all the things, Uncategorized

Memaw’s Strawberry Preserves

Well, by May, we were all going stir crazy in this house, so we decided to take a little trip south of us to Verbena, Alabama.  They have a U-pick Strawberry field.  It was so fun, we picked 5 baskets full!  The last time I picked strawberries was with my momma and grandma.  I was in the second grade.  I distinctly remember them in the kitchen with our freshly picked fruit, the time together, and making strawberry preserves.  I have always wanted to do that with my kids, but we never seemed to have time to do it.  There is something about being made to slow down and your calendar all of a sudden cleared that allows you to do the things that always seem to get put off.  So, we set out early one morning to go strawberry picking.  

There is a simple little mahogany box sitting in my kitchen that my uncle made me for a wedding present twenty-seven years ago.   Inside are notecards with recipes on them.  My mother, my mother in law, and our aunts and grandmothers wrote their favorite recipes on those notecards and placed them inside the recipe box to give to us when Steve and I got married.  Several of our family members are no longer with us, and a dear, sweet aunt has Alzheimers.   We have our family recipes written in their handwriting inside that recipe box and I treasure it!  It just so happens that Steve’s mom wrote her strawberry preserves recipe on one of those cards and that is what Lauren and I used to make several batches with our newly picked strawberries.  After his first bite, Steve looked up with a big smile and said they tasted just like his mom’s.  He was so happy.  Lauren and I made a total of 18 jars!  I love that we have our family recipes to pass down to our children along with special memories. 

Memaw’s Strawberry Preserves

1 quart strawberries

1 cup sugar

pint size mason jars

Wash and cut up strawberries.  Put berries in large pot on stovetop.  Boil 5 minutes.  Add 1 cup sugar.  Boil 10 minutes.  Pour in sanitized jars and seal.  

aip, health and wellness

Entering the World of AIP

Well, if you follow me on Instagram or Facebook, you know that Lauren went to see a functional medicine doctor recently.  She has been dealing with severe eczema, asthma, and life threatening food allergies for the majority of her life.  Due to her bloodwork results, she is now on an aip diet to try and get some out-of-whack numbers back in line.  She tested positive for ana, antinuclear antibodies, which basically means an autoimmune disease is lying dormant.  Lovely.  We’ll add that to the list.

AIP stands for Autoimmune Protocol or Autoimmune Paleo.  It’s goal is to eliminate certain primal foods that can sometimes trigger inmflammation in people with autoimmune disease (dairy, eggs, nightshades, nuts, and seeds).  This includes spices that come from seeds, such as celery seed, which I use in Lauren’s German potato salad…  Potatoes! aww 😦  Basically, for foods that are allowed, think meats and vegetables, as long as it is not a nightshade, and bone broths.  Fruit is allowed, but in small amounts per day.  The only sweetener allowed is the occasional use of honey or maple syrup.  Her sheet says 1 tsp a day.  Yikes!

We came home with a mini booklet of 8 1/2 x 11 papers listing what foods she cannot have and those she can.  I will have to admit, at first, my eyes and mind went straight to, “What!? No potatoes!  No tomatoes?!  That means no chili!  No chocolate?! ”  I know.  I know.  A real negative Nelly stance.  Don’t worry.  I got over it and reframed my mindset to what we can have, and honestly, there are a lot of I cans out there.  They are just not what we are used to having. Some foods we have never tried or even heard of.  It’s like an adventure.  Like traveling to a place we have never been.  Dare I say exciting, even.  Okay, maybe not quite that far.  New flavors, new textures, new combinations will be our friends on this quest to fight inflammation and build up the body with good nutrition.

I had put her on lots of vitamin D3 and magnesium earlier this summer, as well as a good multi-vitamin with lots of B vitamins.  She was already taking a probiotic and vitamin c, along with an anti-oxidant.  Her bloodwork showed that her vitamin D was good.  Yay!  Success!  It had been rock bottom at her allergist appointment a few months earlier, so this is progress.  We’ll take it!  We already eat mostly organic, but Lauren craves a good cookie or some type of bready texture, which is hard to come by with food allergies.  Because she doesn’t get much of that, and now that we are on aip, that eliminated sugar, nightshades, and seeds.  Ugh.  I will say that, so far, we have had some fairly decent meals, so I feel encouraged at the moment.  I hope she does, too.  We are thankful for friends that have reached out with recipe suggestions.  We appreciate it!  In fact, we tried a few over the weekend with great success.

The first recipe we tried was on Friday evening.  We made a crustless chicken pot pie from a Paleo Instant Pot cookbook that I have.  It uses 2 heads of cauliflower florets, along with chicken broth, and the standard onion, carrots and celery.  It was really good!  Everyone liked it.  Score!  I was kind of skeptical about the whole cauliflower thing going in, but it gave just the right texture, a kind of thick, heartiness to it.  Who knew?  On Saturday, I made Lauren’s chicken noodle soup, mainly for Michael because he came home from school congested last week and I believe in the power of garlic and onions and homemade chicken noodle soup.  Remember, we just started this journey on Friday, so I didn’t realize how many no no’s were in that soup.  The noodles, for starters-rice based.  That’s a grain.  No no.  Black pepper- no no.  I did use arrowroot starch as a thickener, so that was okay.  We will figure out the rest.

Lauren had the sweetest friends come visit her on Sunday afternoon from school.  They drove over from Tuscaloosa just to see her.  I have tears in my eyes writing this.  They are all members of the discipleship group that Lauren was a member of.  None of them are from Alabama, but from all over the United States.  We cooked lunch for them.  I made one of the suggestions from a sweet friend that has experience cooking the aip way.  It is called Cracklin’ Chicken and the recipe can be found on nomnompaleo.com.  So simple, yet so delicious.  We also made roasted baby organic sweet potatoes, and pan fried squash and zuccini.  My husband also grilled burgers, so we would have options.  It was a beautiful afternoon of eating good food and getting to meet some of Lauren’s college friends.

Last night I made another friend’s suggestion: Swedish meatballs.  You can find that recipe on forestandfauna.com.  I will say that I didn’t use all of the spices recommended in the recipe this time, simply because I didn’t have all of them.  Time to go shopping.  I made spaghetti squash and green beans to go along with the meatballs.  They were delicious.  I think due to not having all of the recommended spices, the meatballs weren’t as flavorful as they could have been.  Still learning.  In making the green beans, I fried a couple of slices of bacon to add in.  After dinner, I dove right into re-learning how to make Lauren’s German potato salad with sweet potatoes, instead, so that she would have something to eat for breakfast.  Yep, breakfast.  Think a breakfast hash.  It’s hearty and has protein from the bacon.  It makes a delicious breakfast food. There are many types of sweet potatoes.  There is the typical orange flesh sweet potato, but there is also a Japanese sweet potato that has purple skin and white flesh.  There is also an Okinawan sweet potato that is gray or tan in color and has purple flesh.  There are pale yellow skinned and purple skinned sweet potatoes, as well.  So, lots to choose from.  I used three different types in her new German potato salad.  I traded out the celery seed salt to a pinch of garlic salt.  I just left out the black pepper and kept the pink Himalayan salt.  I used a bit of maple syrup, instead of the sugar or coconut sugar I have used in the past.  Instead of a tablespoon of her flour, I used arrowroot flour (starch) to thicken.  Those are really the only changes.  I kept everything else.  It turned out beautifully.  I think we’re gonna make it.  New food adventures await!

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family, food allergy friendly

Meatloaf, mashed potatoes, and a green

Nothin’ fancy.  In fact, many people you ask don’t like meatloaf, but our family loves it.  Actually, anything that has a tomato based product (ketchup) Michael is all in!  This was one of the first meals I cooked that was Lauren friendly, she liked, and would eat.  It is a simple recipe because you basically just mix all of the ingredients together in a bowl and then transfer to a loaf pan and into the oven.  Boil a few Russett potatoes, drain, whip with some chicken broth or a non-dairy milk (I use whichever I have on hand) and mashed potatoes are finished.

Now, don’t forget a green vegetable to go with everything!  True story:  When Steve and I were in college, my mom came over to take us to dinner one evening and the one rule she had was we had to get a green vegetable to go with whatever we chose to eat off the menu.  She wanted to make sure she got one good meal in us because, as most college students did back then, we ate as cheap as possible.  Lots of Taco Bell, ramen noodles, and soft drinks filled our bellies.  That rule has stuck with me.  So, at our house, if there is a food that isn’t your favorite, you must still take some, but it is called a no thank you helping (a smaller portion than normal, but you are being respectful of the person who cooked the meal, and whether you want to admit it or not, you are benefitting from a balanced meal, not leaving out the vegetable because you happen to only like tomato based products 😉  The vegetable rule was my moms.  The no thank-you helping I learned from Steve’s cousin, Jan.  I thought that was ingenius and adopted it right away.   So, we either have english peas, or green beans, or maybe squash and zuccinni.

We had this meal last night before going to the high school football game.  We were a little late for kickoff, but our tummies were full of a home-cooked meal and we sat down at the table to eat dinner -together.  I think that’s important .  So, as much as humanly possible, we do it…and without further ado- Let’s eat!

 

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Ingredients:

  1 1/2 lbs ground beef                                 1/2 tsp pepper

  1/2 c chopped onions                                 1/4 cup ketchup

  1/4 cup bell pepper                                    1/4 tsp garlic powder

  1 tsp baking powder                                  1/2 tsp salt

 3/4 cup rice milk (or non-dairy milk)

 

 

Directions:

Mix all ingredients together.  Pack into a loaf pan.  Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour and 15 minutes.

 

 

Uncategorized

Lauren’s German Potato Salad

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German potato salad – wheat, dairy, egg, nut free

 

Right after Steve and I met, Union Pacific moved his parent’s to Nebraska for a few years. Steve’s mom gave me a cookbook from their Lutheran church.  Being from Mississippi, I grew up with traditional southern potato salad.  You know – russet potatoes, hard boiled eggs, sweet pickles, and Blue Plate mayonnaise, of course.  Add just a drop of mustard for a little kick.  Well, I have yet to figure out a way to make that for Lauren without eggs or mayonnaise, so I looked up several different German potato salad recipes in this book as well as others.  Most of the recipes are vinegar based, which I knew would be easier to make allergy friendly.  Some of them use butter, some green onions.  After a little trial and error, I came up with this one and it has become a family favorite and kept a bit of our German heritage alive, as well.  This is one of Lauren’s favorites!  Enjoy!

 

Ingredients:

4-5 medium russet potatoes cubed                              1 tsp salt

4 slices crispy bacon (nitrate free)                               1/4 tsp celery salt

1 cup chopped onion                                                       dash of pepper

2 tbsp sugar                                                                      1/2 cup water

1 tbsp gluten-free flour                                                  1/4 cup apple cider vinegar

 

 

Instructions:

Fry bacon until crispy.  Place fried bacon on a plate to drain.  Reserve 2 tablespoons of the drippings in the pan.  Saute’ onion in reserved bacon drippings until tender.  Add sugar, flour, salt, celery salt, and pepper.  Stir until smooth.  Then, stir in water and vinegar and heat until bubbly.  Boil potatoes in a pot for 4 to 5 minutes.  Don’t over cook.  Drain and gently incorporate into the onion mixture.  Crumble bacon on top and serve warm.

 

 

 

Uncategorized

Instant Pot Turkey Meatballs

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Any chance I get to try a new healthy recipe, I do.  Sometimes it is a hit and sometimes it is a dud.  Obviously, since I am sharing this one, it was a hit!  These are delicious! Yay!

We put these meatballs over allergen free pasta with allergen free sauce.  I did use an egg in the meatball recipe, so it wasn’t Lauren friendly, but I think it could be left out or maybe Egg Replacer used, instead.  I will try that when she is home.

This recipe is wheat, dairy, and nut free.

Ingredients:

1 lb ground turkey                                                      1 tsp Himalayan pink salt

1 egg                                                                               3/4 tsp garlic powder

1/8 c brown rice flour                                                 1 jar Muir Glen Pasta sauce

1/8 c coconut flour                                                       1 bag Tinkyada brown rice spaghetti

1 tsp dried parsley                                                       1/4 to 1/3 c water

Instructions: 

Combine ground turkey, egg, spices, and flours together in a bowl.  Using your hands, mix well.  Form into 1 inch balls and set aside.

Pour jar of sauce into your Instant Pot.  Drop meatballs into the sauce. Pour water over meatballs, just enough to cover.  Secure the lid and turn valve to seal.  Use the manual mode of Instant Pot and set to pressure cook for 10 minutes. While the meatballs are cooking, cook your pasta.  When the Instant Pot cycle is complete, allow pressure to release naturally.   Serve over meatballs and sauce over pasta.

Enjoy!