Sunday, January 27, 2008

Cooking marathon, cheesecake, and yogurt


So I never posted about making yogurt. I decided to use the heating pad method. The page you should actually be referring to for temperatures is on the Pecanbread Yogurt page. So be aware that there are some discrepancies between the pages.

I had acquired a thermometer. It was not the best choice, because it was a meat thermometer, and it didn't go any lower than 100 degrees. Oh well, I thought I would just work with what I had.

I held the thermometer in the goat milk as I heated it on the stove. I intended to turn it off once I hit 185 degrees, like the Pecanbread site says, but the temperature climbed really quickly and the goat milk did end up boiling for a few seconds. We're supposed to try to avoid this, but I was going to go ahead anyway.

I took the pan off the heat and put it in my large saucepan which had two trays of ice cubes and some cold water in there.

I then realized another thermometer problem, because you need to cool the milk to at least room temperature. So I kind of had to guess. I splashed a bit of it when my arm and when it felt cool, I added the Progurt as specified -- mixing it with about a cup of the milk and then mixing it throughout the whole pot of milk.

Then it was time for the heating pad. I'd picked a spot on my counter that was pretty cozy, and I made sure to purchase a heating pad that would not shut itself off.

After that, I had to figure out a way to get the thermometer to stay in the yogurt without it touching the bottom of the pan. I tried just wrapping the top of it in foil and sort of balancing it against the side of the pan, but that didn't work.

Then I saw the handle of my colander and I got an idea.

After that, I covered it up and set it on the heating pad. I added some dish towels around the sides of it to keep the heat in, too.

Well, it was hard to tell if it was getting up to temperature because the thermometer was kind of crappy. I got up at 2 a.m. since Clark was up at 2 a.m., and I saw that the yogurt wasn't even up to 100 degrees. So I propped up more of the heating pad against the pan by using a Yankee candle that somebody bought me at my office. I didn't take a photo of it but you get the idea. :)

By morning, it was up to temperature, so I wasn't really sure when to start the 24 hours. I decided to just do 24 hours since 6 a.m. or so and so I ended up fermenting it overnight again.

It came out OK. I was surprised at how thin it was. I dripped some of it with a coffee filter placed in a plastic funnel balanced over a drinking glass. That worked pretty well, as long as I didn't put too much yogurt in there at one time.

And then Clark had his weird reaction, and you're now up to speed.

So. I realized later that my thermometer was in fact off, by quite a lot. I measured boiling water with it, and it registered as 195 degrees. Not good. So all sorts of things could have gone wrong with the probiotics.

I bought a new thermometer, a digital one with a probe. I really like it. It comes with a timer that you can set for 24 hours. That one worked much better and registered the temperature of the goat milk correctly. Hooray!

I was also able to see with my new thermometer when the goat milk yogurt got down to the appropriate temperature to add the probiotics (about 65-70 degrees is a good range to shoot for).

I also started the yogurt much earlier (around 3 p.m.), so I was sure it was up to temperature when I went to bed. The probe balanced in the milk a little easier, and I didn't need my colander this time. I just wrapped some foil around the top of the probe and secured it to the handle of the pot.

And yes, I used the Yankee candle again. :)

I tried dripping the whole batch in bulk but that didn't work so well because there was still too much for it to all go through the colander well. I'll try the handkerchief in the colander method at some point and I'll let you know how it goes.

When I had enough that was dripped, I decided to make a half recipe of the SCD cheesecake in the BTVC book, except I wanted to use all yogurt instead of the dry curd cottage cheese, since we're not eating cow dairy. Here's what I did.

HALF AN SCD CHEESECAKE (STAGE ONE, whenever yogurt is tolerated)

2 eggs
1/4 cup honey
1 1/4 cup dripped SCD yogurt
2 tsp vanilla extract
1-2 tsp grated lemon rind (I didn't use it)

Bake in a pie pan at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes or until it browns on the edges. It will be only about 1/2 inch thick, since it's a half recipe. :)

So I baked that, and I gave Clark about a full teaspoon of it about an hour before bedtime. I wanted to be sure I got a clear reaction. He seemed fine. In the morning, though, he wasn't fine. He was stimming, stimming, stimming.

So he's not ready for it. That's OK. Good to know. We'll try again in a month or so.

For me, though, at first I didn't think I liked the cheesecake. I even added extra honey to it. Clark said he liked "cheese pie" so he was clearly fine with the taste.

But then later I went back and ate some plain. And then later I went back to even out the edges. And then I ate some more.

So, I changed my mind, and I really liked it! Yum. I can see how the lemon would really complement the flavor of it, so maybe I will look for that lemon stuff. I guess I've gotten past the initial taste of it, finally. It's kind of like when you first go gluten free and you eat a piece of GF bread. It's not much like regular bread at all, so your brain can't get past that at first. And then you learn to like it for what it is, not for what it isn't.

After that, however, I ate my usual amount of the yogurt that I'd worked up to, and I had a bathroom emergency soon after. So I think that the probiotics were much more active in this batch, because I think the temperature in my first batch got too high, and killed off some of the bacteria before the yogurt was done. Or I ate too much cheese pie. Oops.

As for this weekend's cooking marathon, I'm behind again. My script for Pendant Audio finally got out to the cast, and my darling hubby and I went on a date!

We went to see Cloverfield at the Mann's Chinese Theater in downtown Hollywood. It was fun, but parking was a mess. We didn't realize that there was an awards ceremony at Hollywood and Highland that evening for the ASC Awards, so parking was a little tricky but we managed.

After the movie, we went to the Pig n' Whistle, also in Hollywood. I was surprised to see that their only steak was $25 so I kind of freaked at that. Instead, I ordered a plain hamburger for $15, and Jeffrey ate my fries. Even though the Pig n' Whistle is only about a block from Hollywood and Highland (which is where the mega huge parking garage is), it was raining like crazy so we bought a very large and surprisingly nice umbrella from a street vendor for $5.

We had a great time. We don't get to go out often. Since Clark is autistic and is quirky and manipulative in so many unique ways, we have only had our very good friend babysit for us after Clark is in bed. We got home around midnight and got into bed by 12:45 a.m.

At 1:45 a.m. Clark got up, as he had soaked through everything on his bed. I stripped his bed and changed his pajamas, sheets, and blankets, and went back to bed.

So I'm kinda tired today. But I had so much fun, so I am happy anyway.

I just finished cooking the pineapple, soup's on, ketchup's on, and carrots are cooking. I had enough ketchup to last this week -- until the jar slipped out of my hands about 12 inches above our tile floor. Smash. SIGH. What was worse was I had half a bag of onions on the floor next to the fridge, and considering the glass, I pitched them. Oh well, at least onions are cheap.

I bought some mushrooms to play with this week. I think I'm going to cook some spinach with the ground sirloin patties and add the mushrooms...mmm. Sounds like a good way to test food to me!

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Asian dipping sauce recipe for YOU!

OK, so I only have a few minutes and I wanna post this recipe. I will warn you, because of all the spices the sauce has a slightly gritty texture. I have made it with just almond butter and honey but it's REALLY thick and then it's only good for topping something hot like chicken just out of the oven or microwave.


1/2 c almond butter
3 TBSP honey
2 TBSP coriander
3 TBSP oil
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp cumin (optional)

Mix and eat with chicken, or chicken and cooked pineapple. I think it is super tasty. Yay.

The plot thickens

So after discussing my difficulties with Clark with the Pecanbread list, I'm wondering if the yogurt turned out OK after all.

My thermometer was actually not working correctly, and I think it may have gotten too warm. If that happened, the probiotics could have died before fermentation was complete, and then he would have gotten some lactose and casein that wasn't fully broken down, which would be bad.

But I'm confused because if he HAD gotten lactose (which is a sugar after all), I would think he would have had some kind of gastrointestinal sign. And he didn't -- it was all totally behavioral.

Also, I would think that the reaction would not have lasted for nine days.

So it is a mystery. However! Since then, I got a new awesome cool superthermometer, and I made a bigger batch of yogurt that is pretty awesome. Now all I have to do is drip it and then I can make some SCD cheesecake. At least I can test the actual yogurt product with him that way.

We will continue with nightly Epsom salt baths. I'll keep you all posted.

Monday, January 21, 2008

How I'm doing

I wanted to post a quick update about myself and about Clark.

As you know, we started the goat yogurt with Clark, and he kinda went nuts with the 1/8 tsp I gave him on two consecutive days. We've discontinued it since then, and it is taking a long time for him to get over it.

The fact that it is taking a long time is more evidence that he is probably reacting to the probiotics. Still, I need to figure out exactly what the problem is, so I am making a double batch of yogurt right now in order to drip it and make an SCD cheesecake. That will *really* destroy the probiotic content, and then I will know if he is reacting to the probiotics or the yogurt itself.

About me, though, I'm doing really well. More signs of gut dysfunction are showing themselves as I heal. For example, now I have my period, and I have 'D' as the SCDers like to refer to it.

This is interesting because my sister has tons of signs of gut dysfunction where I have none, and she always has D when she has her period. How about that. We have something in common (and that IS a miracle, people). :)

My swelling though is way way down. I can't remember a time when my hands were consistently this good. So I'm pretty happy. I do talk about my right hand having problems, but that's due to overuse. How do I know it's not the arthritis? Because icing it makes it feel better, and as most people with arthritis knows, ice is not awesome at all for arthritic joints.

I do still have to order some more Enbrel though. I'll do that today.

I am hoping that tonight I will finally be able to regale you with tales of yogurt making. I also have a new recipe to post -- an Asian dipping sauce. But I left the post-it on my desk at home so you will all have to wait! :)

Talk to you soon!

Sunday, January 20, 2008 marathon

OK, so this week's marathon is a little spotty. I started Friday night, since I was supposed to be writing my next Wonder Woman script, but my right hand was bothering me due to a lot of typing at work.

So. I decided I would make some Stage One Meatloaf with the rest of the ground beef I had. I found the photo I posted of the last ones! I think I will change the name now to Porcupine Meatloaf.

The right side is before baking. I covered both sides with onions after sticking in all the garlic cloves.

By the way, I made the meatloaf without adding egg to it, and it turned out fine. It was a bit crumbly while warm, but after it was refrigerated it behaved like any other cold meatloaf. I will put the egg as optional in the recipes.

Since I didn't want to just have the oven going for one pan of something (Ha! Remember the old days, when you would just cook ONE dish at a time in the oven?), I also put in a pan of chicken in with garlic and onion.

Then Jeffrey and I watched a bunch of TV, the timer went off, and I forgot to go get the food until it had been in there probably 30 minutes or so longer than it should have been. Fortunately, just the onions on top were burned. Whew! I also took out chicken parts to make soup the next day.

Saturday, we headed out early. We stopped at Whole Foods for almond butter and shortening (I wanted to grab some of the spectrum stuff in case I wanted to experiment with it), but they were out of the 365 brand almond butter. We picked up a similar jar, which we thought was $9 but it was actually $14. That took about 10 minutes to straighten out, but straighten it out we did.

Next, we hit Costco. I picked up a bag of Tyson chicken breasts, a package of ground sirloin patties, a container of fresh cut pineapple, a large bag of onions, and five dozen eggs, so it was a light trip for us. But! I found one of those digital thermometers with a probe, which I will now be using since my yogurt thermometer has proven to be inaccurate. I tested it in boiling water and it registered boiling at 195 degrees. Augh!

We went back home, and I was trying to decide what to do, since we were going to run a few more errands but we had to have lunch first, and I didn't want to disrupt my planned cooking too much. So as soon as we got home, I put a large dish of pineapple into the oven for two hours. I shooed Jeffrey out the door to go to In-n-Out, and when he came back there was still an hour to go, so my planning wasn't really perfect. I dozed on the couch while my kitty Zack crawled into my lap, because that's really all you can do when you're pinned down by 14 pounds of feline.

It was somewhere in this time, when Jeffrey was putting receipts into the checkbook, when we realized we finally had enough money to buy a Wii.

This was a little bit unprecedented. We had planned to get a package deal at some point, but the package deal had unfortunately sold out. However, we knew our local comic shop had them, and they were only slightly exorbitantly priced there.

We pondered, considering the money we'd saved and the bills we had. We promised that we would send the tax refund directly to the credit card. And then we went out to see if they had any left.

They did not, but they said more were coming within an hour. So we went over to Target and got a couple of games and the extra controllers we needed, and then we went back to pick up the Wii. Whee!

Obviously this kind of shot half the afternoon. We knew we wouldn't even be able to open the thing until Clark went to bed anyway. As soon as I got home I started chicken soup, realizing I was out of celery when I was ready to cook. Oh well, no celery then.

We played with the Wii a little bit at night, and I made the unfortunate discovery that playing the games will aggravate my wrist. Well, considering how much writing and crap I have to do, it's probably a good thing. Also, the Resident Evil game is kind of disappointing. I've been a fan of them since the beginning, since nothing relaxes me like blowing the heads off of zombies, but interspersed in the games is a lot of suspense and a fair number of puzzles that you have to figure out and work through. I always appreciated that. And this game has no puzzles at all, and very little suspense. You even have unlimited handgun ammo, which also robs some of the tension. As fans of the other games will attest, there's nothing as nerve-wracking as exploring a new area while knowing you're down to your last 14 bullets.

Not that great.

Anyway! Next, I made a pan of almond butter brownies. I made them with the egg replacer recipe on Pecanbread due to a desire for more egg free recipes expressed by my readers! Don't say I never did nothin' for ya!

For the egg replacer, I omitted the vinegar and I should have omitted the baking soda that's already in the recipe, due to the fact that each egg replaced has a teaspoon of baking soda, but otherwise they were pretty decent. They were very cake-like but they held together pretty well once refrigerated. Plus, I got to lick the bowl, and that's almost worth the price of admission right there!

And that was Saturday. See how I'm not really getting that much done? Sigh. During Saturday night, I made an interesting discovery. You know how I was talking about peeling all that garlic? Well, the garlicky acids or whatever ended up physically burning my left index finger. Someone had warned me this could happen, but I was having a heck of a time wondering why cutting up a lemon was burning the crap out of my finger. It's not visible or anything, but anything acidy or tomato-ey is all WHOA OW.

On to Sunday! First I made mayo, and I cooled the mixture before putting it in the blender, but I still ended up ruining the mayo. After being really mad about it, I made another batch with REALLY cooled off cooked mayo, and that worked like a charm. So make sure you really cool off the cooked part before you make it! It will save you time, sanity, and whichever oil you deem to use in the mayo!

We then went to the regular grocery store for goat milk, sparking water, spinach, gelatic, squash, and decaf coffee. Ever since starting this, I've become pretty sensitive to caffeine, which wounds me greatly. Being a picky sort when it comes to coffee, I am secretly insisting that I must get a decaf version of each coffee that matches the caffeinated ones I have so that I can do half and half without sacrificing taste. So, I have two bags of Dunkin Donuts coffee, so I went out and got a bag of Dunkin Donuts decaf. Oh DD, when will you come to SoCal and make my life here complete? This former Midwestern girl misses you so. I hear they are coming, which is why I can now buy DD coffee at the grocery store, so I cannot wait!

Oh, and at the grocery store I bought spinach in bags, because I bought spinach at Smart-n-Final and it came in this 3-pound brick from Mexico:

A more appetizing brick, I have not seen. May be used for construction in any climate zone with permafrost.

Since it took approximately 1,024 years to thaw, I decided I would get the kind in bags despite the fact that the bags are slightly more expensive.

I came back home and did a bunch of dishes while Clark had lunch and Jeffrey went to In-n-Out. I started a pot of green beans to boil, and when Jeffrey came back I started ketchup. In order to have enough for the week, I use two huge cans of tomato juice and 1 cup of vinegar and let it boil forever all alone by its lonesome. I don't stir and stir anymore.

I then prepared another pan of chicken breasts and another pan of hamburgers, and those are in the oven now, but I forgot to set a timer so now I will have to guess when they are done. LOL.

Now I gotta get my yogurt started, and after the beans are done, I will be able to make two pans of egg bread. I'll also probably hard boil some eggs for breakfast next week.

I'm going to post about my yogurt making, I swear. Probably next post. With more photos! And stuff! See ya!

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

The new plan

Well, Clark didn't seem all that much better in the morning, so we decided we were going to give him a couple days to get over the yogurt adventure we've been having. I want to be sure it's the probiotics making him crazy, so here is what I am going to do. I am going to freeze a small amount of the yogurt and give it to him. If he goes crazy, he doesn't tolerate the yogurt itself. If he doesn't, then it's the probiotics that are making him nuts, which is kind of a good sign.

We'll work it out. I'm sure. :)

I was Ms. Energizer Bunny yesterday...just kept going and going.

I left the house at 6:20 a.m. and made it to work by 7. I ended up working overtime, and I left at about 4:30.

I walked in the door and immediately made myself some dinner, since Clark and my husband were already eating. I also made my lunch for the next day.

I knew we were out of almond butter brownies, so I mixed those up and stuck them in the oven. I then took Clark to the bathroom for his epsom salt bath and hung out with him for 20 minutes while he had fun playing.

Came out and realized the almond butter brownies were burning. I made a double batch and tried lining a cookie sheet with foil (I couldn't find the parchment right away) and they cook quite a bit faster that way! I pulled them out and pulled the foil with the brownies in it out of the pan and set them on the kitchen table so they would stop cooking faster.

Got him out, dried and in his pajamas. Had a bit of a meltdown during story time. I'd forgotten to have him go poop before bed, and he didn't want to go, so he screamed. Ow, my ears. But he did go, because we rule with an iron fist around here. LOL.

After he made it to bed, I cut up the almond butter brownies and separated them into totally edible, kind of burned, and REALLY burned. I saved the really burned ones for myself. :) Then my husband and I worked on our side business for an hour or so. Afterwards, we managed to watch the second half of the Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles pilot, so that was nice. We also watched some Daily Show and Colbert Report that we'd saved for when we had time.

Next I recorded lines for an hour. I do voice acting for Pendant Audio. And by that time it was past 11, which is WAY past my bedtime. Whew!

I am grateful, so grateful, that I am able to do these things. The first year I had RA, I couldn't do anything at all, pretty much. So I'm happy. Tired, but happy!

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Yay and boo

OK, so remember I was talking about the epsom salt bath? It really did the trick. Clark slept through the night! Yay!

The only other problem? It seems that the two days of constant stimming reminded him of all of his previous bad behavior.

So he remembered about yelling, and running around on the school bus, and chasing our cats...oi.

The tentative plan right now is to give him 1/8 tsp at breakfast tomorrow and a salt bath at night, rinse, repeat.

We'll see how it goes. And we'll also see how taking away toys and privileges works for the behavior.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Cooking marathon, epsom salt baths, and dripping goat yogurt

OK, so I haven't posted in WAY too long. I was waiting, you see. I wanted to regale you with tales of yogurt making, but I don't have my pictures ready yet. I apologize.

This weekend, though, of course I had another cooking marathon. It was mostly fun, and Saturday was spent making a whole bunch of chicken soup, along with two big pans of chicken breasts. I then threw in a Pyrex dish full of pineapple, and I cooked that for two hours. An hour in, I tossed in six 1/3 pound ground sirloin patties from Costco. While all of that was going on, I boiled a big pot of carrots. On Sunday I made two batches of egg bread so Clark would be set for school, too.

So I was pretty set on meats for the week.

I also made a double batch of ketchup, and ruined the mayo yet again. But reader Kim chimed in and told me that I need to COOL it before adding it to the blender. Perhaps I will stop having so many problems if I do that. Meh. Thanks for the tip, Kim!

So, the yogurt was a success, even though I fretted over it for 24 hours. I will post the process once I have the photos. I chilled it, put it in the fridge, and tasted it.

OK, so I wasn't exactly thrilled. It tasted like cottage cheese and lemon juice, except not as good. I put some honey on it but I didn't much like that. Strangely, I liked mixing it with ketchup better.

So I went ahead and started with 1/4 tsp. Then I went to 1/2. When I hit 1 tsp, I got really irritable so I figured it was working. I decided to drip the yogurt for better tolerance, so I grabbed a small glass jar, a plastic funnel, and a coffee filter. I put the filter in the funnel, stuck it over the jar, and poured some of the yogurt in. Now I'm using the dripped stuff and increasing again and I'm OK.

Since it didn't kill me, I figured I could try it out with Clark. I gave him 1/8 tsp. He woke up at 2:30 a.m. and didn't go back to sleep, but I didn't immediately tie it with the yogurt. The next day, same amount, and the same thing happened. He was also stimming like CRAZY. It was insanity. The humming, the rocking, the crawling, the head was almost too much to deal with. But I was pretty sure it was die-off that he was experiencing, not a reaction to the yogurt, so I was determined to persevere somehow. At least he liked it. He keeps asking for more.

Today I decided I would give him a break from the yogurt and we ran an epsom salt bath for him. We just put 2 cups of salts in a bath and let him soak in it for about 20 minutes.

Then we got him ready for bed. Right before we were going to read his bedtime story, he said to me, very seriously, "The water made me feel better."

My mouth physically dropped open. I said, "It did?"

He looked at me seriously. "Yeah." He went to sleep and seemed MUCH more calm, so I am hoping for the best right now.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

The 2 percent rule

I admit that the main reason for my research is that I am, by nature, someone who is distrustful of the status quo.

Can you blame me? All my life I've been from doctor to doctor to doctor. I've had asthma, allergies, stress fractures...I've experienced a lifetime in partnership with a body that, frankly, hasn't worked all that well at times.

After I was diagnosed with an autoimmune disease, I failed on standard therapies -- big time. I did my own research, and got better. Hmm. Once I figured out that my doctor did NOT, in fact, know everything, I became a bit dangerous I suppose.

And then after my son was diagnosed with autism, I thought I could probably do better than those experts who were managing my son's care -- and I did.

So when I joined Pecanbread and started SCD, a few individuals were tossing around this much hailed 2 percent rule.

This rule, as told to me, is that manufacturers don't have to tell you if there is 2 percent or less of an ingredient in a store-bought food product.

I was curious as to the origin of this little gem, so I went poking around the Internet. I figured this was something I could easily find, since it seemed to be a rather widespread notion.

But on my first few passes, I found nothing at all.


So I started looking a bit further, a bit further and...I landed on some materials from the FDA about food labeling. Cool.

The first page I found here explains in very plain English about labeling laws for food. It explains that ingredients must be listed in order of predominance by weight.

Thus, whatever weighs the most is listed first. Whatever weighs the least is listed last.

OK. Fine. Got that. But no mention of this 2 percent business.

Onward. I found a page that was a sort of op-ed that talked about food labeling and how it affects the Jewish community, in regards to finding kosher foods. Kosher foods were such a godsend. It was so easy to find dairy free stuff with that little Kosher Pareve thing on it back in the day! But I digress.

I didn't really read that page, but it mentioned the 2 percent rule as a mythical thing, sort of like unicorns. But it cited a source! *happy dance*

The source was listed like so:

21 CFR 101.4(a)

Hmm, that's not really plain English. OK, let's keep going. Oh hey, if you go back to the first link I posted, there's this itty bitty little link under the title that says...

Food Labeling CFR References.

And right there are all of those source code thingies! So if you click on the code in get a big long page but here's the important part:

(2) The descending order of predominance requirements of paragraph (a)(1) of this section do not apply to ingredients present in amounts of 2 percent or less by weight when a listing of these ingredients is placed at the end of the ingredient statement following an appropriate quantifying statement, e.g., “Contains _ percent or less of ___” or “Less than _ percent of ___.” The blank percentage within the quantifying statement shall be filled in with a threshold level of 2 percent, or, if desired, 1.5 percent, 1.0 percent, or 0.5 percent, as appropriate. No ingredient to which the quantifying phrase applies may be present in an amount greater than the stated threshold.

So what does that mean to YOU?

It does not mean that ingredients with less than 2 percent do not have to be listed. It says that they ARE listed...but they don't have to be in order of weight once they get to that small of an amount.

So basically, the whole 2 percent rule is pretty much fallacy.

Does that mean that we can just trust food labels willy nilly then?

Come on, you didn't think it would be that easy, did you? Nah, of course not!

Here's item 7 from that first link I posted, which states, "Is it necessary to declare trace ingredients?"

It depends on whether the trace ingredient is present in a significant amount and has a function in the finished food. If a substance is an incidental additive and has no function or technical effect in the finished product, then it need not be declared on the label. An incidental additive is usually present because it is an ingredient of another ingredient. Sulfites are considered to be incidental only if present at less than 10 ppm.

OK, pardon me, but it says that if something is added that has no function or technical effect in the product, then why the hell would it be there in the first place?

But ingredient of another ingredient, that I get. That's why you can't buy most products "from concentrate" because who the heck knows went into the concentrate? Sugar? Flavorings? Babies?

Thankfully there's another reference which directs you to another boring page that talks about EXEMPTIONS in food labeling laws! Huzzah!

So, one of the points on said boring page is as follows:

Substances that have no technical or functional effect but are present in a food by reason of having been incorporated into the food as an ingredient of another food, in which the substance did have a functional or technical effect.

Mhmm. So a starch or sweetener can be added to an ingredient. A simple example? A soup that lists garlic powder as an ingredient, but doesn't mention that starch was added to the garlic powder so it wouldn't cake together.

So while the 2 percent rule is a little simplistic, and kind of inaccurate, it STILL doesn't mean it's safe to open up your canned tomatoes, kids. Sorry.

Food safety (part one of...hmm, don't know)

Many people who are just starting out on SCD don't realize why it's so important to make your own foods. Why can't we just trust that the applesauce is 100 percent apples? Or that juice is 100 percent juice? Or canned tomatoes?

There are a variety of laws which allow manufacturers to add things to products without telling you, or to conveniently leave out things that are dangerous. A contributor on the Pecanbread Yahoo! group recently said that Elaine Gottschall, who wrote Breaking the Vicious Cycle, had seen this firsthand. In the manufacturing process, it is accepted practice to add sugars to certain batches of tomato products in order to 'balance' the flavor -- without listing it on the label. That is why canned tomato products are illegal.

I have been trying to research food law, without much success, but I did come across something interesting. In March of 2006, the House passed a controversial food safety bill that would nullify state laws, which in many cases are stronger than what the FDA has in place.

For example, Prop 65, which was passed in California in 1986, would have been nullified. The proposition requires labeling on foods and products that contain carcinogens (cancer-causing agents) or potential carcinogens.

Due to that legislation, bottled water companies cut arsenic levels. Bakers stopped using potassium bromate, a potential carcinogen which is banned in many countries, in their products. States stepped up, and our food supply is safer (at least in California) because companies were afraid of being slapped with that label.

The bill passed the House with flying colors. Of course the food lobby was delighted. Luckily, the bill's run through the Senate was not successful.

As I find out more about food labeling laws, I will keep you all posted.

Monday, January 7, 2008

And another marathon...

Sunday was my cooking marathon day, since we had just returned from our trip to Idaho.

I did something new, my dear readers. I set off the carbon monoxide detector!

Now, it wasn't anything serious. I live in an apartment with a broken oven. Only two burners work, and the oven part is missing half the seal, so there's a lot of heat (and presumably gas) leakage. And since the apartment is small, the CO detector is like four feet away from the oven, which you probably should not do.

I had been running the oven for somewhere in the neighborhood of...oh, six hours I guess? I boiled two big pans of veggies, one of carrots and one of beans while I baked a double batch of almond butter brownies in the oven. I then made two pans of egg bread. After that, I made two meatloaves. Oh all right, I'll post the recipe, but it really wasn't anything special. Note to everybody: Don't use cheap ground beef. Just don't. You will be much happier if you use something better than that. Don't be like me.


2 cups green beans, water squeezed out (after measuring)
2 cups carrots, water squeezed out (after measuring)
1 to 1 1/2 lbs ground beef
1 egg
1 tsp salt
Garlic cloves and onion

Mix with hands. Yes, it will be wet. Pat into a loaf shape and place into a pan that can catch the grease and/or water. I used a Pyrex dish and a LOT of liquid came out of these puppies, but I also used cheap meat so that may have something to do with it. So be warned.

Peel the garlic cloves and then stick little pieces of them all over the meatloaf, deep enough so they stay, but not so deep you can't pick them out later, because you can't eat garlic on stage one. Your meatloaf will look like a multicolored porcupine, and your family members will likely mock you. That is OK.

Quarter the onion and liberally cover the entire meatloaf in onion pieces.

Bake at 400 degrees for an hour or until it looks done. Pull out the garlic and strip off the onion pieces before you eat it!! On stage one you can't eat that stuff. No, not even the crispy pieces. No. NO!

Mine took longer but I was sharing oven space with another meatloaf and a lasagna for hubby, so it was more like 90 minutes.

It will still need more salt, in my opinion. And you can serve it with SCD ketchup, which also has salt. So yay.

After the meatloaves were done, I started a pan of cooked pineapple. And that was when the CO detector went bleepity bleep, with a reading of 51. That is not that dangerous of a reading, but we dutifully shut off the oven and opened the door, and soon enough it dropped back down to 30 parts of death or whatever.

So. A shorter marathon cooking session, but a marathon nonetheless.

And! I have a surprise for you! I do I do I do. I am taking the plunge and making YOGURT RIGHT NOW! OMG I KNOW RIGHT? :)

So I will definitely post about that experience when it's done...which should be somewhere around midnight tomorrow. I had poor timing, but where I am suffering, you will not! For you will learn from the error of my ways, because I shall tell you about the error of mine!

Isn't this fun? It is, isn't it?

Seriously. I love it!

Saturday, January 5, 2008

Organization is a nice thing.

So as you may have noticed, I just made two new posts that have all the recipes I personally have been using so far.

In the Stage One list, I added a new recipe too, for a spinach frittata. Clark loves it!

I also put links in the side bar so the recipes are easily findable. OK? OK.

Now I go sleepy time now? Maybe? The trip to Idaho was rough, but the food stuff went off without a hitch. Huzzah.

Night, peeps!

STAGE TWO: Recipes

Same deal. I link, you visit, everybody's happy. Mkay? Mkay.

The Pecanbread Food Stages Chart! if you're interested.



Fresh pineapple spears or cut up yourself
Pyrex dish

Put some water in the bottom of the Pyrex dish. Not too much. Cover the Pyrex dish and cook at 400 degrees for 2 hours.

I cooked it uncovered, but I wasn't thrilled by how dry the parts not under water looked. That's why I put that you should cover it, because I should have! I turned the parts halfway through. You don't have to do that. But you can if you want.


SCD KETCHUP (my version, EGG FREE)

6 cups tomato juice (one big can)
1/2 cup white distilled vinegar

Mix the tomato juice and vinegar. Simmer until thickened. Add the honey and complete the cooking. Pour into a jar and refrigerate.

I put the juice and vinegar in my largest saucepan, with the lid on slightly askew. I simmer on medium heat for about an hour, checking on it every so often. I understand that Le Creuset type pans work well for this sort of thing. When I'm rich I will let you know. LOL.



1 c almond butter
1/2 tsp sea salt
1 egg (or 1/4 cup legal applesauce) (OR USE EGG REPLACER BELOW)
1/2 tsp SCD legal vanilla
1/2 tsp baking soda (OMIT IF USING EGG REPLACER)
1/3 cup honey (1/4 cup is about the minimum you can use and still have it taste somewhat sweet)

Mix by hand (it will get thick). Using a spatula, scrape it out of the bowl into an 8" square pyrex dish (no oil necessary). Bake at 350 for 35-40 minutes or until browned at the edges.


1 1/2 TBL water
1 1/2 TBL oil
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp vinegar (I did not use this for the brownies)



1/2 c almond butter
3 TBSP honey
2 TBSP coriander
3 TBSP oil
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp cumin (optional)

Mix and eat with chicken, or chicken and cooked pineapple. I think it is super tasty. Yay.


1 pound frozen spinach
8 oz white button mushrooms
1 pound ground beef
1 onion
6-7 garlic cloves
1 cup SCD ketchup

In a large saucepan, put the frozen spinach, mushrooms, garlic, and onion (quartered) with 2-3 cups of water. Cook until the water has reduced about half. Add the beef and cook through, reducing the liquid as much as possible. When it's done, stir in 1 cup of SCD ketchup. Add more ketchup if you like!


Take a large head of garlic and break it apart. You don't have to, but I think it makes things easier. Bigger cloves are easier to work with, too.

Take the big cloves and gather them up in a piece of foil. Don't peel them!

Bake at 400 degrees for about 45-50 minutes.

Wait until they are cool. Then, using a pair of kitchen shears, cut one end off each clove and squeeze out the garlic paste. You can use this in any recipe you want.


3-4 pounds turkey parts (I used thighs and drummettes)
2 large onions
7-8 garlic cloves
1-2 pounds baby carrots
4 stalks celery
1 pound frozen spinach
8 oz white button mushrooms, chopped
1 tsp sage
2 tsp salt

In a large stock pot, put the turkey parts on the bottom. Add the onions (quartered), garlic cloves, carrots, and celery (cut into 2-3 inch pieces). Add water to cover and simmer for four hours.

Add the frozen spinach and mushrooms, adding more water to cover. Add sage and salt. Cook for one more hour. Cool and remove the meat from the bones before storing. Also don't forget to remove the onion and celery, as this is stage two.

2 pounds ground beef
1 pound spinach
8 oz button mushrooms, chopped
1 cup dry red wine
1 large onion, quartered
5-6 garlic cloves
SCD ketchup

In a large saucepan, cook the spinach, mushrooms, garlic, onion, and red wine with 2 cups of water. Simmer until the liquid is completely gone. This will take a while -- probably about an hour. Some alcohol will remain in the dish, but not much -- about 25 percent at most (the equivalent of 1/4 cup of wine), and remember, this is spread out into two meatloaves. If you don't want to do this, try 1/2 cup Welch's grape juice instead. Tell me how it turns out. :)

Dump the mixture into a large mixing bowl and let it cool. Add the ground beef and mix together by hand until the vegetables are well incorporated. Separate the mixture and form into two loaves. Pour SCD ketchup on top to cover. Bake in a Pyrex dish at 400 degrees for about an hour and fifteen minutes. Makes two loaves.

I think the SCD ketchup is important to this recipe to keep the spinach from drying out on the outside. Clark loves this meatloaf, and I thought it was pretty good too.

3-4 pounds butternut squash
2 cups SCD legal applesauce
3-4 roasted garlic cloves (a paste)
1 cup water
1 tbsp cinnamon
1 tbsp coriander
1/8 tsp cloves
1 tsp salt

Bake the butternut squash in the oven until done. You can bake the squash whole if you like for about two hours at 400 degrees. Remove from oven, cut open if you haven't already, and let cool until you can handle it easily.

Put the cooked squash in your blender with the applesauce, water, garlic paste, cinnamon, coriander, cloves, and salt. Blend until well combined.

I tried it with ginger the time I made it before this time, but I didn't like it. I couldn't find my nutmeg so I will try that at some point too. Probably 1/2 teaspoon would be good.



1 cup almonds

Put the almonds in the blender. Add water to the four cup mark. Blend for 10 minutes.

I strained the almond pulp through a clean bandana. It worked very well. Do not try coffee filters. They will rip.

STAGE ONE: Recipes

I will edit this as I go, and link to it in the sidebar. OK? OK.

The Pecanbread Food Stages Chart! if you're interested.


Veggies should be very soft. Yes, some people do cook carrots for four hours. In my experience, that hasn't been necessary. I boil large quantities of baby carrots usually for an hour, 90 minutes tops. I check them with a butter knife. If I can easily slice one with a butter knife while it's floating in the boiling water, they're done.



Chicken legs and thighs, about 4 pounds or so
Ten peeled carrots or 1-2 pounds of baby carrots
1-2 onions
5-6 garlic cloves
4-5 stalks of celery

Get a big pot and fill it halfway with the chicken parts. Add peeled or baby carrots, chopped onion, garlic cloves, and celery. Fill pot with water until it almost covers the contents of the pot, but not quite as more water will cook out at the start.

Put a lid on it and simmer for 4 hours. You'll need to check it and add more water as it cooks. Take the meat off the bones, and throw away the onions, garlic, and celery on stage one because you can't eat it. On stage two you can leave the garlic in but you still have to throw away the other stuff.

After making the soup in this way, I added a teaspoon of sea salt and a teaspoon of sage. Next time I'll try adding the sage ahead of time, but spices sort of vanish when you cook something for four hours, so I'm not sure if it will make a difference. I ended up with a lot more chicken than necessary, so I separated out some of it to use for chicken salad later in the week.



1/4 cup egg white (egg white ONLY in the carton)
1/2 tsp ground mustard
1/2 tsp salt
1 tbsp vinegar
3/4 cup oil (approximate)
ear plugs (you can thank me later)

Dump the egg white, ground mustard, salt, and vinegar into your blender. Put your ear plugs on. Turn the blender on to HIGH and start adding the oil slowly. How slowly? Add it at a speed where you think you will possibly never ever be done with the mayo.

Keep adding it slowly, until the mixture starts to emulsify. If you look inside, at the beginning you will be able to see right to the bottom of the blender. Staring at the blade is kind of scary, so look away now and then.

You'll notice a difference in the sound as the mayo starts to glop together. Keep adding the oil slowly until it has glopped together to the point where you can't see the blade anymore - or if you can, it's intermittent.

Then stop the blender and you will have mayo! Safe mayo! Germ free mayo!

I have successfully doubled this recipe in the blender, and now that's the only way I'll make it.

Keeps for a week in the fridge, as long as you always dip into it with clean utensils. Safety first!


1 1/2 cups well cooked baby carrots (water squeezed out, seriously)
4 eggs
1 tsp SCD legal vanilla
1 tsp cinnamon (you should test this as a food)
4 tsp honey (optional)
1/4 tsp sea salt

Mash up the carrots with the other ingredients until it's as smooth as you'd like, or you can puree it. Fry in a skillet with a small amount of oil.

Makes about 9 pancakes.



2 cups pureed fruit or veggies (water squeezed out, seriously)
4 eggs
4 tsp oil (coconut was recommended; I used olive)
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp cinnamon
4 tsp honey (optional)
1/4 tsp sea salt

Mix together. Put in muffin tins with liners.

Bake at 400 for about 30 minutes. Makes 12.


BANANA PANCAKES (multiple sources)

1 very ripe banana
1 egg

Mix, fry, eat.



2 cans wild salmon, drained
5 eggs
1 tbsp lemon juice or vinegar

Mix, fry. It's not the best recipe, but it's OK when you have nothing else on hand. :)


Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Happy New Year! marathon cooking!

New Year's Eve was mostly uneventful. The husband and I settled down to watch a bunch of season 9 Seinfeld, which was a Merry Christmas to Us gift as a result of receiving gift cards. Whee!

Five minutes before midnight, we stood out on our balcony. We could hear a few people counting down, and then a shout of "Happy New Year!" which might be the cutest thing I've ever heard on New Year's. Then there were a lot of bangs, some of which were undoubtedly people firing guns into the air, because I live in a slightly ghetto neighborhood in Los Angeles.

Ah well.

So I kissed my hubby and we went to bed.

Earlier in the evening, I cooked two pans of chicken breasts in preparation for the marathon of New Year's day. So at least I'd done that.

My darling Jeffrey let me sleep in (wonder of wonders!) and cooked Clark some eggs for breakfast. Whew. I staggered out and started figuring out what I was going to need to get done.

First: ketchup. I've given up on my stir-and-stir-till-I-go-insane method and tossed my largest stock pot on the burner with a full can of Campbell's tomato juice and 1/2 a cup of vinegar in it. Forgot to add a little honey. Oh well! Put the lid on slightly askew and left it to simmer.

Next I made mayo. My first batch failed. Don't add the oil so fast, people! It is so not worth it! To make up for the failed batch, I made another one. And then my ears were starting to hurt from the blender. So Jeffrey held his hands over my ears while I made the third batch. Whatta guy. I'm going to buy earplugs and I will encourage you all to do the same.

At this point I checked the ketchup and it was done. I ran a load of dishes too.

Third, a double batch of almond butter brownies. I don't like a double batch in a 9 x 13 pan. I don't know why, but I don't like the thickness of them. So I used my 8 x 8 pan and put six foil and three paper cupcake liners in a muffin pan and did it that way. While they were baking, we started packing and looking for clothing to bring to Idaho. We realized we had to do some laundry. In went a load of clothes.

The muffin-like ones kind of burned a little but they were still edible. The 8 x 8 pan was fine. Hooray. Out they came to sit on the counter.

I started to mix up some chicken salad from the mayo. I should have been making egg bread at that point but I got a little sidetracked. By then it was lunchtime anyway, so Clark got food and Jeffrey went to In-n-Out while I got my act together. Since Clark finished off the jello we had, I made a half batch of jello for dinner and stuck that in the fridge. Clark helpfully told me that I'd forgotten to put the clothes in the dryer.

You know, it's bad enough when they start getting bossy. It's even worse when they're right.

He then told me that I'd forgotten to 'do the lint' on the dryer. He was also right about that. -_- OK, so it's clear he's fully recovered from the candy cane incident!

I used all the egg whites that I had left over from the mayo to make myself a sort of omelette out of cooked pineapple and almond butter and salt. It was weird. No, that is not really a recipe. No, I am not sharing it. However I did play with the pineapple and I figured out that baking it (I did so last night) works pretty good.


Fresh pineapple spears or cut up yourself
Pyrex dish

Put some water in the bottom of the Pyrex dish. Not too much. Cover the Pyrex dish and cook at 400 degrees for 2 hours.

I cooked it uncovered, but I wasn't thrilled by how dry the parts not under water looked. That's why I put that you should cover it, because I should have! I turned the parts halfway through. You don't have to do that. But you can if you want.

So. After eating we went out because we had to get travel bottles and soft sided coolers for our trip. We did that. OK. I got new jeans, yay! My other ones had a hole. By the crotch. And I couldn't find the patches that I'd used to patch all of my son's ripped pants. So I whined and complained and I got some clearance jeans as a result. Don't say complaining never gets you anything! :P

Home! We packed some more. I made two pans of egg bread. And then two more pans of egg bread. Clark is of course going out of his mind now because we are going to go on an AIRPLANE which in his mind is something like MEETING ELVIS should he have been born forty years earlier or so.

Then I hard boiled...11 eggs, and boiled more carrots, because I had run out.

Then I made a pan of hamburgers.

Got the monster to bed. He actually went to sleep. Hooray. I sat down and figured out most of my meals and exactly what I was going to carry on the plane. Got everything figured out reasonably, and also realized I should make some carrot pancakes. At least by then the carrots were done.

I made 15 carrot pancakes, and that was all I could make because the five dozen eggs I'd purchased were all gone, which signified the END of my cooking spree.

And here I am, done! Finally! And we get up at 4 a.m. so...I guess I'd better take a shower and get to bed soonish.

I am going to reorganize my recipes for YOU! Soon!

See ya next week. :)