Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Merry Christmas!

I hope you all had a wonderful holiday. We did! Although I really need to make mayo. Sometimes I can't even look at another piece of plain chicken with olive oil. LOL.

I wanted to talk a little bit about prep time when it comes to cooking. I've been getting a little more adventurous in the kitchen, and I've realized the value of prep.

You know how when you watch a cooking show, everything is measured out ahead of time in cute little bowls? Veggies are chopped and ready to go, and eggs are pre-broken?

Well I learned there's a reason for that! :)

For some recipes, you do need to do actual prep. It makes the cooking process go much more smoothly. I can't even tell you the times I was sweating that I wouldn't have enough time to chop up the chicken before the onions burned. It was a very "duh!" moment for me.

But don't worry! It's not hard, and I promise you don't need a cute little set of matchy bowls to do it. So if a recipe requires prep, I will describe the best way to go about it.

Plus I have a willing sous chef... my son! His auntie Cathy bought him his very own Spongebob apron for Christmas, so he's ready to go in the kitchen this year!

We'll talk again soon. Promise. :)

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Long time no post and cooking marathon!

I actually wrote this post a few weeks ago. I apologize, as my life seems to always be crazy.

I'm going to spend some time evaluating the blog while I'm on vacation. I really do want to keep up with this more, but making it a priority has been a challenge... especially when you read the rest of this post!

I hope you're all doing well and having a good holiday season. :)


My husband and I own a pretty large and successful podcasting company and so occasionally we go to comic conventions to promote said company. Since my son and I are on SCD, you can imagine this complicates things.

Not only do I have to bring food to the convention, but I have to have things sufficiently prepared so that we don’t starve for the week following said weekend. With no cooking time for most of the day Saturday and Sunday, things have to be planned in advance.

So Friday I needed to take the day off from work because I had to get all the food together for the weekend and upcoming week. I started cooking a little before 8 a.m. I put carrots on to steam, butternut squash in the oven, and a large beef roast in the crock pot. The squash would take over an hour, so I wanted to be sure that it would be done before we started running errands.

Once the carrots and squash were finished, I left them to cool and we went out. We went to a couple of other stores and then Costco. First we got gas for the car and then went in to get a few things, mainly for Jeffrey although I needed some of Costco’s awesome organic eggs and fresh pineapple as well.

Got back home, put the food away, and had lunch. I also managed to make some script edits I needed to make for one of our podcast productions.

Back out to get an oil change, and then we went to Jons, which always has incredible prices on meats. I picked up nine pounds of bone-in chicken breasts for 99 cents a pound, and I got six pounds of ground beef for meat loaf as well. I don’t know how much I paid for the beef but it was under 2.99 a pound.

Back home again, and I put the chicken in the oven. I knew it would take about an hour, maybe longer, and I was starting to worry because it had to be done, cooled and put away before I left at 5:20 p.m. The chicken was done a little after 4 p.m. and it was cool enough for me to pull all the meat off the bones at 5 p.m. So I managed to BARELY make this deadline.

My husband also managed to chop up the peppers I wanted to put in the meatloaf during this time. Yay. So those were chopped and put in the fridge for later.

I turned off the crock pot just before we walked out the door since I knew it would take hours for the roast to cool off.

Off to my son’s school, where I volunteered for the fall festival from 5:30 to 7 p.m. My son had a super time! I had fun too. :)

Back home! I asked Jeffrey to help me mix the meatloaf because somehow I’d managed to cut my thumb on something and having an open wound with raw meat didn’t seem like a very good idea. :/ He concurred and I measured out all the spices and got the eggs for him and such.

So we got the meatloaf in the oven right after getting back home. I knew it would take an hour. It was done just about the time my son had to go to bed. I pulled it out to cool and I knew I was out of time as far as cooking went, because nothing else would cool off in time. While it cooled I put the beef roast, carrots and butternut squash away. Yes, I left the carrots and squash out all day. Yes, they’ll be fine. Really. I do it all the time. :)

Saturday was crazy because I had to pack up our meals for the convention AND get myself ready within an hour, and I got confused and thought I would have more time to do it. Sigh. I don’t know how I managed to get everything done within an hour, but I did it! We were gone all day as the convention was from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. I went to panels, networked with people, and chatted comics and podcasts, which is exhausting in its own way. I brought enough food for lunch and dinner for both me and my son and it worked out pretty well.

After getting home and going through all the bedtime routine stuff with the kid, I made brownies because there was no other time for me to do it.

Sunday we were gone all day again, but the convention ended at 5 so we only needed to bring lunch. There was plenty of food in the refrigerator when we got back, so while my son had dinner, I put the pineapple in as soon as we got home because again, there was no other time to do it really. It takes 90 minutes to cook pineapple so it was done and cool by bedtime, which is when I asked my husband to please put it away because I was so tired of messing with food. He did so cheerfully. LOL.

And now it’s Monday and I’m at work, and next weekend is another convention so we’re going to do it all again.

But because of my planning, we have brownies and pineapple done for the week, plus beef roast, chicken and meatloaf – which should last us through Friday.

Of course the food will be running out by then. I have half a day off on Friday, but no car, so I’m going to have to work out what my husband will need to pick up for us before then…

Onward. :)

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

The way things are

It's been a long time since I made an update, and I figure I should address a few things.

When I'm in pain or going through a hard time, I hide. I withdraw. I don't talk about what I'm going through and I shut down. I ignore people who care about me. OK, maybe ignore isn't the right word. I sort of... go inside myself. And I've been doing that far too much lately.

At the end of May I sprained my foot. Nothing traumatic really happened; I walked around Disneyland all day and night in flip flops and at the end of it I noticed my foot was swelling. Two weeks went by and it didn't really get any better, so I went to a sports doctor. First I was in a walking boot, and then athletic shoes. Due to rheumatoid arthritis, I hadn't really worn closed shoes because they're uncomfortable so I had to actually go buy some!

Even after seeing a sports doctor and then a podiatrist, I'm still not to the point where I can walk for long distances. So far they have been telling me that injuries like this take a long time to heal and that's about all they can say. I was not happy with the doctors I saw and so I won't be going to them anymore. I can't encourage this enough -- if you are not happy with your doctor, change doctors! You and your insurance pays them so they work for YOU.

Anyway, due to the situation, I got very depressed for a while. I felt like I couldn't do anything, and not being able to walk much made my arthritis worse. For those of you with RA, you know that sitting around doing nothing is just about the worst thing you can do.

However, I do have a little bit of good news. I finally remembered that my place of employment has a free gym, so I popped in there and used the recumbent bike for 20 minutes.

That really improved my mood. I was feeling really good at the end of the day. The next day I walked about three quarters of a mile round trip to 7-11 from my work as well.

I also decided to see a physical therapist. My first appointment is Friday. My rheumatologist (who I AM very happy with) recommended it because my left elbow joint is stuck -- I cannot fully extend that arm and I haven't been able to for upwards of six months. This makes me really unhappy so I'm hoping that the physical therapist will have some ideas as to what I can do to un-stick it.

So. Hard times for me, I guess. On the upside, my son has started fourth grade and is doing great! He does have an aid again but things seem to be going a lot better this year. His behavior is great at school and rocky at home -- exactly what we want to see.

I have much to be thankful for, and I need to remember that. :)

So! That's where I am right now. I hope to post something a little happier and possibly food related soon. :)

Saturday, May 14, 2011

I'm always apologizing...

Sorry, guys. I made a loooong post and blogger ATE IT! And I was so mad I didn't come back here for a while. Because I'm mature like that.

My refrigerator is broken and I'm eating out of a cooler this weekend. Meh. The repair person won't be here until Monday, and I felt like I just wasn't strong enough to say, "Hey. My son and I have many food intolerances, so is there any way you can get a repair person over here today to look at it?" Although they did want me to unplug the fridge for 24 hours and then plug it back in, and we did that (we plugged it back in a few minutes ago. So we'll see if that helps. If not, I'll be acquiring a new fridge on Monday.

I guess I could tell you how I coped with the news. Once I realized the refrigerator portion was a goner (the freezer was still working), I stayed up until midnight and cooked ten pounds of ground beef and scrambled two dozen eggs. I let it all cool down as much as possible, and then I put it all in the freezer in single-layer bags or single serving bags so everything wouldn't stick together. It was all reasonably frozen in the morning, so I stocked the cooler with all of that plus what few ice packs and frozen food we already had in the freezer. So far most of the food is still frozen, so that's good. The biggest loss was my husband's organic milk, which was a real shame, but other than that, we were mainly out of food (I had bought the ground beef just hours before), so I think we're pretty fortunate, all things considered.

Tonight I'll evaluate the cooler. We may need to go out and get ice as the food level goes down, and I have a LOT of food in the cooler, so I think we'll be OK. If I do have to go get some food, I can cook it, cool it down, and then put it back in the cooler too. I really had to think about what I was going to do if things got too warm and I was really freaking out, but now that I know my options, I'm OK.

I hope you're all having a better weekend than I am! :)

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Perfect carrot pancakes

OK, now, I know that if you are on the SCD diet, you have probably made carrot pancakes.

But nobody told you how to make PERFECT carrot pancakes, now did they?

I thought not.

So! Here is how you do it.


6-8 eggs
1/2-3/4 cup carrot puree, squished
cinnamon or allspice

This recipe is super forgiving. Find the ratio that works best for you.

What I do for the carrot puree is very simple. I take cooled, steamed carrots, fold up some paper towels, and squish them. Yep, I take big handfuls of carrots and moosh them up in the paper towels. The paper towels absorb some of the water and that works just fine.

I plop the puree in a bowl and break the eggs on top of it. Then I add honey, spices and salt to taste (do less; you can always add more later!), and I beat the whole mess with an electric mixer.

How long do I beat them for? Until they start to look kind of opaque from the egg whites getting all whipped up nicely.

Now, once they're all whipped up nice, remember that the bits of carrot will tend to fall to the bottom of the bowl. So when you're dipping out ladlefuls of your batter, make sure you get down to the bottom so that you keep getting that perfect egg/carrot ratio. OK? Good!

Here's what your not so cooked pancake will look like. I hope you have a nice high quality nonstick pan, or you're going to need a lot of oil. The pancakes tend to absorb a LOT of oil, so be aware.

See how nice and opaque-ish it looks? That's what you want!

You will want to carefully turn the pancake when you are pretty sure it's done. It will have dry-ish bubbles in the middle as it cooks, much like real pancakes.

Now it is time to turn your pancake!

By the way, it is VERY hard to make several of these pancakes in one pan. I recommend using an 8" pan and making one pancake at a time, with approximately 1/3 to 1/2 cup batter. You will know when you have used too much. It will not be pretty.

However, if you DID use the right amount, and you DID succeed in perfectly flipping your perfect pancake...

Here is what it should look like:

Now pat yourself on the back for a job well done, and then make a dozen more.

Because your child is going to eat them all. At once. :)

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Roasted tomato soup

OK, I know, it's been three weeks! *pulls hair* I've been ridiculously busy, but I know, I always say that. It's wearing thin, even if it's true. :)

I made this soup! It was soooooo good! Of course it's good; it's a recipe by Gordon Freakin' Ramsay!

The recipe is available for free here, although you'll have to do a little bit of conversion. Not much though.

I actually bought a Gordon Ramsay cookbook. I can make a surprising number of his recipes, since they focus on real, fresh food.

You guys, this soup is SO AMAZING. Seriously. It's like you died and went to tomato heaven.

I took pictures, but none of them came out. I stink.

This soup does take some effort, but it's so worth it! If you have to throw a little dinner party, I highly recommend this!

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Valentine's day cookies

My son had his Valentine's day party on Friday because they have no school this Monday.

I wanted him to have a treat to take to school, since at his school it's popular to send kids home with mounds of junk food each holiday. :( And no, the school doesn't distribute this crap -- it's his classmates.

Clark REALLY wanted to have heart-shaped cookies. I swear to you, I have not picked up a cookie cutter since before Clark was born, but I dutifully dug out my large ziplock bag of cutters from the old days.

And lo, I did find a tiny heart! And a wonderful recipe for Star Cookies from Elana's pantry.

NOTE: I did make some substitutions -- unblanched Trader Joe's almond flour instead of blanched, honey for the agave nectar, and I don't put any frosting or anything on the cookies. I also used mostly palm shortening with a little bit of coconut oil. Also, my son can't have vanilla and he does not do well with cinnamon, so I just used some allspice.

Some other tips: You don't have to roll these out between parchment. I just patted the dough down to the appropriate thickness on a piece of foil and cut them out that way. I also thought the dough tasted a bit salty before baking, but the cookies didn't taste too salty after they were baked at all. So don't worry about that.

They turned out great and they were DELICIOUS. Not that I ate any of my son's cookies, of course. I mean, what kind of mother would I be if I found out they go great with coffee?!

(They do, of course.) :)

Have a great Valentine's day!!

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Pork roast!

I have spent many hours trying to perfect a simple pork roast.

Pork is a delicious and yet cruel meat. If you put it in your crock pot on high, it overcooks. If you keep it in the oven too long, it overcooks. If you cook it at too high of a temperature, it overcooks.

If you look at it sideways, it overcooks.

You must combat its natural tendencies to turn dry and tough. Here are some ways you can do this:

1. Use proper kitchen tools. By this I mean a thermometer with an electronic readout that will survive being in the oven. I have one, and it is FABULOUS. It is well worth the $20-$30 to save your meat from being inedible!

2. However long you THINK it will cook... subtract at least 30 minutes. Check it. Then keep checking, and keep checking.

3. Don't be afraid to let the meat rest! I know, your inner germophobe is screaming at you. How can you possibly take the meat out of the oven before it registers on the thermometer that it is safe to eat?

Because MEAT IS MAGIC, people. And you must always obey the laws of magic. And science.

OK, so here's how it's done.

1 boneless pork loin roast, 4-5 pounds
1 tbsp scd legal garlic powder
2 tbsp scd legal onion powder
2 tsp ground rosemary
1 tbsp salt
1 tsp pre-ground pepper
olive oil

cider vinegar and 1/2 c vegetable broth (optional)

Mix up all of the spices together. Score the fat side of your pork roast with a sharp knife and really sprinkle the roast well with all the spices, rubbing them in.

Preheat your oven to 325 degrees. Brown your pork roast really well on all sides in an oven-safe pan with a little bit of olive oil. Once it's all nice and browned like the photo above, turn the roast so that the fat side is facing up and then stick the whole pan in the oven.

Set your timer for 45 minutes and then put your nice oven-safe thermometer right in the middle of the roast. Put it back in the oven until the temperature registers 150 degrees. A little higher than that is OK but if it gets past 155, it's going to overcook.

Here's where the magic comes in: Take the pan out of the oven. Leave the roast with the thermometer in it until the temperature gets to 155 degrees.

Final temperature after resting: 155 to 160 should be OK.

The last roast I made went to 162 degrees and honest to God, it was overdone. My fault -- I took it out when the thermometer said 155, and the temperature then rose to 162. Overdone.

Most frustrating, but really, I can only blame myself for ignoring the laws of magic meat. So TAKE YOUR ROAST OUT AT 150 I BEG YOU.

Now for the optional part: Take the roast out of the pan and set it on a plate. Heat up your nice oven-safe pan on a burner (which should be full of yummy juices at this point). Pour in 1-2 tablespoons cider vinegar, and then 1/2 cup of vegetable stock. Simmer until it reduces a bit, and you should have a really nice sauce for your pork. Taste it and adjust seasoning if necessary, and you can even stir in a couple of tablespoons of coconut milk if you want it to be a little creamy.

Yum and done!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Turkey sausage

I love this sausage!

I am pretty proud of this recipe, because I put it together myself from a bunch of different sources. It's soooo good, seriously!


3 pounds ground turkey
1 tbsp plus 1 tsp salt
1 tsp ground fennel
2 tsp pre-ground pepper
1 tbsp scd legal granulated onion
1 tsp scd legal garlic
1/2 tsp ground celery
2 tsp allspice
1 tbsp coriander
1/2 tsp nutmeg
2 tbsp honey

Mix sausage and make your sausage logs (see below). Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. You're going to cook these for 40-50 minutes or until your meat thermometer says 165 degrees. I stick the thermometer right through the foil into the middle of the logs, and then I just keep an eye out for foil bits once they're done.

When they ARE done, let them rest without unwrapping them for at least 45 minutes.

OK, let's get to the actual sausage-making part. :)

First, you need to prep your work area. I'll give you my bulk cooking tips, although you might prefer to make less the first time or two, just to see how it goes.

Usually when I make this, I make six pounds at a time. I do this by measuring out spices twice -- in a small container and in a large bowl.

Next I prep my pans. You need to have a cookie sheet with a lip all the way around, or a large-ish pan with sides, for each batch.

I make three one-pound logs with each batch. So I put five pieces of foil in my pan -- two pieces to make it watertight, and the three other pieces are stacked on top of each other to make the rolls. Two batches, two pans.

Now that my pans are prepped, I am ready to start making the sausage. I use the large bowl to mix three pounds of ground turkey with my first batch of spices.

After it's well mixed, I put about a pound of turkey on the top sheet of foil, roll it into a log, and then twist the ends shut. I do my best to make the log of even thickness, without tapered ends. Try for flat ends. Then I move the log aside, and I use the next sheet of foil for the next log. Repeat for third log.

Now I have three rolls ready to be placed on my double foil lined pan.

If you are making a second batch of sausage, you can just dump your container of spices in the bowl you just used, and mix in the second three pounds of turkey.

It's OK if your rolls are not all exactly the same size, but try to make them all the same thickness. This will help them cook evenly.

If you want this sausage to be REALLY amazing, after it's rested for 45 minutes, unwrap the logs, cut them in half and then brown them all over in a pan with a little olive oil. You can also fry up slices in olive oil too for a tasty treat. :)

I realize this recipe seems a little involved, but once you've done it a time or two, it's really quite easy and the sausage is absolutely delicious. It's great for breakfast and on SCD pizza.


Sunday, January 30, 2011

I'm back!

I must apologize for my long absence. Life was really crazy for quite a while, and I had to make some really hard choices -- like give up some of my volunteer commitments.

The GOOD thing is... I'm cooking more than ever before, and I have some great recipes to share with you! I am very much looking forward to typing them up and sharing more photos too.

So I am making a commitment to post to this blog once a week for the foreseeable future. :)

Stay tuned for more! And I hope you all are doing well!!