Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Dinner: Leg of Lamb w/ Root Vegetable, Coconut Corn Soup, Sauerkraut and Raw Milk

Coconut Oil: 2 tablespoons taken in tangerine ginger tea
  • Leg of Lamb with Root Vegetables: carrots, turnips, new potatoes
  • Leftover Coconut Corn Soup
  • Sauerkraut (mine isn't ready because it's still fermenting, so I am subbing lacto-fermented pickles)
  • Raw Milk or Coconut Milk Tonic (I am having raw milk)
I just put my leg of lamb into a broth of white wine and water herbed with several teaspoons of dried thyme and dried rosemary, several cloves of unpeeled garlic, and several bay leaves.  It is going to braise for 3 hours and then I will add my root vegetables for another hour.  Therefore: 4 hour leg of lamb.  

I looked at the recipe in Eat Fat, Lose Fat and sort of combined it with this recipe for 4-Hour Lamb I saw from Ina Garten when I was watching Barefoot Contessa a few weeks ago.  I did that because Ina's recipe uses a Dutch oven to braise the meat over a long period of time, and that sounds delicious.   She also browns it first before putting it in the oven.  I will post the hybrid recipe I used.  Someday I will try the book version, it sounds good too.

A note about ingredients: I found the best price for lamb at Whole Foods, where a leg of lamb was on sale for $4.99/lb.  I always buy Kerrygold butter from Trader Joe's, because they have the best price.  Kerrygold is the cheapest grass-fed butter I can find around here.  Sea salt is much better for you than iodized salt which has additives.  Most of my root vegetables are organic, which I buy in bulk on Azure Standard.  You can do your own searching in your area, but make sure you know where your food comes from.

4-Hour Leg of Lamb
by K
1 small leg of lamb
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) melted butter
sea salt and pepper to taste
1 bottle (750 mL) dry white wine (I used Sauvignon Blanc)
2 cups water
15 sprigs fresh thyme, or a palmful of dried thyme
15 sprigs fresh rosemary, or a palmful of dried rosemary
6 bay leaves
2 heads of garlic, broken up into cloves, unpeeled
4-6 carrots, peeled, cut into large sticks
2-3 turnips, quartered
6 new potatoes, cut in half or quartered
1 onion, sliced
3-4 cups beef stock

1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees.  Place Dutch oven over medium heat until hot.  Meanwhile, rub leg of lamb with 1/4 cup melted butter (reserve other 1/2 cup) and season generously with salt and pepper.  Sear in hot Dutch oven on all sides until browned all over.  Remove leg of lamb and set on a plate.  
2.  Add entire bottle of wine and water to the Dutch oven, scraping all the browned bits up with a wooden spoon or spatula.  Add thyme, rosemary, bay leaves, and garlic to the liquid.  Place leg of lamb back into the Dutch oven, cover with a lid and place in the oven.
3.  Cook, covered, for four hours.
4.  Meanwhile, peel and chop vegetables.  Put onto a roasting pan or jelly roll pan lined with parchment. Brush or drizzle with remaining 1/2 cup melted butter, season with salt and pepper, and put in the oven on a rack underneath the Dutch oven during the final hour of the four hours of cooking.
5.  In a saucepan, reduce 4 cups of beef stock down to 1 or 2 cups of stock.  This way it will be concentrated down to add later to the sauce.
6.  Remove Dutch oven from oven and remove lid.  Remove leg of lamb from the Dutch oven, set on a plate, and cover with foil.  Check vegetables to see if they are tender.  If they are, remove them from the oven and cover with foil as well.  If not, let them roast a little longer while you make the sauce.
7. Add reduced beef stock to the Dutch oven, over medium high heat on the stove.  Bring liquid in the Dutch oven to a rapid boil, reducing down to one cup or so.  Season with salt to taste.  Serve over lamb and vegetables.


Breakfast: Soaked Oatmeal w/ Raw Milk

Coconut Oil and Fermented Cod Liver Oil: 2 tablespoons coconut oil taken in tangerine ginger tea and two capsules of FCLO, taken 20 minutes before breakfast

Breakfast: Soaked Oatmeal with butter, maple syrup, and Coconut Sprinkles, one cup of whole raw milk

Breakfast was surprisingly good this morning.  I have made soaked oatmeal before, and I like it fine but it isn't usually my favorite.  I prefer eggs and bacon to grains in the morning.  But I was very pleasantly surprised by this particular bowl of oatmeal.  I usually don't add butter to my oatmeal but it was a welcome addition indeed.  The buttery, mapley smoothness was punctuated by the crunchiness of the coconut sprinkles.  No kidding, this is my new favorite way to have oatmeal.

It was also nice to have a warm breakfast after waking up with cramps and a baby who was feeling a little...grumpy.  I have been feeling pretty good the last couple of days on the new food regimen.  I like having my meals planned out for me, and I like trying new things.  Tonight I am trying lamb for the first time.  And last night I had blue cheese salad which I am really trying to like!

Soaked Oatmeal with Butter, Maple Syrup, and Coconut Sprinkles

1 cup rolled oats
1 cup warm water
2 tablespoons whey, lemon juice, or yogurt
  • Combine oats, warm water and whey in a glass bowl, cover with a towel and let soak overnight or 24 hours.

1 teaspoon sea salt
1 cup filtered water
  • Transfer soaked oatmeal to a saucepan, add sea salt and water and bring to a boil.  Then lower to a simmer for 1-2 minutes, until oatmeal thickens.

1-2 tablespoons butter (or coconut oil)
2-4 tablespoons maple syrup (or other wholesome sweetener like Rapadura, Sucanat, honey, maple sugar, date sugar, palm sugar, etc.)
sprinkling of Coconut Sprinkles
  • Scoop oatmeal into bowls and add butter, wholesome sweetener, and coconut sprinkles.  I also added a little raw milk from my cup to thin it out a little.  Enjoy!

Preview to Breakfast: Soaked Oatmeal

Before I go to bed I wanted to give you a quick update on the day.  I ate all the same meals today as I did on Monday.  I had a lot of leftovers, and it was a lot of work!  Plus I don't mind the repetition, the simplicity of having nothing to cook today was a welcome change.  Here are the links to breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

When I checked the schedule for tomorrow's meals, I realized that tonight I need to start soaking the oatmeal for tomorrow's breakfast.

Soaked Oatmeal

1 cup rolled oats
1 cup warm water
2 tablespoons whey, lemon juice, or yogurt

1.  Stir all ingredients together in a glass (or other non-reactive) bowl, cover with a towel and let soak overnight at room temperature.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Dinner: Baked Chicken w/ Coconut Peanut Sauce, Salad, Green Beans, Pickles, and Kefir

Wow, that's quite the title.

Coconut Oil: taken 20 minutes before dinner, in pomegranate white tea

  • Mesclun Salad with Balsamic Dressing
  • Baked Chicken with Coconut Peanut Sauce
  • Green Beans fried in coconut oil
  • Kimchi (homemade or purchased)--(I couldn't do it!  I had Bubbie's pickles instead, they are also lacto-fermented)
  • choice of Quick and Easy Beverage--I chose kefir
By the time I made it to dinner today I realized how much I don't like making three meals a day.  But no problem, I will just eat the leftovers for a day or two and then move on to the next "day" of menu items.  R goes a little crazy eating the same thing over and over, but I love it.  Simplicity, less work?  Hooray!

Mesclun Salad

4 cups mesclun salad (baby lettuce)
1 tablespoon toasted pine nuts
1/2 cup Balsamic Dressing
2 ounces blue cheese
4 croutons (I omitted them)
Balsamic Dressing

1 teaspoon smooth or grainy Dijon-style mustard
2 Tablespoons plus one teaspoon balsamic vinegar
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil or Mary's Oil Blend
2 teaspoon expeller-pressed flax oil
sea salt and pepper to taste

1.  Mix mustard and vinegar in a bowl.  Add oil in a steady stream, whisking until the dressing is well-mixed and emulsified.  
Baked Chicken

1 whole chicken, including head and feet if possible
1 tablespoon melted butter (I just rubbed room temperature butter on the chicken)
sea salt and pepper to taste
1 3/4 cups Coconut Peanut Sauce

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Cut up chicken, reserving back, feet, head and wings for chicken stock. Place breasts, thighs, and drumsticks, skin side up, in a roasting pan or Dutch oven.  Brush with butter and season with salt and pepper.  Bake for 2 hours or until golden brown.

Coconut Peanut Sauce

6 garlic cloves, coarsely chopped
2-inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled and chopped
1 large bunch of cilantro, chopped
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon Asian hot chili oil (I couldn't find it, so I omitted; plus the boys don't like it spicy)
3/4 cup natural peanut butter
3/8 cup naturally fermented soy sauce
3 tablespoon rice or coconut vinegar
1/2 can whole coconut milk

1. Place garlic, ginger, and cilantro in a food processor and pulse until finely chopped.  Add all remaining ingredients and pulse until well-blended.  To warm sauce, place in a medium bowl set in a pan of hot water over very low heat.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Lunch: Coconut Corn Soup, crackers and cheese, spritzer

Coconut oil: 2 tablespoons taken 20 minutes before lunch, in tangerine ginger herbal tea

  • Coconut Corn Soup
  • whole grain (soaked) crackers or Coconut Crackers, with raw cheese
  • spritzer or purchased kombucha
Coconut Corn Soup is simmering away on my stove right now, in my new Le Creuset Dutch oven no less!  I got this recipe from Eat Fat, Lose Fat by Dr. Mary Enig and Sally Fallon. This soup is part of the two week meal plan I am following from the book, as part of my Operation Lose Baby Weight project I started this morning.

I made crackers a couple of weeks ago, so I am using the soaked spelt version I made then.  When I run out I will try the Coconut Crackers recipe from the book.

I am going to drink spritzer with grapefruit juice in it today.  I was really digging my half a grapefruit from breakfast, so I'll use a little more of it for my lunch drink.  The citrus juice aids in digestion.

Coconut Corn Soup

1 can whole coconut milk
28-ounce can fire-roasted tomatoes
kernels from 4 ears of corn
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
sea salt and pepper to taste

1. Combine all the ingredients in a large pot or Dutch oven and bring to a simmer.  Simmer for 10 minutes.  Serve.

Basic Rich Crackers
1 cup plain, whole milk yogurt
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
3 1/2 cups freshly ground whole grain flour (I have used spelt and whole red winter wheat, both with good success)
2 teaspoons sea salt

1. Cream yogurt and butter together. Add flour and salt and stir to combine.
2. Cover with a towel and a plate, find a warm place to soak 12-24 hours (or overnight).
3. After the soaking period, preheat oven to 400 degrees.
4. At this point you can add any herbs, cheeses, or spices to your dough you might like to try. I have only attempted cracked pepper and parmesan cheese, but it was delicious! The possibilities are endless, but the crackers are truly delicious all on their own. Don't feel you need this step, it is optional.
5. Use white flour, sprouted flour, or arrowroot powder (because each of these options have no phytic acid) to roll your dough out very thin. Use a pastry or pizza cutter to cut dough into small squares or rectangles.
6. Place onto a parchment-lined baking sheet. You can put the crackers fairly close to each other, they do not spread. You can prick with a fork, but I have not seen much of a need for it.
7. Bake 8-12 minutes, checking every minute or so after 8 minutes have gone by to make sure they do not overbrown. You know the crackers are done when they are slightly brown on the edges and the middles of the crackers look drier.
8. Remove from baking sheet to cooling racks immediately, but be gentle so they do not break. Enjoy!

sparkling water
juice from 1 lime, 1/2 lemon OR 1/4 grapefruit
pinch salt

1. Add juice and salt to a glass of water.  Stir to combine.

Ready, Set, Go!

Coconut oil: taken 20 min. before breakfast in pomegranate white tea, along with two capsules of high vitamin cod liver oil

  • two eggs fried in butter or coconut oil
  • one piece of whole grain (sprouted) toast with butter or coconut oil
  • half a grapefruit with coconut sprinkles
  • one cup of whole raw milk or coconut milk tonic

I am sitting here eating my grapefruit with Coconut Sprinkles, having already finished my eggs, toast, and milk. But before I ate anything I took my two tablespoons of coconut oil.

As you will recall, one of the methods of this weight loss plan is to take two tablespoons of coconut oil 20 minutes before each meal. If I was braver I would have just taken them off the spoon, but I am a squeamish sort. I took the author's recommendation from Eat Fat, Lose Fat and drank my coconut oil. I have a pomegranate white tea that I like, so I used that pink concoction as a vehicle for my coconut oil this morning before I shuttled M off to preschool.

I woke up this morning looking and feeling different. I can tell that it is the right time for me to take on this weight loss goal. I feel energized. I feel capable. I am excited. In fact, I had a good omen as I made the eggs this morning: one of them came out as a double yolk. That's never happened to me before. I think it is significant that my first breakfast became a little bit magical.

I have struggled for years to gain a healthy relationship with my body and my body image. As many of you readers know, I was raised by abusive parents. My dad sexually abused me, which has really done a number on my sexuality. I have steadily gained healthier ways of seeing myself. My mom, being a severe emotional abuser, criticized how I looked and what I ate as I grew up. So I have also struggled with how I see food as an enemy or an ally.

I am to a place where I simply see food as food. I am noticing how fast or slow I eat, and why. I am noticing my connection to food in terms of it's history. It is becoming sacred and cleansing to understand my food and where it came from, and then lovingly prepare it for me and my family.

Well, I must be off to Trader Joe's to get some corn and other produce for the rest of the day's recipes. Up next for lunch: Coconut Corn Soup, raw cheese and crackers, and spritzer or purchased kombucha

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Still Preparing: Mary's Oil Blend

I have never made this blend, but Eat Fat, Lose Fat calls for it in several recipes. I understand that this oil blend doesn't burn as easily as pure coconut oil during cooking. You can also use it in salads and to make mayonnaise.

Mary's Oil Blend

1 cup coconut oil, gently melted
1 cup expeller-pressed or cold-pressed sesame oil
1 cup extra-virgin olive oil

1. Mix all together in a glass jar, cover tightly, and store at room temperature.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Preparing for Monday: Sauerkraut

Okay this one I am saving for last because I am a little scared. I have never made sauerkraut, but several recipes reassure me that it is very simple to make. There are some with just cabbage, salt and water, and others add caraway seeds. For simplicity I am going to stick with the cabbage-water-salt recipe.

I have done a similar lacto-fermentation process with these Dilly Carrots, and it was VERY easy. Sauerkraut, kimchi, and various other naturally preserved condiments are all lacto-fermented and therefore contain beneficial bacteria.

By way of clarification, lacto-fermentation includes whey and salt in the preserving process. You can use the term "cultured", by using just salt, usually twice the amount called for in the lacto-fermented recipe. For example, if I am making sauerkraut with 1 Tablespoon salt and 1 Tablespoon whey, then I can omit the whey and just add two Tablespoons salt.

Lacto-fermentation is sometimes called lactic acid fermentation. I like this definition from "The Benefits of Lacto-Fermentation" by The Nourishing Gourmet: "Lacto-fermentation happens when the starches and sugars in vegetables and fruit convert to lactic acid by a friendly lactic-acid producing bacteria." So there you go! This is how you can awaken your foods into live, cultured, probiotic foods. Think yogurt, but with way more possibilities.

Cultured Sauerkraut

2 heads organic green cabbage
3 1/2 Tablespoons salt

1. Shred cabbage, mix in salt, and put into a non-reactive bowl for 15-30 minutes. The salt will draw the water out of the cabbage, making it unnecessary to pound it.

2. If you have a fermentation crock or fermenting jar, like this one I have, then transfer cabbage to the fermenter. That will ensure that no air is in contact with the cabbage. Cover with a towel to keep light out of the jar. If you do not own one of those fermenters, you can weight down the cabbage with a plate, or bowl, or jar, or bucket filled with water, placed directly on top of the cabbage in the bowl. Just make sure the cabbage is completely submerged. Cover with a kitchen towel to keep dust and bugs out.

3. Let ferment for several days at room temperature. Just taste it every day and see how the flavor is. If using a weight method, make sure you take the weight off and clean it every day, and skim any scum that might appear.

Try to have one lacto-fermented item per day, preferably per meal. Enjoy!

Preparing for Monday: Crispy Nuts

Soaking nuts is important, so that the enzyme inhibitors will be neutralized and your body can digest them better. There is also a small amount of phytic acid in nuts which will be neutralized in the soaking process, also helping with digestion.

I have read about this process in Nourishing Traditions and on several Real Food Media blogs. If you google "phytic acid soaking" you will find a plethora of information on why people go through the trouble of soaking nuts, seeds, and grains. I am partial to this overview on The Nourishing Gourmet, and this overview on GNOWFGLINS.

Soaked Nuts

4 cups of nuts
1 Tablespoon of sea salt
filtered water

1. Put the water and salt into a non-reactive bowl or a glass canning jar. Stir to dissolve salt. Add nuts and stir. Cover with a sprouting screen or kitchen towel to keep dust and bugs out, but let it breathe.

2. Soak for different amounts of time, depending on the nut:
  • pumpkin seeds, pecans, peanuts, almonds, macadamia, pine nuts, hazelnuts: 7 hours-overnight
  • walnuts, 7 hours-overnight (store in fridge, walnuts have a high oil content that can spoil at room temperature)
  • cashews, 6 hours only!, otherwise they get slimy
3. Dehydrate at 150 degrees or less until completely dry and crispy.

Preparing for Monday: Coconut Sprinkles

According to Eat Fat, Lose Fat coconut sprinkles can be used on desserts, salads, and curries. It looks pretty easy, too. I am going to try it on my grapefruit on Monday morning's breakfast.

Coconut Sprinkles

2 cups unsweetened desiccated coconut
1/2 cup maple syrup

1. Mix coconut and maple syrup together, spread out on a baking sheet, and dry out at a low temperature in the oven: 200 degrees or so.

2. Break up with hands and store at room temperature in an airtight container.

Preparing for Monday: Beef Broth

I have a lot to do in preparation for Monday. I am making beef broth, coconut sprinkles, sauerkraut and crispy nuts. While the beef broth gets started I will start soaking the nuts and cutting up the cabbage for the sauerkraut. After all those are done I will make the sprinkles.

In Eat Fat, Lose Fat they point out that one of the most important weight loss tools is to have a calcium-rich food three times a day. Raw milk is an obvious choice. And in the book they offer a Coconut Milk Tonic recipe that includes dolomite powder which provides calcium. But another excellent source is bone broth. Between milk in the morning, raw cheese or cream with lunch, and a bone broth included in dinner, I will be getting my three servings of calcium per day.

In bone stocks, minerals and marrow are leached from the bones of healthy, pastured animals (chicken, beef, fish, lamb) over the course of 24 hours of slow cooking. I use my slow cooker plugged in in my garageI have already made chicken stock, but I am in need of some beef stock. I will make fish stock later in the week, as long as I can find bonito flakes or fish carcasses somewhere! I will have to make another trip to LeeLee's Asian Market tomorrow.

First for today, the beef broth. If I start it this afternoon, then it will be done by tomorrow afternoon.

2-3 pounds of beef marrow bones
one calves foot, cut into pieces, optional
2-3 pounds meaty bones (rib or neck)
filtered water
1/2 cup raw apple cider vinegar
3 onions, quartered
3-4 stalks celery, cut in half once or twice
3-4 carrots, cut in half once or twice
sprigs of fresh thyme, tied together with kitchen twine
1 teaspoon peppercorns, whole or crushed
1 bunch of parsley

1. Place marrow bones and optional calves foot in a very large stock pot or slow cooker, add the vinegar, and cover completely with water. Let sit for one hour.

2. In the meantime, brown the meaty bones: place in a roasting pan and cook at 350 degrees until browned. After they are browned, add them with the vegetables to the stock pot or slow cooker.

3. Pour the fat out of the roasting pan and discard. Add cold water to the roasting pan, bring to a boil, and loosen the browned bits and coagulated juices from the pan with a wooden spoon or spatula. Add to the stock pot or slow cooker. If needed, add water to slow cooker to cover all the bones and vegetables.

4. Bring to a boil. With a spoon, skim off any foam or scum that rises to the top. After skimming the broth, add thyme and peppercorns, lower the heat to a simmer and cover the pot with a lid.

5. Simmer stock for at least 12 hours, and up to 72. I always aim for 24 or so.

6. Add parsley about 10 minutes before the stock is finished.

7. Remove large pieces with a slotted spoon and throw away. Strain remaining broth through a fine mesh sieve, possibly lined with a paper towel or cheesecloth, into a bowl. Let cool, and then put in the refrigerator to let the congealed fat rise to the top. Remove this with a spoon. Your stock is done! Keep in the fridge for about a week (?), or freeze for longer storage.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Monday is THE day: Operation Lose Baby Weight

It's official. Monday September 27th is my day. I have gotten my goal sheet out. I have marked down my steps: prepare stocks and lacto-fermented condiments, go shopping, write out menu. I have committed to my two week span. I feel emotionally ready. I even feel excited. It's time.

I am embarking on a two week schedule of real food designed for weight loss. I will document my progress and share the recipes I make here on my blog.

I have tried so very many things over the last 10 months since weaning E. I exercise. I don't eat sugar. I sleep well. I take my cod liver oil and adrenal supports. I oil pull every morning. But the weight is stubborn, and I believe it to be hormone-related and toxin-related. It's time to follow a schedule made by people I trust who believe in real food. Real food is raw, pastured dairy, fresh vegetables and fruit, soaked and sprouted grains, healthy fats like coconut oil and lacto-fermented condiments.

I bought and read Eat Fat, Lose Fat by Dr. Mary Enig and Sally Fallon. There are two phases I can try in the book: Phase One and Phase Two. My two weeks from September 27-October 11 will determine whether I need to move to Phase Two or not. If I lose weight on Phase One, then I will continue with it. If not, then I will move onto Phase Two and use that plan. No matter the Phase I end up with, my long goal after these two weeks will be to lose 50 lbs.

The basics:
1. Take coconut oil 20 minutes before each meal, it curbs appetite and provides nutrients.
2. Three meals a day, with no snacks, will set up a proper dynamic between satiation and hunger.
3. Follow Phase One to see if you lose weight, if not then follow Phase Two.

The book comes with recipes and schedules. It's perfect for a control freak like me :)

Monday's menu looks like this (recipes in the book are capitalized):

1/2 grapefruit with Coconut Sprinkles
2 eggs fried in butter or coconut oil with 2 pieces nitrate-free bacon
1 slice sprouted whole-grain toast with coconut oil or butter
1 cup whole raw milk or warm Coconut Milk Tonic

Coconut Corn Soup
raw cheese or butter on whole-grain (soaked) or Coconut Crackers
spritzer or purchased kombucha

Mesclun Salad
Baked Chicken with Coconut Peanut Sauce
Green Beans with Coconut
Kimchi (homemade or purchased)
choice of Quick and Easy Beverage

Thursday, September 23, 2010

New Look

I like green, and I like the streamlined, clean, easy-to-read format I found in the Blogger templates. If I was more tech-savvy, I would incorporate more of the "green grass"/country look. But I am going to think on it first.

Things E Says (Part Ten)

E, at night as either R or I walks out of the room: "Nigh-niiiigh!!"

Friday, September 17, 2010

Things M Says (Part 33)

Whilst singing the revised "Spider on the Floor" song today in the car:

M (singing): "There's a spider on the switch on the swiiiitch,
there's a spider on the switch on the swiiitch
...(thinking of a rhyme)...
he looks like Harry Potter looking for the Snitch,
that spider on the switch,
there's a spider on the switch,
on the swiiiiiiiiitch!!"

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

Things M Says (Part 32)

On the way home from preschool lately, M and I have been singing "There's a Spider on the Floor", but with silly words put in. It's a good way to learn rhyming, and creativity, and just be plain ol' silly. (Though it's not like we have a shortage of silliness at our house.)

M was singing his own version of "There's a Spider on the Floor" when he came up with this rhyme:

M, singing: "Oh there's a spider on the flag, on the flag. Hey mom, 'gag' rhymes with 'flag'. There's a spider gagging on a flag, gagging on a flaaaag!"