Zucchini Noodles and Spaghetti Sauce

I cannot seem to get enough of zucchini noodles. Zucchini Noodles and Spaghetti Sauce for lunch and a Taco Salad for dinner.

But today I had Zucchini Noodles and sauce.

Here is the recipe:  I made the sauce in the Vitamix.  I made just a few changes from the “Fresh Tomato Sauce” recipe in the Vitamix Whole Food Recipes Book. This recipe is for one serving.

Step 1.  Place the following ingredients into the Vitamix:

  • 3 Roma tomatoes, quartered
  • 1/4 small red onion
  • 1/2 small carrot
  • 1 TBS tomato paste
  • 1/2 garlic clove
  • 1/2 tsp Italian seasoning
  • 1/4 tsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tsp RAW honey
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • dash of pepper
  • dash of smoked paprika (to spice it up a bit, optional)
Step 2.  Process on high speed for about 3 minutes.
Step 3.  Pour into saucepan ans simmer for 30 – 40 minutes.
Step 4. When sauce is just about done, use Spiralizer to make noodles using 2 small to medium size zucchinis.
Step 5.  Pour sauce over noodles and add fresh basil, parsley and Parmesean cheese.

It was a good serving size.  It looked like a lot, but it tasted so good that I finished the plate and found the serving size to be just right.

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There is always time for a Green Smoothie

On a busy day like today, it’s difficult to take the time to stop and eat proper nourishment.  Just finished Part 1 of our garage sale and now it’s time to recuperate.  I used some frozen tropical fruit to start, then I added kale (or you can add spinach) and yogurt (or you can add banana) for more creaminess.  On my way to take my daughter to purchase the big item for which she was hoping to make enough money….and she met her goal.


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Here is a link to the Going Green Smootie at Vitamix where you can search for even more recipes.


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Lactofermented Cucumbers

(Just one more fermented recipe to add this week.  Hopefully this will give you a variety of fermented foods to try while you are seeking healing.  I originally began writing this article a few months ago. So, now the pickles are gone and I need to make more.  Everyone in my family who likes pickles liked these. Remember, these pickles are good for you.  These pickles lack the yellow #5 and preservatives that are found in store-bought commercial pickles.)

After 3 weeks of waiting, I finally got to try my lactofermented cucumbers (vinegar-free pickles).  I’m not even a pickle eater, but I will eat these because they are a healthy snack due to the Lactobacilli (live bacteria) benefits they provide.  This food will help heal my digestive system.

The recipe is from the Internal Bliss Cookbook designed for those following the Gut and Psychology Syndrome diet.  All recipes are grain-free, refined-sugar-free, and lactose-free.

Ingredients:
2 1/2 lbs pickling cucumbers, unwaxed (necessary)
1 medium onion*
sea salt
1 tsp yellow mustard seeds
dill blossoms to taste

optional: 2-3 cloves garlic*, peeled; 1 tsp coriander seeds; 3 bay leaves, raspberry, currant or grape leaves; 1-2 small hot red peppers (dried is fine); 1 Anaheim or sweet green pepper*, seeded and sliced.

*High FODMAP food – remove from ingredients to achieve a Low FODMAP recipe.

Directions:

  1. Peel and cut the onion in quarters.  If you are using small whole cucumbers, poke a couple of holes in each one with a sharp knife.  Cucumbers should be a consistent size. 
  2. Pack the cucumbers tightly into the jar with your choice of seasonings.
  3. Make a brine of 2TBS sea salt per quart of filtered water. Pour over vegetables.  Make more if necessary to fully cover the cucumbers.
  4. Put the lid on, but not tight.  Put the jar onto a plate or something to catch any liquid that might bubble over.  Put into a dark cabinet for one week.
  5. After the week of fermentation, remove leaves, cap jar and place into the refrigerator for two weeks to mellow.
Note:  Just like the book warned that there might be a layer of white yeast (kahm yeast)  which shows up – my pickles did have this yeast.  But it was nothing to worry about and it did not affect the pickles in any way.
They were really good on my “bun-less” grass-fed burger with homemade ketchup.
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Sauerkraut

Just yesterday I posted an article about how to make homemade yogurt using a homemade yogurt maker. So today I would like to talk about another fermented food that I eat often – sauerkraut.

I had never eaten (or even tasted) sauerkraut until I started the GAPS Diet.  I’d heard a bit about sauerkraut in my adult life, but not much other than it’s something some people put onto a hot dog. Mostly I’d only seen it in the movies or references to hot dogs in New York.  Well, I’m from the South and the only thing I’d ever put on my hot dog was chili, cheese, onions and mustard.  OK…back to the purpose.

Sauerkraut made at home, just like a good homemade yogurt, is full of good bacteria (probiotics) to help heal the digestive system. Up to this point, I’ve only made two batches. My first batch included green cabbage, carrots, onions and garlic.  When it was completed…the smell was, well, overwhelming to my senses and everyone else in the house.  Yet, I still ate it because I needed it.  But, for my second batch I decided to keep it simpler and only used red cabbage.  The red cabbage sauerkraut was milder and less “smelly” and very good, might I add.  My husband allows me to put in on his sandwiches. Therefore, this is my desired recipe for a simple sauerkraut.
Ingredients:  

1 medium size red cabbage

1 – 2 TBS of sea salt

Tools:

1 quart or 1/2 gallon size mason jar

A strong set of “clean” hands

Directions:  
  1. Thinly slice the cabbage with a knife or use the slicing disc of a food processor.  You might want to keep 1 large leaf for step 5.
  2. Put the cabbage into a big bowl that is large enough so that the cabbage doesn’t fill it to the rim.
  3. Add 1 – 2 TBS of sea salt and start kneading with clean hands.
  4. Continue kneading until you produce enough liquid so that when you pack into the jar, you will be able to push the cabbage beneath the liquid.
  5. Pack the mixture into the jar leaving only liquid on top and some space between the liquid and the top of the jar.  If you reserved a leaf, you can place the leaf on top to keep the shredded cabbage from floating to the top.  Hint:  In my last batch I put in a smaller “baby food” jar on top to hold down the cabbage.
  6. Put the top onto the Mason jar, but not tightly.  Just enough so that it will not fall off.  You can then cover with a towel or a coffee filter secured with a rubber band to be sure that gnats or
    smaller bugs do not try to get to it.  Be sure that your sauerkraut can breathe and expand as needed. Although I didn’t have a problem with any bugs trying to get into sauerkraut.
  7. Place inside of a dark cabinet on top of a bowl or plate that can collect any liquid which might escape during the fermentation process.
  8. Ferment for 3 – 7 days.  (I’ve not taken note of this yet, but many say it will stop bubbling when fermentation has completed.)
  9. Place into refrigerator. You can eat immediately. Many agree it tastes best when given a week or two to mellow out before eating, but it can continue to “mellow” even while you are enjoying it. (Just remember to ALWAYS use a clean spoon when serving the sauerkraut.)
Sauerkraut will last for months as long as it’s refrigerated.  I have usually remove what I will use for the week and put that amount into a smaller jar in order to preserve my larger batch.

Recipe for a sweeter sauerkraut:

1 head of purple cabbage

1 fresh whole pineapple, cored

1/3 to 1 cup of cilantro

2 – 3 green onion stalks OR 1/2 cup finely minced sweet onion

juice of 1 lime

1 TBS Sea Salt

Follow same directions as above. You can add the onion, lime juice and cilantro just before packing into jar.

“Sauerkraut…is commonly consumed in Germany, Russia and Eastern Europe. It is a wonderful healing remedy for the digestive tract full of digestive enzymes, probiotic bacteria, vitamins and minerals.  Eating it with meats will improve digestion as it has a strong ability to stimulate stomach acid production.”  (Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride MD, Gut and Psychology Syndrome, p 196, United Kingdom: Medinform Publishing, 2011.)

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My Homemade Yogurt Maker

I was eagerly awaiting my new yogurt maker.  So I boiled the milk and once cooled I added the yogurt starter and was ready to go.  It wasn’t until then that I realized that the yogurt maker was BROKEN.  I would not heat up.

Although I must say that if it would have worked, I would have been able to use different sizes of glass bowls or jars due to the flexibility of the design.

Well, I didn’t want to waste all of that organic milk and starter, so I made my own homemade yogurt in my own homemade yogurt maker!
I got the idea from Breaking the Vicious Cycle’s website. Their directions can be found on this page. (Currently there are no photos at the website, but there once were.)

Here is what I used:
1 – Stainless steel pot with a heavy base and lid
2 – Foil paper
3 – Heating pad
4 – Instant read thermometer
5 – Kitchen towels

Here is how:

  1. Preheat heating pad to the Low setting.
  2. The only yogurt started I found that was legal based on the Specific Carbohydrate Diet was one by Yogourmet.  Make sure that it doesn’t contain any form of Bifidus (Ellaine makes this recommendation).
  3. I used whole organic milk (2 cups) and organic half-and-half (2 cups).  The purpose of the half-and-half is to keep the yogurt creamy even though the yogurt has to ferment for 24 hours.
  4. After boiling milk mixture to 180 degrees and allowing to cool, remove 1 cup and add starter.  Mix well and then add back to what remains in the pot.
  5. Place pot onto heating pad and cover with foil.
  6. Insert the thermometer so that you will be able to easily read it throughout the process.  The most my thermometer read was 109 degrees.  The suggested maximum is 110 degrees.  
  7. In the beginning, especially if this is your first time to make this apparatus, continue to read the thermometer to test temperature.  I recommend that you start early in the day, so by bedtime, you will feel confident in leaving your yogurt overnight.  The temperature was always stable, unless I made changes to the configuration.
I know it doesn’t look pretty, but it actually works out really well for me because I can vary the temperature by adding/removing the kitchen towels and the pot lid.  I’ve actually used this setup twice because I’m still contemplating whether or not to purchase a yogurt maker.  I will have to get one that doesn’t turn off automatically because it must ferment 24 hours and most yogurt makers turn off between 8 and 12 hours.  Also, I’m only limited to the amount of yogurt by the size of pan that I use.
Note:  I also tried this using plain stainless steel bowls and the steady temperature kept at about 104 degrees.  So the heavy bottom of the pan I originally used did heat the yogurt to a higher temperature.  But I was satisfied with the output of both configurations.

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Vegetable Juicing for Energy (Video)

Juicing is a way to get a good source of nourishment into your body immediately. Juicing bypasses the digestive process because the fiber has been removed and the vitamins and minerals enter your bloodstream in the most efficient manner possible.
I began juicing at the age of 20.  I would juice some carrots and apples for a quick pick me up while studying in college instead of drinking coffee.  But, it didn’t last long after college.  I don’t think I juiced again until almost age 30 when I was really lacking energy and first noticed that something was not right with my digestive system.
Before I discovered my digestive issue (a little over a year ago in June 2011) I found that I could simply drink juice in the early part of my day until I had my first meal and the juice would help me sustain energy levels so that I could get my tasks accomplished.
Juicing is my lifesaver!
 
So, I’d like to invite you to try some juice. My suggestion is to start with a simple recipe. I suggest 5 carrots and 1 whole apple.  You can add greens later once your body gets used to it.  I like to add kale to this simple juice.  And try to buy organic. Organic produce is the best for two reasons: (1) The juice is going straight to your bloodstream, so you want to make it the very best you can find and not fill your blood with toxic chemicals and (2) Organic produce usually taste better.
Are you wondering how to get started?  You can often find juicers (sometimes unused) at garage sales, which is where I found the one shown in the video.  It’s a Jack LaLane that, at the time I purchased it, sold for about $100 new.  I paid $50 – it was unused.  I’ve seen some starting at $29 at stores like Walmart.  These will get you started.  When you decide to fully immerse yourself into juice, you can purchase an upgrade and loan your first to a friend to try.  I’m telling you that it’s addictive.  So, all of you that already have a juicer in your cupboard, BRING IT OUT to the counter top and get started!
So, below is a video (my first YouTube video) that I put together about juicing. The person behind the camera is my youngest (currently age 10). And yes, my kids drink the juice too.  Of course, they complain, but they still drink it.  Actually, my son asks for it daily as his morning breakfast during school.
The ingredients in the juice in the video are cucumber, kale, carrots, beets, red cabbage, apple and lime.  But remember if this is your first time, start with one vegetable (I suggest carrots) and an apple.  Thanks for watching! 

Here is the video link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wPMkSfnThVs&t=15s

Definitely Gluten Free Noodles – No Grains AT ALL!

So, from time to time I serve my family pasta.  It just so happens that my son has no desire for pasta at all now that we have realized that it was pasta that made him sick and well, not perform his best at the swim meets.  So, while the other family members eat “regular” pasta we can now have our own truly gluten free version of noodles.

I just got this new device and I can’t stopped making noodles out of zucchini and yellow squash.  I just so happen to love both of these vegetables, so I guess this makes it easier.  I’ve been eating some raw and some steamed…I just can get enough.

The name of  the device is the Joyce Chen 51-0662, Saladacco Spiral Slicer, White. Actually the noodles it creates are very thin and more like vermicelli, but enjoyable all the same and very easy to use.  I just pick vegetables that are straight and not too big.  Then I slice them in half and position in the middle of the slicer and crank the handle…really, it’s that easy.

Don’t the photos below look delicious?  Top with any sauce or meat just like any other noodles.






I use this Spiralizer for larger noodles. It has three blade (size) options.

Blueberry and More Smoothie

I decided to begin this morning with fruit.  But after eating and orange and some grapes, I decided that I wanted more.  So I put all of the following ingredients into the Vitamix and out came this delicious smoothie which was enough for two.

Ingredients: (Use frozen fruit for the best smoothie texture.)

1 handful of blueberries
1 banana
1/2 cup pineapple
1/2 cup grapes
    (I got a jump start on my greens too!)
1/2 stalk celery
1 large leaf of kale
1 large leaf of romaine lettuce

Vitamix it for about 30 seconds.

Now in about 30 minutes I will move on to some more breakfast options.  Note: I always eat fresh fruit at least 30 minutes before or 30 minutes after eating any cooked foods.

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Homemade Larabars!


Homemade Larabars!
A great snack without any processed sugar…only nature’s best! Pulse cashews and dates together in food processor using equal quantities (dash of salt – optional).


Shape into a bar and enjoy. It’s that easy and YUMMY!

Most Larabars are made using cashews, almonds and/or pecans plus dates and other fruits.  The dates help the bar hold together because of their moistness. Dates are an excellent source of potassium and other important vitamins and minerals.

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Tomato Basil Soup

Roast the following in the oven – adds richness, but not necessary:
They are ready when the onion is caramelized (i.e. tastes sweet).
4 medium tomatoes
1/3 onion
1 clove garlic

1 bay leaf

Add to Vitamix, mix on high 6-7 minutes:
1 1/2 cup vegetable broth (homemade preferred)
1 TBS tomato paste
1 TBS sweetener (preferably something natural like honey or dates)
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp onion powder
1/8 tsp dried basil
1/8 tsp pepper
Note: This soup was so creamy out of the Vitamix. But, if you do not have a Vitamix, just add to stove and simmer 15 – 30 minutes and blend in blender or use an immersion blender.
Oh, and add a salad while you are at it.  Next time I will definitely double up on this recipe because everyone wanted more.
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