Entrees, Organics, Primal, Recipes

Primal Mustard and Dill Salmon

Day two of the Primal Blueprint 21 Day Challenge and my son wanted salmon. He LOVES salmon and sweet potatoes, so that’s exactly what he got.

Luckily this was another meal that was super simple to prepare, so it didn’t take up much of the time I needed to spend with the kids. Earlier in the day I was able to make a great broccoli salad with Primal Kitchen mayo (another dish that my son can’t get enough of). Potatoes went in the oven and stayed there until after bedtime for Rowan and bath time was over for Griffin.

I served the salmon with broccoli salad and baked sweet potatoes covered in butter.

Mustard and Dill Salmon

Mustard and Dill Salmon

Ingredients

  • 1 – 1.5 lb. Salmon
  • 3 tsp. mustard powder
  • 1/2 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp. sea salt
  • 1/4 tsp. black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp. dried dill weed
  • 1 tbsp. Coconut Flour
  • 2 tbsp. Avocado Oil

Instructions

Preheat oven to 425. Mix all dry ingredients together, then add in avocado oil. Spread evenly over salmon and place on a baking pan with a non-stick rack (not necessary, but allows the excess fat on salmon to drip down instead of congealing and looking all white and slimy). Bake for 12-15 minutes, depending on how done and flaky you prefer your salmon.

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Organics, Primal, Recipes, Snacks, Treats, Uncategorized

The Only Paleo Bread that Works for Me

I was thrown into the world of preschool parenting this week. There was no gentle nudge, but a well-meaning push sent me into the grocery stores to gather snack items for the children. I think I’ve mentioned that our school alternates families to purchase the week’s snack items. Well, I signed up for the first week, in order to get it over with (and control what my child was putting into his mouth). I’m neurotic, what can I say?

The list was long, and included many things my son wouldn’t be eating. Among those things were crackers, pita bread, and bagels. This was mostly for the lower elementary students, but I know some of it makes it’s way into our toddler class. However, there was one itemswith an asterick beside it – homemade bread. Griffin’s teacher knew we were on a special diet, and was also aware that I liked to cook. So she suggested my bringing in some Paleo bread for the class.

Wonderful, right?!

Except that it’s one thing to make something in the safety and seclusion of your own kitchen, knowing that no matter how it turns out your family will love you. It’s quite another thing to supply grain free bread to strangers and cross your fingers in hopes they don’t think you feed your children nothing but rabbit food and cardboard.

photoSo I spent yesterday baking.

And EVERY SINGLE recipe I tried was a failure. It didn’t matter how good the reviews were or how much the blogger raved about her perfected Paleo bread recipe. It either tasted exactly like scrambled eggs or it refused to rise. One managed to do both. Did I mention the recipe also had to be nut free, as well? With small children devouring my cooking, there was no way I was going to chance an allergic reaction. My own son has never even had nuts.

However, there is one recipe that has never failed me. It takes a bit more effort (which is why I was attempted new recipes in the first place), but it tastes just like homemade bread! Both my husband and my father give this a thumb’s up, which is a testament to just how delicious this stuff really is.

It comes from Sarah over at The Paleo Mom. She remains to be the only source I’ve found for a grain free bread machine recipe that actually rises and tastes like true, homemade bread. Sarah, Thank You, Thank You! The children at my son’s preschool will be thanking you tomorrow, as well!

You can find the Nut-Free Yeast-Based Paleo Bread here,  and check below to see my notes!

Grain-Free, Nut-Free Paleo Bread

  • For the Flaxseed, I have used pre-ground regular flaxseed before, but found it very easy to grind my own golden flaxseed with a coffee grinder.
  • For the Arrowroot Flour, I have had success also using potato flour, or simply doubling up on the Tapioca
  • Raw Pepitas are pumpkin seeds! Measure, then grind in either a coffee grinder or food processor.
  • It can be a little disconcerting not to mix everything together before putting it in the bread machine, but the machine knows what it’s doing! I do generally mix the dry ingredients together before putting them in, because I just can’t put 100% faith in my mom’s 25 year old bread machine.
  • Make sure to follow Sarah’s advice and use a spatula to help kneed the dough!! I did this about once every 5 minutes during the initial kneed cycle.
  • The top of this bread isn’t going to be pretty. Just cut the loaf on it’s side and use the crust to keep the bread fresh.

 

Do you have a bread recipe that actually works? Sometimes Pinterest is great, but I find that I spend more time sifting through the recipes than I do cooking!

Baby, Books, Eating, Health, Organics, Parenthood

They Gave My Son…Cheerios

CheeriosGoing to church has been a challenge for us since Griffin was born. He is a child who loves his schedule, and that schedule includes a nap from 10am-11am. Since church starts at 11, that leaves me driving separately and lugging baby to his Sunday school class almost an hour after the other children have arrived. Which means we haven’t gone that often.

When we do go, it seems there’s always some type of challenge, but the main problem I’ve been having is in terms of food. I know I’m in the teeny, tiny minority when it comes to feeding my baby. He doesn’t get sugar, grains, or anything inorganic. And although I used to allow the nursery volunteers to feed Griffin food I brought from home, I quickly stopped that after hearing one discussing another baby in the class.

“He seemed hungry after I fed him everything his mother brought, so I gave him some cheerios.”

After my moment of panic, I relaxed. I would just tell them not to feed him anything, and I could do it myself after church. Problem solved. I also wrote it down on the sign-in sheet and underlined it for good measure.

But even after all that, when Jeremy went to the nursery after church to pick Griffin up today, he asked the volunteer how he handled everything.

“Oh, he was fussy at the beginning, but I just gave him a few cheerios and he seemed better.”

This is the point in which my husband freaks out and eventually goes in search of the Children’s Ministry director. Luckily, the volunteer (frantically) assured him that she only offered a few Cheerios, and Griffin would only take the first one. After that, he wasn’t interested. That’s right, he knew it wasn’t real food and wanted no part of it! I was a proud momma.

Unfortunately, even though the director assured Jeremy that this wouldn’t happen again, I’m sure everyone involved was thinking that we were simply Nazi parents. They’re just Cheerios, after all. Practically a right of childhood.

But that’s where I want to sit them down and share my viewpoint. It’s not JUST a Cheerio. It’s a genetically modified, ultra-processed grain. My son has never had anything remotely like that in his life. Not only would he not know what to do with something that texture and could potentially choke on it, but he might have an allergic reaction. It’s my job as his mother to introduce new foods to him.

Why is it that parents follow certain “rules” to the letter? Whattoexpect.com gives a long list of foods to never give babies under 12 months. Can you imagine if some stranger offered your kid honey or peanuts? Wouldn’t you have a minor heart attack and be looking for signs of an allergic reaction the rest of the day?

This is how I feel about grains. And for good reason, although as I’ve already stated, I’m in the minority where this is concerned.

Babies are functionally grain intolerant – their small bodies aren’t ready to digest grains. This is because until about three years of age, they don’t have a complete set of carbohydrate enzymes that can break them down. Especially where GMO, processed foods are concerned, grains at that age can lead to allergies, asthma ADHD, and even autism. Experts from the National Institute of Environmental Health also report that even very low toxic exposure in early life is a factor in a variety of behavioral problems and autoimmune conditions.

From Super Nutrition for Babies:

Cereals (like Cheerios) are

Chemical – Due to the processing they endure, cereals are sources of toxins, created via a high-heat process called extrusion, which denatures proteins, turning them into neurotoxins. Whole grains are even worse, as they contain more protein. Due to high heat during processing, cereals also contain more than 500 times the safe limit of a class 2A toxin: acrylamides. This toxin causes cancer and has a variety of other toxic effects in human and animal studies.

Sugar Loaded

Grains

    • Hard to Digest – At this age, your baby is barely making starch-digesting enzymes. Gluten, a protein found in wheat, barley, rye, oats, and most cereals, is particularly hard to digest. Undigested proteins increase your child’s risk of developing gluten intolerance and allergies. (Considering I am gluten intolerant, this increases Griffin’s odds even more).
    • Lead to Autoimmune Disease – Early gluten introduction has been shown to play a role in the development of Celiac disease, as well as other autoimmune disorders. As the incidence of Celiac disease (and other autoimmune disorders) is on a steep rise, some experts postulate that this increase might be directly related to early and excessive gluten-containing diets, including an increasing reliance on grain foods for babies.

Addictive – A special enzyme (called DPP-4) is needed to digest gluten. Since babies don’t yet have this gluten-busting enzyme, the gluten can get “stuck” in a partially digested form. Called gluteomorphin, this partially digested protein acts similar to other opiates – opium, morphine, and heroin – clouding and fogging the brain, hindering development and perception, and altering behavior. Since gluteomorphins are just as addicting as other opiate drugs, your baby can get physically hooked on cereal and wheat.

Processed

So, with all that said, do I think all these issues are going to happen to Griffin because of ONE Cheerio? No, of course not. He didn’t have a reaction to the tiny amount he had (and you can bet I was looking closely).

But I don’t know that I can trust that he won’t be given more in the future, either. And that’s a shame. In our culture, babies are given food for everything – celebrations, boredom, and in Griffin’s case, when they are upset. Kids usually get 2-3 snacks a day, not to mention constant grazing. But I don’t carry around snacks for him, and I don’t want strangers feeding him, either. It really makes me sad that as a parent, my requests aren’t listened to. Having childcare at church is a huge blessing, but if I don’t feel safe (or feel that my child is safe in any way), I have difficulty bringing him again and again.

What would you do in my situation? I’m really torn right now. Any comments at all are welcome!!

Primal

2013 Primal Blueprint 21-Day Challenge

I don’t think it was a coincidence that the very day my father commited to beginning a Primal lifestyle, I received an email letting me know that the 2013 Primal Blueprint 21-Day Challenge was starting!

Ironic? Dad and I chose to think of it as a sign from above. This was meant to be. Because of that, Jeremy and I commited to the challenge, as well. We both do fairly well eating Paleo/Primal, but this will take us to an entirely different level. Today is day three, and I really do feel better – maybe it’s just the knowledge that I’m doing something that is a benefit to me, but I think it’s having a goal and sticking with it.

LunchDoesn’t Jeremy’s lunch look tasty? I pack his lunch every night so that he doesn’t have to eat in the cafeteria at the school he works at. Usually there is some type of organic grain included in his meals, but not now! I love how colorful everything is. If you’re curious, that’s strawberries, nuts and low-sugar dried fruit, strips of red pepper, and an assortment of cheese, cherry tomatoes, and Applegate grass-fed organic hot dogs.

To help explain how I eat a little better, I thought I would also include a visual summary. But it’s not just eating – it really is a lifestyle. Food isn’t all there is to life (even though it’s one of my favorite parts). Getting good sleep, sunlight, and exercise play a huge role, as well. And note that exercise isn’t what most people attempt these days – yoga or walking are some of the best ways to be healthy.

Below is a really great graphic that Mark over at Mark’s Daily Apple created. It explains the Primal Blueprint in just a simple, easy-to-understand way!

The Primal Blueprint 21-Day Challenge
Learn more at Mark’s Daily Apple.

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Baby, Baby Food, Books, Primal, Recipes

6 Months and Some Recipes for Baby’s First Foods

Half a year is now upon us.

6 Months3

This little boy has more than doubled in size! I realized this fully when feeding him last night. The tiny head that used to hardly reach the crook of my arm now hangs over the edge as he eats.

6 Months2

Rather than mourn for the newborn cuteness I’ll miss, I’m trying to embrace all the amazing things to love about this bigger, more aware Griffin. His laughter has to be the best by far. Those little giggles can send me into fits of laughter as well, and I would gladly make a fool of myself every time just to hear even a moment of them.

6 Months

Right now I’m looking at the monitor and watching him sleep on his side. This is literally the first time I’ve witnessed this during a daytime nap. Although he still hasn’t managed to roll over both ways just yet, he’s learning to settle himself into new sleeping positions – another sign he’s maturing and quickly growing up.

I’m also currently in the throws of making his first batch of solid foods. What an adventure that has already proven to be! I had never thought baby food would be so hard to attain, but in this world of convenience foods, finding pastured eggs, grass finished soup bones, and beef liver has been a process weeks in the making. I’ve literally scoured farmers markets and contacted local farms in the effort, and have yet to get everything I need!

We’ll be slowly introducing these foods to him beginning later this week, after his visit to the doctor and mandatory vaccines are well behind him. To give you an idea of what he’ll be dining on, I’m including recipes from Super Nutrition for Babies, my baby nutrition bible. It’s my go-to for all things related to Griffin’s food – the whens, whats and whys that answer all the questions no one else seemed to be able to. This book is SO vital for any parent interested in feeding their baby real, nutrient dense food!

Super Nutrition

Without further ado, here is Griffin’s menu for the next couple of weeks.

Soft-Boiled Egg Yolk

  • 1 Pastured Egg (the absolutely highest quality)
  • Pinch (less than 1/8 tsp) Celtic Sea Salt

In a small saucepan, boil water. Using a spoon, slip in the egg. Lower the heat to just below its highest setting, but continuing to boil the water, and cook the egg for 3.5 to 4 minutes. Remove from water with a spoon and drop in a bowl to crack it (it will be very hot). When the egg is open, peel away some white, which is semihard. The yolk should slip out in a malleable ball. Scoop up the yolk with a spoon and put into a different small bowl, leaving all the white behind.

The yolk should be warm and soft, not firm or “dry”. Add sea salt to supply additional trace minerals and improve taste. Spoon-feed it to baby.

Liver

  • 2 tsp Raw Grass Fed/Grass Finished Liver (grated if frozen, or finely minced if refrigerated)
  • 1 Tbsp Ghee, Coconut Oil, or Lard
  • 2 Tbsp Bone Stock

Saute the liver in fat over low heat for 1-2 minutes – liver should be a pinkish brown when done. Remove from heat, mash and thin with stock to desired consistency.

Optional: Mix the liver into your baby’s daily egg yolk, mom’s milk (or with other foods as you add them) for a fortifying, nutritionally superior meal.

Souper Stock

  • 1-2 Lbs Marrow Bones, Knuckle Bones, Oxtail, or Soup Bones from organic, grass-fed animals (Beef, Lamb, Poultry)
  • 2 Tbsp Vinegar (which distilled, raw apple cider, or brown rice)

*I found out the hard way that bones need to be cooked prior to making stock. To do this, roast bones at 400 degrees for approx. 45 minutes

In a slow cooker, soak the bones for 1 hour in the vinegar, adding enough water to cover. This helps to leach minerals from the bones. Add enough water to fill the pot and simmer on low for 12 to 72 hours (the longer the bones simmer, the more minerals and gelatin will be present in stock). Allow to cool in the refrigerator and then skim off the fat that rises and firms as a top layer. (This fat can be saved and later used to saute liver).

Add a pinch (less than 1/8 tsp) of Celtic Sea Salt into a serving for flavor and to provide trace minerals. Serve warm to baby.

 

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Primal, Recipes, Treats

Spicy Chocolate Cake Cookies

Chocolate, Banana, and a little bit of heat. These cookies have the consistency of a piece of cake, and were very easy to make! There is also very little sugar involved, so have a couple if the whim strikes.

Spicy Chocolate Cake Cookies

  • 2 Ripe Bananas, Mashed
  • 1 1/4 Cup Almond Meal
  • 2 Tbsp. Almond Butter
  • 3 1/2 tsp. Cocoa Powder
  • 2 tsp. Vanilla
  • 1 tsp. Baking Soda
  • 1/2 tsp. Cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp. Cayenne Pepper
  • 1/4 tsp. Sea Salt
  • 1/4 Cup Enjoy Life Chocolate Chips
  • 1/4 tsp. Powdered Stevia (Optional)

Preheat oven to 350. In a large bowl, mash bananas with a hand mixer. Add Almond Butter, Cocoa Powder, Vanilla, Baking Soda, Cinnamon, Cayenne Pepper, Salt, and Stevia (if using) – combine with hand mixer. Add Almond Flour to the bowl and mix until incorporated. Stir in the Chocolate Chips.

Line a baking sheet with Parchment Paper. If desired, scoop using a cookie scoop/ice cream scooper to make uniform cake balls. I just dropped mine by the spoonful, but they didn’t turn out quite as pretty. Bake for 15 minutes. Enjoy!

Recipe adapted from and Photo courtesy of Multiply Delicious.
This blog is a part of Allergy Free Wednesdays and Keep it Real Thursdays!
 
Breakfast, Primal, Recipes

NOatmeal – The Breakfast of Champions

Finding a warm, nutritious breakfast that doesn’t involve eggs is hard when you’re on a Primal or Paleo eating plan. Grains make up the staple food of the Standard American Diet, which means oatmeal is definitely out. Unless you find an alternative, that is.

Mark Sisson’s Primal Blueprint has been a bible of sorts for me since going Primal. Not only is it a manual for how to survive in today’s grainy world, but it’s also chock full of wonderful recipes, many of them breakfast dishes. It was within the sacred pages of this book that I found Oat-Free Oatmeal.

I revised the recipe slightly and formed my own version. Noatmeal, if you will.

NOatmeal

  • Handful of Pecans
  • Handful of Walnuts (or other soft nuts – Macadamia, etc)
  • 2 Tbsp. Ground Flax Seed
  • 1/2 tsp. Cinnamon
  • Pinch Nutmeg
  • 1 Tbsp. Almond Butter
  • 1 Ripe Banana, Mashed
  • 3 Eggs
  • 1/4 Cup Milk of Choice (Coconut Creamer works great, or Almond Milk)
  • Pumpkin Seeds for Garnish
  • 1 Handful Raspberries or Blueberries
  • Powdered Stevia to Garnish (optional)

Add Nuts, Flax Seed, and Spices to a food processor and pulse until the consistency of a course grain, making sure to stop before it grinds into a powder. Set aside. In a separate bowl, whisk together Almond Milk and Eggs until a custard is formed. Blend together mashed Banana and Almond Butter, adding to custard. Stir in Nut mixture, then gently warm on the Stovetop or in the Microwave, stirring frequently, until it reaches the consistency you like (I prefer mine a bit thick).

If desired, sprinkle on some Powdered Stevia and mix, then top with Pumpkin Seeds and Berries, adding more Milk if that’s how you remember the oatmeal of your childhood.

I had enough left over for the next day – it’s very filling!!

Recipe adapted and Photo courtesy of Mark’s Daily Apple.
This blog is a part of Allergy Free Wednesdays!