second try

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Coconut Flour Neopolitan Rose Cake with REAL Buttercream!

Do you ever wonder what to do for birthdays if your kids or other loved ones are not eating grains? Mine are off of them for an extended period while I am attempting to heal their guts with the GAPS diet. When I found this Neopolitan Rose cake by I Am Baker, I knew it was the one so I went on the prowl to come up with a real food version. (Tip number 1: watch her video tutorial. Aside from seeing how to decorate it in 10 minutes or under, I learned to double bag the icing bags to keep the tip free of being stuck at the bottom of the bag. That was a huge time saving tip right there.)

Coconut Flour Chocolate Cake:

For the chocolate layer we used this moist, delicious coconut flour recipe from Elana's Pantry Chocolate Cake with these GAPS friendly adaptions by Gaps Diet Journey. Because we had previously made it, we knew it was going to be perfect already, and it was.

Coconut Flour Pink Cake:

I colored the white cake batter in the recipe below with beet juice. It was pink before I baked it, and came out golden brown. So next time, I will be trying another natural food dye to avoid those disruptive chemicals in artificial food dyes. My first guess is to try strawberries, but who knows... once I research it, and bake it successfully, I will update this posting.

White Cake:

Elana's Pantry seems to be winning on the cakes! This one was awesome in white form or supposed to be pink form. I only altered the sweetener and the oil: honey and coconut oil instead. I wanted to use ghee, but it wasn't soft at the time.

Real, Genuine Buttercream Frosting:

I can't rave about this enough. This buttercream recipe by Modern Alternative Mama was glorious in my mouth, my guests thought it was amazing and our whole family loved it! I was concerned that it wouldn't be stiff enough for actual decorating since it wasn't comprised of 2 pounds of gross sugar which people typically use in fake butter cream. However, the photo above testifies that it held! Those heavy roses didn't slide off. It was the first time in my life I have ever tasted real buttercream, and I don't want to go back. For time's sake, I used honey as the sweetener, but somehow it didn't have that overtly honey taste. It was perfect. I made a double recipe and that was perfect for this cake. (2 pounds of butter)

I left my white icing as is, added a couple of tablespoons or so of chocolate powder for my chocolate layer and colored the pink with just a little beet juice. Although, as you can see from this image from Sustainable Echo, you can also get a hot pink color from beet juice. I don't care for beet flavor and the icing didn't have any.

Side note: Butter is not GAPS friendly. But, I wanted to decorate it with roses, it was her birthday and so I digress. 

My tips are:

Watch the tutorial from I Am Baker.
Double bag your icing bags. 
Use a 1mm tip for roses.
Pre-bake your cakes for ease of assembly the next day.
When cooled, freeze even for a short while.
Frost with a thin crumb layer and freeze for a bit to reduce crumb issues while frosting.
When it is frozen enough not to get crumby go ahead and do the roses. 
Have fun! Do this before dinner and it should be completely defrosted by dessert time.
According to Modern Alternative Mama's tips, if your frosting begins to separate cool it off quickly in the fridge (I used my freezer to save time) or reheat gently if it is too stiff and cold.
What do you think, would you try this? 

Friday, April 5, 2013

More To Come!

Hi guys,

Well somehow I let two months go by without posting. I do have good reasons, such as a sudden and major move. I don't know when I will be settled in but I am around boxes. It feels good. We just got done with a rare visit from the stomach flu and just began the GAPS diet for my kids. At any rate, I have not had time to blog!

Here are some topics on my mind that I plan to write on soon.

Raw milk. I get enough questions about it that I think it warrants a post. Why you want to go out of your way to TRACK IT DOWN AND DRINK IT! :)

Ego versus Health. Common things I see that hold us back from learning the truth which can set us free. The rewards of humility that come in being open to consider something new in regards to health. The beauty of embracing the fact that it is beneficial to say we made a bad choice out of lack of knowledge.

Overcoming Allergies. It's been a great season of learning for me and I would love to pass on the wisdom from the wise that I have learned. We don't have to live off meds to survive spring, people! That's good news.

The GAPS Diet. What is it, why are my kids on it and would it help you? What does gut health have to do with everything anyway?

The things I wish I had known about fertility before I got married. That's a big one! I was pretty ignorant. I wish I had been more educated. It would have changed everything.

But tonight, no photos, I am going to bed. Late.

Which reminds me, one more post to be:

Real Sleep. What it looks like and why you need it. Most of the US, I guarantee, is not getting it.

So goodnight! Sleep tight!


Sunday, January 20, 2013

Fighting Debt in the Kitchen: The Pantry Purge Challenge

How many of us have debt? How many of us really want to get rid of it? How many of us have said that for years? Well, I am tired of saying that for years. We have gone in and out of it. Personally, I have decided I want to GET OUT and STAY out of it, which requires mindset changes and habit changes. So what does debt have to do with the kitchen? This is the first post in a series on eliminating debt by changing our kitchen habits or lack thereof.

Last year my husband came home from a seminar we would recommend for anyone (look up Dani Johnson  as seen on the show Secret Millionaire) and said we should only keep enough food for one week in our home. I totally resisted as I couldn't wrap my mind around it. If you know me, you can imagine! Suffice it to say we think it makes sense to have food for emergencies, but separate from our every day stash. (Southern California might not be known for hurricanes but the area was certainly unprepared for the huge power outage we all had. Some of my nearby friends did not even have clean water!) We also agreed that being that we attempt to eat as much real food as possible it would behoove us to purchase a yearly grass fed cow each year that we can. I still brought up one more exception- we have housed and fed at LEAST a couple hundred guests over our 7 years of marriage. It also is not unheard of that I have 4 to 10 people to feed on two hour's notice. So for our family, these three clauses are important to us. In addition to purchasing what we need for the week we will:

1. Have emergency food that we leave alone.
2. Purchase a small amount of bulk items when necessary (such as a cow, gallons of coconut oil).
3. Maintain a small stock of home prepared foods in the freezer for unexpected guests or needed "fast food" meals.

Here are today's pantry/freezer purge meals, via my cell phone. I didn't have time to pull out my nice camera:

Root veggie cobbler is pictured above. Click here for the original recipe from Kimi Harris of 
The Nourishing Gourmet. She has published a salad recipe book I think you might enjoy!.
I have altered this recipe to make it my own but I usually do bake it. 
However, today I decided to take the leap and use the crock pot. I will add the biscuit topping and 
peas an hour before we eat so it is all ready at the same time. I had frozen this a few months ago.

This half frozen lump is about a gallon of spaghetti squash leftover from our garden two years ago.
I literally gave away hundreds of pounds of this stuff. It was practically coming out of my ears! 
This remainder is destined to become a pot of warm soup to go with our cobbler.
In case you are now wondering how this is fighting debt, read on. I have gradually come to some conclusions about why this is beneficial. Last week, I emptied my pantry of $53 worth of stuff I really didn't need and used that to purchase items I did need that week- raw milk, diapers and fresh but basic organic produce for the week. I got rid of an extra bottle of cod liver oil, a duplicate bottle of elderberry syrup I had bought when I accidentally thought we were out, a baby soap bar I hadn't opened and some random canned goods.That made $53 cash appear out of thin air. I have also recently started thinking, how much is this extra can of green beans, this extra 10 pound bag of frozen veggies that I do NOT need to consume this week, or this dessert item costing me? Why would I say costing me? Because I finally got it. I realized that when I bought that extra bag or can I don't need right now, or the 4th can of pumpkin puree that has been sitting in my cupboard for two months or more, I was paying interest on my credit card. How much would I have actually saved had I instead paid down our debt with that can of pumpkin, that extra bottle of cod liver oil, etc? And when I multiplied that reality times years of my life I realized I have been operating out of a poverty mentality which keeps me in debt. So I have decided to be done, and I would love for you to join me!

First, I would like to give you a task. When you have finished the task you will understand my above statements. Then, I would LOVE to hear from you about how much you were bale to pay down your debt by doing this! I will keep track as well. I have just begun the clearing out process.

  • Go look in your cupboards. Make a list of what they contain. Do the same for your pantry if you have one, your freezer and your fridge.
  • Now make a meal plan, and I mean keep going until there is no more. Now, obviously you might have olive oil, butter, oats etc. left over. The staples. But keep going until you run out of meals. And please, do yourself a favor and skip the eating out. If you have a restaurant budget that is separate from your general food budget add that to the equation as well.
  • Write down how many lunches, breakfasts and dinners you have found.
  • Write down your food budget for each week, and how many days or weeks you can do without grocery shopping based on what is in front of you. Do your math, and write down the money you now do not have to spend purchasing groceries.
  • Look at your highest interest debt, whether it is a credit card, mortgage or your car payment. Put your grocery budget that is now not needed to that high interest debt. Do it every week until you have to start buying groceries again. If you really want to do the mathematical thing, calculate how much interest you just saved by shifting your grocery budget to your debt. You will pay it down more quickly whether it is a one year debt or a 30 year debt


Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Chicken Bone Stock ANYONE Can Make- even if you don't like cooking!

The best quality stock will come from a pastured chicken and include rooster feet. But obviously, that isn’t for everyone! Chicken stock made from a Foster Farms chicken at 99 cents a pound will be both economical and full of more nutrients than you can get in a can or box of from the store.  It will also give you usually at least 6 quarts of stock. (Two whole chickens are just $10 at Costco.) You can’t beat that, especially using food remains that most people usually throw away. It puts extra, super nutrition in your bodies and keeps money in your bank account. But this recipe will call for something even easier than one little Foster Farms chicken- a pre-cooked rotisserie chicken. By all means, if you use organic or pastured chicken, then do so, but don’t miss out on a real nourishing bone broth just because you don’t like to cook or don’t cook a whole lot, or don’t buy organic. Though the Campbell’s chicken soup can at the store with MSG in it won’t be doing much for you or your family when you are sick, chicken stock that you make this way will truly be Jewish Penicillen, and even more so with better quality chicken. Either way it beats store bought, every time. There is a reason an old proverb says a good stock will raise the dead. The value only goes up with the best chicken, but this stuff is amazing no matter what type of chicken you use. I suggest making it monthly if this is new for you, and gradually easing into making it once a week. Regardless of frequency, just get this in your diet, one way or another. It's worth it!

Below is my basic recipe, with the few new additions of garlic, peppercorns, dill and thyme inspired by the Barefoot in Paris cookbook.

1 rotisserie chicken carcass with small bits of meat still attached
(A  pastured chicken is best, organic is  second best, and antibiotic and regular but hormone free is third best. Either way, whatever you are buying, utilize it and change it from trash to superfood!)
A big pot full of filtered, fluoride free water (or us a crock pot)- use your biggest pot
1 tablespoon of raw apple cider vinegar or white wine vinegar
1 onion, chopped
1 full head of garlic, unpeeled and cut two times across the top to make an x
3 carrots, chopped
2 parsnips, chopped (optional, but helps flavor and Sprouts carries them)
3 stalks celery, chopped
1 tablespoon whole peppercorns
1 bunch of dill, snipped with scissors
1 bunch of thyme, snipped with scissors
½ bunch of parsley, roughly chopped and reserved for the last 10 minutes of simmering
2 teaspoons of celtic unrefined sea salt

  • Place the chicken carcass in your stockpot and let it sit with the vinegar for 30 minutes.
  • Boil. Skim off the foam impurities that float to the top. If you leave it will alter the taste.
  • Reduce to the lowest possible heat.
  • Now add the vegetables and herbs except for parsley.
  • Leave it simmering for two days, occasionally checking to make sure the water content remains high.
  • Yes, two days. When it is done you will possess a stock that is full of minerals and nutrients drawn out from the bones.
  • Add the chopped parsley and let it sit there for the last ten minutes of cooking.
  • You can immediately turn it into a chicken soup with some of your chicken leftovers. Or, package it in glass mason jars and put into the fridge or freezer. If you don’t have those, let it cool some and put it into a large glass container of some sort.

Here is some great information about bone stock.

“Properly prepared, meat stocks are extremely nutritious, containing the minerals of bone, cartilage, marrow and vegetables as elctrolytes, a form that is easy to assimilate. Acidic wine or vinegar added during cooking helps to draw minerals, particularly calcium, magnesium and potassium, into the broth. Dr. Francis Pottenger of the famous cat studies as well as articles on the benefits of gelatin broth, taught that the stockpot was the most important piece of equipment to have in one’s kitchen…

…Gelatin acts first and foremost as an aid to digestion and has been used successfully in the treatment of many intestinal disorders, including hyperacidity, colitis and Crohn’s disease.”

-Nourishing Traditions, Sally Fallon, with Mary G. Enig, Ph.D. Page 116, P. 3 and 4

Ok, so most people won't want this in their pot, but the photo below is of three roosters from our chicken family here crammed into my largest stock pot. The rooster's feet are full of gelatin which is why they make the absolutely best stock. (I immersed them in boiled water first.) I usually don't recommend putting all the meat into the stock pot, but his time I did. It takes too long to pick off the bird and gets dry being in the water long. I prefer to roast my chickens in the oven and then immediately start a stock after I get the meat off.