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My super amazing boyfriend, who is a) super thoughtful and generous and b) a whiz at all things web design (seriously; look at his language-learning website… it’s amazing!) SURPRISED ME and built a brand new blog for me! I’ll now be blogging at A Teaspoon of Rosemary, so head over there to follow the blog so you don’t miss out on updates. I’m so very fond of the new design, and I think you’ll like it, too.

And I have some really, really exciting secret project news that I will be writing about shortly, so stay tuned for that! It’s one of the most exciting things to ever happen to me. Yay!

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Copycat Recipe: Cherry Garcia Ice Cream [Dairy Free, Vegan]

Cherry Garcia | A Teaspoon of Rosemary

CHERRY GARCIA!

I never thought a dairy free, egg free ice cream could taste this good, but it did.
The boyfriend used to love Ben and Jerry’s Cherry Garcia, so I decided to try to replicate it as best I could using some good quality ingredients. It also needed to be totally vegan, since he was going off dairy and eggs for the month of January, and I’m off dairy and eggs until further notice (boo, IgG allergies!). I’ve had mixed luck with coconut milk ice creams because it never quite lends the same creamy consistency as real cream, and when I first made this batch with a base of coconut milk, it didn’t thicken up at all, and then when I put it in the freezer, it turned into a huge ice cube. Sigh. So, I did some Googling to see what other people did to make a coconut milk ice cream actually turn out well, and I found a trick of using arrowroot starch to thicken up the coconut milk and allowing the mixture to chill. When it freezes, it has an amazing creamy texture that I thought I’d never be able to achieve with dairy-free ice cream! Even my family and boyfriend commented on how the texture was great, and my dad said that I should just not tell people that it’s dairy free and see if they even notice! 🙂
I wanted the cherries to be plump, but I didn’t want to buy canned cherries drowning in high fructose corn syrup, so I rehydrated dried cherries in cherry juice overnight. For the chocolate, I used Enjoy Life chocolate chunks. Next time, I’ll probably use the Enjoy Life mini chips, because the chocolate freezes in the ice cream and becomes like a rock to chew. 😀 (Which makes me wonder, how do they get chocolate in ice cream to stay soft?!)
INGREDIENTS
  • 1 33 oz carton coconut milk
  • 1/4 C coconut sugar
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 2 tablespoons arrowroot starch
  • 1 cup dairy-free chocolate chips
  • 1 cup dried cherries (rehydrated in cherry juice overnight and strained)
STEPS

24 hours prior to making the ice cream, put the ice cream bowl in the freezer. It should be thoroughly frozen through and not make any sloshing sounds if you shake it.

Reserve 1/2 cup of the coconut milk. Warm up the remaining coconut milk, coconut sugar and salt over medium heat in a saucepan.  Whisk the arrowroot starch into the 1/2 cup of coconut milk until dissolved, and add back into the saucepan. Whisk to mix in the arrowroot starch, and cook until thickened, 6-8 minutes (but don’t let it simmer), stirring constantly.

Take the saucepan off the heat and allow the mixture to chill in the fridge for four hours or overnight so it thickens up further. (The recipe suggested putting plastic wrap over the top of the mixture so it doesn’t form a skin, but I didn’t bother.) It will be kind of a custard-ey consistency.

Take the ice cream bowl out of the freezer and dump in the mixture. Turn on the ice cream maker and allow it to freeze up for 15-20 minutes, or until thickened up. At the end, add in the cherries and ice cream just until incorporated. (I placed the chocolate and cherries in the freezer for five minutes beforehand so they would be cool and not melt the ice cream.) Serve immediately.

Note: I did find that the best consistency was right after freezing in the ice cream maker. It still hardens considerably in the freezer, so if you have leftovers or you are just saving the batch for later, allow the ice cream to sit out for a little bit so it can soften somewhat. Also, transfer the leftovers to another container before freezing; if you leave it in the freezer bowl, it will be next to impossible to get it out. Trust me. 😀

Dairy Free Peppermint Chocolate Pudding



Dairy Free Chocolate Peppermint Pudding | A Teaspoon of Rosemary

An acquaintance gave me a recipe from The Bulletproof Diet for a chocolate truffle pudding. I wanted to try to make it for Christmas, but didn’t have all the ingredients and couldn’t have the butter that it called for. So, in Rosemary fashion, I gave it a few tweaks (read: make it completely unrecognizable from the original recipe), and what turned out was perfect! I am a huge, huge fan of peppermint chocolate. I used to be obsessed with those Andes Mints back in the day (helloooo, sugar addiction!) and this reminded me of that. I brought it to our family Christmas dinner and even the non-Paleo among us scarfed it down. I only managed to get one picture when there were two bites left in the jar… hence the less-than-ideal photo. Next time, I will take a better photo! I think this would be super cute served in martini glasses with a sprig of fresh mint as garnish.

The original recipe called for chocolate powder, which apparently contains cocoa butter. I didn’t have chocolate powder, so I just used cocoa powder plus what was left of my cocoa butter. If you don’t have the cocoa butter, you can substitute another tablespoon of coconut butter. It just lends a little extra chocolatey flavor. I’m sure melted unsweetened chocolate would work as well.

INGREDIENTS

2 cans full fat organic coconut milk
1 tablespoon gelatin powder
5 tablespoons cocoa powder
1 tablespoon cocoa butter
3 tablespoons coconut butter
1 Tablespoon coconut oil
3 tablespoons maple syrup
1/4 teaspoon peppermint extract
1 tsp vanilla extract
Pinch salt

STEPS

  1. Bring coconut milk and gelatin to boil, simmer until gelatin is dissolved.
  2. Add cocoa butter, coconut butter, coconut oil, and stir until melted in.
  3. Add the remaining ingredients and use an immersion blender to thoroughly mix everything together.
  4. Pour into small glass cups or small ramekins and put in refrigerator for at least three hours to set.

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Recipe: Russian/Ukrainian Herring Under a Fur Coat Salad (Селёдка под шубой)



HerringUnderAFurCoat

One thing that I really liked about Ukraine is that a lot of the food and traditional dishes are pretty darn Paleo. So, a lot of foods take little or no adaption to make them healthy and nutrient dense. (Our ancestors were onto something…) This salad is one of those dishes! It’s called ‘herring under a fur coat’ (selyodka pod shuboi/cеледка под шубой, or simply shuba/шуба).  It’s a colorful layered salad with diced herring, onion and grated boiled vegetables under a red ‘coat’ made of beets and mayonnaise. It’s customary to have this on New Year’s and Christmas, in addition to a bunch of other cold salads. So, if you are looking for something different and adventurous to try this holiday season, give this one a whirl! Or, you know, if you’re reading this in April, still make it. It’s really good. I promise. If you’re squeamish about herring, or you can’t find it, just used diced cooked chicken; it will work just as well. There are lots of variations to this salad, but this is the version that I like the best.

If you decide to make this for a New Year’s shindig, you should also include another tradition that a Russian boyfriend taught me, which is one of my favorites! In Russia, the president gives a speech at New Year’s, and then the clock strikes 12 at midnight. When it does, you have to write down a wish on a small piece of paper as quickly as you can, burn the paper, throw the ashes into a little champagne in your champagne glass, and drink the whole thing, all before the last strike of the clock. Carcinogens be damned: my wishes worked for me the past two years in a row, so you can bet your sweet bippy I’m going to keep doing it! 😉

Since I move like a 90 year old lady when I have nightshades, I opted for sweet potato instead of regular potato. And, I used my homemade mayonnaise (friends don’t let friends eat refined seed oils!).

You do need to do this one ahead of time to allow the salad to chill and for all the layers to compact enough so you can see them when you cut into it, so plan accordingly!

(This Christmas, I am going to try to make this egg free by using an egg free mayonnaise recipe. Fingers crossed it will turn out! If you do dairy but can’t do eggs, you can substitute sour cream instead of mayo.)

INGREDIENTS

4 fillets of pickled herring, finely diced
3 potatoes (or sweet potatoes if nightshade-free)
4 carrots
3 beets
2 batches homemade mayonnaise
1 small onion, diced

STEPS

  1. Boil the potatoes and carrots in their skins in one pot until soft, but not mushy. Boil the beets in their skins in another pot until they are soft as well. The carrots will be done first, so they should be removed when they are done. The beets will take the longest. Remove from the pots, allow to cool enough so you can remove the skin. Grate the beets and carrots and dice the sweet potato.
  2. Plop the potatoes in the middle of a serving platter and pat to flatten. Spread a third of the mayo on top. Then, in layers, add half the carrots, then half the beets, then half the onion, then another third of the mayo. Each layer, pat it to flatten it down and compress it. Imagine that you’re building a seven-layer cake, but uh… made of vegetables and fish.
  3. Add the remaining half of the onion, then carrots. Add the remaining mayo, then layer the remaining beets on top. Press to compress everything and smoosh it down, shaping it into an oval or circle or however you want it.
  4. Cover in plastic wrap and allow it to chill in the fridge overnight or at least 6 hours.
  5. Serve garnished with a sprig of parsley or dill.

Recipe: Pumpkin Pie with Pecan Meal Crust [Paleo, Egg Free, Dairy Free, AIP Option]

pumpkin pie

So, I recently found out that I have an IgG allergy to dairy and eggs (yeah, I said some swears), which means that parts of these foods are making their way into my bloodstream, and my body has created antibodies to fight them. The reason this happened in the first place is because my gut is leaky (things are getting past the intestinal lining into the bloodstream that shouldn’t be). I’m currently on a protocol right now with my functional medicine practitioner to get rid of some unpleasant bugs that have been bothering me for a while and heal my leaky gut. The good news is that once my leaky gut is healed, I theoretically will be able to eat eggs and dairy again. Buuuuuut for now, it meant that I had to find a way to enjoy pumpkin pie minus the dairy and eggs! I tried this recipe a few days before Thanksgiving, and it was good, but I wanted a little more spice and a little more creaminess, and I wanted a crust that was more similar to actual pie crust. I adapted a recipe from Beyond Bacon for pie crust that normally uses lard (and I did make a couple extra pie crusts using grass-fed beef tallow for savory meat pies later on!), using coconut oil instead of lard and pecan meal instead of almond meal (because pecans + pumpkin = heaven). Lastly, I kicked up the spices a notch using roughly the same spice blend from The Paleo Mom’s pumpkin pie recipe, plus I added some cinnamon. The result? Pie perfection.

Grain Free Pecan Meal Crust

INGREDIENTS

1/2 C pecan meal (use coconut if on autoimmune protocol)
1/2 C coconut flour
1/4 C tapioca flour + extra for dusting
1/2 C Coconut oil
Generous pinch of salt
3 Tbsp ice-cold water

STEPS

Put coconut oil in freezer for 10 minutes. Add dry ingredients to a food processor and pulse a couple times to combine. Cut up the coconut oil into 1′ chunks and add to the food processor. Pulse until the coconut oil is broken up into pea-sized chunks. Add 1 tablespoon of ice water, pulse until just incorporated, then add the second and third tablespoons the same way.

Dump of the contents into a large bowl and form a flattened disk with your hands. Wrap the dough tightly in plastic wrap and put it in the fridge for 30 minutes or until you are ready to use it.

When you are ready to make the crust, preheat the oven to 350 F. Use a rolling pin to roll out the piecrust on a flexible cutting board or silicone mat, using tapioca flour as needed to keep the crust from sticking. Put the pie pan upside down on top of the pie crust and invert the silicone mat so that it falls off and into the pie dish. This won’t be perfect; it will need some work to patch up the crust and make it look pretty!

pumpkin pie crust

Use a fork to poke holes in the bottom of the crust, then pre-bake the crust at 350° for 20 minutes. Use a shield for the edges if they start to look too brown.

pumpkin pie crust baked

Pumpkin Pie Filling 

(You could also pour this filling into ramekins to make a pumpkin pie custard, if you don’t want to do a crust.)

INGREDIENTS

1 15 oz can pumpkin pie purée
1 C full-fat canned coconut milk
1/4 C maple syrup
2 Tbsp coconut sugar
1 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp allspice
1/2 tsp cardamom
1/2 tsp cloves
Generous pinch of salt
1/2 C boiling water
1 Tbsp grass fed gelatin (I use this one – be sure to get the one with the red label so it will set)

STEPS

  1. Put all the ingredients, except the gelatin and water, into a sauce pan. Use an immersion blender to mix everything together. Turn the temperature up to medium and allow the mixture to come to a gentle boil, then turn down to a simmer for five or 10 minutes.
  2. Dissolve gelatin in the boiling water, whisking until completely dissolved.
  3. Add the gelatin water to the pumpkin mixture and use the immersion blender to mix everything together again.
  4. Allow to cool somewhat, then pour into the prebaked pie shells. Place in the refrigerator until cooled and the filling is set, two hours to overnight. Cut into slices, serve, enjoy!

pumpkin pies

pumpkin pie slice

Copycat Recipe: Zuppa Toscana from Olive Garden (Paleo, GF, DF, EF, NF)

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Paleo Zuppa Toscana | A Teaspoon of Rosemary

Zuppa Toscana used to be one of my absolute favorite dishes at Olive Garden. I recently found this recipe for a copycat soup and it looked so darned good that I decided I needed to try to adapt it to make it gluten free and dairy free! It is, hands down, my favorite soup that I’ve made all season. It’s so good that I immediately wrote down exactly what I did so that I wouldn’t forget it for next time (because, you know, I have a brain like a sieve and that happens much more often than I would care to admit)! It reminds me a lot of the Senate Bean Soup I used to make all the time and loved, but this tastes better than that. I mean, bacon. AND sausage.

I made a huge batch and froze half of it so I could eat through the week and save some for later. Since I recently found out I have an IgG allergy to dairy (!), I needed to use something other than cream. I decided to try the cashew cream that Danielle from Against All Grain uses in her cream of mushroom soup. It adds extra flavor, gives the soup its creaminess and thickens it up a bit. To make it nightshade free, I also substituted white sweet potatoes for white potatoes.

Copycat Zuppa Toscana from Olive Garden

INGREDIENTS

2-3 quarts chicken bone broth (or make a quick broth using the method here)
1 pound pork sausage or one pound pork + 2 Tbsp Italian sausage seasoning
1/2 pound bacon (from happy pigs!)
4 small white sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1′ cubes
4 cups finely chopped kale
1 large onion, diced
4 medium cloves garlic, minced
Salt and pepper to taste (I did 2 Tbsp salt and 2 tsp pepper)
2 cups cashew cream

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Brown the ground pork. Add the spice seasoning and stir to coat. Set aside.
  2. Cook the bacon in the oven on a tray at 300 until crispy. Allow the bacon to cool and then chop it into small pieces. If it’s bacon from properly raised animals, save the fat from the pan for cooking with later by pouring it through a metal strainer into a small mason jar.
  3. Add the sweet potatoes to the stock, bring to a gentle boil and turn town to a simmer until potatoes are soft but not quite done.
  4. While the potatoes are cooking, saute some of the onions in the bacon fat until golden and starting to turn brown on the edges.
  5. Add the pork, chopped bacon, kale, minced garlic, salt and pepper, bring to a gentle boil again, then turn down the heat and simmer for another 5-10 minutes or until the kale is soft.
  6. Add the cashew cream, stir to fully incorporate, and then serve.

How to eat liver without tasting it: Homemade liver pills

Homemade Liver Pills | A Teaspoon of Rosemary

I’ve talked before about the fact I don’t particularly care for liver and ways that I have tried to sneak liver into my own food so that I can’t taste it. It would be fantastic if the world’s most nutrient dense food tasted like Reese’s peanut butter cups, but unfortunately it just isn’t so. I really liked the idea of making frozen raw liver “pills”, but in practice I found that they were fiddly and often froze with sharp edges so I couldn’t get them down quickly and I would still taste the liver. I knew that I could buy desiccated liver pills from different supplement companies, but they were expensive, especially the ones that were good quality, i.e. organic and grass fed, and many of them had fillers such as maltodextrin (what), which is derived from corn (yep). I wondered if it would be possible to make my own liver pills from local organic grass fed beef liver and gelatin capsules. I stumbled upon this blog post and was so excited to find that someone else had successfully done it and that it was a possibility! I found some high-quality, grass fed organic beef liver from Neiffer Ranch, which I can highly recommend if you have access to their products here in Eastern Washington State.

A common misconception about liver is that you shouldn’t eat it because it is the ‘toxin filter’ in the body. While the liver does process toxins, it doesn’t store them; it converts toxins and prepares them for excretion from the body. (Actually, a lot of toxins are stored in fat, which is another reason why it’s important to buy cuts of meat from properly raised, healthy animals, and, that if you do buy meat from factory farmed animals, that you cut the fat off or buy only lean cuts of meat.) A good thing to remember with organ meats is ‘like supports like’: if you eat liver, it’s going to help support your liver with the nutrients it needs to do its job properly. Liver is rich in B vitamins (especially B12), iron, folate, copper, zinc, choline, and a whole bunch of other substances that do myriad things in the body. Seriously, I’m constantly blown away at how many incredibly important nutrients liver has.  I’ll read about a certain nutrient in one of my textbooks for my nutritional therapy certification and I will think, I need to start getting more of this in my diet! But then, I read that beef liver is an excellent source of that nutrient, and then I think, Oh, good! Guess I am already getting it! 😀

So, yes: liver is nature’s most nutrient dense superfood. And if you, like I was, are searching for a way to take it easily, cheaply, and in a way that you don’t taste it, making your own liver capsules might be a perfect option. The process involves blending the liver, dehydrating it, blitzing it into a powder, and then encapsulating it. It takes time, but it’s not difficult. And instead of $12.99 for 60 capsules, I pay about $25 altogether for 800 capsules. That includes the cost of the capsules. (Am I in the wrong business? Should I be selling liver capsules?! I ask myself these questions every day when I see things like switchel and bone broth becoming cool and selling for $7 a pop.)

I followed the same dosage recommendations as recommended in the original blog post I found: 3-8 ounces of liver weekly is ideal (about one serving per week), and eight liver capsules is about a half an ounce, so if you take them every day you’ll be getting three and a half ounces a week. It seems like a lot, but just think of it like taking a couple forkfuls each day. Because they’re chocker-block full of B-vitamins, they are energy-giving, so I take them in the morning. Sometimes I refer to them as my “rocket fuel”! Did you know there’s an as-yet-unidentified anti-fatigue factor in liver? They don’t know what exactly the compound is, but there’s a compound somewhere in there that makes us feel downright mighty. Seriously, you just feel like you’re ready to take on the day. I once gave my liver pills to a friend to try and he sent me a text (which, granted, out of context would sound quite dodgy): “The pills kicked in. Nothing is moving as fast as I am now.”

So, let’s jump to it! Here’s how I did my last batch. You can halve the batch if you only have one dehydrator, but I really recommend doing a massive amount at once so you have enough pills to last you a while. Like I said, it’s not hard, but it takes time!

WHAT YOU NEED (BABY I GOT IT)

Large dehydrator (or two normal-sized ones)
Blender
4 lb. organic, grass fed beef liver
Parchment paper
Encapsulator machine
Empty gelatin capsules (I used up most of a bag of 1000)

STEPS

1. Cut parchment paper to fit the trays of the dehydrator. I just used pencil to trace the outer and inner circles of the dehydrator and then cut out the circle with scissors.
2. Purée the liver. I worked in batches, doing about 1/2 pound at a time.
3. Pour the liver onto the parchment paper- covered trays, about a quarter inch thick. You may have to use a spatula to spread it out evenly.

pureed liver
4. Cover the dehydrators with the lids. Set the dehydrator to 105°F if it has a temperature setting; otherwise, a low setting will work. You just want to keep it under 115°F so it stays technically ‘raw’ and therefore retains as much of its nutritional goodness as possible. Place the dehydrators in a well ventilated area. I am not going to lie; this does not smell fantastic.
5. When the liver breaks apart very easily with your hands, it is ready. If it just cracks or it tears, it needs more time. This will take about 24 to 72 hours, depending on how thick the sheets of liver are.
6. Break the sheets of liver apart into chunks small enough to fit in your blender. Blend the liver until it becomes a powder. You will likely still have small chunks of liver, so what I did was use a small strainer to strain out the bigger bits, collect the powder in a bowl, and put the bits back into the blender to be ground again. This part will take a while.

powdered liver
7. Once you have your powder, get your encapsulating machine and your gelatin capsules. Fill up the machine with capsules. Use a spoon to drop a couple heaping tablespoons of liver powder into the capsules, and to use a card to push the powder into the capsules.

encapsulating liver

Put the lids on the capsules, pour the finished capsules into a mason jar, and store the mason jar in the freezer. Even though the powder is dehydrated, I keep my liver pills in the freezer just in case.

If this seems like way too much work for you but you still want to get liver in your diet, check out my ‘I can’t believe it’s liver’ meat patties, or just try mixing ground liver with ground beef in a 1 to 4 ratio.

If you end up making the liver pills, let me know what you thought! If you have other hidden liver recipes you love, leave them in the comments section below, or post them on Instagram and tag me (@tsprosemary) in it; I’m always willing to try new recipes! And as always, feel free to leave any questions in the comments or by emailing me.

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