In the Kitchen, Recipes

Lemon Squares – Grain-free & dairy-free

I have been experimenting with baked goods, and outside of the actual GAPS cookbook there are not a lot of recipes that are “legal” for our food plan. I’ve tried muffins and they are a little on the dry side, and don’t feel like a treat, although they are great snacks. I won’t even go in to the whole bread debacle (I have given up bread, it’s not gonna happen). Lemon squares were one of my favorite things growing up, and I hoped that without the need for baking soda I could tweak my recipe to be legal. After several attempts.. Mission accomplished.

Lemon Squares

CRUST
2 cups blanched almond flour*
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
2 tablespoon ghee OR virgin, cold-pressed, unrefined coconut oil (melted)**
1 tablespoon vanilla extract (gluten-free, organic)
1 pastured egg

TOPPING
1/4 cup virgin, cold-pressed, unrefined coconut oil (or pastured butter if tolerated)
1/4 cup raw honey
3 large eggs
1/2 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (I like to use Meyer lemons) Usually about 3-4 lemons.

DIRECTIONS

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F.
  2. Grease a 9×13″ baking dish with ghee or coconut oil.
  3. To make the crust, combine almond flour and salt in a Food processor and pulse briefly. Add ghee, egg and vanilla extract and pulse until mixture forms a ball. Press the dough into prepared baking dish. The crust will be only on the bottom, it will not extend up the sides.
  4. Bake for 15-17 minutes, until lightly golden.
  5. While crust bakes, make the topping. In a blender combine the coconut oil (or butter), honey, eggs and lemon juice. Blend on high until smooth. Remove crust from oven and pour topping over hot crust.
  6. Bake for 15-20 minutes until the topping is golden.
  7. Cool in baking dish for 30 minutes, then refrigerate for 2 hours to set.
  8. Cut into bars and serve.

OPTIONAL
I have added a raspberry puree to these for a slightly more tart version and it was delicious. It’s a great option when raspberries are in season.

RASPBERRY PUREE

1 package of raspberries
2 tablespoons raw honey
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

  1. Puree raspberries in a blender until smooth.
  2. Pour through a medium-fine strainer to remove the seeds.
  3. Discard the seeds and place the raspberries into a saucepan over medium heat.
  4. Add honey and vanilla extract. Stir and raise heat to medium-high to bring mixture to a rolling boil stirring frequently for 3-5 minutes. Be careful not to burn the honey.
  5. Remove pan from heat and place in refrigerator for 10 minutes.
  6. After you have poured the lemon topping into hot crust, pour raspberry puree into the lemon mixture. It should keep mostly separate so drizzle all over. Continue steps above for baking.

*Honeyville has the best almond flour. Bob’s Red Mill is too coarse and leaves a grainy texture in baked goods. Honeyville is less expensive too, so order it online and store it in your fridge.
**Coconut Oil is solid at room temperature most of the time. My grandma brought back a jar from Arizona and it had completely melted. It has not solidified again, and I am using it for baking as it is so easy to pour into measuring cups and incorporate. It is the Spectrum brand, so I am not sure if it is always liquid or if this was just a fluke.

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Recipes

Summer Sangria

 

I’m not a big fan of red wine (even though I know it’s the better option), it tastes bitter and sour to me. But I love the idea of sangria and wine soaked fruit! So I’ve altered a sangria recipe to fit my tastes and without the the lemon lime soda the original recipe called for.

Summer Sangria

2 organic lemons, thinly sliced
1 organic apple, cored and sliced
1 cup organic strawberries, hulled and sliced lengthwise
1 750 ml organic white wine (I used a pinot grigio, but chardonnay would work if you like it)
1/2 cup white rum (bacardi style, not captain)
3 cups sparkling mineral water

Add fruit to a large pitcher. Add wine and rum. Cover and refrigerate for 4-5 hours. When ready to serve add sparkling water, pour into glasses and serve. Remember to add some fruit to each glass.

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Recipes

Watermelon Margaritas

These were by far the most delicious thing I have put in my mouth since we started The Food Plan! I know, I know… alcohol is not technically permitted on The Food Plan, but it is one of the things that Mike and I were unwilling to give up completely [see my post on Happily Ever After to see why]. We have cut back quite a bit though. I need to share the deliciousness, so you can enjoy these too!

Watermelon Margaritas

3 cups fresh seedless watermelon pulp
1 cup fresh squeezed lime juice (8-10 limes)
1 1/2 cups simple syrup made with honey (see below)
1 1/2 cups 100% agave tequila
1/2 cup cointreau

Put watermelon in a bowl and use a potato masher to smash into pulp. You want to get as much juice out as possible, and you don’t want any large chunks. It makes it a little bit harder to drink. I like the smaller nuggets for snacking on when my beverage is gone. (I also eat the fruit from the bottom of my sangria). Transfer your pulp and juice to a pitcher. Don’t worry about picking out any seeds you do find in your melon, unless you are really anti-seed. Add lime juice, simple syrup, tequila and cointreau. Stir. Refrigerate for 30 minutes minimum. Serve over ice.

Simple Syrup

Honey is so much better for us than processed sugars. We use it as our primary sweetener now, actually our only sweetener. Some people are getting on the agave train, and while that is better than some of the other sweeteners, it is still around 90% fructose. So while that debate rages on, we use honey. The following simple syrup recipe is from my Everyday Grain-Free Gourmet cookbook by Jodi Bager and Jenny Lass. As a side note this is my favorite cookbook at the moment, because of the ease of recipes and the variety. It makes delicious foods we can substitute for the favorites we are missing.. like muffins, and bread, and pizza!

1/2 cup water
1 cup raw organic honey
1 tsp pure vanilla extract

Heat water over medium heat. Add honey just before boiling. Stir well until combined. Do not boil. Remove from heat. Stir in vanilla and let cool.

This syrup can also be served on pancakes, waffles, or crepes. Keep refrigerated, but serve warm.

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In the Kitchen, Recipes

Jambalaya

I modified Rachael Ray’s Everything Jambalaya recipe to fit our food plan. I’m not sure if this still counts as jambalaya if it doesn’t have rice or pasta. If you need something to soak it up I imagine that spaghetti squash might be a good option. All of my ingredients are organic, nitrate-free and free range, uncured or wild caught. I have added langostino lobster in sometimes as well.The time is all in the prep for this dish.

Jambalaya

2 tbsp butter/ghee/coconut oil
1 lb boneless chicken, cubed (can be white or dark meat, with skin or without)
1 lb Applegate chicken andouille sausage (uncured, nitrate free, organic) sliced
1 lb raw, medium shrimp, deveined and peeled
1 onion, chopped
2 celery stalks, chopped
1 green bell pepper, chopped
1 bay leaf
2 pinches cayenne pepper (if you use my chili powder recipe then reserve the extra cayenne for your tastes, the chili powder alone is a lot of kick).
1 tsp cumin
2 tsp chili powder
1 tsp poultry seasoning
2-3 tbsp nut flour (almond or coconut)
1 140z can diced tomatoes in juice
2 cups homemade chicken stock or broth
Celtic sea salt and fresh ground black pepper
Chopped scallions and fresh thyme for garnish, optional

DIRECTIONS

  1. In a skillet over medium heat add butter to pan. Add chicken until brown, about 3 minutes. Add sausage and cook for 2 minutes. Add onion, celery, bell pepper, bay leaf and cayenne and/or chili powder. Cook for another 5 minutes
  2. Sprinkle flour and cook 1-2 minutes. Add tomatoes, broth, cumin and poultry seasoning. Bring to boil.
  3. Add shrimp. Simmer 5 minutes until shrimp is pink and firm.
  4. Ladle into bowls and sprinkle with salt, pepper, scallions and thyme as desired.

Total time: 30 minutes
Serves: 4
Level: Easy 

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In the Kitchen, Recipes

Chili Recipe – GAPS friendly, Gluten & Dairy Free

I get asked all the time for my chili recipe. It’s the bomb, but I was sworn to secrecy by the person who gave it to me. However, since switching to the Page Food Plan and moving into the GAPS diet I’ve had to make some slight adjustments to the recipe and therefore see no reason I can’t share the modified recipe. The new version is equally delicious and is totally ok with our diet. Feel free to mix it up for your own use. Be forewarned that this makes an enormous amount of chili, you can freeze half and still feed the whole neighborhood. (Not really, but close). I have tried to “cut it in half” but it doesn’t taste the same. I think a big batch is part of the magic. Prep time is therefore quite a while. I prep all my veggies before I start cooking anything.

Then I make my own chili powder

Chili 

4 lbs of ground meat 
1 lbs bell peppers, chopped – Usually 3-4 large peppers.
1 1/2 lbs onions, chopped – Usually 3-4 med-large onions.
2 heads garlic, finely minced
5 cups diced tomatoes, drained – Usually two 28oz cans of tomatoes.
8-10 carrots, diced
1/2 cup fresh parsley, chopped
1/2 cup butter
1 1/2 tbsp butter
1/3 cup chili powder
1 1/2 tsp cumin
2 tbsp salt
1 1/2 tsp black pepper

DIRECTIONS

  1. Saute bell peppers, onion, garlic and parsley in 1 1/2 tbsp butter until soft and fragrant.
  2. Saute meats in 1/2 cup butter until browned. Do not drain.
  3. Add vegetables and remaining ingredients.
  4. Bring to boil and simmer for 3-4 hours.
  5. Top with diced onions and serve.

Notes:
Meat: I like to use organic grass fed-beef and ground lamb, typically in equal amounts or 3 lbs beef to 1 lbs lamb. Nitrate-free, organic, free-range turkey or chicken works well too. Pick 2 types of meat to use.
Bell Peppers: Any color, I like using 1 of each color, because it looks pretty.
Onions: Again, any color you prefer. I typically use yellow or brown. 
Tomatoes: I use canned organic tomatoes in juice. I don’t have the time to steam, peel and dice whole tomatoes.
Parsley: I have substituted parsley flakes in the past, but fresh is better.
Butter: I use unsalted, pastured butter. Pastured meaning from cows that are grass-fed. The package should say 100% grass-fed otherwise it was probably finished in a feed lot with grain/corn.

But there’s no beans in this chili!! Nope, there’s not. We don’t eat beans. I’ve substituted carrots for beans instead. You can add beans, subtract carrots, you can even add a head of broccoli. (I like the broccoli in it, but none of the boys did).

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