Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Meatloaf, My family's favorite.

First, I would like to say, if you dont have one of these things, you need to get one!
I love mine. I dont have to hurt when I make meatloaf. I used to have to mix it with my hands and the coldness would make my bones hurt all the way up to my shoulders. It was painful to make my favorite food. The mixer does it all for me. I just pour it in and turn it on. Makes meatloaf like magic.

I did use the mixer attachment here. Since then I have made bigger batches and decided the dough hook was better for this.

Simple ingredient list: Hamburger, eggs, crackers, and salt and pepper. Sometimes I add cheese. I just use regular saltine crackers. I do read the labels to make sure that they have little or no sugar in them.

For 1 pound of burger I use 3 eggs. We just like it better that way. Then I will add half a stack of saltines all crumbled up.

It mixes it up so nice!

Heat the oven to 300 or 350. Bake for an hour or more, depending on how much burger you used. I use a meat thermometer to test to see if it is done. You can put it in a bread loaf pan, or just form it into a loaf in a baking pan. I just shove it on a cast iron skillet or in the dutch oven uncovered. It tastes real good if you put a layer of bacon on the bottom or on the top.

Cleaning and refurbishing old cast iron.

I love cast iron. I think it is the easiest to use and clean. The only thing I dont like is how heavy it is. I have to take extra time and care handling it because I can hurt myself easily. It is so worth it to know that my family is eating healthy instead of being exposed to the chemicals that are in non stick surfaces. I have read that it can help add iron to your diet as well. Right now I am cleaning a old dutch oven. It was covered in rust.

I started by soaking it in vinegar. I am not sure if it matters what kind to use but I used apple cider vinegar. Which will from now one be referred to as ACV. White distilled vinegar is WDV. Just because I am a little lazy and prefer to shorten things. I left it sit overnight in my sink. I put some in the bottom part and added water to it. I think it was 30% ACV and the rest water. i then poured the same on the top.

Look at all of it coming up! I really should have taken pics before I started cleaning it, but like I said, I am lazy, or forgetful, or something. This is a pic of the "foam" it creates. It really did get rid of half of the rust that was coating this entire thing.

After I rinsed it all out and dried it, I started scouring off the rest with Baking Soda and steel wool. This dutch oven was so rusted it took me 3 months to get it in working order.

I scoured this thing like this for a week.

You can see there is still rust on the bottom. It isn't nearly as bad as the inside was. I hadn't even touched the outside with my scouring yet. The "wet" marks are where the oil dripped down from the top, when i had it sitting upright.

I did use many different techniques on this thing to try to get it right. This is where I baked oil on it in an effort to get under the rust. It did help. It helped bake off another layer of rust actually. I then used my steel wool and the baking soda again and got it even cleaner. The last part was the lid. I needed some extra help getting into the edges. I grabbed this wire brush and some oil and scrubbed it until it came off.

You can scrub it off with oil and steel wool, baking soda and steel wool, and bake it off and then scrub with whatever. When you finally got it clean you can wash it, dry it in the oven, then reseason it. My husband actually found this in an old lady's junk pile in the middle of a snow bank where it had been for many years. It is now one of my favorite things. There might have been an easier way to clean it. I have heard soaking it in lye works but that was too toxic for me.

The finished product. The lid from the top. Then the inside of the dutch oven itself.

Then the bottom of it. Because I had to actually have one picture where you could see before and after.

In order to season it, you coat it with oil, then bake it in the oven at 350 to 500 degrees. The oil coat needs to turn black. You should do it a couple of times. You need to put the pan upside down on the rack and put a cookie sheet that you don't like under it to catch the dripping oil.

I have used this to make all kinds of things already. I make a one pan casserole. I brown the meat, then add the potaotes and the other fixings then put it in the oven. From stovetop to oven. I do that with my skillets too. I have baked whole chickens, roasts, and even used it to make stock. I just took it on a camping trip. I can put it right into the coals to bake stuff. It was used to store food and keep it warm. Next time I would like to try and bake biscuits in it. I absolutely love how easy it is to keep clean. I dont have to scour it unless something sticks. Usually i just rinse with water and wipe it out, dry it off real good and re-oil it.

I am in love with my cast iron and already dreaming of restoring more. It satisfies me to get something for free that someone was going to throw away, make it like new again, and get 30 more years use out of it.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Dinner is served!

Normally I like to take pics of all the ingredients when I blog about it but I didn't know how good it was going to be until after it was done.

So I am just going to show you a bunch of pictures of the finished product and tell you how I did it. You will need 1 bag of frozen tater tots, 1 small can of mushrooms, 1 can of Campbell's cream of mushroom soup, 1 can of green beans, a bag of shredded cheddar cheese, and 1 1/2 lb of ground beef. Plus some salt and pepper for seasoning. I use canned green beans instead of fresh. They are easier on my stomach for some reason. I think most of the sugar is processed out by the canning. It does not matter what kind of mushrooms you use, I use canned because it is easier to hide from my kids. They can spot the fresh ones from a mile away and they hate them. The cream of mushroom soup has very little stuff in it that would cause a problem. It does have wheat in it, but it doesn't seem to be enough to cause issues for us. As always, substitute stuff if you have an issue.

 First you put the tater tots in the oven and bake as directed. I like to leave them in a little longer to make them crispier. I also put a little olive oil in the baking dish to help crisp them. I find that helps alot when I buy the cheaper brands. While that is baking I brown the burger in my cast iron skillet. This one is the largest one I have. When it is done browning I add the drained can of mushrooms and green beans. Then I add the cream of mushroom soup and half a can of water (just enough to get the rest of the soup out). Heat it up until it is well mixed. The tater tots should be done by now and cooling on the counter. Do not turn off the oven. But do turn it down to 375 at least.
 You want to cover the top of the mixture with the cheese. Make it as cheesy as you want. I just make sure it is an even layer. Then evenly spread all the tater tots on the top of that. Does it look good yet? If you were like me, you forgot to salt and pepper the ground beef while you were browning it. It will be ok. There is enough salt in the green beans. I really should remember to be adding the salt as it helps with the POTS symptoms. It is really strange to be told by a doctor to eat more salt.
You can put the cast iron skillet right in the oven. I put it in the oven for about 15 minutes. Just keep an eye on it. You don't want to burn the already crisped tater tots but you do want the cheese to melt. This is absolutely divine! My kids love it, and according to them, that doesn't happen often with my cooking.

Homemade Lemon Lime Gatorade

I have been told that I need to get more vitamin c. For two different reasons. The first being that I can't eat fruit. So I can't get any vitamin c that way. The second is that I have Ehlers-Danlos and taking in high amounts of vitamin c has been linked to less bruising and stronger connective tissue. But I can't eat or drink too much fructose. Lemons and Limes are high in vitamin c and low in fructose. The more sour a fruit is the less fructose it has. Fructose is really sweet. Each one of us can have half a lemon or lime twice a day. So I came up with this recipe all on my own (with a little help from google lol).

 First we have a gallon jug, 2 lemons, 2 limes, and dextrose. You have to have some carbs in there if you want to use it as an electrolyte replacement.
 This is what the dextrose looks like up close. Just like regular sugar only half as sweet. It has no fructose in it (which is what table sugar is, half fructose, half glucose. This stuff is only glucose).
 They look so fresh! So juicy!
 We also need some salt. That adds the sodium part of the electrolytes. The other half is potassium, which is in lemons and limes. I also add stevia for sweetness or else you have one sour drink. Then I have this fruit fresh stuff. It is ascorbic acid, dextrose, and some anticaking agent. Excellent source of vitamin c. I have tried other vit c additives but they all tasted funny or made it a funny color and the kids wouldn't drink it even though it actually made it healthier.
 The pulp left after juicing. You really need to juice it well, to get all the juice out. You should be left with an empty rind.
 This is only from 1/2 a lemon. You get lots of juice from all the lemons and limes.
 So this is how you put it all together.

You pour all the juice in the jug. Then you add 12 or 14 tbsps of dextrose. On top of that you will add 1/2 tsp of salt and 2 tbsps of fruit fresh. The last is the stevia. I buy the really processed stevia. It is white and very strong. It has a little tiny scoop. Make sure you level the scoop. And add 5 scoops to the jug. Then stir it all up. It will look like the pic. Some sites I have read say to heat it up in a pot to make it a syrup, but I don't bother with that. I just add filtered water to it until it is full.
 Then I pour it in a glass :)

My kids will drink this constantly if i let them. But like with all things I must moderate them. It still has some fructose in it and if they drink too much they will get too much fructose and then it does the opposite of what I want it to do. Instead of supplementing their vitamin c and rehydrating them, it would cause malabsorption. Moderation with all things.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Homemade sausage.

My family loves sausage!!

Unfortunately all store made sausage contains sugar. After not having sausage for awhile my family started to get kind of upset. I don't blame them. I love sausage too. In my efforts to appease the angry savages I found a recipe. You take your lb of ground pork, you add 1 tbsp savory, 1 tbsp thyme, and 1 tbsp sage. I was out of sage so I omitted it. I also added 1 tbsp dextrose. I figured all the other ones had sugar in it for a reason so why not.
I shoved it all in my standing mixer and away we went.
I love this thing. No touching the cold meat, no holding a mixer up with one hand while holding the bowl with the other. Just flip on the switch and you have sausage!

Here is my finished clump of meat. I still need to make patties out of it but I don't mind. The meat is no longer cold so it won't hurt me to touch it. I purposely leave it to sit, whether I am making sausage or meatloaf or whatever, just so I don't have to touch cold meat. lol. This tastes better if it sits in the fridge overnight. That lets the herbs flavor seep into the meat, but like I said, I hate cold meat.

Sausage tastes great with potatoes. I always puts lots of salt on. And now that I can use powdered garlic again (just not too much), I add that on there as well. I fry them in olive oil with a lid on till they are tender, then take the lid off to crisp them up. They soak up the oil so you have to use enough. Here I am using my cast iron skillet with matching lid. The lid turns it into a dutch oven. I know cast iron is heavy and it hurts to use but the benefits outweigh the danger. I do not have to worry about all those pesky chemicals from non stick pans, I don't have to worry about scratching it up, and I don't have to worry about cleaning it. That's right. All I do is scrape till all the food is gone and re oil it. No need for soap. A little water and a scrub pad. Sometimes all I need to do is wipe it with a dishrag. Stuff comes right off. I would say that all that more than makes up for it's weight. Worth it's weight and all that.

My sausage patties. They look nice.

Don't forget fried eggs. Sausage needs eggs too. These are from a local farm. The farmer lets her hens runs free all over her property. They are mighty tasty!

They also lay many different colors of eggs.
And the finished breakfast. The kids ate it all gone. Even my husband said it tasted good. It is real hard to get a compliment out of him so I this means alot.

Monday, June 13, 2011

The Re-Introductory Phase.

After having been on a strict elimination diet for 12 weeks, my family was excited to try all of their favorite foods again. We tried different veggies, fruits, and .... junk food. We needed to see how much sugar and HFCS we could digest. Every one of us can handle a different amount. And we all have different reactions to stuff we can't handle.

I have to admit, I got carried away. I missed all of those foods that were causing me pain and malnutrition. Most of all I wanted a Bavarian cream filled, chocolate frosted, bismark. Usually I would drink a premade chocolate milk with it, but I resisted the temptation. I did eat one. I ate 2 actually, but the second one was jelly filled. Within an hour I came to the conclusion that it had been a bad idea. As a matter of fact, It went about that well for everything we tried. Sometimes it was apparent in 20 min and sometimes it took an hour or two. But it all ended the same way.

My youngest 2 children get dark circles under their eyes. Just like me. The circles are a dark line that looks like eyeliner almost. It goes all the way into the inside of the eye and up the side of the nose. The more they eat, the darker it is. If it is chronic ingestion (like when we ate watermelon 3 days in a row) it gets puffy under the eye too. These 2 kids also (like me) get bloated. It causes them to have poor absorption. They can not absorb the nutrients out of a meal if it includes fructose in any way. I forget exactly how it works but the gist is that the fructose interferes with the nutrients bonding to the receptor chemical that pulls it across the intestinal wall to be utilized. So they don't even use it. The EDS means that we need to be taking in twice the amount of vitamins a normal person does, but the FMS means that we are even taking in half the vitamins a normal person does. I don't even know how that translates to fat or anything.

The 4 yr old actually has butt muscles now. And her face is rounder. She even showed me her biceps the other day. She has some now and she thinks it is hilarious to flex them at me.

My oldest child is going to be 16 years old next week. He has really enjoyed being able to eat his favorite food one more time. After each thing he tries, he says the same thing. He will not eat that again. He hasn't asked to try soda or fruit juice. I don't blame him. He gets real bad indigestion and pain, it makes his joints hurt, and he gets fatigued. He does not get bloated and he really doesn't get the circles under his eyes either.

What have we learned from this? We learned that the strict diet is the best. The stricter the better. When we do eat something that is not on our strict diet we have to be careful. We can only digest so much fructose at a time. The kids will get a much smaller helping than before. It was fun, albeit painful, to eat all that stuff one more time. The reintroduction of foods was a painful process, but it reaffirmed for us that we prefer the strict diet and how it makes us feel. We are officially off the elimination diet. We now know what we can and can not eat, and are well aware of the repercussions of eating the wrong foods.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Gluten Free Mac-N-Cheese with Hot Dogs

My family loves hot dogs and macaroni-n-cheese. Our favorite was always oscar meyer hot dogs and kraft mac-n-cheese. The kids were really mad at me when they found out that all of that was not fructose friendly. They love their junk food. I don't blame them. I like it too.
They were pretty surprised to see that I had found a fructose free and safe to eat version. I found the original recipe in a book for fructose malabsorption but I modified it.I really hope they like it.

First step: preheat oven to 350 degrees.

First we start with safe ingredients. I used the pasta shown here. It is made with quinoa and something else. We like these the best of all the gluten free noodles so far.
 The hot dogs are hebrew national kosher beef hot dogs. These taste awesome! They are not overpowering like some beef hot dogs can be and they have good ingredients.
I usually use organic whole milk but I was out so I had to use my unsweetened almond milk instead.
And of course, you need some butter. I prefer the taste of organic valley butter.
 Put 3 tbsp of butter in the casserole dish, then put it in the oven until the butter is melted.

 Then stir in the whole box of noodles. You want to coat all the noodles with the butter. Then you want to salt and pepper it. You don't need too much salt though because the hot dogs have plenty.
 I cut up about 6 or 8 hot dogs and mixed them right into the noodles. (I wished I had used more. Maybe next time I will use 10.)
 I stir it right in so that they get coated with the butter too.

I covered the entire thing with 5 cups of cheddar cheese.
Then I gently poured 4 cups of almond milk over it. (this was too much and should be cut back to 3 or 3.5 cups.)
 Then you set the timer for an hour.
 I don't know if you can tell from this picture, but there is still too much liquid after an hour. (Because I used too much milk.) So I had to set it for another 10 min, which slightly overcooked some of the noodles.
After 10 more minutes it looked right. This picture is a little different because I tried to use the "food" setting on my camera. I don't think I know how to use it right. I hope this looks as good to you as it tasted to me. I ate 3 helpings. Which I shouldn't have done but it tasted soo goood to me. I like the almond milk better than the regular milk. I can eat cheese fine but not milk. The kids prefer it with regular milk but they still love it this way. It is a very tasty substitution for our previous mac-n-cheese dinner.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

My Birthday Breakfast

Happy Birthday to me!!!!

It is my 35th birthday and I have been on this elimination diet for at least 3 months. We have been pretty strict and I have decided that we are going to have strawberries! Of all the stuff I have missed these would be on the top of the list. My kids beg for them and I feel so bad. So we are going to eat some.
Wish us luck.

My favorite piece of equipment, the kitchenaid mixer. I use this thing to mix everything. It is less work for me to use this thing than it is for me to mix it by hand or hold an electric mixer. Thank you mom for my favoritest birthday present EVAH!!!!

So first we mix the pancake batter. I used Bisquick mix. They make a gluten free kind. I really should have used it but I still had some of this stuff left. It uses dextrose instead of sugar so it is still sucrose/fructose free. However, the wheat will make my psoriasis worse. I am willing to deal with it.

Yummm. One of my favorite things. Melted Butter! I prefer the taste of organic butter. And it is better for you. I melted 2 whole sticks of it and added 3 scoops of stevia. The kind I use has no added ingredients. It is nothing but the stevia extract. It is processed until it is a fine white powder. The scoop is so small it looks like a doll spoon. This stuff is strong. It does not take much and I strongly encourage you to level the scoop. I also added 3 tbsp of "now" brand dextrose to make it more syrupy. And then I melted it in the microwave.

Here is the final result. Golden brown pancakes, sliced strawberries, with the butter poured all over the top. The kids and I all had plates like this and there was enough butter to go around. Even for thirds which all the kids ate.
The hardest part of this diet is not eating all the foods we love. We can learn to live without most stuff, if we have too, but not strawberries. I will gladly suffer for strawberries every once in a while.

In the future I will be using a gluten free mix or making my own from scratch with buckwheat, oat, and some other flours. I haven't gotten around to figuring out a flour mix yet. Surprisingly, this did  not make me very sick. I had stomach pains for an hour or 2 but nothing real serious. I was tired for the rest of the day but that could have been all the walking we did the day before. If the strawberries were going to cause real problems, it would have caused 3 days of fatigue and 1 day in the bathroom. So now we can safely say that strawberries are an ok food.... for a treat. Not for everday of course, and not too many at a time either. They still caused dark circles under our eyes after eating them.

ETA: This did not make my psoriasis worse. YAY me! Also I looked at the gluten free kind. Unlike the regular kind, it uses sugar instead of dextrose. So boo on them.