Paleo cauliflower and sausage chowder

Haven’t written here for a while, but I would like to start blogging some of my favorite paleo recipes that I’ve created and/or modified. This was tonight’s successful experiment. This is a recipe suitable for 4-6 adults.

 

Ingredients

  • 5 links uncured spicy italian pork sausage 
  • 2 heads cauliflower (1/2 of one head roughly chopped)
  • 2 cups homemade chicken stock
  • 2 cloves minced garlic
  • 2 Scallions diced
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil or coconut oil
  • Salt & pepper to taste
  • Crushed red pepper to taste

Follow these steps:

  1. Place 1 and 1/2 heads of cauliflower in a pot of water to boil on the stove.
  2. Heat the oil in a large sauce pan to about medium heat. Remove the casing from the sausage and add it and the chopped half head of cauliflower to the pan. 
  3. Saute the sausage and cauliflower until the cauliflower is a golden brown and the sausage i cooked through (break the sausage apart as needed). Add the garlic, half of the diced scallion, dried thyme, and salt, pepper and crushed red pepper to taste and allow to simmer. 
  4. When cauliflower in pot has boiled to an al-dente texture, drain and mash in pot. Add mashed cauliflower to the sausage/caluiflower mixture.
  5. Add the stock and simmer on medium low heat about 10 minutes.
  6. Remove from heat and top with the other half of the diced scallions and enjoy.
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Help us win!

So I know I haven’t been on in forever and I promise a real post soon… but in the meantime this is important! Please vote for Micah in this contest. She is adorable and deserves it lol. You can vote every single day! Give her 5 stars please! https://www.facebook.com/StorkStack?sk=app_482697541784716&app_data=%7B%22mid%22%3A19446%7D

Who Am I?

This is an utterly selfish post and is really for me more than any of my readers :-). However, some of these things have been on my mind recently. I have questioned who I am… at the core. I have a tendency to see who I’m not, and that too is reflected in this piece of prose. But, I have a recognition that in the places I feel like I fail the most, usually God has also most gifted me with an opposing strength. This prose piece comes out of those thoughts.

I am a mother

I worry too much, and get frustrated often.

But, I love my daughter desperately, and would lay down my life for her safety and joy.

I am a wife

I nag too much, and try to fit him into my mold.

But, I am the guardian of his dreams, the keeper of his secrets and will shift and grow to love him more.

I am a Christian

I worry over theology, and succumb to infighting.

But, I love the bride of Christ and will passionately share the love I’ve been given.

I am a healer

I sometimes avoid the sick when I am afraid.

But I lay hands on the sick and the Holy Spirit flows, and I walk in assurance that God still heals.

I am a writer

I write about things that don’t interest others and think I am somehow unique in my perspective

But I lay my heart on the line, and interact with others with complete honesty through my writing.

I am a health nut

I miss fast food and secretly love chocolate.

But I know my body is a temple and I choose to give it the best nutrition possible.

I am an athlete

I hate to run and I can’t throw a ball

But I push my body to it’s limit and don’t give up even when it’s tough.

I am a prophet

I am sometimes wrong and mistake my own voice for His

But I learn to hear His voice more clearly every day, and see His power touch lives through my words.

I am a princess

I often act like a pauper and feel utterly low

But I am of the royal household and when I turn my face to His I cannot live in indifference.

I am a counselor

I talk too much and listen too little

But I have great compassion for others and will pray for and with others even when I am in a dark place.

I am a lover

I put arguments before people and put pride first sometimes

But I have an overflowing sense of God’s love for me that brings conviction, healing, hope and grace.

Butternut Squash Cashew Cheese Lasagna

This is one of my favorite kitchen experiments thus far. Combining a variety of recipes and providing a few tweaks of my own I came up with this yummy little number. It is gluten free and dairy free and can be made vegan as well. My initial experiment used chicken stock, but I am quite sure it will taste just as delicious with vegetable broth instead. I also made a large amount so I could freeze some, so you might choose to cut the ingredient amounts in half.

Notes:

– You need to alot time to prepare soaked cashews. I have made it without soaking the cashews and it still tastes good, but it is better if you make the time to soak them.

– If you don’t care about having the layered look, just combine the milk sauce, cashew cheese, and butternut puree and layer it in equal amounts between noodles.

Ingredients:

  • 6 and a half cups skin on butternut squash, cubed, or approximately 1 medium squash.
  • ½  cup chicken stock or vegetable broth
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 4 Tablespoons coconut oil
  • 1/3 cups non-gluten flour (I used brown rice flour w/ a touch of xanthan gum)
  • 4 cups plain almond milk or chicken stock
  • 1 pinch nutmeg
  • 2 packages brown rice lasagna noodles cooked according to package instructions and drained
  • 5 cups cashews soaked for 6-8 hours
  • 2 cups water
  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1 teaspoon dried onion powder
  • 1 and a half teaspoon dried Italian seasoning

Directions:

Preheat oven to 375 F.

In a large covered pot, cook squash and ½ cup chicken stock or vegetable broth over medium heat until squash is fork tender (15-20 minutes). Mash with a fork or puree squash in a food processor. Season with salt and pepper to taste and set aside. In a medium sauce pan, melt coconut oil over medium heat. Whisk in flour and cook about one minute until bubbling. Slowly whisk in 4 cups milk or stock and continue cooking 5-7 minutes whisking frequently until thickened. Season with salt, pepper, and a pinch of nutmeg. Set aside.

To make cashew cheese filling combine cashews, water, lemon juice, garlic, onion powder and Italian seasoning in a food processor and blend until smooth, adding extra water if needed.

Coat the bottom of baking pans (two 13×9) with 6 Tablespoons of flour/oil/milk sauce each, or as much as needed to coat bottom. Then layer 1/6 of lasagna noodles, 1/4 of squash puree, and 1/6 of cashew cheese in each pan. Top with 1/4 of milk sauce, then repeat layering in each pan. Finish topping lasagna with remaining 1/6 of noodles, 1/6 of cashew cheese, and remaining 1/4 of milk sauce. Bake covered at 375 for 40 minutes. Remove foil and bake 15 more minutes. Let lasagna cool slightly then cut and serve.

Servings: 12

Healthy Eating Basics

I have had multiple requests for a simple explanation of how I eat now. The place I am now nutritionally is even more involved than this write up will describe, but I know that to give all the details will overwhelm the beginner. In my experience starting with these basics will prepare you for even more extreme changes for an even greater shift towards lifelong health. At a later date I will create a similar write up for the next steps, involving homeopathic healing, gut healing, fermentation and allergy exclusion.

I can give many reasons for each of these steps, but I know you don’t necessarily want to read a book on the subject. I will try to keep points brief, and probably won’t explain too much. Over the next few months I will continue elaborating on these points and others in my healthy living tips. If you want any more detailed information about any particular point please leave a comment and I will do my best to explain more here or write a future blog post.
If your goal is weight loss than these will certainly help, but in my experience getting healthy is a significantly better goal and will usually result in a body type closer to that of which you desire anyway. If your goal is health you are more likely to stick with a dietary shift even if you don’t see drastic weight loss immediately. Don’t be tempted by fad diets or pills, they might work short-term but they do not keep the weight off long term and will actually negatively affect your metabolism.

I will put these points in order of importance and general ease.Try to implement as many points as possible, but doing any of these will help you long term. I have been discouraged in the past by the “all or nothing” camp and couldn’t stick with many changes long term. However, the longer I stick with a few changes the more likely I am to add in others later on. Do whatever you can and don’t be discouraged if you slip up. Just get back on the wagon tomorrow. Don’t give up just because you messed up. And remember, your health is worth it!

1. Drink more water. – Inversely this also means drinking less of other things, namely soda, coffee, fruit juice etc. Soda is bad, period. There is no good amount of soda. If you can go cold turkey on anything this is the one I most highly suggest. Coffee isn’t too hot for your body either, and by the time you add in cream and sugar it can be really high in calories, preservatives and toxins. Fruit juice is deceptive because it seems good for you, but usually isn’t. If you absolutely have to have fruit juice, juice your own. I don’t drink anything but water or homemade green smoothies anymore.
To find out how much water you need a day, take your weight, divide by 2, and drink that much in ounces. Add extra when working out, breastfeeding, or if in a very hot or dry climate.

2. Snack – yep, you heard right. Eat small amounts often rather than large amounts. Try to split up your calorie intake over 5-7 meals, and try to keep all those meals before 6-7pm. Don’t skip meals either, it keeps your metabolism going. Skipping meals will not benefit your health or weight.

3. Increase your vegetable intake. Vegetables should be the most abundant food on your plate. Challenge yourself to eat 5 or more different vegetables each day. There are plenty of ways to hide veggies in food, see https://beingonpurpose.wordpress.com/2012/11/28/healthy-tip-3-hide-those-veggies/ for ideas.

4. Take supplements – It is best to get your nutrients from your food, but that is not easy for everyone. Until you are fully committed to totally clean eating take extra probiotics, cod liver oil, vitamin D and a good natural multivitamin.

5. Make your own food – Seriously, just cook your own food from scratch. You know how much better it is than prepackaged or restaurant food? You will chop your calorie and toxin intake drastically just by making food from scratch, with as many whole (not pre-prepared) ingredients as possible.

6. Cut out processed foods and specifically “fast food”. This one doesn’t need much explanation. It is very hard, but probably will make the most significant difference in your body. All of the crazy toxins in processed foods wreak havoc on your health. Most diet foods destroy your system, most “low fat”, “sugar-free” or “enriched” foods have more fake chemicals than real food and are totally toxic to your body. When beginning, don’t worry so much about the calories of a whole egg or ground beef or fruit or pork, they are whole and natural and even if they have “high” calories they will probably result in less weight gain long term. I have shifted my diet to include more alkaline foods, less grains, more fermented foods and a whole variety of other foods uncommon to the western diet; but, I will elaborate on some of those concepts in later blog posts.

7. Go organic. – Produce, meat… all of it. There is sooo much research about why this is best, and there are a million ways to make it more cost effective, but I am convinced that this is the way to go for overall health.

8. Switch out your fats – See this blog for more information on which oils are best https://beingonpurpose.wordpress.com/2012/11/21/healthy-tip-2-switch-up-your-fats/.

9. Stop eating refined sugar and switch to honey when you choose to eat sugar based desserts. This will automatically cut out pretty much any pre-made sweet thing, but the damage that refined sugar does to your body is well documented and severe. I assure you that homemade treats sweetened with honey are ridiculously yummy.

10. Evaluate eliminating common allergens (gluten, dairy, nuts, eggs, soy, corn etc.) for a period of time to see how your body responds. Often we don’t know the havoc something is wreaking on our body until we go without it for a few weeks. Gluten, corn and processed soy are all particularly bad, and many theorize that they harm EVERYONE, but only some people see effects great enough to encourage them to eliminate it from their diet. As a gluten free individual I can tell you that it really isn’t as hard as it seems, and I don’t ever plan on eating it again.

Let me know which points you plan on implementing and how it goes. I love seeing individuals work towards greater overall health and hope to continue giving you recommendations and pointers for your health journey.

Thoughts on today’s events

 

It is hard to know where to begin writing on a day like today. On the day that there are so many opinions and emotions floating around regarding the senseless deaths of multiple children and adults at a school in Connecticut, I don’t want to sit here and wax eloquent with my own opinions. I want to honor and lift up the lives that were lost and express my deepest sympathy.

On Fridays I usually post some sort of thought provoking blog post, but today I will keep it brief and respectful. I have opinions on gun control, politics and the like, but honestly It provokes my ire when I have seen individuals use today’s awful shooting as some sort of platform for their political or philosophical view. I don’t care to share my own views today, because I think all focus should be on the lives lost. Today more than any day we should be able to come together in agreement that life is precious and these families deserve our love, prayers, and kind thoughts.

Evil does exist, we have seen it at work today. But, we as Christians have a position to bring about love and light to a world that oft embraces evil. Evil needs individuals to come into agreement with it in order to bring about things like we see today. Love and light is stronger than evil, and the power of Jesus Christ is greater than the evil we witnessed. Please join with me in prayers for all of those affected, and make a choice to hold forth light and love rather than political and philosophical debate today.

Combo Beef and Portabella Burgers

In lieu of my healthy tip for the week, this week is healthy recipe Wednesday! In an effort to combine the vegan portabella mushroom burger, with a standard burger I have created the combo beef and portabella burger. After a few variations on this recipe I think I finally have it down. These burgers are just slightly more crumbly than a normal burger, but are incredibly moist and delicious. Would love to hear from those of you who try it, with any comments or suggestions.

Combo beef and portabella burger

  • Prep Time: 10-15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 10 minutes
  • Makes: Approximately 6 burgers

Ingredients

  • 1 lb organic grass fed ground beef
  • 2 organic portabella mushroom caps
  • 2 minced garlic cloves
  • 1teaspoon balsamic vinegar
  • ½ teaspoon dried thyme
  • ½ teaspoon mayonnaise or olive oil or as much needed to help burgers stay together.
  • ½ teaspoon soy sauce or soy aminos (optional)
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Burger buns and toppings as desired.

Preparation

1. Place mushroom caps, vinegar and olive oil or mayo in a food processor and process until mostly smooth.

2. Combine mushroom mixture with the rest of the ingredients (excluding buns and toppings).

3. Form mixture into burger patties

4. Cook on stove top over medium heat or on a grill until the meat juices rise to the surface of the burger, flip and cook approximately the same amount of time on the other side.

4. Dress burgers as desired. Serve and enjoy!

A little thought regarding Identity

This week I’ve had a lot on my mind, especially in regards to a large to-do list. But I still have had some of the same theological and philosophical thoughts going through my mind. The primary focus is one that I have mentioned before and seems unending in its complexity, that of identity.

It seems like so much hinges on identity. I have yet to think of a sin or a righteous choice that does not hinge on one’s identity… whether in line with how God views us, or out of line. The choices we make as humans depend so highly on where we find our identity.

One personal example:

A while ago I found myself in a mild altercation with another individual that I felt was motivated by identity. I shared a personal account and the individual found error in it because it directly brought to question their own life experience and what they had taken from it. I was not negating what they had experienced, but in my own story of overcoming it became clear that the individual was hurt by the non-intended implication that they could have overcome the issue and did not.

Just as individuals can find identity in who God made them, we too can build our identity around the difficulties we have faced in the world. People can become very easily offended if you downplay a sickness, struggle or attack in their life, because without even realizing it one can use this “experience” as a building block in their view of themselves. I too have done this.

My previously posted testimony of healing discussed my reliance on my sickness as a crutch. But, my sickness was more than a crutch… it was a carefully crafted building block of my identity. I viewed Lyme Disease as MY sickness. I was ready with an argument about how bad it really was if someone downplayed it, I was easily angered if someone implied it was in my head, the way I viewed myself depended a great deal on being sick.

Why do individuals get so mad when others question their “hard life experiences?” Because humankind, without Christ at the center, is in need of meaning and purpose. We are usually taught that we are the people we are because of the things we go through, but I humbly suggest that we are the people we are because of the God who made us. We have value before we have had any life experience, and our experiences only become opportunities to discover ways in which we already have or have yet to line up with our truest identity, that given us by Christ.