Monday, 29 July 2013

Real Mama Life : The Cupboards are Bare!!!

There are some very real benefits to all the preserving and canning I do.  Not just because of the health benefits of eating food that is preserved while it is in season but because very rarely are the cupboards really bare.

Tonight was one of those nights.....we have been in and out of town so much over the last two weeks that any big grocery shop was pointless.  I managed to scrap this together mostly with cupboard finds and was happy to see the whole family enjoying it.  I was kinda stressed to pull something together and with another possible trip on the horizon there isn't going to be any grocery shopping soon.

Note:  I have not been eating a 'clean' Paleo diet lately.  I am still gluten free (that's for life) and dairy free but with recent test results forcing me to cut out eggs and almonds, both Paleo staples, I have let small amounts of grains and beans back in.  A girls gotta live a little!!

Maybe Minestrone Stoup
1 onion, diced
3 carrots, diced
A good size dollop of my roasted garlic I pack in EVOO 
1 tin kidney beans**
1 jar home canned tomatoes
1 jar home made chicken stock (you may not need the full amount if making the Paleo version)
2 cups cooked chicken, cubed
2 cups uncooked small size noodles**
2 fresh bay leaves
1/2 tsp dried chillies
bunch of fresh basil, torn
salt and pepper

**for Paleo exclude the beans and noodles and add diced zucchini

Put the chicken stock on high heat and bring to a boil. Once boiling add the noodles and cook until slightly under done.

While noodles are cooking, in a soup pot over medium heat saute the carrots and onions in olive oil, coconut oil or butter (diet dependent) until soft.  Add the garlic, beans, bay leaves, chillies and the jar (or tin) of tomatoes. Stir to combine

When the noodles are done pour the whole pot - noodles and stock - into the soup pot. Stir to combine. Add cooked chicken and combine

Serve with basil

Paleo Version
Bring stock to a simmer.  You may need less than what the recipe calls for because zucchini has quite a bit of liquid in it

In a soup pot over medium heat saute the carrots, onions and zucchini in refined coconut oil until soft.  Add garlic, bay leaves, chillies and the jar of tomatoes. Stir to combine.  Let simmer for 10 minutes before adding chicken stock and chicken.  Then combine.

Serve with basil

Monday, 15 July 2013

Dairy Free Butter Chicken

This has become a stand by dish around here.  It ain't pretty, it's easy, fast and the kids love it.  The best part is I can eat it and these days it feels like there isn't much I can eat.  I know boohoo poor me but the list of forbidden foods has grown....again!

It started with gluten and has grown to dairy, eggs, almonds, and yeasts.  This is extremely limiting but for sanity sake I have to see it as liberating.  It also helps that many of these exclusions are probably temporary while my gut heals and my body stops the inflammatory habit.

This is one of those meals you feel denied nothing.  It isn't heavy on coconut flavour and could stand up to any butter chicken made with dairy.  I also promise the kids love it!!

Dairy Free Butter Chicken
6 skinless, boneless organic chicken thighs
2 med to lg yellow onions, diced
4 cloves of garlic, minced
1 tbsp finely grated fresh ginger
2 tbsp of ghee (or coconut oil)
1 can of full fat (not light) coconut milk
1/2 cup good quality tomato paste
3/4 tsp turmeric
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp coriander
pinch of cinnamon
pinch of cayenne (more if you don't have to be kid friendly)
salt to taste
optional, handful of chopped cilantro leaves

Cut chicken into strips and collect the dried spices together in the small bowl

In a medium pan over medium heat, caramelize the onions in the ghee.  When almost done add the garlic and ginger.  Keep cooking until garlic and ginger are fragrant and softening.  Add the bowl of spices and mix well into the onions, garlic and ginger. Let the spices toast about one minute then add the chicken and combine well.  Before the chicken starts to cook and stick to the pan add the can of coconut milk and the tomato paste.  Turn the heat down, cover and let simmer until chicken is cooked, stirring occasionally.

Fragrant Rice
This is one dish that makes me hate eating Paleo.  If I 'cheat' it's with this dish.  Because of the recent restriction of almonds and eggs, Paleo staples, I have allowed a little rice back into my life......and almost all of the rice eaten has been this dish.
3 cups basmati rice, brown or white (I use brown)
2 tsps cumin seeds
5 black cardamon pods or 8 green cardamon pods
2 bay leaves
6 tbsps ghee (or coconut oil)
4 cups water (4 1/2 if using brown rice)
2 tsps salt
Thoroughly wash the rice in a large mixing bowl.  Gently swirl the rice in water letting it sink to the bottom and pouring off the cloudy water.  Repeat 4-5 times until water is reasonably clear. Fill bowl again and let rice soak for half an hour.
Drain rice and rinse one last time.  Let it drain well.  Collect all your spices and bay leaves together in a small bowl. Put a large sauce pan on low heat and add the butter.  When butter has melted and is just starting to sizzle, add the spices and stir them around. When you can really smell them gently add the drained rice.  Stir-fry for a minute so that all the grains are lightly coated in the spicy butter.
Pour the water onto the rice and scrap down the rice caught on the sides of the pot.  Add the salt, stir and turn the heat up to bring it all to a boil.  As soon as it starts to bubble turn the heat down as low as it will go and cover with a sheet of tin foil AND the lid making a tight seal.  This will help stop any steam from escaping.  Cook like this for 25 minutes (30 if using brown rice) then turn the heat off and let stand for 5 minutes.  Carefully remove lid and foil and ‘fluff’ with a fork. You don’t eat the cardamom pods or cloves.

Today I had a visitor to worship the sun that was lighting my shot shoot
introducing Mini Cat