Thursday, May 29, 2014

Easy Organic Meatballs With Tomatoes

This meal was perfect for me. It's an example of something that would fit into the Wahl's Protocol without challenging or stressing my system. My only regret is that I had no leftovers. The organic ground beef packets available to me weigh exactly a pound. When my husband and son saw what I was doing with the meatballs, they claimed the lion-share of the meat for two hamburgers they grilled (the best burgers they've tasted, they said!). 

Having no interest in bread myself, I was left with a paltry amount of meat which produced these five golf ball-sized morsels. They'd have been even smaller without the onion and parsley I added. Veggies cook down, of course, but when I formed these meatballs they seemed to have equal parts veg/meat. The meatballs are simply organic beef, minced onion and Italian parsley. I sauteed them in coconut oil over medium-high heat with some cherry tomatoes, turning them periodically so that all sides were browned.   Some of the onions fell out, making sort of a tomato compote for the meatballs. While I prefer meat on the rare side normally, for ground meats I opt to cook it thoroughly. There's no way of knowing the level of bacteria on a meat grinder, even with organic products. Being immune-compromised, I've learned not to take chances. The cooked meatballs were not dry at all -- probably because of all the onions. 

This plateful, with steamed broccoli, was luscious and was the perfect amount for my system, imparting the calm, grounded strength it needs. I miss this food already. Maybe next time I'll buy two organic meat packets. The leftovers would be wonderful with some kelp noodles or over spaghetti squash or sage polenta.  Mmmm -- inspired!

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Breakfast Bowls!

I hope everyone had a lovely Mother's Day. It's a tough holiday for me since losing my amazing mom, Jeanine McKenzie Allen. This was our third one without her.

There's the sweet Angel, just the way I remember her. Since it's a bit of a melancholy day now, we keep it kind of low-key. I cut my own bouquet:

Then I announced I was skipping short-order cooking for the day. We ordered Thai food for lunch and Mexican for dinner -- they were both excellent meals and for me, dairy- and gluten-free. For breakfast, I did cook, just for myself -- the bowl! Here's the cooking shot:

Two eggs in coconut oil, a tomato, some leftover sauteed mushrooms and spinach. Onto the top of the cooked bowlful I piled chunks of half an avocado. This was so nutritious, filling and energizing. It makes sense for me to make breakfast a priority. A lot of work goes into being me. There are my injections and supplements,

some of which are tough to keep down if my stomach isn't otherwise occupied. The process cannot be rushed effectively, in other words I can't just wolf it all down without feeling sick, so some days I work breakfast and supplements into and around laundry and dishes and by the time I'm done it is about 11:30. So the big bowls really serve as brunch. If I want more food around lunchtime a small salad or fresh green juice will suffice. The bowl above was so delicious -- the eggs came out perfectly, only softly set in the center. I toasted a piece of gluten-free bread at the end to sop up every remaining drop.

Here's another morning's bounty:

I love how the coconut oil makes the edges of the eggs so golden-brown and crispy! As you might imagine, a brunch bowl is an excellent vehicle for leftovers. I didn't warm the steak from the night before. I prefer it on the rare side and warming it would have likely spoiled it for me. I really enjoyed the warm and the cold together, and now that I know it is good for nervous system regeneration, I enjoyed the fatty gristle on the meat too. Give a bowl a try!

Friday, May 9, 2014

Restaurant Meals

Of course eating at home and knowing the source of your organic food is the best option for those of us being very careful about our diets, but sometimes a girl wants to  go out. I do it quite a bit, actually, since that is the chapter in which I find myself with friends and family, including a husband, teenage daughter and a son in college, none of whom have much interest in eating the kind of food I'm choosing. I do have one wonderful friend who is walking a similar dietary path to mine. Liat is vegan and gluten free, but she has previously tried a paleo diet and has always been conscious of maintaining health through natural means.

It was Liat who brought me to The Loving Hut last week. I didn't even know we had one in the Atlanta area! Though I have added meats to my vegan diet and have subtracted gluten, I found plenty of fabulous, delicious food there. Liat and I split a Basil Spring Roll appetizer with peanut sauce -- so delicious and fresh! We were starving, so I forgot to take a photo before wolfing down my portion. Next, at Liat's suggestion, I had this eggplant dish, gluten-free. It was so rich and fabulous, and I loved the fresh cucumber and tomato with the tamari-based sauce. I needed a doggy bag for most of the rice here. Liat chose a ginger baby bok choy saute. We each shared a little of our entree. I loved her food too, for totally different reasons. The ginger was strong -- just the way I like it. I can never have too much of that pungent root. Thanks, Liat!

Forgive the awful photo on this one. I'm not so great with my phone-as-camera after dark. In my defense, it is one of the older phones, though it did take the lunchtime Loving Hut photo above, so it's most likely user error here. I'm old fashioned. I'd rather use a camera as a camera, and a phone as a phone. But I digresse . . . My husband and I love a little restaurant in Roswell called Bistro VG. On my other blog, A Midlife Vegan+, I have blogged about many fabulous meals I've eaten there over the years. With my new diet I had to pull out my reading glasses once again to select the most appropriate food. I started with my all-time favorite salad -- Simple Arugula -- without cheese, and then dove into this yummy pile: broiled wild salmon (rare) atop an amazing quinoa and veggie concoction. I cannot say enough good things about this plateful. It was strange yet familiar. It tasted like health and decadence all rolled into one. It was sublime. They are putting my food on menus now! :)

Finally, I want to share some pretty darn good drive-thru my husband picked up for me. This is from Panera: The Chicken Cobb Salad With Avocado. I asked for it with NO CHEESE, and with the dressing on the side. The chicken is hormone-free, tender and flavorful and the rest of the ingredients, egg, bacon, tomato, romaine and avocado, hardly needed a dressing at all. I only put a little on the tines of my fork. Next time, I think I will opt for lemon and olive oil instead. Though the ingredients in the dressing had none of the "forbidden items" there were a couple of chemicals I didn't recognize. Why not choose cleaner next time? This salad was amazing. I really like that you can get menu, nutrition and ingredient details on Panera's website while your husband is sitting in line at the drive-thru. Another great option for the health-based diner!

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Cinco de Mayo

Doesn't this look like a fiesta? This lime slaw was a wonderful, crunchy alternative to the lettuce that many use in their tacos. Yes, I said tacos -- one of the big favorites around here since everyone has different tastes and they can each pick and choose. The Slaw was simply raw kale massaged with lime juice and olive oil until softened, mixed with raw purple cabbage and sliced scallions. A couple tablespoons of veganaise and another squeeze of lime finished it.

I had been dragging my feet about adding chicken to my diet. I had never liked chicken very much pre-vegan and never missed it as a vegan. During the vegan years, my months dabbling in macrobiotics and learning about the energies of food convinced me that chickens carry a nervous, frenetic, frightened energy. So preparing and eating chicken tacos for my family was a new mental shift.

Why eat it if you don't want it, you may ask. Well, I'm still out of my comfort zone with this new diet, and still tracking this new way of eating and how it affects my health hour by hour. Fish is my favorite animal flesh and eggs seem nutritious, but neither imparts the grounded strength of steak or liver. On the other hand, fish and eggs do not burden my system and sap my energy the way the heavier meats do. I want the strength and the regenerative neurological benefits of the meats, but I miss feeling light and fresh and energetic. One important side note is that my veggie intake has drastically dropped since adding meat. I am just too full. I have a hard time forcing myself to eat what my body doesn't want. I am still trying to find a balance and am not entirely happy with the diet just yet. So maybe it's worthwhile giving organic chicken another chance.

Back to the tacos . . . I marinated the raw, boneless breasts in nothing but freshly squeezed lemon juice for two hours. By the time I was ready to cook the chicken it had opaquely whitened like a ceviche! I realized that the lemon must have "pre-digested" the meat. I quickly sauteed the chicken in coconut and olive oils and it was the most flavorful, tender chicken I think I've ever had. I loved it, and it helped me to feel well -- strong yet energetic --  for a whole 24 hour period. I will be eating more chicken now.

Along with the chicken and slaw, I also offered hard corn taco shells and soft flour tortillas (I had one of the corn ones), cumin roasted chick peas, chopped tomatoes, sauteed red bell peppers and onions, avocado slices, radish slices, salsa, sour cream and cheese.

Back to my choices, briefly, I have been CRAVING chick peas, but not other beans. During this in-between phase of my eating-to-heal diet, I'm going to listen to cravings, and watch the aftermath. I loved the chick peas and I felt great eating them. I didn't have any dairy or flour -- didn't want it.

For the cumin peas, I mixed canned chick peas with olive oil, salt and cumin and roasted them for 15 minutes at 400 degrees, stirring once to dry the peas out evenly. The result was easy, delicious and addictive!

I wish I had a photo of the tacos. It was a veritable feeding frenzy once I served everything buffet style, so I missed snapping the tacos in the midst of my scramble to stuff a shell. Here's my round-two though:

One taco shell was more than enough for this health-seeker, so I had my second helping in the form of a taco salad. Delicious!

I enjoy vibrant colors, so I just want to share the rinse water from the cabbage with you. Isn't it lovely?

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Fish Baked in Parchment

Isn't healthy food pretty? I love preparing fish this way. It's simple: 400 degrees, 10 minutes for 1" of thickness. I used a piece of parchment roughly 18 inches in length, folded in half and oiled on the inside. Then I placed the fish fillet, in this case sea bass, one one side of the paper and smothered it in raw veggies I had on hand -- here, onion, bell peppers, oregano, dill and Italian parsley with lemon, all thinly sliced. I drizzled a little tequila over all of it before I folded the packet together thus:

You just start at one corner and continue with a series of overlapping folds around to the other side. I didn't do such a neat job of it, as it had begun to unfold in the middle, but I just added a couple more folds and it was fine. This much can be done in advance, and placed in the fridge on a cookie sheet (rimmed is best in case any moisture leaks out) until you are ready to pop it into the preheated oven.

At the end of cooking, use cooking shears to cut a hole in the top of the parchment, being careful to avoid steam burns. Lovely! My parchment-ful was one huge fillet that my husband and I shared. This is one portion. I find that 10 minutes at 400 degrees works well for the way I like fish best -- not overcooked. If you prefer it drier add another minute or two. It's important to keep thickness in mind too when timing the bake. A thicker portion will require more time in the oven. I normally err on the side of undercooking because it's easy to put a little foil on top of the opened pouch and pop it back in for a few more minutes if needed.

Saturday, May 3, 2014

Egg and Avocado Salad

This was so easy. Avocados and eggs say breakfast to me, so I had this in the morning. I used two boiled eggs and one avocado, and I didn't really cut them, I just "chunked them up" with a spoon. I added a little olive oil and veganaise, a handful of spinach and a big sprinkle of chipotle powder for good measure. It was divine. 

Friday, May 2, 2014

Dr. Wahls' Liver and Onions

I did try Dr. Wahls' recipe last week and it really was delicious, and not too difficult, though it has been a while since I have "poured off bacon grease". Actually, since my upper body strength is nil, I had to ladle off the grease. It was a three-minute process, so it was hardly a hassle, but I'm normally a pretty lazy cook. Yes, the liver was a big hit for my husband and me, but our daughter had no interest. We liked it with a little squeeze of lemon. I sauteed kale with lots of garlic, and it was a wonderful meal.

This effort yielded two recipes in one. After we were finished our meal, I put the substantial leftovers into the food processor to make pate. Since there was a fair amount of juice left over, I got the bright idea of incorporating gelatin into the mix. My family heritage includes following health recommendations from the Edgar Cayce readings (Mr. Cayce was a family friend). I grew up knowing which foods should or should not be eaten together, among many other bits of wisdom. For anyone with a nervous system disorder or joint issues, natural gelatin was highly favored. Mom always served aspics and other gelatin molds. I reluctantly eschewed these during my vegan years. Now that I am eating for neurological health, I had purchased a new cannister of gelatin and was looking for ways to incorporate it again into my diet. The liver pate was a perfect vehicle. I warmed the liver and onion liquid in the pan, spooned in three tablespoons of gelatin, melted it over low heat until it was smooth, then added it to the food processor with the rest of the liver mixture. Overnight in the fridge, and we had the most amazing pate!

I ate it every day for breakfast. Here, besides the carrot slices, I rolled the pate up into spinach leaves and spread it on gluten-free bread. On other days I enjoyed the pate on fresh radish slices and some wonderful new crackers I found made out of ALMONDS! Great idea, Blue Diamond! I worried I was relying too much on rice. Almonds seem more nutritious. Besides breakfast, we enjoyed a little snack of the pate while making dinner each day.  Dr. Wahls' Liver recipe turned out to be a win-win in our household.