Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Amazing Chocolate Cake with Chocolate Orange Ganache and Chocolate Buttercream Icing {Recipe - GAPS/Paleo}

That's just about the longest blog post title for food I've ever done.  :-)  Okay, on to the good stuff...

So I forgot to take a picture before this cake had candles stuck all in it and before we ate more than half of it...oops...

We celebrated my husband's birthday this past 2 weekends ago, and we enjoyed a rich chocolate cake that was entirely grain free and GAPS/Paleo friendly.  All of my family said it was really good (with surprise probably).  I totally just used other people's recipes and paired them together in 1 cake.  Cocoa powder is okay for advanced GAPSters.  We have never noticed problems with it, so we use it for special occasions.

I have made this cake before and used the ganache icing recipe on the entire cake without the orange zest.  I also did not use the orange zest in the cake that time.  It was super good!  BUT I love this one even more.  I also used a buttercream icing on the outside of the cake this time.  I loved the different textures and flavors.  So, you could use just one of these frostings on the entire cake or use both like I did.  Either way, you will love it!

If you want just a chocolate cake and icings, just leave the orange zest out of the cake and ganache.  It will still be amazingly good.

One important thing I want to share - my husband and I both enjoyed multiple slices of this cake (um, even with breakfast...), and we didn't notice any bad blood sugar effects.  Usually when we eat cake (the flour-y, sugar filled kind), we feel awful afterwards, get tired, and have sugar crashes where we don't feel like doing anything and we just want to sit and then just go to sleep.  This cake did not make us feel this way at all!  I love being able to enjoy good food like this without it harming how I feel.  This is a beautiful thing. :-) 

 sorry for the bad picture, but I wanted you to see the texture of the cake and icings

Chocolate Cake {Recipe - GAPS/Paleo}
Original Recipe from Elana's Pantry.  I am posting the recipe here with the modifications I made.
  • 3/4 cup coconut flour, sifted
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon celtic sea salt (or other good salt)
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 10 eggs
  • 1 cup melted butter, preferably grassfed (can use coconut oil instead)
  • 1 1/2 cups honey, preferably raw
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon orange zest (cake is still great without this)
  1. In a small bowl combine flour, cacao, salt and baking soda
  2. In a large bowl using an electric hand mixer, blend eggs, butter, honey, vanilla and orange zest
  3. Add dry ingredients into large bowl and continue to blend
  4. Oil (2) 9-inch cake pans and dust with coconut flour (for ease of removal, I cut parchment paper to put in cake pans and then simply use butter or coconut oil to grease the paper and sides of the pan)
  5. Pour batter into pans and bake at 325° for 35-40 minutes
  6. Remove from oven, allow to cool completely then remove from pans
  7. Frost and serve

Choclate Orange (or not!) Ganache Icing {Recipe - GAPS/Paleo}
Recipe from Nourishing Gourmet
  • 1 cup of cocoa powder
  • 3/4 cup of virgin coconut oil
  • 1/2 cup of honey
  • dash or two of sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract (optional)
  • for chocolate orange ganache: 1 Tbsp orange zest
  1. Gently melt the coconut oil in a saucepan (you don’t want to heat it, just melt it)
  2. In a food processor, combine all of the ingredients and pulse until well combined. (I have also just whisked this by hand)
  3. Scrape into a small bowl and place in the freezer or refrigerator until it has hardened to desired consistency. It took about 15 minutes in my freezer.  (I check on it every 5-10 minutes and stir/whisk it)
  4. You can use a hand mixer to fluff the frosting up (you may need to do this if the frosting has become too stiff as well).
  5. Spread on desired baked good and enjoy!
Chocolate Orange Ganache Variation: Add 1 tablespoon orange zest with the rest of the ingredients. Continue on with the rest of the directions.

Notes: I used much more honey the last time I made it - I was using a thick honey I recently got and it is not as strong or sweet as honey I normally have.  So, you might need to add honey to taste, especially if you are trying to please a crowd that is used to super sweet sugar-laden desserts.  I probably used about 3/4-1 cup of honey total.  But again, I have made this before with store bought honey that is pourable, and I only needed the 1/2 cup in the recipe.   I also think these would make great truffles rolled into balls and dusted with cocoa powder or shredded coconut...mmmm....

Chocolate Buttercream Icing {Recipe - GAPS/Paleo}
Recipe from Our Nourishing Roots - makes enough for one double layer cake
  • 2 sticks butter, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup raw honey (thick, unfiltered, unpourable honey makes the best icing!)
  • 2/3 cup cocoa powder (raw)
  • 2 tablespoons brewed coffee, cooled (I did not use this, I simply added a couple grinds of himalayan salt to enhance the chocolate taste.  The link above to the recipe at 'Our Nourishing Roots' has a couple different things you could use besides coffee.  I thought it was great without it with a tiny bit of salt added - but be careful and don't add too much!  It is easy to add the salt to taste after it is all whipped together before you put it in the fridge.)
  • 2 tsp. vanilla
Process: .
  1. Put butter and honey into a bowl on your stand mixer (or hand mixer) fitted with the whisk attachment.  Whisk at a high speed for 3-5 minutes until well-combined and light colored.  Turn mixer off and add cocoa powder and vanilla.  Start mixer slow until combined, then whisk on high for another 3 minutes.  Turn off, scrape down the sides of the bowl, unhook the whisk attachment and use to combine by hand.
  2. Chill entire bowl and detached whisk attachment in the fridge for 30 minutes.  Remove and whisk once more for 3 minutes.  Use to frost immediately.  Store leftover frosting in the fridge.
Notes: If you make this ahead of time and refrigerate it, allow for time to sit on the counter to soften before needing to use.  Once soft enough, whisk again to fluff the frosting.  If needed (if it got too soft), repeat step 2 above before using on the cake.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Brownies and Chocolate Frosting

I can't take credit for these wonderful recipes, but I have to share them because they are so good!

Dense, moist, rich grain-free brownies.  These are the best I've made since going grain-free.

I shared this link yesterday in a recipe sharing post, but I wanted to put it here again because I am thinking about this frosting AGAIN and if you are in a particularly chocolatey mood and love insanely rich things, I bet this frosting would be so good on top of those brownies.  It would be so rich I bet just a few bites would be enough to satisfy any chocolate craving.

Chocolate Butter cream Frosting (scroll down some in the post).  By the way, I could totally eat this frosting all by itself. Honey that is super thick (unable to be poured) makes the best frosting because it makes it very stable and not runny. 

One of the countless reasons we eat like we do is to heal our bodies and restore them to the way they were meant to function, which means living without cravings.  But sometimes I just want a little chocolate, you know?  It's a process... :-)

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Recipes to Share, including Christmas Recipes we loved

Just random recipes I thought I would share!  This is a completely random collection of recipes. 

I want to try this.  I'll let you know if I love it... Salmon Chowder.

Things I've tried and love:
  • Bacon Candy (GAPS/Paleo)
  • Bacon Wrapped Sweet Potato Bites (Paleo since sweet potatoes aren't GAPS legal)
  • Salisbury Steak (GAPS/Paleo) (I didn't use the coconut milk in the gravy and it was delicious.)
  • Salmon with chimichurri sauce (used leftovers of this sauce on salad with yogurt drizzled over it as well and loved it!).  
  • Ultimate Beef and Liver Chili  (We loved this.  It really is delicious and a great way to get liver into your diet.  I can't stand liver, but I loved this.  Note: After eating it the first night, I added tomato puree (bionaturae brand in glass jars - 24oz) and I thought this made it even more delicious and closer tasting to chili we used to make.  So, from now on, I will make it following her recipe, but add 1 bottle of this!)
  • Grain Free Mini Pizzas (Love these and our boys love them!  Quick and easy snack or meal.  If you can't or don't use cheese, I think these are great without cheese - just sauce and some meat on top.  Not exactly like a pizza without cheese, but still fun and tasty!  Pardon the messy example here - I just had raw cheese curds, not shredded cheese, so they look a little crazy!)
  • Marshmallows (original) (In case my last chocolate marshmallow crazed post didn't communicate enough how much I love these.)
  •  Yellow Coconut Cake with Chocolate butter cream frosting  (the cake is good! it doesn't taste like coconut, and I even used coconut milk.  But what's amazing is the frosting!  I didn't have coffee on hand and so I added a little bit of salt to the frosting to enhance the chocolate flavor and it is AMAZING.  I just got new raw honey in that has to be scooped it is so thick, and it makes the frosting thick and stable almost like frosting out of a can that I used to eat with a spoon.)
  • Leftover Turkey Stew (I know it might be a little late on this, but we still have some turkey meat and broth in our freezer we could use this for.  We made it once already and like it a lot!  The picture below is before it cooked, hence the lack of turkey :-). )

Successful things from Christmas Dinner: 
  • Stuffing (We LOVED this and I will probably be making this every now and then throughout the year because it is that good!  It is also great for a good and easy breakfast - use leftovers and scramble with some eggs.  Mmmm... I did not use any of the spicy spices :-).  Seriously, though, this was amazing.)
  • Sweet Potato Casserole (Paleo but not GAPS friendly.  To make it GAPS friendly, you could use butternut squash instead of sweet potato and honey in the candied pecans.  I would share substitutions, but I haven't tried it :-). )
    •  Sweet Potato Casserole {Recipe - Paleo}
      • Ingredients: 
        • 4-5 medium/large sweet potatoes
        • 1/2 - 1 tsp fresh grated ginger (peel and freeze, then grate!)
        • 1 Tbsp ground cinnamon
        • 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
        • 1/4 cup pure maple syrup
        • 1 tsp vanilla
        • 4 Tbsp organic grassfed butter
        • 1/2 cup raw cream or coconut milk (you really can't taste coconut!)
        • 2 eggs
        • 1 cup chopped candied pecans (these are so good!)
      • Process: 
        • Bake the sweet potatoes in the oven until nice and soft, take out and remove skin
        • In a large mixing bowl, mix sweet potatoes with all other ingredients except pecans.  You can either mix simply by using a potato masher if you want a finished casserole that has a little more texture, or you can use a mixer or stick blender to make a less textured, softer casserole.  I have done it both ways and loved it both times!
        • Place in a baking dish of your choice (pie dish or square dish works well) and top with chopped candied pecans.  Bake uncovered for about 30 minutes at 350*. 
    • Cranberry Sauces (Chunky) (Blended and Gelatin-y)  (We love both of these and if I can find frozen cranberries, I will make this again before Thanksgiving/Christmas!  We doubled both recipes and froze in small glass containers.  It freezes well and our little boys loved it mixed with leftover turkey.  Therefore, I think they'd easily eat chicken mixed with this.  Easy lunch for littles? YAY!)
    Hope you enjoy!

      Sunday, January 15, 2012

      Omelet Soup {Recipe - GAPS, Paleo}

       This is part of Fight Back Friday and  Sunday Night Soup Night !

      Omelet Soup.  Does that sound weird?  Well, welcome to my soup world.  Whether you are on GAPS, eating Paleo, or just trying to eat a traditional whole foods diet, soup is a fantastic way to increase the nutrition and healing properties of any meal as well as make it much more easily digested.  I love eating eggs for breakfast, and lately I have been trying to eat as big of a breakfast as possible.  It sustains me through the day with much energy - especially through that late morning craze that seems to take over little children before they eat lunch ;-).

      However, I notice that at a certain point, I cannot eat much more although I know I need to.  I feel a little nauseous and heavy and I just can't stomach eating as much as I know is good for me.  Enter soup.  Broth enables me to eat more and not feel sick AT ALL.  It helps with digestion and provides tons of great things like amino acids and minerals and gelatin and all that good stuff.

      Also, since I love GAPS and am focusing on getting more broth into our diets, hopefully with at least 2 meals per day, I need a way to incorporate broth into another meal.  I'm not the hugest fan of drinking plain broth.  So I thought I would figure out a way to combine a favorite - an omelet - with something that is tasty, healing, and needed - broth. 

      This was inspired by our immense love for egg drop soup.  We eat it for breakfast often, but I wanted to provide us a little more variety.  So, although I know it sounds weird, don't write it off until you try it! :-) It's super yummy and fun!

      Omelet Soup  {Recipe - GAPS, Paleo}
      GAPS Notes: This is appropriate for Stage 2 once you have had cooked eggs in broth.  You would probably need to omit the bacon (maybe use some other meat like ground beef or chopped ham steaks boiled in the broth instead of bacon) until roasted and pan cooked meats are allowed.  But you can easily adapt this to stage 2!

      • 8 oz uncured bacon
      • 1/2 medium onion, chopped
      • 1 1/2 cups mushrooms, chopped
      • 1 quart chicken broth (meat or bone)
      • 1 cup chopped tomatoes - fresh or canned with juices drained
      • 6-12 eggs, pastured
      • Salt and Pepper to taste
      • Optional: spinach or kale (2-4 cups depending on how much you want)
      • Optional: Parmesan or Raw Cheddar Cheese
      • Two options for beginning: 
        • Some prep the night before:
          • You can either prepare your bacon and onions in the oven (little oversight and easy clean up) or you can fry the bacon on the stove top and then saute the onions in the bacon grease in the same pan.  So, either bake the bacon in the oven around 350-375*, turning every 10-15 minutes until crispy, or fry the bacon in a pan until crispy. 
          • Remove the bacon from the baking dish or frying pan.  If preparing in the oven, simply add the onion into the pan, stir to get it all gloriously mixed in with all the amazing bacon grease and roast for about 20 minutes, stirring halfway, until they look all soft and yummy.  If preparing on the stove top, just saute in the bacon grease until soft.  I simply prefer doing it in the oven because it is less work. :-)
          • Save your bacon and onions separately for the morning. 

        Bacon baked in the oven.

       Onions added to the baking dish.
       Onions roasted in the oven, all soft and yummy.
        • No Prep the night before: Simply follow the above steps of your choice (oven or stove top) the morning of.  If I do it the morning of, I simply would fry the bacon and then saute the onions in the pot I am going to make the soup in. 
      • With the onions in your soup pot, add chopped mushrooms and saute together until mushrooms are browned. 
      •  Add bacon, crumbling into bite size pieces.
      •  Add your broth, tomatoes, and about 1 tsp celtic sea salt.  Bring to a boil.  (Add kale or spinach here if using for the whole pot of soup)
      • While the soup is coming to a boil, whisk all eggs together in a large measuring cup or mixing bowl (easiest if it has a pour spout).  I put a large range of the number of eggs because it really simply depends on how thick and egg-y you want your soup.  We wanted a very hearty thick soup with many eggs per person, so I used 12.  You really can't mess this up!
      • Once the soup is at a boil, stir the soup gently in a circle while slowly pouring the whisked eggs into the soup.  Once all the eggs are poured in, I always bring the soup back to a boil and then turn the heat off as soon as it starts bubbling.  I don't want rubbery overcooked eggs :-). 
      •  Salt and pepper to taste and enjoy! 
      • Our little boys won't eat spinach in soup, so we simply put about 1/2 -1 cup chopped spinach in our bowls of soup because the soup was hot enough to wilt the spinach. 
      •  Optional: top with cheese of your choice!

      Enjoy!  It really is delicious! This is such a fantastic way to get broth in with breakfast!  Or even to have a breakfast for dinner soup.  And I think it could easily be modified with what you have on hand and what you like for breakfast.  Just imagine what you would like in an omelet, and put it in there!  Also, try using chopped ham steaks instead of bacon, or even ground beef or breakfast sausage!

      It's funny how I get so excited about a new and easy soup option for us... :-)

      Tuesday, January 10, 2012

      Chocolate Marshmallows {Recipe - Delicious and GAPS/Paleo!}

      Oh. Goodness. Ilovechocolate.

      And Oh. Goodness.  Ilovemarshmallows.

      I must admit I totally ate some horrible deadly ones around Christmas.  Pretend I didn't say that.

      But really, I was SO excited to find this.

      And I just recently made them and ate the whole batch in a matter of 2 days.  YEP.

      Pretend I didn't say that either.

      So on another note, I have been 10 whole days without coffee.  BIG.DEAL.

      That also means 10 days without insane doses of honey in my coffee.

      Bring on the cravings for chocolate and sweet things after I got through the first 2 days of headaches, nausea, and naps.

      So I decided after making some crumbly dry chocolate almond flour cookies that I would try making chocolate marshmallows.  ohJOYJOY.  Yep.  Thankfully, I only made a 1/2 batch, because 24 hours later, they're all gone.  But my little boys did eat their fair share.  I think I have a problem...

      Anyway, they are awesome and marshmallowy and almost fudgy.  Can I go make another batch now?  Oh, wait, I should make dinner...

      MAKE THESE (plain and chocolate) TODAY.  You won't be disappointed.

      The plain ones are amazing...go here to get that recipe and the instructions.

      Here is how I adapted it to make chocolate marshmallows.

      Chocolate Marshmallows {Recipe - GAPS/Paleo}
      Ingredients: (this is for a half batch as compared to the linked original recipe above.  My thought is, make a whole batch and once it gets all fluffy and creamy, pour half into a pan to have as regular and then add the cocoa paste as below to have chocolate ones as well!!!  So, if you want to do that, just double all ingredients except the chocolate. )
      • 1/2 cup  filtered water (split into quarter cups)
      • 1 1/2 Tbls Grass fed beef gelatin
      • 1/2 cup organic honey
      • 1/2 tsp vanilla gluten free organic extract
      • 1/8 tsp salt
      • 2-4 Tbsp raw organic cocoa powder*
      • 1-2 Tbsp of warm water
      • In a medium-large mixing bowl, mix half of the water (1/4 cup) and the gelatin together.  Let it sit while you do the next step. 
      • In a saucepan, mix the honey, the remaining water (1/4 cup), vanilla, and salt together and bring to a boil. 
      • Simmer for about 7-8 minutes (it is helpful to use a candy thermometer) until it reaches 240*.  I have done this a few times and I have never gotten it to reach 240*, only about 220* or so.  Mine have always turned out great.  
      • While the honey mixture is boiling, mix your cocoa powder and warm water together in a small bowl to make a paste (only use enough water to be able to mix the cocoa powder into a paste). 
      • Turn on your mixer (I use a handheld mixer) and pour honey mixture into bowl to combine with gelatin.  I have used regular beaters and the whisk attachment.  Use the whisk attachment.  They both work, but it is much less insanely loud to use the whisk :-).  Mix at your highest speed (I usually only do speed 5 out of 6 because I can't handle the noise of speed 6 for 10 minutes...but I have oddly sensitive ears sometimes) for about 10 minutes until it is thick and like a marshmallow cream.  
      • If you are doing a full batch (double all ingredients), pour about half into an 8x8 or really any size pan (the size only impacts how thick they are) that is lined with parchment paper.  If you are only doing the half batch, proceed with next step.  
      • Add the cocoa powder paste and mix well with your mixer - you can add little by little if needed until it suits your chocolate taste buds.*  :-)  I used at least 4 tbsp when I made mine, and they were pretty dark and rich in their chocolate taste, which I loved.  Use less if you like mild chocolate flavor.  
      • Pour into a pan (I used 8x8) lined with parchment paper sticking up all the sides (picture below).  
      • Let it set!  It doesn't take too long to set, but the time depends on the temperature and humidity of your kitchen as well.  Also, I think the texture the next day is the best, but you can be sure I never wait until the next day to eat them! :-)
      • You can do coatings as described in the original recipe linked above this recipe, or you can coat it in cocoa powder afterwards.  I think coating these with some chopped nuts would be amazing.  
      *NOTE: the chocolate taste is significantly stronger after marshmallows have set!  When I was tasting mine while mixing it all together, I could not taste the cocoa very well - but once I poured them out and they sat for a bit, the chocolate was pretty strong!  thankfully, I like strong, but keep that in mind when making them!  It might be something you figure out over time - just keep notes as to how much cocoa powder you used so you know what amount you like best! 
      (this picture is after I had poured it out and I was making dinner and I couldn't stop myself from scraping some out to try before they had fully set!!  I am crazy!)
        The next day, or even later the same day you make them, they are much easier to cut into squares.  Don't leave the plate in sight of littles, because they will push stools and chairs over and eat them all.  Ask me how I know :-).


        Sunday, January 8, 2012

        Chicken Cilantro Soup {A Favorite Recipe - GAPS, Paleo}

        Update: I finally took a picture last time I made the soup (see below)! The picture is of the soup made with some chopped tomatoes in it (I rinsed the chopped tomatoes to get all the juice off because I didn't want tomato juice in my broth). I also made it recently just straining but not rinsing the tomatoes, so there was some of the juice in the broth, and it was still really great!)  There is also some yogurt stirred in to the soup in the picture, which is why it looks creamy colored.

        Have I ever mentioned I adore cilantro?  I think it is a miracle herb.  When it's time to plant it this spring, I would love to devote about half our garden just to cilantro.  I don't think my desire for an abundance of tomatoes will agree with that, though...oh well...I love cilantro, on salmon, in salmon patties, on taco salads, and in soups...

        I don't have a picture for this soup, although it is easily the most consistently loved soup in this house.  Maybe I never take a picture because we just eat it all so fast.  Well, except maybe for chili.  But in the world of chicken soups, this is our most favorite!  We eat this on a regular basis, and even when I think I am going to tire of it, I take one bite and am simply in love again.

        This soup began as one of our favorites before we began GAPS eating, but we included corn and black beans in it.  So, if you eat grains and beans, I can say it is wonderful with those things added in.  I will include that in notes below in the recipe.

        This is a fantastic soup for spring and summer, as it is fresh and light tasting, but it is also superb for the fall and winter because of it's warm richness.  Being a GAPS, bone broth loving lady, I have to enjoy my soups year round!  This is also incredibly easy to adapt to seasonal ingredients, and I will share those notes below as well.  In my recipes, I always put a range on each vegetable, and those are so you can take in to consideration how much you love that particular vegetable and the size.  Sometimes I get freakishly large carrots and sometimes they are skinny, so just adapt as to what you have on hand!


        Chicken Cilantro Soup  {A Favorite Recipe - GAPS/Paleo}
        • 2-4 tbsp butter (or ghee, coconut oil, tallow, or lard)
        • 1 medium - large onion, chopped
        • 3-4 carrots, chopped
        • 3-4 stalks celery, chopped
        • 4-6 cups of chicken broth (meat or bone)
        • 2-4 zucchini, chopped (yellow summer squash also works well)
        • 1 large bunch of cilantro, rinsed well
        • 4 garlic cloves, minced (I just put mine through a press)
        • 2-3 cups cooked chicken, chopped or shredded to your preference
        • Salt (I usually use about 1 Tbsp because my broth is unsalted) and Pepper, to taste
        • Optional: 2-3 cups chopped tomatoes or a large can or package (24-26 oz) of chopped tomatoes
        • Optional (for non GAPSters and non-Paleo): 1-2 cups organic frozen corn, 2 cups black beans
        • Great Additions at the table: a squeeze of lemon in each bowl, grated raw cheddar cheese, sour cream, cultured cream, or plain yogurt is wonderful added at the table after the soup is not scalding hot. 
        • In a soup pot or dutch oven, heat butter over medium heat.  Add chopped onion, carrots, and celery.  Saute until onions begin turning translucent.   
        • Add chicken broth (and tomatoes if using), and bring to a boil.  Simmer until vegetables are almost desired tenderness.  I usually add a couple teaspoons of salt at this point. 
        • If using zucchini (we only use when in season here), add and simmer until almost tender. (If using corn and black beans, add here as well.)
        • Take your washed cilantro and either chop it and add to the pot or just use kitchen scissors and cut it straight into the pot.  I don't bother to chop or cut it really small, and my little ones still eat it! Also, I use all of the cilantro bunch.  Not just the leaves.  I tear off the part of the bunch that is just all stems and put the rest in the soup.  The stems cook down and are very soft in the soup and add great flavor. 
        • Add garlic and chicken, stir it all together well, and bring back to a boil. 
        • Turn off the heat, cover the pot, and let it sit for 10-15 minutes.  
        • Salt to taste, add pepper if desired. 
        • Serve with desired toppings - raw cheddar cheese, sour cream or yogurt, lemon juice...
        • GAPS intro:  this is appropriate as soon as you can use fresh herbs, just omit celery until you can tolerate that well! 
        • Tomatoes:  If not using fresh, know that certain cans are BPA free like Muir Glen.  I buy Pomi if I need chopped tomatoes.  Read facts about Pomi in this post.  I find adding tomatoes changes to overall taste of the soup and causes the cilantro to be less dominant, but it is good, just in a different way than without it!  
        • Corn and Beans: Use organic corn to avoid the extreme pesticides of non-organic and the genetically modified state of more than 90% of non-organic corn!  For Black beans - soak them in filtered water and the juice of 1 lemon overnight and then drain them and cooked in fresh water before adding to soup.  If you eat beans, simply make a large batch of these and cook them in your crock pot!  Easy and you can freeze 1 and 2 cup portions to be able to pull out and add to recipes easily.  
        • Vegetables: I only use zucchini and yellow squash when they are in season at the market, which is much of the year here.  The soup is still fantastic without it, and I still make it all the time without zucchini.  I usually add another stalk of celery and another carrot if I am not using zucchini.  
        Hope your family enjoys this!  We love it!  Part of Sunday Night Soup Night!

        Friday, January 6, 2012

        Breakfast Casseroles {Recipes - GAPS, Paleo}

        • Coconut milk works surprisingly well in place of yogurt or kefir.  I wanted to try it for those who can't use even cultured milk, and it worked very well!  You do not taste coconut at all - just use the same amounts as you would in the recipes for yogurt/kefir.
        • Also, I tried using a calculated proportion of eggs for the 9x13 pan to get the same thickness as when using 10-12 eggs in a square dish.  I calculated out that I needed to use 22 eggs (wow, I know).  I tried it, and it was fantastic!  Nice and thick and amazing!  So really, you could probably just use 24 if you like using an even 2 dozen.  This will help those with more mouths to feed as well.  It still works well with the 18 eggs, but it is much thicker with 22-24.  Use between 3/4-1 cup of yogurt/kefir/coconut milk with this amount of eggs. 
        • If you use a different size dish than normal (like I did a few times with a round stone dish) and you fill it too full with egg mixture, be careful because if it is too full, you might end up with bacon grease spilling into your oven, burning, and setting your smoke alarm off and making your house hazy and smelly.  Ask me how I know.  ;-)  So if you use a ton of bacon or a less deep dish, just be careful!  :-) 
        Original Post: 
        I have so many things I want to post!  Recipes, what we're focusing on with our health and eating this new year, and some things that have totally changed this week.  But alas, I can't do it all at once, and I really wanted to share some very simple, fool proof, and delicious breakfast casserole recipes/ideas to help anyone eating a GAPS or Paleo/Primal diet.  These are so easy to adapt to what you like and have on hand. 

        Breakfast casseroles are commonly loaded with bread or potatoes, and since those aren't good for gut and blood sugar health, it can be hard to adapt to fit a different eating lifestyle.  I came across this recipe for baked eggs and bacon and  have used it a lot.  I have an adaptation (because a square baking dish is just not a big enough casserole for our family) and a couple other successful ways I have changed it up around here.

        We always try and make a breakfast casserole for Saturday and Sunday so that we don't have to worry about cooking breakfast those days.  Saturday usually has a milk or farmer's market run first thing in the morning, and Sunday is our Sabbath and we like to sleep in and do as little cooking and work as possible so we can enjoy the Lord and each other even more.

        So, here you go!  Enjoy!

        Breakfast Casseroles {Recipes - GAPS, Paleo}
        • 1 lb Bacon (Pastured Pigs, uncured)  I use the best in regards to ingredients from the store if I am out of my farm bacon, but I love my farm bacon more than almost any food in the whole world.  OR
        • 1 lb ground pork or beef, browned - I use this seasoning mix for breakfast sausage but without the cayenne pepper because we are spice wimps. 
        • any vegetables you want - if they are high water volume like spinach, mushrooms, okay, pretty much anything, saute it FIRST before putting it in your casserole or it will make the casserole watery and the consistency a little off. 
        • 12-18 eggs, pastured (12 if making in a square dish or if you want a faster cooking, thinner casserole in a 9x13, 18 if you want a fluffier and feeds big breakfast eaters casserole!) Update: 22 eggs works great for a 9x13 pan.
        • 3/4 cup raw 24 hour cultured kefir or yogurt (Update: coconut milk works well as a substitute)
        • Salt and pepper, to taste
        • Optional: Cheese (parmesan or raw cheddar)
        • Bacon: Cut your bacon in half and arrange the slices around a 9x13 pan (it's fine if they overlap).  Put in a 350-375* oven (just depends on how fast you want it to cook, and I always do 375 with my thicker farm bacon).  If you have simple sliced pork belly (unsalted) from a farm, generously salt it all over with fine salt (I use himalayan in a ceramic grinder - makes a great fine dust of salt to evenly coat the bacon with).  If you have 'uncured' from the store, don't add anything as it is already treated with salt, etc.  Bake, turning at least once, until crispy.  If you have any veggies, just saute and add on top of the bacon after the bacon is ready.   NOTE: This TOTALLY ca n be done the night before!  Just bake and then stick in the fridge and add the rest of the ingredients in the morning to bake.  YAY. 
        • Sausage and Veggies: Brown sausage, and I always just saute my veggies with the leftover fat from my sausage.  Here I did my pork breakfast sausage and then a chopped onion and some mushrooms.  I would put spinach in here, but my boys would just pick it out and throw it on the floor.  Silly creatures. Grease your 9x13 (or square) dish and layer (or mix it all together!) your meat and vegetables.  This also can totally be done the day before!

        • In a mixing bowl, combine your eggs (again, I always use 16-18 because we want this to last us 2 days or if we are feeding more than just us for 1 day) and yogurt/kefir and salt and pepper.  I would say start with 1/2 tsp salt, but how much you want to use will depend on if you used really salty bacon or mildly salty bacon or sausage.  If your meat is really salty, putting too much salt in the egg mixture can make the casserole overwhelmingly salty.  I figure I can always add salt on my plate :-).  I usually do 1/2 tsp and it turns out great.  Side note: aren't those egg yolks gorgeous?!  NOTE: If you are using only 12 eggs, use only 1/2 cup yogurt/kefir.  Basically, a 6 eggs: 1/4 cup yogurt/kefir ratio :-).

        • Optional: Top with cheese of your choice (1/2 cup or so is great). 
        • Bake at 350* for 30-40 minutes.  Important: The baking time will totally depend on the size of dish you use and how many eggs you use.  Always better to check it and have to put it back in than have overcooked eggs.  Also, we have eaten the edges first before and put the center back in to cook more if we are super impatient :-). 
        (Bacon casserole) 

          (sausage, mushrooms, and onion casserole)

        Enjoy!  And enjoy having a delicious breakfast casserole without bread or potatoes!

        I shared this on Food Renegade's Fight Back Friday

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