings you want and stack them in an eye-appealing way.  There are lots of flavor options;

Southwest; flavor meat with chili powder and cumin, stack with beans, cheese, salsa, guacamole.

Midwest; flavor meat with salt, pepper and onion powder, stack with iceberg lettuce, mayonnaise, pickle, tomato and bacon.

Middle Eastern; flavor meat with curry powder and ginger, stack with cauliflower rice, tomato, cucumber, yogurt sauce.

Italian; flavor meat with garlic and oregano, stack with eggplant or zucchini, mushrooms, marinara, parmesan and basil.

Thai; flavor meat with basil and mint, stack with shredded cabbage, shredded carrots, pineapple and sweet, creamy dressing.

Southern; flavor meat with creole spice, stack with smashed squash, cooked collard greens, bacon, onions and a cream sauce.

Jamaican; flavor meat with jerk seasoning; stack with cauliflower rice with peas, peppers, mango, coconut.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

On Gallon Virgin Coconut Oil {Winner}

Thank you to all those who participated and congratulations to winner, mom21, who has won  One Gallon Pail of Gold Label Coconut Oil from Tropical Traditions!  Please email me to claim your prize by Friday, April 27.

Monday, April 23, 2012

GAPS Coconut Crepes

We have come into lots of fresh eggs lately; I suppose it is the season.  I gladly accept the graciousness of my chicken farming friends.  Eggs last a couple months in the refrigerator, so I am loading it up for when the heat comes and causes the hens to slow down.  Coconut flour baking is my reward for acquiring an abundance of eggs.  I have gotten quite used to the unusual texture and egg-y flavor.

These crepes hold together really well for gluten free. As they cool, they get more firm. I like to fill these with cooked berries, honey custard (substitute homemade yogurt cream) or my old Carmel Banana Pecan Topping.  In the picture, I drizzled them with honey sweetened coconut cream. 

These crepes freeze very well.  I lay them out on a drying rack in the freezer and stack and bay them the next day. They thaw in minutes and have many uses.  Try them with your favorite sandwich filling or as a tortilla.  I have played around a lot with this recipe, it is a new staple.

When using these crepes for a savory meal, consider omitting the honey and using melted butter or expeller pressed coconut oil in place of the super coconut-y virgin.  Also kefir in place of the coconut milk goes well for sandwich wraps.  Cumin in the batter or using strong flavors in your meat or sauce covers the coconut flavor in your Mexican dish.  They end up looking a lot like corn tortillas.  By adding more batter to your pan, you can make them thicker.  Melting cheese on them makes them eve more sturdy to moisture in salsas and such.

8 eggs
1 teaspoon honey
3 tablespoons virgin coconut oil
1/3 cup coconut milk
Dash salt
4 tablespoons coconut flour

Blend eggs in blender, drizzle honey and oil while blender is running.  Add milk, salt and flour, blend well. Heat a small pan on medium heat.  Add a teaspoon of coconut oil and 2 tablespoons batter. Tilt the pan until the batter coats the bottom. Cook 45 seconds on each side.  Flip gently.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

One Gallon Virgin Coconut Oil {Giveaway}

Who wants more coconut oil? We have been doing a dairy free experiment to check for sensitivities in my son.  This means we have ditched the butter for coconut oil in all our recipes.  It is a perfect alternative.I got such great feedback from both my readers and Tropical Traditions about my last giveaway, that I am doing another!  This time for a gallon pail of Gold Label Virgin Coconut Oil ($120 value).  You can go through coconut oil really quickly in the summer.  I find it is easier to use when in it's liquid form. It it yummy in pancakes and waffles, cookies and candies, cupcakes and sweetbreads, homemade cereals and smoothies, even tortillas!  Coconut oil is a perfect moisturizer for your skin, I also love it in my hair when it turns to straw at the beach.

To enter for your chance to win One Gallon Pail Gold Label Coconut Oil ($120 value) from Tropical Traditions, simply follow the link to subscribe to the Coconut Oil Newsletter, come back here to Taste is Trump and leave a comment telling me that you did.For an additional entry,  "like" Tropical Traditions Traditions and Taste is Trump on Facebook. You must leave a separate comment for the additional entry. Contest closes at 11:59 p.m. mountain time on Monday, April 23, 2012 and winner will be announced on Tuesday, April 24, 2012. The winner will have three days to claim their prize, so be sure to check back.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Piña Colada Kabobs

The flavor reminds me of summer and Hawaii and delicious.  Such a fun treat, with a great presentation, yet quick and easy.  Pineapples are one of those fruits that you should smell before you buy. It should have the aroma of a fresh pineapple without any hints of mustiness. The stronger the pineapple scent, the juicier the fruit will be.  Yellowing is also a good sign of ripeness.  Some people pull out a leaf and according to the resistance know if it is a good one.

Many people don’t buy fresh pineapple because they don’t know how in the world they would cut it.  I prefer to slice the bottom and top off, stand up on its end and then cut down the sides with a carving knife to get most of the brown off, small bits do not bother me.  I cut this in half lengthwise and each half in half again, then trim the middle core like an apple.  The core is a bit woody, but has great flavor, so it is great for juicing and even smoothies.  Throw them in the freezer if you don’t have immediate plans for them. If I am going for bite-sized pieces to snack on, I slice each quarter into four slices and dice into the common “tidbits.” For this recipe I slice each quarter into thirds, so it will make six kabobs.

½ pineapple
1 cup shredded coconut (toasting is optional)
6 skewers

Slide a skewer into each wedge.  Pat the back of the wedge with a paper towel, spread with one tablespoon frosting and press into a bowl of shredded coconut.  Repeat with each wedge and refrigerate until ready to serve.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

GAPS Fried Cauliflower

Winter squash was the base of a lot of dishes I made through the winter, but now, finding a nice squash is proving to be a challenge.  Typically they are harvested at the end of summer and stored through the winter.  By spring, they have either all been purchased or are getting pretty old and wrinkly. I have been using more cauliflower as a base since this is peak harvest time.  I like to shred it fine so it resembles rice and serve it with stir fry, it makes a nice side dish too.

This recipe is very versatile, you can add whatever veggies you like for flavor and color.  Herbs are also nice.  I use the small julienne blade on my mandolin to shred  the cauliflower.  Many people pulse it in a food processor to find the right texture, but a good knife would do the trick too. Once cauliflower goes out of season, summer squash (zucchini) will be in full production. Summer squash, winter squash and cauliflower are my three big fillers that have taken the place of grains the past nine months.  If you are grain free or grain lite, tell me what you use to take the place of grains in the comments.

¼ cup butter
1 large head cauliflower, grated
1 small onion, finely diced
1 carrot, finely diced
1 stalk celery, finely diced
1 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
1 clove garlic, minced

Melt butter in a wide bottom fry pan on medium high.  Add grated cauliflower and sauté until it begins to brown. Add the rest of the vegetables, turn down the heat and cook for ten minutes, stirring regularly. Season with salt, pepper and garlic, cook one more minute, remove from heat and serve.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Tropical Traditions Coconut Oil {New Winner}

Prize was unclaimed through the weekend, so our new winner is JenLynn. Congratulations, you have won  One Quart Jar of Gold Label Coconut Oil from Tropical Traditions!  Please email me to claim your prize by Thursday, April 12.

Tropical Traditions is offering a special price on Gold Label Coconut Oil through next Thursday; 2 pints for $19.95.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Tropical Traditions Coconut Oil {Winner}

Thank you to all those who participated and congratulations to winner, carryannb, who has won  One Quart Jar of Gold Label Coconut Oil from Tropical Traditions!  Please email me to claim your prize by Sunday, April 8.

Tropical Traditions is offering a special price on Gold Label Coconut Oil through next Thursday; 2 pints for $19.95.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Garden Journal {Bug Solution}

My garden is buzzing, the bees hum as if to say “We can’t get enough!”  The sound soothes me as I think “Get your fill little ones, for the more flowers you touch, the more I eat!”  I can almost taste the blackberries.

Gobs of blackberry blossoms
This time of year also brings in a swarm of white flies and aphids which attack my tomatoes and squash.  I am diligently battling them with a spray of soapy water twice a week and am making headway.  The bugs had a hay day while I was gone a few weeks ago.  I came back to plants covered in flies and brown spots all over the leaves, they were literally sucking the life out of my plants. 

White fly damage on tomato plants.
My regimen is ¼ cup of Dr. Bronners soap, 10 drops lemongrass essential oil and two cups well-fermented water kefir in a spray feeder.  Early in the morning, I spray every plant from every angle and two-three hours later I give them a good rinse.  The soap dries the flies out and they get dehydrated. Once the bugs get under control I will back off to once a week and eventually as needed. After the flies calm down, I have to start watching out for spider mites.  If I keep up on my spraying, they will have a hard time getting a foot hold.

Spider mite damage on tomato plants
 Plants breathe through small holes on the underside of their leaves.  Dust and debris clog these holes and over time, cause the plant stress.  A good summer storm gives plants a good cleanse to keep plants at optimal function.  Our storms are few and far between, a heavy spray-down, once a week, is good garden maintenance.  Spray in the mornings so that the leaves have plenty of time to dry by nightfall.  Wet leaves at night increase chance for disease to spread in the garden.

What are your tips for keeping a healthy garden?

Friday, March 30, 2012

Tropical Traditions Coconut Oil {Giveaway}

I have been ordering Virgin Coconut Oil from Tropical Traditions for 6 years.  When I first learned about coconut oil and all of it's uses, I did a lot of research to find the best quality, which lead me to this wonderful product. This is the only brand I use now and buy it in 5 gallon buckets, which lasts me about 6-9 months.  The Gold Label has a wonderful coconut flavor that is awesome in pancakes, dressing, smoothies and Thai/Indian/Caribbean dishes.  I also buy the Expeller Pressed oil for frying and other dishes that I don't want to add any flavor to.  This is the only tasteless oil in my kitchen, I have completely done away with all canola/vegetable/safflower/grapeseed oils.

I have found plenty of other wonderful products on their site as well. My favorites are their coconut oil lotions, foam soaps and lip moisturizers.

Disclaimer: Tropical Traditions provided me with a free sample of this product to review, and I was under no obligation to review it if I so chose. Nor was I under any obligation to write a positive review or sponsor a product giveaway in return for the free product. If you order by clicking on any of my links and have never ordered from Tropical Traditions in the past, you will receive a free book on Virgin Coconut Oil, and I will receive a discount coupon for referring you.

I am happy to sponsor a giveaway from this lovely company. To enter for your chance to win One Quart Jar of Gold Label Coconut Oil ($40 value) from Tropical Traditions, simply follow the link to subscribe to the Coconut Oil Newsletter, come back here to Taste is Trump and leave a comment telling me that you did. Contest closes at 11:59 p.m. mountain time on Wednesday, April 4, 2012 and winner will be announced on Thursday, April 5, 2012. The winner will have three days to claim their prize.

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Thursday, March 29, 2012

A Big, Bad Reaction {Allergies}

A couple weeks ago we were driving home from a regular Sunday dinner at the in-laws when my six year old started complaining that his eyes were hurting.  I thought he was probably tired, until I looked back and they were puffed up as pictured.  This has happened before, last summer in Iowa from a cat and three summers ago from a dog, both times in contact with his face.  He knows to stay away from cats and dogs, even though he doesn’t seem to be affected by all of them. We started questioning where he was and what he touched at Grandma’s house, we were baffled as to how this happened.  We asked him to recount everything he touched and the only thing that came up suspicious was flowers, boganvia flowers. My husband said all the cousins had been picking then and they were all over the yard.

I washed his hands and face really well, then had him soak in a baking soda bath. In previous cases, his eyes returned to normal in a few hours.  I put him to bed and he slept fine, but the next morning, when I was expecting full recovery, I found him with one eye completely swollen shut, the other a slit with crusties all around it. I started Benadryl and dried nettles every four hours and my husband gave him a blessing. It took three days for the swelling to go down, but even after that, his eyes were scaly and itchy, with terrible dark circles around them. That Saturday, as we left on our trip, nearly a week later, he cried for three hours because his eyes hurt so badly in both the car ride to the airport and most of the flight.  When we got to Florida he was looking better and improved quickly the next day.  By Monday he looked completely normal and didn’t complain about his eyes for the whole trip.

The day after we got back his eyes were red and itchy again.  He seems to have developed allergies to some pollen in our area right now.  He has never suffered from seasonal allergies before. I was teasing him that maybe he needed to go back to Florida and asked him if he wanted me to find him some new parents that lived there and he broke out in tears! He is such a tender spirit with so much love; it is extremely difficult to see him suffering. This is what drives me to be so vigilant about improving our health.

It has been a disheartening experience and I am determined to figure this out.  Besides knowing exactly what is causing it, I want to prevent it, I want healing.  The last thing I want to do is the first thing many people choose to “fix” a problem, which is popping a pill.  I have my heart set on finding another way. I feel there is too much risk with a pill; effectiveness, side effects and irreversible damage. I have so many questions and unknowns that my biggest vice becomes patience.  We can’t just instantly know these things.  They have to be pondered, carefully researched, taken to the Lord and given time to be made clear, little by little. My!  Mothering is a spiritual experience.  At times like these, I gain great strength and hope through studying words such as these.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Cruising on GAPS

We just got back from an amazing trip to the Caribbean, hence the lack of posting. This was my third cruise since starting the family on GAPS.  There is always worry over food when we leave our home.  Quality always diminishes; conventional instead of organic, feed lot instead of pastured and farm raised instead of wild caught.  Ferments and bone broths are not available. The diet was undoubtedly compromised, but for the first time, our bodies never gave us grief for it.

 In October, we went on a four day cruise as a family.  We had just started the diet a few months earlier and wanted to stay really strict.  We ordered an amazing fruit plate each evening for dessert. On the last night, I really wanted to try the chocolate cake, which meant everybody else wanted to try it too. We ordered two to share between the five of us, knowing that my husband would want a whole one.  I took a few bites and found that it wasn’t too impressive, so I stopped eating it. My two younger sons were really full from dinner and didn’t have much of an appetite or attention for the cake, which left the rest of the large slice for my eldest, who scarfed it down.  About two hours later we got a call from the kid’s camp leader that he was not feeling well.  He had a bad stomachache and diarrhea all night and part of the next day.

In November, my husband and I went on a five day cruise as a couple. I liked how I felt on the diet, so made mostly good food choices.  I took bites here and there of things like breads and desserts.  My stomach was slightly uneasy, but I didn’t pay much attention to it. A couple days in. we were in the middle of an excursion and I was hungry.  There were a few snacks laid out and I chose to have tortilla chips and guacamole with fruit.  I was intentionally dipping for bites of more guac and less chip, but I ended up feeling worse.  After we got back to the ship I thought eating a good meal would help me feel better.  Another moment of weakness with an amazing chocolate ganache brownie and I was in bed for the better part of two days with horrible stomach cramps and diarrhea.

Last week we spent seven days out to sea with the whole extended family without even a stomachache! The kids ate tons of fruit, which they thought was awesome.  I ate tons of seafood, which I thought was awesome.  We ate no bread/baked goods or grains.  Half way through the trip, our waiter offered to make some gluten free pancakes for the kids.  He didn’t know what they were made of and I was positive they would not be GAPS friendly, but eggs were getting old, so we each tried one.  All morning I kept asking them how they were feeling and they always were good, so the pancakes became our biggest compromise.  My eldest had gluten free spaghetti one night and I had a soufflé (without added sweet sauces) for dessert on two of the nights.

Here is the legal stuff we ate regularly;
Seafood (shrimp, fish , mussels, lobster, scallops, calamari)
Vegetables (peas, cucumbers, carrots, peppers, celery, asparagus, green beans, lettuce- no dressing just olive oil, vinegar, salt and pepper)
Fruit (melon, grapes, pineapple, bananas)
Chicken on the bone, duck, steak, lamb, some sandwich meats, bacon and sausage
Butter (yes, it was its own food group)
For a topping on the pancakes I would slice up some bananas and mix them with sliced almonds and drizzle with honey.

The kids were excellent with asking and most of the time knowing what was allowed.  Even my three year old would question me if he saw something on his plate he wasn’t familiar with.  Something about a three year old saying “Is this on our diet?” is extremely comical.  There were plenty of options each meal. They are getting so good at strict adherence, it is when I allow a little taste of something illegal here and there that provoke fits and other issues. One day they were having an ice cream party in the kids area, my kids had fruit.  Afterwards I asked the kids if they were sad that everyone was eating ice cream while they ate fruit and nobody was sad.

I am sure we slowed our healing down, but I can’t miss out on family reunions because our diet.  I am doing a juice fast this week to do some deep cleaning and get back on track.  Anybody have good GAPS travel advice?  Please share in the comments.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

GAPS Peanut Butter Crunch

Sweet, crunchy and a quick-grab-breakfast; cereal is an excellent invention.  The food industry has really done a number on this convenience food with all it's extrusion, colors, preservatives and other chemicals and processes. I understand fully that still, it is a hard thing to give up.  There are so many varying levels of commitment in a real food journey and once "the box" is gone, you have officially turned a corner in my book.

We are three years box-free, but still enjoy the goodness of cereal now and then with homemade, make ahead recipes like this one (GAPS) or this old favorite. We try not to over do it on nuts, so this is still a special treat.  It goes great with yogurt/kefir and bananas.  It is like a tangy, extra crunchy peanut butter cookie. Thanks to The Healthy Home Economist for the inspiration, check out her Cinnamon Crunch Breakfast recipe as well.

4 cups soaked and dehydrated almonds
2 cups organic, soaked, dehydrated and roasted peanuts
3 cups kefir or yogurt
3/4 cup coconut oil
1/2 cup honey
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup coconut flour

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grind two cups of almonds with one cup of kefir in blender until smooth. Pour mixture into large bowl and repeat with two cups almonds and one cup kefir, pour into bowl. Grind one final batch, this time using two cups peanuts and the final cup of kefir, add this to the large bowl as well.  Place oil, honey, salt and vanilla in blender to combine well and add to nuts.  Stir the entire batter to combine, sprinkle coconut flour on mixture and mix thoroughly.  Pour batter into a half sheet pan (9 x13) and bake for 40 minutes. Let cool and then crumble onto baking sheets or dehydrator trays and dehydrate at 150-200 degrees for 12 - 16 hours. Once cooled, store in airtight container in the refrigerator.
links; Fresh Bites Friday, Finer Things Friday

Saturday, February 11, 2012

GAPS Coconut Butter Chocolates

Have you ever had Artisana Coconut Butter?  It is excellent for making frosting's, among other things.  I can eat it straight from the jar.  It is like peanut butter only with coconut flavor, it is also dryer/more fibrous and because it is higher in saturated fat (verses peanuts polyunsaturated) it is much firmer at room temperature. Eat Nourishing had a post on making homemade coconut butter and I had to try it out!  I made it in my vita-mix and it turned out pretty well, not quite as smooth, but saves me ten bucks.

Once I had a blender full of this yumminess, I got a bright idea of formulating a chocolate treat for my kids for valentine's day. Long ago on a trip to IKEA, one of my babies sneaked a silicon heart mold into my cart and I bought it without realizing.  It has been floating around the house for over five years now, and luckily I was able to locate it and use it for the first time! Amazing.

I made this a few times to work out the kinks and this is what I found. More coconut oil creates a more smooth chocolate and also pours into the molds better for a better appearance with less air bubbles, but has to be kept in the refrigerate because they melt more readily.  Less oil will make them more firm, but not worth it to me for it sacrifices creamy texture.  Less cocoa powder makes a milk chocolate like flavor, while more is like dark chocolate.  You will want to taste the mixture for sweetness, our sweet sensors are ultra sensitive since we have been eating minimal sugars, so a little goes a long way for us.

2 cups shredded unsweetened coconut
2 tablespoons extra virgin coconut oil
2 tablespoons raw honey
2-4 tablespoons cocoa powder
1 dash salt
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 drops peppermint essential oil (or other flavoring)

Place coconut and oil in vita-mix and blend on high for one minute.  Scrape down sides and blend for another minute.  Check for creaminess, you may want to blend for a third minute.  Add honey, cocoa powder, salt, vanilla and any other flavoring and blend thoroughly.  Pour into molds and set up in refrigerator for 20 minutes. If you don't have a mold, you could pour mixture into a bowl and let set up slightly, then scoop out like truffles.  Makes 24 tablespoons.
links; Menu Plan Monday, Monday Mania, Recipe Swap
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