Thursday, July 31, 2014

Awesome AIP Mayo (AIP)

So #30daysofclean hasn't been as easy I thought it would be. I've done the strictest form of AIP, and yet I'm struggling with just cleaning up my diet. I chose a rough 30 days to give it a go (but let's be honest, there's never an easy time). I went to New Orleans for a fun day trip and came across an awesome Paleo bakery called FARE: Food For Health. Let's just say it's hard to turn down a cupcake and a brownie when they're gluten-free, soy-free, corn-free, and sugar-free AND I didn't have to bake it myself. Then there was Naked Pizza. Hands down, the best gluten-free pizza I ever had, but it wasn't on the #30daysofclean idea list. So I got de-railed and then unprepared and it's thrown off my schedule. I let it mess me up instead of pushing through. This weekend is my birthday. I'm going to want a cupcake. I can't help it. And I have an awesome Paleo friend, Chrissy, who's offered to bake me a gluten-free, corn-free, soy-free, grain-free, nut-free cupcake. I'm going to eat it. But I'm going to stay on track otherwise. Because I know it's important. And I know that the bazillion pimples on my chin and the painful canker sores in my mouth are from eating too many nuts last week.

I could get completely discouraged. Ok, I won't lie. I want to just give up and say it doesn't matter. But the cystic acne lining my jaw and the sores inside my mouth are the reminder of why I'm doing what I'm doing. And I'm going to stay positive. I have learned from this experience even after eating AIP for almost a year. I didn't realize that nuts caused the canker sores and acne, and now I know that it's a good thing that I continue to avoid them. I've also discovered that oil pulling (I use coconut) helps sooth canker sores a lot. If you're not oil pulling, you definitely need to check this out and give it a try!

So instead of giving up, I've devoted some extra time into fine-tuning a recipe that I've been working on: a delicious AIP mayo. I've tried other egg-free mayos; there are some really delicious recipes out there from other AIP bloggers like Mickey Trescott's Garlic Mayo and He won't know it Paleo's Creamy Egg-Free Mayo. But I needed something with easy to find ingredients and a great consistency because I'm super picky when it comes to mayo. So I came up with this creamy, tangy, and delicious mayo that's egg-free and coconut free (for those of you who aren't having success with coconut).

Awesome AIP Mayo
2 perfectly ripe avocados
¼ cup ACV (apple cider vinegar)
¼ cup EVOO
1½ tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp sea salt

In a tall narrow measuring cup, add all the ingredients and blend up and down with an immersion blender until smooth and creamy. Chill before serving. Makes about 1½ cups. Good in the fridge for a minimum of 2-3 days.

This may work in a food processor, but I haven't tried it so I can't make promises. If it does work, or you find another method, please share. I love getting feedback!

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Crockpot Veal Provençal Soup (AIP)

All my life I've been a burgers and pizza kind of girl. I like real, hearty foods and lots of it. Yeah, I know. Neither of those choices are really AIP. So where am I going with this? When you like awesome foods, you tend to have a habit of biting off more than you can chew. And unfortunately, that's the story of my life in general and definitely right now.

I have a Bachelor's in photography. I went to school for cosmetology, and I'm busy starting a career doing hair (which I love). I feel pressured to use my BFA because I spent thousands of dollars on this ridiculously over-priced piece of paper called a diploma and people love my work. While I'm glad that people enjoy it, I don't always. I love my new job at the salon, but I'm paid commission. As a first year stylist, that's a huge struggle. I know that it's going to be worth it in the long run, but it also means days and days that I sit with no clients while I get my name out there. And days that I sit without clients means days that I sit without getting paid. So in the meantime, I'm working a part time job to help pay the bills and work off a scholarship that I received to help fund cosmetology school. And I'm taking photo gigs. All while trying to eat AIP (or mostly AIP after several successful introductions). Oh, and blog out new recipes here. I'm not complaining. I'm still learning balance. I'm still learning to take smaller bites and focus on one thing at a time. I'm trying to really narrow my focus to the things that I love best and to create priorities to what's most important. I know I can do it, but I have to say that I'm grateful for the support, encouragement, and patience so far!

I've let my diet slip a lot in the last few months while I finished school, and started a new career. I'm a little behind blogging about it, but I started #30 Days of Clean on Monday. The idea behind 30 Days of Clean was to reset my mental and physical approach to food. There are lots of friends participating with me, but everyone chose to do their own requirements to "clean up" their own diets. And that's my favorite part of 30 Days of Clean: it's all individual. My requirements are posted below. I'm sharing all of my photos in real time on Instagram, but you can also follow along at the end of the day on my Facebook page. If you follow along, be sure to tag #30daysofclean and @theprimordialtable.

When it all boils down, I am a total foodie at heart. But my ultimate goal is health and nutrition. Some days are easier than others. Other days take all you've got. So for the hard days, I'm working on crockpot recipes. I always love a good crockpot recipe that requires me to simply toss most of the ingredients in and go. This soup is perfect and is a great source of bone broth, which is extremely beneficial to a healing gut. I mean, the stuff helps heal your guts, promotes healthy digestions, reduces inflammation, fights infection, and promotes healthy hair, nails, and bone health/growth. That means it's an AIP power food. Need I say more???

No! Let's eat!

Crockpot Veal Provençal Soup
2 lbs veal neck pieces
2 white sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed
2 carrots, peeled and thinly sliced
1 medium onion, thinly sliced
1 celery stick, thinly sliced
6 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1 tsp sea salt
¼ tsp rosemary
¼ tsp savory
¼ tsp thyme
¼ tsp basil
¼ tsp marjoram
¼ lavender
¼ parsley
⅛ tsp oregano
⅛ tsp tarragon
4-6 cups beef broth

Place everything in the crockpot on low for 6-8 hours until meat falls off the bone pieces. Remove bones and reserve for future broth making (I store mine in a gallon bag in the freezer). Add more salt if desired. Serve.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Rosemary & Mustard Veal Chops (AIP+seeds)

Well, I did it. I pulled 8-hour days for the last few months, and I'm completely finished with my 1500 hours of school and graduating with my Cosmetology diploma tomorrow. I'm already signed up to take my first exam. Pushing through was extremely hard some days, but I made it. I let a few things slip and slide here and there on my diet; I have a few symptoms and reactions to show for it. Was it the best decision to eat some of the things I know I shouldn't? Probably not. But did it prevent me from eating some of the big no-no's that would have caused massive flares. Definitely. I'll definitely be cleaning things up starting the first of the month. I've already started making some progress in that direction.

My biggest progress? Consistent exercise! I told myself over and over again that I would exercise when I could during school, but not stress about it because it was too much on me. After I finished school, however, no excuses! So, NO EXCUSES! I've been walking several miles pretty much every day. My minimum that I've set for myself is exercising every other day. So far I've only missed one day, which means I feel like I'm on track for myself. I'm happy and proud of that achievement. You have to start at the bottom in order to move up, and I'm perfectly ok with that.

I have lots of different ideas that I've been considering for the blog, and it's time to start putting those into action too. I've also been researching and trying new products, and I'd like to share those with you via product reviews. I've already got a great one that I'm working on this week! If you have any ideas or suggestions for recipes or products, don't forget about the Suggest a Recipe tab at the top of the page. I love hearing from readers, whether it's constructive criticism to help me grow or praise that you liked what you saw.

And now for a recipe. If you can call it that. It's definitely not fancy. I feel like I can't even take credit for all the lovely flavors. But sometimes easy and simple and quick is exactly what's missing from an AIP lifestyle. So if you've had a long day or are in a rush or just don't feel like getting very fancy, this dish definitely fits the bill!

Rosemary & Mustard Veal Chops (AIP+seeds)
1 lb veal shoulder blade chops
1 tbsp coconut oil or F.O.C.
Sea salt and black pepper, to taste
1-2 tsp crushed rosemary leaves, dried or fresh
Tessemae's Honey Mustard

Heat oil or fat in a large cast iron skillet over medium heat. Meanwhile, season veal chops with sea salt, black pepper, and rosemary leaves, coating each side well. When oil almost starts to smoke, add veal chops to the skillet and allow to cook on each side until well seared and cooked to desired inner temp. About 2-3 minutes per side for rare, 3-4 minutes per side for medium rare depending on thickness. Remove from heat and allow to rest for 5-10 minutes. Slice into strips and drizzle with honey mustard over the top.

Monday, February 24, 2014

Roasted Garlic Soup (AIP)

I was researching prebiotics, which are specific foods that the body doesn't digest well but promote and encourage healthy gut flora growth. Some commonly eaten prebiotics are raw onions and garlic. This dish has them cooked but because of the high quantity, there are still some prebiotics intact. But it can't be all about the "good for you". The most important part is taste. And this dish has it! The sweetness of the roasted garlic permeates the whole dish, and the consistency is deliciously creamy.

Roasted Garlic Soup
5 heads of garlic, peeled (40-50 cloves)
2 small onions, peeled and chunked
2 tbsp bacon fat, divided
8 oz mushrooms, sliced
1 celery stick, diced
2½ cups bone broth (chicken or beef), divided
1 14oz can coconut cream
1 lb white sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed
1 lb chicken breasts, cooked and cubed
Sea salt/pepper, to taste

Preheat oven to 375°F. Toss garlic and onions with 1 tbsp bacon fat. Roast in the oven for 1 hour 15 min or until soft. Using the remaining bacon fat, sauté the mushrooms and celery until soft. Puree garlic, onions, mushrooms and celery with ⅛ cup broth until smooth. Slowly incorporate the coconut cream until smooth. Pour into a soup pot or dutch oven. Add bone broth to the garlic mixture, slowly to allow it to incorporate fully. Once incorporated, add sweet potatoes. Bring to a simmer but do not allow to boil. Cook for 15-25 minutes or until sweet potato is soft. Add in chicken and cook 3-5 minutes or until chicken is warmed through. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve topped with a few parsley flakes for garnish.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Arepas Rellenas (AIP)

I like having easy portable foods. When I made the Chicken Pot Pie recipe from Mrs. Paleo the other day, it was a good reminder of nice it is to have an all-in-one, casserole-type dish. I've had empanadas on the brain for a while, but a lot of crusts are hard to find AIP-friendly. I'm on Day 50 and haven't  really had any reintroductions (except for a little safe chocolate last weekend), and while I've been debating starting with introductions, I've decided to finish out the month. Which makes empanadas a little bit of a challenge. So instead: Stuffed Arepas! Arepas are little flatbreads made from corn or yuca and served either filled or with a topping. Obviously, yuca was the way to go. And it fries up so well. The texture reminds me of hashbrowns from McDonald's of all places (except without the hydrogenated nasty oil and who knows what else). The outside is very crispy while the inside is somewhat potato-like. And the meat filling makes for a nice surprise.

Arepas Rellenas
1½-2 cups raw yuca (fresh or frozen), peeled and cut into 2-3 inch sections
Sea salt, to taste

½ lb ground beef
1 small onion, minced
1 carrot, peeled and minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp parsley
1 tsp cilantro
½ tsp marjoram
½ tsp garlic powder
½ tsp onion powder
Dash or two of cinnamon
3 tbsp coconut aminos
3 tsp raw apple cider vinegar (ACV)
2 tsp lime juice
¼-⅓ cup bone broth
Sea salt/pepper, to taste
Coconut oil, for frying

Boil the yuca with sea salt until very tender. This takes usually 45 minutes or longer. Strain and remove the tough, stringy fiber found in the middle of the root. Make sure to get all of it as it doesn't taste good nor is the texture very appealing. Mash the yuca root thoroughly, salting and tasting as you go. The texture should be similar to gooey or sticky mashed potatoes. Allow to cool until able to be handled comfortably. Meanwhile, start the filling.

In a skillet over medium heat, heat the ground beef, onion, carrot, and garlic. Add in herbs and spices. When meat is mostly browned, add in liquids and allow to simmer until meat is fully cooked and veggies are tender. Salt and pepper to taste.

Heat coconut oil in deep frying pan or cast iron skillet. Use enough oil to fill about ½-¾ inch. Make two patties with the mashed yuca about the size of your palm and not more than ¼ inch thick. Spoon about 1-2 tbsp of the filling into the middle of one patty. Sandwich the other patty over the filling and press the outside edges together. The yuca is pretty sticky, so smooth over any holes or lumps to make sure no filling falls out. Carefully place in hot oil and cook each side 5-7 minutes until crispy and golden brown.

Serve with guacamole if AIP or try salsa or curtido if you aren't sensitive to nightshades.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Sweet Potato Cookies (AIP)

Another new friend shared this lovely recipe in one of my Facebook groups. I tried the cookies, and I enjoyed them so much, I had to ask Tangie to allow me to share this recipe on my blog! Luckily, she said yes! These cookies are so tasty and delicious, and they are egg-free and completely AIP-friendly! The spices in the recipe are my own tweaks. Using the spice amounts called for will yield a nice spicy cookie that I have found I am addicted to! If you don't like quite as much spice in yours, then I would definitely cut back by at least half if not more and adjust to your own tastes. The mix-ins are all completely optional. I tried the original recipe with currants, but different fruits would work very well. I also made my first batch with fermented applesauce for some extra probiotics, and the taste was very good. If you're not following AIP or you're already making reintroductions, feel free to try some nuts or even maybe soy-free, dairy-free chocolate chips! I haven't made those substitutions just yet, but I would love to try them when I've completed my elimination phase. Thanks again, Tangie!

Sweet Potato Cookies
3½ cups cooked, mashed sweet potato
¾ cup applesauce, unsweetened
⅓ cup coconut oil
¼-⅓ cup honey, to taste
2 tsp cinnamon
2 tsp ginger
½ tsp cloves
½ cup raisins or other dried fruit
½ cup coconut flakes or other desired mix-in

Mix all ingredients together thoroughly in a large bowl. Drop in rounded tablespoons onto parchment lined dehydrator tray (or special tray provided by your dehydrator if you have one). Pat down to make a cookie shape (about 2 inches round). These aren't baked, so they would take a different shape in the oven. Make sure they're the size you want, except a little bigger. They'll shrink in the dehydrator. Dehydrate 12-14 hours until still slightly chewy. Don't overdry or the cookie will be hard and overly chewy.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Chicken Shawarma (AIP)

Sometimes you gotta have a little spice in your life. And one of the best parts about learning to cook while on the Autoimmune Protocol is that you definitely learn to cook with some spices. You learn easy substitutions and adaptations to keep foods interesting. Variety is the spice of life; am I right? The hard part about variety and AIP is when you start talking about ethnic dishes. You've got Mexican, Indian, Thai, and Middle Eastern. You've got Greek, Italian, and Persian. And when you're talking about those dishes, you're talking about some mad punch of flavor, but you're also talking lots of nightshades and seed-based spices.

And that's when my little sad face kicks in. But I want spice! I want flavor! I want heat! I can't say I nailed it with this recipe. But I think I came pretty close. Heat is always a little harder to get right, but dang it, we definitely got some spice. And we definitely got lots of flavor!

Chicken Shawarma with Tzatziki Sauce
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp onion powder
¾ tsp tumeric
½ tsp ground ginger
½ tsp sea salt
¼ tsp Ceylon cinnamon*
⅛ tsp cloves
⅛ tsp black pepper
1-1½ lbs chicken breasts, cut into strips
2 tbsp coconut oil

In a small bowl, combine all the spices and mix thoroughly. Rub onto the chicken strips and coat heavily, rubbing into the chicken like a meat rub. Don't skimp; aim for using almost all of the spice mix. Marinate for 20-30 minutes at room temp if desired. Heat oil over medium heat in a skillet. When hot, add strips to pan and cook on each side 2-3 minutes until cooked all the way through. Serve with desired sides.

I served mine with Simple and Merry's Plantain Wraps and Delicious Obsessions' Garlic Herb Lime Cauliflower Rice (skip the lime).

Tzatziki Sauce
⅓ cup coconut milk kefir
2-3 garlic cloves
2 tsp dried dill (1 tbsp fresh)
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp dried parsley
Sea salt & black pepper, to taste

Mix all ingredients in a food processor and blend until smooth. (You may choose to add gelatin to thicken as the consistency is fairly runny). Serve over chicken shawarma.

*Ceylon cinnamon is somewhat of a speciality spice, but it's worth it. Most cinnamon found and sold in stores is actually cassia cinnamon. Ceylon is considered the true cinnamon. The differences are subtle but noticeable, and I think the Ceylon cinnamon is better for this dish. That being said, if you can't find the Ceylon cinnamon, regular cinnamon will substitute well.