Tag Archives: health

Pork Hash

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This tasty, hearty breakfast is a meal I came up with for our adventure doing the Whole 30 Program. You can read more about my meal plan for Week 1 here. This recipe makes 4 servings and I typically serve it right after I make it on Day 1 and pack it in tupperware so that we can take it to work with us on Day 2, it still tastes great heated up the next day.

Ingredients:
1 lb. organic, grass-fed ground pork
1/2 red onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 large potato, cubed
1 tbsp. ghee or clarified butter
1/2 tbsp. fresh sage, chopped
1/2 tbsp. oregano
1/2 tbsp. chili powder
salt & pepper to taste
2 eggs (optional)

In a large skillet, melt the butter over medium heat and add the onions. Sauté for about 10 minutes until soft and slightly browned.

In a separate sauce pan, bring water to a boil and then boil the cubed potatoes for about 7 minutes. Strain and set aside when cooked.

After 10 minutes, add the pork and all of the dried seasonings (everything except sage and garlic) to the skillet with the onions. Break up the meat as you cook it. After the meat is mostly cooked (about 5 minutes) add the garlic and sage and cook for about 3 minutes more.

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Create space in the middle of the skillet by pushing the meat and onions to the sides and add the potatoes in the center of the skillet. Try to get them in a single layer as much as possible, and put everything from the sides of the pan on top of the potatoes and don’t stir at all for a few minutes. This gives the potatoes a chance to get a little bit of a crisp on them.

Mix all ingredients in the skillet together, cook a few more minutes and then serve.  If you don’t eat eggs, you’re done! Enjoy!

Additional options:

Serve with 2 scrambled eggs on top of the hash.

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Or, for what my husband says is the tastiest version of this dish:
Take the portions of the hash that you plan to save for following days and put into separate containers. Pour 2 raw scrambled eggs into the hash and stir and cook until the eggs are cooked through. Serve immediately.

 

Rare Beef Pho (Vietnamese Soup….with an Americanized shortcut)

I love pho.  I mean, I’m a little obsessed with it.  There haven’t been many weeks this year that I haven’t gone out for pho at LEAST once.  I have to admit though, that I am a little intimidated by Asian food when I cook at home.  It is one of the very best cuisines for my allergies, and the type of food I choose almost every time I go out, but somehow I have only ventured to try really basic stir fry at home.  I think it’s that everything is different, the spices, the techniques, the ingredients, and maybe just the fact that I didn’t grow up around anyone that knew how to make it, but I have always been a little afraid to try.

Recently I decided to give it a shot, to try to make pho at home, so I started researching pho recipes and almost gave up on the spot.  To make it authentically takes 1-2 DAYS, involves bone marrow and all kinds of strange ingredients (I refuse to touch bones or eat meat that wasn’t removed from the bone before I laid eyes on it….one of my little quirks), not happening.  So my experiment with an extreme shortcut to pho began and I have to say, it’s pretty darn good.  It has passed the test with a few pho-obsessed friends and I think I’m ready to share.

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Ingredients, for approx. 3 people:
– 20 oz Organic Gluten-Free Beef Broth
– 32 oz carton of Pacific Brand Organic Beef Pho Broth Soup Starter
– 1/2 tbsp chopped ginger
– 1/2 tbsp chopped garlic
– 8 oz grass-fed organic round steak sliced as thin as possible (I ask the butcher at the store to do this for me)
– 3 whole cloves garlic
– 1-2 tbsp gluten-free soy sauce
– 4 oz rice noodles (either pad thai style or vermicelli style)
– 3 tbsp fish sauce (get an authentic brand (one you can’t read the label of) not Thai Kitchen)
– 1-2 cups fresh spinach
– sriracha sauce to taste

About an hour before you want to eat dinner, put the steak strips, soy sauce and smashed but intact whole garlic cloves in a ziploc bag to marinate.  Every recipe I found had you put the steak in with no seasoning, which is how it is traditionally made.  However, when you aren’t making the authentic broth, the beef is very bland and I have found that this really simple marinade makes a huge difference.

About 30 minutes before dinner, put both types of broth, the chopped ginger, chopped garlic, and fish sauce in a large pot with a lid and bring to a boil.  Boil at a low boil / rolling simmer for about 25 minutes, covered.  Keep an eye on it, it sometimes has a tendency to boil over.  Side note – the reason for the two different broths is this: most recipes for pho call for cinnamon and anise to infuse the broth as well.  I have tried and tried but the flavor of these two is always overwhelming when I use an actual cinnamon stick.  The Pacific pho soup starter has both of these ingredients already in it so that guesswork is taken care of and I mix it with the regular broth so that I can still infuse it with ginger and garlic to my liking.

While the broth is simmering, prepare rice noodles according to package directions.  Once cooked, place the noodles in the bottom of the serving bowls.  Place fresh spinach on top of the noodles and place the raw steak (just the steak, not the garlic or soy sauce) evenly spread out over the bowl.  Try not to overlap the steak very much since the broth will actually cook the steak to rare in the bowl and if it is stacked on top of each other, it won’t cook properly.  See picture below.

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After simmering 20 minutes, strain the broth to remove the ginger and garlic pieces and immediately pour the broth in the waiting serving bowls, be sure the broth covers the meat so that it will cook it.  I like to add a little sriracha for some spice, that’s completely up to you though.

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Is it easier than going out for pho?  No.  Is it cheaper?  Honestly, probably not.  But it’s a fun, unique dish to make on your own and the best part is that when I make it at home, I can fully control the ingredients and knowing I’m eating all organic food and that I am not allergic to any ingredients is certainly worth it.  An added bonus: it’s delicious.  Hope you enjoy it too!

Chicken Salad

While I avoid a lot of food because of my allergies, there are 3 foods that I won’t include in recipes because I hate them.  I’m not a picky eater at all but I absolutely will not eat: 1) olives, 2) celery, or 3) raisins.  Ants on a log snack day at school when I was young was especially awful!

I avoided chicken salad most of my life because it almost always contains at least one, if not 2, of my hated foods.  I’m also not much of a fan of mayo.  So I set out to create a chicken salad recipe several years ago that I actually liked and I have to tell you, it’s one of my favorites.  It’s not only allergy friendly, it’s very healthy too.  A perfect lunch on lettuce or sandwiches!

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1 large chicken breast
1/4 cup roasted almonds
1 apple (fuji, gala, whatever is on sale that isn’t too sweet or tart)
1 tbsp dijon mustard
1 tbsp vegan mayo
3-5 stalks green onion
olive oil
splash of lime juice
salt & pepper to taste

First, you’ll need to roast your chicken.  Preheat your oven to 375 and pat the chicken breast dry with a paper towel.  Coat with a thin layer of olive oil and salt and pepper on both sides.  Roast on a baking sheet for 35-40 minutes then let cool while you chop the rest of your ingredients.

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Chop the apple into cubes then place in a bowl and coat with a splash of lime juice to prevent browning. Chop the green onions into slivers (mainly green parts) and roughly chop the almonds.

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Slice the chicken breast in half lengthwise then cut into cubes.  Combine all chopped ingredients in bowl.

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Add the mustard, vegan mayo, and salt and pepper and mix well.

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Serve on a sandwich or on a salad, I like to add tomatoes and avocado to the salad as well.  This keeps really well for several days in the fridge so you can make a big batch and have it for a few days.

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Enjoy!

Jalapeño Poppers

This is one of my favorite recipes.  I love jalapeño poppers but they are so unhealthy and full of cheese and gluten that I really thought I would just give them up completely when my diet changed.  After having success with baked, unbattered chile rellenos though, I decided to try making a version of jalapeños that I can eat and I honestly like them a lot better than the original.  These jalapeño poppers have become a party staple and they freeze really well so I make a big batch and keep them on hand in the freezer for get togethers or as a side with a good steak.  They are a little labor intensive but they are so worth it!  Bonus: they are a lot healthier!  They aren’t fried, there’s no bacon, and I use sheep & goat milk for easier digestion.

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3 oz Sliced Prosciutto (Nitrate free if you can find it)
4 oz Dill & Garlic Goat Cheese (If your store only has regular goat cheese you can make your own.  Let the cheese come to room temperature in a bowl then add some garlic powder and dried dill and mix it well with a fork)
3 oz Manchego Cheese (Spanish sheep’s milk cheese)
10-14 fresh jalapeños

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First, you need to clean your jalapeños (if you are wearing contacts I strongly suggest you take them out for the day before starting this, or wear gloves).  Slice each jalapeño in half lengthwise, it will look like the pepper on the right in the picture above, your goal is to make it look like the pepper on the left.  Use your knife to separate the stem at the top from the seeds and membrane inside and along the edges of the pepper.  I find it easiest to use my fingers to pull the seeds and everything out but you can continue using your knife and spoon if you want to avoid the peppers as much as possible.  The more white membrane you leave, the hotter the pepper will be so if you are looking for a milder flavor you may want to clean it out even more than I did above.

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Once you have cleaned all of your peppers, lay them out on your cutting board or the cookie sheet you will use to bake them.  Slice the manchego cheese into small long blocks, about the size of the bottom of a hollowed out jalapeño and place them in each pepper.

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Now stuff the remaining space in each pepper with goat cheese.  Again, while it’s very messy, I find this easiest to do with my hands but 2 spoons can work if you don’t want to touch the peppers.  As an alternative, you can use only manchego or goat cheese.  The reason I use the 2 cheeses together is I like the creaminess of the goat cheese but it’s a stronger flavor so the 2 balance each other out really well.

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Take each slice of prosciutto and slice into 3 pieces lengthwise, then wrap each strip around one jalapeño half.  Start at the top and wrap around the pepper until you run out of prosciutto.  Push each end of the prosciutto into the goat cheese lightly and it will hold itself in place.

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This is the point at which you separate the peppers you are going to freeze from those you are going to cook.  Place the peppers in the bottom of a tupperware container then place plastic wrap over the first layer and you can stack more on top.  Place plastic wrap between each layer to keep them from freezing together.

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When ready to cook, place the peppers on aluminum foil in a pan or cookie sheet and put in the oven preheated to 375.  If room temperature, cook 10-15 minutes until the cheese is melted and prosciutto is beginning to get crispy.  If frozen, cook about 20 minutes until you get the same result.

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Enjoy!  One last tip: if you plan to take these poppers to a party, make quite a few.  They tend to go really fast!

Why this blog exists

At the age of 27, I was sick…really sick, and after MRIs and CT scans and Ultrasounds, no one could figure out what was wrong with me.  Finally my doctor said, “I think the problem is that you’re allergic to everything, so cut different things out of your life until you feel better.”  I didn’t feel like random trial and error was the best approach so I went to a naturopathic doctor and through extensive blood tests found that I was deficient of several key vitamins and allergic to dairy, gluten, corn, eggs, and oats.  To give you some perspective: on the test they performed, a result above a 2 indicated an allergic reaction and my result on dairy was a 67!  One of my ultrasounds also found that the painful lumps in my breasts were fibrocystic tissue that is aggravated by inflammatory foods so I also began consciously cutting caffeine, soy, tomatoes, eggplant, potatoes, red meat and lunch meats containing nitrates out of my diet.

My reaction to this news was the same question everyone asks me when I tell them about my food allergies and sensitivities:  “…..so, what am I supposed to eat??  What’s left??”

At first I kept it simple, to test it out I did a lemonade fast for 10 days and then literally lived on raw fruits, raw veggies, and fish for the next month.  The change in my life was so dramatic after just a month that I was blown away.  For the first time in my life, I felt “good” and “normal”.  My whole life I had been dealing with headaches and stomach aches and what I call “foggy brain” and I didn’t really realize that it wasn’t normal!!

After a month or two though, I began to miss foods.  Even though I felt SO much better and the diet I was following was worth it, I missed things about my life before I knew about my allergies.  I LOVE to cook and plan menus and grocery shop and I missed making the things I used to make, I missed the way certain things taste, I missed the process of cooking, I missed being able to create new recipes and plan meals around my experiments.  I also discovered, through my own home testing, that a LOT of gluten-free and dairy-free foods on the market are TERRIBLE!!!  So I set out to create meals that I can eat that taste great, even to people without my diet restrictions.  This blog is where I will post those recipes and lifestyle tips and, because I know firsthand that not everyone in a household has the same strict requirements, I promise to only post recipes that are approved as delicious by both myself and one of my official non-allergy-restricted taste testers (pretty much anyone that I ever cook for since I know very few people with diet restrictions).  I hope you enjoy the recipes!