GAPS Kitchen Tools – Stock Pot

TOOL: Stock Pot
NECESSITY: 5 out of 5
COOL FACTOR: 1 out of 5
FREQUENCY OF USE: Weekly or Bi-weekly
LOOK FOR: Stainless Steel

I am starting a new series of posts. My GAPS Kitchen Tools. It was going to be one post, until my list got so long that I didn’t want to scare anyone away from changing the way you eat. A good percentage are found in almost every kitchen so you may have some already!

When we first started GAPS we went through our pantry and cleared out all of the items that were no longer allowed. We saved a small stash in an out-of-the-way place for when my stepsons are over. There’s no reason to torture them with no grains just because the rest of us are on a crazy food plan. Although, we do buy the best quality grains available for them to eat. The next thing I did was evaluate which utensils needed to go; non-stick pans, BPA filled plastic containers, etc. And I made a list of the items I needed to buy. Slowly. One at a time, because let’s face it this food plan isn’t cheap.

The very first thing I bought was a big stock pot. The amount of meat stock or bone broth we consume in a week was greater than the capacity of my largest 8 quart pot. It can be done in a smaller pot, it just has to be done more often. Bone broth stays on low heat for 12-24 hours, and there’s no way I feel comfortable leaving my gas burner on that long more than once every two weeks when I can be home the entire time and monitor it. I tried making it in a crock pot. I tried every way under the sun with the crock pot, begging and praying for a way to make it work. It kinda worked for chicken broth, but every batch had a flavor of burnt or rancid fat. No thanks! Back to the stove! Stock and broth freeze beautifully. I store it in lots of different size containers so that they are easy to pull out for drinking or for cooking. Sometimes I need 2 quarts of broth for soup, and sometimes I just need a mugful.

You’ll hear me say over and over again that the best cookware is Le Creuset. It’s the safest, it’s cast-iron, and they have enameled and anodized pots and pans meaning food won’t stick. If you check out the link you’ll see why I don’t have a Le Creuset Stock Pot…. yet. It’s a bit pricey, but it is something you will pass on to your children. It will last forever. Like Legos. The next best is All Clad. Again, a little pricey, but lower than the Le Creuset. The important thing is you want to get stainless steel. Not aluminum. Most stainless steel pots have an aluminum induction base to help heat the pot, which is fine but the part your food touches should be stainless steel. I have heard that one way to tell if your pot is stainless steel or aluminum (if it doesn’t say on the bottom) is to see if a magnet sticks to it. If it does stick than it is for sure stainless steel. However, if it doesn’t stick it does not mean that it isn’t. Some stainless is magnetic and some isn’t, but aluminum will not hold the magnet.

Ok. Here is the pot I bought. It’s 20 quarts, which means I can easily make 2-3 gallons of stock/broth at a time. Yup. Two to three GALLONS. That will last us about 2 weeks with cooking and drinking. It is lightweight, which is good, because I add a couple of gallons of water and several pounds of chicken and pouring just the broth out takes a little muscle. I don’t use the lid often, but it is nice to have when I need to divide my cooking time. (When I have to leave my house during a batch of bone broth, I stick it in the oven for quick trips, or in the fridge. When I return I bring it back to a boil, skim the scum off and reduce to a simmer for the remainder of the cooking time). I purchased this one for around $50.

Chefmate 20QT Stainless Steel Stock Pot from Target

Chefmate 20QT Stainless Steel Stock Pot from Target

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GAPS Meatloaf – Grain-free

GAPS Meatloaf

I tested this meal on a Standard American Diet friend, and he said it was really good. Of course he’s a young man, and they’ll eat just about anything. He could have just been saving my feelings. Try it for yourself and see. I think it would go nicely with Nourishing Traditions Fermented Ketchup. I haven’t made it yet myself.

I used 3 loaf pans, because I was in a hurry, and also to keep the loaves short and keep them together. If you make one big loaf the cooking time will vary. This recipe does not include garlic, but you could add garlic powder or fresh garlic with the spinach for your tastes. Printable recipe card at the bottom.

Meatloaf

2 lbs. grass-fed ground beef
1 can organic tomato paste
2 tbsp dried oregano
2 tbsp paprika
1 tbsp ground cumin
3 pastured eggs
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 carrot, finely chopped
1 celery stalk, finely chopped
1 zucchini, finely chopped
4 cups organic baby spinach, chopped
1/2 tsp sea salt
1 tsp fresh cracked black pepper

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Preheat oven to 375F. Prepare loaf pans with ghee or parchment paper.
  2. In a large pan cook onion, celery, carrot, salt and pepper until softened.
  3. Add zucchini and spinach until wilted. 1-3 minutes. Turn off heat.
  4. In a large mixing bowl add remaining ingredients. Add vegetables. Mix gently until well combined.
  5. Divide into loaf pans and bake in oven about 30 minutes until golden brown.
  6. Remove from oven and cool in pan on a cooling rack for 5 minutes before removing from pan.

Print

Chicken Piccata – Grain-free, Gluten-free, GAPS-friendly

I’ve added a new feature… printable recipes at the bottom of my food posts. Click on the picture and it should open in a new window to print or save to your desktop. 
Chicken Piccata - Grain-free, Gluten-free, GAPS-friendly

Chicken Piccata

2 chicken breasts, pounded thin (organic, free-range of course)
Sea salt and fresh cracked pepper
Almond flour for dredging
2 tablespoons unsalted, pastured butter
Ghee for sautéing
1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
1/2 cup chicken stock
1/4 cup brined capers, rinsed
1/3 cup fresh parsley, chopped
DIRECTIONS:

  1. Season chicken with and pepper. Dredge in flour.
  2. In large skillet over med-high heat melt 2 tbsp ghee When hot, add 2 pieces of chicken and cook each side for 3 minutes. Remove to plate.
  3. Add more ghee repeat with 2 more chicken pieces.
  4. Into the pan, add lemon juice, stock & capers. Bring to a boil, scraping up brown bits from pan.
  5. Check for seasoning.
  6. Return all chicken to the pan and simmer for 5 min.
  7. Remove chicken to platter.
  8. Add 2 tbsp butter to sauce and whisk vigorously.
  9. Pour sauce over chicken and garnish with parsley.

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GAPS Diet On A Budget

When I explain our food plan to inquiring minds I get, “You must spend a fortune on groceries.” Yes, it can get a little pricey at times, and there have been trips to the grocery store that have left my bank account weak in the knees. (Like the time I did all of our Christmas meal shopping at Whole Foods… and bought a goose.) Overall, I’ve found that with an eye on the mailers and shopping at 4 stores instead of one I can keep our groceries bills reasonable; if not low. A few things first before I get into the lists of what I buy where.

1. You should buy the best quality you can afford. If you can’t always get organic ingredients, fresh is still better than processed. I read in the GAPS FAQ’s that if you have to choose between organic meats and organic produce that you should always buy the produce organic because animals have immune systems to fight off what the farmers feed them, but vegetables can’t fight the pesticides. That being said, I try to stick to the less expensive meats and continue to buy organic. When I am making our bone broth I use only the best quality ingredients. We do save a bit of money by eating more veggies at mealtimes than we used to. Print out (or save on your phone) a list of the Clean 15 and Dirty Dozen produce items. The Clean 15 are the ones you can get away with buying non-organic. The Dirty Dozen are the most contaminated and should always be organic.

2. In the beginning I spent a lot of time, effort and money trying to replace the foods we were missing; like baked goods, breads and desserts. Most of them did not compare to the real thing (which only made me miss it more) and the ingredients for baking are on the higher priced side. Forget about bread, there isn’t a good replacement. There are some crepe recipes that make a decent sandwich wrap or tortilla substitute, but they use a lot of eggs. Unless you’ve got a good line on pastured eggs for cheap I’d save this for a treat also. Lettuce is great for wrapping around meat for sandwiches. Experiment with different kinds. I like to use romaine hearts for tacos, red leaf for sandwiches and boston for egg burritos. Mix it up!

3. Check online for bulk items and dry goods. I was buying our almond flour from Honeyville online, until I realized they have a store near me. Now I’m saving on shipping! I always check online for items like: tea, kombucha, flour, nuts, fruit leather, coconut oil, raw cider vinegar, etc. And there are quite a few companies that ship perishable foods like: meats, dairy, starter cultures, honey, etc. Amazon surprisingly has quite a bit of food stuffs.

4. Farmer’s Markets!! Usually lower prices than a grocery store; if you live near one make it a habit to stop once a week. The farmers that come won’t always have certified organic produce (it costs a lot for the certification and many small farms just can’t afford it). Ask questions, because many will be practicing organic farming. Some of the big markets will have eggs and occasionally pastured chickens. Bring a cooler with you just in case. Eggs don’t need to be refrigerated right away, but it’s always good to keep your meat cold if you are lucky enough to find it at a market.

Below is a list of what I buy and where I shop. These stores are regional, so Southern California residents are going to have the best odds for this working for them. Start taking notes on your local stores for the best deals near you if you don’t live close by any of these stores.

Sprouts

This is where I buy the majority of our groceries. They have raw milk and cheese (but not cream), pastured butter, organic eggs, grass-fed meats and the largest selection of fresh organic produce in my area. They have everything on my shopping list, but not always at the best prices. Their regular (non-organic) chicken is hormone-free and free-range so when I need to save some dough I will buy this. Their sausages are hand-made and they have a variety of chicken that are nitrate-free and made with the same chicken. Most are gluten-free as well.

** I always stop by Sprouts on Wednesdays. It is the day their weekly deals overlap so you get the sale price on everything from the previous week and the next week. When their grass-fed beef goes on sale it’s always a good idea to go the first day because they run out.

  • Grass-fed steaks/roast (ground beef only when it’s on sale, which is often)
  • Organic produce
  • Organic spices
  • Organic eggs
  • Raw milk
  • Raw cheese
  • Applegate products
  • Purified/Spring Water (I buy the big jugs and then take them back to refill)

Trader Joe’s

The one by us is small and doesn’t carry everything. I go specifically for these items because they are less expensive here:

  • Raw nuts (cashews, almonds, walnuts, pecans) We make our own nut butter because we like cashew butter better than almond and I can’t find one made with raw cashews. (And it’s cheaper to make it ourselves. It takes 15 minutes)
  • Organic, free-range chicken. Whole chicken is a better buy than individual pieces and is easier to prepare. Also, they include the giblets, which the whole organic chicken at Sprouts does not. (I like to add those in our broth) If you are making bone broth regularly roast a chicken for dinner and save the remainder to make broth from.
  • Grass-fed, organic ground beef.
  • Organic, no additives fruit leather (No added sugar, 100% fruit puree). I don’t give these to Cullen often.
  • Trader Joe’s brand Organic Diced Tomatoes in juice. (We don’t notice any adverse reaction when we use these)

Mother’s Market

I would probably shop more here if it was closer to us. Their produce section is awesome. Watch out for their restaurant and deli case as most of it has some type of soy or vegan substitute.

  • Raw cream (can only get it here)
  • Organic Pastures raw cheese  (can only get it here)
  • Ghee (can only get it here)
  • Evolution Juice – for when I am lazy and don’t want to juice it myself. It’s cold-pressed and unpasteurized. They have it at Starbucks too, but not the organic kind.
  • Celtic Sea Salt
  • Organic, unrefined honey

Costco

  • Wild salmon – sometimes they have a good deal on fresh, but I usually buy the 3 lb. bag of frozen for $28 (less than $10/lb). They come individually sealed so I can grab them out of the freezer and thaw what I need.
  • Wild shrimp – frozen, not always in stock
  • Canned wild salmon
  • Organic coconut oil – giant Costco size, organic, cold-pressed for $10. GIANT
  • Lamb – from New Zealand or Australia. (I was told that lamb from “Down Under” is always 100% grass-fed)
  • Organic baby carrots
  • Any other organic produce they might have (I don’t buy the sliced organic apples though.. the preservatives worry me)
  • There is supposedly organic chicken breasts occasionally, but I have never seen them.
  • Aidell’s sausage for our non-GAPS kids.

I always watch to see what items are on sale. I look online at the weekly deals before I go out shopping. If I can think of any more items I will add them as I go, but these are the staples. Our grass-fed beef bones I have to drive to Clark’s Nutrition and Natural Foods in Riverside or Loma Linda. Or I just found a new source Lindy & Grundy in West Hollywood (also a drive, but the bones were $4.99/lb).

Feel free to ask me questions or leave your money-saving tips below!

Chicken Sausage Stir-Fry

Mike calls this a concoction. I say it’s delicious and you can concoct any number of combinations (usually whatever is in the veggie drawer), but my last “concoction” was so good that it should be a recipe. This is also pretty easy when I use frozen organic veggies. Perfect for a weeknight dinner.

photo-3Chicken Sausage Stir-Fry

4 Sweet Italian Chicken sausages (Sprouts have these in the case, they are nitrate-free, sugar and msg free, and made with decent free range chicken- not organic. If you are using packaged sausage you may need more)
1 medium yellow/brown onion – diced
2 bell peppers, yellow & red – diced
8-10 cherry tomatoes cut in half
1 package frozen california blend veggies (broccoli, cauliflower, carrots)
1 package organic mushrooms – sliced
1 tbsp ghee/coconut oil
Salt and pepper

(Feel free to mix and match veggies. I’ve used zucchini and peas before. I don’t recommend using butternut squash. I think you could also switch the meat, but I love the flavor the fennel and italian seasoning adds.)

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Remove the casing from the sausage. (This is where fresh sausage comes in handy as it’s easier to squish it out)
  2. Saute onion in a large skillet in fat of your choice until translucent.
  3. Add meat and brown until fully cooked. There will be some liquid in the pan. Do not drain.
  4. While meat is browning, cook frozen vegetables separately following package directions.
  5. When meat is fully cooked, add remaining fresh vegetables. (If you are using a delicate veggie like tomatoes or zucchini add it last. If you are using fresh carrots or broccoli steam them first).
  6. Drain frozen vegetables when finished and add to mixture.
  7. Salt and pepper to taste.
  8. **Optional** Top with fried egg. (This adds to the overall deliciousness and gives you a extra boost of nutrients if you leave your yolk runny).

Beef. It’s what’s for dinner. Or Fish. Or Chicken.

I get asked a lot for recipes for simple things like steak, chicken or fish. Most weeknights I shoot for a 30-45 minute dinner prep. There is a standard formula for dinner. Protein + 2 veggies + optional salad. I don’t reinvent the wheel here people it’s all pretty basic. What you’ll need is a couple different seasoning blends, butter/ghee/coconut oil or a steamer. When we first started the food plan we had to clean out our pantry of everything that was off limits. This not only included processed foods and grains, but we had to clean out our spice cupboard as well. Many of the rejected items had sugar or msg in them. No thanks! We kept everything that was safe, and we’ve switched or replenished with organic options.

We get the, “So what do you eat?!” question a lot. When we say we eat a lot of salmon we get varied reactions, but almost always someone will say how salmon is too fishy. I LOVE the salmon I cook, but I rarely order it when we are out because it’s either bland or too fishy. Here is the secret: 
Blackened Redfish Magic it is all natural, no preservatives, msg and gluten-free, plus it’s Kosher. This seasoning makes just about everything taste amazing.

Blackened Salmon

Salmon filets cut into individual portions. Leave skin on
Blackened Redfish Magic
Butter/Ghee to cook with

DIRECTIONS

  1. Preheat oven to 430°F
  2. Sprinkle Blackened Redfish Magic onto one side of the fish. Both sides if it is skinless. (This blend can be quite spicy, so you may want to start off with a little and work your way up)
  3. Heat a cast iron or oven-safe skillet over medium to med-high heat.
  4. Add 1-2 tablespoons of butter or ghee to pan
  5. When fat has melted and before it starts to smoke add fish skin side up to pan. (Make sure you have your hood fan on and open a window if you have used a lot of seasoning. It will cause some smoke.)
  6. Cook for 2-3 minutes on this side. Flip over and cook another 2-3 minutes.
  7. Put the whole skillet into the oven until your preferred level of doneness.
  8. If you do not like to eat the skin it will stick a little to the bottom of your skillet making it super easy to insert the spatula right above it and gently lift the fish off.

You can substitute steak or chicken for the fish for the same results. I would definitely use ghee for those options though as it will cause less smoking, and therefore less fire alarms. Usually though I use The Meat House‘s New England Garlic Pepper for steaks, and Kirkland’s Organic No-Salt Seasoning (from Costco) for chicken. This is a great blend for Roasted Chicken. Stuff it with a lemon and a head of garlic, and sprinkle this inside and out. Yum! The Meat House is located in Brea next to Mother’s Market.

These are all seasonings I have found and experimented with on my own. I am not getting paid to talk about them here. The links above will take you to the respective online stores where you can purchase them if you would like.

I then cook 2 different kinds of veggies, steamed broccoli or cauliflower, carrots, butternut squash, green beans, roasted radishes or Brussels sprouts, sautéed asparagus or mushrooms. All quick and easy! Cullen and I like to have salad with dinner, but I’m having a hard time finding a good dressing. Most blends have sugar, and honey has such a distinctive flavor that I worry it will not go well with Italian seasonings. My father-in-law makes a bomb Stinky Salad dressing with olive oil, garlic, vinegar and italian seasoning, but I have failed making it every time I try it. I guess I’ll just have to have him make a gallon of it when he comes to visit.

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.