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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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!

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Bacon Wrapped BBQ Meatballs w/Lauren’s sweet sauce or Steve’s spicy sauce

 

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Well, I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving!  We travelled to Arkansas and Illinois to be with family.  It was so nice to have Lauren home for a little while.  She is very involved in things at school and hasn’t come home as often as she did her Freshman year.  It has been an adjustment for the three of us left at the Bierman house.  Madison and her boyfriend came, too.  It was nice to have the family together again.

Lauren moved out of the dorm and into an apartment this year, so she has been cooking all of her own meals.  It is amazing the time that has freed up for me.  Steve and I took food to her one week back in October because she went on a retreat with her discipleship group and was gone all weekend, so she didn’t have time to make meals like she usually does.  Steve has been working on creating a barbecue sauce for Lauren that was free of her allergens.  I think he has pretty much perfected these.  We really like them.  These meatballs are a great tailgate food or appetizer for a party.  They are always a hit when we make them.  I hope you will enjoy them, too!

Bacon wrapped BBQ meatballs

  • 1 lb ground beef
  • salt, pepper, and garlic powder to taste
  • nitrate free bacon (we use Applegate Farms)
  • allergen free bbq sauce  (recipe posted below)

 

 

 

 

  • Place your ground beef in a large bowl and season to taste.
  • Form approximately 24 meatballs.  Then, cut your bacon slices into thirds.
  • Wrap one of your newly cut slices of bacon around your meatball and place on foil lined baking sheet.
  • Place in a 350 degree oven for 10 minutes.
  • Take baking sheet out of oven and drain.  Brush with BBQ sauce and place back in the oven for another 7 minutes.
  • Open the oven and brush the meatballs with BBQ sauce again.
  • Place back in to oven for another 5 minutes.

Remove from baking sheet and Enjoy!

 

Lauren’s Sweet Sauce

  • 2 tsp chili powder
  • 4 heaping Tbsp dark brown sugar
  • 1 Tbsp salt
  • 4 Tbsp honey
  • 1 Tbsp minced dried onion
  • 1 cup apple juice
  • 1/3 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 2 cups ketchup (we use Muir Glen)
  • 1/8 medium red onion coarsely chopped

In saucepan, combine all ingredients and bring to a slow boil over medium heat.  Continue to boil over low heat for 15 minutes or until sauce thickens.

Remove from heat and allow to cool.  Place in the refrigerator overnight.  The next day, heat back up and strain onion out of the sauce.  Put in a squeeze bottle.

 

Steve’s Spicy Sauce

  • 4 tsp chili powder
  • 4 heaping Tbsp dark brown sugar
  • 1 Tbsp salt
  • 1 Tbsp red pepper flakes
  • 2 Tbsp honey
  • 1 Tbsp dried minced onion
  • 1 cup apple juice
  • 1/3 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 2 cups ketchup
  • 1/8 medium red onion coarsely chopped
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • 1 tsp garlic salt
  • 1 tsp cayenne pepper

In saucepan, combine all ingredients and bring to a slow boil over medium heat.  Continue to boil over low heat for 15 minutes or until sauce thickens.

Remove from heat and allow to cool.  Place in the refrigerator overnight.  The next day, heat back up and strain onion out of the sauce.  Put in a squeeze bottle.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Hamburger steak w/onion and mushroom gravy, Yellow crookneck squash, Zucchini, and Purple hull peas

 

 

 

Our first meal with ALL of the vegetables from the garden!  Our tomatoes all got blight.  Our bell peppers didn’t produce, but the squash, zucchini, peas, beans, and okra have all done remarkably well.  We have a small garden.  It is a raised 10 x 12 space, but enough for us and we are very pleased with it.  It has been real hot this July, so this is probably the end of the squash, but everything else is flourishing.

For the squash and zucchini, I sliced an onion and sautéed in olive oil in a pan on the stove.  I then added thinly sliced squash and zucchini.  I salted and peppered to taste and put the lid on top and let cook.  The last thing I do is add a sprinkle of sugar.  The peas were also fresh from my garden.  I rinsed them off and placed them in a pot on the stove on high.  Right after I put them in the pot, I realized that I didn’t have an onion for the peas, so I improvised and used a tbsp of minced Phew! I then put two slices of Applegate Farms bacon in with the peas.  Salt and pepper to taste.  I let the peas come to a boil and then reduced the heat and let simmer until done.  Approximately 45 minutes.   See how I made the hamburger steak with onion and mushroom gravy below.

Hoping you are enjoying All the Things out of your garden this summer, as well!

Cindy

Hamburger Steak w/onion and mushroom gravy

1 lb ground beef

salt

pepper

garlic salt

1 onion sliced

8 oz baby Portobello mushrooms sliced

1/2 c water

1 tbsp arrowroot starch

  1. Mix ground beef with salt, pepper, and garlic salt to taste.  Make into 4 patties.  Place in pre-heated cast iron skillet on medium.  Cook until nicely browned on each side.  Remove patties to plate and keep warm.

2. Place sliced onion in skillet and allow to turn translucent, 1-2 minutes.  Mix in                     sliced mushrooms with onion.  Stir with spatula, scraping bottom of skillet, as you              stir.

3. Put 1 tbsp of arrowroot starch in 1/2 cup of water and mix well.  Pour into skillet               with onions and mushrooms and stir to thicken.

Enjoy!

 

 

 

 

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A Good Home-Cooked Meal (allergen-free, of course)

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fried pork chops, green beans and mashed potatoes with gravy

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peach cobbler

Well, I just knew after I decided to be home with the kids this summer that I would get it together and lose some weight.  Haha!  I crack myself up.  Uh, yeah, that hasn’t happened.  I have decided that instead of fat, we would use the word voluptuous.  Merriam-Webster says: adjective – of a woman: very attractive because of having large hips…  Yes.  That sounds much better.  I like the very attractive part.

Have y’all ever watched The Pioneer Woman.  Oh. My. Word.  I honestly DID have a very productive day yesterday.  I got loads of laundry done – literally, dishes washed, cleaned out the refrigerator, and started cleaning out a closet, and took Lauren driving, but the TV was on and the Pioneer Woman! I just had to make that meal…but I had to make it Lauren friendly.  So, we took a trip to get the items that we needed and came home and I got to work.  We purchased thin, bone-in, pork chops.  I think the ones she used were boneless.  We then got the green beans.  I love Pero Farms Organic green beans, a red bell pepper, a Vidalia onion (is there any other?) and some fresh peaches.

I put the peach cobbler together, first.  Now, since I have to make our meals wheat, dairy, egg, nut free, I did not use her recipe.  I have been trying to find one that doesn’t taste rubbery or just not good.  It is a difficult task, without wheat or eggs, to make a bread pudding or cobbler texture.  A few weeks ago, I used a combination of brown rice flour and tapioca flour and too much coconut oil.  It was okay, but not much like the real thing. More like that rubbery consistency that happens when I am still trying to figure it out.  I always try to get as close as possible to the real thing, so that Lauren can enjoy what the rest of the family does.  This time, I found one of her yellow cake mixes in the pantry, so I thought that would taste good and be easy.  Not 10 million ingredients or steps.  If you are an allergy parent, you get that last statement.  I will post the recipe I came up with below.

The next thing I did was made a mistake.  I started frying the chops.  I should have started the green beans first, as they take longer. Also, I have no pictures of the process of these because my nickname could be the messy cook.  It looked like a bomb went off in my kitchen.  If you follow some of the same people I do on instagram, pictures of my kitchen at the time would only traumatize you…and ain’t nobody got time for that!  So!

I used grape seed oil to fry my pork chops in.  I set my temperature on medium to medium-high heat.  A little salt, pepper, and chili powder to season.  I dredged through some brown rice flour and into the cast iron skillet they went.  Two and a half minutes on each side and done.  For Lauren’s mashed potatoes, I peel and cut up 4-5 russet potatoes and boil until tender with a fork, about 10 minutes.  Drain and then place in our kitchen aid mixer.  I whip the potatoes with the wire whisk attachment while adding rice milk.  Salt and pepper to taste.

For the green beans, I basically used Ree Drummond’s, The Best Green Beans Ever recipe.  I did change just a tad.  I used 1 clove of garlic, instead of 2, just because I have become sensitive to too much garlic, lately.  I don’t know why.  My body has gone haywire, since I hit my 40’s.  I used 1/4 cup red bell pepper, instead of the 1/2 cup that she uses.  I also fried 2 slices of Applegate Farm’s bacon to saute’ the onion and garlic in, and crumbled the bacon on top just before serving.

To make the gravy, I just poured some water and rice milk, and a touch of chicken broth  into the cast iron skillet and turned up the heat until it got bubbly.  Then, I used arrowroot starch and brown rice flour to thicken.  I salted and peppered to taste.  I crumbled any bacon I had in it and a little of the sautéed onion from the green bean mixture.  It turned out great.  I wasn’t sure if it would taste good or not.  As a southern girl raised on Mississippi cookin’ (my momma, meemaw, and grandma), we use just a pinch of this and a dash of that, so I can’t really say what the measurements were for the gravy.  I just winged it.  They usually put a pat of butter in things like gravy, but I can’t do that with Lauren, so that is why I used all the other things to give flavor to the gravy.  It really did turn out nicely.

Funny thing.  The guys, who do not have food allergies, loved the peach cobbler.  Lauren has decided after 2 tries that she just doesn’t really like peaches.  We topped her cobbler off with Rice Dream Frozen Dessert in Vanilla.  She, at least, loved her ice-cream and all the rest.  This meal was definitely a hit!  Here’s hoping that all of your favorite yummy foods of summer are as delicious as we found this meal.

Lauren’s Easy Peach Cobbler

Ingredients

2 cups of peaches peeled, pitted, and sliced

1/4 c water

1 tbsp coconut oil

1 cup Cherrybrook Kitchen Gluten Free/Wheat Free Yellow Cake Mix (also peanut, nut, dairy, egg free)

3/4 full fat coconut milk (canned coconut milk)

cinnamon

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. In a saucepan, add peaches and water.  Bring to a boil.  Then, reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes.
  3. Place 1 tbsp of coconut oil in 8 x 8 baking dish.  Set on top of stove so that oil will melt.
  4. In a separate bowl, combine 1 cup cake mix and coconut milk.
  5. Pour batter on top of the coconut oil, drain the peaches, and spoon them evenly over the batter.  Sprinkle cinnamon over the top.
  6. Bake cobbler for 25 minutes or until done.
  7. Serve warm with your favorite non-dairy topping.

Ree Drummond’s, The Best Green Beans Ever and Pan Fried Pork Chops on foodnetwork.com is where you will find the other recipes.