GARAM MASALA BEEF + VEGETABLE BOWL

Do you ever get in a cooking “funk” and get bored with your regular weekly cooking ideas? Well, this recipe was a result of overcoming my cooking doldrums, and it seemed to go over quite well with the family! I wanted a different flavor than just my usual garlic and onions, so why not Indian flavors? My first Indian dish experience was in DC with my husband, when we were first dating. The fragrant spices, with a hint of heat, cooled down with rich, creamy coconut milk. Ahhhhh!!!!

I didn’t use coconut milk in this dish. I didn’t want a creamy sauce with the beef. This dish is a great high protein-low carb meal and even GAPS-friendly. I will be making this recipe again!

 

Ingredients:

1 1/2 lbs ground beef

2 cups green beans, trimmed

1 large sweet onion, diced

1 container baby bella mushrooms, diced

3 large carrots, diced

1/2 cup bone broth

5 garlic cloves, minced

3/4 Tbs garam masala

2 tsp sea salt

1 1/2 tsp cumin

1/2 tsp turmeric

1 head of cauliflower, riced (I also get mine pre-cut at Trader Joe’s in the produce section)

Preparations:

In a large pan, saute onions on medium-high heat for a couple of minutes. Add beef and brown for a couple of minutes and then mix in garlic and spices. Let cook for about five minutes then add the green beans and cook for another 5 minutes. Next, add the mushrooms and bone broth and cook for about 3-5 minutes, until the mushrooms have cooked down. The last thing to add will be the riced cauliflower. The cauliflower takes on whatever flavors you have in your dish, so I like to mix it thoroughly. If your carrots and green beans are still a little too crunchy, just cook the mixture a little longer for your desired texture. I don’t like mushy vegetables, so these times worked well for me.

SIMPLE SUMMER PARFAITS

Summer is around the corner and the weather is confirming this with hot and humid days! I am finding myself choosing cooler foods and yoga as exercise to help endure this weather. I found an amazing yoga studio here in North Palm Beach called Power Yoga Tribe. The community is like family and the instructors/owners, Preston and Christen have some serious love and talent for yoga! Preston’s birthday was coming up and I love to cook for others, so I created a quick and easy summer parfait. I just used a cute little mason jar and layered my cultured yogurt recipe with fresh organic fruit. The cultured yogurt has an amazing taste compared to store-bought and it provides amazing benefits for your gut health.

You can store the parfaits in the fridge for several days but mine were gone the same day. This makes a quick and easy snack that even your kids will love! There are so many things you can do with yogurt in the summer. Keep checking back to see other great recipes I am creating for my family.

Ingredients:

1 cup cultured yogurt (you can use store-bought)

1 tsp raw honey or pure maple syrup

Dash of cinnamon

1 cup of blueberries, raspberries or diced strawberries (whatever you prefer!)

Preparation:

Add a heaping spoon of yogurt to the jar, enough to cover the bottom completely. Add choice of fruit, enough to cover the yogurt. Keep alternating yogurt and fruit until you fill the jar. I topped mine off with fruit for a visual effect. Cover tightly and store in the fridge.

Do you have any great ideas for yogurt? Please share and post to our community!

 

 

CREAMY CAULIFLOWER + MEATBALL SOUP (GAPS-FRIENDLY)

This recipe is our family’s new favorite dish! I could make this every week and my guys would be happy. The combination of the meatballs and hearty veggies, can satisfy anyone. You really don’t miss the carbs. I used my homemade bone broth to make this dish really gut-healing and flavorful. I also added more water since you cook the meatballs in the soup and I wanted a large batch for leftovers. You can adjust the water to how much broth you prefer in your soup. Cooking the meatballs in the broth makes them moist and the veggies come out perfectly tender with a little crunch in the kale!

I pureed some of the cauliflower to add more depth to the broth. This recipe is adapted from a meatball recipe in the cookbook “The Heal Your Gut Cookbook“. If you are looking for great GAPS recipes, this is the book to have in your kitchen. I made a huge pot for leftovers. Cook once, eat twice!!!

Ingredients:

1 lb organic ground beef

1 lb ground pork (organic if possible)

2 eggs

1 qt homemade beef bone broth

3 cups filtered water

1 head cauliflower, chopped

1 bunch of kale (about 8-10 large leaves), chopped

4 carrots, peeled and chopped

1 8 oz container baby bella mushrooms, sliced

1 large sweet onion, sliced

5 cloves garlic, minced (divide in half)

2 tsp sea salt

2 tsp dried oregano

1 tsp dried basil

1 tsp ground pepper

Preparation:

Cut all of your vegetables before you begin this dish. You can even cut them the night before or earlier in the day to save time.

Add a little broth to a very large stock pot, just enough to saute half of your garlic. Cook garlic on medium-high for a couple of minutes until it becomes fragrant. Add the rest of the broth and turn up heat to bring broth to a boil.

In a large bowl, combine beef, pork, eggs, other half of minced garlic, all of the spices and mix well. Make about 1 inch meatballs and place on a tray. I use a small ice cream scoop to make my meatballs.

Once your broth is boiling, add the cauliflower and cook until fork-tender. Next, turn down heat to medium-high and puree half of your cauliflower. I use an immersion blender and just blend some of the cauliflower.

Add the meatballs one by one to the pot. Next add the carrots, onions, kale and mushrooms. Cook for about 20 minutes. Add more salt and pepper to taste. The broth and meatballs already have a lot of flavor, so we didn’t need to add more seasoning. Enjoy!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

HOMEMADE INSTANT POT YOGURT

yogurt-and-raspberries

I have another reason to love my Instant Pot. Yogurt!!!!! I have always wanted to make yogurt but it seemed so intimidating to attempt this task. But with the GAPS diet, it is highly recommended to eat homemade yogurt. It’s like a staple in the menu! So I perused through my wonderful Facebook group of Instant Pot mamas and found some great tips and recipes to glean from, to make yogurt. You can find great video tutorial here by Freida and Cheryl is the master of yogurt tips and recipes here. I HIGHLY recommend you read over both before attempting to make your own yogurt. You will thank me later!

My first batch was a failure due to a faulty thermometer. But my second batch was a hit and I made more batches with great success! I can’t believe how easy this was with my Instant Pot! I start this process about an hour before bed so it can cook overnight. Here is the basic recipe everyone uses and my instructions.

Ingredients:

1 half gallon of organic or grass-fed pasteurized whole milk

2 Tbs organic plain Greek yogurt

Tips:

Make sure your yogurt is NOT ultra pasteurized. It’s not recommended and it didn’t work for me!

I HIGHLY recommend whole milk. Don’t skimp on the fat, it will compromise the taste.

Get PLAIN yogurt for best results. Besides, who needs the extra sugar and if it contains too much sugar it can mess up the culturing process.

Make sure your yogurt has “live and active cultures” listed on the back. You need these in order to “start” the culturing process of your yogurt. Are you beginning to see the science in this process?

I get the small, individual containers for my yogurt. Once you open the container, the cultures begin to die off, causing it to lose its efficacy in creating cultures for your new yogurt. Once you start making your own, you can use the yogurt from your own batch to make more. Just make sure the yogurt isn’t more than 5 to 7 days old.

Kitchen Accoutrements Needed:

Instant Pot

Digital Thermometer

Ladle

Wire whisk

Cup (for mixing starter yogurt with 1 cup of scalded milk)

Large bowl (for an ice bath and then straining yogurt)

Large colander (for straining yogurt – optional)

Tea cloth, cheese cloth or coffee filters (to strain yogurt – optional)

 

Preparation:

STEP ONE: WARMING THE MILK

Pour the milk into the inner pot in the Instant Pot.

Place and lock the lid and make sure the valve is moved to the “SEAL” position.

Press the YOGURT button and then quickly press the ADJUST button until you see the word BOIL on the display. This will slowly scald your milk. (Takes about 30 minutes.) Meanwhile, go and read over the instructions five times like I did and watch Frieda’s video two more times to be sure you know what the heck you’re doing!

Take out the starter yogurt and place in a cup to get at room temperature. I use a Pyrex measuring cup so I don’t have to worry about the heat of the milk when I mix it together.

When the cycle is complete, the timer will beep. Don’t panic. Just make sure your digital thermometer is in reaching distance and unlock and remove the lid. Try to open and then lift back the lid quickly to avoid the water getting into your yogurt.

STEP TWO: COOLING THE MILK

Place the thermometer in the milk and it should read about 180 degrees or higher. I have never had it below that temperature, so this has never been a problem for me thus far. Remove the thermometer and the “skin” of the milk with a spoon or whatever works for you and then prepare an ice bath for the inner pot to cool down the milk. I use an avocado smasher from Pampered Chef to remove the skin. It works really well! Don’t laugh!

Press the CANCEL button to turn off the Instant Pot.

Place the inner pot of milk into the ice bath. This is a VERY FAST cool down for the milk, so make sure you stir it continually with the whisk to avoid “hot spots” in the milk. This only takes about five minutes or less! Once your thermometer reads between 110 to 115 degrees, immediately remove the pot from the ice bath and dry off the bottom of the pot with a towel. (If you cool our yogurt down too much, you can warm it back up a little by using the SAUTE button. Just CANCEL the yogurt cycle and then press SAUTE. Once it warms up, cancel the cycle again.)

Add about half a cup of warm milk to your starter yogurt and whisk until well blended. Add it back to your pot of milk and gently stir it with the whisk. Make sure you don’t scrape the whisk on the bottom of the pot! A film of milk is created on the bottom of the pot during the scalding step and it can affect the smoothness of your final yogurt.

STEP THREE: CULTURING THE YOGURT

If you have managed to heat and cool down your milk accordingly, the hard part is over! At this point, you place the inner pot back into the Instant Pot and lock the lid back on. Make sure the valve is turned to the seal position.

Press the YOGURT button again and hit the “+” button until you see 8:00 appear. (This stands for 8 hours of cooking time.) Pat yourself on the back for totally conquering the yogurt making process! Now go take a bath with some Epsom salt and lavender essential oil and get ready for bed. Tomorrow morning you will wake up to a pot full of delicious nourishing yogurt!

STEP FOUR: STRAINING THE YOGURT (OPTIONAL)

I love Greek yogurt so I always strain mine. If you like a runny yogurt then once the cycle is done you can just spoon the yogurt into a large container. I use mason jars for mine. Try not to scrape the bottom of the pot to avoid the milk film.

If you want Greek yogurt, then you want to get out your colander to strain your yogurt. I place the colander in the large bowl and then place a tea towel to strain mine. I have used coffee filters in the past and they worked very well but I found them cumbersome and it was annoying when they would move around when I was pouring the yogurt into the colander.

Cover the bowel with a large plate or any cover will do and place in the refrigerator for about 4 hours. The longer it strains, the thicker your yogurt. I did it overnight once and I found it to be too thick for me.

I keep my yogurt plain in the mason jar so I can use it in different ways. I use it with fruit, granola, smoothies and even sauces. My son’s favorite way to eat it is with a little honey, vanilla extract and fresh fruit. I hope you enjoy your new world of yogurt!

yogurt

 

 

OUR NOURISHING LIFE + THE GAPS DIET

nourishing-journey-post

I am on a quest to enjoy a nourishing life on so many levels. The past ten years of my life have been a quest to attain a healthy physical, emotional and spiritual state. Can any of you relate? Ever since the birth of my son, it has been a struggle to “bounce back” and reach my pre-baby weight and just feel “healthy”. This road has been frustrating, discouraging, exhausting, challenging and well the list could go on.

However, through these challenges, I have also learned so much about my health, how food and even environment affect our health. If it weren’t for my issues, I may have never learned how to live a holistic lifestyle. I’m trying to focus on the glass being half full 🙂 I would not be aware of all of the things that help a child with special needs. I believe that God aligned my health challenges to help prepare me for my future, to care for my son, and to help educate others. I love how God turns beauty from ashes. How He uses our trials to help others and glorify His name.

Well it’s a new year so it’s a new adventure for our family. In spite of my trepidation, I have finally braved the journey to put our family on a GAPS diet. Why would I chose to take on such a task of cooking so many things? Our health. Do I feel like taking on new ways of cooking that will consume much of my time? Not really. However, with my suspected autoimmune issues, my struggle to attain a healthy physical state, my son’s special needs and my husband and I in our mid to late 40s, I want to be proactive and not reactive to our family’s healthcare needs. And I am not depending on modern medicine or our healthcare system to be the advocate for our well being. And the GAPS diet was highly recommended by my son’s therapist Kay Ness. So that was the final decision maker for me.

The GAPS diet is used to naturally heal chronic inflammation in the digestive tract and helps with neurological and autoimmune issues. Through a protocol of stages of certain foods, it will give your body the opportunity to naturally heal and seal any damaged gut lining. Your immune system is linked to the gut. If you have an unhealthy gut, this can affect so many other aspects of your health. Picture your gut as the very core of your body’s functions.

I noticed a change in my immune system when I started having chronic eczema. The doctor prescribed me a steroid cream and sent me on my way. After much research and inquiries, I learned how the gut affects your skin, thyroid, immune system, mood, energy levels and so much more. I also discovered how certain foods “triggered” my eczema. It was crazy how quickly my skin reacted to foods.

So fast-forward three years later and here we are. I must confess, this diet is intimidating. There are so many preparation steps in planning a successful GAPS journey. Planning menus, shopping, budgeting, prepping bone broths, yogurt, and fermented foods. I feel that I will be living in my tiny kitchen! I have to be diligent in my planning and forgiving in my mistakes or failures. (I’ve already flopped on making my first batch of yogurt but figured it out on the second run.) It’s going to be a learning curve but I am looking forward to the new healing foods I will be preparing for my family.

I have already created several nourishing and savory recipes, so I will be posting them soon! I am spending so much time in the kitchen, I am not having time to post my recipes. I am using an amazing cookbook called Heal Your Gut Cookbook. It is very user-friendly and the recipes are great! As I learn along this journey, I will share my recipes, tips and even struggles with you. Have you every tried the GAPS diet? If so, I would appreciate any tips or great recipes that work for you and your family!

I am looking forward in sharing this journey with you!