Sausages and Sauerkraut

February 23, 2012

sausage and kraut

Here’s a quick and easy recipe for sausages and sauerkraut, without losing the health benefits of raw kraut. I’ve made this a couple of times now and we really like it. I used my homemade sauerkraut, which is really easy to make. Being new to sauerkraut, I thought it would be good to cook something with it. Then it dawned on me that it would kill the probiotic properties. That’s when I came up with this recipe. It’s nice for those times when you want to fix something that doesn’t take much time and uses few ingredients.

Sausages and Sauerkraut
serves 5

10 sausage links/frankfurters (I used chicken sausage)
1 leek, white and a little part of the green or 1 onion
1/2 cup chicken broth
3 Tbs butter
2 cups sauerkraut

Dice leek.

dicing leek

Melt 2 Tbs of the butter in large frying pan over medium low heat.

melt butter

Add diced leek and cook over medium low heat until softened.

saute leek

Remove leek to a small bowl and add remaining 1 Tbs butter to pan and increase heat to medium. Add sausages and cook till browned on all sides. This is the kind of sausage I used:

chicken sausage

browning sausages

Once sausages are browned completely, add cooked leeks and the chicken broth.

add leeks and broth

I used homemade chicken broth.

chicken broth

Continue cooking over medium heat until broth is reduced to a thick sauce. Turn heat off. At this point, I decided to chop the sausages into 3-4 pieces per sausage. You can leave them whole or chop them before browning.

chopped sausages

Cover sausages with sauerkraut.

add sauerkraut

Cover with lid and let sit for 5 minutes or until sauerkraut is warmed through. I usually leave my pan on the still-warm (but off) burner for this.

Cover and let sit

Remove lid, thoroughly mix and serve.

mix sausage and kraut

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Yummy Spinach Salad

January 7, 2012

Yummy spinach salad

I have a sweet friend from church, Sue, who gave me this recipe a while back. It sounded so good, I went out and bought some spinach right away. Then I needed some salad greens and ended up using the spinach. Since I only shop at one store that sells the spinach and since I hadn’t been there in a while, I hadn’t been able to try this recipe out. I knew it would be yummy. Sue always brings yummy salad to church potlucks. I bought the spinach a couple of days ago, but finally got around to making this today. I really would like to up our fresh vegetable consumption. Since I discovered Elana’s paleo bread, I find myself falling back into a rut of making sandwiches when I fail to plan for meals. I was so glad I had the ingredients on hand to make this salad. It was so delicious and filling!

Yummy Spinach Salad (a la Sue)
serves 4

1/4 cup light olive oil (I recommend Bragg)
2 Tbsp apple cider vinegar (again, Bragg)
1 Tbsp honey (I used raw local)
2 organic apples
2 Tbsp organic butter (optional)
1/3 cup pine nuts or pecans (I used chopped, crispy pecans)
6 cups fresh, organic, baby spinach leaves
1/4 cup crumbled blue cheese or shredded cheddar (I used shredded Gouda)
2 stalks organic celery, sliced
6 slices of “range fed” bacon (optional)

I started by putting the spinach into a sink of cold water with some grapefruit seed extract.

soaking spinach

While that was soaking for a few minutes, I made the dressing.

dressing ingredients

Combine oil, vinegar, and honey in a small bowl and whisk until blended. I can’t believe I failed to get a picture of the dressing all mixed up!

Drain the spinach. I opted to rinse mine with some of my “Berkey water,” because the fluoride in the water here is very high.

rinse spinach

This is supposed to come later, but I got out of order. 🙂
Divide the spinach among 4 plates.

gathering ingredients

I just want to take a moment to show what kind of bacon I was using. Since we don’t have any more bacon from our Missouri farmer, I bought this kind:

bacon

I used what I had left from making bacon, egg, and cheese sandwiches on paleo bread last night for supper. (I cooked it all then, because I had planned to make this salad today)

Quarter and core apples; slice into 1/4 inch wedges.

I didn’t do this next part, but only because I was in a rush. I definitely plan to try it next time.

Melt butter in large frying pan over medium heat, then add apples to pan. Increase heat to medium-high and cook apples just until browned, turning once or twice. Remove from heat and cool. Lightly toast pine nuts in oven at 325o for 5 minutes. Cool before placing on salad. (I used the crispy pecans I had on hand)

This is where I pick it up. I chopped the apple (I was only using one, because the salad was only for two people), sliced the stick of celery (again, just one for two people), and then I sliced up some red onion. It’s not in the recipe, but we love red onion and look for opportunities to eat it.

chopped stuff

If you haven’t already, place 1 1/2 cups of spinach on each of 4 plates.

Here’s all my stuff ready to be put on top. The dressing looks green, because of the olive oil. (Don’t be put off by that though; Bragg is very mild)

Ready to assemble salad

Divide apple slices evenly among the plates, placing them on top of the spinach. Follow with celery. Sprinkle bacon, nuts, and cheese (and onions if using) evenly over the salads. Drizzle each salad lightly with dressing. Sue’s recipe calls for sprinkling Mrs. Dash over them, but I opted to use some Bragg Sea Kelp Delight Seasoning and some pink Himalayan salt.

Sue’s Note: Apples may be served raw if desired, by omitting butter and frying directions. (Which is what I did, due to rushing)

Serve and enjoy!

Sue's yummy salad

This salad was a huge hit and I can’t wait to get some more spinach to make it again! The only thing I might do is change the name from “Yummy Spinach Salad” to “Yummy Spinach Salad with Really Yummy Dressing!”

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Coconut Butter PB Fudge

December 16, 2011

PB Fudge

This method for making a quick, low-sugar or sugar-free fudge has been around for a while and made the rounds of quite a few blogs. However, I decided I would throw my recipe into the mix, for those looking for a quick, healthy fudge recipe for the holidays. I made a similar fudge in the past, but had pretty much forgotten about it until the other day when my husband was commenting on some peanut butter fudge sitting out at work. Now that we are working extra hard to get his blood sugars down (will be posting about our grain-free diet soon), I wanted to make something that he would enjoy that would also be healthier for him, instead of harmful. Most recipes call for using coconut oil, which works equally well, but I opted for the coconut butter for two reasons; 1) I had some on hand and, 2) coconut butter has a naturally sweet taste. I do want to thank Feeding My Tribe for reminding me of this recipe (after she commented on my last post and I visited her blog and saw it).

coconut butter

Coconut Butter PB Fudge
makes approx. 15 large or 30 small pieces

1 cup coconut butter
1 cup nut butter (I used organic crunchy pb that was simply ground nuts)
1/4 cup butter
1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp cinnamon (optional)
1/4 cup coconut nectar (low glycemic) or honey
liquid stevia to taste
1/4 cup chopped nuts (optional)

fudge ingredients
Ingredients except for butter, which was a last minute decision. (And not including the pecans soaking in the background!)

In a small saucepan, heat over very low heat coconut butter and butter until it is a soft consistency.

coconut butter melting

Add remaining ingredients to pan, except chopped nuts if using. (For a sweeter fudge, you can add up to another 1/4 cup of coconut nectar or honey)

all together now

Continue stirring over low heat until everything is well blended together. Add nuts. I used the macadamia nuts I had.

chopped mac nuts
(Yes, I use a steak knife to chop nuts)

At this point, the fudge is basically done. You can scoop spoonfuls of it into paper cupcake liners or use the smaller ones for bite-sized pieces for a nice finished look.

pouring fudge

Though I didn’t try it, I would imagine dropping little spoonfuls of it onto a parchment paper lined cookie sheet would work just as well. (Another alternative that I have used is to spread it out on a parchment lined cookie sheet, then break into pieces when it’s cold) The fudge then needs to go into the fridge for 30 minutes or the freezer for 10. Store in covered container in fridge. I thought the flavor was improved after a day in the fridge. It seemed to cut down on the coconut taste.

CBPB fudge

Pumpkin “Fudge” Update! I made the pumpkin “fudge” and really love how it turned out. Because I’m not a fan of the coconut flavor, I love that the pumpkin comes through a lot more than the coconut.

Pumpkin Fudge

Pumpkin “Fudge”
makes approx. 24 squares

1 16 oz jar coconut butter 1
4 Tbs butter (1/2 stick)
1 cup pumpkin puree
4 tsp coconut nectar or honey
Liquid stevia to taste (I used 1 dropperful)

Mix coconut butter and butter in small saucepan over low heat until butter is completely melted and coconut butter is very pliable. Add other ingredients and mix well, continuing to heat as you stir. Once ingredients are thoroughly combined, spoon mixture into a well greased 8 x 8 baking pan or other dish. (I used an oblong, plastic bowl without greasing and it didn’t stick) Put in freezer for 30 minutes or fridge overnight. Turn out onto a sheet of parchment paper and cut into desired size squares. I will definitely make this one again!

pumpkin fudge serving

1 The jar says it’s 16 oz, but the servings say 14 servings of 2 Tbs each. 16 oz = 2 cups and 28 Tbs (2 Tbs x 14 servings) = 1 3/4 cups, so all I can say is that I used an entire jar. And that this recipe is pretty forgiving.
🙂

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Fight Back Fridays hosted by Food Renegade
Healthy 2day Wednesdays hosted by day2day joys
Fresh Bites Friday hosted by Real Food Whole Health

Check them out for lots of great recipes and real food info!


Crustless Pecan Pie

November 25, 2011

pecan pie

This recipe incorporates the corn syrup replacement posted by Cooking Traditional Foods found here. Making the replacement was a fairly easy process. The hardest part was keeping an eye on the candy thermometer. Of course, if you don’t have a thermometer, you can use the softball stage to check. To be honest, I was preoccupied during the critical part and the thermometer went slightly above what it should have. Let’s just say it was on the high end of softball stage. I’m pretty sure it was the reason that caused it to be a little hard to get out of the jar. To help it along, I set the jar in some hot water in the sink for a little bit. The one change I made to the replacement recipe was to use turbinado sugar. Other than it being a darker syrup, I think the results were the same.

corn syrup replacement

I opted for a crustless pie, because I was trying to keep our Thanksgiving gluten-free and didn’t have make time to fix a gluten-free crust. I must say, the crustless pie turned out great. I didn’t have any trouble cutting out slices, so I will probably just do this next time I make pie. I always try to give credit where credit is due, if I’m following someone else’s recipe (at least, basically) and I am using the recipe found here.

pecan pie ingredients

Crustless Pecan Pie
makes 1 (9″) pie

1/2 cup corn syrup replacement
1/4 cup pure maple syrup
1/2 cup turbinado sugar (can use brown sugar)
5 eggs
2 Tbs salted butter (or unsalted and add pinch salt)
2 tsp vanilla
2 cups crispy pecan pieces1

Preheat oven to 325o
Butter a 9″ pie plate.

butter pie pan

Add all ingredients except nuts in a saucepan and heat to medium heat, stirring constantly just until butter is melted and ingredients are well incorporated. (The one thing you don’t want is cooked egg)

cooking filling

Remove from heat and add pecans. Stir to coat well.

add nuts

Pour into pie plate.

pour filling into pan

Bake at 325o for 35-40 minutes or until knife comes out of center clean.
Cool, slice, enjoy!

slice of pecan pie

1 If you aren’t using crispy pecans (soaked and dehydrated) you will need to toast your pecans lightly before beginning. Also, you may opt to use some whole pecans on the top. All I had on hand was pecan pieces.

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Pumpkin Pancakes (GF)

November 24, 2011

gf pumpkin pancakes

More on the fly cooking. This morning I was debating about whether to make a pumpkin pie. I’ve been kind of avoiding the whole sweets thing, because it’s easy for me to go overboard. If I’m going to make something, I will likely make a pecan pie. (I’ve been looking at crustless pecan pie recipes) It will be a good opportunity to try out my corn syrup substitute, which I made using CTF’s recipe but substituting turbinado sugar for white sugar. (Will be posting this recipe if it turns out) However, pumpkin to me is sort of like cranberry sauce. The Thanksgiving meal doesn’t seem complete without it. I decided to do a pumpkin compromise of sorts. I decided I’d attempt to make pumpkin pancakes for brunch, since this Thanksgiving is more relaxed than usual. There are only three of us here, so my schedule is a lot more flexible. Anyway, I looked at some recipes by searching “almond flour” and “sorghum flour,” because I knew I wanted to make them gluten-free. Got a general idea of what to put in the mixing bowl and began to “create.” Sometimes I even turn out something edible. Today was one of those days. The men dubbed it “Nom!”

ingredients

Pumpkin Pancakes (GF)
makes 9 medium pancakes

Dry Ingredients:

1 cup almond flour
1 cup sorghum flour
1/4 cup coconut flour
1/2 tsp powdered (green) stevia
1 tsp arrowroot
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp dry nutmeg
1/8 tsp dry ginger (powder)
1/8 tsp dry clove

Wet Ingredients:

1 1/2 cups pureed pumpkin
3/4 cup applesauce
2 eggs
1/3 cup milk or water
8 drops liquid stevia

In mixing bowl, add dry ingredients and stir well.

dry ingredients

Almost forgot this:

baking powder and soda

In separate bowl, mix all wet ingredients well.

more ingredients

Like so:

wet ingredients

Add wet ingredients to dry and mix until combined.

pancake batter

Put a small amount of butter, ghee, or coconut oil in pan and heat over medium heat. When pan is hot, put batter in pan the size of a medium pancake (not sure how much I put, but guessing 1/2 of a cup). This batter is rather thick, so you have to spread it around with the spoon. I used the back of the spoon to help form it into a circle. Cook until lightly browned on one side, turn and cook till other side is brown and middle is no longer wet. You may need to turn the pan down a little in order to get them cooked all the way through.

I’d call this a pumpkin success!!

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2-for-1 GF Muffin Recipe

May 27, 2011

blueberry muffins

In case you’re wondering why I’m posting so many grain-free (gluten-free) recipes lately and in case I haven’t mentioned it, we have given up grains again. This time I really think we will make it through. I don’t believe it will be a lifelong endeavor. I think that the over-consumption of grains have caused health problems of epic proportions in this country.

Quick side note: Not only are grain products knowingly consumed in huge quantities, grain is found in almost every food that is processed with the exception of some items labeled gluten-free. In addition, all the meat sold at most stores (unless specifically marked grass-fed and finished) were fed grain for at least part of their lives (and certainly the last months). I believe this may have contributed to the problems associated with gluten sensitivities.

I think that those problems are reversible (just like my arthritis was) and I think that in moderation, someday we can enjoy them again. Only time will tell. So, this is a heads up that most of the recipes you will see here, at least for a while, will probably be grain-free.

Being grain-free for several weeks now (with the exception of white rice in some sushi I ate), I was starting to wish for some kind of bread to add some variety to our meals. Since we’ve mostly stayed away from desserts and sweets with the exception of liquid stevia and a tiny amount of raw honey now and then, I was torn when I started thinking of making some almond flour bread. The recipe is very similar to the muffin recipe. In the end, I decided to make both: almond flour rolls and almond flour muffins. To do that, I mixed up a double batch of the basic recipe, then separated the batter and added the final touches. A few years ago I found an almond flour muffin recipe on About.com. I used that recipe, left out the sweeteners, worked with it a bit and came up with an almond flour bread recipe. I hadn’t seen one prior to creating mine. When I went back to About.com to look up the muffin recipe (easier than digging through my recipe book, which is a disorganized mess), I found the author had changed the recipe to include adjustments for bread. Though not exactly like my recipe, it is very similar. What can I say? Great minds think alike! Anyway, I decided to use this recipe with (as always) my own tweaks. You can find the original here. Laura Dolson is an awesome low carb resource.

Basic Almond Flour Muffin Mix
double batch

4 cups almond flour
4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup butter, melted (I used ghee)
8 fresh eggs
2/3 cup water

Measure dry ingredients into a bowl.
dry ingredients

In a separate bowl, add all wet ingredients.
wet ingredients

Mix ingredients in each bowl until well combined.
ingredients mixed

Combine wet ingredients with dry and mix well.
ingredients combined

Now that you have your base recipe, you can decide what you want to bake. If you want to make sweet muffins, you can add sweetener equal to 1/3 cup (adjust to taste) and any additions you choose. I chose blueberries. If you want to make a “roll” to use for bread, you can add spices according to your taste. Here’s what I used:
bread spices

Preheat oven to 350o. Separate batter if using for 2 different products.
In the muffin batter (1/2 the basic batter), I added the following:

30 drops liquid stevia
3 fresh blueberries for each muffin

The muffins weren’t very sweet, so next time I will do some adjustments to the recipe. I used a regular muffin pan, greased with butter.
muffin pans

After filling each cup 2/3 full, I placed 3 blueberries on top and slightly pressed them down, like this:
blueberries in muffins

Then I baked them for 15 minutes and got exactly 12 muffins out of it.
muffins cooked

Let cool for about 10 minutes then remove to cooling rack.
muffins cooling

In the bread batter (1/2 the basic batter), I added the following:

2 tsp onion granules
large pinch (or sprinkle) each of garlic salt, turmeric, and cumin

Butter pan. I used this muffin top pan for my bread rolls.
muffin top pan

I filled each section about 2/3 full.
fill muffin top pan

I baked them for about 15 minutes and got 10 rolls total.
almond flour rolls

We used them for supper and made roast beef sandwiches out of them by splitting them in half. I added some homemade mayo, sliced onion and tomato, with a pickle on the side. Mmmmm!
roast beef sandwich

It was nice to be able to enjoy a sandwich again. 🙂

This post is part of the following blog carnivals:
Fight Back Fridays hosted by Food Renegade.
Real Food Wednesday hosted by Kelly the Kitchen Kop

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Best GF Pizza

May 9, 2011

Slice of pizza

When I first heard of this pizza crust I thought it sounded interesting, to say the least. It does sound like a strange ingredient for a pizza crust. What is it? Cauliflower. Yes, that’s right; cauliflower! I came across this recipe when I was looking for the recipe for faux rice. (Frice?) I was going to make some stir fry and wanted to have something to put it on, rather than our usual meal of stir fry alone. It had been so long since I’d made faux rice, I couldn’t remember exactly how I’d made it. Anyway, after we had our stir fry dinner, I had some leftover cauliflower. I remembered another recipe I’d seen while looking for the faux rice. It was for a pizza crust that called for grated, cooked cauliflower. I really didn’t have high expectations for this pizza crust. I’m not a big fan of cauliflower and it isn’t easy to disguise its taste. Imagine my surprise when it turned out delicious and my family loved it! So, without further ado (and including my tweaks), I give you cauliflower pizza!


Best Grain-free Pizza (Ever!)

makes 1 medium pizza

Ingredients:

1 cup grated, cooked cauliflower (see first step)
1 egg
1 cup cheese
1 tsp basil
1 tsp oregano
1 tsp garlic salt
Optional: 1 tsp cumin and/or 1/2 tsp turmeric
pizza, marinara, or spaghetti sauce (approx. 1/4 cup)
additional grated cheese and other toppings

NOTE: Please see update further down for an optional (easier) way of preparing the cauliflower!

I first prepare the cauliflower by separating into florets.
cauliflower

Like so:
separating florets (You can bypass this step by using frozen florets; I’ve done it by letting them partially thaw. One 10 oz. bag frozen yields 1 cup cooked, riced cauliflower)

Then grate the cauliflower. I did this with a cheese grater, but it would probably be quicker and easier with a food processor, using the grater attachment. I have to admit, grating on a cheese grater is kind of tricky. You can also fine chop with a knife and cutting board.
Shredded cauliflower

Melt 2 tablespoons of butter or ghee in a large frying pan. Add cauliflower and cook over medium heat for about 10 minutes, stirring often. Cauliflower is done when it is no longer crunchy and a small amount can be mashed with a fork. (The old “mash a spoonful with a fork” test)
cauliflower cooking in butter

Let cool slightly and you are ready to begin.
UPDATE: To simplify this recipe, I’ve started preparing the cauliflower differently. I steam it (fresh or frozen) until soft, then drain the water out of the pan. I put the cauliflower back in the pan (minus the steamer insert) and add about a tablespoon of butter (or coconut oil), just enough to keep it from sticking to the still-hot pan. Then I mash it with a fork, not so much it looks like mashed potatoes, but just enough that it still retains enough form to look like rice. (You can experiment here) Proceed with recipe.

Preheat oven to 450o. Prepare pan by greasing well, lining with parchment, or do what I did; use a silpat type mat. Mix all ingredients (except sauce and toppings) in a bowl. (If cauliflower is still hot, mix cheese, eggs, and spices well, then add cauliflower) Place mixture in the center of the pan and spread outward, forming a thin circle.

Bake for 12-15 minutes, watching near the end. You want the top to be somewhat browned and the edge all browned. (Leave oven on for final step)
cooked pizza crust

Add sauce and spread evenly over crust. When I don’t have a sauce on hand, I’ll use tomato sauce and season it with more basil, oregano, and garlic salt.
pizza and sauce

Add your favorite toppings.
pizza with toppings
Here I’ve used cooked ground beef (grass-fed), sliced black olives, sliced bell peppers (green, red, and yellow), and sliced onion.
Top with cheese. As you can see, we like a lot.
pizza with cheese

Turn oven to broil, place pizza underneath broiler, and broil just until cheese is melted (approx. 3 minutes).
Edited to add: I prefer to return it to a 450o oven for about 3 minutes to keep the edges from getting too dark.
baked pizza

Slice and serve. This pizza will hold up on its own to eat without utensils. Updated note: The larger the pizza, the less likely it is to remain sturdy enough to pick up and eat. I’ve found making 2 smaller pizzas works best.

Hope you enjoy it as much as we do!

This post is part of the following blog carnivals:
Fight Back Fridays hosted by Food Renegade
Monday Mania hosted by the Healthy Home Economist

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