Saturday, October 25, 2014

Nomato Bolognese (AIP)

When one of your favorite comfort foods is big bowl of spaghetti with tomato sauce, what’s a person to do after finding out that their body no longer will tolerate tomatoes (or any other things from the “nightshade” family)? Why, perfect their own tomato-less “Nomato” sauce!

Before my detox diet/starting the autoimmune protocol, I’d never even heard of “nightshades” before. The nightshade family includes things like tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, and white potatoes, plus a lot more. I stopped consuming them entirely, even the nightshade seed spices which are in *everything*. Though it has made a world of difference with my pain & inflammation, I still miss eating them.

I saw a recipe for a tomato-less “nomato” sauce a couple months ago and it really piqued my interest. I searched for a couple more sauce & started experimenting with my own variation. It’s taken several tweaks, but I finally feel it is near perfection for my palate.

While the base flavor of this nomato sauce great, I still find it is best when ground meat is added to it & it is simmered into a sort of “bolognese” sauce. I know the purists will say this is not remotely a bolognese sauce--yes, it is missing most of the main components of a “true” bolognese--but that’s the closest flavor profile I can think to describe it. During the summer, we served the nomato bolognese over sauteed cabbage or zucchini noodles (“zoodles”), but now that fall is here, I’m all about spaghetti squash.

Yes, I still miss my childhood favorite spaghetti, but I do not feel at all deprived by this version. It might require a little more work, but it’s totally worth it to eat something that is good for me & won’t make me feel worse.

Nomato Sauce Base (AIP) 

This sauce also freezes beautifully, so if you have the freezer space, I’d suggest making a big batch & keep it on hand for quick meal prep. I put extra bolognese sauce into freezer safe canning jars before freezing. 

2 Tbl Bacon grease, plus more, if needed 
1 med (1 1/2 c or approximately 190 g) Onion, diced
4 small ribs (1 1/2 c or approximately 190 g) Celery, chopped
3 cloves (approximately 38 g) Garlic, chopped
6 ea (3 c or approximately 420 g) Carrots, chopped
1 medium (1 1/2 c or approximately 180 g)  beet, diced 
1.5 c (approximately 350 g) Stock (homemade, if possible; I used chicken) 
2 Bay leaves 
2 tsp Italian Seasoning
2 Tbl Red Wine Vinegar
Salt/pepper (optional) 
  1. Melt the bacon grease in a medium stock pot over medium heat. Add the onion & sweat for 5 minutes. 
  2. Add the celery, garlic, carrots, beats, stock, bay leaves, and italian seasoning. Bring to a simmer. Reduce the heat to medium/low & simmer for 20 minutes, or until the vegetables are soft. 
  3. Remove the bay leaves (reserve for the bolognese) & puree the soup using an immersion blender (or in batches in a blender). After blending, add the red wine vinegar. Taste and adjust the salt & pepper as needed (this will depend on how seasoned the bacon grease & stock were). 
  4. Use in the Nomato Bolognese, or on its own. Cool completely before refrigerating or freezing. 

Nomato Bolognese (AIP) 

1 lb grassfed ground beef (85/15), browned in more bacon grease (or substitute other grassfed/pastured ground meats) 
1 batch sauce from above, including the reserved bay leaves 
  1. Brown the beef in some additional bacon grease until cooked through
  2. Add nomato sauce & reserved bay leaves. Simmer on low heat for 45 minutes.  

Roasted Spaghetti Squash
adapted from Simply Recipes 

1 large Spaghetti Squash
Avocado Oil
  1. Preheat the oven to 375 F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper & grease it with a tablespoon (or so) of Avocado Oil. 
  2. Cut off the ends of the spaghetti squash, then stand up the squash on one of the cut ends & cut down the center of the squash, length-wise. Use a large, sturdy spoon to scoop out the seeds in the center. 
  3. Place the squash halves on the oiled pan cut side down. Prick the tops of the squash with a sharp knife or the tines of a fork. 
  4. Roast the squash halves until you can easily pierce the squash with a fork or knife, approximately 35 to 45 minutes, depending on the size of the squash. 
  5. Remove from the oven until cool enough to handle. Use a fork to scrape the squash strands (aka “spaghetti”) into a bowl. Reheat slightly, if necessary, before serving with the nomato bolognese.
  6. Reheat slightly, if necessary, before serving with the nomato bolognese. Store any cooled leftovers in the refrigerator. 

Friday, October 17, 2014

Bulletproof Pumpkin Spice Latte (Paleo)

It’s the season for all things pumpkin spice. I can’t say I’m complaining, especially since I’m able to experience some fall-ish weather in October while I’m traveling for a cookbook photo shoot job (if you follow me on Instagram, you can see updates of what I’m doing, of “what work looks like today”/#wwllt). I love that I'm getting to experience the changing leaf colors, the slightly cooler temperatures, & rain.

About this time last year, I created my own homemade pumpkin spice latte, which I loved making, only now my lifestyle & dietary choices have prohibited me from enjoying that version (and any other commercial PSL). Not wanting to miss out on a favorite treat, I went back to the drawing board on making a new version, paleo style, that is dairy free, AIP friendly on the spices, & naturally sweetened using dates instead of refined sugar. And I wanted it to contain actual pumpkin, unlike most store-bought PSLs.

Coffee isn’t allowed on the initial portion of the Autoimmune Protocol, but after going through my initial detox period, one of the very first things I reintroduced was coffee. I know, the experts usually recommend reintroducing other things first, but I really love the ritual of drinking a little coffee in the morning. I don’t drink it every day, but when I do, I usually mix half coffee and half coconut milk & more often than not, I make also make the beverage “bulletproof” by adding coconut oil (or you could add butter/ghee, if you tolerate dairy).

It might sound a bit weird to add coconut oil (or butter/ghee, if you tolerate dairy) to coffee, but I promise it’s delicious! Bulletproof coffee helps my digestion & keeps me feeling full longer. I typically mix freshly brewed coffee with warm coconut milk & a couple tablespoons of coconut oil. The whole thing goes in a high speed blender & is blended together until very frothy. Voila, dairy free bulletproof coffee.  Note: the blending step is not optional--it emulsifies the ingredients together, otherwise you just have oily coffee.

For this pumpkin spice version, I also needed to create an AIP-friendly pumpkin pie spice blend. I substituted mace for nutmeg, omitted the allspice, and added a little ground cloves. This spice mix is a great blend of warmer fall-ish/winter-ish/holiday-ish flavors. Now that I have it on hand, I find myself adding it to more than just pumpkin things, like homemade applesauce, and cranberry compote, and even mashed sweet potatoes.

If you’re following AIP & have not reintroduced coffee yet (or if that reintroduction did not go well), you could make this as a steamer instead.  Just omit the coffee & add additional coconut milk, or substitute brewed tea for the coffee.

Bulletproof Pumpkin Spice Latte (Dairy Free & Paleo)
serves two

Technically, my version is more of a cafe au lait (meaning, it has extra coconut milk), but for “Pumpkin spice latte” is more fun to say ;) 

6 fl oz / 3/4 c Coconut Milk
3 Medjool Dates, pitted & coarsely chopped
2-3 Tbl Organic Canned Pumpkin
1 tsp Pumpkin Pie Spice (see AIP recipe below)
1 tsp Vanilla (may omit on AIP)
6 fl oz / 3/4 c Coffee, freshly brewed, plus additional if needed (may substitute Tea if following AIP)
3 Tbl Coconut Oil
  1. In a small skillet or saucepan, whisk together the coconut milk, dates, pumpkin, spices & vanilla. Bring to a simmer over medium heat, whisking constantly. 
  2. Pour the heated milk mixture into a high speed blender or food processor, and add the coffee and coconut oil. Blend on high speed until smooth. 
  3. Pour into two cups & enjoy.  Top off with additional coffee if desired. 

AIP Pumpkin Pie Spice
1 Tbl Ground Cinnamon
2 tsp Ground Ginger
3/4 tsp Ground Mace
1/4 tsp Ground Cloves
  1. Mix all together & store in a small airtight container. 

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Thursday, October 9, 2014

Simple Guac (AIP)

Sharing a recipe for homemade guacamole seems a bit “simple” to me, but this particular guac concoction has become such a staple in my Autoimmune Protocol (AIP) life, that I feel like I *need* to share it.  I make it/consume it multiple times a week, if not daily! 

I love guacamole, but most conventional recipes have nightshade ingredients, like tomatoes or peppers in them, or they include onion (which I don’t mind during the initial eating, but I detest tasting onions for hours post-eating). I’ve discovered that if I’m going to eat guac around here, especially given my proximity to the US/Mexico border & the regional love of all things nightshade & corn, it’s best to make my own to avoid any possibility of cross-contamination.

This simple guac works not just as a snack & dip, but also as a pseudo-condiment. Some of my favorite uses include eating it on grass-fed burgers, or with grilled chicken sausages. Or I often dip plantain chips or cucumber slices into it.  I customize the exact components of the guac, based on what we have on hand. Avocados are a staple in our fridge. Either lemon juice or lime juice works. Cilantro is optional (depending on if I can find some good quality herbs or not). Salt and garlic powder are a must.

Simple Guacamole (AIP) 
Serves 1
**Can be easily scaled up**

1 medium Avocado, ripe
1 tsp Lime Juice (or substitute lemon)
1/8 tsp Garlic Powder
1/8 tsp Sea Salt
1 tsp Chopped Cilantro (optional)

  1.  Cut the avocado in half & gently remove the pit. Score the avocado halves & use a spoon to scoop out the flesh into a medium mixing bowl. 
  2. Use a fork to roughly mash the avocado. Add the citrus juice, garlic, and sea salt. Continue mashing until the desired consistency is reached--I personally prefer to keep it a bit more chunky if I’m eating it with burgers, but a little more mashed if eaten as a dip. Taste & adjust seasonings as necessary. 
  3. Serve immediately, or place plastic film directly on the surface of the guac & refrigerate until ready to serve.     

Note: this post contains affiliate links

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Sausage & Kale Soup with Sweet Potato (AIP)

It’s not surprising that I would turn to soup, as I branch out into posting about more savory foods. I love to both make soup & eat it.

Many of my previously favorite soups contain ingredients that no longer like me--tomatoes, potatoes & beans, I’m referring to you! But really, there are so many, many other ingredients I can use that I just need to think a little more creatively.

This soup is a rift on a sausage & Kale soup with white potatoes that I use to make frequently in my pre-autoimmune protocol (AIP) days. I’ve swapped the regular pork sausage, which is often filled with nightshade ingredients, for Garlic & Herb Chicken Sausages. And I now use white sweet potatoes instead of regular potatoes.  Not to mention that anything that includes homemade stock (aka “bone broth” in the AIP world) is really, really beneficial for the healing process.  The flavor becomes a little more complex & a touch sweeter (from the sweet potatoes), but still makes a fantastic, filling, nutrient-dense lunch option, even if you aren’t Paleo or AIP.

Chicken Sausage, Kale & Sweet Potato Soup 
yields 2 to 4 servings, depending on how hungry you are

1-2 Tablespoons of solid fat (I used duck fat)
1 medium onion, diced (mine weighed 176 g)
2 medium carrots, peeled & sliced (mine weighed 113 g)
1 medium/large Sweet Potato, peeled & diced  (I used a white sweet potato & it weighed around 300 g)
1 package of chicken sausages, sliced on the bias (I used Trader Joe’s Garlic & Herb Chicken Sausages, which are free from nightshades, but do contain black pepper, so proceed with caution if on strict AIP)
1 quart of stock (I used homemade chicken stock, but you can certainly use purchased)
6 ribs of kale (mine weighed 50g)
Salt, to taste
Pepper, to taste (omit for strict AIP)
  1. In a medium/large pot, melt the solid fat. Add the diced onion & sauté over medium heat until the onion becomes slightly translucent, approximately 5 minutes. Add the sliced carrot & sauté an additional 2-3 minutes, or until the carrot softens just slightly. 
  2. Add the peeled diced sweet potato, sliced chicken sausages & stock. Bring the soup to a boil, then cover the pot, reduce to medium low & simmer for approximately 20 minutes, or until the sweet potato is tender. 
  3. Add the kale & cook an additional 5 minutes, or until the kale is wilted. Taste, and add salt & pepper as needed, depending on the flavor of the sausages & stock. 
  4. Ladle the soup into bowls & serve. 
  5. Store any leftovers in the refrigerator. The soup may be frozen, although the potatoes do break down, so the consistency will be different after thawing.