Due to a lot of allergies and other health issues I’ve been working through for the past year, I decided a week ago that I need to try an elimination diet to establish more of what I can and cannot eat. After a lot of reading, I’ve started with the Autoimmune protocol (AIP) and am about one week in.

At first, I was feeling stressed, mainly because I rely so much on eggs and dairy to go through my day. I had a moment of clarity when I saw a list of all the vegetables I can eat and got a ‘of course I can do this!’ moment.
The first week, I’ve been spiralizing a lot of vegetables and eating with different kind of meats and seafood but a couple of days ago, I felt like I got stuck in a bit of a rut again. It felt like I kept eating the same things.

Yesterday, I tried to come up with easy breakfast options as it feels like frying up veg takes a bit longer and I seem to be eating my breakfast very late in the morning. In comes ways to incorporate lots of vegetable in a format that I can prepare a big batch of and just reheat in the morning.

Today, I made porridge.

Veggie porridge (AIP)

1 slice of green cabbage (100g approx), cut up into small pieces
1 cup cooked spaghetti squash
handfull of fresh spinach
1/2 yellow plantain, cut up
1 green apple, grated/chopped (I kept some back for decorating afterwards)

cloves, cinnamon, ginger powder
dash of coconut milk
squirt of lemon

2tbs gelatin     (optional – adds protein)
1/2 cup water

I started by frying up the cabbage and squash in the pan with some coconut oil and a squirt of lemon until cabbage was a bit softer. Then in went the spinach and spices, until the spinach had wilted. This then went into my blender (vitamix) with the plantains and a bit of coconut milk. The milk was poured in to make it puree easier. You don’t want to see any of the spinach pieces when you are done.

I then poured the blended mix back into the pan and added the apple, once it started simmering again. At this stage, taste it and see if you need to have some more spices, but it tastes very much like apple from the plantains and is ready to be eaten. If you want to add more protein, you can add in gelatin to the mix.

The water went into a small pot and I sprinkled the gelatin over it whilst swirling it around (to minimize clumping) and once all had been mixed in, I left it for a minute or so. After the rest, I put it over heat and stirred it until the gelatin had melted and then mixed it into the porridge.  This will firm up a bit more when cold, and can’t really be tasted once mixed.

Serve as is, or add berries or whatever you want on top.

There was a time when we used to eat chicken more than any other meat, but not anymore. Now that we live in the US, we’ve become a lot more aware of the treatments of animals and we’d rather pay a bit more for our meat and just not eat it as often.

However, this means that we just have to come up with ways to stretch the chickens we do buy, a bit longer!

We started with a Sunday roast in a slightly different way. We tried it spatchcocked for the first time and it made it very moist yet with crunchy skin. The large amount of herbed butter I stuffed the skin with also helped on that account. We made oven roasted veg (carrots/parsnips/sweet potatoes/white potatoes) as well as some steamed broccoli. It was very tasty and I ate a lot of the skin as it was herbed and crackly and absolutely delicious.

In the evening, I picked the chicken clean of all it’s meat and put the carcass in the slow cooker with the neck and innards that came in a separate bag. I also threw in a whole red onion, some carrots that had seen better days, a twig of rosemary and thyme that was starting to wilt, black pepper corns, bay leaf and a whole bulb of garlic that I had cut in half (horisontally). I filled up the slow cooker with as much water as I could and poured in a splash of my fire cider. I let this simmer on low for the next day or so.

The following evening, I ladled up as much of the liquid that I would, strained it from any bits and poured it into silicone muffin shapes that I placed in the freezer overnight. I then push the frozen stock out, into ziplock bags and store them in my freezer. This means I now have smaller portions of great tasting chicken stock (warmed up a cup that I drank whilst ladling the liquid – very tasty!) that I can add to anything I want (my fav sweet potato will be made soon!) or just have a cup, from time to time.

Next phase, I filled up the slow cooker with water again and let it simmer on low for another day.

The following morning, I removed all the bits from the slow cooker and went through what to keep and what to discard. All the bones, skin and sinew from the carcass was discarded but all the liquid, pieces of veg and innards (heart, liver, lungs?) went into the next meal. Yummy leftover meal.

I chopped up all the veg into smaller pieces and finely chopped all the innards (my husband hates this so I will see if I can hide it with all the other bits) and placed it back into the strained liquid. I strained it because I wanted to ensure that there were no small pieces of bone that could turn it into our last meal.

I squeezed all the garlic out of their peel, added another carrot that I had laying around as well as a chopped up sweet potato. 4 big mushrooms were chopped and fried up in butter with garlic and some smaller pieces of a red pepper I found. In the end of the frying process, I added in two new bay leaves as well as a lot of dried thyme. I wanted to heat them up a bit to maximise the flavour.
When all the liquid from the mushrooms had been fried away, the content of the pan also went into the slow cooker.

This simmered away on high for a couple of hours before I cut up the last bit of chicken that we hadn’t managed to eat yet. I added lots of herbs and spices (turmeric, chipotle chili powder, garlic, salt, black pepper, smoked paprika, thyme) and took out some of the liquid (along with a stock ‘cube’ from the freezer) to boil some quinoa in. I added a tin of (drained) sweet corn and served the soup over the quinoa, topped with some grated cheese.

So, all in all, we have had from 1 whole chicken and some veg:

*Roasted spatchcocked chicken with roasted & steamed veg

*Leftover chicken with veg x 4 meals

*Chicken stock – approx 3.5 quarts (our slow cooker is 4 qt in total)

*Chicken and veg soup. This looks like at least 8 portions

Isn’t this brilliant?

Tomorrow morning we will be flying off to San Francisco to visit some friends and today is therefore filled with preparations. I’m making filled crepes for myself, a banana smoothie each for the two of us as well as chewy bars/bites.

I started following this recipe from Paleo Mum and realised I had some other things I also needed to use up. My modifications turned it into this:

Chewy bars

2 very ripe bananas
2 eggs
1 tbsp vanilla extract
1 tsp ish of cinnamon
a  bit of sea salt

1/2 cup unsweetened desiccated coconut
1/2 cup chopped pepitas/pumpkin seeds
1/3 cup sunflower seeds
2 tbsp chia seeds
1/3 cup chopped dried apricots
2 tbsp chopped dried currants
1/3 cup chopped pecans
1/3 cup chopped hazelnuts
5 slices of unsweetened freeze dried mango, chopped/crushed into small pieces

Set the oven to 350F/175c.
Mixed the first five ingredients smooth in a blender. Mix all the other ingredients in a bowl before stirring it all together. Grease up a 23x23cm/9×9″pan and pour in. I used both a mini cupcake pan (12) and a 20x15cm/8×6″ glass pan.

After 10 minutes, the house smelled of banana bread and yumminess and I took out the golden mini bites, still leaving the bigger glass pan. After almost another 10 min, I took out the glass pan which was now golden around the edges. I cut them before letting cool.
From this batch, I got 12 mini muffins and 12 smaller bars.

These bars turned out to like a mix between a muffin and a bar, the banana and dried fruit sweetening it up enough without adding any sugar or honey.  They are easy to cut into pieces and take a couple with you and we will thoroughly enjoy them tomorrow on the flight!

 

One of my new years resolutions/promises to myself is to incorporate more organ meat in to my diet. (Grassfed) Liver is one of those superfoods that has so much nutrients and minerals, that just starting with that would add so much goodness to my life. I have, however, a slight aversion to the texture and strong taste and am trying to come up with different ways to incorporate it without having to fry it up and eat it straight.

My mother was a fan of liver but neither me nor my sister could stomach it as young ones and she never tried to force us to eat it. We regularly ate bloodpudding which is, among other things, made with pigs blood. It is, however, also filled with lots of other things I now avoid (wheat and sugar) and is (because I’m now based in the US) no longer part of my diet.  Liver pâté though!

Liver pâté is also one of those things I have grown up with, but the cheap supermarket version that you slice with a cheese slicer and have on your bread with pickles. Mmm, so nice for breakfast but is not the best meat/liver combination if you look at quality.

Therefore, I trawled the internet for a while before I found a couple of recipes without wheat. As usual, I didn’t manage to follow the recipe but it still ended up ok. I think next time I will only make it with beef liver or a mix with beef and chicken (the latter is supposedly very mild in flavour) as the pigs liver had a quite specific taste.

The butchers didn’t have lard the day I went to buy all the ingredients but gave me pieces of pork belly instead which I had to render myself. I was a bit worried in the beginning as I’ve never done it before, but there are several great tutorials online. It also left me with some wonderful cracklings in the end which I snacked on whilst cooking.

 

Simple Liver pâté

100g grassfed beef liver

100g organic pork liver

200g pork mince

200g pork belly which was rendered down

1 yellow onion

10 roasted garlic cloves

anchovy paste

salt, white & black pepper

16oz/ 473ml Whipping cream without additives (pasturized – not ultra pasturized)

I chopped up the liver in small pieces that I fried with the onion until everything had browned slightly. I then added in the garlic, mince and poured over the rendered fat (lard) before seasoning with a squeeze of the anchovy paste and salt & peppers.

Once it all had cooked a bit longer, I added the mixture bit by bit in my vitamix, poured on some cream and blended to smooth mixture. In hindsight, I should have added less mixture as it became quite thick and made it hard for my blender. Once everything was smooth, I poured 2/3 of it in to 2 of my smallest bread tins before I placed it in a bigger pan that I filled with water. The water line came up to about 2/3 of the tins and I then baked them in the oven for 1 hour before I took them out and let them cool.

The hard part was taking the pâté out of the bread tin without ruining the bottom – perhaps I should have had some sort of parchment paper in the base to stop this from happening.

I poured the rest of the batter in to a ziplock bag for next time.

The pâté turned out really good for my first time, but as mentioned previously – I will try with different livers next time. I might even try it with been mince + pork lard which might even make it even milder.

As it’s only me eating the pâté, I took the two ‘loaves’ out of the pans, sliced them up and froze them all in ziplock bags. I left 1/4 of one tin out in a bag in the fridge for consumption that week and will take bit by bit out of the freezer when needed. Home made liver pâté don’t usually last more than 1 week in the fridge (provided you don’t leave it out on the counter/in room temperature for longer periods. This reduces it’s life considerably.

Home made spelt bread with pâté and pickles

Decorative orange filled with cloves

Every year, we invite our friends over for Lucia celebrations which for us means a bit of food, great conversation and lots of cakes & glogg (mulled wine). As many things this year, it was our first Lucia in Boston and our friends where excited to find out what it all meant.

Among our new friends we had someone vegan which mixed with my wheat free needs made it slightly tricky, but not impossible. I really wanted to make as much as possible edible for everyone so that I wouldn’t limit myself or my friend to what we could eat. It was proving slightly harder than usual as the common lucia treats are usually filled with butter, quark or some kind of dairy.

I was also trying out a new brand of spelt flour as this is what I can usually handle. The spelt I found was from Whole foods but was a lot darker and more coarse than I was used to and it didn’t quite hold up in the same way that I was used to with Dove’s spelt flour in London. For the traditional lucia/saffron buns, I found an interesting vegan recipe from the Green Kitchen Stories – I’m a sucker for their website design!
Instead of traditional individual buns, I rolled out the dough as much as I could (it was hard as the dough kept breaking), dolloped out lots and lots of Earth balance vegan butter along with orange zest and almond paste. Swedes are almost as obsessed with almond paste as they are with dairy products and a lot of baking includes it somehow – I have always loved it!

Once all the filling was on the dough, I carefully rolled it up on the longest side and cut them into 3cm thick slices like one does with cinnamon buns. I greased a pie pan and squeezed in all the buns, let it rise again before I brushed all the buns with vegan butter and shoved it in the oven. They came out great, but as mentioned before – a lot crumblier than usual. Obviously still very edible!

Tasty tasty saffron buns

The ginger bread biscuits/cookies were quickly made by rolling out individual balls that were flattened before the oven, instead of rolling out the dough with our cookie cutters. I also took out some coconut kisses from the freezer to fill up the trays on the table.

Something very English that we always have are mince pies. They do not have any mince meat in them (as I first though) anymore but consist of a small pastry case filled with a thick, syrupy mix of dried fruit, diced apples, candied peels and lots and lots of spices and sugar. I didn’t feel like making so many individual pie cases thought so got some filo/phyllo pastry and made mince pie baklava instead which was a great hit. So great that I actually do not have any pictures at all of the finished product!

Mince pie baklava

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