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.
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